The Managers Guide to IT Innovation Waves Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

The relentless advance of information technology today means that one of the key tasks of a business manager is to deal with a wave of IT innovation after another. At any given time, the executive is likely to feel more or less flooded the current wave, not knowing what all the excitement is about, managed to avoid the topic in conversation, and still suspicious that the latest "killer app" may be mostly advertising. And what better way to draw

for years his own research as well as research of others, the author argues that the IT adoption cycle is a kind of wave machine that innovates through five stages: (1) violation of the surface, (2) sending ripples, (3) causes the defendant, (4) building swell and (5) on the ridge. An important characteristic of IT innovation, the author notes that the implementation is often expensive, time-consuming and very difficult. One consequence of this is that the number of adoptions IT-innovation, which are essentially obligations that make organizations for the implementation of the new technology may exceed the successful implementations, resulting in alarming "implementation gap" that needs to be explained and may serve to dampen the enthusiasm of innovation . The author also points out that the rate at which the value is achieved through IT innovation, probably long after the peak of public attention to the original vision of the organization has dissipated.

Thus, managers must carefully distinguish between the focus of IT innovation gets and the actual adoption, implementation, and the value obtained from its use. Understanding these dynamics more clearly may lead managers to make more informed decisions about what the "wave" to catch and which to roll.
by E. Burton Swanson Source: MIT Sloan Management Review 11 pages. Publication Date: January 1, 2012. Prod. #: SMR409-PDF-ENG

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