The other day — while doing more research for my book on disruption — I came across a paper on “Organizational Ambidexterity: Past, Present and Future.” It is a great summarization of the research being done on an organization’s ability to “both explore and exploit—to compete in mature technologies and markets where efficiency, control, and incremental improvement are prized and to also compete in new technologies and markets where flexibility, autonomy, and experimentation are needed.”
Reading the paper, and this is definitely not meant as a slight against the paper, you get insights such as this one: “In uncertain environments, organizational ambidexterity appears to be positively associated with increased firm innovation, better financial performance, and higher survival rates.” — well, yes… Of course, an organization that successfully manages its core, as well as its edge business, will do better — especially in uncertain times.
Which made me go back through a whole bunch of papers and books I recently read — and realize that a lot of the “knowledge” out there is just common sense (I am absolutely certain this applies to my insights as well). Which, of course, doesn’t mean that just because something is common sense makes it common practice — far from it.
For now, I rest assured that nobody knows anything anyway — myself included — and focus on turning common sense into common practice.