Michael Schrage

Michael Schrage is a Research Fellow at the MIT Sloan School of Management's Initiative on the Digital Economy. A sought-after expert on innovation, metrics, and network effects, he is the author of Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become?, The Innovator's Hypothesis: How Cheap Experiments Are Worth More than Good Ideas (MIT Press), and other books. 

  • Recommendation Engines

    Recommendation Engines

    Michael Schrage

    How companies like Amazon and Netflix know what “you might also like”: the history, technology, business, and social impact of online recommendation engines.

    Increasingly, our technologies are giving us better, faster, smarter, and more personal advice than our own families and best friends. Amazon already knows what kind of books and household goods you like and is more than eager to recommend more; YouTube and TikTok always have another video lined up to show you; Netflix has crunched the numbers of your viewing habits to suggest whole genres that you would enjoy. In this volume in the MIT Press's Essential Knowledge series, innovation expert Michael Schrage explains the origins, technologies, business applications, and increasing societal impact of recommendation engines, the systems that allow companies worldwide to know what products, services, and experiences “you might also like.”

    Schrage offers a history of recommendation that reaches back to antiquity's oracles and astrologers; recounts the academic origins and commercial evolution of recommendation engines; explains how these systems work, discussing key mathematical insights, including the impact of machine learning and deep learning algorithms; and highlights user experience design challenges. He offers brief but incisive case studies of the digital music service Spotify; ByteDance, the owner of TikTok; and the online personal stylist Stitch Fix. Finally, Schrage considers the future of technological recommenders: Will they leave us disappointed and dependent—or will they help us discover the world and ourselves in novel and serendipitous ways?

    • Paperback $15.95 £12.99
  • The Innovator's Hypothesis

    The Innovator's Hypothesis

    How Cheap Experiments Are Worth More than Good Ideas

    Michael Schrage

    Achieving faster, better, cheaper, and more creative innovation outcomes with the 5X5 framework: 5 people, 5 days, 5 experiments, $5,000, and 5 weeks.

    What is the best way for a company to innovate? Advice recommending “innovation vacations” and the luxury of failure may be wonderful for organizations with time to spend and money to waste. The Innovator's Hypothesis addresses the innovation priorities of companies that live in the real world of limits. Michael Schrage advocates a cultural and strategic shift: small teams, collaboratively—and competitively—crafting business experiments that make top management sit up and take notice. He introduces the 5x5 framework: giving diverse teams of five people up to five days to come up with portfolios of five business experiments costing no more than $5,000 each and taking no longer than five weeks to run. Successful 5x5s, Schrage shows, make people more effective innovators, and more effective innovators mean more effective innovations.

    • Hardcover $22.95 £18.99
    • Paperback $19.95 £15.99