Engagement and Innovation: the Honda Case

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Engagement and innovation: the Honda case


University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK, and

Robert Paton
Niru Karunaratne
Received 25 June 2009
Revised 22 September 2009
Accepted 23 September

Honda Motor Group, Ontario, Canada
Purpose – Research and development (R&D) plays a significant role in creating and sustaining technological leadership. This paper aims to look at the extent to which R&D interventions stimulate innovation engagement.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper examines, in the main, secondary data sources from
Honda to assess the extent to which R&D-enabled plants
…show more content…
An organisation’s innovative capacity is influenced by its ability to mobilise knowledge, technological skills and experience to create novelty in their product offerings, processes and services (Gassmann, 2006; IBM Global Business Services, 2006). Knowledge is the basis of innovation. However, the advantages associated with gaining an innovatory lead will be eroded over time. The question is not one of whether or not to innovate, but
rather how to do so successfully and continuously (Droge et al., 1994; McEvily and
Chakravarthy, 2002; Nonaka et al., 2003; IBM Global Business Services, 2006).
There is increasing recognition that an R&D centric strategy may not be enough to maintain an innovation driven strategic advantage. To maintain an overall competitive edge the developed economies must build their futures on knowledge combined with technology and innovation (Chesbrough, 2005; Chesbrough et al., 2006; Miozzo and
Walsh, 2006; Ichijo and Nonaka, 2007). A knowledge advantage promotes success by ensuring that emerging ideas, innovations and new products and services reach the market place (Tidd and Hull, 2003; Karmarkar, 2004). R&D must underpin knowledge creation and exploitation. This is especially so in leading edge manufacturing enterprises such as the case company Honda. However, it does not secure, on its own, economic well-being and

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