Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Help (new window)
Sign In

Washington University in St Louis Olin Business School

Olin Business SchoolOlin Business School


Innovations & Growth: What Do We Know? Innovation & Growth:
What Do We Know?
The Institute will publish a readings book for practitioners with seven chapters on key innovation issues authored or co-authored by Washington University faculty (forthcoming).

Table of Contents (PDF)
Overview (PDF)
The Four Colors of Growth Four Colors of Business Growth
Thakor's book provides a framework for developing a growth strategy and attaining internal alignment within the organization and external alignment with stakeholders such as financiers. Learn how to get the biggest bang for the buck from a focused strategy (forthcoming).

Table of Contents (PDF)
Preface (PDF)
Purchase book

Research and White Papers

R&D Myth Busters
Anne Marie Knott, Professor of Strategy
Industry R&D is one of the main sources of national economic growth as well as one of the main sources of value creation for firms. Accordingly it has received considerable attention from both economists and management scholars. Many of the prescriptions advanced by past theory have taken root both because they have intuitive appeal and because prior empirical data and techniques were not sophisticated enough to refute them. More recent work which combines insider experience with more sophisticated data and methods demonstrates that many of the prescriptions from past theory are invalid. These busted myths have implications for both government technology policy and firm R&D strategy.

Leading for Innovation
Lee J. Konczak, Senior Lecturer in Organizational Behavior and Leadership Development
What can leaders do to create a “climate” that fosters innovation?
This paper introduces the concept of organizational climate and its relationship to leadership and innovation. Questions that leaders must continuously ask as they lead their teams in order to facilitate and support business innovation are presented. An expanded treatment of the ideas discussed here can be found in Konczak and Spencer (2011).

The Secret Recipe for Innovating…All the Time
Anjan Thakor, John E. Simon Professor of Finance, Director of the Institute for Innovation and Growth and Director of the PhD Program
How can organizations develop a culture and mindset for sustained innovation – and transcend the boundaries of existing industries and technologies? Every business paradigm is based on a set of assumptions. The key to successful innovation involves two critical steps.

  1. Make explicit all of the assumptions underlying the existing product/process/paradigm.
  2. Determine which of these assumptions can be challenged to create something new and better.

The secret of successful innovators is to identify the strongest/most impactful assumptions to challenge – assumptions that are widely accepted and are supported by empirical evidence. This paper proposes a conceptual framework for uncovering and evaluating the assumptions, illustrates the framework with examples of successful innovation and explains how to implement the framework within organizations.

Contracting for Innovation
Nicholas Argyres, Vernon W. and Marion K. Piper Professor of Strategy
In order to compete successfully, companies are finding that it is increasingly important to capitalize on innovations generated outside the organization. Creating and capturing value from outside innovations is often difficult, however, because it involves the challenge of managing potentially hazardous contractual relationships with outside organizations, whether they be universities, firms, research institutes, etc. In this chapter, I discuss three approaches to managing these relationships: contract design, relational governance and tournaments. I discuss the relative importance of these three approaches, interactions between them, and situations in which they might substitute for, or complement, one another.