NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College


Spring 2011

Instructor Details

Cattani, Gino



By appointment

Tisch 714


Course Meetings

W, 5:00pm to 8:00pm

Tisch T-UC15

Final Exam:

Schedule exceptions
    Class will not meet on:
    Class will meet on:


Course Description and Learning Goals

The purpose of this course is to expose you to the dynamics of industries driven by technological innovation, and to train you to think strategically about technological innovation and new product development and deployment.  In this course, we will explore such topics as:

The course will be lecture, case, video and discussion based.  Like the industries we will study, the course will be fast-paced, and every effort will be made to make the class both challenging and exciting.  We will use a combination of text and cases to explore and apply the topics.  Because of the fast-paced nature of the course, it is vitally important that you come to class prepared and ready to discuss the topics.  If you stay up on the material you will learn more during the discussions and be successful at the assignments. 

Over the course of the semester, you will work in groups to complete your own, original case that you will then analyze. During the course of the semester will be several assigned exercises (some in class, some out-of-class) in which you will turn in portions of your case analysis so that you can receive assistance, and to ensure that you are making progress on this major assignment.  Through developing your own case analysis, you will gain a much richer understanding of the process of strategic analysis, including how to identify important issues, how to find the necessary information to complete your analysis, and how to present both your data and your arguments.


Course Outline


Topics and Readings



1. Industry Dynamics of Innovation


Class #1



Introduction & Sources of Innovation

Required Readings

(Malcolm Gladwell)

  • Building an Innovation Factory

(Andrew Hargadon, Robert I. Sutton)

Optional Readings

  • Gladwell, M. 2008. Outliers. New York: Little, Brown and Company.
  • Michelangelo, C.E.O. New York Times, April 16th 1994.
  • Cattani, G. & Simone Ferriani. 2008. A Core/Periphery Perspective on Individual Creative Performance, in Organization Science, 19(6): 824-844.


Class #2




Types and Patterns of Innovation

Required Readings

  • Nintendo’s Disruptive Strategy: Implications for the Video Game Industry  (Ali Farhoomand, Havovi Joshi)
  • Technological Discontinuities and Dominant Designs – available on Blackboard (Anderson, P. & M. L. Tushman)

Optional Readings

  • Henderson, R. & K. Clark. 1990. Architectural Innovation: The Reconfiguration of Existing Product Technologies and the Failure of Established Firms, in Administrative Science Quarterly, 35: 9-30.
  • Morone, J. G. 1993. Winning in High-Tech Markets. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
  • Cattani, G. 2006. Technological Pre-Adaptation, Speciation and Emergence of New Technologies: How Corning Invented and Developed Fiber Optics, in Industrial and Corporate Change, 15(2): 285-318.


Class #3




Who Killed the Electric Car?

In-Class Group Assignment


Class #4



Standards Battles and Design Dominance

Required Readings

  • Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD – available on Blackboard
  • Increasing Returns and the New World of Business – available on Blackboard (Brian W. Arthur)
  • The Matthew Effect (Chapter I of Outliers) (Malcolm Gladwell)

First Written Assignment Due Today

Optional Readings

  • Shapiro, C. & H. R. Varian. 1999. The Art of Standards Wars, in California Management Review, 41(2): 8-32.
  • Shapiro, C. & H. R. Varian. 1999. Information Rules. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
  • Merton, R. K. 1968. The Matthew Effect, in Science, 159(3810): 56-63.


Class #5



Timing of Entry
Required Readings

  • Review Session: Q&A
  • Clio and the Economics of QWERTY – available on Blackboard (Paul A. David)

Optional Readings

  • Lieberman, M. & C. Montgomery. 1988. First Mover Advantages: A Survey, in Strategic Management Journal, 9: 41-58.
  • Schilling, M. A. 2003. Technological Leapfrogging: Lessons from the U.S. Video Game Console Industry, in California Management Review, 45(3): 6-32.

