The Management of Projects and Product Experimentation: Lessons from the Entertainment Industries
The paper analyses management of product innovation in project-based industries, offering a view on management not only of firms, but also of markets. It first argues that projects are prominent in industries where the nature of consumer demand means that product innovation takes place as experimentation. Then, the paper argues that if skills needed for projects are very diverse and projects are complex, there are few internal managerial economies of projects, and the scope for management then transcends the boundaries of firms. In these cases, markets become organized in combinations of people, contracts, and other institutions, in order to facilitate the coordination of market-based projects. While contracts play a role, a continuous, active role of knowledgeable managers (leaders and boundary spanners) is also often necessary. Such managers ? and thus (core parts of) whole industries ? are embedded in project ecologies at particular places, which is why we see geographical clusters in many project-based industries. The paper is mainly conceptual, but develops its argument by drawing examples from the Entertainment industries throughout.
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