Lucent Technologies, the communications provider based in Murray Hill, N.J., recently donated a total of $10 million to a trio of business schools to find out how wireless devices and data mobility change the way consumers behave and how that will force changes in business models. Boston University School of Management, The London Business School and France’s INSEAD business school have created a forum called The Mobile Innovation Initiative (MII) that will meet six times a year to investigate topics ranging from historical infrastructure investments to possible future mobile applications. “We will be looking into what the next mobile services will be…and how consumer behavior will be changed with these capabilities,” says Nalin Kulatilaka, MII’s director of research and a professor of finance at Boston University.
One way to peer into the future is to study the past, Kulatilaka says. “We’ve begun asking what happened around massive historic capital investments?railroads and interstate highways, for example. Just as the rise of railroads brought about the growth of the telegraph, we’ll look for what might follow the convergence of the Internet and wireless mobility,” he says.
MII’s findings will be made public on the Lucent website and at conferences later this year, says John C. Henderson, chairman of Boston University’s management information systems department and executive director of the BU Institute for Leadership in the Dynamic Economy, the institute under which MII is organized. “This program will also allow industry fellows to work in a university setting and vice versa. Our goal is to create an environment where data mobility topics can be discussed across several disciplines.”
Through its involvement Lucent hopes to gain insight into where it should build alliances for future business development.