Napstar was able to obtain financing since investors saw the creativity of the innovation as well as how fast the customer base was growing. As the customer base grew, Napstar management found they needed to quickly expand their technology services to manage housing the music storage and customer requests. They did not plan to have scalable technology so they had to do consistent upgrades as demand came to limit the number of outages as well as request additional funding from investors. Napstar also did not have contingencies in place or plan to have options available when they started to realize that their plan to provide music downloads for free was presenting the organization with legal issues. They only planned for the one innovation and did not look to what alternatives they may need to do to continue into the future.
Square’s concept was to keep it simple. They planned to find value by continually enhancing their Card Case applications. Building flexibility into the application would allow customers to change out to different devices that would be usable as cell technologies continue to change. Square’s application and customer service would be their key to providing customers the product they needed.
While neither Napstar nor Square knew what their growth potential would be since they had no real means of doing statistical measurements since there were no benchmarks to measure against. Managing the uncertainty of growth needs to be flexible and creative as well as entrepreneurs need to continue to look for options and opportunities as their innovation takes shape. Square ensured they did just that while Napstar only focused on their original innovative ideal. Innovations need to be molded and shaped over time and organizations should not just settle on that first innovative ideal as it will be important to nourished it so it can continue to flourish or look to alternatives.
“Innovation is a highly uncertain process” (Shane, 2009, p.98). Staying flexible is important as the growth spurts and dips can come at any time. Watching how you invest, either via funds or people around you, so that you try to gain the maximum benefits will ensure you can continually invest to help the innovation grow over time. One area that will help with uncertainty is to enlist other resources so they can take on some of the burden of that uncertainty (Shane, 2009, p.99). Using the right resources that have the right expertise can also help grow your innovation into something that will be around for a while.
“Only if technology or innovation is allowed the freest possible reign will the maximum social good be realized” (Teich, 2013, p.83). Napstar was not allowed to have a free reign because of its impact on what society felt was inappropriate, so “without its product, the company is a carcass” (Nieva, 2013). Square’s leader was seen as an interesting entrepreneur – due to his ability to blend ideas (Kirkpatrick, 2011) as well as his ability to share his vision with those around him. This helped the organization to succeed in its goal to provide a product and service for its customers.
Using sound technology management practices is key to making innovations come to life and survive. Ensuring your organization has good leadership to shape the organizations culture, focusing on ethical practices so the organizations reputation is foremost in the minds of society, and appropriately managing any possible uncertainty will help the organization gain footing towards becoming a successful innovation organization such as Square has become. Even though Napstar was considered to be an organizational failure, it’s “mark is as visible as ever” (Nieva, 2013) and it set the stage for other technologies to become a possibility. All technology innovations are a benefit to society. It might not be today that the innovation ideal will be used by society. It might be the some future entrepreneur that uses a premise from a prior innovation that will help them to embark on a new innovation that will be a turning point to the way society functions.