TR2202: Technological Innovation (Undergraduate)

Semester 2, Year 2004/2005
Wednesday Evenings 6-9pm, starting on 11 January 2005
Venue: LT24 [map]
Please read this important information for week1

Click here for the 2006 syllabus


kwanghui's photo 

sarah's photo

Kwanghui Lim

Assistant Professor
NUS Business School BIZ1-04-27
National University of Singapore
Singapore 117592
Republic of Singapore.

Office hours: please email for an appointment.

Sarah Cheah

Adjunct Senior Fellow
NUS Entrepreneurship Center
National University of Singapore
Republic of Singapore.

Biography: click here


Click here for the 2006 syllabus


This course aims to equip students with a strong conceptual foundation for understanding the dynamic process of technological innovation and its socio-economic impacts.

Students will be introduced to the importance of technological innovation as a driver for value creation and economic growth. The dynamics of technological change will be analyzed through the concepts such as technology life-cycles, dominant design, disruptive technologies, network externalities and aggregate project plans. The key technology commercialization processes through which an innovative idea is transformed into a successful product or service in the marketplace will be studied, and the key organizational/management factors and socio-economic/competitive environmental factors that influence the effectiveness of these processes will be highlighted. Students will be exposed to the challenges in technological innovation, including encouraging risk-taking and inventive creativity, discovering market opportunities, protection of intellectual property, attracting resources, entrepreneurial leadership and team building, overcoming resistance to change, etc. Technological innovation within existing organizations as well as through new start-ups will be examined. Case studies of real world examples of technological innovation, together with guest speakers, will be used to illustrate the concepts discussed in class.

This course is for undergraduate students. If you are a graduate student, you may be interested in MBA5251/MMT5002/TR5201(Management of Technology) or MBA5252/MMT6008 (Technology Strategy).


This course is designed for undergraduate students, to be taken as part of the Minor in Technopreneurship program offered by the NUS Entrepreneurship Center.

  • This course is a prerequisite for the New Venture Creation course.
  • This is not a "practical" course, where you get a "how to" guide. This is a conceptual course to get you thinking about fundamental ideas. However, being conceptual doesn't mean this class is boring: We covers many real-life industries and cases (e.g. disk drives, Palmpilot, Sony, Pharmaceuticals, NTT, Dell, etc). Previous students have said they learnt many useful lessons from TR2202.
  • As an analogy, people who learn to play a musical instrument need to learn both the Theory of Music as well as to practice regularly. Practice is essential and some people are born gifted, but even they can push even further with a strong theoretical foundation. TR2202 is similar to the Theory of Music class -- it will give you a deeper understand that will help you in the more "practical" courses such as New Product Development and New Venture Creation.

You don't have to be a "techy" to take this class and do well. In a recent semester, a high percentage of students from non-technical faculties got an "A", "A+" or "A-". On average across the last 3 semesters, students from Arts, Business and SDE did about as well as those from Engineering, Science and Computer Science. The top student in 2004 was from a non-technical faculty.

Module Information:

  • Modular Credits: 4 MCs
  • Classroom hours per week: 3
  • No of hours of preparation per week: 4 (includes time for group projects)


1. Class Participation (20%) comprising:

  • Individual Participation (15%). Attendance will be recorded each week except during week 1. Class attendance counts for 15% of your overall grade.
    • If you are absent for a valid reason, please email the instructor and provide documentary evidence. In such situations, your absence will not be used in computing your participation score. It is up to you to make up for the missed session. "Valid" reasons for absence include being certified medically unfit by a doctor, death in the immediate family, and serious accidents. It does not include sports trainings, cultural events, job talks, and other situations where you chose to attend those events instead of being in class.
    • 5% Bonus: In addition, you can earn up to a 5% participation bonus for posting thoughtful comments and analysis on the IVLE forum. This is above and beyond the 100% total for the class.
  • Students are expected to analyze the readings and cases and contribute to class discussions. Preparing for class should take around 2-3 hours per week. Please do not come to class unprepared. The first week does not count towards class participation as it is an introduction.
  • In-Class Group Activities (5%). Students will be divided into groups and will remain in those groups throughout the semester. Each group participates in class discussions and debates. Everyone in the group gets the same in-class grade.

