Assignment 2: Individual research project on a contemporary digital technology
Select a digital product or service of interest to you, or a “conventional” product or service making effective use of digital innovation as part of its business model. You may use the same product or service that you selected for Assignment 1 (I used ‘Airbnb’), or select a different one. Analyse the product or service using four of the following general perspectives.
1. Implications of this product or service for requirements for education in the future
2. Implications of this product or service for jobs and work in the future
3. Strengths and weaknesses of social media as a sales, service and marketing channel for this product or service
4. Opportunities and risks from the organizational perspective on the protection and use of customer data
5. The degree to which this product or service is appropriate for digital customer service self-service, co-production, or a mix.
6. The actual or potential use of the resources of the crowd for funding, idea generation, or any other function usually carried out by the organization
7. Opportunities and risks from the use and deployment of Internet-of-Things technologies with this product or service
8. Another perspective relevant to the course and your innovation not already included here. If you select this, please discuss with your tutor first.
The report should take the following form (total word-count approximately 3000 words)
Introduction (approx. 250 words)
Analysis (four sections of approximately 600 words each)
Recommendations (approximately 250 words)
The following section provides more information about each section, including examples where appropriate, plus comments and tips for preparing a high-quality assignment.
Briefly introduce the product or service you have selected from the market and organizational (not the consumer) perspective – e.g. how long has it been in the market, what market share does it have, how fast is it growing? (approx. 250 words).
Do not worry if this slightly overlaps with content you included in the previous assignment. However, it should not be the same. If there are very notable characteristics of the product or service that need to be described in order to support your answers to later questions, you can also include this information here.
This section will contain four more or less independent sections, one for each of the four perspectives you have selected. Start each section with a heading showing the question number you have selected, your framing question, and the key reference (or references) you have selected (an example is provided below).
You will need to “frame” our argument in each section. Framing problems is one of the transferable skills identified by Brynjolfson and McAfee(2012) as being in persistent demand. The questions above are general. To frame a question for your assignment, you need to restate the question, making it more specific to your selected innovation. For example, some innovations may already use (say) crowd-sourcing, in which case you cananalyse how successful this has been. Others may not use crowdsourcing, but you may feel there is potential to do so, so you would explain why.
These sections require you to apply existing knowledge and theory to a problem. You must select one or two key sources for each section (these can be materials used in the course or ones you find yourself).
Imagine your innovation is AirBnB. You will have four sections like this:
Question number: 1. Implications of this product or service for requirements for education in the future
Frame as: How well does the current education system prepare people with the knowledge and skills required to be micropreneurs in “sharing economy” ecosystems like AirBnB?
Brynjolfsson, E., & McAfee, A. (2012). Winning the Race with Ever-Smarter Machines. Sloan Management Review, 53(2), 52-60.
Rauch, D., & Schleicher, D. (2015). Like Uber, But for Local Governmental Policy: The Future of Local Regulation of the “Sharing Economy”. 1-61. Retrieved from http://ssrn.com/abstract=2549919
Followed by your paragraph…in this case, you might argue, for example, that people will need broad business and technology skills and transferable to maximise their revenues as a micropreneur providing services to AirBnB. This means that students leaving school should understand basics of data analytics, balance sheets and small business law, as many more are likely to be self- employed than in past decades. Self-employment within ecosystems like AirBnB is very competitive (it would be helpful to include facts and figures about revenues earned by accommodation providers), so students need modern, technology-oriented small business management skills to make sure they can operate profitably…and so on…
o •You must select at least one peer reviewed reference as a key reference for each section. Don’t just choose the first one that looks vaguely relevant. Choose something that really provides a good “mental model” to support the points you want to make.
o •You may select references used in any part of the course, or include others that you feel are more relevant to you chosen innovation.
o •You do not need to include ALL your references in your key reference list at the beginning of this section. This is what the bibliography is for (just as usual). However, you will have been influenced by some key, foundational ideas when selecting your “frame”. This is where you list those sources only – one or two papers. In my example the description of the sharing economy (Rauch & Schleicher, 2015) and the notions of the future of employment and transferable skills (Brynjolfsson & McAfee, 2012) are the foundational ideas.
o •Use of diagrams is encouraged.
o •Your points must be supported by examples and appropriate references.
Overall, based on your evidence and arguments, develop recommendations:
o •to the organization providing your selected innovation
o to policy-makers based on issues that have arisen from your analysis
You should have a minimum of five and a maximum of 10 recommendations (in total).
Recommendations to policy-makers
1. Education should prepare students equally for a future life as a micropreneur in the sharing economy or as an employee in a conventional business, as this sector of the employment market is growing rapidly. Specifically, students leaving school should understand basics of data analytics, balance sheets and small business law.
Be clear and specific. Recommendations should be actionable.