1) All assignments should be 500 words or less.2) All assignments should have an ORIGINAL TITLE.3) All assignments should be essays (with an introduction and a conclusion). Do not use bullet points.4) All assignments should be emailed as attachments to
attached piece from the August 2017 issue of the Harvard Business Review discussed innovation.Your task is simple and two-fold. First, please summarize the key findings of this article. Once you have done so, briefly explain how its ideas can be applied in another industry (not music).
1) All assignments should be 500 words or less. 2) All assignments should have an ORIGINAL TITLE.3) All assignments should be essays (with an introduction and a conclusion). Do not use bullet points.
When companies develop new technologies, they can never be certain how the market will respond. That said, the future of a given technology is not as unforeseeable as it might seem. When I work with tech companies on crafting or refining their innovation strategy, I start with an exercise that helps them anticipate where OLEKSANDR KOSTIUCHENKO/SHUTTERSTOCK WHAT’S YOUR BEST INNOVATION BET? BY MAPPING A TECHNOLOGY’S PAST, YOU CAN PREDICT WHAT FUTURE CUSTOMERS WILL WANT. BY MELISSA SCHILLING FEATURE WHAT’S YOUR BEST INNOVATION BET? 86 HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW JULY–AUGUST 2017 the next big breakthroughs will—or should—be. Central to the exercise is an examination of the key dimensions on which a technology has evolved—say, processing speed in computing—and the degree to which users’ needs have been satisfied. This can give companies insight into where to focus their effort and money while helping them anticipate both the moves of competitors and threats from outsiders.One of my favorite examples comes from the con- sumer electronics and recording industries, which competed on the basis of audio fidelity for decades. By the mid-1990s, both industries were eager to in- troduce a next-generation audio format. In 1996 Toshiba, Hitachi, Time Warner, and others formed a consortium to back a new technology, called DVD- Audio, that offered superior fidelity and surround sound. They hoped to do an end run around Sony and Philips, which owned the compact disc standard and extracted a licensing fee for every CD and player sold. Sony and Philips, however, were not going to go down without a fight. They counterattacked with a new format they had jointly developed, Super Audio CD. Those in the music industry gave a collective groan; manufacturers, distributors, and consumers all stood to lose big if they bet on the wrong format. Nonetheless, Sony launched the first Super Audio players in late 1999; DVD-Audio players hit the market in mid-2000. A costly format war seemed inevitable. You may be scratching your head at this point, wondering why you’ve never heard about this format war. What happened? MP3 happened. While the con- sumer electronics giants were pursuing new heights in audio fidelity, an algorithm that slightly depressed fidelity in exchange for reduced audio file size was taking off. Soon after the file-sharing platform Napster launched in 1999, consumers were downloading free music files by the millions, and Napster-like services were sprouting up like weeds. You might be inclined to think that Sony, Philips, and the DVD-Audio consortium were just unlucky. After all, who could have predicted the disruptive arrival of MP3? How could the consumer electronics giants have known that a format on a trajectory of ever-increasing fidelity would be overtaken by a tech- nology with less fidelity? Actually, with the method- ology outlined below, they could have foreseen that the next breakthrough would probably not be about better fidelity. Understanding what’s driving technological devel- opments isn’t just for high-tech firms. Technology— the way inputs are transformed into outputs, or the way products and services are delivered to custom – ers—evolves in every market. I have used the three- step exercise described here with managers from a wide range of organizations, including companies developing blood-sugar monitors, grocery store chains, hospitals, a paint-thinner manufacturer, and financial services firms. It often yields an “Aha!” moment that helps managers refine or even redirect their innovation strategy. STEP ONE: IDENTIFY KEY DIMENSIONS It’s common to talk about a “technology trajectory,” as if innovation advances along a single path. But tech- nologies typically pro gress along several dimensions at once. For example, computers became faster and smaller in tandem; speed was one dimension, size another. Developments in any dimension come with specific costs and benefits and have measurable and changing utility for customers. Identifying the key di- mensions of a technology’s progression is the first step in predicting its future. To determine these dimensions, trace the technol- ogy’s evolution to date, starting as far back as possi- ble. Consider what need the technology originally ful- filled, and then for each major change in its form and function, think about what fundamental elements were affected. SELECTING USEFUL TECHNOLOGY DIMENSIONS TO EXAMINE DEPENDS ON INDUSTRY KNOWLEDGE AND COMMON SENSE. CHICTYPE/GETTY IMAGES 88 HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW JULY–AUGUST 2017 FEATURE WHAT’S YOUR BEST INNOVATION BET? IN BRIEF THE CHALLENGESuccessful technology innovation requires rms to make good predictions