Short biography

Michel Schrage is a Visiting Fellow at Imperial College Business School of Innovation & Entrepreneurship and a world-renowned expert in transforming collaborative tools and technologies into a source of business innovation.

As a member of the technical advisory committees, Schrage helped companies like Accenture, Google, Siemens, Wells Fargo, Microsoft, PwC, British Telecom, BP, Mars, and NASDAQ use experimentation as a source of corporate transformation through innovation.

Schrage published several books on the role of models, prototypes, and simulations in enabling innovation. He has multiple articles published in prestigious publications such as Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, strategy+business, IEEE Software, and the Design Management Journal. 

Michael Schrage’s contribution to the Customer Value Optimization world

Michael Schrage’s books offer a practical approach to experimentation and collaboration as an infinite source of ideas and innovative solutions that leverage transformation for companies and their customers. 

Recommendation Engines (The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)

In this book, Michael Schrage explores the technology of online recommendation engines and their impact on our decision-making processes. Schrage takes us on a history trip back to ancient times to help us see how recommendations evolved from antiquity’s oracles and astrologers to today’s systems that allow companies to make better recommendations than our friends and family.

In his case studies, Schrage shows how companies like Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, TikTok use the recommendation engines to offer experiences “you might also like” in a fast, smart and personal way. 

Here are two excerpts that emphasize how powerful the recommendation engines are in our era:

The right recommendation at the right time is exactly what an Amazon, a Netflix, a Facebook, a Spotify, a Google, a Linked.In, a Tinder, a TikTok, and a YouTube aspire to. That makes their ambitions transformative. Their massive, high-powered ‘recommendation engines,’ not only algorithmically anticipate what ‘people like you’ desire, they nudge users to explore options and opportunities that might never have crossed their minds.

Recommendation engines transform human choice. Much as the steam engine energetically launched an industrial revolution, recommendation engines redefine insight and influence in an algorithmic age. Wherever choice matters, recommenders flourish. Better recommenders invariably mean better choices. Steam powers machines; recommenders empower people. They are the prime movers of their respective eras. They change how work gets done.

The Innovator’s Hypothesis: How Cheap Experiments Are Worth More than Good Ideas (MIT Press)

This book offers small teams around the world a successful frame for creative innovation. It’s called the 5×5 framework, and it’s based on “crafting business experiments that make top management sit up and take notice,” as the author states in the book’s preface.

Briefly, the framework allows companies to run five experiments in less than five weeks and with a budget of up to $5000, prepared by teams of five people in up to five days.

Schrage suggests a framework that will transform experiments into something as natural as performing a search:

Can 5×5 initiatives successfully drive lightweight, high-impact value creation in environments rife with tomorrow’s risks? Yes. The innovation future will prove 5×5 friendly. Experimentation’s emerging economics seductively favor innovators prepared to move fast. Vision remains vital. But strategic advantage increasingly relies upon diversified portfolios of innovative hypotheses.” 

The future of business experimentation is instant. Running an experiment will be as natural and casual as performing a search. Innovators and entrepreneurs will experiment with the same frequency, immediacy, and impulsiveness that they now text and tweet.

Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become?

The advice in this book revolves around one question: “Who do you want your customers to become?”. Schrage calls this question “The Ask” and explains how businesses can generate more value for their customers and why the question is a driver for future innovations. 

The author shows how designing new customers and being a part of their transformation is the key to success, giving examples of companies like Google, Facebook, Disney, Starbucks, Apple, IKEA, etc.

Based on the fundamental truth that customers constantly change, Schrage writes:

The Ask offers a lightweight but high-impact methodology for aligning strategic, marketing, brand, and innovation leaderships around customer transformation. That transformation comes from innovatively investing in who you want your customers to become.” 

Serious Play: How the World’s Best Companies Simulate to Innovate

In this book, Schrage shows how strategic planning needs to be backed up by creative improvisation or “serious play.” The author proves a close link between breakthrough innovations and experiments with models, prototypes, and simulations. 

The technological models help businesses improve their work through better collaboration and innovation. According to Schrage, the actual value of “serious play” lies in the insights a company gathers about itself. 

No More Teams!: Mastering the Dynamics of Creative Collaboration

In this book, Michael Schrage shows that creative collaboration is crucial for businesses that focus on innovation. The author suggests shifting from the “teamwork” cliche towards practical tools and techniques that transform collaboration the way professionals and companies build their path to innovation.