Technological and Organisational Challenges

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1. Define concepts/scope at the start
Think about:
Sector – narrow or broad definition?
Institutions / Complex Products & Systems – which ones?
Other terminology – e.g. if you use the word ‘innovation’ – what do you mean?

2. How is the sector/ country composed?
Think about:
In house vs external sourcing – what do they currently do? What are the pros and cons/challenges?
The relationship between different actors – e.g. suppliers, manufacturers, customers
The history – are activities the same now compared to the past? How far back? Why did things change/ stay the same?

3. The trends
Think about:
The future – what trends can you see? Where can you predict the products/ companies/ sector/ country in the next 5-10 years, or even beyond
How has your topic evolved over time and why? Think critically about this

4. Theories and concepts
Think about:
Background readings in the syllabus under your topic and other topics
The lecture content and readings both past and future – your ability to think ahead and fit pieces together
Can you apply the theory in a creative way to your own topic?
1. Use more theories/ journals to reinforce your points and complement the industry examples. Avoid the bulk of your references coming from websites.
2. Consider content elsewhere within the module that can add another dimension to the issues being analysed. For example, sectoral systems of innovation, the impact of firms from developing countries/ foreign firms to the network, alliances, and in-house vs. outsourcing. These have literature.
3. Consider the disadvantages of modular network production, as well as the advantages. Some disadvantages can in turn be challenges that affect the sector.
4. It is helpful to consider modularity and networks as separate and then combine the two in a paragraph after individual analysis. This allows more exploration of the literature.
5.The history of the computer sector needs to draw from the literature and theories.
For your conclusion, think about your suggestions to overcome the perceived challenges.
6. Define your boundaries in the introduction.

background reading:
· Langlois, R. and Robertson, P. L. (1992) Networks and innovation in a modular system: lessons from the microcomputer and stereo component industries, Research Policy, 21 (4), 297-313.*
· Sturgeon, T.J. (2002) Modular production networks: a new American model of industrial organisation, Industrial and Corporate Change, 11 (3), pp. 451-496.
· Langlois, R. (2002) Computers and semiconductors in Steil, B., Victor, D. and Nelson, R. (eds.) Technological Innovation and Economic Performance, New Jersey, Princeton.
· Baldwin, C. Y. and K. B. Clark (1997) Managing in an Age of Modularity, Harvard Business Review, 75(5), 84-93.

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