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Pricing and the Power of Red

Idea posted: August 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing

Retailers commonly highlight prices and ‘good deals’ in red in their ads and promotional material. But relatively little is known about how this affects consumers. New research reveals that the impact varies significantly by gender. Put simply: men are likely to see a bargain when they see red; women are far less easily swayed. The findings have clear implications for companies — and for precision marketing.

Idea #197
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Flexibility Vs Commitment in the Entrepreneurial Process

Idea posted: August 2013
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations
Institutions: EMLYON Business School

Academic literature has provided valuable insights into ways to manage the uncertainties inherent in new ventures — but failed to produce a consensus. Some scholars advocate an approach in which critical decisions are delayed and early commitments avoided, others one that ‘marries’ (to a greater or lesser extent) commitment and flexibility. ‘Re-conceptualisation’ of the main models can help reconcile the different schools of thought — and provide clearer guidance for entrepreneurs.

Idea #191
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An Offshore Original? Pirate Radio Caroline North broadcast off the coast of the Isle of Man, July 1964 to March 1968 (Source: BBC News)

Reducing the Risks of ‘Offshore’ IT

Idea posted: August 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

The digital revolution and the rapid economic development of countries in Asia and elsewhere have encouraged companies in the west to outsource IT services overseas. But large numbers of offshore projects for information systems fail. A study focusing on contract specification and different modes of contract implementation has highlighted ways companies can better control the quality and costs of long-distance outsourcing.

Idea #186
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The Wizard of Oz – a publicity still of Jack Haley, Ray Bolger, Judy Garland and Bert Lahr promoting the 1966 CBS broadcast of the 1939 MGM feature film (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Leveraging Diversity through Integrative Thinking

Idea posted: August 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

Increasingly, companies are embracing diversity. It is right on moral grounds alone, but also they feel it can contribute directly to competitive advantage. Many corporate websites echo the thought that the real power of diversity comes in the form of happier customers and increased profit. Many companies routinely create diverse work teams seeking to capture the financial value of leveraging diverse and opposing views. If only it were so easy. The teams need supporting structures, organizational norms and real tools to achieve their goals.

Idea #187
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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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Herman Hollerith’s Electric Tabulator, US Census Bureau, Washington, DC, 1908, Photograph by Waldon Fawcett (Source: Library of Congress LC-USZ62-45687)

Big Data = Big Opportunities: If the CEO Takes the Lead

Idea posted: July 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

Big Data has recently gained lots of hype, prompting organizations to consider the best ways to utilize it. In this Idea, researchers suggest the responsibility lies not within IT departments, as is typically assumed; rather, CEOs need to take charge of understanding, exploring and exploiting the opportunities presented by Big Data.

Idea #175
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Innovation and the Power of Positive Thinking

Idea posted: July 2013
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Institutions: HEC Paris

A company’s ability to develop new products is not solely a function of its resources. Managerial cognition and organizational context play a big part. Negative perceptions of changes in the operating environment and defensive strategies are likely to lead to less innovative products and stifle creativity and entrepreneurship. We need to take an integrated, multi-dimensional approach to understanding innovation and new-product development decisions.

Idea #171
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Argentinian Tango, Buenos Aires, 2009 (Source: Wikimedia Commons

Smart Moves – the Tango and Modern Leadership

Idea posted: June 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IE Business School

The tango is presented as a metaphor for leadership in the modern world. Although it has adapted to changing social structures and attitudes to gender, it remains a passionate and emotionally powerful pastime. It also provides leaders with a novel approach to assessing their own management capabilities.

Idea #159
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Belshazzar's Feast, Rembrandt van Rijn, c.1635-1638, National Gallery, London

CFOs Reborn as Agents of Organizational Change

Idea posted: June 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change

After the financial crisis of 2009–10 and the subsequent global recession, CFOs have suddenly found themselves thrust under the spotlight like never before. They are no longer being seen merely as ‘chief number crunchers’ or even as senior accountants; organizations now want more out of their CFOs, and expect them to act as agents of ‘organizational change’. In this idea, some guidance is offered on how to effectively undertake such change management.

