Disciplined innovation: a case study of the Amazon Working Backwards approach to internal corporate venturing

Aylin Ates, Kumuda Suppayah

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Abstract

Internal corporate venturing (ICV) is a strategy used by established organizations; however, our knowledge is limited regarding its underlying activities and processes. As a methodical innovation strategy, Amazon’s Working Backwards (AWB) has generated internal corporate ventures like Amazon Web Services Inc. Despite its proven success, AWB’s broader application remains understudied. This study explores the application of the AWB approach beyond Amazon to bridge the knowledge gap regarding how other organizations use it to accelerate innovation activity that may lead to new internal corporate ventures. Our research of a Fortune 500 energy group demonstrates AWB’s adaptability beyond Amazon’s conventional setting, emphasizing its essential role in accelerating ICV by prioritizing customers, processes, and people. We present a framework that practitioners can use to effectively implement the AWB approach in diverse organizational contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-33
Number of pages11
JournalResearch-Technology Management
Volume67
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2024

Keywords

  • Amazon Working Backwards
  • innovation
  • internal corporate venturing

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