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Interior, Wolf Kibel, 1930-35 (Courtesy: Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town)

Business Templates that Succeed in 'Bottom of the Pyramid' Environments

Idea posted: June 2017
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

A new company first succeeds by creating a template for doing business — a working system of organizational routines and practices. It then scales its business by replicating that template. In bottom of the pyramid environments, however, the development and replication of templates can be hindered by the extreme conditions in which organizations must operate.

Idea #659
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Paris Diving Exhibition January 12, 2015

Choosing the Right Innovation Partners

Idea posted: November 2016
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

New research describes how the most effective collaborative behaviour (i.e. the type of technology partner firms you decide to pursue) can depend on whether your industry emphasizes R&D and innovation — or whether it is more technologically stable. 

Idea #629
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The Closed Bank, Edoardo Matania, 1870s (Courtesy: Dorotheum www.dorotheum.com)

Crowdfunding Still Attracts Local Investors to Local Ventures

Idea posted: April 2016
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs seeking funding through crowdfunding Internet platforms must still overcome the ‘home bias’ of investors — that is, their preference for funding projects located close to their homes.  

Idea #593
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Orville and Wilbur Wright examine canoe fittings before the first flight over water, 1909 (Courtesy: Library of Congress)

Uncovering the Elements of Knowledge at the Heart of Innovation

Idea posted: April 2016
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Institutions: Dartmouth College

An innovative new idea is purposefully built by combining elements of knowledge — a daunting task of intuition, elimination and focus.

Idea #598
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The Architect’s Dream, Thomas Cole, 1840 (Courtesy: Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio, USA)

How Successful Megaprojects Are Games of Innovation

Idea posted: March 2016
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

Megaprojects are not so much linear constructions of grand designs, but more a ‘game’ of innovation between players slowly ‘shaping,’ through a series of episodes, the project over time.

Idea #587
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411_World War 2 poster. Wireless operators (Courtesy: BT Archives)

CIOs: Coach and Communicate with C-suite for Digital Innovation

Idea posted: January 2016
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

European companies are losing innovation opportunities because C-suite executives fail to respond to information technology and digital-related proposals of the CIO and the information technology function of the company, according to a new survey of European companies in three countries. The problem: lack of communication between IT and non-IT leaders.

Idea #573
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The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm, by Norman Hunter, illustrated by W. Heath Robinson. (Courtesy: Penguin Books, First Published 1933)

Broad Knowledge or Narrow Expertise: What Works Best for Innovation?

Idea posted: September 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Who is most likely to find the innovative breakthrough: an expert with a deep knowledge of the domain or a cross-functional team with broader knowledge and a variety of experience? New research shows that the cross-functional and diverse knowledge approach to innovation can be a double-edged sword: shattering the myopia of experts but not providing the expertise needed to generate novel ideas in the field.

Idea #548
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Six Skills for the Social Media-Literate Leader

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

A scholar and an Executive Fellow from the Drucker School of Management present a six-dimensional framework of what they call ‘organizational social media literacy’. It outlines critical capabilities — from creating content and managing the flow of information to spreading social media competence throughout the organization and creating a social media infrastructure — that today’s leaders and their organizations must master to capitalize on the full potential of social media.

Idea #503
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Harness Big Data Using Visualisation Software Tools

Idea posted: January 2015
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
Institutions: NUS Business School

The phrase “big data” puts the emphasis on quantity — and it’s true that the data available in the world continues to grow exponentially every year. But for businesses wanting to make the most of big data, it’s not quantity that counts, but what you do with the data. Companies are losing millions of dollars because they are not fully exploiting the data they are already gathering. Given the complexity of big data, visualisation software tools are required to help companies avoid this mistake.

Idea #474
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Dante Shows an Artist Some Unusual Clouds, by Ivan Aivazovsky, 1883

Six Imperatives for Companies to Embrace Cloud Computing

Idea posted: December 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

Cloud computing can offer companies more cost-effective and agile IT capabilities than many traditional in-house IT services and functions. Based on an extensive study of a company successfully expanding its cloud computing capabilities, as well as on interviews with 45 other companies, a research team from the MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research lays out the imperatives that help companies prepare for and manage the shift to cloud computing.

Idea #465
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Marion A. Trozzolo (1925 –1992) was an innovator, inventor, entrepreneur and  the first manufacturer of teflon coated cookware (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Should Technology Innovators Participate in the Commercialization Process?

Idea posted: October 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Conventional wisdom has it that technology based entrepreneurs are better off commercializing their product by contracting with an incumbent (i.e. licensing). But this trade-off may not always be optimal, because if the innovator can learn from its own commercialization experience, albeit losing some profit initially, it could avoid making the same trade-off with future innovations, thus securing long-term profitability. Alternatively, joint commercialization may be the best approach.

