Brightstar's Innovation Value Chain

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Brightstar Corp is a U.S based private company that was founded in 1997. It is the world’s leading distributor of wireless communication technology chiefly mobile and fixed wireless phones as well as related accessories. Put differently, the company is a specialized distributor of wireless devices across the world and the front-runner in innovation and differentiated services for the wireless technology business. The corporation serves more than 100 manufacturers, 200 operators, and 50,000 retailers, e-tailers and dealers ( Moreover, Brightstar has a global presence thereby delivering products and services in more than 100 countries and has a local presence in more than 70 nations. It is worth noting that the company provides value-added devices and accessories distribution, handset insurance and protection solutions, supply chain solutions, financial solutions, omnichannel solutions, buyback and trade-in solutions and mobile digital products within the telecommunications industry.

Brightstar is considered as “firmly positioned at the center of the wireless ecosystem enabling it to provide a broad range of innovative services that can be seamlessly integrated across its customers’ end-to-end value chains” ( Importantly, as the leading supplier and largest buyback facilitator, the corporation outspreads wireless services while providing financial solutions that enhance cost-effectiveness and warrants mobile gadgets. It is through its endeavor to simplify the wireless world and making mobile technology accessible to everyone that the company generates billions of net revenue annually. Notably, the company’s quest for innovative solutions is unwavering. For instance, creativity and innovation are embedded at every stage of a device’s lifecycle right from manufacturing to trading and re-marketing. Besides, the corporation innovatively integrates services that impeccably links with its customer’s businesses. As such, companies are helped to transform their business models through novel ways. It is the company’s quest to bring corporations closer to their respective customers by availing distinct and complete end-to-end services. This strategically positions the company at the heart of the wireless ecosystem.

Brightstar's State of Innovation and Creativity

Brightstar's innovativeness is a classic example of a play to win (PTW) strategy. The management understands the significance of a clear strategic plan and the alignment of key players in the organization to innovate. As such, any innovation strategy undertaken by the company is expected to create a key source of a competitive edge. Davila, Epstein, and Shelton (2012, p.) note that play to win innovation strategy is a market-leading approach that depends on the semi-radical innovation to push for change in a corporation and generate market-changing concepts as well as products. Brightstar has invested in novel technology as well as business models with the objective of establishing a firm market position. Besides, the corporation has all along made radical innovation a key strategy to outpace its competitors. The diversity of its portfolio that encompasses supply chain solutions, global distribution, device insurance and protection, and buyback and trade-in solutions among others are fundamental to the corporation’s ongoing innovative success.

The company’s current state of innovation is augmented by the 57% acquisition of the company by Soft Bank. The bank’s stake further strengthens Brighstar’s balance sheet and improves its credit standing. However, Soft Bank brings to the table more than just an investment of $1.26 billion. Soft Bank’s investment solidifies the company’s position as the leading distribution, innovation, and services company for the wireless industry globally. Besides, the alliance brings in additional innovative products and services to better serve its customer base in more than 125 countries. Moreover, Brightstar’s acquisition of Soft Bank’s commerce and service division reaffirms its commitment to the accessories business thereby extending its reach to the Japanese market. The recent acquisition of 20/20 which grew the company’s footprint in Europe and the acquisition of Beetel in India underlines Brighstar’s energetic attack on the market with a PTW strategy.

Proposed by Hansen and Birkinshaw (2007, p.121), the innovation value chain provides a comprehensive model for an organization to adopt an all-inclusive understanding of its innovation efforts, determine various flaws and modify innovation processes that are fitting. The framework is broken down into three parts which are idea generation, conversion and diffusion with six fundamental undertakings. The application of this approach will facilitate the systematic assessment of Brightstar’s innovative capability. Besides, the approach will help identify the bottlenecks of the corporation’s innovation value chain and help define feasible solutions. This is based on the understanding that a Brighstar’s innovative capability is as worthy as its frailest link.

