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The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (detail), Francisco Goya (Courtesy: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri)

How to Fight Off an Upstart with a New Business Model

Idea posted: October 2018
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship


Faced with a new competitor with a new business model, incumbents can respond with different strategies based on sharing (co-deployment) or moving (re-deployment) their resources.

Idea #716
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Impression III, Wassily Kandinsky, 1911 (Courtesy: The Lenbachhaus, Munich)

Behavioural Economics: A Power that Goes Beyond Nudges

Idea posted: October 2017
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance

Behavioural economics solutions to societal problems mostly take the form of economic ‘nudges’ — such as defaults to increase retirement plan enrolments. However, the potential for behavioural economics to help resolve societal problems is far greater than the common nudges. A new paper explains how policy makers have failed to take full advantage of behavioural economics solutions.

Idea #677
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The Well-Stocked Kitchen of Martha and Mary, Joachim Bueckelaer, 1566 (Courtesy: The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)

Why Buying Green Is Not Considered Ethical if You Are Poor

Idea posted: December 2016
  • CSR & Governance

Ethical purchases (buying organic food, for example) are not always seen as moral purchases, especially if the buyers are on government assistance. How dare they pay for expensive organic food, for example, instead of the better-priced non-organic food? After all, it’s not their money. New research reveals that society views being frugal as more moral than trying to save the world.

Idea #637
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System change not climate change', 2009, UN climate talks in Copenhagen. Photo: kris krüg via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

How Social Movements Spark Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives

Idea posted: April 2016
  • CSR & Governance
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Social movements change society’s expectations of a company, as well as influence the thinking and values of individuals in that company. Under ideological pressure from diverse categories of external and internal stakeholders, the company responds with a corporate social responsibility agenda. 

Idea #603
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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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British generals, during the Battle of Gazala, 1942 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Power of Scenarios to Open New Perspectives

Idea posted: February 2016
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour

Well-known as a strategic planning tool, the scenarios methodology can drive potent academic research that shatters assumptions and reveal radical new perspectives on major issues and problems.

Idea #582
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The Good and Bad Reasons Corporate Cash Is Trapped Overseas

Idea posted: November 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance

Policy makers are worried that U.S. companies are using Permanently Reinvested Earnings (PRE) as a tax loophole rather than legitimately trying to grow their overseas operations. They are also concerned about cash trapped overseas instead of being invested in the U.S. economy. The SEC is focused on whether companies are using the rules concerning PRE as a means to overstate their profits. New research shows that a majority of companies are serious about overseas growth rather than looking for tax loopholes. However, cash trapped abroad is still a problem for the U.S. economy. 

Idea #458
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Projected thickness of Arctic Ice over 100 year timespan (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Strategies Companies Are Using to Mitigate and Adapt to Climate Change

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

Climate change is real and major companies are already developing and implementing detailed strategies to reduce their impact on the environment, reduce their vulnerability to the extreme weather caused by climate change, and anticipate or even lead climate change-related market developments, including significant public policy changes now on the horizon.

Idea #406
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Inequalities in the Competition for Global Talent

Idea posted: December 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour

Finding and hanging on to people with the right skills is a problem shared by most organizations today — in both the private and public sectors. The ‘talent war’, however, is not being fought on a ‘level field’. The new Global Competitiveness Talent Index, a tool that measures countries’ efforts to attract, develop and retain talent and their access to both vocational and higher-level skills reveals significant disparities.

Idea #280
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Tobacco Warning (Source: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Health Warnings Can Boost Sales: Regulators Beware

Idea posted: November 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Warnings of the health risks and possible side-effects of products are commonly considered an important part of consumer protection and responsible marketing. But they can be counter-productive. Recent research suggests they not only fade over time but also lead to perverse increases in consumer confidence and product sales.

Idea #253
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Money for Nothing: The Truth About Investment Consultants

Idea posted: October 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Learning & Behaviour

Widely used by retirement plan sponsors and pension fund trustees, investment consultants advise on institutional assets worth trillions of dollars. But their influence is not matched by their performance. New research finds no evidence that they add value to plan sponsors — or provide higher returns for pension scheme investors.

Idea #230
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Children showing a Koh-Kae can (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Healthy Bottom Lines – Food Marketing and Obesity Prevention

Idea posted: August 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
Institutions: Cornell University, INSEAD

Food marketing has a profound — and complex — influence on consumers and is often blamed for the (increasingly global) obesity epidemic. Food companies are not in business to make people fat, however. They’re in business to make money. Research into the effects of the ‘4 Ps’ of marketing — ‘price’, ‘promotion’, ‘product’ and ‘place’ — on food consumption suggests there are profitable changes they could make to help people eat more healthily.

Idea #188
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Officer cadets from Serbia's Military Academy, Belgrade, Serbia, 2010 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Social Influences on Decision-Making: Neuroscience Insights

Idea posted: July 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Learning & Behaviour

Decision-making is often strongly influenced by social factors, and research in the nascent field of neuroeconomics (which crosses the disciplines of psychology, marketing, economics and neuroscience) is helping to explain why. ‘In-group conformity’ is mediated by signals in the brain associated with emotion and reward and can be stimulated by the so-called ‘love hormone’, oxytocin. Neurobiological insights like these raise important questions for strategy design — in both the private and public sectors. 

Idea #184
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Exercises in Tábor, 1924, photographed by Šechtl and Voseček (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Co-operative Behaviour: Neuroscience Insights

Idea posted: July 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Co-operation is essential for the functioning of human societies — and several current public policy initiatives, including health and lifestyle and environmental campaigns, depend upon it. Many attempts to persuade people to co-operate and collaborate, however, fail — or succeed for only a limited time. Understanding the neural mechanisms for co-operation can help in developing more effective ways of promoting collective behaviour and in designing policies to achieve societal aims.

Idea #185
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Hindustan Unilever's Shakti Programme

CSR: Creating Value through Partnerships

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing
Institutions: IMD

Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives have overcome the stigma of being a distraction; something to be suffered. Smart companies now recognise CSR as an opportunity to significantly strengthen their businesses – while building and renewing human, social and natural wealth. Finding the right partner is absolutely critical to the success of a CSR strategy; and there are steps that can be taken to ensure a partnership co-creates value for both business and society.

Idea #071
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