TR2202: Technological Innovation (Undergraduate)

Wednesday (12-3pm) and Thursdays (6-9pm) starting on January 2006


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.

Sarah Cheah

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

Biography: click here



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. Individual Participation (20%):

  • Attendance (10%): Attendance will be recorded each week by the TA, except during week 1. 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 catch up on the materials you missed.

  • In-class Participation Bonus (5%): The TA will identify exceptional contributors during in-class participations. These individuals will earn up to 5% bonus

    • "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.
  • IVLE Bonus (5%): Up to 5% of participation score will be awarded for thoughtful comments and analysis posted on IVLE.
  • More about class participation:
    • 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.
    • 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. Groupwork (30%):

  • Group Project (20%): Each group will be assigned a project by the instructors. The group is responsible for investigating the topic assigned and writing a report. Each student's project grade is a composite of the overall score for the report (by the instructor), and a peer evaluation done by the rest of the team.
  • In-Class Group Activities (10%). Students will be divided into groups and will remain in those groups throughout the semester. Each group will be graded on activites conducted DURING class.
    • Once or twice during the semester, your group will get a chance to present a case analysis or participate in a debate in front of the class. This counts for 5% of the in-class group grade. If you miss class when your group presents, arrange with the TA to join a separate group on another date.
    • Each week, your group will submit a discussion sheet that is graded. This constitute the other 5% of the in-class group grade. If you miss a class, you forfeit this component of your group grade for that week. 

3. Final Exam, compulsory (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!): 2005-Apr, 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 Reading

Instructor (s)

I. Organizing for Innovation

Session 1 (13 & 14th Jan 2006)

Overview: Can innovation be managed?

  • Google Case Study.
  • Please read these prior to attending the session (revised):
    Compulsory: [1] [2] [3] .
    Optional: [1] [2] [3] [4][5]

Lim Kwang Hui

Session 2 (18 & 19 Jan 2006)

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

Session 3

(26 Jan 2006 only)

Wed class to join thursday class

Creating a Creative Orgnization

  • 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 - go to "Library Resources"].
  • 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: Ms Sheng Thong Yin, 3M Technologies (S) Pte Ltd

Sarah Cheah

Session 4

(1 and 2 Feb 2006)

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 2005 (A). [Xanedu]
IMPT: This is not the same as the case used in previous semesters. That was the 2003 version.

Sarah Cheah

Session 5

(9 Feb 2006 only)

Wed class to join thursday class

Alliances and Make/Buy

  • Read: Chesbrough and Teece, “When is virtual virtuous? Organizing for innovation”, Harvard Business Review Jan-Feb 1996, pp. 65-74.[eReserve - go to "Library Resources"]
  • Read: Roberts and Berry, "Entering new businesses: selecting strategies for success", Sloan Management Review (Spring 1985), pp 3-17. [eReserve - go to "Library Resources"]
  • 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 - go to "Library Resources"]

Sarah Cheah

II. Technological Change

Session 6
(15 and 16 Feb 2006)

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). IVEY9B04A03 [Xanedu]

Sarah Cheah

Session 7

(1st and 2nd March 2006)

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 - go to "Library Resources"]
  • 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 - go to "Library Resources"]

Sarah Cheah

III. Competing in High-tech markets

Session 8

( 8 & 9th March)

Intellectual Property

  • 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]

Lim Kwang Hui

Session 9

(15 and 16 March 2006)

Profiting from Innovation

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

Case study: X-IT and Kidde(A)[Xanedu]

Lim Kwang Hui

Session 10

(22 and 23 March 2006)

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: Mobile FeliCia [Xanedu]
IMPT: This is not the same as the case used in previous semesters

Lim Kwang Hui

Session 11

(29 and 30 March 2006)

Managing Technological Transitions & 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: MYSQL Open Source Database in 2004 [Xanedu]

Kwanghui Lim

Session 12

(5 and 6 April 2006)

New Venture Creation- An Introduction

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

Case Study: Watch the movie.

Kwanghui Lim

IV. It’s your Turn!

Session 13

(12April only)

THURS class to join WED.

Putting it all together

  • Guest speaker: Eugene Low, Managing Director, [website]
  • Guest: Eugene Sim, BBA(Hons) student and TR2202 alumnus, to present a summary of his work

Discussion of Previous Exam Questions

Kwanghui Lim and

Sarah Cheah

14 Apr - 20 Apr 06

NUS Reading Week.

