Sequential Innovation in Mobile App Development

Prof. Bilal Gokpinar

Sequential Innovation in Mobile App Development

Prof. Bilal Gokpinar, UCL School of Management (joint work with Nilam Kaushik, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore)

Oct. 9, Friday, 1:40 p.m.

Zoom details will be sent later

Participants from outside the IE department can register from the link below.

Consumers spent $120 billion on mobile apps globally in 2019. Unlike traditional product development approaches, in the highly dynamic and competitive mobile app market, a significant portion of development takes place after the initial product launch in the form of adding new features and enhancing existing products. In managing this sequential innovation process, we examine two key operational questions i) what features and attributes to add into existing products in successive versions? and ii) how to implement these for greater market success? In addressing these questions, we leverage text-mining and information retrieval techniques to study the rich information in the release notes of apps. We then characterize developers' update behavior at each version release and link this with app performance in a dynamic estimation model.  We find that dissimilar updates (i.e. those that are distant from the previous ones) are associated with higher performance, and an app's functional maturity amplifies this positive relationship. We also find that the greater the market-based updates (i.e. those that are similar to the recent additions of its competitors), the higher the market performance. This finding suggests that the market rewards those developers with a responsive policy to its competitors' product innovation efforts. Our results also suggest that a rapid introduction of updates dampens potential benefits that the mobile app developers may gain from market-based updates. We find no evidence for a beneficial effect of broad updates on performance.

Bilal Gokpinar is Professor of Operations, Technology and Innovation at UCL School of Management, University College London. Bilal’s main research interests are in product and service innovation, digital transformation, technology and operations management. Specifically, he is interested in the design, management and improvement of work processes and operational decision making in digital platforms and knowledge-driven organisational settings. His recent work has examined operations of various online platforms (e.g., ride-hailing, crowdfunding), mobile app development, manufacturing innovation, among others. His research has been published in leading management journals including Management Science, Manufacturing & Service Operations Management and Production and Operations Management. He is also an Associate Editor in the Technology Management Department of the Journal of Operations Management. In addition to UCL, Bilal also taught in the postgraduate and MBA programmes at Northwestern University, London School of Economics (LSE), HEC Paris and Peking University and his industry experience includes working with General Motors R&D and Strategic Planning. He received his PhD from Northwestern University in 2008. He got his BSc in Industrial Engineering (with minors in Economics and Mathematics) with distinction from Purdue University.

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