July 2014 Download this article as a PDF

Welcome to the July 2014 issue of the Technology Innovation Management Review. In this issue, our authors present insights about business models for the Internet of Things; standards and platforms in the video game industry; improvisation in entrepreneurship; the relationship between commercialization and societal benefits; value co-creation in knowledge-intensive business services; and ambidextrous strategies for innovation in firms.

In the first article, Mika Westerlund, Seppo Leminen, and Mervi Rajahonka, from universities in Finland and Canada, investigate the challenges of designing business models for the Internet of Things. In light of two underlying trends – the shift from viewing the Internet of Things as a technology platform to a business ecosystem, and the shift from firm-centric business models to ecosystem-centric business models – they argue that "value design" is a preferable concept to "business model" when evaluating the different ways that value is created and captured in a business ecosystem. By identifying four interconnected "pillars" representing the drivers, nodes, exchanges, and extracts of value, the authors lay the foundation for a new design tool to help managers focus on value opportunities and develop business models that complement other actors within the emerging Internet of Things ecosystem.

Next, Mikael Laakso and Linus Nyman from the Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, Finland, retrace the evolution of the video game industry to show how technological standards and platforms can enable commercialization and innovation. From the earliest computer games and arcades to consoles and mobile games, the authors examine the emergence and consolidation of standards and platforms and reveal how they mitigate fragmentation and enable higher-level innovations that span multiple standards or platforms.

Tom Duxbury from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, reviews the role of improvisation in helping startups adapt to changing environments. Duxbury argues that entrepreneurs improvise not just out of necessity, but because they self-select entrepreneurship as an occupation that matches their own disposition towards improvisation. He shares entrepreneurial lessons from contexts in jazz and theatre and recommends that evidence of past success with improvisation be used to select candidates for improvisational work.

Sandra Schillo from the University of Ottawa, Canada, examines the goal of achieving positive contributions to society through publicly funded science and the perception that it may be in conflict with the restrictions many commercialization arrangements place on the use of knowledge. Although compatibility is not a given in all cases, Schillo argues that commercialization can be a complementary or even critical component of pursuits toward societal contributions. Her article seeks to reframe the discussion of how science can contribute to society in an era of increased openness and interaction.

Lysanne Lessard from the University of Ottawa, Canada, proposes a framework for the design and management of engagements with knowledge-intensive business services. Through multiple case studies of academic R&D service engagements, Lessard examined i) the alignment of actors’ interests, value propositions, and resources, and ii) the actors’ ability to integrate the engagement’s deliverables and outcomes as a basis for their perception of the engagement’s value. The resulting framework is intended to help firms monitor and manage collaborative relationships in which they are providing knowledge-intensive business services.

Nehemiah Scott from the University of Toledo, USA, proposes a framework for continual innovation based on a firm's ambidextrous strategies and priorities. Scott modifies the concept of ambidexterity (i.e., exploration, exploitation, coordination) to reconceptualize business, marketing, and information-systems strategies as ambidextrous strategy constructs. He also discusses the relationships between constructs and the implications of this reconceptualization for researchers and managers.

Finally, this issue also includes a report on a recent TIM Lecture by David Harris, Director of the Laboratory for Analytic Sciences (LAS). The LAS is a government, academic, and industry collaboration whose mission is to imagine, investigate, and implement innovative classified and unclassified solutions for a variety of tactical and strategic analytic challenges, including those related to cybersecurity. Harris introduced the laboratory and its analysis framework, including a collaboration tool used to help improve the lab's efficiency and enhance its analytic approach. 

We hope you enjoy this issue of the TIM Review and will share your comments online. Please contact us with article topics and submissions, suggestions for future themes, and any other feedback.

Chris McPhee
Editor-in-Chief

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Keywords: ambidexterity, business ecosystems, business models, entrepreneurship, improvisation, innovation, Internet of Things, knowledge-intensive business services, platforms, public good, publicly funded research, standards, strategy, value co-creation, value design

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