Academic Focus: The Jerusalem Business School

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April 5, 2010

Academic Focus: The Jerusalem Business School

What sets innovative products and services apart from others? Common sense would suggest they have unique and unusual characteristics that make them very different than all the rest. Furthermore, if you wanted to study innovative products and services to learn the hidden secrets they hold, you would try to identify those different and original attributes. But just the opposite is true. A very high percentage of successful new products launched each year follow the same set of patterns. Innovative products are more similar than different from each other. If you can identify these patterns and overlay them onto your products and services, you should be able to innovate in a predictable, templated way. THAT is the essence of the corporate innovation method, S.I.T..

What sets innovative products and services apart from others?  Common sense would suggest they have unique and unusual characteristics that make them very different than all the rest.  Furthermore, if you wanted to study innovative products and services to learn the hidden secrets they hold, you would try to identify those different and original attributes.  But just the opposite is true.  A very high percentage of successful new products launched each year follow the same set of patterns.  Innovative products are more similar than different from each other.  If you can identify these patterns and overlay them onto your products and services, you should be able to innovate in a predictable, templated way.  THAT is the essence of the corporate innovation method, S.I.T..

This month’s Academic Focus recognizes the work of Dr. Jacob Goldenberg who identified and described these patterns in his book, Creativity in Product Innovation.  Here is Jacob’s biography from the JBS website:

Yanko “Jacob Goldenberg is a professor of Marketing at the School of Business Administration at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the head of the Marketing department. He is a visiting professor at the Columbia Business School. Prof. Goldenberg received his Ph.D. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in a joint program of the School of Business Administration and Racach Institute of Physics. His research focuses on creativity, new product development, diffusion of innovation, complexity in market dynamics and social networks effects.

Prof. Goldenberg has published in leading journals such as Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Management Science, Marketing Science, Nature Physics and Science. In addition, he is the author of two books (one published one in press) by Cambridge University Press. His scientific work had been covered by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, BBC news Harold Tribune.”

Aside from his research in innovation and creativity, Jacob teaches courses in systematic innovation at Columbia and JBS.  He freely shares his Syllabus and teaching material for academics who want to bring this competency to their institutions.

For innovation practitioners, I recommend the following publications by Jacob and his collaborators:

  •  Goldenberg’ Jacob, Roni Horowitz, Amnon Levav and David Mazursky, (2003), Finding the sweet spot of innovation, Harvard Business Review  March p 120-29.
  • Jacob Goldenberg, Sangman Han, Donald R. Lehmann and Jae Weon Hong (2009), The Role of Hubs in the Adoption Processes, Journal of Marketing Vol. 73 (March 2009), 1–13.
  • Goldenberg, Jacob, Barak Libai, Sarit Moldovan and Eitan Muller (2007)  The NPV of Bad News , International Journal of Research in Marketing, 24, pp.186-200.

Jacob and his colleagues have extended the idea of systematic innovation to the world of advertising in their newest book, Cracking the Ad Code.  I have just ordered it, and I look forward to reviewing it and using its methods on this blog.