How to promote organizational ambidexterity within a company?

100 Open Startups
6 min readJul 25, 2023

Discover the power of organizational ambidexterity in developing a culture of innovation within companies

In the dynamic and constantly evolving business world, companies face a crucial challenge: finding the balance between the search for new opportunities and the need to maintain operational efficiency in their existing activities.

After all, innovation is key to staying competitive , but stability and operational excellence are also key to ensuring consistent results.

This is where the concept of organizational ambidexterity comes in , a strategic approach that allows companies to navigate this tension between explore and exploit.

Despite being a challenge, implementing this philosophy within a company can be the key to developing a safe and orderly culture of innovation.

This is what we will talk about in this article. Check more below!

What is Organizational Ambidexterity?

Organizational ambidexterity is a term that refers to the ability of an organization to balance exploring new opportunities with optimizing existing processes and resources within the company.

That is, it is about the ability of a corporation to be agile and adaptable enough to explore new ideas, technologies or markets, while at the same time maintaining efficiency and stability in its existing operations.

This managerial view is based on the idea that organizations should pursue both innovation and efficiency.

After all, what works must be maintained, or improved. Usually, it is this company expertise that will serve as a solid foundation for the development of new ideas.

In this context, innovation involves the search for new opportunities , experimentation, learning and adaptation, while efficiency involves optimizing processes, maximizing performance and obtaining predictable results.

What are the challenges of organizational ambidexterity?

However, these two approaches can be conflicting . Exploring new opportunities often requires risk , uncertainty and a willingness to abandon established practices.

On the other hand, efficiency is obtained through standardized processes, established routines and minimization of corporate dangers and threats.

Organizational ambidexterity seeks to overcome this conflict , allowing the organization to explore and seize opportunities for innovation, while maintaining efficiency in its existing operations.

This resolution may involve the creation of structures, processes and systems that allow the separation and allocation of resources for exploratory and exploratory activities.

An ambidextrous organization may be able to identify and seize emerging opportunities, develop new capabilities and adapt to changes in the business environment, while at the same time maintaining its operational efficiency and its ability to deliver consistent results.

This ability to adapt to changes without losing excellence in service delivery can be a great differentiator in the modern market, which is becoming increasingly competitive.

Therefore, organizational ambidexterity is considered an important strategy in an increasingly volatile and uncertain business environment , where organizations need to balance continuous innovation with efficient execution.

What are the benefits of organizational ambidexterity?

This more balanced posture ends up making life much easier for managers . Giving more flexibility for conscious decision-making, this ability can bring numerous benefits to companies. Check out some examples.

sustained innovation

First , ambidexterity allows an organization to continually explore new ideas and opportunities for innovation.

This helps the company stay relevant in an ever-changing business environment and develop long-term competitive advantage.

All this with the security and stability that an efficient operation makes possible. With optimization and innovation going hand in hand, it is possible to achieve business growth in an orderly and healthy way.

adaptation to the environment

Furthermore, organizational ambidexterity enables the organization to quickly adapt to changes in the business environment.

It allows the company to identify and capitalize on opportunities and trends, anticipate threats and adjust its strategies and operations accordingly.

With more flexibility, it is possible to establish strategic plans that are more effective and consistent with the current market situation.

Operational efficiency

While ambidexterity involves exploring new opportunities, it is also concerned with operational efficiency.

An ambidextrous organization seeks to optimize its existing processes and practices, maximizing productivity and quality, while pursuing innovation.

We must always remember that the main objective of innovation is to facilitate and improve a company’s products and services. Efficiency must always be a guideline.

Quick response to market changes

The ability to be ambidextrous allows an organization to react quickly to changes in customer preferences, market demands and emerging technologies.

This helps the company avoid obsolescence and maintain a competitive position in the medium and long term.

organizational learning

Not to mention that organizational ambidexterity encourages a culture of continuous learning .

By exploring new opportunities, the organization acquires valuable knowledge and experience, which can be applied in other areas of the business.

This promotes innovation and the development of new skills, skills that are increasingly in demand in the modern market. Especially in a scenario of intense competition like the one we live in today.

Competitive advantage

The ability to balance optimization and innovation gives the organization a distinctive competitive advantage.

In this context, a company may be able to offer innovative products or services, respond to customer needs in an agile manner and provide superior value compared to competitors.

All this in a balanced and perfectly functional way . In this way, innovation is no longer seen as a risk and becomes a valuable investment.

organizational resilience

Last but not least, we can highlight that ambidexterity helps to strengthen the resilience of an organization, making it more capable of facing turbulence and uncertainty.

This approach allows the company to quickly adapt to external shocks such as changes in the economy , government regulations or disruptive technological advances.

These combined benefits can lead to superior and sustainable performance over the long term, making organizational ambidexterity a valuable strategy for companies looking to excel in a dynamic business environment.

How to develop organizational ambidexterity in your company?

Many companies face the challenge of balancing the need for innovation with the demand for efficiency and stability in their existing operations.

While exploring new opportunities is essential to staying competitive in an ever-evolving market, maintaining operational efficiency is crucial to ensuring predictable results.

These two approaches often clash , making it difficult to develop organizational ambidexterity.

In this context , open innovation can play a key role in overcoming this challenge and promoting organizational ambidexterity.

This business model combines the best of both worlds to create solutions that allow companies and startups to grow through collaboration programs.

What is Open Innovation?

Open innovation is a strategic approach that companies use to seek and incorporate knowledge, ideas, technologies and resources outside the organization.

Unlike the traditional model of innovation, where research and development are carried out internally, open innovation proposes that companies should collaborate and connect with the external ecosystem to accelerate and enrich their processes.

Open innovation recognizes that knowledge and creativity are not restricted to the boundaries of a single organization.

Therefore, the company opens its doors and becomes accessible to the external environment, interacting with other companies, universities, startups , research institutes and even customers.

This dialogue with the outside world allows the organization to access a wide range of resources and perspectives, stimulating new ideas and solutions.

Why open innovation is the best path to organizational ambidexterity?

Organizational ambidexterity and open innovation are closely related, as both complement each other in the search for a balance between exploiting opportunities and operational efficiency.

On the one hand, organizational ambidexterity involves an organization’s ability to simultaneously carry out experimental activities without compromising original workflows.

Open innovation, in turn, is an approach that seeks collaboration and sharing of knowledge, ideas and resources external to the organization.

This business model recognizes that innovation does not need to be developed only internally , and that involvement with the ecosystem formed by third parties can accelerate the innovation process and bring new perspectives.

Where to find the best startups for open innovation partnerships?

Success in open innovation projects depends a lot on choosing the right partner for your company . Especially when we talk about collaboration with startups, which is the most appropriate in this case.

But if you don’t even know where to start this search, we can offer a great solution. Read on to learn more about our work at 100Open !

Discover the 100–10–1 Startups Program, in which you and your team will have access to several startups , learn to evaluate them, provide feedback and mentorship, as well as develop open innovation projects.