Lecture Notes

1 Dynamics of technological innovation (PDF 1) (PDF 2)

1. Make a list of those factors which you believe are most important in determining the rate at which technology improves.
2. In what ways are radical and incremental technological change really different?
3. What are the managerial implications of the technology dynamic described by Foster as the S curve?
4. How did diaper technology evolve? Does it fit the models outlined by Foster?

2 Industrial implications of technological innovation (PDF)

Dynamics of markets for technological innovation
1. How do markets evolve?
2. How does technological change shape and connect to market evolution?

3 Competitive implications of market and technology dynamics (PDF)

1. How do market and technology evolution provide opportunities for entrepreneurs?
2. What types of changes in competition are driven by technological and market dynamics?
3. Is disruption a useful way to think about these dynamics? What does it really mean – what is the definition that Christensen uses? How is it different from the idea of radical innovation?
4. Why do some of these opportunities lead to a wave of successful start-ups, for example the hard disk drive industry analyzed by Christensen, while others, such as the TV opportunity that Gladwell describes (The Televisionary) lead to failed entrepreneurship?

Exploring innovations: experimentation and iteration
4 Systematizing innovation; "What's the Big Idea;" IDEO (PDF)

1. Is innovation about individuals or groups?
2. Do you think it is possible to build an organization to systematically come up with new innovations? What processes would it need to have?
3. Referring to the case, why does BIG seem better able to identify and bring to market innovative toy concepts, whereas the major toy companies feel they are in a period of a "lack of innovation" (p. 3)?
4. How proprietary or defensible is BIG's system? Could one of the major toy companies replicate it? Why or why not?
5. Can BIG replicate its system in other industries such as your own?

5 Scoping technology: Advanced Inhalation Research (PDF)

1. When a new idea is generated what are the actions required to turn it into an innovation?
2. How can experiments help with this refinement of an idea into an innovation?
3. What does it mean to have an experimentation strategy? What did this mean for Advanced Inhalation Research and for Bank of America?
4. What experiments did they undertake at AIR and what was the purpose of each one? As an investor in AIR, are these the experiments you would have wanted the firm to do with your money? If not why not?

6 No class; teams work on assignment #1  
7 Iterating design: team New Zealand

1. How would you evaluate Team New Zealand's use of simulation technology in its development process? What are its advantages and disadvantages? How did Team New Zealand's approach differ from that used by other syndicates?
2. Decision point: Which of the three yacht construction strategies should Team New Zealand follow? (a) One boat now, one boat later? (b) Two identical boats now? (c) Or two different boats now? Why? How much improvement would you expect from each strategy?
3. When you cannot build prototypes can you still experiment and iterate with design? If so how?

8 Experimenting with markets: innovation at 3M

1. How does the Lead User research process differ from and complement other traditional market research methods? What about prediction markets?
2. How has 3M's innovation process evolved since the company was founded? Why, if at all, does 3M, known as a "hothouse" of innovation, need to regain its historic closeness to the customer?
3. Has the Medical-Surgical team applied the Lead User research process successfully? Why or why not?
4. Decision Point: What should the Medical-Surgical Lead User team recommend to Dunlop: the three new product concepts or a new business strategy? What are the risks to the new Lead User process at 3M? What are the risks to the Medical-Surgical business unit?

9 Capstone: Iridium

1. Who was to blame for Iridium's failure? At what point could you have known Iridium would fail?
2. What is your evaluation of Iridium's system design? What impact did the choices that were made have on the subsequent evolution of the venture?
3. What is your evaluation of Iridium's organizational design? What changes would you have made to increase the probability of a successful outcome?
4. What general lessons does Iridium provide for ventures seeking to develop technology intensive products or services?

Executing innovations: organizing to execute
10 Organizing innovation teams: 'The Bakeoff' (PDF)

1. How does team organization impact the innovation process?
2. How did the groups in the Bakeoff differ their approach to innovation and development?
3. Under what circumstances would you prefer each type of team?
4. How do the different modes of organizing innovation map to Wheelwright and Clark's typology for project teams? When are their teams more likely to be effective?

11 Organizing flexible processes; 'Internet Time' exercise

1. What are the similarities and differences in the four approaches to organizing innovation described in "Living on Internet Time?" What drives these differences?
2. Which process is superior? Which company would you prefer to work for? Which processes have you experienced? What are their pros and cons?
3. What lessons from the Internet environment can be applied to other industries (e.g. cars, fashion, consumer goods)?