Idea #448
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Launch Intentional Communities of Practice in Global Companies

Idea posted: September 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

As professionals in an organization acquire knowledge and experience, they share this knowledge among themselves in informal communities of practice (CoPs). In large international organizations with geographically dispersed professionals, such organic, informal CoPs aren’t possible; however, research shows top management-initiated, deliberately structured intentional communities of practice (ICoP) can fulfil the same function of distributing knowledge throughout the organization.

Idea #441
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Dinamismo di Treno Nave Aereo, 1929, by Italian futurist painter Giulio D'Anna (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Why Inferior Innovations Often Beat the Best

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour

In theory, companies base decisions on whether or not to buy a new technology on an objective assessment of its merits and demerits. In practice, however, it doesn’t always work that way. Random events and ‘copy-cat’ behaviours among competitors play a significant role in the spread of innovation.

Idea #369
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Early experimental digital photograph by Rick Doble, 2000 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

IT Leadership: Shifting Mindsets to Add Value

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour

How is IT managed in your organization? Most organizations do not think of this as a crucial question to consider, but in order to ensure competitive success in today’s complex business environment, responsibility for IT decision-making should be shared and not left solely in the hands of the CIO. Read on to find out more.

Idea #359
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How Virtual Ways of Working Impact on Team Productivity

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing

Digitally-mediated (or ‘virtual’) relationships and ways of working have been considered an essential part of the way teams will work in the future. But according to this Idea, virtuality can give rise to as many problems as solutions. Here, different types of virtual work are discussed, and based on the example of the U.S. automobile industry, some cautionary advice for organizations is offered.

Idea #323
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Investment Banking: Technology and the Decline of Trust

Idea posted: February 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

‘Up or out’ promotion policies and reward systems that encourage ‘star’ bankers to ‘shine’ by taking unacceptable risks were significant factors in the 2007-2009 financial crisis. But they need to be viewed in a broader context. The seeds of trouble were sown decades previously, when a trend towards ‘transactional’ models, powered by technology, began to transform investment banks.

Idea #325
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Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette, Auguste Renoir, 1876, Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Crowdsourcing New Product Ideas Over Time

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Is your organization thinking of using online crowdsourcing applications to collect ideas for new products and services? If yes, it is not the only one; a number of large companies have been turning to crowdsourcing in recent years, including the technology corporation Dell. Read on to find out what an analysis of their application can tell you about how to use crowdsourcing in your own organization.

Idea #296
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At the market, Tajikistan, photo by Kate Dixon, 2008 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

RET: Market Research in Real Time

Idea posted: December 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

As market researchers cannot follow customers around 24 hours a day, how else can they understand what sways them to buy certain brands? This Idea discusses a new research tool — real-time experience tracking (RET) — which seeks to capture how people respond to experiences and interactions with a given brand, all in real-time.

Idea #282
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The Wagah border often called the "Berlin wall of Asia", is a ceremonial border on India–Pakistan Border,

Organizational Identity and Adaptation to Disruptive Change

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

Discontinuous technologies (often the result of ‘disruptive innovation’) emerge at the periphery of organizational vision, requiring fundamental changes in business structures in order to be adopted successfully. So it is not surprising that they present particularly demanding challenges for executives. This Idea explains why organizational identity has an important role to play in dealing with this type of technological change.

Idea #272
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Image from Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Developing Talent to Manage Big Data

Idea posted: July 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour

The sudden and prominent appearance of big data in the business world means many organizations need to start thinking about investing in new staff specifically trained in big data analysis. How can HR executives stay ahead and ensure they find and retain the right people for this important role? 

Idea #176
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Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and the Apple 1 PC

Creating Innovative Business Models

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

Choices organizations make about their business model often go unchallenged for a very long time. This is an underutilized source of future value. As an alternative or complement to product and process innovation - business model innovation can be where the greatest benefits lie. With that in mind, and before launching a new business model, managers should ask themselves the six key questions outlined in this Idea.

Idea #048
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Contraption for the Lazy Father, W. Heath Robinson, 1872 - 1944

Home Working: Does it Work for the Organization?

Idea posted: January 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Although the numbers of employees working from home are increasing, there is still widespread scepticism about introducing this working practice into organizations. The experience of one company, however, showed a notable increase in productivity when employees were given the option of doing so. In this Idea, faculty from Stanford Graduate School of Business suggest that offering such a choice can lead to long-term organizational benefits. 

Idea #079
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