about product and service capabilities that consumers will value in the future. Getting this wrong can be costly. THE SOLUTIONBy studying how a technology has evolved along key dimensions, and understanding the degree to which consumer needs have been satised on those dimensions, i s possible to determine where best to invest in further technology development. THE PROOFApplying this approach, teams across industries have conceived of promising new products that are now in development or launched, including a nancial data mobile app and a noninvasive glucose- monitoring technology. To illustrate, let’s return to music-recording tech- nology. Tracing its history reveals six dimensions that have been central to its development: desynchroniza- tion, cost, fidelity, music selection, portability, and cus- tomizability. Before the invention of the phonograph, people could hear music or a speech only when and where it was performed. When Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell began working on their phono – graphs in the late 1800s, their primary objective was to desynchronize the time and place of a performance so that it could be heard anytime, anywhere. Edison’s de- vice—a rotating cylinder covered in foil—was a remark – able achievement, but it was cumbersome, and making copies was difficult. Bell’s wax-covered cardboard cyl – inders, followed by Emile Berliner’s flat, disc-shaped records and, later, the development of magnetic tape, made it significantly easier to mass-produce record- ings, lowering their cost while increasing the fidelity and selection of music available. For decades, however, players were bulky and not particularly portable. It was not until the 1960s that eight-track tape cartridges dramatically increased the portability of recorded music, as players became com- mon in automobiles. Cassette tapes rose to dominance in the 1970s, further enhancing portability but also of- fering, for the first time, customizability—the ability to create personalized playlists. Then, in 1982, Sony and Philips introduced the compact disc standard, which offered greater fidelity than cassette tapes and rapidly became the dominant format. When I guide executive teams through step one of the exercise, I emphasize the need to zero in on the high-level dimensions along which a technology has evolved—those that are broad enough to encompass other, narrower dimensions. This helps teams see the big picture and avoid getting sidetracked by its de – tails. In audio technology, for example, recordability is a specific form of customizability; identifying cus – tomizability, rather than the narrower recordability, as a high-level dimension invites exploration of other ways people might want to customize their music ex – perience. For example, they might value a technology that automatically generates a playlist of songs with common characteristics—and indeed, services like Pandora and Spotify emerged to do just that. It’s important to identify dimensions at the optimal “altitude”—neither so low or narrow that they miss the big picture, nor so high or broad that they won’t offer adequately detailed insight about a specific technol – ogy. In the case of automobiles, for example, climate control may be a technology dimension, but it’s so nar- row that it’s not the most useful one to study; examin- ing the higher-level “comfort” dimension under which it falls will be more illuminating. By the same token, the sweeping “performance” dimension in automobiles is probably too broad a choice, because it includes speed, safety, fuel efficiency, and other dimensions where meaningful advances could be made. Even a product as simple as a mattress involves technology with multiple performance dimensions—such as comfort and durability—that are useful to consider separately. Selecting dimensions to examine isn’t a strict sci- ence; it depends substantially on knowledge of your industry—and common sense. I usually ask teams to agree on three to six key dimensions for their technology. The exhibit “A Sampling of High-Level Technology Dimensions” lists those identified by workshop participants for their respective industries. Notably, some dimensions, such as ease of use and durability, come up frequently. Others are more spe- cific to a particular technology, such as magnification in microscopes. And with rare exceptions, cost is an important dimension across all technologies. A final step in this part of the exercise can add fur- ther insight about the identified dimensions and in some cases suggest future dimensions worth explor- ing. I ask team members to disregard cost and other constraints and imagine what customers would want if they could have anything. This sounds like it might unleash a flood of creative but impractical ideas. In fact, it can be highly revealing. Folklore has it that Henry Ford once said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” If any carmaker at the time had really probed people about exactly what their dream conveyance would provide, they probably would have said “instantaneous trans- portation.” Both consumer responses highlight that speed is a high-level dimension valued in transporta- tion, but the latter helps us think more broadly about how it can be achieved. There are only limited ways to make horses go faster—but there are many ways to speed up transportation. Most of the time this exercise indicates that peo – ple want further improvements in