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A king (Louis XVI), a clerk and a blade (a guillotine): Nostradamus predicts the French revolution. Illustration in Vaticinia Nostradami,1629.

4 Nextsensing Skills to See What the Future Holds

Idea posted: September 2016
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
Institutions: IE Business School

Asking, “What’s Next?” has always led humans throughout history to create a better future. But answering, “What’s Next?” is not an easy task in today’s ambiguous and complex world. Four ‘nextsensing’ leadership skills are required to lead in the 21st century. 

Idea #624
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Balancing Incentives, Risk and Tolerance of Failure for Collaborative Innovation

Idea posted: July 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Financial incentives for managers of innovative projects, a firm’s tolerance for failure, and the number of managers involved in the projects all influence resource allocation (and chances for success) for those projects. 

Idea #418
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Better Error Management Can Foster Innovation and Learning

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

Not only can people learn from errors, but errors are an important part of the innovation process. However errors can have significant costs and the fear of the negative aspects of error can lead to an exclusive focus on prevention policies. Recent research emphasises the need for companies to embed within their culture ways to reduce the negative consequences of errors and enhance the positive through effective error management.

Idea #545
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The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm, by Norman Hunter, illustrated by W. Heath Robinson. (Courtesy: Penguin Books, First Published 1933)

Broad Knowledge or Narrow Expertise: What Works Best for Innovation?

Idea posted: September 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Who is most likely to find the innovative breakthrough: an expert with a deep knowledge of the domain or a cross-functional team with broader knowledge and a variety of experience? New research shows that the cross-functional and diverse knowledge approach to innovation can be a double-edged sword: shattering the myopia of experts but not providing the expertise needed to generate novel ideas in the field.

Idea #548
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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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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Choosing the best Corporate Venturing Projects

Idea posted: January 2020
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Institutions: IESE Business School

A research study based on more than 120 interviews with chief innovation officers on three continents reveal some of the strategies that increase speed and reduce costs of corporate venturing projects.

Idea #762
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411_World War 2 poster. Wireless operators (Courtesy: BT Archives)

CIOs: Coach and Communicate with C-suite for Digital Innovation

Idea posted: January 2016
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

European companies are losing innovation opportunities because C-suite executives fail to respond to information technology and digital-related proposals of the CIO and the information technology function of the company, according to a new survey of European companies in three countries. The problem: lack of communication between IT and non-IT leaders.

Idea #573
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John Evelyn discovers sculptor Grinling Gibbons (1648 - 1721). Gibbons became Master Carver in Wood to the Court of King Charles II

Co-creating with Customers: More Pros than Cons?

Idea posted: March 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

Involving customers in the design and delivery of products and services can be a cost-effective way to meet the demand for constant innovation and improved ‘customer experience’. It has, however, the power to destroy as well as create value. Much depends on the human and technological interfaces between customers and the company.

Idea #344
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Communicating Multiple Roles through Social Media

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Communications executives are surely the experts on using social media to create value in large organizations. This Idea shares the results of a large survey on social media use in the communication profession, specifically looking at the increasingly common practice of executives using multiple social media profiles or personas to achieve diverse goals.

Idea #070
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Communication and the Science of Great Team Building

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

There is an ineffable buzz about a good team at work. You can just sense it. Understandings between team members seem effortless, sometimes almost telepathic. The attainment of this serene team cohesion is often discussed in terms of ‘art’ rather than something we can look at through the prism of science. But what if that buzz were something that could actually be taught to a team? This Idea shows just how it can.

Idea #050
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Constraints Aren’t So Bad When It Comes to Innovation

Idea posted: April 2020
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour

Within limits, constraints on innovation have a surprising effect: they increase the likelihood of success. This positive impact disappears when constraints are excessive.

Idea #769
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Some Have Entertained Angels Unawares, Edward Clifford (1844-1907) (Source: Wikimedia)

Creating Harmony: Harnessing Stakeholders to Boost Innovation

Idea posted: April 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
Institutions: Henley Business School

Collaborative innovation and co-creation between stakeholders can deliver value for businesses.

Collaborative innovation can be defined as: “Working with others, sharing knowledge and learning, and building consensus to invent something new or create a new way of doing something, with a view to realizing shared goals.”

Benefits include more – and better – ideas, reduced risk, increased quality and speed to market, reduced costs, new skills and resources, an enhanced brand, and the ability to create value for the common good.

