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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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Australian Recruitment Poster, World War 2 (Source: Wikimedia)

Leveraging Cyclical Unemployment for a Stronger Workforce

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

What can we learn from an analysis of the compositional changes in the pool of unemployed over the years? This Idea demonstrates that during recessions, the pool of unemployed shifts disproportionately towards workers with high wages. Unfortunately for the companies letting them go, these are usually also the most productive employees too, but for savvy HR executives that are able to hire them, it could mean great additions to their organization’s workforce.

Idea #094
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Driving Risk Appetite Higher or Lower: Penalties Vs Rewards

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

‘Innovate or die’ we are told. What if an organization’s ability to innovate could be enhanced by managing risk-taking behaviour through monetary incentive schemes and through a culture that tolerates failure? In this Idea we identify the precise levers that shift risk appetite, and show how they can be tweaked to foster innovation.

Idea #059
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Warren Buffett the ultimate private equity investor

How Private Equity Can Boost Company Performance

Idea posted: February 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
Institutions: HEC Paris

Companies with private equity investors have several advantages over those with only hands-off family or corporate shareholders. Private equity investors become more involved in company strategy and governance than some family or large corporate shareholders, and by keeping a tight control on management and setting clear objectives, these investors can help companies achieve higher market valuations. 

Idea #100
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Keeping Employee Engagement High in Tough Times

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

During a downturn, employee engagement increases rather than decreases. However, employers should implement strategies to keep engagement high so the reverse does not occur when economic conditions eventually improve.

Idea #013
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Financial Literacy to Get Women on Board

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

What competencies must be displayed by individuals aiming for board-level positions? Traditionally, the answer to this question would include things like knowledge, motivation and networks. While those are certainly still relevant, new research suggests a finance qualification, or background in finance, is also a key influence — especially when the candidate in question is female.

Idea #104
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The Addams Family. TV series on ABC from 1964-1966, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Source: Wikimedia)

The Ties That Bind: How Family Businesses Create Value

Idea posted: March 2013
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

Family businesses contribute a significant proportion of GDP to economies worldwide, yet they are not always seen as attractive propositions to investors.

On the one hand, family-controlled businesses are admired and respected for ‘weathering the economic storms’, for adhering to their core values, and for taking a long-term approach. On the other hand, the very thing that knits them together, the family shareholders, can have different priorities to other shareholders, creating a conflict of interest which can be an obstacle to value creation.

How can these companies

Idea #109
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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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Alistair Sim as Scrooge, A Christmas Carol, 1951, United Artists

Don't Let CFOs and Accountants Slow Innovation

Idea posted: April 2013
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
Institutions: INSEAD

What can you do when penny pinchers get in the way of your disruptive ideas – ideas that may bring the critical changes your company needs? Firms with a greater degree of accounting conservatism are less innovative because of an obligatory accounting practice of immediately provisioning for future losses. How can you get the breathing space necessary away from the demands of shareholders and the market to innovate and bring about change?

Idea #117
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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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BW of man with telephone

How Time of Day Impacts on Business Conversations

Idea posted: May 2013
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

When delivering bad news in a meeting or by phone, the time of day can make a difference in how the news is received. By studying quarterly corporate earnings calls to analysts, researchers showed that the tone of the conversations was more negative in the afternoon than in the morning. In addition, the market had a tendency to overreact to bad news when delivered in the morning. 

Idea #141
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Man jumping cliff

Avoiding Flawed Decisions: A Finance Manager's Role

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

Finance executives are particularly well-positioned to help organizations improve their decision-making and introduce more rational decisions-making processes. In particular they are in a position to help management teams learn to identify ‘red flags’ and adopt extra safeguards against them. 

Idea #037
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‘Red Dwarf - Series II’, starring Chris Barrie (Rimmer), Craig Charles (Lister), Danny John-Jules (Cat). First broadcast in 1988, Red Dwarf was created by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor and ran on BBC2 for eight series. In 2009, the show was brought back for a three-part special by UK digital broadcaster Dave © 2013 Grant Naylor Productions (Source: www.reddwarf.co.uk)

Better and Fairer Management Control Systems

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

Management control systems can be formal and/ or informal, fair or unfair. In order to achieve an organizations overall goals, the best systems are fair and formal, with the users of the system also fair. The opposite, an unfair system with unfair users (i.e. two unstable states) leads to total goal incongruence – a not unusual state which can be very damaging to any organization.

Idea #061
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Signing the contract

Narcissistic CEOs – A Signature for Poor Performance

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

Have you ever worked for a bit of a self-obsessed boss? You weren’t imagining it; corporate narcissism is an actual and not unusual phenomenon. It can even eventually diminish firm performance and is therefore something to look out for. Now, research suggests that the size of a CEO’s signature may give a clue as to how big their ego is. 

Idea #080
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 ENRON, 2010, Written by Lucy Prebble, Royal Court Theatre, London

Corporate Scandals: Causes and Cures

Idea posted: January 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

US corporate scandals plagued the early 2000s, with Enron, Tyco, and WorldCom becoming notorious. The 2008 financial crisis bred Libor rate-fixing and other cases of serious misconduct. Loss-hiding at Japan’s Olympus Corporation was exposed in 2011. In 2013 Shell, BP, Statoil and others came under investigation by the EU Commission for supposed oil price rigging. Fined, sued, disgraced and sometimes collapsed the consequences for organizations can be dire. What preventive measures should be put in place to ensure organizations do not fall prey to such outcomes? 

