04-800-AD   Leading and Managing Technology and Innovation

Location: Africa

Units: 12

Semester Offered: Spring

Course description

This course will provide an insider’s look at issues that scientists, engineers, and managers are likely to encounter in companies pursuing innovative technologies.

The instructor, Prof. Mark Kryder, spent five years as a manager at the IBM Research Center in Yorktown
Heights, NY, and founded and led the Data Storage Systems Center at CMU, before spending nine years as
Chief Technical Officer and Senior Vice President, Research for Seagate Technology. In this course, he will try to give students an improved understanding of how to effectively lead and manage engineers and scientists carrying out research, development, and engineering on new technologies and/or products.

The course is built around the instructor’s personal experiences and also draws heavily from business
management literature and business case studies. It is expected that the course will make the transition from
the university to working in a company easier and faster for students who have taken it and enable them to
become leaders in a shorter period of time than others without this background.

The course will be taught using case studies and discussion. Grading will be based on participation in class discussions, written case study analyses, and written midterm and final exams.

Learning objectives

The objective of this course is to introduce the participants to many of the different considerations required to successfully build an innovative technology company. Corporate organizational structures, location and design of business facilities, means of measuring performance and rewarding engineers and scientists, the complementarily of technology and marketing in innovation, various approaches to encouraging innovation, the importance of teamwork and diversity, different types of intellectual property and the critical importance of leadership will be discussed. Students will learn about these factors through business case studies, in-class presentations, and in-class discussions.


After completing the course, students will be able to describe the following:

  • Difference between sustaining and disruptive technologies and how competitive disruptive technologies often cause previously successful companies to fail
  • Differences between pure basic research, applied research, and use-inspired basic research
  • Decisions that need to be made in building a facility for a new enterprise
  • Relative merits of centralized, decentralized, and hybrid organizational structures for large companies
  • Relative merits of functional, project, and matrix organizational structures for companies
  • Relative merits of functional, lightweight, heavyweight, and autonomous team structures for bringing new products to market
  • Opportunities and risks of globalization
  • How the attributes and most effective reward structures differ for persons working on new technology development, product development, and engineering of new products
  • Importance of diversity to successful innovation
  • The complementary roles of technology, marketing, and business models to the success of a company
  • Relative importance of compensation, work environment, work-life balance, and the company attributes to attracting and retaining employees
  • When it is best for a company to be vertically integrated and when it is best to be horizontally stratified
  • What can management do to encourage more creativity from its employees
  • What is meant by corporate culture, why it is important, and how difficult it can be to change
  • Technology push, market pull, and double linking approaches to creating innovative products
  • Working with universities and in consortia to reduce costs and time-to-market for a new product
  • The importance of teamwork and how it differs from collaboration
  • Metrics for measuring the performance of research and development teams
  • Different types of intellectual property and how they are used differently in different industries
  • The importance of leadership to new technology and product development

Content details

  • Disk drive technology
  • History of the disk drive industry
  • Disruptive technology
  • Basic research, applied research, and development
  • Corporate organizations
  • Organizational structures for R&D
  • Trends in international R&D organizations
  • Globalization
  • Personnel for R&D
  • Voice of R&D workforce
  • Vertical integration vs. horizontal stratification
  • Internal innovation vs. external (open) innovation
  • Connecting technology to business outcomes
  • Technology transfer
  • Teamwork
  • Intellectual property
  • Vision, goals, and metrics
  • Leadership




Mark Kryder