the key dimensions already identified. Sometimes, however, the exercise suggests dimensions that have not been considered. Would consumers want an audio device that could sense and respond to their affect? If so, perhaps “anticipation of needs” is another key dimension. A SAMPLING OF HIGH-LEVEL TECHNOLOGY DIMENSIONS Industry professionals can generally agree on three to six dimensions that significantly drive development of their technology. TECHNOLOGY DIMENSIONS AUDIO Desynchronization, fidelity, music selection, portability, customizability, cost LIGHTING Durability, brightness, comfort, design selection, cost MICROSCOPES Magnification, ease of use, versatility, cost PAINKILLERS Strength, reliability, safety, convenience, cost TRANSPORT Speed, comfort, safety, reliability, ease of use, fuel efficiency, cost JULY–AUGUST 2017 HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW 89 STEP TWO: LOCATE YOUR POSITION For each dimension, you next want to determine the shape of its utility curve—the plot of the value con- sumers derive from a technology according to its per- formance—and establish where on the curve the tech- nology currently sits. This will help reveal where the greatest opportunity for improvement lies. For example, the history of audio formats suggests that the selection of music available has a concave parabolic utility curve: Utility increases as selection expands, but at a decreasing rate, and not indefi – nitely (see the exhibit “More Music, More Value—Up to a Point”). When there’s little music to choose from, even a small increase in selection significantly en- hances utility. Consider that when the first phono – graphs appeared, there were few recordings to play on them. As more became available, customers eagerly bought them, and the appeal of owning a player grew. Increasing selection even a little had a powerful im – pact on utility. Over the ensuing decades, selection grew exponentially, and the utility curve ultimately began to flatten; people still valued new releases, but each new recording added less additional value. Today digital music services like iTunes, Amazon Prime Music, and Spotify offer tens of millions of songs. With this virtually unlimited selection, most customers’ appetites are sated—and we are probably approaching the top of the curve. Now let’s consider the fidelity dimension, the pri- mary focus of Super Audio CD and DVD-Audio. It’s likely that fidelity also has a concave parabolic util- ity curve. The first phonographs had awful fidelity: Music sounded thin and tinny, though it was still a remarkable benefit to be able to hear any recorded music at all. The early improvements in fidelity that records offered made a big difference in people’s enjoyment of music, and sales took off. Then along came compact discs. The higher fidelity they offered was not as widely appreciated—many people felt that vinyl records were good enough, and some even pre- ferred their “warmth.” For most consumers, further improvements in fidelity provided little additional utility. The fidelity curve was already leveling out when Sony, Philips, and the DVD-Audio consortium introduced their new formats in the early 2000s. Both formats offered higher fidelity, by certain technical measures, than the compact disc. For exam- ple, whereas CDs have a frequency range up to about 20,000 cycles per second, or 20 kHz, the new formats offered ranges that reached 50 kHz. That’s an impres- sive high end—but because human hearing peaks out at about 20 kHz, only the family dog was likely to ap- preciate it. In 2007 the Audio Engineering Society re- leased the results of a yearlong trial assessing how well subjects (including professional recording engineers) could detect the difference between Super Audio and regular CDs. Subjects correctly identified the Super Audio CD format only half the time—no better than if they’d been simply guessing. Had the companies introducing the new formats created even a back-of-the-envelope utility curve for fidelity, they could have seen that there was little room for improvement that customers would appreciate. Meanwhile, even a cursory look at the portability curve would have suggested opportunity on that dimension. Sony, of all companies, should have recognized the importance of portability in the evolution of audio formats. Back in 1979, the company had introduced one of the most successful consumer electronics products ever created—the Sony Walkman. The device, THE CAR-SPEED SWEET SPOT Some technology improvements have little appeal early on and then quickly grow in value before their utility levels off. The first cars were too slow to be very useful. As they became faster and roads improved, consumers valued ever-greater top speeds—up to about 90 miles per hour. Beyond that, extra speed makes no difference to most drivers. MORE MUSIC, MORE VALUE—UP TO A POINT For some technologies, small improvements can have a big impact at first. In the early days of recorded music, listeners had few pieces to choose from, so the utility of increasing the selection even a small amount was high. Today consumers have virtually unlimited choices, so the additional utility of increasing selection is low. UTILITY TO CONSUMERS SELECTION AVAILABLE (MM) CONSUMERS ARE SATISFIED WITH TODAY’S EXTENSIVE MUSIC CHOICE. HIGH DEMAND FOR DRUGS THAT WORK For some technologies, consumers prize even modest advances. Only one of the approved treatments for the neurodegenerative