- Opinion & Analysis
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Companies that pursue a number of improvement initiatives at once risk creating information overload for employees.
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Business analytics projects are often characterized by uncertain or changing requirements — and a high implementation risk. So it takes a special breed of project manager to execute and deliver them.
Managers who screen suggestions are busy and have short attention spans, so the ability to be succinct can make or break an idea. They want proposals that are neither skimpy nor turgid. And 250 words is often just right.
In this interview, MIT Sloan School of Management professor of management Michael Cusumano discusses traits that will help companies through disruptive transitions. One trait is agility, which has four principles: capabilities rather than strategy; pull rather than push concepts; economies of scope rather than scale; and an emphasis on flexibility rather than efficiency. A second trait is deep, differentiating capabilities, which can be found in processes (such as supply-chain management).
Project leaders should sequence and articulate messaging about their projects in the same way a marketing manager would organize an external branding effort to promote a company’s products and services. Just as product branding creates awareness and sustains value in the minds of an organization’s external customers, shareholders, and constituents, a brand mindset can empower a project leader to develop strategically-timed messages to create visibility and engagement among key targets.
From time to time a company’s project truly stands out, creating exceptional value and having an impact on the industry. IBM’s AS/400 development effort in the 80s was a game changer and gave IBM a competitive edge. Apple Inc.’s success in creating the iPod portable media player and iTunes online store is another more recent example of a great project — one that changed the way people listen to and buy music. Why are such projects so rare — and why can’t more projects be like them?
With complex products such as automobiles, integration is a key element of performance. That means managers must understand which activities and competencies they can safely outsource and which they need to keep.
This article explores the process of innovation in 13 global companies. Many of the standard arguments for how to encourage innovation were confirmed, but some surprises were uncovered as well. The article organizes its key insights around five persistent “myths” that continue to haunt the innovation efforts of many companies. The five myths are: (1) The Eureka Moment; (2) Built It and They Will Come; (3) Open Innovation Is the Future; (4) Pay Is Paramount; and, (5) Bottom Up Innovation Is Best.
In sales, the rapport between a prospective buyer and seller can be the deciding factor. Using analytics, Assurant Solutions has tripled its success. (A case-study interview.)
Companies often approach the process of developing a global culture as a one-way process dominated by corporate headquarters, exemplified by common terms such as “cultural transfer” “and “culture dissemination.” Also, core values often originate at corporate headquarters and fail to reflect and incorporate diverse cultural influences. This approach breeds skepticism about global culture among overseas employees, who may perceive headquarters’ core values as ethnocentric and parochial.
Many managers think they’ve committed their organizations to evidence-based decision making — but have instead, without realizing it, committed to decision-based evidence making. Is that all bad? What can be done to fix it?
Sexual harassment — and how to deal with it — is well understood by most companies. But now new dangers are being recognized in the ways an office romance affects the people around it. “Hostile work environment” claims, and their financial costs, are just the start.
How have strategies for supply chain design changed in recent years? What are the forces most profoundly shaping them now? What kinds of models have emerged for companies to consider, choose among or learn from? MIT professor and entrepreneur David Simchi-Levi and MIT professor Charles Fine — two of the world’s leading thinkers on supply chain and value chain design — offer answers to those questions and others.
Even corporations with clear environmental aims fail to go the distance when it comes to their supply chains. But lessons from a small group of Fortune 500 companies can give them the direction they need.
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