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Future of Technology Management and the Business Environment, The: Lessons on Innovation, Disruption, and Strategy Execution

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Future of Technology Management and the Business Environment, The: Lessons on Innovation, Disruption, and Strategy Execution


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  • Build strategy that flexibly anticipates massive change in technology, economics, politics, competition, and customers
  • Gain powerful insights for crafting strategy in technology-rich industries – from IT to finance, healthcare to renewable energy
  • Fully reflect external realities in your product positioning, partnership/M&A strategies, globalization initiatives, and approaches to innovation
  • Learn from the strategic failures of yesterday’s most important technology and media companies
  • Find your voice and advance your viewpoint in organizations that resist focusing on the future


  • Copyright 2016
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/8"
  • Pages: 304
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-399613-1
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-399613-5


  • Gain powerful insights for crafting strategy in technology-rich industries, from IT to finance, and healthcare to energy
  • Understand the massive social impacts of technology, and how today’s societal divisions shape your opportunities to innovate
  • For everyone who must manage new technologies and respond to technological disruption

From biotech to nanotech to big data, the pace of technological disruption continues to accelerate. Now, leading business strategy expert Alfred Marcus offers powerful tools for anticipating technological change, and managing the threats and opportunities it poses.

Through insightful case studies, Marcus offers strategic advice for overcoming the pitfalls associated with deploying emerging technologies, or responding to others who use them to compete with you.

Marcus illuminates the ongoing interplay between technological change and wider societal trends, helping you recognize new opportunities created by these interactions, and maximize the upside–both for your company and the broader society.

Whether you’re an executive or strategist, technical professional or MBA student, this guide will sharpen your focus on the future so you can navigate radical technological-driven change–wherever it leads.

Emerging technologies offer immense promise for generating growth, profitability, and prosperity. But they face major obstacles to commercialization, and have environmental and social costs that must be carefully managed to maximize the benefit and mitigate the harm.

This book is about the foresight and strategic actions required for these new technologies to play a positive rather than negative role. Alfred Marcus illuminates their potential, reviews the risky decisions needed to transform potential into reality, and discusses how technologies might be used to ameliorate social problems rather than exacerbate them.

Marcus begins with insights about the strategy of technological innovation, using case studies to show why these innovations can fail, and offering methods for dealing with uncertain outcomes. Next, using examples such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, he illustrates how to better manage the dangers associated with technologies. He then turns to technology’s impact on three key societal conflicts: that between young and old, rich and poor, and the potential for scarcity and abundance in energy production. Finally, he focuses on how several pairs of companies, including Intel and AMD, Dell and Acer, and Amazon and Barnes & Noble, have managed technological disruption in their industries, and the difficult challenges they now face in overcoming these challenges.

Whether you’re an executive, manager, or student, you’ll gain powerful insights into innovation, strategy, execution, technology management, and the fastchanging business environment in which technological change takes place.


Exploring the horizon in information technology, medicine, genetics, energy, and materials


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The Future of Technology Management and the Business Environment: Technological Disruptions

