Research Priorities

The Mack Institute for Innovation Management advances knowledge in four areas. Within each of these areas, key subtopics — each posed as a pressing question needing attention — reflect the strategic interests of our corporate partners. These four research priorities establish our scope, provide a blueprint for our conference topics and research funding, and spark industry-academic dialogue.

Innovation Opportunities and Risks

  • How do emerging technology-based industries differ from established industries? How do they emerge and evolve?
  • What explains patterns of competitive entry, shakeout, and survival in these industries? Are these patterns different in emerging versus developed economies?
  • How can customer insights best be used to guide the search for opportunities?

Strategies for Innovating

  • What distinguishes growth leaders from laggards?
  • When should firms pursue an embryonic technology on their own, versus acquire or partner with other firms, or actively watch and wait?
  • What strategies and tools can help assess and contain risk from moves into adjacencies and white spaces?
  • How do winning firms bring their innovations to market ahead of their rivals?
  • Do emerging market multinationals provide any new strategies or are strategy differences a reflection of the stage of their evolution?

Evolving and Leading for Innovation

  • What new forms of organization and business models are enabled by advances in technology and enhanced globalization?
  • How do best practice firms act on opportunities and threats sooner than their rivals?
  • How do firms use innovation networks and webs of alliances to draw on innovation resources beyond their boundaries? What capabilities are needed to manage and motivate partners?
  • What metrics are needed to identify weak links in the innovation process, allocate innovation resources, and hold managers accountable?
  • What is the contribution of culture and leadership to successful innovation? Do successful leadership and organizational models differ across geographies or by national origin of firms?

Capturing Economic Value from Innovation Investments

  • How do firms make wise bets on long-term innovation projects when prospects are distant and uncertain yet costs are likely to be incurred?
  • What is the right balance of risk and return in innovation portfolios? How should resources be allocated and projects be prioritized and selected?
  • How do firms preserve and capture the value of their intellectual property?
  • Will similar approaches be effective in emerging markets as in developed markets?