In 1976, Genentech, the first biotechnology company, was founded by a young venture capitalist and a university professor to exploit recombinant DNA technology. Thirty years and more than $300 billion in investments later, only a handful of biotech firms have matched Genentech's success or even shown a profit. This disappointing performance raises a question: Can organizations motivated by the need to make profits and please shareholders successfully conduct basic scientific research as a core activity?
Despite massive investments of management time and money, innovation remains a frustrating pursuit in many companies. Innovation initiatives frequently fail, and successful innovators have a hard time sustaining their performance - as Polaroid, Nokia, Sun Microsystems, Yahoo, Hewlett-Packard, and countless others have found.
Gary P. Pisano, the Harry E. Figgie, Jr., Professor of Business Administration, and Willy C. Shih, a professor of management practice, at Harvard Business School, write about how after decades of outsourcing manufacturing the U.S. industry has been left without the means to invent the next generation of high-tech products that are key to rebuilding its economy.
Francesca Gino, an associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, and Gary P. Pisano, a professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, write about how failures get a postmortem and how it's important that triumphs should too.
This month's issue includes three complete articles. Paul Hemp asks, "Are You Ready for E-Tailing 2.0?' Then, Clay Christensen goes over the "Tools of Cooperation and Change." In the third article, Gary Pisano looks at the business end of biotech to see if the sector lives up its hype. Plus, you'll hear OnPoint summaries of three more articles: "Emerging Giants," "Strategies for Two Sided Markets," and "Meeting the Challenge of Corporate Entrepreneurship."