Technological Innovation

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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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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

  • Blog
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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.

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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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 IBM.

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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A new look at older technologies

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Conventional wisdom has it that companies whose markets are being transformed by disruptive new technologies need to figure out how to switch to the new dominant technology. But two researchers argue that an alternative strategy –one that involves rethinking opportunities for the old technology — can sometimes make sense.

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Developing an optimal innovation strategy

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If one innovation approach is helpful, you might think using more than one approach to innovation would be even more productive. Not necessarily, write Frank T. Rothaermel and Andrew M. Hess in the new issue of Business Insight, MIT Sloan Management Review’s collaboration with The Wall Street Journal.

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Asia, the U.S., and innovation

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There’s plenty of optimism to be heard about Asia’s innovation future — but less optimism about the U.S.’s ability to maintain its historical innovation leadership in the 21st century.

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Too little U.S. innovation?

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BusinessWeek chief economist Michael Mandel makes a case in the current issue of BusinessWeek that the U.S. economy has experienced an "innovation shortfall" in the last decade -- with successful commercialization of technological innovations slower to materialize than expected. The result, he suggests is an American economy that was weaker than it appeared.

Showing 1-20 of 55