Firms today are establishing market leadership by mastering digital innovation. For example, the traditional "Mad Men" advertising agencies now have to be able to blend digital products and services with creative strategy. Amazon is as much a retailer and supply chain powerhouse as it is a digital innovator. Similarly, the Netflix business model is heavily reliant on continuously building and enhancing digital products and services to compete against incumbents in the entertainment industry. Ford is realizing that its future competitors are likely to be Facebook and Google and not BMW and Toyota. Meanwhile, Local Motors, an HBS-alum led startup, is using crowdsourcing, digital fabrication and 3D printing to disrupt the automotive industry.

Digital Innovation and Transformation is a new Harvard Business School course designed to equip students to confidently help conceive, lead and execute digital innovation initiatives. To enrich the course experience, Professors Zhu and Lakhani have elected to use this platform for assignments. The goal of using Open Knowledge is to stimulate deeper conversation, cross-pollination between ideas, and inclusion of the global "digital transformation" community.

We invite you to read more and dive in by adding your own thoughts through contributions and comments.

Assignment Prompts

April 30, 2018

Driving Digital Transformation

April 30, 2018

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For this final blog post, please pick one company that you are familiar with (e.g., a company you worked at). First, describe the current challenges and opportunities the company is facing due to digital transformation. Then recommend changes the company needs to make to address these challenges or take advantages of these opportunities. In your post, please consider any organizational changes the company needs to make, and potential internal resistance when implementing your recommendation (and strategies to overcome such resistance).

Create an approximately 1,000-1,500 word post to make your contribution on digit.hbs.org by 6pm on April 30. Please create appropriate tags for your post. Please also respond to and comment on three other posts by May 1. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos, and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

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Digital Disney: Transforming the Happiest Place on Earth
B4AD56
B4AD56
Posted on April 21, 2018 at 5:37 pm
The leader in media entertainment, Disney faces an existential crisis with the rise of digital streaming. With ~200,000 employees, established brands, and a business inextricably linked to the traditional system, how can Disney transform itself in today's digital era?

April 09, 2018

Competing with Data Challenge

April 09, 2018

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In this module we have examined how data and analytics can be utilized in organizations of all types. For this assignment, please choose a company that uses data in a creative way to drive value creation, capture or operating model and then describe:

  • What does the usage or analysis of data create value for the company? How is it different from its competitors?
  • What does the company capture value from data and analytics? How is it different from its competitors?
  • How did it get to where it is now? What challenges did the company have to overcome? What challenges and opportunities do you anticipate for the company in the future?
  • For companies that failed to grow data-driven business models, what are the root causes for such failures?

Please try to use data and analytics to illustrate your arguments when possible. Create an approximately 500-750 word post at digit.hbs.org.  Please create appropriate tags for your post. Please also respond to and comment on three other posts before class. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

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Netflix: Your Data, Your Show, Your Experience
B4AD56
B4AD56
Posted on April 4, 2018 at 5:50 pm
Netflix has been the poster child of combining data-driven growth with creative choices. At its core, the Netflix big data approach to media has resulted in more personalized entertainment experiences for subscribers and better creative decision making.

March 26, 2018

Competing with or Against Crowds

March 26, 2018

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In this module we have examined how firms can leverage digital technologies to harness the power of collective intelligence from the crowds to create value and capture value. For this assignment you have three options:

1 – Pick one industry where no firms have leveraged crowds, and come up with a crowd-based business model that may potentially transform the industry. Describe how you plan to create and capture value. Explain why the crowd will participate, and why your crowd-based model is better than the current model employed by the incumbents.

2 – Describe a company that is using crowds (external or internal) in an innovative manner. Describe how they incentivize participation and manage the crowd. What are the challenges? Describe how value creation and value capture occur, and the growth potential of this business.

3 – Companies often struggle with crowds as well. Describe failed crowdsourcing efforts and explain how and why the company failed. Given what you have learned in the course, what would you do differently?

Create an approximately 500-750 word post at digit.hbs.org to make your contribution by 6pm on March 26. Please create appropriate tags for your post. Please also respond to and comment on three other posts per module before class. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

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Show me the Waze to go home
Hans Latta
Posted on March 22, 2018 at 12:53 am
With 22.5 billion kilometers logged and 100 million users, Waze has rapidly become the navigation app of choice. And it got there through crowd-sourcing.

March 05, 2018

Growing Businesses in the Age of Platforms

March 05, 2018

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One consequence of the digital transformation is that platforms are becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s economy.

Assignment

For this module please pick ONE company/organization and discuss how it creates and captures value in platform markets:

Issues you may want to address (feel free to consider other related issues not listed below):

  • How to scale up platform businesses?
  • How do various factors such as local/global network effects and multi-homing affect competitive dynamics in platform markets?
  • When can an entrant take over market leadership when competing with an incumbent in a platform market?
  • How can product/service-centric firms grow into platform-centric firms?
  • How do firms cooperate and compete with powerful platforms when they serve as complementors and partners of these platforms?

Create an approximately 500-750 word post to make your contribution on digit.hbs.org by 6pm on March 5. Please create appropriate tags for your post. Please also respond to and comment on three other posts per module. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Note: Since our third module is on crowd-based business models (business models that leverage collective intelligence from a large number of users), please do not pick crowd-based companies such as Kickstarter and Threadless for this OK blog post.

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ZocDoc: Finding a doctor when you need one!
Saurav Patyal
Posted on March 5, 2018 at 12:45 am
Patients wait an average of 24 days to schedule an appointment with a doctor in U.S. cities.  This is a 30% jump from 2014 and has been driven by doctor shortages, aging baby boomers, and greater insurance penetration (thanks to [...]
Spotify | Should Investors Join The Band?
Juan
Posted on February 26, 2018 at 12:10 am
As the Swedish music service prepares to list its shares on the NYSE in the next few months, investors wonder about the sustainability of its business model: will the world’s largest streaming company stand up to quarterly pressures and convince [...]
The “Harvard” of Dating Apps: The League
Brittany W
Posted on March 3, 2018 at 3:19 pm
Is The League doing enough to sustain its global network? Does The League truly want us to find love? Or instead does it hope that we continue swiping left so that we stay on the platform and continue to grow [...]

February 01, 2018

Digital Winners & Losers

February 01, 2018

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Digital technologies are upending many industries and companies. Think about Uber’s impact on the taxi business or Spotify’s impact on music downloads and the record industry.

For this assignment, we would like you to identify companies/organizations that you think are winning or losing. Just work on either winners or losers. Please focus on just one organization. Tell us why they are a winner or loser. Discuss elements of how they create and/or capture value that is leading you to call them a winner or loser.

Create an approximately 500-750 word post to make your contribution on digit.hbs.org by 6pm on Feb 1. Please create appropriate tags for your post including if it is a “winner” or “loser.” Please also respond to and comment on three other posts per module. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Selected posts will be discussed in class and also featured on the HBS Digital Initiative website.

Please prepare a 2-3 min summary of your blog post before class.

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Amazon | To Go Or Not To Go
Juan
Posted on January 31, 2018 at 11:43 pm
Amazon has been one of the clear winners in the digital age, but will it also win in the grocery shopping space? Or will it be forced to share its technology and level the playing field?
Fitbit: From Winner to Loser
Pumchanut
Posted on January 31, 2018 at 5:44 pm
The rise of wearable technology began in 1975 when the first calculator watch was launched by Pulsar. Over time wearable technology started to improve. In 2008, Fitbit takes wearable technology to the next level. The company’s CEO James Park has [...]