    Important: No marks are subtracted if you say something "wrong". This helps other students clarify their misconceptions. However, you will be penalized for keeping your mouth shut! According to our guest speaker Yuan Lu from 3M, "If you don't ask questions, you don't have ideas". If you have something to say, no matter how silly, raise your hand.
    Class participation is crucial because it helps you build self-confidence. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you must be able to articulate your case convincingly to venture capitalists and others. And you must think quickly on your feet!

2. Group Project and Critique (30%):

  • Each group will be assigned a project by the instructors. The group is responsible for investigating the topic assigned and writing a report (15%). In addition, each group will be assigned one of the other projects to critique (10%). The purpose of the critique is for you to learn from one another. It should contain constructive criticisms and additional insights. Each student will be peer-reviewed by the other members of the group (5%). click here for further details about group projects.

3. Final Exam (50%):

  • Two hours. Two questions. Answer all parts of both questions.
  • Open book. Bring along the case studies you discussed this semester.
  • Previous exams (we knew you'd ask!): 2004-Nov, 2004-Apr, 2003-Nov, 2003-Apr, 2002-Nov.
  • You are not allowed to bring "any palm-top PC, electronic organizers/digital diaries/dictionaries and notebook computers" [Registrar]
  • Read these for good exam tips: MIT, Chicago.


Ground rules in class

  • Turn off your handphone/pager.
  • You may bring drinks. Given the timing of this class, you may bring food provided it does not have a strong aroma.
  • Be pro-active. Class participation matters!

What to do if you missed class:

  • If you cannot make it to class, read the class slides and spend 10 minutes with a classmate to learn what you missed. View the webcast.
  • As mentioned above, the first week does not count towards class participation.
  • If you missed a session during which your group presented, you will not earn points for in-class group activites (sorry, but we have to be fair to your group members). If you missed class for a valid reason, you can request the chance to join another group temporarily for the in-class presentation.

Guidelines for Assignments:

  • For written assignments, 1" margins on all sides, 10 or 12 point fonts, 1.5-line spacing.
  • No late assignment will be graded.
  • IMPORTANT: Please read this important warning on plagiarism. [Plagiarism F AQ]


Textbook: you are not required to purchase a textbook.

IVLE eLibrary: The main readings are available in digital format via IVLE. The NUS Library has obtained copyright permission for you to download and view them. Please follow the terms of use stipulated on IVLE. This service is provided free of charge.

Xanedu Coursepack: Students will be required to purchase an online courespack from

  • It contains material that is copyrighted and for which a fee is required by the copyright holder.
  • The estimated price of this coursepack is USD20
  • The Xanedu coursepack looks like this (don't panic - it taks awhile to load...).
  • Please pay us cash (Singapore Dollars) in week 3. NUS will forward your payment to Xanedu. NUS does not earn anything from this transaction.

Supplementary (on reserve at library):

  • Managing strategic innovation and change : a collection of readings / [edited by] Michael L. Tushman, Philip Anderson, New York : Oxford University Press, 1997. [Library RBR].
  • Managing Innovation: Integrating technological, market and organizational change, 2nd edition, by Joe Tidd, John Bessant and Keith Pavitt (2001), John Wiley and Sons.
  • Innovation management : Strategies, implementation and profits / by Allan Afuah, New York : Oxford University Press, 1997.

Further exploration:

Glossaries of Business Terms:

  • New York Times [www].
  • Washingtonpost [www].


IVLE: Please subscribe to course TR2202 on the NUS Integrated Virtual Learning Environment. It contains class slides, an online discussion forum and course videos. This is where you will submit assisgnments and group projects.

Webcast: Each session is recorded. You can access these recordings from the IVLE multimedia section for this course, or here. They are useful if you missed class and want to catch up, or just for you to review/revise materials you might have missed during class time.


TR2202: Understanding Technological Innovation

SYLLABUS & CLASS PLAN -- check regularly for changes throughout the semester.
The symbols used in this table are explained at the end of this document.


Topic and Readings


I. Technological Change

Week 1

12 Jan 05

Overview: Can innovation be managed?

