Competing at Innovative Speed: Why Is It So Darn Hard?

MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series

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Steven J. Spear, DBA

Steven J. Spear, DBA, Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management and School of Engineering; Author: The High Velocity Edge

Date: May 9, 2016

Slides available here

About the Presentation

Today’s companies can no longer lock in market share with barriers that keep competitors at bay and customers and employees from defecting. As a result, competitive paradigms have irrevocably transformed from finding and sustaining a position to practicing relentless innovation.

In this webinar, Dr. Steven J. Spear will define “relentless innovation” and how to use it to continually identify new targets and be the first to achieve them. He will discuss:

  • why management decisions can no longer be made primarily by using sophisticated models to gather and analyze data;
  • why today’s companies must also employ experiential and experimental approaches while constantly testing new ideas about what to do and how to do it; and
  • how to achieve this new level of competitiveness at innovative speed—and why that is easier said than done.

Attendees will learn:

  • ways to assess their organization’s willingness and ability to practice hyper-experimentation;
  • how to encourage the continual generation of fresh ideas;
  • why and how to discern if customers, suppliers, and vendors are competing at innovative speed;
  • tips for practicing “energy activation,” including how to cultivate the freedom to discover and understand what’s going right or wrong; and
  • how to identify recurring challenges, such as socio-psychological impediments, and address and mitigate them.

A Q&A will follow the presentation. We invite you to join us!

About the Speaker

Dr. Steven J. Spear, a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and School of Engineering, is a well-recognized expert on innovation. He has worked for the investment bank Prudential-Bache and the US Congress Office of Technology Assessment, among others, and taught at Harvard Business School. His consulting clients include Lockheed Martin, John Deere, and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Spear is also an award-winning author. His book, The High Velocity Edge: How Market Leaders Leverage Operational Excellence to Beat the Competition (McGraw Hill, 2010), has won several awards, including the Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing Research and the Philip Crosby Medal from the American Society for Quality. He holds a BS in economics from Princeton University, an MA in management and an MS in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD from Harvard Business School.

About the Series

Sponsored by the System Design & Management (SDM) program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series features research conducted by SDM faculty, alumni, students, and industry partners. The series is designed to disseminate information on how to employ systems thinking to address engineering, management, and socio-political components of complex challenges. Recordings and slides from prior SDM webinars can be accessed here.