Gate 1 Due Today


2. Formulating Innovation Strategy


Class #6




Kinky Boots

In-Class Group Assignment


Class #7



Choosing Innovation Projects

Required Readings

  • Guest Speaker

Second Written Assignment Due Today

Optional Readings

  • Bowman, E. H. & D. Hurry. 1993. Strategy through the Option Lens: An Integrated View of Resource Investments and Incremental-Choice Process, in Academy of Management Review, 18(4): 760-782.
  • Linton, J. D., S T. Walsch & J. Morabito. 2002. Analysis, Ranking and Selection of R&D Projects in a Portfolio, in R&D Management, 32(2): 139-148.


Class #8



Collaboration Strategies

Required Readings

  • Collaboration Networks, Structural Holes, and Innovation – available on Blackboard (Gautam Ahuja)

Third Written Assignment Due Today

Optional Readings

  • Lavie, D., & L. Rosenkopf. 2006. Balancing Exploration and Exploitation in Alliance Formation, in Academy of Management Journal, 49(4): 797-818.
  • Powell. W. W. et al. 1996. Interorganizational Collaboration and the Locus of Innovation, in Administrative Science Quarterly, 41: 116-145.


Class #9



Protecting Innovation

Required Readings

  • Review Session: Q&A

Optional Readings

Gate 2 Due Today


3. Implementing Innovation Strategy


Class #10



Organizing for Innovation

Required Readings

  • Stone Finch, Inc.: Young Division, Old Division (Richard G. Hamermesh, Elizabeth Collins)

Forth Written Assignment Due Today

Optional Readings


Class #11



Managing the New Product Development Process & Teams

Required Readings

  • HowPixar Fosters Collective Creativity
    (Ed Catmull)
  • Real Madrid Club de Futbol in 2007: Beyond the Galacticos
    (Anita Elberse, John A. Quelch)

Fifth Written Assignment Due Today

Optional Readings

  • Groysberg, B. et al. 2004. The Risky Business of Hiring Stars, in Harvard Business Review, 82(5): 92-100.
    (Teresa M. Amabile, Constance N. Hadley, Steven J. Kramer)
  • Cross, R. et al. 2002. A Bird’s-Eye View: Using Social Network Analysis to Improve Knowledge Creation and Sharing. Available on Blackboard.
  • Cattani, G. et al. 2010. Unpacking the ‘Real Madrid’ Effect: Recruiting Stars and Profiting from Them. Available on Blackboard.


Class #12



Guest Speaker


Class #13




  • Review Session: Q&A

Required Readings


Class #14



Group Presentations

Turn in Final Case Analysis!



Assessment Components

Grade Breakdown

1. Class Discussion and Exercises                                                                              30%

2. Written Assignments                                                                                              25%

3. Case Analysis                                                                                                          30%

4. Case Presentation                                                                                                    15%


Total                                                                                                                           100%



The goal of this course is to create a community of learning; thus, participation in class discussion is a central obligation of the students.  Given the importance of discussion and the fact that this course consists of only 14 consecutive sessions, it is imperative that you attend.  Absences have a direct and immediate negative impact on your grade: the maximum grade you can earn in the course is reduced by a quarter of letter grade for each session that you miss after two unjustified absences.  I will track attendance and collect your notes on your own participation in the form of a daily feedback memo, which you will complete for each session.

We will use a variety of in-class and out-of-class exercises to give you opportunities to apply and deepen your knowledge of the course content.  Many (but not all) of these will be turned in for participation points.  I may also adjust your final grade based on the quality of your voluntary participation in class. In order to stimulate class participation and give everyone the chance of voicing his/her opinions I may also cold call on students.  This obviously implies that students are expected to come to class prepared to discuss the readings assigned for that particular day.

As you prepare for each class, you should read carefully and be ready to discuss the readings (cases and articles) listed under Class Readings.  Those listed under Recommended Readings, on the contrary, are not required.  They represent optional readings for those of you who are interested in delving more deeply into a particular topic.



