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Technology Innovation: Disrupt—or Be Disrupted

An explosion of new technologies is creating new winners and losers in nearly every industry. You only have to look at the changing fortunes of Apple and Hewlett-Packard in the personal computer/tablet arena over the last decade to see how innovation can propel one company into superstar status, while another becomes irrelevant in the same market space.

So how can companies gain and hold an edge in technology innovation? In an engagement with a major global manufacturer, Cisco IBSG identified three key factors in the product innovation process that companies must clearly understand and be able to orchestrate:

  • Technology Strategy: Develop a technology strategy based on internal and external scans of rapidly emerging capabilities. These should include an assessment of each technology’s ability to disrupt, its stage of incubation, differentiating factors, competitive alternatives, and identification of platform choices. Developing a business and technology architecture for how the technology fits into your company’s platform portfolio is a critical step in this analysis.
  • Ecosystem Management: Arrange and manage ecosystem partners by assessing the need for technologies to perform certain functions that extend beyond your own internal capabilities, such as the ability to connect to a broader environment. You will need to understand existing and future profit pools to validate partner choices. For example, providing “smart services,” such as analytics, can extend a product’s useful life and be the source of long-term profitability, for both you and the ecosystem partners that deliver them.
  • Market Interactions: Prepare and execute detailed plans for managing market interactions, from initial introduction through full-scale market management. This includes an ongoing analysis of customer reactions, portfolio management, media communications, and potential competitors.

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