disease ALS extends life span—and only by a few months. Patient demand for effective drugs won’t be satisfied until efficacy is 100%, but any improvement up to that point has high utility. TOP SPEED (MPH) 0 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 CONSUMERS’ NEED FOR SPEED IS SATISFIED. UTILITY TO CONSUMERS EFFICACY (%) PEOPLE WITH ALS HIGHLY VALUE ANY DRUG IMPROVEMENTS THAT EXTEND LIFE SPAN. 0 100 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 8090 UTILITY TO CONSUMERS 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 160180 0 90 HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW JULY–AUGUST 2017 FEATURE WHAT’S YOUR BEST INNOVATION BET? a lightweight cassette player that could fit in one hand, was a runaway hit not because it cost less or offered greater fidelity or selection than other formats but be- cause it was portable. Similarly, MP3 was successful because it made music much more portable; MP3 files were small enough to be easily stored on a computer and shared with friends. Fast-forward to today. Although music lovers now take portability and selection for granted, there’s still lots of room for improvement on the customizability dimension. Pandora offers primitive customizability (you can create a channel where all the songs sound more or less like Taylor Swift), but artificial intelli- gence may get us much further up that utility curve in the future. It’s plausible (likely, in fact) that a pro – gram could identify elements of your preferred music style and then create music for you. Perhaps it would produce an endless stream of “Beatles songs,” nearly indistinguishable from the real thing but not written or played by the Beatles (or by any human performer). Machine-learning programs already compose mu- sic for advertisements and video games, and in 2016 Sony released two songs composed by an artificial intelligence system called Flow Machines. The first, “Daddy’s Car,” is reminiscent of the Beatles, and the second, “Mr Shadow,” emulates the styles of Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin, and Cole Porter. While neither quite hits the mark, both suggest what’s to come—and where music companies might sensibly invest. Parabolic utility curves like those for audio fidelity and selection show that for some technology perfor – mance dimensions, small improvements can have a dramatic impact on utility from the start. Of course, not all technologies follow such utility curves. Many dimensions have S-shaped curves: Below some threshold of performance there is no utility, but utility increases quickly above that threshold and then maxes out somewhere beyond that. Consider the utility of a car’s speed for an average customer (see the exhibit “The Car-Speed Sweet Spot”). The first motor vehi – cles, such as Richard Trevithick’s 1801 Puffing Devil, were steam-powered. They offered a proof of concept and were sometimes purchased by wealthy techno – philes, but they were too slow and unreliable to be worth the cost to the average family. Horses traveled farther and faster and rarely broke down. For the next hundred years, inventors sought to develop an automobile that was more useful than a horse-drawn wagon. During this time, the utility curve for speed remained flat; increasing a car’s top speed by a few miles an hour offered no additional utility if the car was still slower than a horse—particularly if it was also less reliable, as was typically the case. It wasn’t un- til the early 20th century, when passenger automobiles started to routinely offer speeds over 15 miles per hour, that they began to be adopted in serious numbers. By the 1990s most passenger cars had a top speed of about 120 mph, and today for many it’s near 150 mph. It’s uncommon, however, for drivers to exceed 90 mph; for most drivers, the utility curve for speed flattens out at that point. Improvements in other dimensions, such as fuel efficiency, acceleration, safety, and reliability, offer more utility to most customers. The utility curve for speed reveals that the point at which improvements in a dimension are of little value can change with shifts in the environment or in enabling technologies. Forty miles per hour probably seemed more than fast enough, for example, when the Model T was introduced, since most roads at the time weren’t paved. As roads improved and highways appeared, the top speeds desired by customers shifted upward. The move to autonomous vehicles may make even higher speeds safe, comfortable, and desirable. If so, the flat top of the current utility curve for speed may slope upward once again. ONLY THE FAMILY DOG WAS LIKELY TO APPRECIATE THE MOST HIGH-END IMPROVEMENTS IN AUDIO FIDELITY. PM IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES JULY–AUGUST 2017 HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW 91 radio, electric windows or locks, antilock brakes, power steering, or airbags. Its seats had a simple three-position recline, the windshield had a single wiper, and there was only one rearview mirror. In 2014, after the Nano received zero stars for safety in crash tests, analysts pointed out that adding airbags and making simple adjustments to the frame could significantly improve the car’s safety for less than $100 per vehicle. Tata took this under advisement—and placed its bets on comfort. All 2017 models include air-conditioning and power steering but not airbags.To assess which technology investments are likely to