The 4th module of the MIPLM program is about organization. Structure is key to implement strategies. Companies look for the structure-strategy-fit, which means, that their organization fits with their respective strategic objectives. Within the digital transformation it is a challenge for traditional companies to find appropriate organizational structures and processes for new business models. In addition, digitalization also demands different innovation and IP management.

Traditionally there are three different forms of organization distinguished: Structural, process and project organization. Structural organization describes the hierarchical and functional structure of a company. It is a static system to assign competencies and responsibilities to organizational entities like departments. Process structure represents the way how tasks are fulfilled within the necessary working steps. Structure and process organization represent a thinking style in constant and repeating activities and business transactions.

Project management differs basically from this kind of thinking. A project has certain characteristic features: It is unique, it has clear objectives, it is timely limited, it is financially limited, it has dedicated and specific staff, it is separated from other ventures within the organization, it has its own organization and typically it is something new and to a certain extend something innovative.

Agility and digitalization seem to be the pillars of the future of successful companies. Or is it just a current bubble that will burst and everything is going on as usual? Honestly, these concepts do not really deal with new insights. The term agility has been around since the 16th century and what is associated with digitalization begins in 1980 at the latest, with the introduction of the first audio CD. So why are these terms so common in current management discussions?

It is not long ago that there were times where change was hard. We did not have email or social media — let alone video chat — to speed up communication. Our idea of checking out what’s “trending” required making a visit, in person, to the nearest retail store. We used snail mail. We met for lunch and worked in traditional office spaces. We managed from the top-down. And because of that, change did not happen overnight.

Fast forward to 2024, and change is a completely different story. In today’s market, change is not only happening quickly, but also forcing businesses themselves to change quickly. It is a constant flow of innovation, disruption — and sometimes chaos — that is moving us ahead, even faster than we ever imagined. Many say agility is the key to surviving in the age of technological hairpin turns. In fact, 68% of companies identify agility as one of their most important initiatives. But what does agility really mean? And how can it help you survive in the current landscape?

Software development and its importance

The world as we know it is a very tech-savvy one, and that’s no different when it comes to work and business. In fact, without the use of updated technology and media, it’s practically impossible to be successful.

What is software development?
Put simply, software development is the process of creating and maintaining applications and frameworks which help to increase your business’s productivity. Software development agencies are able to create customized software packages to suit the specific needs of your business, making life easier and better for you and your employees.

What are the benefits?
Apart from boosting productivity, software development can also enhance your business in several other aspects such as:

  • Reducing costs on things such as training, licenses, and upgrades where possible
  • Increasing the flexibility of your business
  • Putting you at a competitive advantage compared to other businesses in your sector
  • Increasing the value of your company
  • Improving the overall quality of your business

Who can benefit from it?
In this day and age, software development is imperative for success in any kind of business – and the more updated the technology is, the better. This means that no matter what sector your business is in, or how big or small it is, it can most definitely benefit from software development in one way or another.

What is Agile software development?

Agile is a type of software development methodology that anticipates the need for flexibility and applies a level of pragmatism to the delivery of the finished product. Agile software development requires a cultural shift in many companies because it focuses on the clean delivery of individual pieces or parts of the software and not on the entire application.

Benefits of Agile include its ability to help teams in an evolving landscape while maintaining a focus on the efficient delivery of business value. The collaborative culture facilitated by Agile also improves efficiency throughout the organization as teams work together and understand their specific roles in the process. Finally, companies using Agile software development can feel confident that they are releasing a high-quality product because testing is performed throughout development. This provides the opportunity to make changes as needed and alert teams to any potential issues.

Agile has largely replaced waterfall as the most popular development methodology in most companies, but is itself at risk of being eclipsed or consumed by the growing popularity of DevOps.

Individual interactions are more important than processes and tools. People drive the development process and respond to business needs. They are the most important part of development and should be valued above processes and tools. If the processes or tools drive development, then the team will be less likely to respond and adapt to change and, therefore, less likely to meet customer needs.

