Osmotic strategy: Innovating at the core to inspire at the edges

David H. Gilbert, Aaron C.T. Smith, Fiona Sutherland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Faced with adversity, companies often recalibrate their endeavors toward what they do best. But if what you do best hasn't been good enough, then more innovative pathways are called for. The idea that organizations need to be agile and ambidextrous in exploiting their core businesses of today, while simultaneously exploring the business of tomorrow, has been with us for many decades. This "organizational imperative" however, is easier to theorize than it is to operationalize.In this article we propose a complimentary but practical approach to overcoming the inherent tension between optimizing efficiency and building greater innovation capability. This Osmotic Strategy seeds innovation capability from the inside out, enabling firms to not only improve on current activities but also lay the foundations for a sustainable innovation ecosystem. Such an approach will enhance the long-term health of organizations. Based on empirical research, we address the organizational ambidexterity implementation challenge and set out practical interventions to underpin the strategy we present in meeting this considerable challenge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-225
Number of pages9
JournalOrganizational Dynamics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


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