INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY AND STRATEGY: A GENERAL MANAGEMENT PERSPECTIVE
A key purpose of this book is to help the general manager-someone
responsible for the overall strategic management of an organ ization ur autonomous business unit-deal with issues of technology and innovat ion. Established high-technology companies typically spend at least 5 percent of sa les on technology andinnovation-related activities: start-up companies may spend significantly more. Although most of the companies studied here are cons idered high -technology. the issues and problems associaled with technology and innovation in the environment of the 2000s are part of the general management task in all firms.
PART ONE: INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY AND STRATEGY: A GENERAL MANAGEMENT PERSPECTIVE
One keytask of the general manager is to acquire, deve lop. and aUoc:lIe an organization's resources. Tech· nology is u resource of paramount importance to many organizations: managing this resource for competitive ~ujvantage entails integrating it with the firm's strategy. A ~e\:(lnd key task of the general manuger is to develop and exploit the firm's \:apac ity for in novation. This requires that thegenera l manager be able to assess the linn 's innovative capabi lities anti identify how they may be leveraged or improvetl. We provide here a set of toots the general manager can usc to accomplish both of these 11I:..tjor tasks. Three sections follow. The first de ti nes a set of key wncepts concerning technolog ical innovation and then outlines their interrelations. This step is importantbecause strategic management of technology and innovation is a young fie ld, anti the domains of dill"erent. partly overlapping concepts are stilI somewhat in flux. Though we do not claim thut the detinitions and interrelat ions presented here are tlefinilive, they are generally accepted by scholars and practitioners in the fie ld, and they are useful for organizing the discussion of cases nnd readingsthat fo llows . The second section discusses the inlegrJtion of technology with bu s ine~s and corporate strategy. The third sect ion presents a framework for auditing and assessing the firm 's innovative capabi lit ies. A brief conclusion follows the third section.
KEY CONCEPTS AND THEIR RELAnONSHIPS
At the origin of the te'chnological innovation processare inventions or discoveries. As Webster poi nts out, "We discover what before exi sted, though to us unknown; we invent what did not before exist." In ventions and discoveries are the re~ult of creative processes that are often serendipitous and very difficult to predict or plan . For instance. Aspartame, a sweetener used in many food and beverage products, was a chance discovery. Researc hers inuniver· sities, the government, and industrial labs following the canons of modern science-as well us idiosyncratic linkerers in a garage-playa role in these processes. Basic scientific research refers to activities involved in genemting new knowledge about physical. biological, and social phenomena. Applied scientific research is geared toward solving particular technical probl ems. The cumu lntive bOOy of systematic and cod ified knowledge resu Jli ng from sc ientific research forms the substratum for many. but not all, inventions and discoveries (e.g. , the wheel was not the result of scien tific research).
The cri teria for success regarding invenlions and discoveries are technical (Is it true/real?) ruther than commercial (Does it provide n basis for economic rents?). ThroughpOlems, inventions and discoveries sometimes allow thei r originators 10 establish a potent ial for economic rents with subsequent innovations (sec be low), but there may be a significant time lag (te n years or more) between doing scientific research and using the inventions nnd discoveries to create successful innovations (supercontluctivity and genetic engineering are examples). TedmoJogy refers...
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