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Internal coordination successful innovation requires

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Internal CoordinationSuccessful innovation requires expertise from several departments simultaneously, andfailed innovation is often the result of failed cooperation.Sony, once the epitome ofJapanese business and innovation success, is literally fighting to stay alive because thecompany hasn’t had a hit product in years and hasn’t turned a profit since 2008. To be sure,Sony was battered by one after another disruptive new technology or unexpectedcompetitor, but the biggest problem was that managers were unable to fight back because ofpoor cooperation within the organization. The company had the technology to create amusic player like the iPod long before Apple came out with it (co-founder Akio Moritaactually envisioned such a device in the 1980s), but divisions couldn’t cooperate to bring theidea to fruition. Today, some top executives complain about managers who refuse to shareinformation or work with other divisions. Consequently, the company makes a lot ofdifferent gadgets that overlap and cannibalize one another and offers disjointed services fordifferent products rather than an integrated common platform to deliver music, movies, andgames.“Innovation is a team sport,” says Drew Boyd, a businessman who speaks aboutinnovation to other companies.Companies that successfully innovate usually have the following characteristics:People in research and marketing actively work with customers tounderstand their needs and develop solutions.
Technical specialists are aware of recent developments and makeeffective use of new technology.A shared new product development process that is advocated andsupported by top management cuts across organizational functions andunits.Members from key departments—research, manufacturing, marketing—cooperate in the development of the new product or service.Each project is guided by a core cross-functional team from beginningto end.One approach to successful innovation is called thehorizontal linkage model, which isillustrated in the center circle ofExhibit 11.4.The model shows that the research,manufacturing, and sales and marketing departments within an organizationsimultaneously contribute to new products and technologies. People from thesedepartments meet frequently in teams and task forces to share ideas and solve problems.Research people inform marketing of new technical developments to learn whether theywill be useful to customers. Marketing people pass customer complaints to research to usein the design of new products and to manufacturing people to develop new ideas forimproving production speed and quality. Manufacturing informs other departmentswhether a product idea can be manufactured within cost limits. Throughout the process,development teams keep in close touch with customers. A study by McKinsey found that 80percent of successful innovators periodically test and validate customer preferences duringdevelopment of new products and services.Unfortunately, “new products can take on a

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Term
Spring
Professor
B.HOMAN
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