Agile start-ups most innovative

Hi there, Dulce Goncalves! Your research is about digital innovation and you defended your dissertation a while ago. Can you tell us a little about your research?

"I have investigated how startup companies use their agility – the ability to move – to create an advantage in terms of digital innovation. By examining the companies' organisational culture, I have been able to see differences between the companies. Not all companies proved to have the same organisational agility and ability to innovate. The companies that are characterised by an agile culture and use open innovation were most successful in their efforts to maintain a high rate of innovation."

A woman standing in a thick winter jacket in front of a frozen lake. Photo.

Dulce Gonçalves research is about digital innovation. She defended her dissertation on 25 February this year.

You submitted your licentiate thesis just over a year ago. What has happened since then?

"I have published two scientific articles, and in them I present two new aspects of organisational agility. For an organisation to be agile, it must utilise different capabilities in its digital innovation process. I have identified nine different organisational agility capabilities: Leadership Agility, Employee Agility, Transparency, Adaptability, Lifelong Learning, Co-Creation, Digital Tool Leverage, Business Model Innovation, and Investor Selectivity. In an in-depth analysis, it became apparent that the nine agility capabilities form four organisational patterns for digital innovation: Digitally Industrializing, Digitally Complementing, Digitally Exploiting, and Digitally Disrupting. The most effective pattern for digital innovation is Digitally Disrupting. An organisation that follows this pattern moves easily between internal and open innovation. They are characterised by, among other things, entrepreneurial, multifaceted, and social visions, a high degree of collaboration with external actors and a high degree of transparency. The pace of development is high, and learning is situation-based"

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How does your research contribute to the development of society?

"My research can help explain the connection between organisations' agility and digital innovation. The results can develop an understanding of how the nine agility capabilities drive digital innovation at different rates depending on the organisation's agility. The abilities relate to each other in different ways and to build an organisation that can maintain a high digital innovation rate, none of them can be excluded. This knowledge is important for everyone who works with organisations' innovation. My research shows how agility is an organisational value chain that moves from the board and CEO to leaders and employees. The chain is never stronger than its weakest link."

Text: Christa Amnell

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