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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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Adapt Your Choice of Product-Related Services to the Industry Life Cycle

Idea posted: July 2015
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

Different types of services — from ‘complementary smoothing’ services such as maintenance support to ‘substituting’ services such as leasing arrangements — can be more or less effective depending on the current phase (early ferment, middle transition, or late mature) in the life cycle of the product’s industry.

Idea #531
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All-consuming: Brand Management in the Digital Age

Idea posted: September 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing
Institutions: ESADE

Media fragmentation, globalization and expanding social networks are changing the way we view and follow brands. Leaders need to respond to these changes and challenges, taking a comprehensive approach to satisfying an increasingly diverse set of stakeholders in an ever more competitive environment. 

Idea #215
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Photo by rawpixels on Pexels

B2B Companies Far Behind on Social Media Strategies

Idea posted: August 2019
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

While for B2C companies, using social media to acquire and exchange knowledge with customers and internally is all the rage, new research reveals that many B2B companies fail to see the potential of social media – and even when some managers see the potential, the company fails to provide support for social media initiatives.

Idea #747
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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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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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Creating Shared Value Using Inter-Organizational Networks

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

More and more companies are making the connection between commercial success and attaining sustainable growth through ‘creating shared value’. This Idea outlines three steps organizations can take to advance their efforts in ‘creating shared value’, highlighting the role of inter-organizational networks as a key driver.

Idea #395
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Naremon Thepchai Theatre production of Arthur Miller's 'Death of a Salesman', 1971(Source: Wikimedia Commons)|

Do Your Managers’ Responses to Market Results Damage Profits?

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Self-serving biases can lead managers to make less than optimal decisions when faced with poor results. This can hurt profits as their biases lead to the wrong quality and price responses to market results. However, forward looking executives can take steps to pre-emptively counter those biases when they make their initial price and quality improvement decisions.

Idea #423
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Sir James Dyson puts on Dyson product launch, Sydney, 2013 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Eureka! How to Get that Great Idea to Market

Idea posted: December 2013
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Institutions: Henley Business School

‘Making a market’, or creating a need for something no-one has experienced before, is difficult enough for the most well-known sellers, but for entrepreneurs it is doubly so. To overcome the hurdle of succeeding with a new product, they need to work not only on the innovation itself but also on educating potential customers. This research sets out an approach to market-making for entrepreneurs in certain complex markets.

Idea #286
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Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

Existing Customers and Home Markets Drive Growth

Idea posted: June 2019
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

The biannual Duke Fuqua CMO survey highlights growth strategies that are inward-focused, as well as incorporating the strengthening of marketing capabilities, a significant increase in strategic channel partnerships, continued growth in social media spending, and the continuing emergence of AI.

Idea #741
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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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Harness Big Data Using Visualisation Software Tools

Idea posted: January 2015
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
Institutions: NUS Business School

The phrase “big data” puts the emphasis on quantity — and it’s true that the data available in the world continues to grow exponentially every year. But for businesses wanting to make the most of big data, it’s not quantity that counts, but what you do with the data. Companies are losing millions of dollars because they are not fully exploiting the data they are already gathering. Given the complexity of big data, visualisation software tools are required to help companies avoid this mistake.

Idea #474
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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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Image by Sarah Richter from Pixabay

How CSR Can Lead to Lucrative Government Contracts

Idea posted: October 2019
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

Government contracts are big business. A new study shows how corporate social responsibilities activities can help a company beat out its competitors for lucrative contracts with most government agencies — defence-related agencies excepted.

Idea #755
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How to Be a Customer-intimate Company

Idea posted: July 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing

Customer-intimacy is the ultimate customer-centric model, resulting in long-term relationships with the most valuable and profitable customers. It’s not easy to achieve, however. For most businesses, becoming customer-intimate is more of a transformation than a transition. The first step involves a reversal of the normal ‘logic’ of business — and the next a significant organizational change. 

Idea #413
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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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Steve Jobs and Bill Gates at 'D5: All Things Digital' conference in Carlsbad, California, in 2007 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How to Formulate a Winning Strategy

Idea posted: July 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Many companies struggle to develop a good competitive strategy and to set a clear direction for managers and employees. Strategy formulation, in fact, almost poses as many challenges for business leaders as strategy implementation. The solution is a back-to-basics approach — and a framework that addresses four fundamental questions about where and how the business will compete.

Idea #411
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St George Kills the Dragon, Edward Burne-Jones, 1866 (Courtesy: Art Gallery of New South Wales)

How to Make and Keep Customers Grateful

Idea posted: January 2018
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

Forget discounts. Customers perceiving a genuine effort by companies to invest in the customer relationship will feel grateful toward the company — an emotion that leads to overall (and longer lasting) customer satisfaction.

 

Idea #688
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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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How to Win a Price War

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Price wars are usually won by companies with the widest profit margins and the best cost structures — i.e. those that can afford to fight them. It is, however, possible for a business with a cost disadvantage to achieve victory. Much depends on the way a ‘campaign’ is carried out and planned. Sometimes strategic capabilities, not cost structure, decides the outcome.

Idea #403
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If the Price is Right: Charging for Online Content

Idea posted: September 2013
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

Publishers and media owners who provide sought-after online content can profit financially by charging for it – rather than relying on declining online advertising revenues. But it is crucial how a fee-based charging structure is implemented: charge too little and you are missing out on valuable subscription revenue; but charge too much – or for the wrong content – and you will lose viewers, further undermining advertising revenues. The key is for media companies to take a flexible approach, charging optimal fees for selected content

Idea #224
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Cincinnati, USA. Photo by Jordan Andrews on Unsplash

In Uncertain Times It's Best to Have Fewer Industry Experts on a Board

Idea posted: September 2017
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance

Having domain experts on boards is often touted as an advantage. New research shows, however, that too many experts from a company’s industry can actually hinder a board’s efforts in times of strategic uncertainty.

Idea #672
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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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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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IP Management Strategies for Profiting from Business Model Innovation

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

How do companies protect their innovative business models from competitors? According to this Idea, intellectual property strategies are often utilized to do this, and depending on what type of company, formal or informal strategies can be the most appropriate. This research looks at four types of business model to analyze the role of IP management strategies in profitable business model innovation.

Idea #259
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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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