How large companies innovate ….

Large software companies are really diffrent from each other. That’s hardly a surprise, but do they work in different ways?

If we look at the works like “Good to Great” or “Build to Last” by Jim Collins and his colleagues, we can see that they have similarities. They make the same mistakes and they have similar success factors.

In this paper:, the authors conducted a literature review of how the innovation is done in large companies. They have found only seven companies, but they’ve recognized a few interesting intiatives (descriptions quoted from the text):

  • intrapreneurship: intrapreneurs have the vision for new products and act on their vision as if they had their own companies: build the development team and run the business,
  • bootlegging: bootlegging (or underground or skunkworks) refers to the innovation activity that is hidden from management until its introduction. The objectives of bootlegging are pre-research, product and process improvement, troubleshooting, new product and process development and purely scientific research
  • internal venture: internal venture refers to the introduction of new business within existing business to pursue product or market innovation. New business can be established as the instrument to pursue incremental innovation (new product in current market or new market for current product) or radical innovation new product for new market).
  • spin-off, subsidiaries, joint-ventures, and
  • crowdsourcing: getting the participation of crowd and locking the crowd to create value to one company only. By taking the advantage of Web 2.0, companies look for the suitable solutions from Internet users.

These approaches vary in size, structure and scope. I recommend to read this article as a friday, before homegoing, reading 🙂

Full reference:

Henry Edison, Xiaofeng Wang, Ronald Jabangwe, Pekka Abrahamsson,
Innovation Initiatives in Large Software Companies: A Systematic Mapping Study,
Information and Software Technology, Volume 95, 2018, Pages 1-14, ISSN 0950-5849,

Author: Miroslaw Staron

I’m professor in Software Engineering at IT faculty. I usually blog about interesting articles (for me) and my own reflections on the development of Software Engineering, AI, computer science and automotive software.

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