JOHANNESBURG: 25 JULY 2019
How to avoid digital disruption?
In 1990, before there was an internet browser, a mobile phone, or even Clay Christensen’s disruption theory, a doctoral student at MIT, Rebecca Henderson, wrote a paper that today is viewed as a key to the turbulent times we live in. Why did Apple destroy Nokia? Why did the stock market not see Amazon’s potency until 2013? Can Ant Financial really be worth three times Goldman Sachs? Henderson anticipated these questions with the idea of architectural innovation. She argued that new architectures (of which platforms are one example) make irrelevant the managerial wisdom of earlier architectures. A firm that confuses an architectural threat with the threat of a competitor’s new features and functions is living on borrowed time. Incumbent banks, insurers, pharma companies and even universities have to look to their architectures to survive in the face of voracious scope expansion by upstarts.
John Deighton is the Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration Emeritus at Harvard Business School where he teaches Digital Marketing to MBA students, an MBA course titled Big Data in Marketing and an Executive Education short course titled Competing on Business Analytics and Big Data.
He is an authority on data-driven marketing, with a current interest in direct-to-consumer brands, the trade-off between marketing efficiency and consumer privacy, and the tension between information technology leadership and marketing leadership. He is a frequent speaker globally on topics related to strategy and data.
His recent published research includes “Rethinking the Profession Formerly Known as Advertising: How Data Science Is Disrupting the Work of Agencies,” Journal of Advertising Research, “Economic Value of the Advertising-Supported Internet Ecosystem,” published by the IAB in 2017, “The Value of Data: Consequences for Insight, Innovation, and Efficiency in the U.S. Economy,” published by the DMA 2016, “Adding Bricks to Clicks: The Effects of Store Openings on Sales Through Direct Channels,” published in the Journal of Marketing, and "Interactivity's Unanticipated Consequences for Marketers and Marketing," in Journal of Interactive Marketing. In consumer behavior he recently published “Learning to Become a Taste Expert” in the Journal of Consumer Research, which dealt with wine expertise. Recent case studies include Gimlet Media, DataXu, Oracle, Acxiom, Instacart, Managing Data at Allstate, WPP: From Mad Men to Math Men, and Target Stores: The Hunt for Unvolunteered Truths. See also his Twitter feed @HBSmktg.
He is a past editor of the Journal of Consumer Research and the Journal of Interactive Marketing. He has served as the Executive Director of the Marketing Science Institute, and Director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. He has held visiting professor positions at the Duke University, the University of Tokyo, and Oxford and Cambridge Universities in the UK.