Rapidly evolving technologies such as AI, 5G, IoT, Fog, CV, AR/VR, and Cloud are redefining how people live, learn, heal, play, work, share, move, produce and even reproduce. These technological innovations—euphemistically referred to as the 4th (Industrial) Revolution—are generating new opportunities and problems for start-ups, investors, small-medium businesses, multinational corporations, universities, cities, nation-states, and global networks. Because of the disruptions it represents, the 4th Revolution has also become a central concern for global bodies, from the World Trade Organization to the World Health Organization and beyond. Its implications are both social and legal, as in the growing call to charge technology companies such as Facebook and YouTube for allowing terror groups to post hate speech and videos of murder. They are economic, such as the effects of advanced AI and automation on work. Often, they are also ethical and moral, such as the impact on employment and employability and on safety and security.
Such challenges present both practitioners and scholars with many strategic questions, including: How might we characterize the social impact of technologies and platforms before they are invented and deployed into society? How might cities ensure equality, fairness, and privacy of citizens when providing services that utilize smart technologies? How might citizens comprehend the trade-offs, relationships, and influence of technologies for improving their quality of life? What does a world look like in which humans may no longer be at the center of creative gravity and decision making?
This Special Conference draws on scholarship and practice at the intersection of strategy and technology and also places design at its core. While design includes topics such as the fledgling movement of design thinking, it is much more than that. Hence, we take a broader design community perspective by including design-inspired or design-based approaches to the challenge of enhancing the benefits of technology for society as the 4th Revolution unfolds. As such, we ensure a strong mix of strategy and organization scholars with scholars and practitioners in technology and design.
To generate collaboration, ideas, insights, and debate, this Special Conference will include a provocative mix of industry and academic leaders in its keynotes and other conference activities. Attendees are invited to select from the tracks below to immerse themselves in the latest relevant research and industry practice. Attendees will hear about cutting-edge research topics in strategic management and engage in hands-on, team-based activities around design, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Networking opportunities will be sprinkled throughout the conference to ensure cross-pollination of insights, ideas, and ongoing endeavors.
Good design of products, services, and customer experiences can raise actual and perceived benefits to customers and increase their willingness to pay, thereby contributing to the competitive advantage of firms. Superior skills associated with the process of design contribute to competitive advantage beyond the creation of new products, services, and customer experiences, however. While most of the empirical claims about the value of design have been made based upon product or service successes, fundamental theories and concepts underpinning the field of design have begun to contribute to the major questions associated with competitive strategy, such as the basis of firm-level competitive advantage, firm-level capabilities, and resource allocation. To advance the contribution of design theory to central questions in strategy, this track will focus on the following issues: formulating and implementing design strategy; implementation of “designerly” and design thinking in organizations; organizational transformation associated with “designerly” and design thinking; measuring the value of design to business; and debates on the conceptualization, application, and relevance of design to strategy.
Strategy processes are becoming more open by increasing transparency and inclusion. This openness is even more relevant when managers engage with grand societal challenges and complex, emergent technologies characterized by radical uncertainty. Inclusive strategizing makes more strategic information available and enables more internal and external stakeholders to engage in strategic conversations. Under which conditions is it beneficial for companies to open their strategy process, and when should they opt for more secrecy? What are the intended and unintended consequences of openness along the strategy process? What are potential “side effects?” What is the right balance of “openness” and “closure” in the strategy process? What are the barriers for more openness, and how can they be overcome? Additionally, it is intriguing to investigate how new technologies alter the very process of strategy and, consequently, impact social and organizational structures, power distribution, and roles of an organization. This track welcomes all research proposals related to these themes across a variety of methodological and theoretical perspectives.
From iTunes and Airbnb to Smart Cities, the Internet of Things, and Cloud, ecosystems are becoming ubiquitous in the business landscape. As digital technologies upend industries and organizations, there is an increasing need for revisiting our understanding of strategies for dealing with new problems that puzzle scholars and business practitioners alike. New questions revolving around the creation of new digital platforms and related processes, competition, and survival in platform ecosystems, platform governance, and platform/complementor interactions have been raised, but not sufficiently addressed. We welcome submissions that address such questions from different theoretical lenses and levels of analysis. In addition to regular research input, we warmly welcome practitioner-oriented submissions that inspire further research work and collaboration. The session will provide a forum to share insights about digital platforms and to illuminate unresolved challenges, puzzles, and gaps in our knowledge of platform strategies.
The pursuit of creativity is a core strategic imperative for creating and sustaining competitive advantage. Creative ideas are those that exhibit characteristics of both novelty and usefulness. Novelty refers to radically new ideas, while usefulness refers to conceptions of practicality and feasibility. These two characteristics, however, invoke a fundamental managerial challenge, as the usefulness of novel ideas is an ex ante unknown that often leads to their rejection. Existing mind-sets and cognitive frames drawn from managerial experience and the organization’s history and constellation of capabilities are often a significant source of inertia. In today’s business environment of rapid obsolescence, driven by the 4th Revolution, the need for a proactive response to novelty is a necessary cognitive capability. The aim of this track is to stimulate new insights at the intersection of scholarship and practice. We welcome submissions that address such questions as: How do decision makers manage tensions of novelty and usefulness? Are there simple rules and heuristics for managing tensions of novelty and usefulness? What are the informational cues (frames) used to trigger the pursuit of novelty? What impact do emotions play in the pursuit of novelty?