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2013 Trends and The Power of Women

Women on Business

I was recently asked to think about how 2013 trends will impact women in the work force and how women will impact the trends. Could I see the future as a projection of the strides I’ve been able to make, similar to what other women in business have done?

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The Most Overused Word in Business

In the CEO Afterlife

Big retailers are dead without a firm understanding of daily, weekly and monthly tactics. If the retailer’s unique position in the market is lowest prices for brand name items, then all pricing tactics must support that image. Innovative.

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Announcing: The Myths of Creativity


As you may know, for the past year I’ve been involved in an intense writing project. The Myths of Creativity draws on empirical research and case studies to show how to get past the most common myths about creativity to design truly innovative strategies for you or your organization.

The Strategy Confusion


Big retailers are dead without a firm understanding of daily, weekly and monthly tactics. If the retailer’s unique position in the market is lowest prices for brand name items, then all pricing tactics must support that image. Innovative.

Lessons from Amazonian Culture and Ecology for Talent Management

Mills Scofield

We sell our bottled beverages and tea boxes in over 3,500 of the top retail accounts in the US from Whole Foods to Vitamin Shoppe and are generating over $100,000 / year of direct income for 2,000 indigenous farming families in Ecuador.

StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective – Panic of 1907 vs Great Recession of 2008

Strategy Driven

This year, 2013, marks the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve System, and central bankers are taking a historical perspective. Unregulated and a relatively new innovation, trusts were the ‘ toxic assets ‘ of the 1907 crises.

Lessons in IT Innovation From Silicon Valley

Harvard Business Review

Innovation is always infectious. “I can tap into that rich source of innovation and startups and find creative solutions. Learning from Innovation in Silicon Valley. Loura began to use visualization tools to show managers why other projects rose further up the queue.

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Why Large Companies Struggle With Business Model Innovation

Harvard Business Review

Innovation success stories are all strikingly similar: a bright idea, supported by a zealot-innovator who sees it through. Large organizations in particular struggle to implement these kinds of innovations, which is why you most often see them in the context of entrepreneurial ventures.

Don't Let Predictability Become the Enemy of Innovation

Harvard Business Review

Unhappily shocked by Sputnik''s unexpected 1957 success, President Eisenhower quickly pushed the Pentagon to establish the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). What role should surprise play in defining one''s innovation brand in the minds of customers and competitors?

A New Model for Innovation in Big Companies

Harvard Business Review

Increasing creativity and innovation is not only on the priority list for start-ups; it’s also a strategic goal for CEOs of small, medium, and large-sized companies. According to my current research at Harvard on innovation models in global companies across diverse sectors, these types of projects fail between 70% and 90% of the time.This should be a deeply troubling, motivating statistic. On the surface, this may sound similar to other innovation consultancies.

Set Your Innovation Teams on the Right Path

Harvard Business Review

One of the most critical challenges facing growth-seeking executives in large companies is deciding what constraints they should be placing on their organizations’ innovation efforts. On the other hand, incorrectly constrained innovation efforts carry well-documented risks. What kinds of constraints spur innovation and which ones kill it? Instead, give your innovators general financial goals. Innovation Leading teams

Who's the Best at Innovating Innovation?

Harvard Business Review

Most companies put innovation at the top of their agendas. But how many devote the energy and resources it takes to build innovation into the values, processes, and practices that rule everyday activity and behavior? Not many, as we argued when we launched the Innovating Innovation Challenge in October. Of course, it's variety and the daring to be different that produces game-changing innovation. Democratize Innovation — For Sustained Innovation Culture.

Why Your Innovation Team Needs a Lawyer

Harvard Business Review

Then the lawyers step in, ask questions, and kill the project — or reduce it to a shadow of its potential. A leading professional services firm signed up 1,000 people to Slack groups before confidentiality lawyers closed down the project because it was cloud-based.

Keeping Work Organized when Your Team Is Fragmented

Harvard Business Review

Driven by the ever-lower costs of global communication and online collaboration tools, Henry Ford's vertically integrated organization is yielding to Procter & Gamble's network of external innovators. Many retailers' supply chains stretch overseas and involve many steps and players.

Before Hiring a Design Partner, Consider This

Harvard Business Review

It''s your job to pour what you know into the project and travel with the team: think of it as an equal partnership. Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble have written at length on the challenges of execution in their book, The Other Side of Innovation. Design Project management

Small Businesses Need Big Data, Too

Harvard Business Review

Our three-year project was designed to build awareness among small firms about the value that data could have for their businesses. For example, one firm, having been asked by a retailer to produce a range of ready meals, simply looked at other products on the market and tried to imitate them.

