Scope: Establishing the Context for Innovation

My success, part of it certainly, is that I have focused in on a few things.

—Bill Gates1

NO ORGANIZATION CAN INVESTIGATE, let alone adopt, every innovation that comes along. So how do managers in an organization decide which innovations are worth pursuing? We have seen how this is the source of most danger in the hype cycle—that an organization will make adoption decisions based primarily on the hype and hope that often surround something new.

Imagine someone who’s never seen San Francisco and now finds himself about to spend a weekend there. He’s eager to see something of that famous and beautiful city. What’s the best use of his time? He might ask the hotel doorman or fellow guests ...

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