This course will expose students to key strategic challenges faced by investors, managers and technologists at different stages of the development of knowledge-intensive businesses. Characteristic of such businesses is an emphasis on innovation, ecosystems and standards. As per Stern et al (2015), there are critical strategic choices for startups to make, between building IP-based, architectural, disruptive and value chain based ventures– and selecting the right option maximises the chance to turn an opportunity into a profitable business. Through an individual course assignment, class-based discussion of business cases and a group project, students are familiarized with a range of strategic analysis and strategy-making tools and frameworks. Cases focus on firms in high-tech sectors, both on startups/early stage firms and on innovative contexts in larger firms.
Following completion of this module, students will be able to:
assess the suitability, feasibility and acceptability of strategies in high-tech contexts.
understand various schools of thought regarding strategy formation and apply them to creating or allowing the emergence of ‘personal’ strategies, startup strategies and innovation strategies in large businesses.
select between IP-based, disruptive, archietectural and value chain based strategies and understand the management implications of building a startup according to that strategic choice.
Topics covered will include:
Week 1: The dominance of return on capital as a metric and its significance for large company innovation. Focus and variance, Disruptive innovation. Case: Emerging Business Areas in IBM
Week 2: Industry context, business environment, capabilities and time pacing. Lifecyles and dominant designs. Case: SmAL Camera.
Week 3: Competitive strategy, ecosystem-based competition. Case: ARM Holdings.
Week 4: Architectural Innovation. Case: Beepi.
Week 5: Organisation design. Case: Uber.
Week 6: Organisation design 2. Case: tbc
Week 7: Acquisition strategy and unicorn-building. Cases: live and various.
Week 8: Building the disruptive startup. Case: Netflix.
Week 9: Student presentations workshop.
Week 10: Student presentations.
Final Group Case Submission 25%, Final Take Home Case Memo 30%, Class Participation 25% and Group Case Submissions 25%
Rumelt, R. (2011). Good Strategy, Bad Strategy.