Business Development

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Beyond Forecasting: Creating New Strategic Narratives

In rapidly changing industries, it can be hard for established companies to build momentum for new strategic directions. But by rethinking the past and present and reimagining the future, managers can construct strategic narratives that enable innovation. A new study helps to understand how managers actually make strategy in conditions of considerable uncertainty, and do it in a way that is coherent, plausible and acceptable to most key stakeholders in the organization.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com.
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The Emergence of the Extra-Rational Manager

Big Data is often associated with big numbers, but less often with a big picture. The basic question — How can increasing the quantity, velocity and variety of captured data really impact how people manage? — can go unanswered. But in a MIT Sloan Executive Education course Big Data: Making Complex Things Simpler, MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Alex Pentland offer that big picture view of the economic, societal and managerial transformations that they see on the horizon.
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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.

Courtesy of Under Armour

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 Lee Jordan.

From “Trust Me” to “Show Me”: Moving Sustainability at Shell Oil From “Priority” to “Core Value”

The timeline of energy development projects now is largely driven by sustainability and social performance issues, says Marvin Odum, president of Shell Oil. That’s prompting innovations in how the company involves external stakeholders, incentivizes employees and drives changes throughout the entire energy industry.

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Image courtesy of Apple Inc.

A Business Plan? Or a Journey to Plan B?

From Apple to Twitter, some of the most successful businesses are not what their inventors originally envisioned. The Twitter story, in fact, is a powerful reminder that an entrepreneur’s main job is not to flawlessly execute the business idea so lovingly articulated in his or her business plan. It’s to embark on a learning journey that may or may not reach the destination originally envisioned. Instead, the company may end up at a more successful Plan B.

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How to Plan E-Business Initiatives in Established Companies

Many large and mature firms — which still form most of the economy — have difficulty analyzing the opportunities and difficulties created by the Internet. Here is a planning process, validated at several established companies, that puts e-business into perspective and helps make it manageable. "Using our e-business planning process," write the authors, "senior management in established companies can identify attractive e-business initiatives, analyze their functional scope and assess the sustainability of the benefits."

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Creating New Markets Through Service Innovation

Many companies make incremental improvements to their service offerings, but few succeed in creating service innovations that generate new markets or reshape existing ones. To move in that direction, executives must understand the different types of market-creating service innovations as well as the nine factors that enable these innovations.

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