In 2010, a small group of managers at the automaker Volvo Car Corp. assembled to craft a vision for the future involving wirelessly connected cars. They recognized that the company needed to renew its innovation capability to compete more effectively in an increasingly digital environment.
Many incumbent businesses share similar questions to those Volvo Cars faced in 2010. A recent report by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte found that nearly 90% of managers surveyed report that their industry is likely to be disrupted by digital technologies, yet less than half report that their company is doing enough to prepare for this disruption. Our four-year research project at Volvo Cars offers insights into a challenge that established companies must master — and competing concerns that they must balance — as they pursue digital innovations. (Detailed findings from our research were published in the March 2017 issue of the journal MIS Quarterly. See “Related Research.”)