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Fuqua Faculty Conversations

Jonathon Cummings

Jonathon Cummings on Coordination Challenges in Innovation Teams

May 15, 2015

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Live Session Recording

Jonathon Cummings

In our June 2015 Fuqua Faculty Conversation, Jonathon Cummings, Associate Professor of Management, presented:

Coordination Challenges in Innovation Teams

In this session, we will:

  • Discuss the increasing importance of innovation teams, which not only work to develop new products and services for customers but also work to improve existing processes and operations within the organization
  • Learn about research on coordination challenges faced by innovation teams in global organizations, such as how to manage teams with members who work in different geographic locations and members who work on multiple teams simultaneously

View Professor Cummings’ Bio


  1. Thank you Dr. Cummings, you are always helpful. I have a question in terms of the teams who are organized as health care temporary teams. As it is implicit in the name, they are temporary and we can not have control on team size and membership change. it makes difficulties in data gathering and quantitative analysis. I was wondering what your comment is on this?

  2. Professor Cummings, I enjoyed your FFC and wanted to ask for your suggestions on additional resources that might be available. My specific experience and interest is in innovation teams in middle mkt cos, many global, with a particular focus on the pre-go to development phases where decisions are made on what products and what features of products go to development. This is more a business evaluation of innovation options versus the technical capabilities and skills of the creating of the product by the organization.

    Your thoughts, Ken

    • Hi Ken,

      Thanks for participating in the FFC today, and I appreciated your question. Given my response, you probably guessed that I am much more familiar with the technical capabilities and skills side of the innovation process (post-go to development) than the front-end evaluation of innovation options (pre-go to development). In fact, I would probably treat the business evaluation of innovation options much like the business evaluation of strategic options (common in strategic planning). So though I don’t have a particular resource in mind for the specific process of evaluating what products/features to take to development, I imagine the general process of evaluating strategic options would work pretty well in guiding what choices to make (e.g., differentiating features from what competitors are offering, reducing costs while retaining features that customers want, targeting a particular market with new features). My guess is that folks in marketing are also much more in tune with the business evaluation of innovation options given the importance of market research, forecasting demand, identifying trends, etc. for particular products and features.


      • Thank you Dr. Cummings for your comments and advice. From operating experience (and many mistakes/failures) with a few middle market companies I find the product/feature evaluation to need the same diverse skills and input from the global mktg/tech/manuf/custsupp functions as the post go to development phase. The step approval process of written documents across a diverse and inspired global team is essential for the best performing companies. It is just really hard to do well and I am always searching for an improved approach. I just find the pre GTD phase to be the most overlooked and skipped while also being the phase where most of the customer value is assessed and created for the new products/services.

        Again, I thank you for your program and thoughts.

        Best Regards, Ken

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