Research Summary

The Process of Managing Business Transformation

by Richard L. Nolan


Richard L. Nolan is examining the process of business transformation, which he characterizes as the creative destruction of industrial economy management principles and the evolution of a set of workable management principles for the information economy. According to Nolan, some industrial-economy management principles are obsolete and should be discarded; others are salvageable. To fill the gaps and manage information differently from scarce resources, new principles are required. Central to Nolan's research is an understanding of the role information technology plays in managing information so as to enable an enterprise to progress from a make-and-sell to a sense-and-respond strategy. Nolan presents the findings of his research in Creative Destruction: A Six-Step Process for Transforming the Organization (coauthored with David C. Croson), Sense and Respond(edited with Stephen P. Bradley, 1998), and dot vertigo, 2001. In addition, Nolan is reporting on his in-process research on the management lessons learned in the creation and building of the Internet in a number of HBS Working Papers.