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Business/ Management/ Innovation

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How the Best Companies Manage the Unexpected

A catastrophic earthquake is followed by a tsunami that inundates the coastline, and around the globe manufacturing comes to a standstill. State-of-the-art passenger jets are grounded because of a malfunctioning part. A strike halts shipments through a major port. A new digital device decimates the sales of other brands and sends established firms to the brink of bankruptcy. The interconnectedness of the global economy today means that unexpected events in one corner of the globe can ripple through the world’s supply chain and affect customers everywhere.

How a Small Band of Innovators Will Make College Accessible and Affordable

Colleges and universities have become increasingly costly, and, except for a handful of highly selective, elite institutions, unresponsive to twenty-first-century needs. But for the past few years, technology-fueled innovation has begun to transform higher education, introducing new ways to disseminate knowledge and better ways to learn—all at lower cost. In this impassioned account, Richard DeMillo tells the behind-the-scenes story of these pioneering efforts and offers a roadmap for transforming higher education.

A Doer's Manifesto for Starting from a Hunch, Prototyping Problems, Scaling Up, and Learning to Be Productively Wrong

Innovation is the subject of countless books and courses, but there’s very little out there about how you actually innovate. Innovation and entrepreneurship are not one and the same, although aspiring innovators often think of them that way. They are told to get an idea and a team and to build a show-and-tell for potential investors. In Innovating, Luis Perez-Breva describes another approach—a doer’s approach developed over a decade at MIT and internationally in workshops, classes, and companies.

How Activism Transformed the Jewelry Industry

Gold mining can be a dirty business. It creates immense amounts of toxic materials that are difficult to dispose of. Mines are often developed without community consent, and working conditions for miners can be poor. Income from gold has funded wars. And consumers buy wedding rings and gold chains not knowing about any of this. In Dirty Gold, Michael Bloomfield shows what happened when Earthworks, a small Washington-based NGO, launched a campaign for ethically sourced gold in the consumer jewelry market, targeting Tiffany and other major firms.

Designing Meaningful Products in a World Awash with Ideas

The standard text on innovation advises would-be innovators to conduct creative brainstorming sessions and seek input from outsiders—users or communities. This kind of innovating can be effective at improving products but not at capturing bigger opportunities in the marketplace. In this book Roberto Verganti offers a new approach—one that does not set out to solve existing problems but to find breakthrough meaningful experiences. There is no brainstorming—which produces too many ideas, unfiltered—but a vision, subject to criticism.

Shaping an Industry and Its Technology

No company of the twentieth century achieved greater success and engendered more admiration, respect, envy, fear, and hatred than IBM. Building IBM tells the story of that company -- how it was formed, how it grew, and how it shaped and dominated the information processing industry.

Systems Thinking Applied to Safety

Engineering has experienced a technological revolution, but the basic engineering techniques applied in safety and reliability engineering, created in a simpler, analog world, have changed very little over the years. In this groundbreaking book, Nancy Leveson proposes a new approach to safety—more suited to today’s complex, sociotechnical, software-intensive world—based on modern systems thinking and systems theory.

In this book, Eric von Hippel, author of the influential Democratizing Innovation, integrates new theory and research findings into the framework of a “free innovation paradigm.” Free innovation, as he defines it, involves innovations developed by consumers who are self-rewarded for their efforts, and who give their designs away “for free.” It is an inherently simple grassroots innovation process, unencumbered by compensated transactions and intellectual property rights.

This book offers an accessible guide to the financial aspects of launching and operating a high-tech business in such areas as engineering, computing, and science. It explains a range of subjects—from risk analysis to stock incentive programs for founders and key employees—for students and aspiring entrepreneurs who have no prior training in finance or accounting.

Meeting Human Needs in a Complex Technological World

Engineering, for much of the twentieth century, was mainly about artifacts and inventions. Now, it’s increasingly about complex systems. As the airplane taxis to the gate, you access the Internet and check email with your PDA, linking the communication and transportation systems. At home, you recharge your plug-in hybrid vehicle, linking transportation to the electricity grid. Today’s large-scale, highly complex sociotechnical systems converge, interact, and depend on each other in ways engineers of old could barely have imagined.

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