Course Book: Paul Trott, Innovation Management and New Product Development, 5.th Ed
Learning objectives and Some Discussion Questions for Mid Term Exam
• Recognise the importance of innovation
• Explain the meaning and nature of innovation management • Provide an introduction to a management approach to innovation • Appreciate the complex nature of the management of innovation within organisations • Describe the changing views of innovation over time • Recognise the role of key individuals within the process • Recognise the need to view innovation as a management process.
A number of chapters have several Pause for thought questions to help the student reflect on what they have just read to check their understanding.
Not all firms develop innovative new products, but they still seem to survive. Do they thrive?
This question attempts to get the students to recognise that while innovation is important it is possible to survive especially in the short term by focusing on traditional concerns such as minimising costs and generating sales. In the longer term, however, few firms will survive for long without the need to change; and that means introducing new ways of working and new products and services.
If two different firms, similar in size, operating in the same industry spend the same on R&D, will their level of innovation be the same?
This question simply tries to get the students to recognise that while R&D expenditure is important, innovation performance is dependent on many factors, as the chapters in this book will show.
Questions for discussion/assignments Ch.1
1. Many innovations today are associated with companies as opposed to individuals. Why is this, and what does it tell us?
Students are required to examine differences between innovations in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with innovations today. The role of the organisation and the multinational firm is now significant. Discuss issues such as:
• depth of knowledge required in significant innovations of twentieth century • the ability to make linkages between advanced technology groups • global markets
• expanding knowledge base of businesses and societies • huge level of resources required for R&D, marketing and distribution, etc.
2. What is wrong with the popular view of innovation in which eccentric scientists develop new products?
Quite simply it is damaging to the reputation of science and scientists in particular. One can understand why it is popular with film makers and Tabloid Press editors and that is because much of science is not understood and also because people live in hope that scientists can do anything. The truth is very different, and virtually all scientific progress is slow and takes many years of many people’s considerable efforts. Progress is also largely down to teamwork, with considerable size groups of scientists often working on particular projects.
3. Explain how organisational heritage influences the innovation process.
Organisational heritage represents the body of knowledge built up over time by an organisation. Often referred to as organisational knowledge. Some firms have developed considerable expertise in a variety of areas (e.g. Honda in precision engine manufacture and Rolls Royce in aero engine manufacture). This knowledge necessarily influences the future strategic direction that a firm may take. This concept will discussed further under “Managing organisatioban knowledge”.
4. What is the difference between an unsuccessful innovation and an invention?
To help students the distinction needs to be clear: Inventions include ideas, product prototypes and patents. Innovations must involve the processes of commercial exploitation. That is, marketing, sales and distribution effort. If these activities do not occur then a...