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The High Cost of Political Influence

“Political influence may come at the cost of lower productivity,” explains Anders Olofsgård, a senior fellow at the Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics at the Stockholm School of Economics. “Politicians are expecting something in return from you. One way to pay back politicians is through jobs. So you may be locked into keeping higher employment than you otherwise might be.” Olofsgård and co-author Raj M. Desai, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, argue that bloated staffs are no bargain for any company.



Should Business Care About Obesity?

Obesity in the United States has reached crisis proportions. Is this yet another societal problem to be loaded onto the shoulders of business leaders? For several reasons, the answer is yes — and some companies are already showing what can be done to turn the tide.



Generating Premium Returns on Your IT Investments

Although IT portfolio management has been a best practice for some time now, many companies are still getting returns from IT investments that are below their potential. New studies show that a measurable premium can be gained by implementing a set of interlocking business practices and processes, collectively called “IT savvy.”


The Decline and Dispersion of Marketing Competence

In many organizations, the corporate marketing function has lost budget, head count, influence and confidence, resulting in strategic consequences that run deeper than many senior managers may realize. The question is not how to rebuild the marketing center, but how to disperse marketing competenceacross the organization.



Strategic Outsourcing: Leveraging Knowledge Capabilities

The more companies outsource, the more they approach virtual organization, with knowledge centers interacting through mutual interest and electronic systems. To mitigate the risks associated with reduced authority, companies must develop “best in world” capabilities, leverage the capabilities of others and innovate constantly. The author shows how to slash innovation cycle times and costs by 60%-90% and develop the full potential of intellectual outsourcing.


Planning for Product Platforms

A platform is a collection of components, processes, knowledge, people, and relationships shared by a set of products, allowing companies to efficiently develop differentiated products and to better meet customer needs. The authors describe the benefits and challenges of platform planning, presenting three underlying ideas, a method for planning a new product platform, and recommendations for managing the process.


Intellectual Capital = Competence x Commitment

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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