Innovation Strategy

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The Best of This Week

This week’s must-reads for managers: two leading academic researchers tackle #Disruption2020 — from how the disruption playbook has changed to whether disruption is the right strategy at all. Also, the reality of running an AI business, what to think about when managing digital native talent, and, we wonder, are offices now obsolete?

The New Disrupters

  • Essay
  • Read Time: 16 min 

Clayton Christensen’s Theory of Disruptive Innovation presciently explained that fast-moving disrupters entering the market with cheap, low-quality goods could undermine companies wed to prevailing beliefs about competitive advantage. In the last decade, however, disrupters have changed dramatically. They now enter the market with products and services that are every bit as good as those offered by legacy companies — and make it harder than ever for traditional businesses to compete.

Make Your Crowd Smart

  • Frontiers

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 5 min 

Taking a one-size-fits-all approach to crowdsourcing — in which crowds without directly relevant knowledge are asked to address problems they’re poorly suited to solve — is the cause of many crowdsourcing failures. Research suggests that three distinct types of crowdsourcing can be used to solve problems of differing scope and complexity and generate opportunities for innovation.


The Innovator’s Legacy

  • Column

  • Column
  • Read Time: 1 min 

In an interview with longtime collaborator Karen Dillon, Clayton Christensen discussed his influential body of work and his thoughts on the future of disruptive innovation. Both reflective and forward-looking, Christensen’s conversation with Dillon is an important addition to the canon of disruptive innovation.

Disruption 2020: An Interview With Clayton M. Christensen

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 17 min 

Clayton M. Christensen’s Theory of Disruptive Innovation has had an undeniable impact in business over the past two decades. In this Q&A with longtime collaborator Karen Dillon, he discussed the impact of disruption in today’s tech-centric world and why theory is still such a powerful tool for decision-making, even as it continues to evolve.

Four Skills Tomorrow’s Innovation Workforce Will Need

Before organizations can rethink how to design jobs, organize work, and compete for talent in a digital age, they must systematically identify and develop the capabilities that they need now, and over the next decade, to innovate and survive. In their ongoing research, the authors have found that the competencies companies need most are business-oriented rather than technical. That’s true even for brick-and-mortar companies that are trying to become more digital.


How Digital Twins Are Reinventing Innovation

A digital twin is a virtual replica of an object, being, or system continuously updated with data from its physical counterpart. Supported by billions of connected global sensors, digital twins will soon exist for millions of things. Jet engines, a heart, even a city can have digital twins that mirror physical and biological properties. Real-time assessments and diagnostics will be more precise; repairs will be executed in the moment; and innovation will be faster, cheaper, and more radical.

Why Large Companies Struggle With Lean

Large corporations have found that applying the principles of lean is more complicated than expected. Large organizations aren’t just bigger versions of startups. To make innovation integral to the organization, there has to be a vision of where new ideas will be incubated and how they will be delivered.

How Vigilant Companies Gain an Edge in Turbulent Times

In fast-changing business environments, companies need to stay vigilant and watch for threats from both internal and external sources. The most vigilant companies use systematic approaches to determine where to look for — and how to explore — potential disruptions.


Closing the Innovation Achievement Gap

  • Read Time: 4 min 

What makes a company an innovation leader? To a great extent, it’s a matter of mindset. Executives whose technology-led transformation projects aren’t delivering the expected value must make strategic shifts in terms of their companies’ technology adoption, technology penetration, and organizational change.

How Tech CEOs Are Redefining the Top Job

About a quarter of high-tech companies are run by CEOs who double as inventors. Through patenting and publishing activity, such leaders contribute their own expertise to their companies’ innovation and production efforts, even as they steer their respective ships. This hands-on approach may sound like a distraction from strategic thinking, but it’s the future for top leaders across many sectors, not just tech — and it is already upon us.

Partner With Entrepreneurs Inside and Out

Companies seeking to drive innovation in the face of constant disruption benefit from adopting a strategy that supports both internal entrepreneurs and external partnerships rather than taking an either/or approach. The benefits: reduced development costs, faster time to market, and a collaborative, engaged workforce.

Navigating the Contested Rise of Fintech

Technology adoption based on the technology alone is bound to miss the mark. Fintech will not disrupt the financial industry overnight, but when it does, it will reflect a larger and more complex social debate than its inherent technological or economic merits. Managers need to get involved in this debate now, so they can navigate the uncertainty, and decide to adopt it — or not.

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