2 May 06

Final Examination [Registrar]

Symbols Used:

TR2202 Group Projects information, including Dealines and  FAQ

by Sarah Cheah, John Bauly and Kwanghui Lim

This “need to know” information is divided into three sections:

  • Introduction
  • Deadlines, Grading and other Guidelines
  • Additional “need to know” Information


Each group will be randomly assigned. The group is responsible for proposing a topic, investigating it and writing a report.


Each group will propose a topic. However, if the topic has already been chosen by another group, you cannot also choose it. First come, first serve.

The report can be (a) an extension of the ideas discussed in class, (b) a case study, (c) an analysis of how the ideas discussed in class applies in a particular context, or (d) some combination of the above. We are quite flexible concerning the scope, but it MUST be relevant to the topic you were assigned. Be creative! Use it as an opportunity to explore more deeply the topics covered in class.

Deadlines, Grading and other  “need to know” Guidelines

Basic guidelines

  • The group report should not exceed 3000 words. Please adhere to the word limit or you will face a 10%-20% point penalty. As an entrepreneur or manager, you must learn to get to the point! Don't write a long, boring report. Write a short, exciting report that everyone wants to read.
    • The word count includes everything from the "Introduction" to the "Conclusion" sections of your report, plus any Appendices/Annexes.
    • It excludes the front page, table of contents and list of references.
  • Grades are assigned based on quality and thoughtfulness, not quantity. The primary factor is the quality of your analysis. In addition we will consider the amount of effort put in (such as additional readings, research, surveys, etc) and creativity.
  • Severe penalties exist for plagiarism ( We take it very seriously.


  • The deadline for submitting group reports is week 13 (please submit on IVLE BEFORE CLASS STARTS, ie before 6pm on thursday during that joint final session). Please also bring along a hardcopy for submission in class. Late submissions will not be graded. 

Additional “need to know” information

Qn: Which group am I in?
Ans: Check the IVLE Project Section. You are randomly assigned to groups. This helps improve diversity and gives you an opportunity to interact with new students..

Qn: Can I switch groups?
Ans: No. In the past, we allowed students to choose their own groups. As a result, several groups had very little diversity. They ended up performing poorly. Besides, you should take this as an opportunity to meet a few more new people!

Qn: Isn't it unfair that some groups have more time than others because some topics are covered earlier?
Ans: Nope. Nothing stops you from starting early on your project.

Qn: How do i know the topics covered in each lecture?
Ans: They are listed on the course syllabus on IVLE.

Qn: We are in group 4a. Are we suppose to do a write-up on Lecture 4's reading materials or are we supposed to research on topics relating to this topic or will you assign us the topic?
Ans: Your group should propose a topic, and the instructor will give you a yes/no response on whether to proceed. Your team should provide value-added insight on topic "New Product Development – An Introduction", beyond what is covered in the readings and lecture. Given the word limit, your team may choose to focus and research on certain areas relevant to this topic (that are possibly introduced in lecture or readings but not covered in depth) for deeper analysis.

Qn: What are the contents that we are supposed to have? Or is it we design our project based on the reading materials?
Ans: Your report may comprise your objectives, literature review, discussion with examples/case studies/research findings of the relevant topics, to support your arguments.

Qn: Can you show me examples of prior reports?
Ans: None exist. We revamped the structure of the course jan 2006. Prior to this, there was a different set of deliverables.

Qn: As an individual, can I comment on specific group projects?
Ans: Yes, feel free to do so on the IVLE forum. These comments are not graded.

Qn: Do I have to also bear the brunt for some other's sloppy work when in fact I myself have not plagiarised at all in my parts of the report (and I have my part of the report still lying with me as proof)? Our group had decided to split up sections of the report and I had done my section without copying a single word. And here I am, facing failure for the report because someone in the group decided to cut-paste in their section or in the final compilation. This is not really very fair.
Ans: As part of the team, you share in both the rewards and penalties. The group project is about teamwork, and your failure in working well as a team member is reflected in the overall result (it usually shows, even with or without the plagiarism penalty). You could have chosen a different distribution of tasks and -- more crucially -- if it had been that important to you, I would say you could have taken a more pro-active role to ensure that the rest of the team were doing things ethically. You are not a spectator here, but part of the team. If you are working in a company and it makes the wrong decision and goes bankrupt, can you say "Oh sorry it wasn't my part?".

Version: 10 April 2006