Technology Innovation

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Organizing for New Technologies

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 6 min 

When faced with an emerging technology, many companies have trouble responding — not because they don’t recognize how it impacts their business, but because they have difficulty managing the uncertainty around the new technology’s competitive viability. And when the technology significantly disrupts the company’s existing business, it can create structural impediments to pursuing opportunities.

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Why Innovation Isn’t Enough

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 13 min 

There is an unprecedented explosion of innovation going on all around us. And yet, as Fredrik Erixon and Björn Weigel point out in their new book, The Innovation Illusion, GDP growth, productivity, and corporate investment in the capitalist economies of the West are all on the decline. The authors peg this counterintuitive reality to “gray capitalism, excessive corporate managerialism, second-generation globalization, and complex regulations.”

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Taking a Value-Chain Perspective on Innovation

Market leaders have many advantages when adopting new technologies such as e-business, but they don’t always make the move. Why? It’s partly because new technology can be leveraged along a chain of related companies only if business partners also make the leap to adopt these changes. And research reveals that when large companies are significantly concerned about customer adjustment costs of new innovations, these powerful and otherwise highly capable organizations often resist change.

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Digital Today, Cognitive Tomorrow

Digital transformation is happening all around us, but it’s the foundation for a much more profound transformation still to come. With huge challenges facing humanity on many fronts — climate, disease, population, food and water — we need cognitive technologies to augment human problem-solving capabilities. And those technologies are almost here.

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A Note to Our Readers and Contributors

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 2 min 

While MIT SMR seeks to publish new research-based ideas across a wide range of management topics, we are taking a particular interest in work that explores the role of technology in transforming the practice of management. Even as we have been witnessing digital technology’s organizational impact for several decades, it’s our belief that we are on the crest of a new wave of change that will force leaders to fundamentally rethink the way their companies function and produce value.

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Tech Savvy: March 3, 2016

This week’s Tech Savvy looks at what’s happening in wearables at work, virtual reality in hiring, enhancing big data ROI, and digital transformation preparation. For instance, in a Netherlands warehouse, employees wearing smart glasses to pick orders show a 25% improvement in efficiency. And in big data, Wharton’s Eric Clemons notes that “Where big data analytics may create local fiefdoms, online social networks create distributed pockets of autonomous connection, affiliation, and even affection.”

Photo courtesy of Patagonia/Dylan Lucas Gordon.

Why Sustainability-Oriented Innovation Is Valuable in Every Context

While the most basic form of Sustainability-Oriented Innovation has led to combining sustainability practices with revenue generation, more refined forms of SOI target innovation at different stages and in different contexts. Jay, the director of the Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan, along with Gonzalez and Gerard, write that “SOI allows companies to push beyond their usual innovation boundaries and their typical business protocols.”

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How Customers View Self-Service Technologies

Consumers are not running away from self-service options — just poorly implemented ones. Managers often underestimate customer’s need for employee interaction during a self-service experience, as well as customer desires for convenience and for transaction speed. “These three areas have a tremendous impact on the implementation of a self-service technology,” write the authors, “and might explain why some self-service applications have received a lukewarm reception.”

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Marketing In Five Dimensions

Computers, scanners, mobile and wearable technology have made it both easier and harder for companies to find their customers. Easier, because there’s so much more data about consumer behavior; harder, because analyzing that data is a significant challenge (never mind deciding how to act on the analytics). Companies like Epsilon are stepping up to help businesses to figure out what the data tell them about their customers — and what to do with that knowledge. In a Q&A, Epsilon’s CEO Andy Frawley describes some of the challenges his company works through on a daily basis.

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The Nine Obstacles to Digital Transformation

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 3 min 

To get real transformation from technology requires company leaders to set digital priorities and work together across departments to reach those goals. A new survey identifies nine significant leadership, organizational and cultural challenges that work against digital transformation. But leaders who present a strategic vision and continue to articulate it will get buy-in from employees, a large majority of whom see technology as a way to gain real competitive advantages. Digital transformation is a challenge — but a manageable one.

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How eBay Uses Data and Analytics to Get Closer to Its (Massive) Customer Base

You can find just about anything on eBay: A vintage BMW, a Lear jet, a half-million-dollar yacht. From all that activity stems a lot of data and, eventually, information. In conversation with MIT Sloan Management Review contributing editor Renee Boucher Ferguson, Neel Sundaresan, senior director of research at eBay, discusses how eBay uses data and analytics at every level of the company to continuously evolve eBay’s numerous sites and services for buyers and sellers.

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Measuring user innovation

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 1 min 

A new working paper examines the prevalence — and policy implications — of innovations that come from technology users.

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Collaboration Matters

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 1 min 

How important is collaboration to breakthrough innovation? And, conversely, how significant are the contributions of inventors who work alone? In a recent working paper, Lee Fleming of Harvard and Jasjit Singh of INSEAD take a new look at this topic.

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The Elements of Platform Leadership

Platform leadership is the ability of a company to drive innovation around a particular platform technology at the broad industry level. The more people who use platform products, the more incentives there are for complement producers to introduce more complementary products, causing a virtuous cycle.

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