From Manufacturing to Design

Notes to myself, part I, in HBS First Look of March 27: “From Manufacturing to Design: An Essay on the Work of Kim B. Clark” by Sylvain Lenfle and Carliss Y. Baldwin.

Kim Clark occupies a unique place in management scholarship. As a member of the Technology and Operations Management unit of Harvard Business School, he participated in several major research initiatives during the 1980s and early 1990s, before becoming Dean of the School in 1995. And even as Dean, he continued to pursue research until 2005, when he left Harvard to become President of Brigham Young University—Idaho. In this paper, we describe Clark’s research and discuss his contributions to management and economics. We look at three distinct bodies of work. In the first, Clark (in conjunction with Robert Hayes and Steven Wheelwright) argued that the abandonment by U.S. managers of manufacturing as a strategic function exposed U.S. companies to Japanese competition. In the second research stream, conducted with Wheelwright, Bruce Chew, Takahiro Fujimoto, Kent Bowen and Marco Iansiti, Clark made the case that product development could be managed in new ways that would lead to significant competitive advantage for firms. Finally, in work conducted with Abernathy, Rebecca Henderson and Carliss Baldwin, Clark placed product and process designs at the center of his explanation of how innovation determines the structure and evolution of industries.

Here’s the pdf

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