12 Incentivizing and organizing innovators: GSK (PDF)

1. What are the challenges that pharmaceutical drug developers face providing incentives for their employees (especially scientists)?
2. How does Yamada's proposed Center of Excellence for Drug Discovery (CEDD) structure different from the traditional organizational arrangements found in the pharmaceutical industry?
3. Does this structure provide greater incentives for innovation? Are the incentives similar or different from those found in a biotech firm? If you were a talented scientist where would you prefer to work?

13 Organizing innovation between firms and communities; One Laptop Per Child, innovation communities (Visitor: Mako Hill) (PDF)

1. Innovation seems to be moving into the hands of communities. Please find and come prepared to describe one such community. Who are they? How do they coordinate their innovation activities? Who can make money in the community (if anyone)? Why do people participate?
2. What are the challenges for One Laptop Per Child in getting the open source community to collaborate?
3. Can they learn anything from IBM's experience with the open source community developing Linux?

14 Incentivizing and organizing external innovators: D-Wave (PDF)

1. What is D-Wave/P&G trying to achieve through the use of its 'distributed' innovation network? Under what conditions would you use each of the models proposed by P&G, D-Wave etc.?
2. Are incentives important for innovators and innovation? What types of people are driven by what types of incentives? Why do public scientists choose to work with D-Wave, handing over their IP rights? Should D-Wave offer equity to the scientists?
3. Under what circumstances should D-Wave consider bringing at least some of the scientific talent in house?

15 Negotiation innovation work between firms and academia (SpudSpy & negotiation exercise) (PDF)

1. What went wrong at SpudSpy? Why are Anderson and Huang so upset? Should they be? Can this project be salvaged?
2. Does it make sense to you that there is "Gold in the Ivory Tower?" Should this be encouraged?

Exploiting innovations: options, portfolios and platforms
16 No class; time for project work  
17 Dynamics of the market for ideas; designing the value chain (PDF)

1. Effective commercialization strategy must be based on a clear understanding of the drivers of commercialization. What are these drivers?
2. How do different industries and sectors differ in terms of commercialization environment and strategy?

18 Leveraging portfolio development: A123 (Visitor: Ric Fulop, Founder A123 Systems) (PDF)

1. The technology developed by Professor Chiang allows A123 to develop a wide portfolio of products. Which products should they develop?
2. What is the right business model for A123; which markets and customers will be the initial focus; which portfolio of projects will be provide early success and a platform for the future?
3. Should they develop a new technology platform or build a portfolio on the basis of their core portfolio?

19 Capstone: leveraging platforms in online video gaming (Visitor: Cyrus Beagly, Sloan '02)

1. What is a technology platform? How can it form the basis of a successful innovation strategy?
2. What is the role of platforms in on-line gaming? What are the different choices that firms face when using their platform as the basis for their commercialization strategy?
3. Can you sustain a platform approach when you use external innovators, particularly on-line game developers?
4. Find one example of an on-line gaming company – what is their commercialization approach and how do they use external developers?

20 Portfolio management processes: le Petit Chef

1. What are the particular challenges of managing platforms and portfolios? What in your experience are the organizational issues?
2. Does the Aggregate Project Plan presented by Wheelwright and Clark address your concerns?
3. What is wrong with the current portfolio at le Petit Chef? What should Gagne do? Specifically, which projects should she fund and why? How should she handle the executive meeting? Please be sure to do your own calculations for this analysis.
4. What factors explain le Petit Chef's poor performance? What actions would you recommend to remedy the situation?

Renewing innovations: organizing disruption
21 Internal vs. external sources of renewal: Intel

1. Should firms try and renew their foundational innovations? Should they try and develop radical and incremental innovations?
2. Does Tennenhouse's approach to designing an exploratory research organization solve the problem of disruption? How is it better than the traditional R&D laboratory approach pioneered by Xerox, IBM and AT&T?
3. What are its main elements of the Intel Lablet program? How do these elements work together? How could its design be improved?
4. Should Intel fund projects like PlanetLab and Sensor Networks? How do they generate value?

22 Renewing innovation; corporate venturing; IBM Alphaworks

1. What are the different models of corporate entrepreneurship that have been used? What are they elements and under what conditions would each be most effective?
2. Does the Xerox model of Inxight seem appropriate?

23 Renewing innovation; internal venturing; GE imagination breakthroughs

1. One alternative to corporate venturing is to attempt to reinvent the corporate from within, as Immelt has attempted in the GE Imagination initiative. Is this likely to succeed? Under what conditions would you use this model rather than a venturing/entrepreneurship model?
2. Decision point: Should the leadership of the Transportation division support the hybrid Locomotive initiative?

24 Wrap-up (PDF)