Idea Generation

Brightstar is known for its ‘client-driven innovation’ approach to generating ideas. The company has in many instances based its innovativeness from client problems requiring distinct solutions. For instance, with the company’s double-digit growth came a strain on the capacity of its multi-vendor storage infrastructure, this meant that the IT division was under intense pressure to quickly provision customer environments. It is out of this business-oriented problem that a converged infrastructure that integrates storage, compute, networking and virtualization were conceptualized. Nonetheless, the company also generates ideas in various fashions:

Partnership. Brightstar embraces partnership with the objective of providing innovative wireless technology solutions. Partnerships and acquisitions of the Japanese Soft Bank, 20:20 Mobile, and Bharti Enterprises was focused on the leadership commitment to continuously innovate. Importantly, the corporation considers aspects such as quality-driven agenda, integration of teams, customer centricity and commitment to people as drivers of change in its collaboration with other industry players.

Cross-Unit collaboration. Brighstar encourages the integration of acumens and knowledge from diverse units of the corporation. While it is not easily realized, the aim is to encourage the development of new products and solutions (Hansen and Birkinshaw 2007, p.121). Managers visit different headquarters across the world and often have a joint meeting to assess diverse challenges and the best way to remedy the concerns. As such, the company’ geographical dispersion does not make it hard for across unit collaboration.

Conversion of Ideas into Practice

It is worth noting that idea generation is only beneficial if concepts can be put to practice. In this regard, Brightstar avails sufficient resources but first ensures that the generated concept ideas are thoroughly screened to validate their feasibility. The management understands that the combination of conventional thinking, limited funding, and tight budgets can shut down novel ideas. The corporation selects the best ideas and turns them into revenue generating products and services as well as solutions. However, Brightstar has often failed to develop further the ideas that have not been well conceptualized. It is either the company is very much preoccupied with other things or it has failed to see the potential in such ideas.

Diffusion of Innovations

The successful diffusion of new innovations is achieved through the company’s drive to provide innovative wireless technology solutions. The ideas that have been sourced, vetted, funded and developed still require to be supported (Yokomizo, Pavani and Sbragia 2013, p.8). Brightstar has put in place relevant constituencies within the organization to support the spread of innovative products and solutions across appropriate settings, networks, and client groups. For instance, the corporation has a model that focuses on driving the greatest amount of customer value through optimization of performance across the supply chain. Novel solutions are underpinned by the model and a knowledge management approach adopted by the company.

Organizational Factors Influencing Innovation

According to Ramalingam, Karim, Piaralal, and Singh (2015, p.194), creativity and innovation have turned out to be indispensable to many organizations that endeavor to sustain their competitive advantages. While many establishments have attempted to embolden creativity and innovation through facilitating personnel development, the scope is often influenced by a variety of factors. As such, by identifying the factors that support and hampers Brightstar’s endeavor to be creative and innovative, it will be conceivable to develop an apposite organizational model. An interview was conducted with one of the senior executives in the company. The following table illustrates the responses that are found to either deter or support the company’s innovativeness. (Detailed responses in the appendices)



1. How does Brightstar’s culture support innovation and creativity?

The company’s culture is innovation-oriented. Builds trust, teamwork and a knack for innovativeness.

2. Does the company’s innovation projects involve team members from different units?

Team Bound. Brightstar’s product / Services categories are divided in LOB’s (Lines of Business).

3. Is collaboration a factor of innovativeness?

Each member of global / Regional team is involved.

4. What is the management’s stance regarding idea generation in the organization?

As an organization we have a very healthy stance towards new ideas generation.

5. What is the employee’s attitude regarding idea generation?

Employees have a positive attitude towards innovativeness.

6. Does the company adopt good ideas for new products and service from outside?

Ideas are shared on global forums for all the company’s affiliates.

7. Do managers have a hard time getting traction developing new businesses?

Creating new business development requires all stakeholders to be aligned.

8. Are there tough rules for investment in new projects?

The company is process bound. Innovations must follow a series of approvals.

9. Does the company have a risk averse attitude towards investing in novel ideas?

Depends on the idea.

