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Louis Vuitton store, HK Landmark, Hong Kong (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Practical Features Sell Luxury Products

Idea posted: January 2018
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

New research reveals that buyers of hedonistic, luxurious products often feel guilty about their indulgent purchase — but that bundling even a small utilitarian feature with the product can assuage this guilt and make consumers more likely to buy and increase willingness to pay.

Idea #687
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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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Bill Gates, Micosoft CEO, at IT Forum 2004 in Copenhagen (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How CEO Personality Impacts on Firm Performance

Idea posted: October 2016
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

Different personality traits, such as openness to change, conscientiousness and extraversion, are associated with different approaches to investment decisions and differences in firm performance, according to a new study using linguistic metrics for personality.

Idea #632
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Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz talks to the media (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

CEOs Can Galvanize Public Opinion – and Help Business

Idea posted: July 2016
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

More CEOs are speaking out on social issues unrelated to their business. A new study shows that this activism can galvanize public opinion – and doesn’t hurt sales. 

Idea #611
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High-wire performer, South Korea, 2006 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Effective Risk Management to Secure Change and Growth

Idea posted: May 2016
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

Opponents of quantitative risk management models believe these models are counterproductive: they inhibit companies from taking calculated chances without preventing major mistakes (see the 2008 economic crisis). A new study of seven successful companies shows that when complemented by rigorous qualitative risk management practices and expanded roles for risk managers, quantitative models enhance rather than inhibit a company’s innovation and initiative.

Idea #604
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Illustration from Europa's fairy book, published by G. P. Putnam's & Sons, 1916 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Best-Self Activation Launches Sustained Performance Improvement

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

New research confirms that best-self activation — activating a mental representation of your best self — leads to short- and long-term improvement in performance. The research specifically highlights the positive emotional, physiological (e.g. resilience to stress), and cognitive impact of best-self activation.

Idea #565
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The Unexpected Creative Effect of Sarcasm

Idea posted: September 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Sarcasm in the workplace may not be as destructive as once thought. New research shows that expressing or receiving sarcasm can spark creativity through abstract thinking — especially if the sarcasm is directed at or received from a trusted person

Idea #550
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Wayuu bags, hand made by women from the Wayuu tribe in Colombia (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Reusable Grocery Bags: How Green Customers Help the Environment — and Your Business

Idea posted: September 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Shoppers bringing their own bags help reduce the adverse environmental impact of plastic bags. New research shows, however, that the environment is not the only winner. Environmentally conscious shoppers are inspired to buy more expensive organic products, and reward themselves with unplanned indulgent purchases — a boon to grocery stores.

Idea #542
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Daniel's Answer to the King, Briton Rivière, Mezotint, 1892 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Overcoming Our Evolutionary Fears to Speak Up to Authority

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

Employees are often afraid to speak up even though they may have something to say. New research points to the evolutionary origins of fear-based silence and highlights the productive steps (e.g. developing emotional intelligence and better communication skills) employees can take to overcome these fears.

Idea #498
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Committee of the French Art Exhibition in Copenhagen, Peder Severin Krøyer, 1888, Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen

Small Vs Large Top Management Teams and the CEO's Workload

Idea posted: September 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

The larger a CEO’s top management team or direct reports, the more time that CEO spends interacting with internal staff on internal operations issues and the less time he or she spends working alone. Thus, CEOs seeking more time for strategy and individual work, and less time for collaboration and team consensus activities, might opt for smaller top management teams instead. 

Idea #437
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Contemplation, Ghassan Salman Faidi, 2009 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Mindfulness Leads to Better Decisions

Idea posted: September 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Faced with a decision, we are more likely to take the path we want rather than the path we should. The reason is that the want choice is quickly identified through assumptions, easy categorizations or past experiences; the should choice only emerges when time and effort is made to consider new situations or alternative attributes. Increasing the state of conscious awareness known as ‘mindfulness’ during the decision making process will allow decision makers to see the better choice… before it’s too late.

Idea #438
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How to Turn a Product-Focused Company into a Platform Business

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance

The transition from a product-based company to a platform-based company will have a major impact on your organizational identity: how organizational members conceive of who you are. Understand the fundamental shift and broaden that identity while staying true to your values.