  • Google Case Study.
  • Please read these prior to attending the session:
    Compulsory: [1] [2] [3].
    Optional: [1] [2] [3] [4]
Kwanghui Lim & Sarah Cheah

Week 2

19 Jan 05

How Does Technology Evolve?

  • Read: Utterback, James (1994), “Dominant Designs and the Survival of Firms” and “Innovation and Industrial Evolution,” Mastering the Dynamics of Innovation, Harvard Business School Press, pp. 23-37 and 91 to 96. [IVLE eReserve]
  • Read: Foster R. (1986), “The S-Curve:  A New Forecasting Tool,” Chapter 4 in Innovation:  The Attacker’s Advantage, Summit Books, Simon and Schuster:  NY, pp. 88-111. [IVLE eLibrary]
Kwanghui Lim

Week 3

26 Jan 05


Managing Disruptive Technologies


  • View the Christensen video on Disruptive Technologies.
  • Read: Bower, Joseph L.; Christensen, Clayton M..(1995), Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave, Harvard Business Review, Jan/Feb95, Vol. 73 Issue 1, p43-54. [IVLE eReserve]

Case study: Toyota: Driving the Mainstream Market to Purchase Hybrid Electric Vehicles (2003). IVEY904A03 [Xanedu]
Also, revisit the Google case.

Sarah Cheah


II. Competing in High-tech markets

Week 4

2 Feb 05

Intellectual Property

  • Guest Speakers: Mark Lim, Director, Tan Peng Chin LLC [web].
  • Browse the following websites to learn about patents, copyrights, trade secrets, etc:
    • IPOS Spore [ipos] - explore the "about ip" section.
    • US Patent Office [uspto] , US copyright office, para 1&2 [click], [click].
    • Optional: NUS Patent Database [click] and NUS Library [click]
  • Optional: Mansfield p. 217-223.[Jstor] [IVLE eReserve]
  • Optional: Markus Reitzig, "Strategic Management of Intellectual Property", MIT Sloan Management Review; Spring2004, Vol. 45 Issue 3, p35-41 [eReserve].

Case study: How well does Google manage IP?

  • Skim these articles: [1] [2] [3], Optional: [4]



Kwanghui Lim

Week 5

9 Feb 05


Chinese New Year. No session today. Happy Holidays!



Week 6

16 Feb 05

Profiting from Innovation

  • Read: Teece, D., “Profiting from Technological Innovation: Implications for Integration, Collaboration, Licensing and Public Policy,” The Competitive Challenge, 1987.[IVLE eReserve]
  • Read: Evan Schwartz, “Who Really Invented Television,” Technology Review, Sep/Oct 2000. [IVLE eReserve]

Case study: Elliot Lebowitz HBS9-297-094 [Xanedu]

Kwanghui Lim





20-24 Feb 2005


Mid-Semester Break.

No Session.

Week 7

2 Mar 05

Standards and Network Externalities

  • Read: David,  “Clio and the Economics of QWERTY,” American Economic Review, 1985.[Jstor] [IVLE eReserve]
  • Read: Shapiro, C. and H. Varian (1999). The Art of Standards Wars, California Management Review, 41(2): 8-32. [IVLE eReserve]
  • Optional: Cusumano, Myonadis and Rosenbloom, "Strategic Maneuvering and Mass-market Dynamics: The Triumph of VHS over Beta", Business History Review, Spring 1992. [IVLE eReserve]

Case study: NTT Docomo: Establishing Global 3G Standards (HKU241) [Xanedu]
(Note: this is not the same as HBS 9-502-031 used in previous semesters)

Kwanghui Lim

Week 8

9 Mar 05

Managing technological transitions and disruption

  • Read: Charitou, C. and Markides, C. (2003), "Responses to Disruptive Strategic Innovation", Sloan Management Review, Vol 44, No2. [IVLE eReserve]
  • Skim: Linux, Inc. Businessweek (2005) [BW]
  • Optional: Cooper, A.and Smith, C. (1992), "How Established Firms Respond to Threatening Technologies", Academy of Management Executive, Vol 6, No. 2. [eReserve]

Case study: Novell: Open Source Software Strategy, HBS#9-605-009 [Xanedu]


Kwanghui Lim

Week 9

16 Mar 05

Managing Scientists and Engineers

  • Read: Badawy, M.K., "Industrial Scientists and Engineers", Fall 1971; Vol. 14, Iss. 000001; pg. 11-17. [eReserve]
  • Read: Farris, George F. (2002) , "Leading Your Scientists and Engineers".[eReserve]
  • Read: Innovation, Inc. Harvard Business Review, Aug2002, Vol. 80 Issue 8, p18-20 [eReserve]
  • Real Fun: Joel on Software (Two Stories) [www]

In-class video on organizational creativity.