A focus on working software rather than thorough documentation. Before Agile, a large amount of time was spent documenting the product throughout development for delivery. The list of documented requirements was lengthy and would cause long delays in the development process. While Agile does not eliminate the use of documentation, it streamlines it in a way that provides the developer with only the information that is needed to do the work — such as user stories. The Agile Manifesto continues to place value on the process of documentation, but it places higher value on working software.

Collaboration instead of contract negotiations. Agile focuses on collaboration between the customer and project manager, rather than negotiations between the two, to work out the details of delivery. Collaborating with the customer means that they are included throughout the entire development process, not just at the beginning and end, thus making it easier for teams to meet the needs of their customers. For example, in Agile, the customer can be included at different intervals for demos of the product. However, the customer could also be present and interact with the teams daily, attend all meetings and ensure the product meets their desires.

A focus on responding to change. Traditional software development used to avoid change because it was considered an undesired expense. Agile eliminates this idea. The short iterations in the Agile cycle allow changes to easily be made, helping the team modify the process to best fit their needs rather than the other way around. Overall, Agile software development believes change is always a way to improve the project and provide additional value.

Here is a short introduction to agile project management:

In addition, the 4th MIPLM module gives an introduction into organizational economics which is the economic analysis and design of organizations. Organizational economics is primarily concerned with the obstacles in the coordination of activities inside and between organizational entities like firms, alliances, institutions and markets as a whole. Organizational economics can be divided into three lines of argumentations:

  • Transaction cost theory: costs incurred to organize an activity, especially regarding research of information, bureaucracy, communication etc.
  • Agency theory: dilemmas connected to making decisions on behalf of, or that impact, another person or entity.
  • Contract theory: ways economic actors use to construct contractual arrangements, generally in the presence of asymmetric information.

Complementary, the 4th MIPLM module discusses also institutional economics. This perspective attempts to extend economics by focusing on social and legal norms and rules, which are called institutions. The concepts of institutional economics are used to analyze organizational arrangements like property rights, transaction costs, enforcement mechanisms, monitoring costs and bargaining strength. With these powerful tools in hand, students can analyze the fit between strategic objectives and organizational implementation of a strategy.

Case Study Tasks and Questions – Group 1

The Smart Tooth business model refers to the individual treatment of diabetes. In the past, traditional pharma companies have gained extensive experience and expertise in the treatment of diabetes. In this respect, this digital business model could also fit into the range of services of traditional pharmaceutical companies (regardless of whether they also produce and offer the artificial pancreas).

Please indicate in which way the framework of this business model differs from the framework conditions in the traditional pharmaceutical industry. Derive which adjustments a traditional pharmaceutical company needs to make regarding the organization of its IP management in order to meet the changed requirements if such a business model was adopted.

  • Task 1:
    Please outline the business model behind the Smart Tooth. For this purpose, please distinguish the resource perspective and the market perspective of the business model.
  • Task 2:
    Please describe the differences in the framework of typical business models of traditional pharma companies and digital business models.
  • Task 3:
    Please derive the typical generic IP strategy for traditional business models of the pharma industry as well as for digital business models from the framework described above.
  • Task 4:
    Please assign the two business models / generic IP-strategies to the organizational structure that is best suited for their implementation. Give reasons for your assessment.
  • Task 5:
    The implementation of a differentiation center is also reflected in the design of processes. Please indicate for three processes in which core aspects they differ in a differentiation center and a protection center.

Here is the solution of group 1:

Case Study Tasks and Questions – Group 2

The Smart Tooth business model described above refers to the individual treatment of diabetes. In the past, traditional pharma companies have gained extensive experience and expertise in the treatment of diabetes. In this respect, this digital business model could also fit into the range of services of traditional pharmaceutical companies (regardless of whether they also produce and offer the artificial pancreas). However, the development of such a digital business model could necessitate a reorganization of IP management.

