Spring 2020

Digital Innovation and Transformation During the COVID-19 Pandemic

May 02, 2020

The COVID-19 outbreak is a tragedy that will have long-lasting implications for our global economy. The pandemic has showcased the value of digital operating models and is likely to force many companies to speed up their digital innovation and transformation.

For this blog post assignment, please consider ONE of the following questions:

  • Identify an organization that was under significant threat from the COVID-19 outbreak but quickly innovated its operating model to mitigate the impact during the crisis. Please describe the capabilities and processes that enabled these changes and any generalizable lessons for other organizations.
  • Identify an organization that has been significantly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and recommend how it can leverage digital innovation to grow again.
  • Identify an organization that has experienced significant growth during the outbreak because of its digital operating model. Discuss whether this growth is short term or not and what actions the organization can take to sustain its growth.

Create an approximately 1000-word post to make your contribution on digit.hbs.org by 6 pm on May 2.

Please also respond to and comment on three other posts per assignment. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos, and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Competing with Data and AI Challenge

April 21, 2020

Many companies today use data analytics or AI to create and capture value. For this assignment, please choose a company that uses data analytics or AI in a creative way to drive value creation, value capture, or its operating model.

You may focus on use of data analytics or AI to create new products or services, or you may focus on the use of data analytics or AI within the process of some part of its current business. Describe the current challenges and opportunities the company faces in this deployment. Then recommend changes the company needs to make to address these challenges or take advantages of these opportunities. While you should devote most of the space to value creation, please consider the value capture strategy as well.

Assignment

Create an approximately 750-word post to make your contribution on digit.hbs.org by 6 p.m. on April 21. (To make it interesting, please stay away from well-known big data/AI companies such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft.)

Please also respond to and comment on three other posts per assignment. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos, and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Selected posts will be discussed in class.

Platform Business Challenges

March 24, 2020

Digital technologies give rise to a variety of platforms. For this assignment, please pick ONE of the following two options:

1) Identify a platform firm, describe how it creates and capture value, and evaluate its scalability and sustainability.  To make it interesting, please stay away from well-known platforms such as those owned by Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft.

2) Identify a firm that tried to work with a platform (e.g., X Fire or Australian banks) or tried to become a platform (e.g., Qihoo). Describe the opportunities and challenges in its journey.

Materials

“Why Some Platforms Thrive and Others Don’t” (Links to an external site.) HBR January-February 2019
“Products to Platforms: Making the Leap” (Links to an external site.) HBR April 2016

Assignment

Create an approximately 750-word post to make your contribution on digit.hbs.org  by 6 pm on March 24.

Please also respond to and comment on three other posts per assignment. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos, and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Selected posts will be discussed in class.

Digital Winners and Losers

February 11, 2020

Digital technologies are upending many industries and companies. Think about Uber’s impact on the taxi business or Amazon’s impact on retail stores.

For this assignment, we would like you to identify companies/organizations that you think are winning or losing. Just work on either winners or losers. Please focus on just one organization. Tell us why they are a winner or loser. Discuss elements of how they create and/or capture value that is leading you to call them a winner or loser.

Create an approximately 750-word post to make your contribution on digit.hbs.org by 6pm on Feb 11. Please create appropriate tags for your post including if it is a “winner” or “loser.” Please also respond to and comment on three other posts. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Selected posts will be discussed in class.

Fall 2019

Value Creation with AI

December 04, 2019

Please pick one company that deploys machine learning or other aspects of deep learning. Amazon uses AI to anticipate when an ad has value that others will bid. Google uses natural language processing to automate Translate. For this assignment, please choose a company that uses AI in a creative way to drive value creation, value capture, or its operating model.

You may focus on use of AI as a service, or you may focus on the use of AI within the process of some part of its business. In other words, please describe how the organization deploys AI as a free-standing service around which it develops a business, or as a complement and improvement into its process. Describe the current challenges and opportunities the company faces in this deployment. Then assess the recommend changes the company needs to make to address these challenges or take advantages of these opportunities. In your post, please consider any organizational changes the company needs to make to achieve its aspirations. While you should devote most of the space to value creation, please make some observations about aspects of the value capture strategy.

