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The New Age of Innovation: Driving Co-created Value Through Global Networks

By C.K. Prahalad and M.S. Krishnan; McGraw Hill 2008

 At the Merage School, we think of strategic innovation as a way to drive sustained growth, and we use collaboration, analytics and IT as tools. Four years after we formed this framework, Prahalad and Krishnan have written this tactical manual based on the same strategy.

They use two formulas to describe the theory. N = 1 is their shorthand for selling unique products to individual customers, pretty much the opposite of Ford’s Model T that came in any color so long as it was black. R = G is the way they describe resources as global, from the component parts to assembling the talent to create, manufacture and sell products around the world.

They use current examples, like Li & Fung and Facebook, to explain their very detailed gameplans. In fact, if you want a template for how to restructure in a global economy, they’ve detailed it down to specs for IT systems and review councils. For the most part, they emphasize incremental innovation and focus on huge multi-nationals.

While there are really no new insights, if you’re a manager trying to restructure in a constantly-evolving competitive world, this could give you the structure and many of the working details you’d need. For me, it was a bit wonky—an 8.0 on the LL innovation meter.

Lynda Lawrence is an innovation consultant with Ideaworks Consulting. She teaches Strategic Innovation and Design Management at the Merage School at UCI, and is an advisor to the Beall Center.

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