Industries where competition centers on innovation and the application of technology pose special challenges for managers. The rapid pace of change can unseat market leaders, obsolete core competencies and undermine a firm’s economic model with lightning speed. The strategic lessons to be learned from these fast moving industries have value for all managers, because all industries are now being redefined in one way or another by the application of technology. No market positions are safe from the threat of disruptive technologies, whether in product design, manufacturing processes, service models, information systems or customer interfaces.
This course will utilize selected readings in the field of innovation management, supplemented by lectures and news stories from the business press, to familiarize students with some key concepts: sustaining versus disruptive innovation, dominant designs, paradigm shifts, first mover advantage, the leader’s trap, emergence of standards, and network externalities. We will look at how innovation in business processes can secure a position of competitive advantage for the firm, whether involved in a product or service business. How an organization’s culture can be designed to stimulate creativity will also be examined. A special focus will be on Internet based business models and how every company should utilize the ability for instant connection to improve its competitive position.