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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
S&Ls interview policies and practices
Article Type: Editor’s letter From: Strategy & Leadership, Volume 40, Issue 6
In this issue, Strategy & Leadership Contributing Editor Brian Leavy interviews the innovation researcher Prof. Ron Adner about his ecosystem approach to managing innovation. The ecosystem view of innovation becomes increasingly important as more companies shift their focus from standalone products to integrated solutions. But when delivering value depends on the combined efforts of multiple partners – both within and across firms – brilliant invention and execution by one firm doesn’t prevent failure if the other partners aren’t acting in concert. In Prof. Adner’s new book The Wide Lens, he warns that innovation success in ecosystems requires managing partners so that they are both able and willing to participate in a novel solution and bring it to market.
In a decade of addressing innovation execution, Prof. Adner has developed numerous unique tools and concepts that are likely to be unfamiliar to most managers – for example, the value blueprint, co-innovation risk, adoption chain risk and ecosystem leadership. So in this interview S&L asked him to briefly describe them and give examples of how they work. Other articles in this issue that take an ecosystem perspective are:
“Connecting with the digital customer of the future” by Saul Berman and Lynn Kesterson-Townes – “Today’s digitally connected consumers are empowered, demanding instant access to personalized content on their own terms. To satisfy them, as well as ecosystem partners, Media and Entertainment providers must move ‘beyond digital’ to deliver individualized experiences on demand, at any time.”
“Three new business models for ‘the open firm’” by Mark Purdy, Matthew C. Robinson and Kuangyi Wei – “In more open business ecosystems, the borders between the firm and its stakeholders – customers, suppliers, workers, innovators and managers – have become much more permeable and reconfigurable. A new model of the firm is evolving, from that of an organization with well-defined borders toward that of an interconnected enterprise – ‘the open firm.’”
Reading Prof. Adner’s interview and the articles on innovating to serve the digital customer of the future and on innovating a business model for an open firm, I found myself wondering how ecosystem management tools and concepts might also be applied to other strategic management tasks such as M&A, perhaps a topic for future S&L articles.
The published responses of Prof. Adner to the questions posed to him provides an excellent example of the execution of S&L’s interview policies and methods, a set of practices that has evolved over many years. You may find some of them, outlined briefly in the following list, a bit surprising:
A team of contributing editors does appropriate research and prepares a set of interview questions. The questions are edited and circulated to the team. Only S&L contributing editors conduct interviews, but other experts can be recruited for the team.
The questions are presented to the interview subject for written responses. Because the questions are often technical we believe that written responses give interviewees an opportunity to provide the reader with useful, comprehensive comments.
The responses are reviewed and edited. Follow up questions are asked if required.
The contributing editors may supplement the answers with additional material – useful insights from the interview subject’s written work, charts, footnotes and illustrations.
The lead contributing editor prepares an introduction that positions the interview in a conceptual context and introduces the interviewee to the reader.
The interview subject is sent a copy of the final text for review.
Much like S&L’s peer review system, the interview process is a team effort, and I gratefully acknowledge the thoughtful work of the contributing editors, and their patience.
A hot tip – Don’t miss Stephen Denning’s article “How Agile can transform manufacturing: the case of Wikispeed.”
Robert M. RandallEditor