10. Is the company slow in rolling out new products and businesses?

Slow because of various development, compliance and approval standards

11. Do competitors quickly copy your product introductions and make preemptive launches in other countries?

Its relatively difficult in services as it takes experience and an echo system to develop and execute.

12. Does the company penetrate all the possible channels, customer groups and regions with new products and services?

No. Brightstar looks at ROI, investment and time

Executive Management. A diversified pool of executive managers (regional and global) with different skill set and experience works to the advantage of Brightstar. Besides, the composition of the board of directors has helped instill novel approaches regarding innovation processes. The company operates under Lines of Business (LoB) subject matter experts where the structure brings global and regional teams to develop and execute projects in the most innovative way. The top management vision is to encourage everyone within the organization regardless of their background to innovate. Therefore, this factor is supportive and beneficial to the corporation’s creativity and innovation processes.

Organizational Culture. An organization’s culture is often intrinsic to the functioning of the establishment (Smith, Busi, Ball, and Van der Meer 2008, p.7). Moreover, it represents the values that the company engenders within its innovative processes. Since the wireless industry evolves rapidly, the company’s philosophy is to move at a similar pace. Brightstar has an established innovative culture that looks at the bigger picture regarding innovativeness. As such, a culture of trust, teamwork and an attitude of creativity has been established. Besides, its culture is founded on the basis of enthusiastic and consistent efforts for innovation. In every undertaking, the company is guided by the need to simplify the wireless world, an approach that encourages creativity and inventiveness.

Employee adaptability. Shukla and Singh (2015, p.58) observe that when innovation activities are supported by the organization, the employees tend to actively engage diverse initiatives organized by the organization. Brightstar's top management vision and support of creative and innovative solution have a positive impact on employees. Every employee plays an important role in idea generation. The staff gets an extra incentive in the form of recognition and promotion among other benefits by participating in innovation. An appropriate guidance, control, and supervision have served to facilitate the company’s continued innovativeness in its diverse portfolio.

Resources/Funding. This factor relates to the resources that Brightstar has in terms of human, financial and physical and their impact in facilitating creativity and innovation. The financial element is a critical factor especially in the implementation of ideas. Nonetheless, while Brighter has the resources to facilitate innovation, the funding investments takes time to be approved. Put differently, the company is process-bound, which requires a series of approval regionally and globally. This has negatively impacted on the corporation’s generation of ideas, implementation and even diffusion for an effective buy-in by relevant stakeholders.

Technology. The rate of technological change is often viewed as an important factor impacting on an organization’ innovation process. Brightstar’s utilization of technology to facilitate innovation has by far been a central point. Smith, Busi, Ball, and Van der Meer (2008, p.11) notes that technological evolution indirectly influences personnel through knowledge management. This is for the reason that ICT is universally employed as an expediter of knowledge transfer. As far as Brightstar is concerned, the company keeps up with the pace of technological evolution meaning it has a positive bearing on the innovativeness of the corporation. Nonetheless, the company’s risk averseness is depended on the value of the ideas. This means the company only entertains ideas that are related to its core competency.



Executive management

Management personalities

Leadership style

Motivation of employees

Organizational culture


Attitude to risk


Attitude to novelty

Employee adaptability

Incentive to innovate

Workforce skills and training



Financial resources

Technology resources

Exploitation of slack assets

Planning and management of capitals


The rate of technological change

Deployment of technology

Practical skills and education

Technology strategy

Recommendations for Improving Creativity and Innovation

Objectivity of the Proposal

There is no doubt that innovation facilitates flexibility and agility that all organizations require to survive. This action plan seeks to create an innovative culture within Brightstar where all staffs are enthusiastically encouraged to generate ideas and help the company to innovate. Moreover, the framework will seek to ensure the company’s staff at all levels are fully engaged and committed to improving productivity. The proposal comes with the understanding that it is very difficult for most corporations to realize innovation on a consistent basis. Furthermore, Brightstar needs to have a clear picture of its strategic direction. Every single action that the company makes today is anchored on its preferred future. Zárate Torres (2011, p.164) notes that the preferred future can be identified using various tools including the environmental scanning where information is collected and analyzed to identify the warnings for change, planning, forecasting and creating a preferred future. As such, the following framework will ensure that Brightstar works more effectively and productively as an innovator, and thereby contribute to the overall success of the organization in entirety.