Students are also required, as part of their preparation for each class, to write out some structured reactions to or thoughts about the readings for that day.  The objective should be to produce a critical analysis rather than an appreciation.  You might make an argument (e.g., “Was the central action in the reading wise or unwise?  Are there better choices?”); or develop and critique an analogy (e.g., “The situation confronting the decision-makers was like (unlike) one with which I am familiar. On balance, this suggests ….”).  There are many possibilities.  It is highly recommended, however, that you use the reading(s) to examine either the case assigned for discussion the day when the paper is due or, alternatively, a real-world situation you experienced or know about.

The point of the exercise is to engage intellectually with the material and the issues it raises. Summaries of the readings are not acceptedSummaries are not what I am looking for.  Over the entire semester you are expected to turn in 5 papers: the precise day when the paper is due is indicated in the class schedule below. I will discard the paper with the lowest grade and use the others for grading purposes.

A suitable target length would be 2 to 3 typewritten pages, double-spacing.  It is highly recommend to compare/contrast the material that will be covered during the class in which the paper is due with the material of the previous class(es).  Thought papers must be handed at the beginning of the class


3. Case Analysis (30%)

The most important assignment you will be completing this semester is the writing of an original case analysis about a topic of your choosing (though topics must be approved by the instructor). You will work in groups of 5-6 for this assignment.  Typical cases will focus on either a company (or a particular product of a company) and a critical strategic issue the company is currently facing.  You might not be able to gather enough information on your product/company to analyze every aspect of technological innovation covered in our course, but you must be able to conduct the analysis appropriate to at least three topics covered in class, and these topics must span all three sections of the course (industry dynamics of technological innovation, formulating technological innovations strategy, implementing technological innovation strategy).  You must also provide specific and well-reasoned recommendations that integrate tightly with your analysis.  To ensure that you are making good progress and provide opportunities for feedback, we will set aside time in class to apply class tools and frameworks to your cases, some of which will be turned in for credit.  More specific guidelines will be given in class and examples of case analysis from previous years will be posted on blackboard.

Before turning in the final case analysis during the last day of the course (please, see class schedule below), there are two gates.  In Gate 1, which is due on Class #4, you are expected to provide an outline of your final Case Analysis.  This outline should identify the company you will examine and offer some background information, motivate your choice by explaining why the company is a good case to study given the course objectives, and briefly describe the questions you intend to explore in your analysis.  The document should not exceed 3 pages.  Gate 1 is not graded.  In Gate 2, which is due in Class #7, you are expected to show some preliminary results of the analysis.  More specifically, since the analysis should be appropriate to at least three topics covered in class, and these topics must span all three sections of the course, you should complete the analysis of at least one of the three topics.  This second gate will be graded and will account for 5% of the Case Analysis grade (which is 30% of your final grade).

Format Guidelines.  The case analysis should be typed in 12 point times new roman font, one-inch margins, and a minimum of 1-1/2 line spacing.  There are no formal requirements regarding the length of the case analysis, but typical cases analyses (that include the necessary information required to conduct the analysis) range from 15-25 pages (plus exhibits) when spaced at 1-1/2 lines.  At the end of the semester you will be asked to assess your team members’ contribution; this assessment may be used to scale your grade on the assignment if necessary.


4. Presentation(15%)

Your team will give a Powerpoint presentation of your analysis (providing enough detail about your case to make it coherent) in class. You will have 20 minutes to present—with 12 minutes of actual presentation and 8 minutes for Q&As.  Please email a copy of the slides to me by midnight the day before the presentation.  Handouts for the rest of the class are appreciated but not required.







Use of Course Frameworks for Analysis

Conclusions and Recommendations

Quality of Writing and Organization


An exceptionally innovative and insightful thesis that is relevant to class concepts and drives entire paper

Exceptional creativity in finding relevant data to support key points

Exceptional integration of most relevant concepts as bridge between thesis and conclusions displaying strong critical thinking

Draws clear, feasible and discerning conclusions that stem directly from data and analysis

Paper is clearly organized, easy to follow, has a unified tone, and is well-written


Clear thesis that is relevant to class concepts and drives entire paper

Substantial effort to collect information given availability of data on subject

Covers most relevant frameworks and class concepts given thesis, subject, and data, and presents logical analysis of data used

Presents clear conclusions and/or recommendations that include specific actionable items

