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  • 1.  Accelerating Innovation: Some Lessons from The Pandemic

    Posted 03-30-2021 14:32

    I was drawn to the article by Robert Cooper titled, Accelerating Innovation: Some Lessons from The Pandemic, because of the relevance to current events occurring at many companies. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to change on the fly. I believe one of the more positive outcomes innovation. Many people, from individuals to restaurants, to live performing artists and musicians, to large industrial corporations created many innovative products and services in record time. Robert uses the example of the COVID-19 vaccine development as an example of focused project teams which went really well. This is an excellent example of teams coming together to push bureaucracy out of the way and develop something in record time. He also discussed prioritizing projects at regular portfolio reviews as a way to eliminate excess projects and focus the team on the most promising. He cites many other excellent examples in the article which show companies and groups coming together to innovate and create products and services to, not only survive the pandemic, but also to create entirely new categories of products.

                One area on which I would like to focus is digital tools used to accelerate knowledge creation. Cooper discusses augmented and virtual realities used to simulate construction vehicle development at Volvo. I want to discuss another use of technology which led to a sort of revolution of industry. Streaming technology changed the movie industry quickly and permanently at the beginning of the pandemic. Movie theaters and other live performance venues were shuttered throughout the world in an effort to prevent gatherings of people. Suddenly, musicians, performers, actors, and the support staff behind these productions found themselves out of work. A group of musicians decided to collaborate virtually and perform a concert of sorts which was streamed via the internet and TV. This led to copycat productions which allowed artists to continue working and allowed people an outlet to see "live" performances in their homes. Streaming technology allowed television shows to continue, even shows such as Saturday Night Live. Many of the comedians and actors live streamed from their homes and production staff ensured they had the correct equipment and synched the pieces together to produce the show. These "live at home" performances were an innovative solution enabled by technology. Had the pandemic occurred even twenty years ago, these productions and concert streams would not have been possible. Staff to support the production behind the scenes would have been permanently out of work and many musicians and actors likely would have ended up unemployed. Rapid deployment of advanced streaming technology allowed the entertainment industry to survive, even if not at pre-pandemic levels. It allowed the fallout to be reduced.

                In conclusion, innovation occurred in many areas, industries, and with individuals throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Many companies and individuals created products and services that did not exist prior to the pandemic. These innovations were developed in record time. Seeing innovation success led many others to become creative and innovate solutions themselves. While there have been many negative outcomes caused by the pandemic, innovation was one bright spot in an otherwise bleak environment. 

    Cooper, R. (2021). Accelerating innovation: some lessons from the pandemic. The Journal of Product Innovation Management.



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    Timothy Sullivan
    MBA Candidate
    Oakland University
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  • 2.  RE: Accelerating Innovation: Some Lessons from The Pandemic

    Posted 04-06-2021 09:33
    Hi Tim,

    While going through the most recent volume of the Journal of Product Innovation Management I was also drawn to this article. What the world has experienced in the past year has been like you mentioned, a great time for innovation and adaptation to develop full force. I have experienced a lot of this digital innovation when it came to what we do in my office, which is connecting with prospective students and giving them campus tours. We also had to adapt and move our whole operations online, we had to quickly train our students to give virtual tours, sit in virtual panels, put together virtual events and also communicate as a team only in a virtual setting. I think one great asset of these kinds of situations is as the article mentioned that "firms are developing breakthrough products in record time". When time is at the essence they are able to deliver.

    I was particularly impressed by the "Lean Development" process because it talks about this idea that we all kinda knew but not really addressed which is time to complete "new product processes". The value stream analysis helps companies to remove waste and inefficiencies and make "the idea to launch" mechanisms more efficient. This includes removing tasks, the multitude of PPTs, and the redundant planning meetings that we all know. The work that they do should bring value, and if it does not, it should go. It also mentioned the "rolling process" that the pharma companies used to speed up the process of bringing the Moderna vaccine to market. I think being able to identify which of your processes need improvement and speeding them up is essential, and when time is ticking like a Global Pandemic, it is more than just money at stake.

    I remember listening to so many podcasts about how many new apps and products came out of the 08' recession, and how they are comparing COVID to that time and the product innovations coming our way in these next months/years. I am a fan of innovation because it keeps us constantly evolving, so I am excited about the road ahead. 


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    Cezara Siotean
    Oakland University
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  • 3.  RE: Accelerating Innovation: Some Lessons from The Pandemic

    Posted 04-06-2021 09:33
    Tim,  This article caught my attention as well.  Thank you Robert Cooper for the information.

    I really enjoyed reading this article!  It caught my attention because it is very relevant during this time and I wanted to further understand how new product development was happening so quickly and how this could apply to larger organizations.

    The article mentions 5 different approaches to accelerate product development and some negatives that could occur if products were pushed to market quickly.  The approaches for acceleration include focused project teams, fewer and better projects, digital tools that provide the ability to test/prototype products more quickly, lean development, and agile development. Some of the negatives included proving economic payoff on accelerated development, bypassing better innovation, and cutting corners.

    Currently, we are seeing a large focus on electric vehicles (EVs) and EV technology.  One item that comes to mind is battery range.  Many original equipment manufacturers (OEM) are setting targets to have a large portfolio of EV's and have the best ranges.  This takes a lot of developmental resources.

     How do large companies go about adopting a mix of the five processes if not already in their process?  Will it be to late to  learn these processes to make an impact  on the market (training team members etc.)?  Or will these be adopted over time and serve as the new way of development, so adopting now versus later does not matter as much?

    Cooper, R. (2021). Accelerating innovation: some lessons from the pandemic. The Journal of Product Innovation Management.
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    Aaron Motyl
    MBA Candidate
    Oakland University
    Rochester, Mi
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    Aaron Motyl
    Oakland University
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  • 4.  RE: Accelerating Innovation: Some Lessons from The Pandemic

    Posted 04-06-2021 09:33
    Hi Timothy,
    Thanks for sharing.

    I totally agree that we got something positive out of the pandemic. Many companies and individuals showed some innovations and came up with new ways of doing things. I am sure the whole world after the pandemic will change. Even when we go back the normal, some of the pandemic ideas will still apply. For example, I do not think that companies will have their employees to fully come back to the physical offices. The pandemic gave us a lesson that we can do things differently in efficient ways.

    Thanks again for sharing

    Ahmed Alobaidan

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    Ahmed Alobaidan
    Student
    Oakland University
    Auburn Hills
    3138001172
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