Syllabus

This course provides a strategic framework for managing high-technology businesses. The emphasis throughout is on the development and application of ways of thinking or mental models that bring clarity to the complex co-evolution of technological innovation, the demand opportunity, business ecosystems, and decision-making and execution within the business.

The primary focus is on the acquisition and application of a set of powerful analytical tools that are critical for the development of technology strategy as a key element in business strategy. These tools provide managers with insights when anticipating and deciding how to respond to the behavior of competitors, complementors and customers, and when deciding which technologies to invest in, opportunities to target or partnerships to pursue. Its objective is to improve (significantly) the odds of success when figuring out how to create and capture value, make difficult decisions and develop and deliver technologies, platforms and products.

It will focus on domains in which systems are important, because either or both products are parts of larger and more complex systems, or they are comprised of systems. The domains that will be covered include computing, communications (in particular the mobile and IP domains), consumer electronics, industrial networking, automotive and aerospace. The course will be of particular interest to those interested in managing a business in which technology will likely play a major role, and also to those interested in investing in or providing counsel to these businesses.

The course uses case studies and presentations, and also relies upon independent research by participants. The readings are drawn from research in technological change, theoretical and empirical economics, and organizational theory. There are both required readings, which are essential preparation for the class sessions, and recommended readings, which you may also find interesting or useful. The case studies provide an extensive opportunity to integrate and apply these tools and theories in a practical, business policy context.

Grading

Grades will be determined by class participation, by two short interim papers, and by a final presentation and paper. The short interim papers and the final presentation and paper should be done in groups of three to four (with the same group for all of them).


ACTIVITIES PERCENTAGES
Class attendance and participation 40%
Short interim papers 20%
Final paper 40%

Attendance and Class Preparation

This is not an easy course, because this is not an easy subject, and its objective is to provide a complete introduction to and overview of this complex, dynamic and uncertain area.

Cutting class will affect your grade and, more importantly, both your own and your classmates' experience in the class. If you do miss a session, it is your responsibility to inform me beforehand in good time - which means the previous working day - and to find out what materials were covered, what assignments were made, and what handouts you missed. If you miss more than one session without warning me in advance it will have a severe negative impact on your grade for class participation.

On the other hand, the grades for class participation will be awarded on the basis of the quality of the contribution, not the quantity. You should not feel compelled to speak up in every class. Interesting questions count as much as interesting answers.

Collaboration

Group work is not just acceptable but very actively encouraged. I strongly recommend that you form a study group with a few friends who can meet to discuss the cases and readings before each class. Our experience suggests that this will significantly increase both your enjoyment of the course and the amount that you find yourself learning.