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Innovation

  • The Changing Face of Innovation in China

    The art of bian lian [CA1] — or “face changing” — is integral to Sichuan opera: A main character changes masks to avoid capture by foes. The transformation is quick and surprising, the new face clearly different. In the theater of business, Chinese performers are undergoing a rapid transformation of their own as they seek to evolve from backroom producers to the world’s leading face of innovation.

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  • Building the Right Ecosystem for Innovation

    As digital disruption expands, many legacy businesses seek partnerships with tech companies to maintain competitiveness in the digital sphere. But instead of a centralized “hub” partnership, some companies find greater success through an adaptive ecosystem model, where partners develop significant projects or innovations together. This type of strategy requires imagination and flexibility.

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  • If You Cut Employees Some Slack, Will They Innovate?

    Giving people time and resources to pursue innovation projects can produce extraordinary outcomes — but only if you match your “slack strategy” to employee type. The authors found that different types of employees respond in different ways to slack innovation programs; that different kinds of slack resources are better suited to certain types of employees than others; and that different kinds of slack innovation programs produce different kinds of innovation.

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  • Implement First, Ask Questions Later (or Not at All)

    Companies used to spend years clarifying business requirements before they would even think of launching new software. Today, cheaper cloud-based apps mean that implementation decisions are made on the fly — and there’s no going back.

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  • Which Rules Are Worth Breaking?

    Creating innovative products and services that disrupt the status quo requires creativity, and creativity involves thinking differently about constraints. But too much of a “the rules don’t apply to us” attitude can lead to ethical crises. That’s what’s happened at Uber, where a string of controversies led to a mass exodus of executives, including the company’s president and CEO. Organizations intent on innovating need to understand ahead of time the consequences of breaking certain rules.

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  • Finding Applications for Technologies Beyond the Core Business

    Too often, companies with products that have alternative potential markets miss their opportunity: Either they fail to see the possibility of alternative markets, or they simply lack the will to do the necessary groundwork to explore the opportunity. Leveraging existing technology for new uses can be tricky, but the return is greater profit and a revitalized business model.

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  • Capturing Value from Free Digital Goods

    New studies show that companies can derive significant value from free digital goods such as open source software, especially when they pay their own employees to contribute to their creation — even if these assets become available to competitors.

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  • The Hybrid Trap: Why Most Efforts to Bridge Old and New Technology Miss the Mark

    Mature companies often lack the vision and the commitment to fully commit to new technologies — even when consumer are ready for them. This leads firms to develop watered down products with limited capabilities and leaves them exposed to upstart competitors.

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  • Innovation-Based Technology Standards Are Under Threat

    The patent system and the standards system, which have together kindled a generation of unparalleled technological advancement, are being wrongly targeted as impediments to future progress. Public policies aimed at weakening the patent and standards systems risk stalling the pace of technological advancement.

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  • The Fundamental Flaw in AI Implementation

    Many executives are enthusiastic about the business potential of machine learning applications. But business leaders often overlook a key issue: To fully unlock the benefits of artificial intelligence, you’ll need to upgrade your people’s skills — and build an empowered, AI-savvy workforce.

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