- Research Feature
- Read Time: 21 min
To manage research and development projects, companies need to ensure that informal social networks are reinforced — and not thwarted — by formal organizational structures.
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Advances in development tools have tremendous potential for increasing productivity, cost savings and innovation. To reap the full benefits of such technologies, though, companies need to avoid some common pitfalls.
Smartly placed, legitimizing constraints actually enable innovation by focusing it and giving it traction in the competition for corporate attention and resources.
Companies should focus less on marketplace premiums for their innovations and more on opportunistically exploiting subsidies for innovations. Thus Microsoft‘s Windows 95 development effectively garnered a $900 million subsidy by drawing upon a valuable technical population to test and help improve the system. An innovation subsidy, says the author, is individuals‘ and institutions‘ cost-effective bartering of resources to reduce risk.
An economy’s capacity to innovate determines its capacity to thrive. A company’s capacity to innovate determines its capacity to survive. The expected life span of a Fortune 500 corporation is only 40 to 50 years, and that life expectancy is getting shorter. Intel Corp.
Japan’s economy has been in the doldrums for so long that many Japanese seem to have adopted a resigned attitude ofSho ga nai (“That’s life”) toward it. But Japan, of course, can become competitive again, provided its political and corporate leaders take on four difficult but essential tasks.T
Many companies have learned to use the Internet as a powerful platform for collaborating with customers on innovation. They have created customer advisory panels to solicit ideas for new products, fostered online communities to encourage dialogue among customers, and built toolkits that enable customers and engineers to codesign products.
Many companies proudly think of themselves as innovative. The great majority of them, however, are adept at producing only sustaining innovations —products or services that meet the demands of existing customers in established markets.
A company’s interaction with the scientific community is crucial to its ability to incubate and commercialize new ideas.
Managers don”t have to be told that to innovate they need to embrace drastically different practices from the ones they use for routine work. So why don”t they do it? According to the author, when business leaders see what innovation actually requires, they often recoil. In this article, Sutton has developed eight techniques to move teams and companies from working by rote to innovating.
Innovation has become the defining challenge for global competitiveness. The authors show the degree to which location matters for successful innovation at the global technology frontier. Such locational advantages help to explain an apparent paradox of globalization: Ideas and technologies that can be accessed at a distance cannot serve as a foundation for competitive advantage.
How can a company successfully attack an established market leader? How can it find new ways to compete that everyone else has missed? By breaking the rules of the game in its industry to find new sources of innovation, says this author. In a study of thirty successful attackers, he identified five ways that they think about and develop a new game plan.
A revolution is now underway. Most innovation occurs first in software.1 And software is the primary element in all aspects of innovation from basic research through product introduction:Software provides the critical mechanism through which managers can lower the costs, compress the time cycles, and increase the value of innovations.
A firm decided to redesign its research and development process. Because the effort was critical to its success, the firm applied two parallel approaches to the process. One was a classical reengineering effort in which a small group of managers and consultants designed a radically different way to do research.
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