Idea #422
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George Washington and the cherry tree. A lithograph by John C. McRae, 1867, after a painting by G. G. White

How to Limit Ambiguity of Responsibility and Learn from Failure

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Failed experiences are not always a bad thing; they can be sources of learning, and improved performance. However, individuals do not always learn from failure. Whether they attribute that failure internally or externally has a role to play in their learning, and an additional factor is how ambiguous their responsibility for that task was. This Idea explores these factors and more.

Idea #396
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How Competition for Customers Causes Unethical Behaviour

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

Do you encourage a culture of competition in your organization in order to motivate your employees? This Idea shows that doing so may also promote corruption and unethical behaviour. In the face of local competition, firms operating in the New York air-pollution testing industry were found to be more likely to behave unethically. Read on to find out the implications of this finding for your organization.

Idea #397
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A copy of Auguste Rodin's The Thinker on the Columbia University campus (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Reflection Aids Performance: The Thinker as Learner

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

What is ‘learning-by-thinking’ and how can it improve individual performance in your organization? This Idea explains why it is important to incorporate time for reflection in the learning process, and how it differs from learning by experience alone, without reflection. 

Idea #390
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The Royal Malay Regiment get ready at the Malaysian King Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin birthday parade on June 4, 2011 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Source: Shutterstock)

Rapid Response Teams: Strategic Renewal for Organizations

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change

The world changes rapidly these days. Technologies move on and companies adapt – or not in some cases. The problem lies in being able to change as quickly as the environment in which your business operates. But change management need not be crisis management. Through a process of strategic renewal leaders can develop a set of practices that can guide their organizations to a new era of innovation. 

We often find it easier to resist change rather than embrace it, but this process allows leaders to approach the future and all its uncertainties with confidence, while acknowledging the

Idea #331
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The Reception, by James Gillray, published 1792. Lord Macartney, the first envoy of Great Britain to China, meeting Emperor Qianlong  (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

When Supply Chain Partners Move Up the Value Chain

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

The role of suppliers in global supply chains has been evolving from simply providing components to manufacturing entire products. Especially for suppliers in emerging economies, however, successfully moving up the value chain requires internal skills and capabilities as well as the willingness of the client to share not only technology but customer-facing capabilities as well. 

Idea #320
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Woman and Man Contemplating the Moon, David Caspar Friedrich, c.1818-1824, Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Innovation: Seeing the Wood for the Trees

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

Popular process management activities such as total quality management (TQM) facilitate incremental innovation but impede exploratory innovation. If a firm’s capacity for innovation is rooted in its ability to explore new areas – perhaps making groundbreaking discoveries – as well as exploiting existing capabilities, then process management activities must be separated from efforts to generate completely new ideas. 

Idea #268
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Singing in the Rain, stage production, Birmingham UK, 2012 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Bad Weather Means Better Productivity

Idea posted: October 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

We all know that bad weather often leads to a bad mood, and therefore it must also lead to bad productivity, right? Not so, according to this Idea which suggests that bad weather actually increases productivity. Through a field study and laboratory experiment, researchers show that when the weather is rainy, there is low visibility and extreme temperatures, workers seem to be more, not less, productive.

Idea #226
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Leaders Less Stressed than Followers Due to a Sense of Control

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

Today’s leaders face increasing demands and must be inundated with stress, right? Not so according to this research, which suggests that the heightened sense of control that accompanies leadership may actually help to reduce stress levels. In fact, non-leaders are probably more stressed than their leaders are. 

Idea #211
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King Lear, a UK TV film version, 2008, starring Sir Ian McKellen, Frances Barber, Romola Garai, Jonathan Hyde and Sylvester McCoy; directed by Sir Tevor Nunn and produced by Paul Wheeler for Channel 4

When Allowing Decision Latitude Can Backfire

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

The best leaders today avoid micromanaging their employees, recognizing that giving employees job autonomy and decision latitude — allowing employees to make decisions concerning their work — will result in greater motivation and better performance. New research, however, shows that too much decision latitude can backfire. Instead of being viewed as effective and conscientious leaders, the research shows managers who give their employees too much discretion and freedom in decisions and managing their work will be viewed as not being conscientious about their work.

