20617 - TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION STRATEGY
Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 22
The course develops student’s understanding of how firms use technology and innovation to position themselves strategically, from the perspective of a Director of Business Development. It pays specific attention to the digital transformation which is impacting all industries in the recent years. For this purpose, it relies heavily on cases and examples, dealing with firms which have faced the challenges of managing innovation, technology strategy, and the digital transformation. To confront the implications of technology and innovation on a firm’s strategy and to understand actions and reactions by Directors of Business Development when technology and innovation originate within the firm as well as when they change exogenously the environment where the firm operates, students are asked to actively participate in class discussions and engage in an innovation contest that offer a tangible perspective on the alternative choices that managers face when crafting a technology and innovation strategy.
The course is structured into two main parts:
In part 1 we begin with an understanding of how technological systems evolve, with particular emphasis on the development of innovation, the emergence of standards, and then turn to understanding networks. We will show how technology shapes industry through the development of entry barriers but also the opportunity of differentiation with new product and services. We will devote specific attention to general-purpose technologies like the Internet, social media, artificial intelligence are transforming industries and organizations into new open systems and are stimulating opportunities for entrepreneurship.
In part 2 we will focus on the operational processes that a company has to design and manage in order to deliver innovations to the market. Specifically, we explore how firms develop new products, how they can leverage the knowledge of consumers in the innovation process, and which organizational structures are best suited to foster or hamper innovation. We will devote specific attention to digital instruments that support innovation through the creation of an open structure.
- Understand and disentangle the different types of innovation, and the related implications.
- Identify theoretical models which help explaining and contextualizing technological change.
- Recognize the different approaches to manage innovation and technological change.
- Evaluate the strategic effects of innovation, depending on the context and the industry.
Evaluate the innovative activity of a firm and provide corrective measure.
- Recognize threats and opportunities brought by technological change.
- Provide solutions to different common business problems where innovation plays a major role.
- Interact in a constructive way and think critically.
- Face-to-face lectures
- Online lectures
- Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
- Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
- Interactive class activities (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)
- Participation in external competitions
Cases will be discussed to identify theoretical concepts from real-life situations, students are therefore expected to read the assigned cases prior to the related sessions in order to engage in an active in class discussion.
An innovation contest will involve groups of students in wearing the shoes of an Entrepreneur or Director of Business Development by crafting and presenting a comprehensive technology and innovation strategy from idea generation to implementation.
In addition to face-to-face lectures, case studies, and interactive class activities, we expect to have guest speakers who will deliver a direct experience on the main issues they faced when dealing with technology and innovation and how they successfully (or unsuccessfully) solved them.
|Continuous assessment||Partial exams||General exam|
The course is based on strong interaction. Not only attendance is recommended, but class interaction and participation will be evaluated. Students will also take part to a "Hackathon" contest, which will also be graded. A final written exam will evaluate students' overall understanding of the topics.
The final grade will be computed as follows:
- Class participation (20% of the final grade) will be evaluated at the group level. Students are expected to divide into self-formed groups of maximum 5 students. Each group should pick a name and elect a group spokesman, to whom the instructors will address any specific communication. The name, members and representative (with e-mail address) of each group should be communicated by Friday of the first week of classes at noon with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Evaluation of class participation will be based on both voluntary contribution of groups to class discussion and cold calls.
- A Hackathon competition (30% of the final grade) will evaluate students’ ability to apply the notions learned in class to a practical context.
- A final written exam (50% of the final grade) will evaluate students’ understanding of theoretical models on the different types of innovation and on technological change.
Assessment of non-attending students is entirely based on a final written exam that not only probes the student’s understanding of the concepts inherent to innovation, technological change, and their management, but also the student’s ability to think critically and apply the learned models to business situations that involve technology and innovation.
- Handouts distributed throughout the course.
- Cases as in the syllabus.
- Readings as in the syllabus.
- Suggested reading: S. Shane. Technology Strategy for Managers and Entrepreneurs. Prentice Hall.
- S. Shane. Technology Strategy for Managers and Entrepreneurs. Prentice Hall (in substitution of Handout materials for attending students).
- Cases as in the syllabus.
- Readings as in the syllabus.
Information on how to download the cases will be provided in class. Cases are available for a limited amount of time. All students, attending and non-attending, should download all the cases before the end of the course.