Prof. Eric von Hippel talk about “how to develop breakthrough products and services” in this lecture series from MIT. I don’t think it’s necessary to introduce him. He is a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and an important figure in the innovation literature. Here are the four lectures from MIT Open Courseware and you might want to read his book if you haven’t done so yet.
A short TEDx video. His ten words: invent, do, improve, share, shape, build, Why?, Yes!, Oops!, Wow!
A 30 minutes lecture on engineering innovation by Tim Minshall (Cambridge University). An easy introduction from an engineer’s perspective.
Clusters are often approached by economists and political scientists from a policy perspective. Here is a social science perspective using networks.
Research from Jason Owen-Smith (eg.2004, 2005, 2009 papers) has always been very exciting. Here he talks about clusters and their inner mechanics in respect to demographics of talent and technology.
(Additional Info: TRE Networks Roundtable and Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., Dec., 5-7, 2012)
Karl Ulrich talks about the myth of long-term investments in innovation.
He offers two possible strategies: a follower strategy (being second after a dominant design is decided and technological trajectories are set) or an acquisition strategy (acquiring small entrepreneurial firms that has achieved some success with the field).
Karl Ulrich is the author of the landmark paper, “The role of product architecture in the manufacturing firm”, which has also influenced Japanese management greatly.
(Mack Center Video)
The simple story outlined by Jim Collins in the previous post is just the very first step in understanding why good companies fail.
The very old and well-known idea from Christensen & Bower (1996) and the Innovator’s Dilemma suggests that the very strategies that helped firms to reach success cause them to fail as the environment change and new entrants succeed in introducing and developing disruptive innovations. His examples of the hard disk industry and the steel mills are also very well known.
Now, here is another speech centered on this idea by Don Sull from the London Business School. He explains that there are 5 types of commitments that can bind companies:
1. Frames (assessments)
2. Processes (formal, informal)
3. Resources (tangible and intangible)
5. Set of Values (identities)
Jim Collins explains in five stages how top performing firms fall. This is a well known and quite obvious process, almost an archetype from Greek epics, but it is very easy to forget this process on the field. I think it is a good framework to serve as a guidepost when considering whether to act on signs of problems with a business or keep ignoring them.
1. hubris of success
2. undisciplined pursuit for more
3. denial of risk and peril: gathering wind, coming storm
4. grasping for salvation: a process of denial takes hold and the fall happens
5. capitulation: most fall but not all, and you might even be able to come back
In this short interview, Morten Hansen talks about his 2011 book co-authored with Jim Collins, Great by Choice.
The book is an account of their research that attempts to explain how companies that outperform their industry peers achieved this superior level (companies such as Amgen, Microsoft, Southwest Airlines, Biomet, Intel, etc.)
Their findings suggest that these companies are not necessarily more innovative, but they navigate uncertain environments with persistence and great ability to prepare for utilizing luck when it comes along. Hence, the key is “serendipity”.