Below, you will find the beta-versions of a series of lectures on foundational issues in innovation management. They loosely (but imperfectly) track with the textbook that I am working on.
Innovation under Capitalism
This is a short introductory lecture, focused on the notion of Creative Destruction and why it is central to the working of capitalist economies. Competing in the short term, while attending to the the long term threat of Creative Destruction disciplines organizations to be both efficient and innovative, but this is difficult. On structural grounds, innovation may be hard to reconcile with efficient operations.The inherent uncertainty of innovation also makes investing in ‘explorative’ innovation difficult.
Schumpeter, Abernathy and March
Technology and Industry Development
This lecture explores how technologies improve at different rates over their lifecycle, and how technological discontinuities arise. This carries implications for industries dependent on those technologies, such that they cycle through stages of ‘incremental change’ (common and predictable) and ‘ferment’ (rare and upsetting of the status quo). Technological improvement and application depends on recognizing current and potential opportunities with the technology, but such opportunity recognition is hindered by heterogenously distributed information.
Foster, Anderson & Tushman and Shane
Varieties of innovation
Not all technologies develop in the same way and some have more profound consequences on industries than others. Here, we explore the notions of ‘disruptive innovation’ (much maligned as hype and much overused in common parlance), ‘architectural innovation’ (much underappreciated) and ‘general purpose technologies’ (profoundly transformative and foundational) as special cases of technological change. We also examine the interdependent nature of technologies.
Henderson & Clark
Organizing for innovation
How do organizations organize to deal with the Productivity Dilemma and combine efficiency and innovation? We examine various approaches to ‘ambidexterity’ and how they purport to reconcile these seemingly dichotomous concerns, and consider what the consequences of them might be. We also look at how organizations might build up their ‘absorptive capacity’ in order to effectively leverage external knowledge sources and the role played by ‘communities of practice’ in intra-organizational learning, and how each of these two ideas contribute to transcending the Productivity Dilemma.
Adler et al (part I)
Adler et al (part II)
Cohen & Levinthal
Brown & Duguid
Managing innovation processes
Our discussions of organizing for innovation were somewhat macro-oriented, leaving overlooked the micro-dynamics of how specific innovation projects get managed and with what consequences. Here, we examine how specific innovation management tools shape innovation processes. We look at a (canonical, but not entirely new) innovation management concept and explore how it allows for ‘better’ innovation management (what does better even mean here?) and what side-effects it might produce. We also examine how management accounting practices that ostensibly are not part of the innovation management process anyhow shape the innovation process by shaping the conditions for economizing in organizations. We close with two arguments about hidden innovation processes in organizations, respectively in the R&D lab and the organizational frontline.
Cooper (and some notes on creativity)
Mouritsen et al
Hartmann & Hartmann
Marketing products based on new technologies is not the same as promoting well-understood technologies belonging to well-understood product classes to well-understood markets. For one, being first to market may confer advantages that cannot be captured when entering well-known markets. Second, marketing products that are not readily intelligible to consumers may give rise to competitive dynamics that might otherwise be decidedly odd. And, as organizations move from serving small early markets to majority markets may confer particular challenges that both call for organizational change and set up the organization for subsequent difficulties.
Lieberman & Montgomery
Navis & Glynn
What do entrepreneurs do, exactly? And how is it that they impact the economy? We revisit Schumpeter’s notion of the entrepreneur and juxtapose it with another (Austrian) interpretation in order to better expose the dynamics of both. We also question when entrepreneurs actually contribute to the process of Creative Destruction, why the typical entrepreneur does no such thing and how the popularization of entrepreneurship and the emergence of an industry of entrepreneurship ‘support’ might actually hurt the economy.
Gans et al
Nightingale & Coad
Hartmann et al
The future of innovation management
The conventional image of organizational innovation is undergoing tremendous change, and organizational practice has evolved quite dramatically over recent decades (a blink of an eye in academic terms, of course). Here, we examine the emergence of ‘markets for technologies’, how organizations might work with external ‘crowds’ and how self-organizing communities complement (and sometimes compete with) the innovation efforts of formal organizations. This has quite profound organizational implications and exposes interesting aspects of the innovation process that have partially been obscured by previously dominant modes of organizing. It is also driven by technological changes that are still on-going, and so we are far from the ‘end of history’ as regards how innovation is organized for and managed.
Arora et al
Jeppesen & Lakhani
Altman et al
Innovation’s consequences, or ‘The Future of Work’
How does innovation impact society? It is the engine of Creative Destruction, the ‘lever of riches’, but clearly also the cause of painful societal change. In a time where technology promises to revolutionize our lives and upend many industries, it is also poised to transform work as we know it. We explore theoretically how new technologies lead to substitution (‘Robots take our jobs’) and complementarities (‘… so you can do new and more valuable things, maybe’). We also look to history and find out why Marx was right until he was wrong and how the employment effects of new technologies depend on what opportunities they are taken to afford.
Lu et al