Idea #161
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Think difference

How Social Intrapreneurs Get Heard

Idea posted: May 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Institutions: INSEAD

Corporate social entrepreneurship initiatives, usually the work of intrapreneurs (entrepreneurial executives within the corporation) keen to solve social problems, have important macro- and micro-economic implications. They create value for people who are not current stakeholders - and they create opportunities to innovate and diversify. There are, however, barriers to their development. A model that counters the conventional logic of the organization and puts financial sustainability before growth could be the solution.

Idea #151
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Humanoid with his knowledge of universe on space background

Embed the Strategy (Do Not Rely on Cascading)

Idea posted: May 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: INSEAD

It’s not enough to ‘cascade’ strategy down through the chain of command. Senior leaders need a ‘direct line’ of communication with employees. Decisions about the future of the business need to be explained by those who make them. Supervisors and middle managers help to embed strategy by creating the working conditions that make it possible — not by ‘parroting’ the ideas of senior leaders

Idea #143
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Dr. Stangelove', directed by Stanley Kubrick, 1964, distributed by Columbia Pictures (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Scenarios Planning + Early Warning Scanning = Strategic Advantage

Idea posted: May 2013
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

In today’s fast-moving environment, scenario planning (SP) and early warning scanning (EWS) are essential strategic tools. The former imagines future scenarios and helps frame possibilities; the latter highlights new developments in the market. Research suggests these tools work best if integrated as ‘co-specialization dynamic capabilities’ (CDCs). Organizations need to combine both practices dynamically – using scenarios to help frame the context for EWS, and using EWS to help focus on signs that scenarios will emerge.

Idea #144
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Twitter- 1000 Words / Shutterstock.com

How Twitter Levels the Information Dissemination Playing Field

Idea posted: May 2013
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

All businesses want to increase their visibility, but for small businesses this is even more of a concern. Could Twitter be the key to getting your firm noticed by investors? According to new research, small businesses that use Twitter to communicate with investors may experience an increase in the demand at market value of their stocks, helping to level the playing field between them and larger firms.

Idea #140
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Mount Rushmore: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Four Capabilities of Great Strategic Leaders

Idea posted: May 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Intellectual honesty, accountability, and self-awareness are three of the four key capabilities of strategic leaders - leaders capable of inspiring change, innovation, teamwork and competitive performance in their companies and organizations. The final and fourth key capability of strategic leaders is the ability to attract and develop great people - to be a ‘talent magnet’. Boards searching for CEOs, and CEOs searching for a top executive team must interview candidates and select CEOs with these four capabilities in mind. And once successful CEOs and C-

Idea #137
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Hulls Mills, Eric Ravillious c.1936, Source: Merivale Editions, www.merivaleeditions.com

Green Light for Governance

Idea posted: May 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
Institutions: IE Business School

We live in a society that scrutinizes the environmental activities of the corporate world. How can companies address society’s concerns and improve levels of environmental performance, while maintaining market share and financial returns? The answer could lie in their corporate governance structure.

Idea #138
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I am half-sick of shadows, said the Lady of Shalott', William Waterhouse, 1916 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Homeworking Beats Outsourcing: a 6 Step Model

Idea posted: May 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations
Institutions: Henley Business School

The use of homeworkers as call centre operatives can benefit both businesses and homeworkers. For companies, common advantages include cost savings, increased flexibility, reduced absenteeism and improved customer satisfaction. But there are also potential problems to overcome. By adopting a six-step model, business leaders can plan homeworking projects effectively, identifying the key areas they need to address.

Idea #142
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Solar-powered Camel Fridge System, Nomadic Communities Trust (Source: Wikimedia)

Reverse Innovation: Ideas from Emerging Countries

Idea posted: April 2013
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

Emerging markets are usually coveted for the potential customers they represent — perhaps hundreds of millions of new consumers who are looking (or will be looking in the near future) for products to buy.  Most companies, however, develop products for developed markets first and then adapt them to the emerging markets. Research conducted by two professors from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business reveals a new strategy that reverses the traditional flow of innovation. This new strategy calls for developing products that are adopted first in emerging markets and then adapted for

Idea #127
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Business woman draws modern business concept

New Priorities for Marketing Leaders

Idea posted: April 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing

The priorities of marketing leaders are rapidly changing. According to a report from Cranfield School of Management, improving marketing’s ability to work cross-functionally and building influence at Board level are currently two of the lowest priorities for marketing leaders. Could this pose a problem when it comes to long-term strategies?