yield the biggest bang for the buck, managers can use a matrix like the one in the exhibit “How to Improve Glucose Monitoring?” First, for the technol- ogy being examined, list the performance dimensions you’ve identified as most important. (For cars, for ex – ample, that might be cost, safety, and comfort.) Then score each dimension on a scale of 1 to 5 in three areas: • Importance to customers (1 = “not important” and 5 = “very important”) • Room for improvement (1 = “minor opportunity” and 5 = “major opportunity”) • Ease of improvement (1 = “very difficult” and 5 = “very easy”) The exhibit shows a manufacturer’s scores on four dimensions of blood-glucose monitors: reliability, comfort, cost, and ease of use. The team identified reliability as most important to customers; having accurate glucose measures can be a matter of life and death. However, existing devices (most of which re- quire a finger prick) are already very reliable and thus scored low on the “room for improvement” measure. They are also fairly easy to use and reasonably low in cost—but they are uncomfortable. Comfort is highly valued yet has much room for improvement. Both comfort and ease of use are moderately difficult to im- prove (scoring 3s), but because comfort is more import – ant to customers and has more room for improvement, this dimension received the higher total score. So comfort became the focus for innovation efforts; the company began to develop a patch worn on the skin that would detect glucose levels from sweat and would send readings via Bluetooth to the user’s smartphone. Notably, with a simple manipulation, the weight of the matrix scores can be adjusted to reflect any organi- zation’s particular situation. For example, if a company is cash-strapped or under other duress, it may want to prioritize easy-to-improve dimensions rather than pursue those that have the greatest potential but are harder to address. If the scale for ease of improvement is switched to 1–10 (while the other scales are kept at 1–5), ease-of-improvement scores can be expected to roughly double and thus have a greater influence on total scores. Alternatively, a company seeking breakthrough inno – vation might extend the scale for importance to buyers, the scale for room for improvement, or both. FROM EXERCISE TO INNOVATION By examining the evolution of key technology dimensions, teams across industries have conceived and launched an array of promising new products. TECHNOLOGY AREA KEY TECHNOLOGY DIMENSIONS RESULTING PRODUCT CONCEPT (DIMENSION SELECTED FOR DEVELOPMENT) STATUS GLUCOSE MONITORING Reliability, comfort, ease of use, cost Noninvasive glucose- monitoring skin patch streams data to mobile device. (COMFORT, EASE OF USE) In development by industry and university teams SPORTS TELEVISION Selection, social interactivity, immersiveness, cost Virtual reality platform allows separated viewers to watch games in a shared virtual space. (SOCIAL INTERACTIVITY, IMMERSIVENESS) 2017 launch expected FINANCIAL DATA Speed, accuracy, breadth, usability, portability, cost Mobile app provides instant access to proprietary high- value content and analytics. (USABILITY, PORTABILITY) App released in 2013 is now among the top three in financial services ACADEMIC PUBLISHING Reach, access, impact, searchability, cost Online portal enhances research discoverability and collaboration. (IMPACT, SEARCHABILITY) Launched in early 2017 STEP THREE: DETERMINE YOUR FOCUS Once you know the dimensions along which your firm’s technology has (or can be) improved and where you are on the utility curves for those dimensions, it should be straightforward to identify where the most room for improvement exists. But it’s not enough to know that performance on a given dimension can be enhanced; you need to decide whether it should be. So first assess which of the dimensions you’ve identified are most important to customers. Then assess the cost and difficulty of addressing each dimension. For example, of the four dimensions that have been central to automobile development—speed, cost, com- fort, and safety—which do customers value most, and which are easiest or most cost-effective to address? On the speed dimension, cars are already at the top of the utility curve, and top speed is relatively difficult and expensive to increase: Higher speed requires more power, which requires a bigger engine, which reduces fuel efficiency and increases cost. Comfort is probably the easiest dimension to address, but is it as important to consumers as safety? And how much does it cost to improve performance on these dimensions? Tata Motors’ experience with the Nano is instruc- tive. The Nano was designed as an affordable car for drivers in India, so it needed to be cheap enough to compete with two-wheeled scooters. The manu- facturer cut costs in several ways: The Nano had only a two-cylinder engine and few amenities—no 92 HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW JULY–AUGUST 2017 FEATURE WHAT’S YOUR BEST INNOVATION BET? Similarly, a company’s competitive positioning may affect which technology dimensions it empha- sizes. For example, safety may be a key differentiator for an automaker such as Volvo, while speed (or, more broadly, driving performance) may be the differen- tiator for BMW. So although the companies make the same technology (cars), they market to different customer segments and thus emphasize different di – mensions. (For more on competitive analysis, see