• Andy Wu


2021, Paper: "An innovating organization faces the challenge of how to prioritize distinct goals of novelty and value, both of which underlie innovation. Popular practitioner frameworks like Agile management suggest that organizations can adopt an iterative approach of frequent meetings to prioritize between these goals, a practice we refer to as iterative coordination. Despite iterative coordination’s widespread use in innovation management, its effects on novelty and value in innovation remain unknown. With the information technology firm Google, we embed a field experiment within a hackathon software development competition to identify the effect of iterative coordination on innovation. We find that iterative coordination causes firms to implicitly prioritize value in innovation: Although iteratively coordinating firms develop more valuable products, these products are simultaneously less novel. Furthermore, by tracking software code, we find that iteratively coordinating firms favor integration at the cost of knowledge-creating specialization. A follow-on laboratory study documents that increasing the frequency and opportunities to reprioritize goals in iterative coordination meetings reinforces value and integration, while reducing novelty and specialization. This article offers three key contributions: highlighting how processes to prioritize among multiple performance goals may implicitly favor certain outcomes; introducing a new empirical methodology of software code version tracking for measuring the innovation process; and leveraging the emergent phenomenon of hackathons to study new methods of organizing."

Non-HKS Author Website - Andy Wu