Organizational Environment for Creativity and Innovation

Once Brightstar has identified its preferred future direction as regards the distribution of the wireless communication technology, the corporation needs to develop an innovative strategy and structure. The model can only be implemented when the two components are in place and correctly defined.

Innovative Strategy. Brightstar’s innovative strategy is the formula that will help the corporation to accomplish its innovative objectives and improve its productivity. Broadly, it presents the plan for interconnecting with the competitive landscape to attain business aims (Martins and Martins 2002, p.61). The management should tailor its innovative strategies to encompass various ways to increase invention and creativity in the organization. They include;

1. Fostering an open, creative environment. Just like how Google lets its developers to work on their individual tasks a day every week, Brightstar needs to adopt its own approach to encourage creativity in the workplace. While the company cannot offer much freedom, it can foster a positive attitude, encourage communication, and reduce the stress-related activities in the work environment.

2. Motivate the team. Brightstar can develop strategies seeking to provide a positive reinforcement in the form of special privileges, rewards, and prizes to keep employees on their toes.

3. Encourage diversity. The corporation should enforce strategies that encourage interaction and the exchange of ideas. A variety of thought processes, working styles and perceptions will be critical to avoiding groupthink.

4. Develop employee skills and talents. Formulate strategies that ensure staff skills and talents are utilized to their full potential. Besides, this will be the key differentiator of Brightstar with other industry players.

These innovation strategies are comparable to competitive advantages of the organization (Zárate Torres 2011, p.166). Brightstar’s aim is to remain the leading distributor of wireless communication technology and to scale to unprecedented feats within the industry. As such, it demands that the establishment will do something different from its competitors. In other words, to outperform its competitors, the company needs to establish a difference in terms of its innovative strategies. Importantly, Brightstar needs to ensure the adopted strategies integrate foresight into its processes. However, the formulations of strategies necessitate the creation of a structure to support and help in their implementation.

Structure. An apt structure will allow Brightstar to set the framework for the establishment of design approaches. Daft (2004, p.120) opines that a corporation’s structure has to accomplish two things for the company. (1) It affords the model of accountabilities, reporting relations and groupings and (2) provides the mechanisms that link and coordinates organizational components into a comprehensible unit. Therefore, an elaborate structure should be formed to facilitate the development of the innovative strategies mentioned above. A recommended type of structure should be the flexible structure that is decentralized to permit for appropriate changes to be enforced. Importantly, since the organization’s design is a continuous process, a series for changing design guidelines is vital together with the right attitude for the top managers in the corporation.

Innovative Environment and Culture

The creation of a creative and innovative environment is fundamental to establishing the right attitudes of the employees towards their jobs. The right workplace environment helps to inspire and develop the staffs to realize their top potential and performance. As such, an ideal innovative environment for Brightstar must be open to learn and to be innovative. The innovative setting can be fashioned through the following three explicit undertakings.

1. Novel policies

2. Incentives

3. Office structures and activities

Brightstar’s ideal organizational culture that supports creativity and innovation and ultimately improved productivity should be composed of three main features. These are a learning organization, a creative corporation and a diverse workforce. Any business that is steadfast to innovation and augmented productivity must integrate these facets.

Key Performance Indicator

Part of the challenge of creativity and innovativeness is that it is hard to measure success. In many organizations, teams work for long hours struggling to develop new ideas, refine them and measure their likely success (Gamal, Salah and Elrayyes 2011, p.27). Nonetheless, Brightstar needs to adopt a clear innovation measurement model that focuses on creativity and innovation processes being engaged. As recommended by Gamal, Salah and Elrayyes (2011, p.27), the company can choose between the two models below.