  • Task 1:
    The traditional business models of the pharma industry (development and sale of drugs) primarily use the organizational form protection center – in digital business models, on the other hand, the organizational form differentiation center is applied. This is not least due to the great difference between the products and services offered.
    Please describe the technical structure of the typical products and services in both business models (for this purpose please show the system components of the Smart Tooth business model). In particular refer to the system boundaries in both cases.
  • Task 2:
    Patent types describe a class of established problem-solution combinations in the patent literature that relate to an aspect of a business model or business model realization which is worth IP-protection. In the annex to the case study description, you will find different patent types (in a condensed form) that are relevant for the traditional pharma business model or for the digital Smart Tooth business model described in the case study. Please assign these patent types to the system descriptions presented above.
  • Task 3:
    Based on these patent types, please estimate the search-related conditions for the associated system components. In your opinion which effect does this have on the search procedure?
  • Task 4:
    Please describe a possible FtO-process for a traditional pharma business model in a protection center.
  • Task 5:
    Please describe a possible FtO-process for a digital pharma business model in a differentiation center. Identify the differences to the FtO-process in the protection center and justify them.
  • Task 6:
    Typically, the development processes for business models and products differ in the traditional pharmaceutical industry and new digital pharma approaches, especially with regard to development periods. This also has an impact on the performance of the FtO. Please illustrate these differences in the timeline of the development processes and derive the implications for the performance of the FtO analysis.

Here is the solution of group 2:

Case Study Tasks and Questions – Group 3

In the article “Organizational implementation of a patent strategy” typical system interfaces and system gaps are described that are useful or required when implementing a differentiation center. Please explain the interrelation between these instruments and the differentiation approach. Then analyze the instruments from an institutional economics point of view.

  • Task 1:
    Please explain the principle of a taxonomy and why this tool should be used within a differentiation center. Then analyze the application of a taxonomy from an institutional economics perspective. Please consider in particular the property rights theory.
  • Task 2:
    Please explain how the competitive environment may be monitored within a differentiation center. Please analyze the benefits of such a monitoring system from an institutional economics perspective. Particularly consider the agency theory and the property rights theory in your analysis.
  • Task 3:
    Please explain how the portfolio management should be designed in a differentiation center. Analyze the benefits of a comprehensive portfolio management from an institutional economics perspective. Please consider in particular the agency theory.
  • Task 4:
    Please explain the principle of synthetic inventing and why it is useful in a differentiation center. Then analyze the application of synthetic inventing from an institutional economics perspective. Please consider in particular the property rights theory and the transaction costs.
  • Task 5:
    Please explain how IP management should be linked to the technology roadmap process within a differentiation center. Then analyze from an institutional economics perspective why such a procedure is making sense. Please consider in particular the property rights theory.
  • Task 6:
    Please explain why synthetic inventing should be accompanied by employee invention remuneration in a differentiation center. Then analyze the typical situation from an institutional economics perspective. Please consider in particular the agency theory and the transaction costs.

Here is the solution of group 3:

The presenting students are: Esra AYHAN CAKIR, Vanessa BEHRENS, Francesca BESOSTRI, Sven BOON, Gerard Kevin CAGATAN, Sofia CALADO, Enes CETINKAYA, Jiazheng CHEN, Dominique CHRIST, Benjamin DELSOL, Shuxue FAN, Antoine FELIERS, Karim GACEM, Daria GAIDAR, Miao HU, Jana KLARIC, Michael KLOSKOWSKI, Teru KOIDE, Adrien LEMOINE, Adriana MOURA, Eugenie NOUMBA, Markus OBERG, Diannaly PEA MARTINEZ, Eric QUERTEMONT, Trond RAMSVIK, Saptieu Elizabeth SACCOH, Urvashi SATA, Martin SCHOENUNG