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Five gantry cranes, built at ZPMC, destined for Hamburg, on the vessel Zhen Hua 20, 2007 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

A Lesson from China: Growth Is Not Eternal So Be Prepared

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing

Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries (ZPMC) was a high-flying builder of large-scale container cranes whose decisions — such as lifetime guarantees on all parts and ambitious diversification — reflected a belief that growth would last forever. It didn’t.

Idea #495
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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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Rupert Murdoch at the World Economic Forum, 2009 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Extravert CEOs and Strategic M&A Decisions

Idea posted: January 2018
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change

New research based on 2800 corporate CEOs shows that extraverted CEOs are more likely to engage their firms in the uncertainty of M&A activities, proving that CEO personality can drive firm behaviour. However, under certain conditions, the situation dictates the options available to CEOs, regardless of their personalities. Thus, for example, even less extraverted CEOs make more acquisitions in highly competitive industries.

Idea #686
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Illustration from the 1855 edition of La Fontaine's Fables

Fast-Slow Strategy-Making in Adaptive Organizations

Idea posted: February 2019
  • Strategy

An adaptive company uses a dynamic collaborative learning system to merge the ‘fast’ experience and insights from front-line operational managers with the ‘slow’ analytical reasoning of corporate strategists to chart the company’s best path to future success.

Idea #731
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The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (detail), Francisco Goya (Courtesy: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri)

How to Fight Off an Upstart with a New Business Model

Idea posted: October 2018
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship


Faced with a new competitor with a new business model, incumbents can respond with different strategies based on sharing (co-deployment) or moving (re-deployment) their resources.

Idea #716
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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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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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Photo by Erik Eastman on Unsplash

Industry Disruption: Sequence and Timing of Responses Are the Key to Survival

Idea posted: March 2018
  • Strategy

In the case of major industry disruption, successful companies survive through a well-orchestrated series of strategic moves. New research shows that the sequence and timing of those moves can make the difference between failure and success. 

Idea #698
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Yellow-Red-Blue, Wassily Kandinsky, 1925, Musee National Art Moderne, Paris

Is There an Open Business Model Right for Your Company?

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

As open business models, in which knowledge, competencies and resources from external firms are integrated into the business model of a company, become more widespread, companies with traditional closed business models are striving to determine if they should follow suit, and when. By understanding the antecedents of open business models — the internal and external factors that encourage or require the move to openness — companies can make a more informed decision on whether (and when) to change and adapt their business models.

Idea #432
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Battle of the River Plate, 1956, Dir. Powell and Pressburger

Leadership Alignment and Strategy Implementation

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change

It is essential for leaders to understand how to ensure strategic decisions are effectively implemented throughout their organizations. In this respect, leader effectiveness in the aggregate across different levels, as opposed to individual leadership actions, has the most significant effect. This Idea looks at the importance of leadership alignment in implementing strategy. 

Idea #032
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Less Competitive Pressure Leads to Less Innovation

Idea posted: December 2018
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

Taking advantage of the suddenly reduced threat of hostile takeovers of Delaware-incorporated companies, two researchers demonstrate the significant reduction of innovation efforts when competitive pressure is eased. In short, less competition leads to less innovation.

Idea #723
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Leveraging DNA to Survive in Hostile Business Environments

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

Developing strategies and capabilities to cope in hostile business environments is a must for today’s managers. In this way, nature and the animal kingdom offer a number of solutions. The coping strategies of animals like lions, seagulls, sharks and bears have evolved over billions of years and can be adopted by managers too; these can be summarized as fight, flight, search and sleep, and are discussed further in this Idea. 

Idea #047
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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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Source: Pexels

Re-Entering a Foreign Market: Part 1 - Operation Mode

Idea posted: May 2018
  • Strategy
  • Operations

When multinational companies re-enter a foreign market, the key strategic decision is choosing whether to change the operation mode (e.g. distribution partnership, joint ventures, fully owned operations) from their previous experience in the market. A new study finds that the motives of their original decision to exit the market has a great impact on whether they choose the same operation mode or escalate (e.g. from distribution to manufacturing) or de-escalate (e.g. from fully owned operations to joint ventures) their commitment.

