How Innovation Happens: Practical Insights from Cox Industries, Inc.


  • Eric Hansen Oregon State University
  • Barry Breede Cox Industries, Inc.


innovation, business model innovation


The forest sector is often characterized as mature, resistant to change, and lacking innovation. To address this situation, the forest sector literature is replete with calls to company managers to embrace innovation and foster innovative culture. However, the process of innovation, i.e., how innovation actually takes place within forest sector firms has not been previously described. We address this important knowledge gap. In so doing, we also aim to bridge the practitioner - researcher gap through our novel methodological approach. Our findings suggest that a committed and patient leadership is required to bring about the culture change needed for improved innovation. Another critical element is the integration of business strategy and innovation strategy. Finally, our results show that smaller operations, navigating in an intensely competitive sector, have the potential to experience significant success via innovation efforts.  

Author Biographies

Eric Hansen, Oregon State University

Professor of Forest Products Marketing

Department of Wood Science and Engineering

Barry Breede, Cox Industries, Inc.

Chief Innovation and Marketing Officer

Cox Industries, Inc.

860 Cannon Bridge Rd.

Greenville, SC 29115


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