Defining obstacles & opportunities for innovation in the Canadian retail sector
thesisposted on 15.06.2021, 13:48 authored by Sean Sedlezky
This thesis examines how retailers approach innovation and strategic decision making. While there is vast prior research about innovation across different sectors, until recently, the perspective of retailers was under-represented in the literature. Where it does exist, the focus has typically been on product manufacturing or process improvements through technology or partnering with their vendor community, rather than an exploration of how retailers think about and develop innovation strategy internally. In some cases, prior research has identified what retail executives say about innovation. However, their words appear at times to be inconsistent with their actions, perhaps due to the wide spectrum of how each interprets the meaning of innovation. Thus, interviews were conducted with 14 experts who offer considerable experience and a broad perspective on the Canadian retail industry as consultants and partners. The purpose of this inductive, qualitative study was to identify what potential industry-specific and internal obstacles to innovation retailers may wish to consider in the future. Results have led to seven emergent themes classified as “legacy issues”, “daily business”, “risk avoidance”, leadership”, “sharing culture”, “unseen technology” and “customer focus”. The barriers or obstacles noted within each theme suggest several potential opportunities for retailers to encourage a more innovative mindset within their organization.