The business environment is now changing rapidly, but will change even more rapidly in the future. Only firms that can respond to these changes will survive. It is important to know, then, how business’s future landscape will look. George Huber’s new book, The Necessary Nature of Future Firms, describes this landscape clearly and credibly and makes explicit the organizational attributes and management practices firms must possess to be among the ranks of the “future firms.” The Necessary Nature of Future Firms is written for managers, especially those managing change. Professionals in a wide variety of organizational roles will find it a particularly useful reference for its foresight and as an invaluable tool in winning approval for projects and initiatives. Academics in change management, information systems, organizational science, strategy, and human resources management can draw on the book as a supplementary text or as a source for lecture materials.
Innovation: The Integration and Exploitation of Knowledge
Product innovations dominate the popular press, but process innovations are often an important source of product success. An example of such a process innovation is Dell Computer's Morton L. Topfer Manufacturing Center, opened in 2000 to replace a nearby factory opened in 1997. The early design specifications for the new plant were straightforward: “We told them (the facilities planners) to basically double the output per employee and the output per square foot” (John Egan, Dell's Director of Desktop Operations, quoted in Jones, 2003: D1).
The space saving was achieved by eliminating in the new facility the 250,000-square-foot “sorting center” where, in the 1997 facility, orders were batched for shipping. The increase in employee ...