Idea #130
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Idea of the Ancient Via Appia and Ardeatina, Giovanni Battista Piranesi 1720-1778 (Source: Wikipaintings)

Organizational Capabilities Fit for the Future

Idea posted: April 2013
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

In the past bureaucratic hierarchies were at the core of most organizational structures. Now, things have changed; from established notions of leadership to operating environments, businesses are going through revolutionary times. In this Idea, a new leadership style for this new environment is put forward - one that combines the best of bureaucratic and ‘post-bureaucratic’ experiences to develop capabilities fit for the future.

Idea #132
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Mahatma Gandhi. Photo 1947 Margaret Bourke-White, LIFE Magazine (Source: Wikimedia)

Live and Learn: The Innovation Imperative

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

The success of innovative businesses can be attributed in part to the fact that, by innovating, they learn to face new challenges, which in turn improves their knowledge and skills. Extending their range of experience can lead them to outperform their competitors.

Idea #121
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Concept of euro money or cash flow, either positive or negative.

Community Banks Offer a Better Business Logic

Idea posted: April 2013
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IESE Business School

What can large institutions learn from smaller enterprises such as community banks? According to this Idea, reconnecting with communities in vital and lasting ways is an essential lesson — offering a logic that is the opposite to the ‘financial’ logic that has driven many organizations into difficulties. By reviewing the logic that drives your firm, damaging consequences in the future could be avoided. 

Idea #126
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The Conjurer, Hieronymus Bosch, c.1475, Musée Municipal, St. Germain-en-Laye (Source: Wikimedia)

Custom-made: Customer Funding for Business Growth

Idea posted: March 2013
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Institutions: London Business School

Venture capital (VC) is the default route to gaining funding for a growing business. But there are other ways to unlock money, indeed, some of the largest and most successful companies never raise any venture capital. Change your approach to growth by focusing on your customers, not investors, as your means to the end.

Idea #110
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Marriage à la Mode, William Hogarth, 1743-1745, National Gallery London (Source: Wikimedia)

Socially Aware, Media Savvy: Social Media Strategy

Idea posted: March 2013
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
Institutions: Henley Business School

Social media offers both great opportunities, and also challenges, to businesses. For those that embrace social media – by adopting the right strategy – risks can be averted and rewards unlocked. Using a simple framework to create an effective strategy for social media can enable your company to enjoy its benefits.

Idea #111
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The Impact of Technology and Social Media on Sales Relationships

Idea posted: March 2013
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

Technology, and especially social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn, has fuelled an ‘always on’ culture. The pervasiveness of social media is fundamentally altering the methods through which buyers and sellers interact — salespeople feel obliged to respond immediately to communications from anywhere in the world, at whatever time. Potentially there is a revolutionary change in the way contemporary selling is conducted, driven in large measure by social media technology.

Idea #112
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What to Learn from Pirates

Idea posted: March 2013
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Pirate companies may be viewed by ‘legitimate’ business as cheaters and rogues, but research by Professor Jean-Philippe Vergne of the Richard Ivey School of Business in London, Ontario shows that pirates are often innovators who fill gaps or create new business models that better fit the current and future challenges of an industry.

Idea #114
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Donkey and overloaded cart, India 2008 (Source: flickr.com)

Why Scaling Up Is No Longer the Only Strategy

Idea posted: March 2013
  • Strategy
  • Operations

Traditionally, industrial production has moved in only one direction: from small to large. ‘Scaling up’ was the best way to maximize productivity and lower per-unit costs. A fleet of 100 ten-ton dump trucks requires more drivers than a fleet of 10 hundred-ton dump trucks. But automation and communication technology has evolved to the point where a large number of small units may be cheaper, better and more efficient than a small number of large units.

Idea #107
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Principles of Competitive Global Talent Management

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

Companies must use talent management to build and sustain a talented workforce. Recruit, develop, deploy and retain the right people; these are the core aims of a successful global talent management strategy. Rather than follow untailored ‘best practices’ to do that, a company can subscribe to six outline principles that are consistent with the organization’s overall strategy and culture.

Idea #018
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Leading Complex Projects through Collaboration

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

Pooling the ideas, resources, commitment and efforts of many is more effective than relying on the few best individuals in an organization. Here, the example of CERN and their successful collaborative model of project management is used to illustrate the ways to lead through collaboration and harmony - collaborative leadership lessons from CERN: the world’s largest physics experiment.

Idea #022
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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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