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To nurture transformational technology, build a community like Sam Walton’s

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Purpose

– The authors examine the approach by which Sam Walton, a 48-year-old when he took his first technology course, drove creation of a new set of technology for retailing.

Design/methodology/approach

– By breaking Walton’s approach into five stages, the authors show how his way of working points to a credible path for leaders with limited background in technology to lead technological change.

Findings

– Senior leaders can apply Walton’s systematic way of leading for creation of excellent processes to accomplish customer-focused technology innovation in the modern era.

Practical implications

– Five elements of Walton’s tech innovation leadership are reviewed and analyzed.

Originality/value

– This article offers insights about how Walton was able to form a tech savvy team of managers and synthesize a vision about the potential of technology to produce operational breakthroughs far in advance of his competition.
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Keywords: Innovation opportunity assessment; Operations innovation; Sam walton; Technology leadership; Walmart operations technology

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: San José State University, San José, CA, USA

Publication date: March 16, 2015

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