MANAGING TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION
KEY STUDENT QUESTIONS
Student questions for this chapter tend to deal with the day-to-day pragmatic issues associated with
managing technology and innovation.
“What are the advantages and disadvantages of developing
technologies within the company?”
“What is the best way to keep up with rapid changes in the business
“As a manager, what can I do to develop an innovative organization?”
Answers to Student Questions
The advantages to developing new technologies include: 1
mover advantages, little or no
competition, greater efficiency, higher profit margins, the possibility of creating a sustainable
advantage, gaining a reputation for innovation, establishing entry barriers that competitors will have to
overcome, occupying new market niches, and creating opportunities to team with other innovators.
The disadvantages include assuming greater risk, the cost of technology development, the
infrastructure costs, the costs of learning and eliminating defects, and possible cannibalization of
The best way to keep up with rapid changes in the business environment is to dedicate resources to
monitoring change on a regular basis, and then to use forecasting and innovation to try and stay
ahead of the changes.
In addition, companies must constantly upgrade the skills of their employees,
and allow them the freedom to engage in continuous learning and improvement.
At the same time, it
is important to use regular monitoring in order to make sure that changes made in response to
changes in the environment are working effectively.
As a manager, you can provide an environment conducive to innovation.
The textbook cites 3M’s
rules for an innovative culture, which include: setting goals for innovation; committing to research and
development; inspiring intrapreneurship; facilitating, rather than obstructing, work; focusing on the
customer; and tolerating failure.
CLASS PREWORK ASSIGNMENT
Have students read the “Mason, Inc.” scenario in Experiential Exercise 17.1, and develop an individual
plan for improving creativity and innovation at the company.
Then use class time to have students meet
in groups, compare their answers, and complete the rest of the assignment.
USING THE “UNFOLDING CASE”
“HOW DOES STEVE JOBS MANAGE APPLE’S STRING OF INNOVATONS?”
It won’t take much to get students interested in this case.
Simply ask students to raise their iPods (or
other digital music players) in the air.
That will show the class how prevalent Steve Job’s technology is.
Next, ask everyone that wants an iPhone to raise their hands.
And that’s how much market exists for
Job’s current products!
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.