Companies that produce information in printed or electronic form can learn much from research on physical products, including the development of product and process platforms to enhance design and development. The authors provide a framework for the architecture of information products and apply it to two companies that are creating competitive advantage by refining information through product and process technologies. The authors also consider ways that companies can design information products in the future to focus on customers’ implied needs and to take advantage of new interactive technologies.
1. Veronis, Shuler & Associates, Communications Industry Forecast (New York, 1994).
2. For research on automobiles, see:
W.J. Abernathy, The Productivity Dilemma: Roadblock to Innovation in the Automobile Industry (Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978); and
W.J. Abernathy, and K.B. Clark, “Innovation: Mapping the Winds of Creative Destruction,” Research Policy, volume 14, January 1985, pp. 3–22. For videocassette recorders, see:
M. Cusumano, Y. Mylonadis, and R. Rosenbloom, “Strategic Manuevering and Mass-Market Dynamics: The Triumph of VHS over Beta,” Business History Review (66, Spring 1992, pp. 51–94.
For cassette players, see:
S. Sanderson, and K. Uzumeri, “Managing Product Families: The Case of the Sony Walkman” (Troy, New York: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, October 1993).
For power tools, see:
A. Lehnerd, “Revitalizing the Manufacture and Design of Mature Global Products,” in B. Guile and H. Brooks, eds., Technology and Global Industries (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1987), pp. 49–64.
For computers, see:
M.H. Meyer and E.B. Roberts, “Focusing Product Technology for Corporate Growth,” Sloan Management Review, volume 29, Summer 1988, pp. 7–16;
A. Afuah and N. Bahran, “The Hypercube of Innovation,” Research Policy, 1994, pp. 1–26;
J. Pine, Mass Customization: The Next Frontier of Business Competition (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1993).
For production equipment, see:
E. von Hippel, The Sources of Innovation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988); and
R. Henderson and K. Clark, “Architectural Innovation: The Reconfiguration of Existing Product Technologies and the Failure of Established Firms,” Administrative Science, volume 35, 1990, pp. 9–30.
3. For the ice industry, see:
J.M. Utterback, Mastering the Dynamics of Innovation (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1994).
For glass, see:
J.B. Quinn, “Pilkington Brothers, Ltd.” (Hanover, New Hampshire: Dartmouth College, Amos Tuck School of Business Administration, Case Study B.P. 78-0148, 1978).
For software, see:
M. Cusumano, “The Software Factory: A Historical Interpretation,” IEEE Software, March 1989, pp. 23–30; and
M.H. Meyer and K. Curley, “The Impact of Knowledge and Technology Complexity on Decision Making Software Development,” Expert Systems with Applications, volume 9, no. 1, 1995, pp. 111–134.
4. Henderson and Clark (1990); and
5. Lehnerd (1987).
6. M.H. Meyer and J.M. Utterback, “The Product Family and the Dynamics of Core Capability,” Sloan Management Review, volume 34, Spring 1993, pp. 29–47.
7. Platforms, their derivative products, and platform “extensions” or renewals have been described for vacuum cleaners, electronic imaging systems, portable cassette players, and power tools. See:
S.C. Wheelwright and K.B. Clark, Revolutionizing New Product Development (New York: Free Press, 1992);
M.H. Meyer, P. Tertzakian, and J.M. Utterback, “Metrics for Managing Product Development in the Context of the Product Family” (Boston: Northeastern University, Center for Technology Management, Working Paper 95–100, February 1995) and Management Science, forthcoming;
Sanderson and Uzumeri (1993); and
8. Meyer et al. (1995).
9. P. Smith and D. Reinertsen, Developing Products in Half the Time (New York: Van Nostrand, 1992).
10. Utterback (1994); and
R. Stobaugh, Innovation and Competition(Boston: Harvard Business School, 1994).
11. W.J. Abernathy and K. Wayne, “Limits of the Learning Curve,” Harvard Business Review, volume 52, September–October 1974, pp. 109–119.
12. S. Kalenik, “Application of the Product Plarform Concept to Manufacturing Processes and the Effect on Product/Process Relationships” (Fort Collins, Colorado: National Technical University, master’s thesis, January 1995).
13. Meyer et al. (1995).
15. G. Hamel and C.K. Prahalad, “Corporate Imagination and Expeditionary Marketing,” Harvard Business Review, volume 69, July–August 1991, pp. 81–92.
16. M.H. Zack, “An Information Infrastructure Model for Systems Planning,” Journal of Systems Management, August 1992, pp. 16–19, 38–40.
17. A. Campbell, president, Corptech, Inc., speech, Northeastern University, 23 May 1994.
18. D. Packard, The HP Way (New York: HarperBusiness, 1995), pp. 117–121.