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 28, 2017

What is the Future of VR?

April 28, 2017

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Virtual reality (VR) has become a hot area of the high-technology industry. The  ecosystem consists of multiple groups of participants including:

  • device manufacturers (e.g., headset manufacturers)
  • content providers (e.g., VR game producers)
  • platforms (e.g., Google and Facebook)
  • suppliers (e.g., lens manufacturers)
  • companies applying VR in different usage scenarios (e.g., VR in education or healthcare)

For this final assignment, please read this background note of the industry to get an overview of the industry. Pick a participant group from the above list and then pick a company within this group (the company does not need to be discussed in the background note). Create an approximately 500-750 word post. In your blog post, briefly describe this company’s current value creation and capture strategies and leverage your learning from the course to make recommendations on how the company can grow its business further.

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.

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Vertebrae – The Advertising Platform for VR
YuvalG
Posted on April 16, 2017 at 1:10 pm
Consumers don't like to pay. But they don't like banners either. Vetebrae allows developers to monetize their content by seamlessly integrating Vertebrae's pioneering Virtual Reality ad units and analytics into interactive VR experiences and 360° videos.

April 06, 2017

Data and Analytics as Digital Assets

April 06, 2017

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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 to make your contribution. 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.

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Big Data and Retail
Megan Trout
Megan Trout
Posted on April 3, 2017 at 12:00 am
How Target used predictive analytics to identify pregnant customers and why it matters for retail

March 21, 2017

Managing Digital Crowds

March 21, 2017

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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 tackle a range of problems such as innovation problems and funding startups. 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 to make your contribution by 6pm on March 20. 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.

Please prepare a two minute pitch about your blog entry before the class.

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SpotAngels – Using crowds to solve the car parking problem.
AC
Posted on March 20, 2017 at 5:50 pm
SpotAngels is a San-Francisco based start-up founded in 2014 and a graduate of Y-Combinator summer 2014 batch. The company focuses on solving the car parking problem. While it is still at its early stage, SpotAngels is developing an innovative way [...]
Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia
Mohit Mittal
Mohit Mittal
Posted on March 20, 2017 at 4:35 pm
With over 40M articles and 15 billion page views, Wikipedia is the fifth-most popular website in the world. With an editorial community of 75,000, Wikipedia has maintained a hierarchical structure to ensure the quality of content. Managed by a non-profit [...]

February 26, 2017

Growing Businesses in the Age of Platforms

February 26, 2017

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

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 multihoming 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 Feb 26. 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.

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

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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Amazon Flex
Meili
Meili
Posted on February 24, 2017 at 10:25 pm
Like Uber, but without the drunk people

February 02, 2017

Digital Winners & Losers

February 02, 2017

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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 2. 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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