Prof. Ed Roberts in the latest MIT SMR

October 2001, MIT Sloan research page

Partnering with outsiders to speed innovation is increasingly the norm among high-tech companies. Then why are so many organizations still struggling to make such efforts work?

The answer, say MIT Sloan School professor of management Edward B. Roberts and Wenyun Kathy Liu, an associate at Salomon Smith Barney in New York, is that all too often companies choose collaborative strategies without first considering what stage in the technology life cycle a given technology has entered — and which type of partnership is suited best to that stage.

In the feature article of the Fall 2001 issue of the MIT Sloan Management Review, Roberts and Liu identify the four phases of the life-cycle of a technology and examine how those phases affect a technology leader's decision whether outsourcing or acquisition will best fuel innovation.

Other highlights from the issue:

Driving E-Business Excellence

Anitesh Barua, Prabhudev Konana, Andrew B. Whinston and Fang Yin

Many models claiming to lead to e-business success have been too narrowly focused. A new research-backed model offers managers a comprehensive way of rethinking e-business operations.

Successful Build-to-Order Strategies Start With the Customer

Matthias Holweg and Frits K. Pil

Build-to-order manufacturing has been hailed as a boon to both companies and customers. But to be effective, companies and their suppliers must first understand what customers want.

Finding the Right CEO: Why Boards Often Make Poor Choices

Rakesh Khurana

Thanks to entrenched practices that are rarely questioned, boards often fail to choose the right CEO. Here are suggestions on how to avoid common pitfalls in CEO searches.

When Is It Legal To Trade on Inside Information?

G. Richard Shell

Loose-lipped strangers can be a legal source for hot stock tips, but not if they expect to get something in return

The Future of E-Business

Thomas W. Malone

Countless real-world experiments will drive e-business innovation during the next five years, and academic researchers will contribute to this process by accelerating the rate at which businesses learn from each other's experiments.

Back to the Future: Benetton Transforms Its Global Network

Arnaldo Camuffo, Pietro Romano and Andrea Vinelli

Benetton is rethinking its global network of suppliers and distributors and defying conventional wisdom in the process. Its efforts may prove to be a model for other companies with far-flung operations.

Mastering Strategic Movement at Palm

David B. Yoffie and Mary Kwak

Judo strategists avoid head-to-head struggles. Instead, by relying on speed, agility and creative thinking, they make it difficult for stronger rivals to compete — as Palm demonstrated in taking early control of the market for PDAs.

E-commerce is Changing the Face of IT

Michael Earl and Bushra Khan

The Internet is pushing companies and their IT departments to redefine technology's role in new business models. A recent survey shows long-accepted IT precepts falling by the wayside.

Cutting Costs While Improving Morale With B2E Management

Morten T. Hansen and Michael S. Deimler

Business-to-employee management allows companies to cultivate employees the way they cultivate customers. In the process, they get a more satisfied, more productive work force — while enjoying major cost reductions.

Preserving Knowledge in an Uncertain World

Eric Lesser and Laurence Prusak

When employees walk out the door, they take valuable organizational knowledge with them. But managers who think creatively can keep it in-house.

To read on, please visit the MIT SMR home page at http://mitsloan.mit.edu/smr. Reprints of SMR articles are available.

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At MIT Sloan, companies are launched in courtyards and corridors. Research shows that start-ups conceived in a technology environment are the most successful.