Idea #122
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Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and the Apple 1 PC

Creating Innovative Business Models

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

Choices organizations make about their business model often go unchallenged for a very long time. This is an underutilized source of future value. As an alternative or complement to product and process innovation - business model innovation can be where the greatest benefits lie. With that in mind, and before launching a new business model, managers should ask themselves the six key questions outlined in this Idea.

Idea #048
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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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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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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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Disney on Ice: The Incredibles, 2015 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Family Firms Innovate Less But Better: Their Boards Make a Difference

Idea posted: July 2021
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

While family firms develop fewer innovations and inventions than non-family firms, those innovations tend to be more relevant to the market. In addition, a tightly knit, well-connected board will encourage more innovation.

Idea #797
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Generalist CEOs Not Specialists Spur Innovation

Idea posted: March 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

Generalist CEOs — CEOs who have built their careers in different industries or for different firms — are more likely to spur innovation in their companies than specialist CEOs with technical knowledge who have never left their industries. The major reason is that generalists are not afraid: if they lose their jobs after an ambitious transformative innovation effort fails, their skills and knowledge will easily transfer to another job in another firm or industry. Specialist CEOs must tread more carefully.

Idea #349
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Photo by Simone Busatto on Unsplash

Geography of Innovation: More Emerging Regions Involved, Advance Economies Still Dominate

Idea posted: January 2018
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Institutions: Henley Business School

While emerging countries are starting to generate more innovation, most of the world’s innovation continues to be clustered in regions of the advanced economies.

Idea #689
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Robert Hooke, at Christ Church Oxford, where he studied surrounded by some of his inventions. Painting by Rita Greer 2011 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Great Innovation! But What’s it for? Marketers Beware

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

Product designers and marketers might be very excited about a new product with impressive new features and a bold new design. But consumers will not recognize the newness of the product if they cannot figure out what the product is in the first place — which can lead to a major disconnect between the reaction that companies expect from consumers (“Wow, what a great innovation!) and the actual reaction (“What is it?”).

Idea #355
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SpaceJunk, Miguel Soares, 2001, 3D animation (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Companies Are Trading Innovation Quality for Quantity

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

When it comes to innovation, are companies mistaking quantity for quality? New research shows that companies who file for a greater number of patents are also filing for patents that are less valuable. This leads to overestimating one’s research productivity — and undermining future innovation.

Idea #512
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How Creativity Starts With Respectful Engagement

Idea posted: January 2016
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

There are a wide variety of methodologies and concepts for developing individual and team creativity in organizations. New research, however, reveals the unexpected foundation of organizational creativity: respectful relationships.

Idea #578
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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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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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Business people in a series with a casual guy doing the headstand

How Team Reflexivity Fosters Innovation

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

‘Team Reflexivity’ is the extent to which teams collectively reflect upon and adapt their operating methods and ways of working. This research explores the fundamental belief that highly reflexive teams will be more innovative than teams low in reflexivity, especially when faced with demanding work environments. It is an important predictor of team outcomes and innovation. The researchers explore why teamwork is better and more effective than individual acts and innovation.

Idea #125
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Pierre and Marie Curie in their laboratory, 1906 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How to Build Long-Lasting Collaborations

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Effective collaboration is at the heart of the best organizations. It’s not enough, however, to launch new collaborative relationships. Ongoing, long-lasting collaborations have a greater return on an organization’s productivity and performance than new collaborations. Managers must understand how to help collaborations to last — and new research shows that the actions and activities that make collaborations last are not the same as those that enable new collaborations.

Idea #426
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Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

How to Stay On Top In a World of Disruption

Idea posted: March 2020
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Success was never permanent, but never more so than today. A new study quantifies just how quickly high-flying companies fall back into the pack, with some plunging to the depths of their industry sector in record time. However, with the right mind-set and strategic approaches, the competitive advantage of some companies persists. 

Idea #766
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The Sower by Jean-François Millet, circa 1865, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

How Well Is CSR Embedded in Business Strategy?

Idea posted: May 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

CSR and sustainable development are now widely seen as core parts of business. This does not, however, mean they’re always treated as core parts of business strategy. The management control systems big companies use to design, implement and monitor CSR sometimes suggest a ‘reactive’ rather than a ‘proactive’ approach from leaders.

Idea #374
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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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Ideas, Implementation and the Learning Organization

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

Employee deviation from official strategy can result in discoveries and innovations that increase profits. It’s not always to be actively encouraged, though. Employees who try to implement the ideas of management — and provide feedback on what works and what doesn’t — can better serve the interests of the organization in the long term.

Idea #314
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