Managing Disruptive Technologies


Units: 6


This course looks at how technology-based products diffuse across markets. We depart from the fundamental ideas of monopoly and competitive pricing and study markets in which consumers interact across social networks and firms offer products to several markets simultaneously. The former enables direct network effects, while the latter enables indirect network effects. Lectures cover the fundamental concepts of economics and management applied to technology-enabled markets, including diffusion and critical mass, network effects, multi-sided platforms, pricing strategies, winner-takes-all markets, versioning, bundling, and envelopment attacks. We study these concepts in theory and lively with in-class discussions and presentations.  We analyze several markets to complement the theories and models discussed in class, such as content distribution networks, social networking, the sharing economy, and online marketplaces for both digital and physical products. Students learn how to manage disruptive technologies and are exposed to frameworks and tools to characterize their dynamics over time.

Learning Outcomes

Students will learn fundamental tools to understand how to manage the dynamic aspects of technology-enabled marketplaces as a way to understand industry disruption. They will also develop an understanding of the key elements that need to be evaluated when trying to anticipate and manage disruptive technologies in the marketplace. By the end of  the course, students should be able to:

  1. Identify and contrast new disruptive technologies to those based on traditional definitions.
  2. Evaluate strategies aimed at platform growth through leveraging direct and indirect network effects.
  3. Use basic data analysis (linear regressions, A/B tests etc) to evaluate technology strategy decisions by companies.
  4. Assess the current AI and ML landscape and its future potential as well as risks.
  5. Identify and evaluate strategies that have been already used by major technology companies in the real world.

Prerequisites Description

A course in economics is required (e.g. 95710 – economic analysis).