Course: Digital Innovation and Transformation

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

November 2015

Data-driven Value Creation, Value Capture and Operating Models

November 2015

Read The Full Prompt

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 is the company’s value creation model? How does it depend on the creative usage or analysis of data? How is it different from its competitors?

•What is the company’s value capture model? How does it depend on the creative usage or analysis of data? How is it different from its competitors?

•How does its operating model (processes, capabilities, resources, and use of data) drive its business model (value creation and capture)?

•How did it get to where it is now? What challenges do you anticipate for the company in the future?

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.

Featured Responses

Nielsen: Unique Opportunity with Big Challenges
Anndrea Moore
Anndrea Moore
Posted on November 23, 2015 at 1:12 pm
Who is Nielsen? The Nielsen Company, founded in 1923, tracks and ultimately sells data on “what people watch, listen to, and buy”.  For the “Buy” business, Nielsen has relationships with all major retailers in the United States (Walmart, Kroger, Safeway, [...]

October 2015

Leveraging the Collective Intelligence and Effort of Digital Crowds

October 2015

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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. 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.

Featured Responses

Quora: Crowdsourced Answers
Anndrea Moore
Anndrea Moore
Posted on December 8, 2015 at 8:03 am
“a place to get answers, to share what you know, to read, and to think” Quora is a website that allows users to anonymously post questions on a variety of topics and receive answers from anyone. The best answers are [...]
Waze – Crowdsourcing Maps and Traffic Information
S
S
Posted on December 6, 2015 at 8:59 pm
Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app which enables drivers to share real-time traffic and road info, saving other local drivers time and gas money on their commute. Like other GPS software, it learns from users’ driving [...]

October 2015

Competing with Network Effects

October 2015

Read The Full Prompt

One consequence of the digital transformation of the economy is that many industries today are exhibiting network effects.

For this module please pick ONE company/organization and discuss how networks effects may affect its value creation, value capture and/or operating model and/or how it can take advantage of network effects to grow its business.

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

– How to scale up businesses that exhibit Direct Network Effects?

– How to scale up businesses that exhibit Indirect Network Effects?

– How should incumbent firms compete when their industries become susceptible to network effects?

– How can an entrant take over market leadership when competing with an incumbent in a networked industry?

– How can product-centric firms grow into platform-centric firms?
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.

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, Wikipedia, and Threadless for this OK blog post.

Featured Responses

CoachUp: Developing Athletes of Tomorrow
DIGITite
Posted on October 5, 2015 at 7:22 pm
“Actions Speak Louder Than Words.” We have all heard that saying many times over the years and likely seen it used in during relationships, in a professional setting, with friends…but what about in sports?   Before anything else, please watch [...]

September 2015

Digital Winners and Losers

September 2015

Read The Full Prompt

The basic thesis of our course is that 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 module, 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. 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.

Featured Responses

MetroMile – Why pay for something you don’t use?
LMT
Posted on September 15, 2015 at 1:06 am
Today, Personal lines insurance is being disrupted by new, telematic-enabled products whereby customers are willing to give over their data in search for fairer-priced products.[i] MetroMile, first launched in Oregon in 2012, is seeking to capture a share of the [...]