Accelerated Innovation: The New Challenge From China Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Chinese companies are opening up a brand new front in international competition based on reengineering R&D and innovation procedures to make new product development dramatically quicker and less costly. This new emphasis is unlikely to generate technological breakthroughs that are stunning, but it allows Chinese rivals to reduce time it will take to bring innovative products and services to market. In addition, it represents another way of deploying Chinese price and quantity advantages in global competition.They are pushing the boundaries of simultaneous engineering, leveraging high-speed "launch-test-improve" cycles and combining vertical hierarchy with flat flexibility. For instance, when Lenovo acquired IBM's personal computer company in 2005, its new product development cycle was 12 to 18 months. Hastened innovation and most of the processes and techniques it draws upon are not unique to Chinese businesses, write’s Peter J. Williamson and Eden Yin grant.

What is noteworthy is how Chinese businesses have learned to accelerate innovation across a wide selection of sectors, using rapid scale-up, low cost and "good enough" quality. Even though the results do not lead to breakthroughs, the innovations can potently disrupt incumbents' profit models. The authors describe three ways that non-Chinese businesses can react. The very first manner would be to reengineer the company's own innovation procedures based on the principles pioneered in China. The 2nd manner is to task their R&D units in China to focus on time-sensitive jobs and by hiring local staff. The next approach is to develop coalitions with Chinese players in order to tap into accelerated innovation know how.


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