The exploration of new opportunities and the exploitation of existing competencies represent two competing logics for innovation and change within organizations. IS projects seeking to foster innovation need to balance these forces, and recognize the distinct role that each plays. Through its essential role in generating a design space between existing problems and design options, the requirements phase of a development project represents a domain where exploration and exploitation need to be integrated. Based on a field study involving interviews with 39 IT professionals managing large and complex development initiatives, we analyze the degree to which prevailing requirements practices incorporate the logics of exploration and exploitation. Our findings focus on key challenges faced by project teams in failing to engage exploration as a necessary element in requirements practice. In addition, we offer several recommendations to enhance the pursuit of organizational innovation by supporting both exploration and exploitation.
Hansen, Sean; Lyytinen, Kalle; and Avital, Michel, "Project Innovation Through Exploration and Exploitation: Requirements Practice in Large-Scale IS Development Environments" (2009). ICIS 2009 Proceedings. Paper 134.