Idea #212
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The Good Samaritan, Master of the Good Samaritan, circa 1530–1550, Centraal Museum Utrecht (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Prosocial Goals Promote Employee Happiness

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

The pursuit of ‘happiness’ is perhaps one of the most important goals in a person’s life, and prosocial activities have proved to be a successful way to achieve it. But as the list of potential prosocial acts is endless, how can you narrow down which are the most effective? According to this Idea, activities framed in concrete rather than abstract terms make the crucial difference between happiness and unhappiness. 

Idea #163
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The ladies' egg & spoon race, Picklescott Village Fete & Sports Day 1963 (Source: Picklescott.org.uk)

Motivation by Last Place Aversion

Idea posted: June 2013
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Nobody wants to fail, and being in last place is the worst of failures. New research reveals, however, that the aversion to last place is a powerful driving factor in many decisions, which might offer unexpected opportunities for business.

Idea #155
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New recruits to the British Army, First World War, Nicholls Horace, © Imperial War Museum (Q 30060)

Onboarding New Employees Successfully

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

Employee turnover can be expensive and time-consuming, so organizations need to know how to get the most from and retain the valuable new additions they make. According to recent research, the secret lies in promoting self-expression and encouraging newcomers to bring their unique values and perspectives to the job. Most importantly, this should be done from the first day through a process known as ‘onboarding’. This Idea offers some practical advice on managing the process.

Idea #135
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Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, 2004, directed by Adam McKay, starring Will Ferrell. Also also written by Ferrell and McKay. Distributed by  DreamWorks Pictures

Balancing Extravert Leaders and Pro-active Employees

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

Despite both being characteristics which are promoted in many organizations, leadership extraversion and employee proactivity are uneasy bedfellows. This research suggests that extraverted leaders are less receptive to proactivity, and that they may only enhance group performance when employees are passive. 

Idea #006
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Dame Judi Dench as 'M', James Bond: Quantum of Solace, 2008, directed by Marc Forster, produced by Eon Productions, Sony/MGM

What Do CEOs Actually Do?

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

What does your boss actually do all day? Most of us will have pondered over this question at some time or another! We may be justified in doing so too, as how a CEO spends her/his time — and with whom — can have a direct impact on their productivity and their organization’s success. This Idea will help bosses prioritise their working hours for maximum impact. 

Idea #081
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King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (anon. medieval)

How Evolving C-Suite Structures Affect Performance

Idea posted: February 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

The size and structure of C-Suites has changed significantly over the past few decades. An examination of these changes reveals a number of shifts, including one towards more product-focused (or front-end) functional managers in organizations with closely-related business units, and an increase in administrative positions where organizations invest more in IT. These findings also have an impact on general managers’ salaries. Here’s why executives should pay attention to these shifts when structuring their top teams.

Idea #082
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Flattened Organizations: When Cons Outweigh Pros

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

When an organization is ‘flat’ employees report directly to senior managers; but as management layers increase, so too does the hierarchical gap between employees the CEO and the C-suite, leading to decision-making being focused at the top of the organization. So should firms eliminate these layers in order to shift more decision-making powers downwards? Well, this Idea shows that this may in fact achieve the opposite. Flattening can lead to more control at the top. 

Idea #083
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Leadership Development: Up Close and Personal

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

Leadership courses that focus on the personal development of participants can play a significant role in transforming potentially regressive experiences into material for learning, experimentation, and growth. It is this “personalization process” that enables ongoing leader development.

Idea #001
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The Marx Brothers, Horse Feathers, 1932, directed by Norman Z. McLeod, Paramount Pictures

Rendered Speechless: Too Powerful Leaders Stymie the Team

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

We have all seen it happen; a newly promoted leader monopolizing more and more ‘air time’ in meetings. It seems to be an occupational hazard: when leaders experience heightened power, they are compelled to demonstrate it with verbal dominance. This compromises and even stymies good team communication. The good news is that this effect can be virtually eliminated by taking steps to protect an egalitarian culture. 

Idea #063
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