Industry Insights

Has digital changed the way academic research impacts real-world business strategy

Posted by Sam Zalcman on Aug 7, 2014 6:00:00 AM

The diffusion of academic research to the business world has traditionally been through teaching to students that join corporations or business service firms. Intermediaries such as consultants, training companies, advertising agencies, market research firms, indeed play a key role in disseminating and personalizing the academic research.

The increased availability of articles, books, conferences, and internet communications, should also have accelerated the diffusion of academic research but the real impact has in my view been limited when not supported by the appropriate business services to facilitate implementation.

The issue is that real decision makers do not have the time to read or to go to seminars. This is more the privilege of people in staff functions who then have the challenge of influencing the real decision makers. My research on powering growth through the momentum methodology has been communicated through books, articles, and seminars. But when it comes to a very specific application of this research, one has to take into account that it requires personalization to a business situation and that the competitive advantage it provides to one company cannot necessarily be communicated to others.

This definitely limits the diffusion of the research but increases its impact wherever it is used. On the other side, my work on games and simulations does not have the same constraints on confidentiality. It is addressed to students and managers to develop their skills primarily in marketing and innovation and has had a more direct impact on business practices. For instance, L’Oreal has used one of our custom simulations to engage 40,000 business students around the world, and more than one million business managers have been trained in marketing with our MARKSTRAT simulation.

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