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Boosting the Strategic Impact of Digital Innovations: Essential Practices

Experimentation and Learning; Innovation Portfolios; Organizational Structure and Agility

In earlier research, we found that companies that realize significant strategic value from digital innovations have redesigned themselves around three learning imperatives:

  1. Innovation teams use a test-and-learn approach to build successful digital innovations
  2. Top-level management learn from initiatives to build an innovation portfolio that allocates scarce resources to the set of initiatives that promises to have the greatest strategic impact
  3. Functional experts learn from initiatives to build shared resources that help teams overcome common barriers to scaling innovations

We will focus on the following research questions:

  • How do companies build business commitment to all three learning imperatives?
  • How do companies regularly reallocate scarce resources—especially people—to the initiatives that contribute most to their strategic objectives?
  • How do companies realize synergies across sets of similar digital innovation initiatives in order to avoid accumulating a new generation of “IT spaghetti” and generate benefits from reuse?

In 2024, we will conduct a survey to identify practices that distinguish top-performing companies. In addition, we will update a case study.

This project is a continuation of MIT CISR’s 2023 research project on Essential Practices to Realize More Value Faster from Digital Innovations.

SEEKING: We are seeking participation in the research from executives who have a holistic understanding of their organization’s portfolio of digital innovation investments and practices, and also of the extent to which the organization’s digital innovation initiatives relate to its strategic objectives.

CONTACT: Nils Fonstad


Nils O. Fonstad, Academic Research Fellow

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 of Information Systems

Martin is a professor of information systems with a focus on IT strategy and complexity management at ESB Business School, Reutlingen University, Germany and an MIT CISR academic research fellow. His teaching and research focus on the digital transformations of big, old companies aiming to stay competitive in an increasingly digital economy. 

Stephanie L. Woerner, Director and Principal Research Scientist

Stephanie’s work focuses on how enterprises use technology and data to create more effective business models and how they manage the associated organizational change. She has a passion for measuring hard-to-assess digital factors and linking them to firm performance.

Related Publications

Three Learning Imperatives: An Overview

Test and Learn to Build Successful Innovations

Test and Learn to Build a Portfolio of Initiatives that Advance Strategic Objectives

Test and Learn to Build Shared Resources that Propel Multiple Initiatives

MIT CISR research is funded by the more than seventy-five member organizations that support our work and participate in our consortium. 

MIT CISR Patrons
Pegasystems Inc.
The Ogilvy Group
MIT CISR Sponsors
Alcon Vision
ANZ Banking Group (Australia)
Banco Bradesco S.A. (Brazil)
Banco do Brasil S.A.
Bank of Queensland (Australia)
Barclays (UK)
BlueScope Steel (Australia)
BNP Paribas (France)
Caterpillar, Inc.
Cemex (Mexico)
Cochlear Limited (Australia)
Commonwealth Superannuation Corp. (Australia)
Cuscal Limited (Australia)
CVS Health
Dawn Foods
DBS Bank Ltd. (Singapore)
Doosan Corporation (Korea)
Fidelity Investments
Fomento Economico Mexicano, S.A.B., de C.V.
Fortum (Finland)
Gilbane Building Co.
Johnson & Johnson (J&J)
Kaiser Permanente
King & Wood Mallesons (Australia)
Koç Holding (Turkey)
Nasdaq, Inc.
NN Insurance Eurasia NV
Nomura Holdings, Inc. (Japan)
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd. Systems Consulting Division (Japan)
Novo Nordisk A/S (Denmark)
OCP Group
Pacific Life Insurance Company
Posten Bring AS (Norway)
Principal Life Insurance Company
Ramsay Health Care (Australia)
Reserve Bank of Australia
Scentre Group Limited (Australia)
Schneider Electric Industries SAS (France)
Stockland (Australia)
Tabcorp Holdings (Australia)
Telstra Limited (Australia)
Terumo Corporation (Japan)
Tetra Pak (Sweden)
Truist Financial Corporation
UniSuper Management Pty Ltd (Australia)
Uniting (Australia)
Webster Bank, N.A.
Westpac Banking Corporation (Australia)
WestRock Company
Wolters Kluwer
Xenco Medical
Zoetis Services LLC

MIT CISR Associate Members

MIT CISR wishes to thank all of our associate members for their support and contributions.

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