Idea #706
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Source: Pexels

Re-Entering a Foreign Market: Part 2 - Speed

Idea posted: May 2018
  • Strategy
  • Operations

Prior experience impacts the speed with which multi-national enterprises re-enter foreign markets they previously exited — although as time passes, the environmental context of the market becomes more important.

Idea #707
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Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

Staying Competitive Today While Preparing Full-On for Future Success

Idea posted: July 2019
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Companies must be ambidextrous: they must focus on winning the present while at the same time laying the foundation to win the future. The challenge is that emphasizing one priority can undermine the second. A recent study offers some guidelines for overcoming the challenge of ambidexterity by examining key factors – sometimes complementary, sometime conflicting – that enable companies to focus on the present and the future.

Idea #748
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Stock trading on the New York Curb Association market, with brokers and clients signaling from street to offices, 1916 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Impact of Ideal Vs Problematic Shareholders

Idea posted: October 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance

In an ideal world, companies would spend significant time managing their shareholder base, striving to attract the ideal shareholder: a shareholder with a long-term investment horizon who will allow the company to make long-term investments and not push for short-term results. Shareholders with short-term investment horizons drag down share prices or increase their volatility by focusing on short-term results.

Idea #447
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British generals, during the Battle of Gazala, 1942 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Power of Scenarios to Open New Perspectives

Idea posted: February 2016
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour

Well-known as a strategic planning tool, the scenarios methodology can drive potent academic research that shatters assumptions and reveal radical new perspectives on major issues and problems.

Idea #582
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Playing cards from the French Republic (1793-94), revolutionary images replace Kings and Queens

The Role of Identity When an Organization's Purpose Changes

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations

How do organizations respond to multiple business logics with conflicting sets of rules and norms? New research based on a study of four French business schools reveals that institutional and organizational identities will guide an organization’s response.

Idea #514
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Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

What Makes a Good Corporate Strategic Thinker?

Idea posted: October 2020
  • Strategy
  • Learning & Behaviour

What is strategic thinking? Two researchers identify the ten key capabilities of this familiar but rarely defined concept.

Idea #776
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What Your Company Can Learn from Supercompetitors

Idea posted: October 2014
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Operations

Competitive strategy is no longer about assets, positions and economies of scale. Supercompetitors such as IKEA or Amazon build on distinctive capabilities that are scalable and relevant to offer one single powerful value proposition that transforms their industries.

Idea #445
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When Does Downsizing Hurt Customer Satisfaction?

Idea posted: April 2015
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Past research based on B2B industries show an intuitive link between downsizing the workforce and lower customer satisfaction. A new study focused on B2C industries reveals that the link is more complex, depending on factors such as organizational slack, labour productivity, and the emphasis on innovation. The study does confirm that downsizing reduces customer satisfaction, which then reduces financial results.

Idea #507
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The Mexican Stock Exchange (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Why Companies from Emerging Markets Are Putting the Heat on Multinationals

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

While multinational corporations typically establish their dominant competitive advantage thanks to their position in the industry and/or access to strategic resources, somehow firms from emerging markets who have neither of these advantages are beginning to dominate globally — or at least compete for domination — in their industries. The reason: while MNCs compete on position or possession, the emerging MNCs are competing on action. They have developed innovative business models, often as a direct result of conditions in their home markets, that give them the edge. 

Idea #427
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fMRI brain scan, 2010 (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

Why the Best Strategic Thinkers Are Both Rational and Emotional

Idea posted: December 2015
  • Strategy
  • Learning & Behaviour

The brain, through the magic of fMRIs (neuroimaging procedures), tells the true story of how the best strategic thinkers think: they deactivate their rational, linear prefrontal cortex, and activate the older, intuitive-sensing parts of the brain that triggers emotions and social awareness — the same parts of the brain on which creative artists draw their inspiration. Move over, Porter. Make room for Picasso. 

Idea #574
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