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Strategic Management of Disruptive Innovation and Exponential Technologies (19CBA40008)

General information






S semester

ECTS Credits:


Teaching Staff:

Group Teacher Department Language
Xavier Ferrás Hernández Operaciones, Innovación y Data Sciences ENG

Workload distribution

Class attendance: 24 hours
Assignments & cases preparation (in group): about 20 hours
Readings: about 20 hours


This subject is about strategic management of technology. The course shows how to strategically manage technology in organizations, especially how to manage disruptive technologies of exponential growth: how these technologies are transforming the economy and the society, how to develop them, how to create new business models from them, and how to introduce them into the market. According to McKinsey, there're a set of about 12 exponential technologies that are rewritting the World's operative system. This course expands the vision of the master, from a fundamental technology (big data & artificial intelligence) to the complete set of technologies of exponential growth (internet of the things, 3D Printing, advanced robotics, blockchain, renewable energies, driverless vehicles or next-generation genomics), discussing how different business have succeed or failed when dealing with them, and showing the theoretical models behind exponential technology dynamics in business.

Course Learning Objectives

- Analyze the impact of exponential technologies in the global economy: non-linear disruption and see the global forces breaking all the trends. Know the new paradigm of "Economy of Abundance" versus the old "Economy of Scarcity". Have an strategic and business approach to the set of exponential technologies that are transforming the world: Internet of Things, 3D Printing, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Driverless Vehicles, Renewable Energy, Next-Generation Genomics, New Materials, Blockchain, Artificial Food...)
- Analyze the new competitive context (VUCA) and the new rules of the corporate strategy: principles of differentiation, lean organization and continuous strategic adaptation.
- See how to compete on resources: core competences, capacity-push dynamics and the creation of new waves of competitive advantage based on technology.
- Understand the link between corporate strategy and innovation in high-tech environments.
- Evaluate the critical role of technology in modern competition: how technology creates non-linear increases of productivity and superior barriers to the entrance of new competitors
- Understand the dynamics of technological innovation and its disruptive nature. S-curve model and strategic management of technology.
- See how new technological opportunities in low-end markets can beat superior products attacking from inferior positions ("attacking from below?)
- Have an approach to the innovator's dilemma: how to allocate resources to new technological ventures
- Know how to take strategic decisions concerning on technology management. New technology development, introduction, exploitation and protection.
- Analyze the role of the ecosystem in technological innovation: from supply-chain ecosystems to open innovation.
- Understand the role of location in innovation and the keys for national competitiveness in a global world. Analyze global clusters of innovation (SIlicon Valley, Israel, Finland, South Korea...) and the forces behind them: attraction, anticipation, information, interaction and local rivalry.


1. Exponential Technologies: Impact in Business and Society

According to McKinsey, there are a set of 12 exponential technologies that are transforming the world. Which are these technologies? How do they impact?

2. Towards a VUCA world: Implications in strategy formulation

How is the new economic context? How technology is changing the rules of competition? How can we do strategic planning in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world?

3. Strategic Management of Technology: principles

Today, competitive strategy is shifting from a market approach to a resource-based approach. Competing on technology is competing on resources. Which is the dynamics of technology, and how can we create value form exponential technologies?

4. The key role of technology in business competitiveness

Technology is a key driver of innovation. Which are the attributes that make technology so powerful to cfeate new competitive advantages?

5. Dynamics of technological change - Technology Disruption

Technology follows a "S-shape" dynamics. How can we predict the future behaviour of technology? In which moment can we introduce a new technology in the market? How a company can shift its technological base?

6. Attacks from below

Technology follows disruptive laws. Managing disruption with exponential technologies is one the the key success factors of modern management. Disruption is often originated in low-end, inmature markets, that suddenly explodes exponentially and threatens old incumbents. Startups, thanks to their superior strategic flexibility, have a window of opportunity through technological change.

7. Technology adoption

Identifying lead users, interacting with them, and making a reference of them is a good strategy to convince further waves of potential users. Which are the best approaches to introduce disruptive technologies in the market?

8. Technology exploration

Ambidexterity is the ability for a company to operate with efficiency in the core business, and at the same time develop new radical technologies. Which kind of organizations are the most prepared for this duality? How to manage high performance teams to deal with disruptive innovation?

9. Competing in the ecosystem: from supply chain dynamics, to open innovation, to local innovation systems

Knowledge is stuck to some territories that have been able to develop high-tech innovation ecosystems. Why innovation today is so related to specific places and ecosystems?

10. Microeconomics of competitiveness and national innovation systems. Examples of global clusters of innovation (Silicon Valley, Massachussets, South Korea, Israel, Finland, Baden-Württemberg¿)

In this section we will analyze the economic forces behind innovation ecosystems, and we wil review some examples of global clusters of innovation.


The dynamics of the course will alternate theoretical presentations (lectures) with business cases and invited top executives.
The classes will be divided into: theoretical framework (30% time), business case and teamwork (30%), practical presentations (30% time) (aprox)
During the course, cases about high-tech companies companies will be discussed (among them, Google, Apple, Tesla, IBM, Uber, 23andMe, and Amazon).
Supplementary reading material will be provided.

Assessment criteria

Class attendance, and positive participaton (contribution to the knowledge-creation process): 30%. Quality of the participations and willingness to contribute to collective learning will be appreciated.
Business case preparations & presentations (in group): 20%
Group assignments: 20% (Assignments about the impact of disruptive technologies will be required)
Final individual assignment (30%)

Timetable and sections

Group Teacher Department
Xavier Ferrás Hernández Operaciones, Innovación y Data Sciences