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Manchester Institute of Innovation Research

Innovation management, business models and ecosystems

Innovation is ever-changing with new ways being developed to both innovate and orchestrate the resources for innovation.

A word cloud based around the word 'innovation'

Our understanding of how innovation happens is also changing with less emphasis on the development of new technologies and more on combinations of technological and organisational changes, including the development of new business models and the orchestration of innovation ecosystems. 

We contribute to a better understanding of various aspects of firm innovation and competitiveness: new processes, mechanisms and sources of innovation; disruptive innovation; the context of innovation; and the role of design and creativity. We advance knowledge on the ways in which firms and industries cope with disruption and reconfigure their business models to safeguard their competitive position. 

Our research strengths within this theme are in the following research areas: 

  • Innovation management and competitiveness
    The significance of innovation as a source of competitiveness and as a driver of industrial dynamics is widely recognised. We examine how firms use their innovation activities to strategically anticipate the moves of their competitors. We have studied, for example, how firms develop and deploy R&D capabilities and how they manage innovation structurally through new organisational forms, collaboratively through alliances and partnerships, and geographically through offshoring.
  • Business model innovation
    Business models are a key source of competitive advantage for firms. Innovation has long been equated with the impact of technology on firms’ commercial success. Nowadays, however, having a unique business model that transforms a technology into a scalable product or service is just as important, if not more. We study how new business models emerge through (start-ups’) entrepreneurial action and how established firms reconfigure their traditional business models in response to disruption, such as digitalisation or decarbonisation.
  • Innovation ecosystems
    Firms have always drawn on both internal and external resources to develop their knowledge bases and innovate. With the emergence of digital and sharing platforms, however, the opportunities for the external sourcing of knowledge and the cocreation of products and services have developed significantly. In our research, we study how firms orchestrate their innovation ecosystems and collaborate with public and private actors such as government institutions, NGOs and start-ups.
  • Innovation in services and the cultural and creative industries
    Most of what is known about innovation has been drawn from studies of product-based manufacturing firms, often with an emphasis on technological innovation. The balance is shifting, though, with an increased emphasis on innovation in services. We have pioneered research into innovation in underexplored sectors, including knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS). We also examine innovation in the cultural and creative industries, where the role of digital platforms as well as design and creativity play a key role in determining business performance.

Associated staff