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Detail from Royal Navy recruiting poster 'The Navy Wants Men', 1915 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Hunt for Innovative Ideas Externally or Internally – Just Not Both

Idea posted: April 2016
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour

Time is limited. New research shows that the most innovative people choose to focus either on outside sources of innovation ideas or within the organization. Those who try to do both only build thin relationships that don’t yield the same results.

Idea #597
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Napoleon at the Battle of Wagram 1809, Horace Vernet, 1836 (Courtesy: Palace of Versailles)

Ensure the CEO Gets the Right Information at the Right Time

Idea posted: July 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

CEOs must be informed at all times about all internal and external facets of the company relevant to his or her performance as leader of the company. A personal knowledge infrastructure, based on the right practices, relationships and tools and aligned with the needs and personality of the CEO, can make the difference between leadership success and failure. 

Idea #532
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3D visualization of ecological networks on the Internet, IS&T/SPIE Symposium, 2004 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Informal and Formal Networks Hurt and Help Performance

Idea posted: June 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Individuals in organizations draw on formal and informal interactions for resources, knowledge and advice. New research shows that inconsistency between the formal and informal interactions can be beneficial, to a certain extent, because of the diversity of information and resources such inconsistency provides.

Idea #526
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Edward Lloyd's Coffee House, where Lloyd's List was originally published in the 17th century (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Constructive Networking: The Strategies of Players and Purists

Idea posted: February 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: INSEAD, ESCP

Research and experience tells us that networking improves individual and organizational performance. But how does it work and what dynamics are at play? This research helps us understand the strategies individuals use to build networks and uses specifics about individual’s attitudes, behaviours, and position to identify three networking archetypes - Devoted Players, Purists, and Selective Players. Understanding these archetypes can help organizations encourage constructive networking.

Idea #485
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Ways to Encourage Employees to Help Each Other

Idea posted: September 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

A cooperative culture featuring generous employees helping each other is a key success factor for innovative and effective organizations. The two mechanisms for such generosity is the pay-it-forward approach, where someone who has been helped helps another person, and reputation rewarding, in which employees with a reputation for helping others are rewarded with help when they need it. New research from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business shows that both mechanisms are effective, but paying it forward will have a longer lasting impact on the organization

Idea #435
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Third Floor Coffee Bar, London School of Economics, 1964 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Building Buy-In: The Value of Informal Relationships and Coalitions

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
Institutions: Baylor University

Being able to influence senior executives is desirable for most, if not all, members of an organization. According to this Idea, the key lies in internal relationships and informal coalitions. These relationships, used by executives positioned in lower levels of the organization, can help span internal boundaries across a company's various business units, thus enabling better communication and better strategic decision-making.

Idea #405
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The Blue Bottle coffee house founded in 1686 in Vienna. Painting c.1900 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Developing Network Perspective: Social Networks and Leadership

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Are you aware of the different roles individuals play in your organization, and how they connect to each other to form an informal structure that supports the organization as a whole? If so, you are well on your way to developing network perspective — something that is, according to this Idea, imperative for 21st century executives. 

Idea #291
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Knowledge Sharing Networks Between Developing and Developed Countries

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Managers in emerging markets can benefit from interpersonal ties to more developed countries. Personal contacts abroad can provide useful ‘inside information’ and transfer critical knowledge — for free. They should not, however, be pursued exclusively. The best personal networks include contacts at home as well as overseas. Recent research points to the relative merits and usefulness of local and distant knowledge.

Idea #292
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How Formal Mentoring Affects Workplace Networks

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

How do widespread organizational practices like formal mentoring affect employee networking? According to this Idea, formal mentoring programs could provide boosts in visibility, increasing participants’ attractiveness as network partners. However, these benefits seem to arise more for women than men. 

Idea #199
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ENRON's Kenneth Lay CEO and Jeffery Skilling CFO, The Houston Chronicle

CEO Connectedness Can Facilitate Fraud

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

CEOs have not only explicit legal authority but also substantial ‘soft’ influence (based on relationships, for example) over what happens in the company. This influence extends to wrongdoing, as revealed in new research by University of Michigan Ross School of Business finance professor E. Han Kim and University of Michigan Law School professor Vikramaditya Khanna. According to Kim and Khanna, CEOs who appoint their top lieutenants (thus increasing their soft influence) are more likely to commit fraud. Their research also shows that fraud is less likely to be discovered when CEOs are ‘

Idea #128
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Women jumping in the water

Business Relationships: Test the Water or Take a Leap of Faith?

Idea posted: March 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Professional relationships built slowly and consistently over time are more likely, in the long run, to be more stable, robust and cohesive. When embarking on a new relationship with a client, co-worker, or employee - we can fast-track that solidarity with early, frequent and consistent interactions to create a sense of momentum.

Idea #002
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Harnessing Individual and Organization Networks

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

Leveraging employee networks can optimize individual and organizational performance and unearth hidden talent. Organizations teem with informal employee networks. Awareness of these living networks, and an understanding of how collaborations take place between top performers, can be a great, effective tool for overall success. To do so, managers must understand both the structure of talent networks within their company, and the categories their employees fall into. 

Idea #017
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Building Knowledge Sharing Networks in Organizations

Idea posted: February 2013
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IESE Business School

When it comes to innovation, what works better: formal organizational structures or informal network ties between employees? According to this Idea, which stresses the strength of social ties as having important implications for knowledge sharing, it is the latter. Organizations can improve their knowledge sharing by following a few core strategies. Ultimately, this may also facilitate better conditions for innovation as well, invaluable in today’s competitive business environment.

Idea #089
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and South Korean President Park Geun-hye

How Women Can Be More Politically Savvy at Work

Idea posted: February 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Most of us have witnessed or participated of office politics at some point in our careers. What do you do in such a situation? Do you embrace it or avoid it? This Idea shows that contrary to the popular opinion that office politics is ‘bad’, politically savvy executives actually excel in their careers and make effective leaders. 

Idea #091
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‘Partners of Choice’ for an Agile Workforce

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

An alternative to traditional full-time employment relationships, ‘Partners of Choice’ are starting to form the basis of new, supremely agile organizations. This is a longer form of contracting relationships, based on trust and cherry-picking expertise - whilst still ensuring commitment and competence. Choosing, attracting, and managing the right partners then, is key to their success. 

Idea #075
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