Innovation

Seeing Beyond the Blockchain Hype

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 8 min 

Blockchain has recently taken center stage in the conversation about management’s digital makeover. Many believe the impact of blockchain on the ways organizations function and produce value may be greater than other technologies that have grabbed most of our recent attention — data and analytics, the cloud, even artificial intelligence.

Harnessing the Secret Structure of Innovation

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 11 min 

Innovation, much like marketing and human resources, can be made less reliant on artful intuition by using information in new ways. But this requires a change in perspective: We need to view innovation not as the product of luck or extraordinary vision but as the result of a deliberate search process.

Mastering the Digital Innovation Challenge

For Volvo Cars, pursuing digital innovation required fundamentally rethinking the organization, while also keeping the core business functioning efficiently. The company did so by balancing four interrelated competing concerns: (1) new and established innovation capabilities; (2) process and product focus; (3) external and internal collaboration; and (4) flexibility and control in relationships with external partners.

The Customer-Inventor Revolution

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 3 min 

For over 30 years, MIT Sloan’s Eric von Hippel has investigated the ways general users of products and services have improved them through tinkering and invention. “The Age of the Consumer-Innovator,” which he co-authored for MIT Sloan Management Review in 2011, was an important marker in explaining how user communities were changing product development. It laid the groundwork for von Hippel’s current research, which looks at the way some of today’s innovation is given away as a “free good.”

Analytics as a Source of Business Innovation

The 2017 Data & Analytics Report by MIT Sloan Management Review finds that the percentage of companies deriving competitive advantage from analytics increased for the first time in four years. Incorporating survey results and interviews with practitioners and scholars, the report finds that companies’ increasing ability to innovate with analytics is driving a resurgence of strategic benefits from analytics across industries. The report is based, in part, on MIT SMR’s seventh annual data and analytics global survey, which includes responses from 2,602 business executives, managers, and analytics professionals from organizations located around the world.

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Building a Business Creation Engine

  • Research Highlight

In this webinar, Clayton M. Christensen and Derek van Bever, coauthors of the MIT SMR article “The Hard Truth About Business Model Innovation,” explain how business models evolve over time. They explain that it’s possible to turn an event — the act of creating a new business and a new business model — into a repeatable process.

Three Meaningful Strategies for Managing Rapid Change

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 4 min 

Global, social, and marketplace shifts are doing much more to transform the nature of work, how we work, and how organizations in both the private and public sector can best adapt to rapid global change. So how can organizations find new ways to avoid becoming saddled with legacy processes, technologies, and ways of thinking?

Getting Past the Hype About 3-D Printing

Despite the promise of additive manufacturing, the authors argue, near-term expectations about how 3-D printing will revolutionize manufacturing are overblown. Much of the technology is still being hammered out, and the authors examine three important myths about additive manufacturing.

Companies Brace for Decade of Disruption From AI

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 5 min 

With investments in Big Data bearing fruit, what do executives expect from the future? A new survey finds that artificial intelligence and machine learning are rapidly emerging avenues for innovation — and disruption. Nearly half of senior executives surveyed, from companies like American Express, Disney, Ford Motors, and General Electric, see disruptive change coming fast.

Free Webinar: Building a Business Creation Engine

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 1 min 

MIT SMR coauthors Clayton Christensen and Derek van Bever discussed their recent article, “The Hard Truth About Business Model Innovation.” They explained how understanding the stages of business model development is crucial to creating a successful process for repeated innovation.

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How to Monetize Your Data

Companies can monetize their data by improving internal business processes and decisions, wrapping information around core products and services, and selling information offerings to new and existing markets. Adopting any of these approaches, however, requires management commitment to specific organizational changes and targeted technology and data management upgrades.

Competing Through Joint Innovation

Even as multinationals struggle to make inroads in emerging markets, companies from those markets are finding ways to compete in Europe and the U.S. A case in point is Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications company, which has used strategic partnerships to gain ground in Europe. Huawei’s overseas expansion closely resembles the strategy the company used to build its position in China: Start at the perimeter and work toward the center.

The Next Wave of Business Models in Asia

The first wave of innovation from emerging markets in Asia has been predicated on the replication of existing business models at lower cost. The second wave, which could be even more disruptive than the first, fundamentally reimagines various facets of the business model to find new, often digitally enabled, ways in which resources and processes can be leveraged. Such companies identify creative ways for partners, stakeholders, and customers to be involved in value creation and capture.

Engaging With Startups in Emerging Markets

For large multinationals, forging effective partnerships with emerging-market startups is complicated. Traits that make startups attractive as partners also make it hard for large companies to engage with them. Looking at startups in India, China, and South Africa, researchers identify key factors inhibiting emerging market partnerships and offer strategies for addressing them.

Organizing for New Technologies

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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Warding Off the Threat of Disruption

In a fast-changing digital landscape, companies shouldn’t wait too long to reconfigure their offerings — but they also should be wary of moving to an untested technology too soon. Monitoring trends in related industries and identifying high-potential startups for acquisition helps to ensure appropriate timing for business model changes.

Which Features Increase Customer Retention?

Companies have an incentive to design goods and services with customer retention in mind. Unfortunately, they often add expensive features to their offerings without knowing whether or how much they will increase retention — and adding too many features can actually decrease customer satisfaction with products after customers have used them.

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.”

Why Big Data Isn’t Enough

There is a growing belief that sophisticated algorithms paired with big data will find relationships independent of any preconceived hypotheses. But in businesses that involve scientific research and technological innovation, this approach is misguided and potentially risky, as spurious correlations and “noise” may lead analysts astray.

Do You Have the Will for Digital Transformation?

Research shows that successful digital transformation does not require secret digital knowledge; it simply requires the boldness to recognize that digital transformation is occurring and to begin trying to adapt your business to account for and capitalize on these trends.

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