Technological Innovation

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Image courtesy of Flickr user Frank Hebbert https://www.flickr.com/photos/f-r-a-n-k/244365325
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When an IT Project “Goes Red”

Declaring that a project everyone is excited about is in trouble can be demoralizing. But it’s exactly what can turn things around. That’s what health care insurer WellPoint found when it ran into trouble changing its provider payment system and put the project into “Status Red.” Sending the warning message up the organization ended up having a positive effect, even if team morale initially took a hit. Four steps in particular helped set a better course.

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Revisiting Complexity in the Digital Age

As businesses grow and diversify, they almost inevitably make their range of offerings more complex. Until now, managing that complexity usually involved a trade-off between creating value from complexity and benefiting from the efficiencies of simplicity. But smart use of today’s digital technologies can help companies finesse those trade-offs between costs and benefits. Digitization can help companies, for instance, increase product variety and integration while maintaining process simplicity.

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Strategic Choices in Converging Industries

As industries converge and seemingly unrelated businesses suddenly become rivals, managers must understand the new challenges and the long-term implications. A six-year study of convergence in the telecommunications, information technology, media and entertainment sectors by the authors shows that savvy companies choose one of four strategic paths: they become a technology pioneer, a market attacker, an ecosystem aggregator or a business remodeler.

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Video: What Digital Transformation Means for Business

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New technologies are changing the nature of business in powerful and unpredictable ways. Executives need to know which technologies to adopt and how to leverage them. Kim Stevenson, Intel’s chief information officer, and Mark Norman, the president of Zipcar, discuss how they manage for technological change with Andrew McAfee, a principal research scientist at MIT’s Center for Digital Business and Didier Bonnet, senior vice president and global practice leader at Capgemini Consulting.

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Eight Steps to Digital Transformation

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Companies want digital transformation, but achieving it is hard. Executives from two transformative businesses, Kim Stevenson, Intel’s CIO, and Mark Norman, the president of Zipcar, discuss how they do it, with Andy McAfee of MIT’s Center for Digital Business and Didier Bonnet of Capgemini Consulting’s digital transformation practice.

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New Balance 3D printed shoes
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With 3-D Printing, the Shoe Really Fits

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Few new technologies receive more intense interest than 3-D printing, with some predicting that it will revolutionize manufacturing. That promise remains emergent. But it is taking shape in some industries, such as shoes. The shoe company New Balance thinks that within five years it will custom-make shoes with 3-D printers. And there are already entrepreneurial fashion designers trying to leverage 3-D printing to build up their presence in the market.

Image courtesy of Ultimaker.

Innovation Lessons From 3-D Printing

3-D printing is the printing of solid, physical 3-D objects. “Just as the Web democratized innovation in bits, a new class of ‘rapid prototyping’ technologies…is democratizing innovation in atoms,” Wired magazine’s longtime editor-in-chief, Chris Anderson, stated in Makers: The New Industrial Revolution. Indeed, open-source 3-D printing fits in with the general trend of open-source innovation by collaborative online communities. The big question: How should existing companies respond?

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Location Analytics: Bringing Geography Back

Remember geography lessons in school, painstakingly memorizing the longest rivers, cultures of various regions, the state capitals? For most of us, those lessons are in the past. But in the world of big data analytics, geography is making a comeback. The relatively new market of location analytics is expanding the uses of more traditional geographic information system (GIS) technology to include social, geographic, physical and emotional indicators that help organizations better predict trends

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Is There a Tweaker Driving Innovation On Your Team?

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Innovation doesn’t just come from the geniuses who come up with completely original ideas. Instead, it’s tweakers like the engineers in the British Industrial Revolution and Apple’s Steve Jobs who take existing ideas and turn them into something better.

Image courtesy of Flickr user K.Costin Photography.

The Manager’s Guide to IT Innovation Waves

The relentless advance of information technology today means that a key task of the business manager now is to cope with one wave of IT innovations after another. At any given time, an executive is likely to feel more or less inundated by a current wave, unsure of what all the commotion is about, unable to avoid the topic in conversation and yet suspicious that the latest “killer app” may be mostly hype. Is there a better way?

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Winning the Race With Ever-Smarter Machines

The capabilities of computers are now improving so quickly that concepts can move from the realm of science fiction into everyday life in just a few years, rather than a lifetime. Rapid advances in information technology — computer hardware, software and networks — are yielding applications that can do anything from answering game show questions to driving cars. But to gain true leverage from these ever-improving technologies, companies need new processes and business models.

Image courtesy of Apple Inc.

Why Dominant Companies Are Vulnerable

Research has shown that several factors influence a company’s ability to retain market leadership. However, one factor has largely been ignored: the psychological forces that drive decisions consumers make and, specifically, the degree to which people feel they have choices. Once people have learned a company’s technology interface, they become more efficient using that interface and are often reluctant to switch to products requiring new skills or allowing limited transfer of current skills.

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How to Network Your Way to New Product Ideas

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What if what you know about the innovation process is wrong? That’s a question Eric von Hippel thinks companies should consider.

Von Hippel, professor of technological innovation at the MIT Sloan School of Management, has spent much of his career doing research that has led him to a radical conclusion: The traditional view of the product innovation process is flawed. In the traditional view, companies get too much credit for product innovation, according to von Hippel — and users get too little.

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Harald Haas’s Li-Fi Vision: Light Bulbs That Transmit Data

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In a TED talk, Harald Haas of the University of Edinburgh shows how a beam from a light bulb can be rigged up to transmit a high definition video stream. The grand vision: LED lights with added microchips will let us transmit thousands of data streams in parallel, enabling us to access the Internet on smartphones wherever there is a light source.

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