013-Social-Business-500

Summer 2002
Volume 43, Issue # 4

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Calculated Risk: A Framework for Evaluating Product Development

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 18 min 

The product-development process is often seen as an undependable “black box” that rarely produces results that exceed business expectations. With an approach called “net present value, risk-adjusted,” the author offers an operational framework of quantitative tools that can be integrated into existing stage-gate methodologies to create a risk-adjusted NPV that considers the impacts of product portfolio, user needs, and technical and marketing risks.

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The Hidden Leverage of Human Capital

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 16 min 

In times of adversity, many organizations miss the opportunity to rethink their business model to optimize their positioning for the recovery ahead. Recessionary economies may not require re-engineering or moving noncore competencies outside the organization for greater efficiency. Oxman suggests four critical ways to prepare for economic recovery.

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The Behavior Behind the Buzzwords

  • Opinion & Analysis
  • Read Time: 17 min 

When an activity turns into a buzzword, the odds are high that managers will stop thinking consciously about the behavior they‘re trying to elicit and the best way to set expectations clearly. When it comes to the messy, human realities of management, a dose of straight talk — and clear thinking — can go a long way.

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How Storytelling Builds Next-Generation Leaders

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 23 min 

Executives know they need to develop their company’s next leaders, but many are disillusioned by all the once-promising fads that have come and gone. Some, however, have discovered how an approach that’s as old as Homer can be one of the most effective means of developing high-potential managers.

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The New E-Commerce Intermediaries

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 29 min 

The idea that e-commerce would lead to disintermediation has turned out to be largely wrong. The Web transforms but does not eliminate the advantages of the middleman‘s central lookout position. The authors show how new kinds of intermediaries are helping smart companies realize the promise of the Web. They offer nine ways that intermediaries traditionally add value and explain that three will change, three will survive in a new form, and three present growth opportunities.

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Confronting the Limits of Networks

  • Opinion & Analysis
  • Read Time: 9 min 

As networks become very large, they can fall prey to saturation, cacophony, contamination, clustering and high search costs. Those phenomena mean that larger networks can, in some cases, have less value than smaller ones. The authors have identified several strategies that network builders can employ to maintain network effects or limit their decline.

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Beyond Better Products: Capturing Value in Customer Interactions

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 25 min 

In a world of mobile talent, open markets and brutal competition, it’s increasingly difficult to maintain an advantage over competitors through product innovation. As a result, some companies have figured out how to outdistance rivals through customer-focused strategies that are virtually imitation-proof.