Paper is relatively clearly organized, and demonstrates solid writing and communication style appropriate for the material


Relatively clear thesis that unevenly drives paper, or thesis doesn’t really provide answer to company’s problem(s)

Significant holes in data collection that leave paper unable to address key issues

Omits one or more important concepts, or uses them superficially

Link between conclusions and analysis/data is tenuous and/or conclusions are largely infeasible

Organization and writing is uneven


A poorly-defined thesis, multiple unrelated theses, or not using the thesis to drive the paper

Heavy reliance on 1-2 sources, overly-biased sources, inadequate citation of sources, or significant lack of research creativity

Incorrect usage of course materials, or practically no actual usage of materials

Overly simple conclusions, conclusions that don’t derive from analysis, or no thought about implementation

Organization is difficult to understand or lacking, or quality of writing is clearly unacceptable


Group Projects

Guidelines for Group Projects

Business activities involve group effort. Consequently, learning how to work effectively in a group is a critical part of your business education.

Every member is expected to carry an equal share of the group’s workload. As such, it is in your interest to be involved in all aspects of the project. Even if you divide the work rather than work on each piece together, you are still responsible for each part. The group project will be graded as a whole:   its different components will not be graded separately. Your exams may contain questions that are based on aspects of your group projects.

It is recommended that each group establish ground rules early in the process to facilitate your joint work including a problem-solving process for handling conflicts. In the infrequent case where you believe that a group member is not carrying out his or her fair share of work, you are urged not to permit problems to develop to a point where they become serious. If you cannot resolve conflicts internally after your best efforts, they should be brought to my attention and I will work with you to find a resolution.

You will be asked to complete a peer evaluation form to evaluate the contribution of each of your group members (including your own contribution) at the conclusion of each project. If there is consensus that a group member did not contribute a fair share of work to the project, I will consider this feedback during grading.



At NYU Stern we seek to teach challenging courses that allow students to demonstrate their mastery of the subject matter.  In general, students in undergraduate core courses can expect a grading distribution where: 

Note that while the School uses these ranges  as a guide, the actual distribution for this course and your own grade will depend upon how well  you actually perform in this course.



The process of assigning grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. Students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and are discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.

If you believe an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing an overall course grade, a request to have the grade re-evaluated may be submitted. You must submit such requests in writing to me within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why you believe that an error in grading has been made.


Professional Responsibilities For This Course




In-class contribution is a significant part of your grade and an important part of our shared learning experience. Your active participation helps me to evaluate your overall performance.
You can excel in this area if you come to class on time and contribute to the course by:




Classroom Norms


Stern Policies

General Behavior
The School expects that students will conduct themselves with respect and professionalism toward faculty, students, and others present in class and will follow the rules laid down by the instructor for classroom behavior.  Students who fail to do so may be asked to leave the classroom. 


Collaboration on Graded Assignments
Students may not work together on graded assignment unless the instructor gives express permission. 


Course Evaluations
Course evaluations are important to us and to students who come after you.  Please complete them thoughtfully.


Academic Integrity

Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. As members of our community, all students agree to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct, which includes a commitment to:

The entire Stern Student Code of Conduct applies to all students enrolled in Stern courses and can be found here:

Undergraduate College: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct
Graduate Programs: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/studentactivities/involved.cfm?doc_id=102505

To help ensure the integrity of our learning community, prose assignments you submit to Blackboard will be submitted to Turnitin.  Turnitin will compare your submission to a database of prior submissions to Turnitin, current and archived Web pages, periodicals, journals, and publications.  Additionally, your document will become part of the Turnitin database.


Recording of Classes

Your class may be recorded for educational purposes


Students with Disabilities

If you have a qualified disability and will require academic accommodation of any kind during this course, you must notify me at the beginning of the course and provide a letter from the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD, 998-4980, www.nyu.edu/csd) verifying your registration and outlining the accommodations they recommend.  If you will need to take an exam at the CSD, you must submit a completed Exam Accommodations Form to them at least one week prior to the scheduled exam time to be guaranteed accommodation.


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