Lessons from an innovation-leader and tools to learn them

Bill Williams, José Figueiredo


Purpose: A number of recent reports have suggested that communication and management skills are important competences for engineers today and are likely to continue so in the future.  While participation in strategy management decisions is expected to be important for engineers in technology driven firms, little attention is given to strategy management tools in many undergraduate engineering courses. The paper demonstrates one approach to tackling this issue.

Design/methodology/approach: The authors initially present a critique of the use of standard strategy management tools SWOT analysis and Porter’s 5 Forces for decision making about future company policy. This critique is then complemented by a case-study of a university start-up, a recognized innovation-leader, in which SWOT analysis, Porter’s 5 Forces and PESTLE analysis are applied retrospectively as sense-making constructs to understand the firm’s previous policy decisions.

Findings and Originality/value: The paper illustrates the potential of retrospective use of strategy management tools is demonstrated.

Research limitations/implications: An obstacle confronting researchers in studies of this type is that for reasons of confidentiality it is difficult to gain access to current objective data on the financial situation and policy decisions of a firm. Furthermore this work presents a single case study. Both limitations are addressed in the appropriate section of the article.

Originality/value: The value of the retrospective use of strategy management tools is illustrated.  The paper makes proposals regarding how such data can be employed in role-play activities in preparing engineers to develop interdisciplinary communication skills in the context of strategy management decision making


strategy management tools; case-study; innovation; role-play.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3926/jiem.1135

Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, 2008-2022

Online ISSN: 2013-0953; Print ISSN: 2013-8423; Online DL: B-28744-2008

Publisher: OmniaScience