the sidebar “Getting an Edge on Competitors.”) SHIFTING THE FOCUS The three-part exercise I recommend can help man – agers broaden their perspective on their industry and shift their focus from “This is what we do” to “This is where our market is (or should be) heading.” It can also help overcome the bias and inertia that tend to keep an organization’s attention locked on technol- ogy dimensions that are less important to consumers than they once were. For example, at a large financial services firm I worked with, data-transfer speed had long been a key dimension where the leadership ex – pected to see regular improvements. At its founding, the firm had developed technology to deliver finan- cial data more rapidly than anyone else could. Being faster than competitors was, and remained, central to the company’s strategy and a matter of organizational pride. However, when I used this exercise with the firm’s managers, they realized that concentrating on data-transfer speed (which was now in the nanosec- onds) was diverting their attention away from tech- nology dimensions where there was greater oppor- tunity to make improvements that customers would actually value. For this firm, data-transfer speed had become what fidelity was to Super Audio CD: It could be improved upon year after year, but it offered diminishing utility to users. Furthermore, speed no longer provided a competitive advantage; technology to move data quickly had become ubiquitous and commoditized. The firm’s proprietary algorithms for transforming raw data into strategically useful information were far more defensible. The exercise revealed much greater opportunity for delivering this information on de- mand. Following the workshop, a group of managers made plans to shift resources into ensuring that their most highly used and differentiated analytics-based products could be effectively delivered on phones and tablets. The result was an award-winning mobile application that is now among the top three financial- services applications worldwide. NEW PRODUCT IDEAS are not the only—or even the most important—outcome of this exercise. Perhaps more valuable is the big-picture perspective it can give man- agers—shedding new light on market dynamics and the larger-scale or longer-term opportunities before them. Only then will they be able to lead innovation in their industries rather than scramble to respond to it. HBR Reprint R1704F MELISSA SCHILLING is a professor of management and organizations at New York University Stern School of Business. She is the author of Strategic Management of Technological Innovation (McGraw-Hill Education, 2017), now in its fifth edition. GETTING AN EDGE ON COMPETITORS The technology assessment exercise can help companies anticipate competitors’ moves. Because competitors may differ in their capabilities (making particular technology dimensions harder or easier for them to address), or because they may focus on different segments (influencing which dimensions seem most important or have the most room for improvement), they are likely to come up with different rankings for a given set of dimensions. For example, managers at a financial technology company realized that for some of their product offerings, Google could be considered a potential competitor. The company had identified speed, accuracy, breadth, usability, and portability as key financial-data dimensions. By considering how Google might rank those dimensions—probably giving greatest weight to speed and breadth (areas where it had particular strength)— the firm determined that Google would be likely to continue directing its focus there. The firm also realized that usability was an important differentiator and a dimension where it had a significant advantage over potential competitors. Whereas Google and others could provide large amounts of searchable, nonproprietary data, the financial technology company was better positioned to provide proprietary algorithms that would transform data into meaningful metrics and graphs. With this understanding, the managers decided to emphasize proprietary analytics in their mobile offering, rather than data feeds alone. HOW TO IMPROVE GLUCOSE MONITORING? To prioritize their innovation efforts, the makers of a blood-sugar- monitoring device listed the technology dimensions they knew customers cared about most and scored each one according to how important it was, how much improvement was possible, and how easily improvements could be made. The high total score for comfort led the company to develop a noninvasive device. DIMENSION IMPORTANCE TO CUSTOMERS (1–5 SCALE) ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT (1–5 SCALE) EASE OF IMPROVEMENT (1–5 SCALE) TOTAL SCORE RELIABILITY 5 117 COMFORT 4 4 311 COST 4 228 EASE OF USE 3 2 38 JULY–AUGUST 2017 HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW 93 Harvard Business ReviewNoticeofUse Restrictions, May2009 Harvard Business ReviewandHarvard Business Publishing Newsletter contenton EBSCOhost islicensed forthe private individual useofauthorized EBSCOhost users.Itis not intended foruse asassigned coursematerial inacademic institutions norascorporate learning or training materials inbusinesses. Academiclicenseesmaynotuse this content inelectronic reserves, electronic coursepacks,persistent linkingfromsyllabi orby any other means of incorporating thecontent intocourse resources. 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