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Business/ Management/ Innovation

Business/ Management/ Innovation

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Edited by Bruce Kogut

The financial crisis of 2008 laid bare the hidden network of relationships in corporate governance: who owes what to whom, who will stand by whom in times of crisis, what governs the provision of credit when no one seems to have credit. This book maps the influence of these types of economic and social networks--communities of agents (people or firms) and the ties among them--on corporate behavior and governance. The empirically rich studies in the book are largely concerned with mechanisms for the emergence of governance networks rather than with what determines the best outcomes.

Design structure matrix (DSM) is a straightforward and flexible modeling technique that can be used for designing, developing, and managing complex systems. DSM offers network modeling tools that represent the elements of a system and their interactions, thereby highlighting the system’s architecture (or designed structure). Its advantages include compact format, visual nature, intuitive representation, powerful analytical capacity, and flexibility.

Work and the Burden of Risk in Innovative Industries

In the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, employees of Internet startups took risks--left well-paying jobs for the chance of striking it rich through stock options (only to end up unemployed a year later), relocated to areas that were epicenters of a booming industry (that shortly went bust), chose the opportunity to be creative over the stability of a set schedule. In Venture Labor, Gina Neff investigates choices like these made by high-tech workers in New York City’s “Silicon Alley” in the 1990s.

The Marketing of Information

We live in an “Information Age” of overabundant data and lightning-fast transmission. Yet although information and knowledge represent key factors in most economic decisions, we often forget that data, information, and knowledge are products created and traded within the knowledge economy. In Gurus and Oracles, Miklos Sarvary describes the information industry--the far-flung universe of companies whose core business is to sell information to decision makers.

Options and Games

Corporate managers who face both strategic uncertainty and market uncertainty confront a classic trade-off between commitment and flexibility. They can stake a claim by making a large capital investment today, influencing their rivals’ behavior, or they can take a “wait and see” approach to avoid adverse market consequences tomorrow.

Systems Thinking Applied to Safety

Engineering has experienced a technological revolution, but the basic engineering techniques applied in safety and reliability engineering, created in a simpler, analog world, have changed very little over the years. In this groundbreaking book, Nancy Leveson proposes a new approach to safety--more suited to today’s complex, sociotechnical, software-intensive world--based on modern systems thinking and systems theory.

Meeting Human Needs in a Complex Technological World

Engineering, for much of the twentieth century, was mainly about artifacts and inventions. Now, it’s increasingly about complex systems. As the airplane taxis to the gate, you access the Internet and check email with your PDA, linking the communication and transportation systems. At home, you recharge your plug-in hybrid vehicle, linking transportation to the electricity grid. Today’s large-scale, highly complex sociotechnical systems converge, interact, and depend on each other in ways engineers of old could barely have imagined.

Moving Through Crisis to Opportunity

Crisis--whether natural disaster, technological failure, economic collapse, or shocking acts of violence--can offer opportunities for collaboration, consensus building, and transformative social change. Communities often experience a surge of collective energy and purpose in the aftermath of crisis. Rather than rely on government and private-sector efforts to deal with crises through prevention and mitigation, we can harness post-crisis forces for recovery and change through innovative collaborative planning.

How America Can Build a Low-Cost, Low-Carbon Energy System

Energy innovation offers us our best chance to solve the three urgent and interrelated problems of climate change, worldwide insecurity over energy supplies, and rapidly growing energy demand. But if we are to achieve a timely transition to reliable, low-cost, low-carbon energy, the U.S. energy innovation system must be radically overhauled.

While we have been preoccupied with the latest i-gadget from Apple and with Google’s ongoing expansion, we may have missed something: the fundamental transformation of whole firms and industries into giant information-processing machines. Today, more than eighty percent of workers collect and analyze information (often in digital form) in the course of doing their jobs.

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