Research Feature

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Inside the World of the Project Baron

In industrial sectors such as consulting, advertising, filmmaking, software, architecture, engineering and construction, most individual businesses, by definition, are “project-based firms.” This article proposes the term “baronies” to describe the organizational units that direct the projects within project-based firms, and highlights the roles that barons play in three basic types of project-based firms: dominions, tight federations and loose federations.

Image courtesy of Flickr user andysternberg.

How to Become a Better Leader

Good leaders make their work look easy. But the reality is that most have had to work hard on themselves — by managing or compensating for potentially career-limiting traits. To grow as an executive, you need to recognize and manage your strongest tendencies.

Image courtesy of Rolls-Royce.

Uncommon Sense: How to Turn Distinctive Beliefs Into Action

Most strategy making begins in the wrong place. Many companies rely on frameworks and models from the strategist’s toolbox, including industry analysis, market segmentation, benchmarking and outsourcing. As a result, they short-circuit the real work of strategy and miss out on finding new insights into the preferences or behaviors of current or potential customers. Few companies develop original strategies by formulating hypotheses and then testing them in a competitive setting.

Image courtesy of Amazon.

Creating Value Through Business Model Innovation

Companies are increasingly turning toward business model innovation as an alternative or complement to product or process innovation. Changes to business model design can be subtle; even when they might not have the potential to disrupt an industry, they can still yield important benefits to the innovator. The article offers a number of examples of business model innovation and poses six questions for executives to consider when thinking about business model innovation.

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Achieving Successful Strategic Transformation

Companies that are able to radically change their entrenched ways of doing things and then reclaim leading positions in their industries are the exception rather than the rule. Even less common are companies able to anticipate a new set of requirements and mobilize the internal and external resources necessary to meet them. The article focuses on three companies that transformed themselves and compares them with three other companies from similar industries that hadn’t been required to make a dramatic shift.

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Image courtesy of Nokia.

Mobilizing for Growth in Emerging Markets

The article offers four recommendations for an effective “network orchestration” strategy, bringing together local and global innovation partners in emerging markets. Multinationals should extend innovation partnerships beyond the usual channel partners by engaging key community stakeholders such as government bodies, universities and NGOs; engage innovation partners strategically with a larger purpose; trust but verify in a transparent manner; and designate local partner network managers.

Image courtesy of Kennametal.

How to Identify New Business Models

Companies traditionally pursue growth by investing heavily in product development so they can produce new and better offerings; by developing consumer insights so they can satisfy customers’ needs; or by making acquisitions and expanding into new markets. This article identifies a fourth method: “business model experimentation,” or using thought experiments to quickly and inexpensively examine new business model possibilities.

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Six Principles of Effective Global Talent Management

Although organizations must pay attention to things like recruiting and performance management, competitive advantage in talent management doesn’t just come from identifying key activities and then implementing “best practices.”

Rather, successful companies subscribe to six key principles: 1) alignment with strategy, 2) internal consistency, 3) cultural embeddedness, 4) management involvement, 5) balance of global and local needs and 6) employer branding through differentiation.

Image courtesy of Flickr user K.Costin Photography.

The Manager’s Guide to IT Innovation Waves

The relentless advance of information technology today means that a key task of the business manager now is to cope with one wave of IT innovations after another. At any given time, an executive is likely to feel more or less inundated by a current wave, unsure of what all the commotion is about, unable to avoid the topic in conversation and yet suspicious that the latest “killer app” may be mostly hype. Is there a better way?

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Image courtesy of Flickr user jurvetson.

Improving Environmental Performance in Your Chinese Supply Chain

Multinational corporations are under growing pressure to make sure their contractors and subcontractors in China meet environmental standards. Yet traditional approaches to ensuring environmental, health and safety compliance, such as checklist audits, have proved problematic. This article recommends that organizations work closely with suppliers, providing incentives for identifying, disclosing and addressing problems and establishing collaborative relationships with NGOs and industry groups.

Image courtesy of IBM.
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Winning the Race With Ever-Smarter Machines

The capabilities of computers are now improving so quickly that concepts can move from the realm of science fiction into everyday life in just a few years, rather than a lifetime. Rapid advances in information technology — computer hardware, software and networks — are yielding applications that can do anything from answering game show questions to driving cars. But to gain true leverage from these ever-improving technologies, companies need new processes and business models.

Image courtesy of Flickr user luc legay.

How to Get Your Messages Retweeted

Many companies are trying to leverage the power of Twitter to connect with customers and promote their brands and products. This article identifies factors that increase the likelihood of “retweeting” so that a company’s tweets will be shared with recipients’ networks.

There are several practices that don’t work well. The most important to avoid is blatant hard-sell messages. Twitter may be better suited for building brands than for building markets for new offerings.

Image courtesy of Flickr user soleir.
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The Age of the Consumer-Innovator

It has long been assumed that companies develop products for consumers, while consumers are passive recipients. However, this paradigm is flawed, because consumers are a major source of product innovations. This article suggests a new innovation paradigm, in which consumers and users play a central and active role in developing products. The article also summarizes key findings from studies on consumer product innovation conducted in the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan.

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Image courtesy of KONE Corp.

The Art of Piloting New Initiatives

Successful multinationals get that way by finding better ways to leverage operational improvements across the entire company. But developing such superior processes is not easy. New operational ideas fail for many reasons. One of the most common is not that the idea was bad, but that the developers set up a pilot that failed to persuade managers in the units that the process was an improvement. Successful pilots share three qualities: credibility, replicability and feasibility.

Courtesy of Under Armour
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Which Strategy When?

Markets are changing, competition is shifting and businesses are suffering or perhaps thriving. Whatever the immediate circumstances, corporate managers ask the same questions: Where do we go from here, and which strategy will get us there? To figure out when it makes sense to pursue strategies of position, leverage or opportunity, managers must understand their company’s immediate circumstances, take stock of their current resources and determine the relationships among the various resources.

Image courtesy of Flickr user marcusnelson.

Creating Employee Networks That Deliver Open Innovation

Companies such as Procter & Gamble, Cisco Systems, Genzyme, General Electric and Intel are often credited with having attained market leadership through open innovation strategies. By tapping into and exploiting the technological knowledge residing beyond their own R&D structures, these companies outmaneuvered rivals. But while other organizations try to follow their example, many are failing because they neglect to ensure that the outside ideas reach the people best equipped to exploit them.

Showing 61-80 of 536