Ex. of tools




Innovation Value Chain (IVC)

Invention for progression


Managing of ideas

Emphasis on productivity

Generation, Conversion, Diffusion

Knowledge acquisition, building innovation, commercializing innovation

Emphasizes the evaluation of the output of the novelty process

Diamond Model


Innovation process

Facilitating aspects


Strategy, process, organization, linkage, and learning

Highlights critical dimensions of the origination process and the enabling institutional factors

Key Implementation Issues

There are various key issues that face organizations in their implementation of innovation strategies. While some are obvious others are more subtle. In most cases, the barriers emerge from perceptions and attitudes of the organizational leadership whereas other emanate from organizational structure and the staff. Lendel and Varmus (2013, p.228) identified possible areas of risks that could possibly impact on the implementation process as summarized below.

Figure 1: Common challenges thwarting the implementation of the innovation strategy

Source 1: Lendel and Varmus (2013). (p.226)

For Brightstar, there are three main problems likely to be encountered. The table below shows the key implementation issues and the appropriate mitigations measures.

Implementation Issue


Mitigation measures

Errors in the determination of the strategic goals

Entails defining the strategic objectives that Brightstar needs to attain regarding improvement in the innovation strategy

Ensure consistent communication with staff to create a pro-innovation atmosphere

Permit the participation of personnel in the implementation of the innovation approach (Lendel and Varmus 2013, p.228).

The absence of various systems of evidence regarding innovativeness

Involves the lack of a mechanism for indicating the innovative concepts, opportunities, and inventions

Ensure the seamless flow of inventive concepts and opportunities.

Apply the use of IT tools to gather and store important data regarding creativity and innovations (Lendel and Varmus 2013, p.228).

Non-utilization of invention potential

Revealed in the existence of outlays, misconstructions, and execution of unproductive developments

Apply a comprehensive scrutiny of the company’s innovative capacity

Train staff on the significance of creativity (Lendel and Varmus 2013, p.229)


Brightstar Corporation is the world’s leading distributor of wireless communication technology. While the company strives to enhance cost-effectiveness, it provides innovate business and wireless technology solutions. This report has applied the innovation value chain to provide a comprehensive model for an organization to adopt an all-inclusive understanding of its innovation efforts, determine various flaws and modify innovation processes that are fitting. Various organizational factors affecting the company’s innovativeness have been identified such as top executive management, culture, employee adaptability, technology and availability of resources. Accordingly, the recommended action plan seeks to create an innovative culture within Brightstar. It will ensure that all staffs of the company are enthusiastically encouraged to generate ideas and help the company to innovate.


Brightstar. (2018). About - Brightstar. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Apr. 2018].

Daft, R. (2004) Organization Theory and Design. Eight Edicion. Mason, OH. South - Western.

Davila, T., Epstein, M., and Shelton, R., 2012. Making innovation work: How to manage it, measure it, and profit from it. FT Press.

Gamal, D., Salah, T. and Elrayyes, E.N., 2011. How to measure organization Innovativeness. Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center.

Hansen, M.T., and Birkinshaw, J., 2007. The innovation value chain. Harvard business review, 85(6), p.121.

Lendel, V. and Varmus, M., 2013. Identification of the main problems of implementing the innovation strategy in Slovak businesses. Acta Universitatis agriculture et silviculture mendelianae brunensis, 60(4), pp.221-234.

Martins, E. and Martins, N., 2002. An organisational culture model to promote creativity and innovation. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, 28(4), pp.58-65.

Ramalingam, T., Karim, J.A., Piaralal, S. and Singh, B., 2015. Creativity and innovation (organizational factor) influence on firm performance: An empirical study on Malaysian telecommunication mobile network operators. American Journal of Economics, 5(2), pp.194-199.

Shukla, T. and Singh, A., 2015. Organizational Factors Influencing Innovation: An Empirical Investigation. Journal of Strategic Human Resource Management, 4(3).