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Table of Contents

Introduction    1

The Next Set of Breakthroughs    2

The Information Revolution    2

Medical Technologies    2

Genetics    2

Alternative Energy    3

Artificial Intelligence    3

Material Sciences and Nanotechnology    3

What This Book Is About    3

Part I: Technology and Strategy    4

Part II: Managing Danger    5

Part III: The Environment of Technology    5

Part IV: Coping with Technological Disruptions    6

Endnotes    8


Chapter 1: Technological Disruptions    11

The Powers of the Mind    11

Information Technology (IT)    12

Medical Technologies    13

Genetics    15

Alternative Energy    16

Artificial Intelligence, Material Sciences, and Nanotechnology    16

The Challenge of Commercialization    18

Endnotes    18

Chapter 2: Commercialization’s Obstacles    19

Fumbling the Future at Xerox: IT    19

Medical Technology: Cochlear Implants    20

Basic Research in Diverse Labs    21

Breakthroughs in Other Disciplines    21

A Highly Committed Champion    22

Multiple Developmental Paths    22

Private Firms’ Failure to Cooperate    22

Professional Endorsement    22

FDA Approval    23

Lack of Enthusiasm from the User Community    23

High Costs    23

Safety and Efficacy Concerns    23

Auxiliary Services    24

Withdrawal    24

New Entrants    24

Genetics: Agricultural Productivity    24

Sustainability as a Corporate Goal    25

Opposition    25

Rapid U.S. Market Penetration    25

More Promised Progress    26

Government Restrictions    26

Environmentalists’ Criticism    26

Competition from DuPont    27

Alternative Energy: The Electric Car    27

Less Pollution and Foreign Oil    28

Range and Fossil Fuels    28

1990s’ Failure    29

Hybrid Successes    29

Weak Plug-In Sales    29

Battery Subsidies from the U.S. Government    29

A Solution from Tesla and Panasonic    30

Not Yet Affordable    30

A New Business Model    31

The Slow and Arduous Path to Commercialization    31

Why Xerox Missed Its Opportunity: Game Theory    32

Setbacks at Many Points    33

Uncertain Government Support    34

Project Management Insufficient to Overcome These Problems    35

The Inclination to Undertake Safe Projects    36

Technologies Push and Markets Pull    36

Determination, Will, and Persistence    37

Endnotes    37

Chapter 3: Hedging the Uncertainty    39

Trends        40

Expert Opinion    40

Historical Analogies    41

Industry Analysis    42

Scenarios    42

Surprises    43

Taking Notice of the Periphery    43

Romances, Tragedies, and Comedies    44

The Narrative Details    44

Applying Scenario Logic to Technology Commercialization    45

Strategic Adjustments    46

Hedging    47

Gamble on the Most Probable Outcome    47

Take the Robust Route    48

Delay Until Further Clarity Emerges    49

Commit with Fallbacks    49

Shape the Future    50

Conclusion    50

Endnotes    50


Chapter 4: Dealing with Danger    55

Bhopal: What Went Wrong    55

Highly Toxic Chemicals    55

Weak Infrastructure    56

An Uncontrolled Explosion    56

Nonfunctioning Backups    57

Trapped Victims    57

Organizational Shortcomings    57

Warnings Ignored    58

The Price of the Accident    58

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: What Went Wrong    59

Beyond Petroleum    59

Tar Sands Processing    59

Explosion in Texas City and Oil Leaks in Alaska    59

The Spill    60

The Many Mistakes    60

Inherently Dangerous Technologies    61

Dilemmas in Managing Dangerous Technologies    63

Individual Cognitive Limits    64

Experts’ Cognitive Limits    64

Organizations’ Cognitive Limits    64

How Much a Life Is Worth    65

Inferences from Animal Studies to Humans    65

Conclusion    66

Endnotes    66

Chapter 5: Laws of Liability    69

Vioxx: What Went Wrong?    69

Merck’s Positive Reputation    70

The Search for a Blockbuster Drug Without Gastrointestinal Complications    70

Early Warnings    70

Failure to Communicate    71

The FDA’s Required Warning    71

More Criticism    72

Voluntary Recall    72

Thousands of Suits    72

Criminal Charges    73

Johnson & Johnson’s Hip Replacement: What Went Wrong?    73

A Paragon of Social Responsibility    74

The Acquisition of DePuy    74

All-Metal Replacements    74

Design Problems    75

FDA Investigations    75

A Voluntary Recall    75

Suits Against the Company    76

The Reimbursement Plan    76

The Laws of Liability    77

Evolution of the Law    77

Classic Tort Law    78

Assumption of Risk    78

Punitive Action    78

Strict Liability    79

The Justification for Strict Liability    79

Further Movement from a Fault-Based System    80

Refinements of the Laws of Liability    81

Conclusion    81

Endnotes    82


Chapter 6: Old, Young, and Global Security    87

The Rise of the Elderly    87

Declining Fertility    88

Economic Impacts    90

Technology to Assist the Elderly    91

A Cure for Alzheimer’s    91

