The companys capabilities and organisation

The company organisation is also a necessary part of the analysis for the innovation strategy - is it a centralised, rigid top-down organisation or a fluid organisation with lower-level managers in major decision-making positions over resources and direction? The type of organisation has a major influence in deciding whether innovations are suitable for the company. The knowledge and the resources in the company are also determining factors. If the company does not have the knowledge or the ability to collect and analyse information to create the knowledge, then the innovation strategies are restricted. There needs to be a long-term commitment to technology and technological knowledge to build strongly innovative strategies. Also if there is not sufficient discretionary capital for new ventures, then there is difficulty in funding the more innovative strategies. Souder (1987) summarised some of the qualities of an innovative organisation:

• Willingness to accept change, altered behaviour and disruption.

• Long-term commitment to technology.

• Patience in permitting ideas to gestate, and decisiveness in allocating resources to these ideas having the greatest commercial prospects.

• Willingness to confront uncertainties and accept balanced risks.

• Alertness in sensing environmental threats/opportunities, and promptness in responding to them.

• Openness of internal, cross-departmental communications; diversity of internal talents and cultures; existence of many external contacts and information sources.

• A climate that fosters the natural confrontation and resolution of interdepartmental rivalries and conflicts, and the development of reciprocal role-persons.

This checklist for studying the innovation characteristics of a company has not been bettered over the years, and should be regarded as fundamental to the evaluation of the company for innovation.

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