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MIT CISR 2021 Research Projects

Becoming a Serial Innovator of Digital Offerings

Business Models; Innovation and Strategy; Organizational Structure and Agility

To defend, increase, and diversify how they make money, traditional companies have to engage in multiple fast-paced experiments in digital offerings: revenue-generating solutions that leverage digital technologies to address customer needs. Yet most struggle to do so.

In 2020, our research, based on in-depth qualitative data, found that to continuously generate solid returns from multiple digital offering initiatives, companies are changing three resources—funding, expertise, and technological capabilities—to enable them to generate insights within and across the initiatives. Within initiatives, the resources help teams generate a sequence of insights into what it takes to develop a digital offering that is desirable, feasible, and profitable, and to adapt the teams’ efforts accordingly. Across initiatives, the resources help others in the company to learn about common challenges and what it takes for initiatives to thrive, and based on those insights, develop shared resources that give initiatives competitive advantages.

In 2021, we continue this research by collecting two types of data to expand the range of sectors and companies that either strive to be or have become serial innovators of digital offerings:

  • Qualitative data from interviews with executives at companies that have succeeded in launching multiple digital offerings. What changes have they made to be able to systematically launch successful digital offerings?
  • Quantitative data from a survey of companies that have developed several digital offerings to identify statistically significant relations between key mechanisms and practices (for example, changes to funding, expertise, and technological capabilities) and the ability to launch digital offerings systematically.

Seeking: Teams of executives with experience in systematizing the development of new offerings and scaling digital offerings, especially product owners and heads of innovation

Contact: Nils O. Fonstad


Nils O. Fonstad, Research Scientist, Europe and LATAM

Nils researches competitive digital innovation and how organizations are redesigning themselves to realize greater impact from a diverse portfolio of innovation efforts. Through his research he has identified what investments and innovation practices distinguish the most competitive firms.

Martin Mocker, Professor & MIT CISR Academic Research Fellow
Related publications

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