Big Data is transforming research in the social sciences. SAGE Publishing, which has supported new research techniques through its books and journals for more than 50 years, needed to evolve its business model, and so created an innovation incubator, SAGE Ocean to explore new products and revenue streams.
Executive Head of Methods Innovation Katie Metzler and Head of Product Innovation Ian Mulvany were asked to develop new products that would give researchers the skills to leverage data effectively. In creating SAGE Ocean, SAGE Publishing was making the strategic decision to explore products and services beyond content – and it needed a framework for lean innovation that could keep pace with a dynamic market.
Partnering with Thoughtworks was the critical factor in building that framework. Using tools such as Lean Value Tree portfolio planning helped Katie and Ian clearly articulate the purpose of SAGE Ocean’s innovation strategy – and enabled them to balance speed of execution with strategic rigour. “We had an abundance of ideas, but the knowledge that ideas are cheap,” explains Katie. “Thoughtworks helped us to prioritise our opportunities so that we could identify genuine business cases, launch prototypes for validation and ensure that we could turn ideas into viable products.”