Innovation at the Edge in the Established Firm: An Exploratory Study of two Edge Initiatives
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- Master Thesis 
This thesis explores how innovation at the edge can take place in established firms. This qualitative interview study is conducted in the setting of a large Norwegian insurance company and looks at two of its innovation initiatives perceived at the edge. The inductive findings of this research are then set into the context of the limited existing literature on innovation at the edge and existing theory on ambidexterity, as well as of a prescriptive consulting framework. First, this research explores the origins of innovation initiatives at the edge and finds that strategic projects can be a suitable method to generate innovation initiatives at the edge as well as acquisitions. Furthermore, this study identifies six features of innovation initiatives at the edge suitable not only to differentiate approaches, but also to explore how the extent of each feature affects the evolution of the innovation initiative. These six features are the distance to the core, the drivers, the focus of the collaboration, the top management support, the development processes and progress measurements, and the perceptions of uninvolved employees from the core. The findings show how the how these features not only affect each other, such as a far distance to the core potentially improving the perception of employees from the core, or the drivers of the initiative influencing the progress measurements used. It also shows how the features influence the challenges for the initiative and its trajectory over time. In addition, this research extends the existing literature on innovation at the edge comparing the characteristics to ambidexterity as well as the consulting framework. It shows key differences and similarities to ambidexterity as well as to the consulting framework to innovation at the edge. Furthermore, the relationship of top management support and top management interference and its effect on innovation at the edge is explored. This research then presents a matrix suitable to categorize innovation initiatives. Additionally, besides the six features, this research develops a suitable tool to evaluate innovation initiatives assessing the initiative’s attribution to the edge. Further research is necessary to extend the limited research-based knowledge on innovation at the edge.