Episodic innovation: R&D strategies for project-based environments

V. Acha, D.M. Gann, A.J. Salter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (SciVal)


Many businesses organise activities as projects when they need to coordinate loose networks of individuals and firms in order to complete specific, discrete tasks. Some use research and development (R&D) and technical support functions for problem-solving on projects. Yet firms working in this mode rarely have the opportunity to translate lessons from projects into organisational capabilities. This paper explores R&D strategies adopted by project-based firms, drawing on data collected in four case studies of engineering consultancies. It focuses on the development of organisational memory and capability through creation of meta-routines. In doing so, we assess the impact of choices made in organising R&D on learning and capability development. We argue that new models of decentralised R&D are required for project-based environments that combine flexibility and integration with a long-term strategic perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-281
Number of pages27
JournalIndustry and Innovation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2005


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