June, 2017


The Director Speaks - "CTM delivers more than expected, and I am proud of it!"

JerryDuring the last month I have had the opportunity to meet with many people including some from such well respected organizations as the NGA, FCC, other universities, and MetroLabs.  Across the board, when I tell people about the work we are doing at CTM, I am met with looks of surprise. The things we are working on, the way we are approaching problems, the results we are uncovering are not the things that they expect a university center to be engaged in. Our focus is not on business theory, we are not trying to understand history, we are not reiterating common wisdom; instead we are looking to uncover opportunities and to find paths forward through uncharted waters.  As an example of this, during the May AMP (Advanced Management Program), we did a group exercise that challenged the participants to exercise their strategic/navigation skills to find a creative path forward in an unfamiliar but real-world dynamic and competitive environment. The participants excelled at the opportunity and demonstrated the importance of technique and process at a time when each day seems to put a new challenge on our plates.  

The insights being uncovered through our business-technology research program are truly profound and give reason to pause and consider the implication to many business practices.  The history of this program suggests that there is much more businesses can do to use technology more effectively and we reject the hypothesis that progress in productivity potential have been exhausted.  The insights from the Future-of-Media program demonstrate that the “disruption” induced by technology is not a step-change in business practice but better characterized as an evolutionary accelerant.  While many industries are seeking to drive their own digital transformation programs, perhaps it is time to accept that change is becoming the status quo. Finally, the Internet-of-things program is showing that demand curves are not well-behaved functions and often predicated by the technology’s ability to overcome application specific hurdles. There are lots of groups doing good work to understand existing markets but there are not many groups that are seeking to rigorously understand how existing markets might morph and evolve over time. I am proud of the work CTM is doing and am glad to be part of a family that looks at markets as evolving and changing ecosystems.


Steven ShepardDr. Steven Shepard is the resident director of CTM and has more than 30 years of experience in the technology industry, has written more than 80 books, and hundreds of articles on a wide range of topics. Current areas of interest include IoT, Big Data, Analytics, the evolution of mobile broadband, generational theory, the development of technology strategy, and the global marketplace. He has been associated with AMP for over 20 years now!

1. What makes you the most proud about AMP?

I am very proud of the program. It is fairly unique and there is no other like it to my knowledge. I would say there are three highlights for me as far as the program is concerned.

  1. As the program has evolved and technology’s impact on the way we live and work has grown, the topics covered by the AMP class have expanded.  The class and the classroom discussion are not about the nuts and bolts of technology but the richness and the variety of discussion, which has evolved to consider how technology is impacting finance, personnel, management, support, customers, marketing, and sales.
  2. As the business ecosystem has become more global in nature, I have been able to bring my global experiences and perspective to the classroom. I can talk about the importance of having a multinational business and of bringing perspective from many different parts and cultures of the world.
  3. Just seeing how the program has evolved to serve so many kinds of professionals and how it’s congruent with the nature of business today, is phenomenal!

2. Who conceived the AMP program? 

AMP originally launched in 1985 and came about for one fundamental reason : The Bell system was broken into 7 regional companies and one long distance company.  In one stroke, an entire industry was totally disrupted and turned upside down. What that meant is - you have suddenly a group of companies who must learn to be compete in a redefined market. AMP was brought about to teach these companies how to respond in a market that faces new competitors, new customers, and a new way of thinking about business.  As time progressed we found that technology was acting as a catalyst that was allowing disruptive influences to impact other markets.  At first the impacts were small and diverse but we are finding that the rate at which these disruptive influencers are appearing is increasing and their impact is magnifying. That is what AMP is truly about. 

3. What are the main takeaways from AMP?

Ah! That's a good one. No single technology is as valuable as all the technologies it is used in concert with. For example, Internet of Things has no value until it’s used in concert with data analytics, high speed transportation and cloud technology. It used to be that a single company would control and manage their ecosystem for maximum impact.  In business today, that is not realistic - you must learn to give up control. For example, Apple only wrote 5 of the 2 million apps available in the app store today. To gain influence over the platform, they gave up the applications market. And look what it did for them! We get feedback from people that the skills we taught them on topics such as the multi-generational workforce, emerging technologies and M&A business strategies, allowed them to perform their job better because they were better able to understand the drivers that redefine market behaviors.  The positive feedback we get is extremely high and it’s gratifying to know that it’s not just academic but very practical.

4. Where do you see CTM and AMP going forward? Any reservations about the future?

Everything that’s happening at CTM right now is exciting!  As the world becomes more dynamic, there is a growing need for this kind of educational program.  The only concern I have is that we need to expand our outreach from a marketing perspective. CTM relies on word of mouth for advertising and people who attend the AMP program are our largest advocates.  But an AMP class has value to anyone who’s company is being impacted by technology and in today’s world that is just about everyone.  More people need to know about the work CTM is doing through its AMP program. 

Reservations about the future – none. The world has always evolved to meet the changing needs of people that it’s targeting. Those needs are changing and the way we do business is changing. That is something that cannot be stopped. For those that are looking forward this implies more opportunity and for those that are caught unaware this implies risk. The future belongs to those that can capitalize on the opportunities and avoid the risks; I am confident that the graduates of the AMP program are equipped to lead their companies forward in such an environment.   

As we look forward, we will continue to ensure that the AMP participants we invite come from diverse backgrounds, meaning they represent a broad range of companies and bring a range of perspectives to the table so that each class it truly unique.  We want to add more programs – a wider variety of programs that further build the skills needed to succeed in a dynamic business world. We are currently developing a series of short-intense programs, a graduate program for people who already have gone through AMP,  that do a deeper dive into the techniques covered by the existing AMP class.  

5. How can someone register for the next AMP class?  

The next AMP class is scheduled for Nov 6-10 in downtown Los Angeles CA.  Interested participants can register at here.  

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  • Jun 7-10: The 2017 Marketing Science Conference will be held at USC. It is an annual event held under the auspices of ISMS (the INFORMS Society for Marketing Science). ISMS is a society of scholars devoted to researching market phenomena at the interface of firms and consumers, and disseminating that knowledge to students, managers, public officials and society at large. The conference will be held at Jill and Frank Fertitta Hall, Marshall’s newest education facility, with state-of-the-art technology and ample room for concurrent sessions. Know more at here.
  • Aug 5: Big Data Day LA is the largest of its kind, and completely free, Big Data conference in Southern California. The first Big Data Day LA conference was in 2013, with just over 250 attendees.We have since grown to over 550 attendees in 2014, 950+ attendees in 2015 and 1200+ attendees in 2016! Their 2017 session tracks are Big Data, Data Science, Hadoop/Spark/Kafka, NoSQL, IoT and use case driven. Know more at here.
  • Aug 9-10: The fifth annual global supply chain excellence summit will exhibit thought leadership on critical issues within our rapidly evolving global landscape. Key discussions on managing supply chains amidst globalization, innovation and digitization will be held.  Know more at here
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Featured Events

07 Jun More

The 39th Annual Marketing Science Conference

  • Jill and Frank Fertitta Hall
05 Aug More

Big Data Day LA

  • USC Campus
  • 07:00 am — 08:30 pm
09 Aug More

5th Annual Global Supply Chain Excellence Summit

  • USC Ronald Tutor Campus Center Ballroom


The USC Marshall Sports Business Institute is undertaking a research project regarding innovation and disruption throughout the sports business industry. They have created a survey which will help the SBI refine future topics and projects of interest to industry stakeholders who want to better understand how technology is impacting the sports industry. 

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