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Radical Innovation Management :

Open Issues in Turbulent Times

Radical innovation (RI) management in mature companies is a top issue for both scholars and practitioners. It is related to the long-term growth of the firm. Contrary to incremental innovations, RI projects are characterized by uncertainties (in Knight's terms, 1921), making it impossible to validly evaluate using traditional financial criteria. Uncertainties (unknown unknowns) may arise in the course of developing the project,  resulting in a team's inability to predict the activities to be performed over the course of the project, discontinuities, and non-linearities (O'Connor et al., 2008; Salerno et al., 2015). These characteristics imply the need for a distinct organization and management systems for RI, known as structural ambidexterity as discussed in the innovation literature (Bagno et al., 2017; O'Connor et al., 2018; Tushman & O'Reilly, 1996).

The covid-19 crisis is a prominent example of a discontinuity for businesses, impacting demand, supply chains, financial liquidity, the opportunity landscape, and many others. It has introduced a whole new set of uncertainties for RI projects and RI activities in companies. Thus, it is reasonable to suppose that the crisis may have affected RI in incumbent companies. 


  • Mario Sergio Salerno 
  • Gina O'Connor 
  • Ana Paula Paes Leme Barbosa 

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