Business Models

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Sustainability Lessons From the Front Lines

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 23 min 

While most executives recognize the need to develop more sustainable business models, putting this goal into practice has been a challenge. Too many initiatives are stymied by a set of common obstacles. By recognizing how executing sustainability initiatives differs from typical change management, corporate leaders can promote more lasting gains in sustainable business development.

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Organizing for New Technologies

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 6 min 

When faced with an emerging technology, many companies have trouble responding — not because they don’t recognize how it impacts their business, but because they have difficulty managing the uncertainty around the new technology’s competitive viability. And when the technology significantly disrupts the company’s existing business, it can create structural impediments to pursuing opportunities.

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Warding Off the Threat of Disruption

  • Opinion & Analysis
  • Read Time: 6 min 

In a fast-changing digital landscape, companies shouldn’t wait too long to reconfigure their offerings — but they also should be wary of moving to an untested technology too soon. Monitoring trends in related industries and identifying high-potential startups for acquisition helps to ensure appropriate timing for business model changes.

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Harnessing the Best of Globalization

Globalization offers significant opportunities, yet most companies approach key decisions haphazardly. Although the complexity of globalization means managers rarely can fully analyze a global business opportunity before they need to act, the basic tensions in global business models are straightforward. A simple analysis of global ventures along these dimensions can help entrepreneurs develop clearer expectations and decision-making processes.

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Five Steps to Strategic Sustainability and Abundance

Kenyan mobile money pioneer M-Pesa is just one of many companies in developing economies that build virtuous cycles where solving ecological problems and building resilient communities opens new opportunities. Adopting an abundant perspective, argues author Jay Friedlander, provides concrete economic, social, and environmental objectives that unleash new possibilities.

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Crowd-Based Capitalism? Empowering Entrepreneurs in the Sharing Economy

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 12 min 

NYU Stern School of Business professor Arun Sundararajan is excited about the sharing economy. Although the sharing economy presents challenges for both corporations and start-up peer-to-peer marketplaces, Sundararajan sees a host of benefits for what he calls “micro entrepreneurs.” In an interview with MIT Sloan Management Review, Sundararajan discusses the challenges of ensuring success with this alternative business model — and steps companies can take to make sure they’re not left out.

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How is Digitization Affecting Your Business?

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 2 min 

How much of a threat does digital disruption present to your business? A short online questionnaire from Peter Weill and Stephanie L. Woerner, both of MIT Sloan’s Center for Information Systems Research, helps assess digital risk. “Although sweeping technology-enabled change often takes longer than we expect, history shows that the impact of such change can be greater than we ever imagined,” they write. “Think steam engines, cars, airplanes, TVs, telephones and, most recently, mobile phones and e-books.”

Image courtesy of Flickr user Yuichi Sakuraba. https://www.flickr.com/photos/skrb/4376216155

Embracing Digital Technologies in Traditional Worlds

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 3 min 

Business that are succeeding in the digital world are questioning key managerial assumptions. Case in point: PagesJaunes, the French Yellow Pages company. It “realized a few years ago that selling ads in thick, yellow print directories would not remain viable for long in an age of Google and Yelp.” To embrace digital opportunities, the company questioned assumptions about what is valuable about it strategic assets. It shifted its business model to online advertising and helping its small business customers build their own digital capabilities.

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More Companies Are Cashing In on Underused Resources

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 3 min 

Companies can participate in “collaborative consumption” through creative new approaches to defining and reusing their resources. So write Kurt Matzler, Viktoria Veider and Wolfgang Kathan, all of University of Innsbruck. For instance, LiquidSpace, based in Palo Alto, California, connects organizations that have unused office space with temporarily renters. It has been called the “Airbnb of work spaces” and is extending the idea of sharing unused capacities to companies that aren’t totally built around the collaborative model.

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How Strategic Is Your Board?

Strategic thinking at the top of a company is more important than ever for business survival. But boards of directors have no clear model to follow when it comes to developing the strategic role for the companies they oversee. Should they supervise, cocreate or support strategy? A structured assessment of a board’s strategic responsibilities can bring clarity to its role in creating strategy, and boards should be prepared to change their role in strategy if the industry context changes.

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Image courtesy of Wal-Mart.

Rebuilding the Relationship Between Manufacturers and Retailers

In the tug of war between manufacturers and retailers, retailers seem to be winning. Retailers control market access and influence consumer behavior. Their power has moved downstream. What can be done to improve the situation? While manufacturers are locked into fixed investments and products with long payback cycles, retailers have a variety of ways of making money. This article explores how manufacturers can benefit by tailoring their approaches to a retailer’s specific business model.

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A Question Every Manager Should Ask (Hint: It Has to Do With Megatrends)

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 1 min 

The single best question companies should ask themselves is what megatrends are coming around the corner. That’s according to MIT Sloan’s Michael A. Cusumano. Two megatrends that stand out in the industries he studies: “the rising importance of industrywide platforms as opposed to stand-alone products, and the rising importance of services or service-like versions of products,” he says.

Image courtesy of Netflix.

What to Do Against Disruptive Business Models (When and How to Play Two Games at Once)

Fighting against a disruptive business model by rolling out a second business model is one option for companies to consider. But to make that work, you need to avoid the trap of getting stuck in the middle.

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The new rules of management

  • Blog

“In an unpredictable world, trying to be right can lead managers terribly astray.” So write Rita Gunther McGrath and Ian C. MacMillan in their new article in MIT Sloan Management Review.

Image courtesy of IKEA.

What Is Your Management Model?

Companies are experimenting with new business models, from examples like MinuteClinic, a pioneer in low-cost retail health care that treats everyday ailments inside a drugstore, to Joost.com, an innovator in Web-based TV operated by Joost Technologies B.V. of the Netherlands. But genuinely new business models are hard to come by. Companies are therefore on the lookout for new forms of competitive advantage. One emerging possibility is the idea that a company’s management model can become a source of advantage.

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A Plan to Invent the Marketing We Need Today

The discipline of marketing hasn’t kept up with the rapid changes facing 21st-century businesses. New scholarship doesn’t have enough management relevance, and practicing marketers are too often forsaking rigor. Here are seven strategies that can make marketing both relevant and rigorous in today’s world.

Showing 1-20 of 34