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Moonshot Innovation: A New Approach to Disruptive Technologies and Business Models

Carlsberg Foundation Monograph Fellowships

What

This project aims at understanding Moonshot Innovation as a new approach to how organizations can tackle complex challenges when business-as-usual no longer works. By developing Moonshot Innovation as a new management model for established organizations to embrace a transformative, longer-term goal, it will help to move from an old way of working to new and more disruptive business models.

The resulting framework for understanding Moonshot Innovation will be grounded in both existing examples and established theoretical perspectives in connection to, for example, leadership, capabilities, culture, open innovation, and ecosystems. On this basis, the project will then further develop some practical guidance for managers to work with Moonshot Innovation in their organizations.

Why

There is an increasing need to tackle grand challenges, not only for the sake of society but also to enable organizational longevity. However, when established organizations need to innovate their business model to address such complex challenges, they experience a variety of critical barriers within their organization when making such a transition. The complexity of these challenges is inherent in their multidisciplinary nature and their domain-crossing application within for example food, climate, health, mobility, and so on.

At the same time, organizations are often unable to take action, not the least because the solution space for such “wicked problems” is not fixed and because addressing the challenge requires a more open and inclusive approach.

How

I will develop a definition and framework of Moonshot Innovation based on examples of organizations that have worked with Moonshot Innovation, and grounded in extant business and management literature. This framework will show how established organizations can disrupt “business as usual” and develop a new approach to breakthrough innovation. I will then build on this framework by developing managerial implications for how such organizations can actually do this in practice.

Drawing on some existing approaches such as business modeling, design thinking, open innovation and effectuation, I will develop a practical guide to help managers to transform their organization to become more oriented toward Moonshot Innovation, while also spurring a novel research agenda in this domain.

SSR

Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR) is of central importance to this project given that Moonshot Innovation should not only benefit the innovating organization but they can also help to tackle societal challenges more generally. As such, the project will also specifically address how Moonshot Innovation can be the new imperative for innovation in general and for addressing sustainable innovation, for example in the context of Circular Economy and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in particular.

SSR will also be addressed through a consideration of how partnerships and collaboration are required and can be develop given the complexity and uncertainty of address such grand challenges.