- Opinion & Analysis
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Too many executives confuse what an innovation is with what an innovation would do for them if they had one. The solution? Think of innovation as an if-then argument.
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Companies traditionally pursue growth by investing heavily in product development so they can produce new and better offerings; by developing consumer insights so they can satisfy customers’ needs; or by making acquisitions and expanding into new markets. This article identifies a fourth method: “business model experimentation,” or using thought experiments to quickly and inexpensively examine new business model possibilities.
“As a company,” says Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, “one of our greatest cultural strengths is accepting the fact that if you’re going to invent, you’re going to disrupt. A lot of entrenched interests are not going to like it.”
It has long been assumed that companies develop products for consumers, while consumers are passive recipients. However, this paradigm is flawed, because consumers are a major source of product innovations. This article suggests a new innovation paradigm, in which consumers and users play a central and active role in developing products. The article also summarizes key findings from studies on consumer product innovation conducted in the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan.
Lessons from the successes and failures of many emerging technologies offer a helpful guide in how adoption works. This article draws on the authors’ book Wharton on Managing Emerging Technologies and their ongoing research at the Wharton School’s Mack Center for Technological Innovation about why companies so often misinterpret emerging technologies.
Generating good innovation proposals from within the ranks of the organization is only the beginning. The more difficult part is creating a selection process that identifies which ideas to implement.
Research in creativity shows that giving employees unstructured time — on company time — is a concrete way to reward innovative activity.
The death of Digital Equipment Corp. cofounder (and MIT alumnus) Ken Olsen has prompted much conversation about him and the DEC.
Services comprise more than 70% of aggregate gross domestic product and employment in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries. As a result, both individual companies and entire economies face the challenge of how to innovate in services. One suggestion: Companies should both organize their innovation processes to be more open to external knowledge and ideas and also let more of their ideas and knowledge flow to the outside when not being used internally.
This article explores the process of innovation in 13 global companies. Many of the standard arguments for how to encourage innovation were confirmed, but some surprises were uncovered as well. The article organizes its key insights around five persistent “myths” that continue to haunt the innovation efforts of many companies. The five myths are: (1) The Eureka Moment; (2) Built It and They Will Come; (3) Open Innovation Is the Future; (4) Pay Is Paramount; and, (5) Bottom Up Innovation Is Best.
“To heck with what the technology can do,” says Michael Schrage of the MIT Center for Digital Business. Great managers, he says, first think about what kind of value they want to create and then consider how IT can help them create it.
Too many managers think innovation is just about brainstormed ideas. Esther Baldwin of Intel Corporation explains how measurement, rigor, and IT tools, applied to the innovation process, can fuel business growth.
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