Sarah Cheah


III. Organizing for Innovation

Week 10

23 Mar 05

Creating a creative organization

  • Read: Shapero, Albert (1997) “Managing Creative Professionals,” Chapter 5 in The Human Side of Managing Technological Innovation, Ralph Katz, Ed., Oxford U. Press, 39-46. [eReserve].
  • Read: Studt, Tim, "3M--Where Innovation Rules," R&D Magazine; Apr2003, Vol. 45 Issue 4, p20-25.[eReserve]
  • Optional: Brown, J.S. (1991), "Research that reinvents the Corporation", Harvard Busines Review Jan/Feb '91, [eReserve]

Guest speakers: Mr. Pang Hoke Woei, Technical Supervisor, 3M Singapore
(and/or Ms Ho Yuan Lu and Ms Sheng Thong Yin, 3M Technologies (S) Pte Ltd.)


Sarah Cheah

Week 11

30 Mar 05

New Product Development- An Introduction

  • Read: Wheelwright and Clark, "Creating Project Plans to Focus Product Development," Harvard Business Review, 1992. [eReserve].
  • Skim: Lynn, Gary(2002), "How to build a Blockbuster", Harvard Business Review, Oct2002, Vol. 80 Issue 10, p18-20. [eReserve]
  • Skim: Clark, Kim B. and Steven C. Wheelwright (1992), “Organizing and Leading ‘Heavyweight’ Development Teams”, California Management Review, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Spring), pp. 9-28.[eReserve]
  • Optional: von Hippel, Eric (1986), "Lead Users: A Source of Novel Product Concepts," Management Science 32, no. 7 (July):791-805. [eReserve]

Case: Strategic Inflection: TiVo in 2003 (A). [Xanedu]

Sarah Cheah

Week 12

6 Apr 05

Alliances and Make/Buy.

Guest speaker: Walter Lee, AVP, Broadband/Business IP Solutions, Starhub.[info]

  • Read: Chesbrough and Teece, “When is virtual virtuous? Organizing for innovation”, Harvard Business Review Jan-Feb 1996, pp. 65-74.[eReserve]
  • Read: Roberts and Berry, "Entering new businesses: selecting strategies for success", Sloan Management Review (Spring 1985), pp 3-17. [eReserve]
  • Optional: Doz and Hamel, "The use of alliances in implementing technology strategies", chapter 37 of Managing strategic innovation and change : a collection of readings / [edited by] Michael L. Tushman, Philip Anderson, New York : Oxford University Press, 1997.[eReserve]

Sarah Cheah


IV. Its Your Turn!

Week 13

13 Apr 05

Putting it All Together

  • Guest speaker: Eugene Low, Managing Director, [website]
  • Optional: Hamm, John (2002), "Why Entrepreneurs Don't Scale," Harvard Business Review, Dec2002, Vol. 80 Issue 12, p110-116.[eReserve]
  • Optional: Zider, Bob (1998), "How Venture Capital Works," Harvard Business Review; 11/01/98. [eReserve]
  • Optional: [VC Encyclopedia] chapters 1 & 2, [CCH Toolkit], [GEM report]

Optional: Watch the movie.

Discussion of Previous Exam Quesitons

  • During the second half of this session, we will discuss previous examination papers. You should attempt these questions beforehand. Several groups will be invited to present your answers and lead the discussion.
Sarah Cheah.

Week 14

20 Apr 05

NUS Reading Week.


28 April 05


Final Examination (28 April 2005 at 5pm) . [Registrar]


Symbols Used:

Version: 10 May 2005