1000 words max.

Competing with Data

November 13, 2019

Many organizations use large data and data analytics as an essential asset in their business. Think about how Waze collects and analyzes millions of queries every day to estimate traffic flows or airlines organize the requests for seats for hundreds of thousands of users each day to reset their pricing, or UPS uses hundreds of thousands of sensors to track millions of packages each data to feed users information about the progress of their shipments.

For this assignment, please choose a company that uses large data or data analytics to enhance its business. In other words, big data can be valuable in the context of offering a service or as a complement to another business process. How does data serve as an asset in their business? What type of investment are required to build and renew that asset? What type of investments and process put that asset to use, and creates value for the company? How does the company capture value from large data and analytics? What challenges did the company have to overcome to make use of the assets? What challenges and opportunities do you anticipate for the company in the future? Devote most of the space to value creation, but feel free to make observations about aspects of the value capture strategy. (Once again, to make it interesting, please stay away from big data use by the big five – Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft.)

800 words max

Driving Platform Innovation

October 17, 2019

Digital technologies give rise to a variety of platforms. Think about how EBay matches suppliers and buyers, or iTunes makes apps available for iPhone users.

For this assignment, please identify companies/organizations that you think have an innovative platform. Focus on how it creates and captures value. Why are they innovative? Identify the core processes for the platform, and describe how those processes create value for participants, such as buyers or sellers. If this platform invites applications or advertising, explain what value goes to the applications or advertisers. Identify two or three interesting elements of the platform, such as its scale, prevalence of multi-homing, or pricing. Stress the strategy for value creation, but feel free to make observations about aspects of the platform’s value capture strategy. (To make it interesting, please stay away from platforms owned by the big five – Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft.)

800 words max

Digitization Winners and Losers

September 24, 2019

Digital technologies are upending many industries and companies. Think about Uber’s impact on the taxi business, or Spotify’s impact on music downloads.

For this assignment, please identify companies/organizations that you think are winning and losing due to a specific instance of digital transformation. Pick one situation with a winner on one side and a loser on the other. Why are they a winner and why is this transformation putting the losing organization in a difficult place? Stress the novelty of the situation. Discuss the key elements of how the winner creates and/or captures value, and similarly for the key elements of how the other firm is losing value. (Please devote most of the space to the winner, and focus less on the losers, devoting attention to winner/losers according to a ratio approximately 3/1.)

800 words max.

Spring 2019

Digital Winners and Losers

March 05, 2019

Digital technologies are upending many industries and companies. Think about Uber’s impact on the taxi business or Spotify’s impact on music downloads.

For this assignment, please identify companies/organizations that you think are winning and losing due to the same transformation.  Do most of the work on the winners, and focus less on the losers, devoting attention to winner/losers according to a ratio approximately 3/1. Why are they a winner and why is the other organization a loser? Discuss the key elements of how the winner creates and/or captures value that is leading you to call them a winner. Similarly for why you are calling the other firm a loser.

Create an approximately 1000-1200 word post to make your contribution by Tuesday, March 5, at 8 p.m.

Please also respond to and comment on three other posts per module. Comments are due by Wednesday, March 6, at 10 a.m. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Selected posts will be discussed in class and also featured on the HBS Digital Initiative website.

Please prepare a 2-3 min summary of your blog post before class.

Innovative Platforms

February 24, 2019

Digital technologies give rise to a variety of platforms. Uber matches drivers and riders. iTunes makes apps available for iPhone users.

For this assignment, please identify companies/organizations that you think have an innovative platform. Why are they innovative? Discuss the function of the platform, two or three interesting elements of the platform, and highlight the value creation of the platform. If you have room, feel free to make observations about aspects of the value capture strategy, but do not make it central.

Create an approximately 500-600 word post to make your contribution by Sunday, February 24 at 8 p.m.

Please also respond to and comment on three other posts per module. Your comments are due Monday, February 25, at 10 a.m. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Selected posts will be discussed in class and also featured on the HBS Digital Initiative website.

Please prepare a 2-3 min summary of your blog post before Monday’s class.