- Opinion & Analysis
- Read Time: 13 min
The history of the successful Swedish furniture retailer IKEA illustrates the role that adaptation and experimentation play in the development of an innovative strategy.
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Negative services — those that are needed in emergencies, when problems arise or to ensure against unwanted outcomes — are part of most businesses and central to many. Their very nature presents unique growth challenges.
Companies too often vacillate in their commitment to internal corporate venturing activities, leading to less than optimal outcomes. Executives need to better understand — and manage — the factors that drive cyclicality in internal corporate venturing.
Although most companies undertake acquisitions with an eye toward fueling growth, the resulting infusion of new ideas, perspectives and processes can produce lasting benefits that are broader and deeper.
As entrepreneurs are considering international expansion earlier and earlier, it is crucial that they structure their ventures to anticipate and mitigate the tensions that can arise from the ongoing need to match perceived opportunities to available resources.
Although large-scale risks garner media attention, it is the everyday, small-scale risks associated with a lack of transparency in countries’ legal, economic, regulatory and governance structures that can confound global investment and commerce. New research identifies the causes and measures the effects of this phenomenon.
Kellogg‘s profit margins and the stature of its brands both declined throughout the 1990s. A wake-up call came in 1999 when the venerable company lost market leadership. The author describes how it embarked upon an ambitious and, for the food industry, novel strategy, emphasizing profit and value over volume and employing compensation and organization strategies to help cascade the change through the company and re-establish its innovativeness, profitability and reputation.
Customer-focused transformation is producing long-term, sustainable growth through a systemic, tested process. The approach gets all employees collaborating to identify the outcomes that customers need — and to help them get there.
Growth is not perpetual, and its continued pursuit can be costly, especially for large, mature companies. Instead, say the authors, smart managers should acknowledge the natural limits of their company‘s path to growth and consider viable alternatives.
To confront competitive discontinuities, managers must lead their organizations from the zone of comfort to the zone of opportunity.
Every decade or two, a big idea in management thinking takes hold and becomes widely accepted. The next big idea must enable businesses to improve the hit rate of strategic initiatives and attain the level of renewal necessary for successful execution. Scientific research on complex adaptive systems has identified principles that apply to living things, from amoebae to organizations. Four principles relevant to strategic work at Royal Dutch/Shell are outlined.
Commitment and competence are embedded in how each employee thinks about and does his or her work and in how a company is organized to accomplish work. This intellectual capital is, according to the author, a firm’s only appreciable asset. He outlines three ways to build employee commitment and five tools for increasing competence in a firm, site, business and plant.
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