Just read a blog piece by Simon Sinek on How to Innovate like a Shark. Basically Simon explains how smaller companies with fewer resources are better adapted to create innovation than larger ones. Primarily this comes down to necessity rather than exploration. His example is Steven Spielberg attempting to create the gory effects in his first Jaws film. Technology, at the time, was such that it was basically impossible to generate the CGI or robotics required to animate the kill scenes he wanted effectively hence Spielberg created the unknown terror from the deep which to this day is epic cinematography. Through being restricted on what was possible for his film, it forced him to innovate a new way of conveying the same idea…if you are a massive company like say Nokia, no matter how much money you chuck at innovation if you don’t have that drive and limitations to think outside the box you rarely will succeed.
I think Simon has a point. Think of how many times start-up companies or small niche organisations have been snapped up by a larger player in the market…its far simpler and effective for a major blue-chip giant to sweep up innovation from elsewhere rather than innovate themselves.
Here is Simon’s original article: http://blog.startwithwhy.com/refocus/2012/08/how-to-innovate-like-a-shark.html