MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer
President Donald Trump’s memorandum establishing the White House Office of American Innovation sounds great. It appoints his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as its head and aspires to “bring together the best ideas from government, the private sector, and other thought leaders to ensure that America is ready to solve today’s most intractable problems.”
We hear lots of talk in the business community about the need to innovate to stay ahead of the competition. But what does “innovation” really mean? Merriam-Webster defines it as “a new idea, device, or method.” If Trump and Kushner intend to import the private sector’s ideas, devices, or methods into government, we should take a closer look at how innovation works in the business world.
The federal government is a large organization; in fact, it is the largest employer in the U.S. followed by Walmart. So if innovation is going to work in the federal government, it would need to follow the same model of innovation at large private sector organizations.
But the tough truth is that it’s really hard to innovate in large private sector organizations. There are really only two ways to do so effectively: acquire those that innovate or innovate internally.
MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer
How important is having a “big idea” for startups? Ideas can generate a lot of buzz and capture attention from investors and potential customers, but long-term success really depends on the capabilities of the team.
It’s often said that investors typically look for an “A” team with a “B” idea rather than a “B” team with an “A” idea. The reason is that once you start developing an idea, things change, models need to pivot, and teams must be able to adapt. This makes a lot of sense because if all you have is an A idea and hit an obstacle, the venture fails. However, an A team can iterate until it finds success.
MIT Sloan Sr. Lecturer Joseph Hadzima
This is a lucrative time for intellectual property. Earlier this year, Kodak, the bankrupt company that invented the digital camera, sold its portfolio of 1,100 digital photography-related patents to a dozen licensees, including Apple, Microsoft and Google for $525 million. Last spring, Google bought Motorola Mobility with its 17,000 patents, for $12.5 billion, to protect its Android mobile operating systems from rivals. Also last year, Microsoft acquired 800 patents from AOL for more than $1 billion, only to turn around and sell 70% of them to Facebook for $550 million in cash. Read More