Sunday, 13 December 2009

Wired for Innovation - Book Review

Wired for Innovation is not aimed at ICT professionals or enthusiasts; rather it is essential reading for leaders of organisations responsible for strategic development who wish to get the most out of their investments into ICT.

Brynjolfsson [MIT] and Saunders [Penn] review the recent economic research literature on the impact that IT is having on the [US] economy. Thus this is not a work of original research - rather it concisely and in very readable way facilitates keeping up to date with the latest trends and research findings.

The most important conclusion that they draw is that the firms that have been transformed by ICT have not simply invested in hardware and training, but they have also undergone significant complementary changes in their business practices.
"According to research conducted over the course of several years at MIT's Center for Digital Business and at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, organizations that adopt these practices are more productive and have a higher market value than their competitors." 61-64.
They have identified "Seven Pillars of Digital Organization":
  1. Move from Analogue to Digital Process
  2. Open Information Access - openness helps both employees and managers to do their jobs more productively
  3. Empower Employees
  4. Use performance-based incentives
  5. Invest in corporate culture
  6. Recruit the right people
  7. Invest in human capital

Brynjolfsson and Saunders go on to examine the real sources of value in the emerging information economy, including intangible inputs and outputs that have defied traditional metrics. For instance, they place great store by the intangible organizational capital that is not directly observable on a balance sheet yet is estimated to amount to trillions of dollars of value. Similarly, such non-market transactions of information goods as Google searches or views of Wikipedia articles are an increasingly large share of the economy yet virtually invisible in the GDP statistics.

134 pages + Bibliography - Approx 18,000 words - £10.55 Hardback on Amazon

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