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Journal cover: Strategy & Leadership

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572
Incorporates: The Antidote

Online from: 1975

Subject Area: Strategy

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The art of rapid, hands-on execution innovation

Document Information:
Title:The art of rapid, hands-on execution innovation
Author(s):Anssi Tuulenmäki, (Chief Innovation Activist at MIND (, a program to develop strategic innovation capability at Aalto University School of Science and Technology ( in Helsinki), Liisa Välikangas, (Professor of innovation management at Aalto University School of Economics ( Aalto University was formed by the recent merger of the Helsinki School of Economics, University of Technology and University of Art and Design)
Citation:Anssi Tuulenmäki, Liisa Välikangas, (2011) "The art of rapid, hands-on execution innovation", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 39 Iss: 2, pp.28 - 35
Keywords:Innovation, Product development, Rapid prototypes
Article type:Conceptual paper
DOI:10.1108/10878571111114446 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to introduce a model of “rapid execution innovation” designed to increase the likelihood of achieving the kind of breakthroughs that develop into successful new business models developed by the authors.

Design/methodology/approachTheir recent field experience indicates that companies should scrap the comforting safety of new product planning and stage-gate schedules. Instead, company leaders should learn to practice high-speed innovation experimentation, from ideation to operational execution, in order to offer products and services with unique customer benefits.

FindingsIn their model, companies start this process by conducting experiments that promote a radical rethinking of a business opportunity and then continue experimenting as the original idea evolves into a product.

Research limitations/implicationsThis paper draws on an ambitious research project in Finland called MIND (Managing Industry-Changing Innovations, see, which seeks to “make Finland the world leader in strategic business innovation.”

Practical implicationsThis is a sample how-to; practical experiments show whether the fundamental assumptions about radical innovation are correct.

Originality/valueAlthough seemingly simple, such an experimental approach to business model innovation is rarely practiced even in businesses dedicated to innovation.

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