by Stefan H. Thomke
Harvard Business School Press
Stefan Thomke, an associate professor of technology and operations management at Harvard Business School, believes there is a vast store of potential innovation in new technologies. To help companies unlock that potential, he writes that they must tap the power of experimentation and new technologies while changing their processes, organization and management of innovation. He explains that computer modeling and simulation have made experimentation less expensive than ever before, and research and development (R&D) teams now have tools at their disposal that can be used to create new value for customers.
Many of the scientific breakthroughs, products and even services that we take for granted today are the result of computer-based modeling and simulation. Computer generated experiments were once primarily used for scientific and military research, but computer simulations are used today in a variety of fields, ranging from the sequencing and analysis of the human genome and the design of modern airplanes and automobiles to understanding the flow of fluids in the development of baby diapers. Running these experiments continues to become cheaper and faster, and even financial institutions are using computer simulations to test new financial instruments and products.
Using new technologies for experimentation is not easy, and Thomke explains that it requires companies to learn how to manage, organize and structure their innovation processes. In Experimentation Matters, he shows organizations how they can fully integrate new technologies into their experimentation process by offering six principles for managing experimentation and explaining how they can be used to drive innovative product development. They are:
Experimentation Matters offers many useful insights into innovation and demonstrates how new technologies can have profound effects on business experimentation. By addressing management's roles in the innovation process, and demonstrating the use of new technologies through numerous revealing case studies of successful companies, Thomke presents a probing and thoughtful technical foundation on which organizations can build and grow from their innovation processes.
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