Reversing Aging    93

Among the Young: Hope and Disillusion    96

Meaningful Work    97

What Next    100

Diminishing Youth Bulges    102

Technology to Combat Terror    106

Conclusion    108

Endnotes    108

Chapter 7: Rich, Poor, and Global Inequality    111

Trends    111

Within Country Gaps    112

Between-Country Gaps    112

The U.S. Wealth Gap    113

The Rise of Neoliberalism    115

Technology at the Top of the Pyramid    117

Sophisticated Models    117

What Hedge Funds Do    118

Only for the Already Wealthy    119

Renaissance Technologies    120

Technology at the Bottom of the Pyramid    121

Telecommunications    122

Potable Water    123

Health Services    124

Nutrition and Crop Protection    124

Energy    125

Critiques    125

Conclusion    126

Endnotes    127

Chapter 8: Abundance, Scarcity, and Global Sustainability    129

Fossil Fuels    130

Oil Price Declines    130

Hydraulic Fracking    132

Tar Sands    133

Offshore Recovery    134

Cleaner Energy    135

Building Energy    136

Industrial and Commercial    138

Solar    138

Wind    140

Energy Storage    142

Biofuels    143

Conclusion    145

Endnotes    145


Chapter 9: Missing the Boat on Mobile Technology: Intel and AMD    149

The Mobile Revolution    149

The Battles Between Intel and AMD    152

Memory    152

Microprocessors    153

The Sub-Zero Segment    153

Speed and Continued Price Wars    154

Branching Out    155

The Hammer    156

Global Antitrust    157

Graphics and Other Products    157

Divesting Manufacturing    158

Searching for New Markets    158

ARM Architecture    159

Mobile    159

Gaming    159

Mounting Mobile Losses    160

New Leadership at AMD    160

Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA)    162

The Internet of Things (IOT)    162

Smart Glasses and Augmented Reality    163

Risks Ahead    164

Conclusion    164

Glossary of Computer Terminology    165

Endnotes    165

Chapter 10: From Mass Customizing to Mass Commodity: Dell and Acer    167

Financial Woes    168

An Industry in Decline    170

The Fat Years: Dell’s Ascent    170

A Competency in Mass Customization    171

Gateway Abandons the Direct Model    173

The Lean Years: Michael Dell’s Resignation    174

Acer’s Acquisition of Gateway    176

Dell’s Plans for a Recovery    177

The Enterprise Market    181

Becoming a Private Company    182

Acer’s Efforts at Revitalization    183

Notebooks    183

Smartphones    183

Free Cloud    185

IOT    185

Conclusion    185

Endnotes    186

Chapter 11: Finding Growth and Profitability in Bookselling: Barnes & Noble and Amazon    189

Barnes & Noble and the Superstore    189

Amazon and Internet Commerce    191

Amazon’s Reinvention    192

Barnes & Noble’s Focus on Books    194

Sinking Profits    195

Amazon’s Fluid Identity    195

Profiting from the Cloud    197

Barnes & Noble’s Decision to Split Up    198

Spinning Off the Nook    198

Spinning Off the College Division    199

How Attractive Was Bookselling?    200

Sales Trends    200

Reading Habits    201

Leisure Time Choices    201

Digital Devices    202

The Publishers    202

Wholesale    203

The Big Five    203

The Spat with Amazon    204

Conclusion    205

Endnotes    205

Chapter 12: Escaping the Middle: Best Buy and Charles Schwab    209

The Evolution of Best Buy    210

Concept One: 1983–1989    211

Concept Two: 1990–2001    211

Concept Three: 2002–2007    212

The Aftermath of the Financial Meltdown    214

The Evolution of Charles Schwab    214

Discounting    214

High Net Worth Clients    215

A Category of One    215

The Affluent of the Future    216

Following Customers    216

New Challenges    217

Competition in Consumer Electronics    217

Online    217

Showrooming    218

Competition Among Discount Brokers    218

Innovation Dilemmas    219

Major Industry Players    219

Best Buy’s Comeback Plans    220

Transforming E-Commerce    220

Cost Savings and Product Innovation    221

Enhancing the Internet Platform: Charles Schwab    222

Ranking the Platforms    223

The Robo-Advisor    223

Conclusion    224

Endnotes    225

Chapter 13: Content for a New Age: Disney and Time Warner    229

Vertical Integration: Disney    230

Vertical Integration: Time Warner    231

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Divestitures    232

The Disney-Capital Cities Merger    235

ABC    236

The Iger Era    237

The AOL-Time Warner Merger    237

Trying to Revive AOL    238

Slimming Down    239

HBO’s Edginess and Success    240

Disney’s Dominance    241

Cable Channels    241

The Studios    242

Internet Initiatives and Cable’s Abandonment    243

Losing Young People    244

Conclusion    245

Endnotes    246

Final Thoughts    249

The Future of Technology Management and the Business Environment:

Lessons on Innovation, Disruption, and Strategy Execution    249

Index    251


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