Idea #085
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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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CSR Tree

What Is the Real Value in CSR?

Idea posted: June 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance

Proponents of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) insist that companies will “do well by doing good.” Researchers from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, however, argue that the truth is more complicated. Their research confirms a positive association between current CSR expenditures and the future financial performance of the company. However, it is the signal that CSR spending sends to the market that explains this positive correlation — not the return on investment in CSR.

Idea #158
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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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ENRON - Arthur Andersen witnesses testify at the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Committee on Energy and Commerce House of Representatives (107th Congress) hearing on January 24, 2002 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How to Recognize Managements With Something to Hide

Idea posted: July 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Operations

Is there a pattern to be found in the actions of managers trying to cover up their firm’s wrongdoings? According to this Idea, yes there is: they all tend to engage in the same sort of behaviours, such as exercising stock options more frequently, rarely changing the firm’s auditors, and more. An understanding and awareness of these behaviours can assist shareholders, regulators and other stakeholders notice failures and wrongdoings early and help address problems before disaster hits.

Idea #178
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How Best Behaviour Boosts the Bottom Line

Idea posted: July 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
Institutions: Henley Business School

Businesses can see beneficial financial effects if they implement policies based on corporate social responsibility. These effects are evident in both the equity and corporate bond markets where they lead to reduced market risk and default risk, lower cost of equity and debt and increased credit quality.

Idea #181
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Brad Pitt, the first male to front a Chanel No. 5 perfume campaign, 2012 (source: The Sun)

Celebrities in Advertising: Neuroscience Insights

Idea posted: July 2013
  • Finance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Companies pay celebrities large sums of money to endorse their products and ‘star’ in their advertising campaigns. Until recently, however, little was known about the processes that underlie the persuasiveness of fame. Now, research in neuroeconomics (a field that crosses the disciplines of psychology, economics, marketing and neuroscience) is providing insights into the neural effects of celebrity endorsement — and suggesting ways advertisers can best use celebrities to influence consumers and their decisions.

Idea #183
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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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William Mark Felt, Sr. (1913-2008), A.K.A. ‘Deep Throat’. Felt, a former associated director of the FBI supplied Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein with enough insider information to take down President Nixon after the Watergate scandal. (Source: CBS News)

Blowing the Whistle on Unethical Conduct: It Takes a Village

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

Employees who want to report wrongdoing must overcome two fears: the fear of retaliation and the fear of futility (the fear of risking the enmity of boss and co-workers for nothing, because nothing is done). New research on whistleblowers confirms that the boss sets the initial ethical tone for the organization or unit, but also demonstrates that co-workers play an important role in either supporting or discouraging whistleblowing. The research shows that the interaction of the two factors — boss attitude and co-workers attitude — impacts an employee’s fear of retaliation. If either the

Idea #193
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Trust, Fraud and the Financial Markets

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

Markets cannot function without relationships, and relationships cannot function without trust. But the mechanisms for building trust can be ‘faulty’. Bernard Madoff’s infamous Ponzi scheme, which ruined thousands of investors, depended on a series of ‘trust-producing’ factors that combined to conceal it from victims and the authorities. Understanding these mechanisms can help prevent similar frauds and abuses of trust.

Idea #195
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U.S. Social Security Administration early accounting operations in Baltimore circa 1936 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Computer Says ‘Yes’ – The Impact of IT Investment

Idea posted: September 2013
  • Strategy
  • Finance

The impact of information technology on an organization’s profitability can be significant but it needs to be strategically managed, from the top down. View your IT management as a corporate rather than a departmental issue.

The key message for today’s leaders is, choose the right kind of IT projects, spend your money wisely, and focus on growth over cost savings. 

Idea #219
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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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Don’t Just Follow the Crowdfunding Crowd

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

Crowdfunding has been much talked about as an innovative way of funding entrepreneurial businesses, allowing them to source financial backing from a growing plethora of online platforms. But in reality crowdfunding may not be suitable for a particular business idea or sector – and some crowdfunding platforms may not be viable at all. As the research’s author, Gary Dushnitsky, puts it, “It’s great that crowdfunding is the solution, but to what question and, specifically, in what industry?”

Idea #236
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The Green Investment Gap — And How to Close It

Idea posted: October 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance

Private investment in renewable energy technologies is increasing but remains below the level required to meet greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. Solving the problem could depend on a new approach from policy makers. Recently published research on the European market sheds new light on the ‘drivers’ of investment decisions — and suggests that financial factors and government subsidies are not the only drivers.

Idea #243
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The Hare and the Tortoise, Jean Grandville (1803-1847) from the 1855 edition of La Fontaine's Fables (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

Crowdfunding: How a Slow Process Helps in the Long Run

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

The open process of crowdfunding has some unexpected marketing and funding implications. For example, getting money for your venture faster undermines the marketing potential of crowdfunding. And, for donors at least, a sudden influx of money can lead subsequent donors to look for opportunities elsewhere.

Idea #255
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