Smith, M., Busi, M., Ball, P. and Van der Meer, R., 2008. Factors influencing an organization's ability to manage innovation: a structured literature review and conceptual model. International Journal of innovation management, 12(04), pp.655-676.

Yokomizo, C.A., Pavani, C. and Sbragia, R., 2013. Assessing The Innovation Value Chain of Companies in Sapucaí Valley: Unveiling Bottlenecks and Addressing Conducive Suggestions. York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

Zárate Torres, R.A., 2011. Planning for innovation: Improving Organizational Performance. Revista EAN, (71), pp.162-175.


Brightstar’s Creativity and Innovation

Interview Questions & Responses

1. How does Brightstar’s culture support innovation and creativity?

The wireless industry moves fast. And so do we. What’s innovative today might become outdated tomorrow, so we have to see the bigger picture and sweat the small details. Doing that successfully takes trust, teamwork and a knack for making the complicated simple and customize products / services according to our client requirements.

2. Does the company’s innovation projects involve team members from different units?

Brightstar is a Global company operating in and the product / Services categories are divided in LOB’s (Lines of Business). The company operates under LOB subject matter experts and the same structure triggers top to bottom. Each LOB structure is supported by support staff i.e Finance, Logistics, Legal etc. Any team member working under a certain LOB is picked and hand chosen based on relevant product / service experience that is relevant to an operating region. However, on any LOB project members from regional teams and global teams work hand in hand to develop and execute the project timely and in the most innovative way. The annual performance structure is also based on the same structure. The success / failures on globally executed projects are discussed regularly to stay ahead of the game to develop and change and keep our client competitive in the operating space.

3. Is collaboration a factor of innovativeness?

As highlighted above from the inception of the project each member of global / Regional team is involved. The support roles are part of the decision tree to ensure regional and global alignment of the idea in generation as it moves towards execution. Every function contributes and challenges the idea in their own respective roles to bring it closer to perfection.

4. What is the management’s stance regarding idea generation in the organization?

As an organization we have a very healthy stance towards new ideas generation. Each idea is discussed within the specific LOB subject matter experts and then evaluated in a bigger circle of peers to refinement. The ideas are subjected to primary and secondary data for validation. Considering there are more innovations then inventions.

5. What is the employee’s attitude regarding idea generation?

Each employee plays an important part in idea generation. Brightstar is working in a constantly changing environment. The convergence platform and product / service life cycles are going smaller. Hence general environment of the company revolves around employees being developed as a resource to think out of the box. The company spends a lot of money in ensuring that each employee has access to global resources, so they can find referrals to the ideas.

6. Does the company adopt good ideas for new products and service from outside?

The learning pool and innovation circle for Brightstar and its affiliates is massive. Brightstar is an off shoot of Soft bank which is invested in 1300 technologies companies across the Globe. Ideas are shared on global forums for all these affiliates.

7. Do managers have a hard time getting traction developing new businesses?

The number of stakeholders in a company as big as Brightstar is huge. So when creating a new business development all stakeholders has to be aligned (Legal, Finance, IT, Logistics, Operations, HR , Funding etc.)

8. Are there tough rules for investment in new projects?

The company is process bound. One must follow a series of approvals regionally and globally with multiple stake holders for approvals. Majority of the investment is done in relevant LOB bound activities.

9. Does the company have a risk averse attitude towards investing in novel ideas?

Depends on the idea, if the idea is close to our core competencies we do take risks. However, if the idea is not core competency we would probably not entertain the idea.

10. Is the company slow in rolling out new products and businesses?

Any new product from inception to roll out goes through various development, compliance and approval standards before execution. This is done to ensure that the product of service delivered is complaint to client standards.

11. Do competitors quickly copy your product introductions and make preemptive launches in other countries?

Its relatively difficult in services as it takes experience and an echo system to develop and execute. However, in products there are multiple competitors in the global market place.

12. Does the company penetrate all the possible channels, customer groups and regions with new products and services?

No we look at ROI , investment and time necessary when making a decision to penetrate any channel or any region.

January 19, 2024

Corporations Technology

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