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Essential Practices to Realize More Value Faster from Digital Innovations

 Experimentation and Learning; Innovation Portfolios; Organizational Structure and Agility

In earlier research, we found that to realize more value faster from digital innovations, established organizations are redesigning themselves around three learning imperatives:

  1. Innovation teams must take a test-and-learn approach to build a successful digital innovation—i.e., one that is valuable to both end-users and the organization.
  2. Top-level management must learn frequently from initiatives to build an innovation portfolio that meets more strategic objectives despite scarce resources.
  3. Functional experts must learn to build shared resources that help similar initiatives scale.

In 2023, we will conduct a survey to identify practices that distinguish top-performing companies as they test and learn at both the digital innovation initiative and portfolio levels and when developing shared resources. In addition, we will conduct a case study.

We will focus on the following research questions:

  • How do companies learn whether an initiative will generate a digital offering that is desirable, feasible, and profitable?
  • How do companies regularly reallocate scarce resources—especially people—to the initiatives that contribute most to their strategic objectives?
  • How do companies learn about and address any common challenges across sets of similar digital innovation initiatives?

This project is a continuation of MIT CISR’s 2022 research project on Learning to Create More Strategic Value Faster with Digital Innovations.

SEEKING: We are seeking participation in the research from executives who have helped strengthen their organization’s capacity to learn more and more often from digital innovation initiatives, regarding the value those initiatives generate in relation to the organization’s strategic objectives.

CONTACT: Nils 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

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

Jukka Salonen, MIT CISR Industry Research Fellow

Jukka has over three dozen years' experience in banking and finance, nearly half in C-suite positions; he last served as chief portfolio officer at Nordea. He also has over twenty years' experience as a board member for several companies. Jukka retired in 2021 and joined MIT CISR as an Industry Research Fellow.

David C. Robertson, Senior Lecturer

David Robertson joined the faculty of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 2011. He is a Professor of Practice and teaches Innovation and Product Development in Wharton’s undergraduate, MBA, and executive education programs. From 2002 through 2010, Robertson was the LEGO Professor of Innovation and Technology Management at Switzerland’s Institute for Management Development (IMD). 

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 firms that sponsor our work and participate in our consortium. 

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