choose a firm
A key requirement is for students to gain access to managers at a firm (small or large) with significant activities in technological or process innovation. Their brief is to interview managers at the firm to understand innovation “in practice”. The exercise is intended to be a learning opportunity for students to
– explore the main lessons of the module;
– to develop questions for the managers based on what they have learned;
– to interview manager(s), and then to document how they could apply, are applied and could be improved upon in a particular company.
This is an opportunity to examine how managing innovation and/or entrepreneurship works “in practice” building on the experience of managers. Guidance on format for each item will be provided in class.
There are three tasks designed to consolidate learning from the module which includes the following elements:
1) Identify a firm of your choice with one or more managers willing to be interviewed (for 1 – 1.5 hours) for your class assignment. While you can choose the firm, there are a number of constraints; most important, the firm must be built around one or more innovative technologies or processes as a source of its competitive advantage (i.e. not strictly service firms or consulting firms and could also be a social enterprise). Similarly, there are few constraints on who you interview, only that the manager must have responsibility for innovation i.e. Managing Director, Chief Technology Officer, Head of R&D, Chief Operating Officer, Head of Engineering, etc. You are allowed to do the interview in a group of two but all submissions and discussions are individual.
2) Develop a list of questions to ask the manager, designed to capture the lessons and key practices from the module (i.e. the creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation processes for exploring, structures and incentives for executing innovations etc.). These questions should be structured so that you can address whether the various creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship practices covered in the module are used, how they are organized, what are their strengths, what are their limitations in the “real world.” (Submitted as Part A of the assignment) – Maximum 1500 words
3) Write up an analysis of your interview(s) including background information about
– the firm (age, size, technology, market application, stage in the innovation cycle-if appropriate),
– the themes that influence your questions, your assessment of the firm’s strengths and weaknesses in implementing “best practices” for the aspect of innovation covered in the Module (