Amazon Turned a Flaw into Gold with Advanced Problem-Solving

Harvard Business Review

Several years ago, Amazon was struggling with scaling its e-commerce infrastructure and realizing that many of its internal software projects took too long to implement, a major pain point from a competitive standpoint. For each new project, a team would have to reinvent the wheel.

Use Tension and Conflict to Create Breakthrough Products

Harvard Business Review

Too often, though, managers set what appears to be a good stretch goal, only to discover that it did not produce the hoped-for innovative thinking. It demands innovative thinking. Product Innovation: The Lexus. And one by one, the innovations came.

Why You Should Let a 5-Year Old Design Your Next Product

Harvard Business Review

This five-year old is able to be the inventor without also creating a company because of a product innovation company called Quirky. And, of course, this slowed innovation and restrained market outcomes. And by "market" we mean 188 retail partners.

What the Companies Winning at Big Data Do Differently

Harvard Business Review

subscribers in the first quarter of 2013, a 7% increase over the previous quarter. How else did the companies projecting the greatest ROI from Big Data differ from underperformers? Yet ROI leaders in our study also included telecoms, retailers, banks and high-tech companies. This last activity helps explain the appeal of Big Data to a growing number of retailers. Retailers that want mobile location data of their shoppers must get that "external" data from the telcos.

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What Big Companies Can Learn from Shark Tank

Harvard Business Review

Companies need a different process for funding innovative projects. I call this idea "innovation capital markets," and it''s a system that''s a hybrid of venture capital, general capital and corporate budgeting. Innovation capital markets are a huge category creation opportunity.

Have a Real Impact; Keep Your Day Job

Harvard Business Review

Some innovative and determined professionals working in world's largest and most complex corporations are choosing to stay put and use their corporate platforms to lead change. An increasing number of mission-driven, innovative professionals are finding they can't resist this opportunity.

Can Advertising Change the World?

Harvard Business Review

This is what the British retailing giant Marks & Spencer is doing in its "shwopping" campaign. As the UK's biggest clothing retailer, it can't afford to be irresponsible; its practices are under heavy scrutiny.

The Best Advertising is Sincere

Harvard Business Review

Given that sincerity itself isn't usually very funny, dramatic, innovative, saucy, scene-stealing, or luxurious, it is rarely chosen as the animating spirit of our end-product.

Making #GivingTuesday a Movement

Harvard Business Review

The leaders of these organizations immediately got the concept that the philanthropic community stood to benefit by converging on a day like this, in the same way that retailers (even though they compete aggressively) all take part in and benefit from Black Friday. With every project, they are spreading the word through their networks, and the connection to #GivingTuesday becomes more valuable. Encourage innovations on the theme.

Sell Your Product Before It Exists

Harvard Business Review

While most startups who set up pages on Kickstarter, Indiegogo or a host of other crowdfunding sites are looking to hit a specific goal and then get started making their project a reality, a new crop of businesses are using the platform for as a wholly different business model: selling their product before it exists. In addition to the benefits of an MVP strategy, Coin’s strategy allowed them to mitigate our internal bias against innovative new ideas.

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We Took a Vote. You're Fired.

Harvard Business Review

But you probably don''t work at Menlo Innovations, where there are no bosses (at least in the traditional sense). In fact, a survey of retail managers suggests that a majority think customers are happier getting preferential treatment in public than in private. It''s an attractive value proposition: It''s projected to be a big part of the 13.4% growth in digital ads between 2013 and 2014. Leave Your Title at the Door.

Prepare for the New Permanent Temp

Harvard Business Review

Workflows and innovation initiatives have been artfully reorganized around "projects" to facilitate faster, cheaper and easier contingent participation. Just ask anyone working in the health care, financial services, automobile, retail, media, publishing, education, advertising, real estate or defense industries. Technology doesn''t just facilitate automation and innovation; it makes contingent, temporary and part-time job markets more efficient and effective.

Rethinking the Function of Business Functions

Harvard Business Review

It has sophisticated functions that together manage user-generated content, the in-depth tracking of consumer buying behavior, and the innovation of new features based on the resulting insights. Imagine trying to use the objective of being "innovative" as a criterion for the multitude of investments a company must make around product launches and R&D. Many of these teams will dissolve once the project is over, and their members may not work together again.

0511 | Larry Downes: Full Transcript


The most recent being Big Bang Disruption: Strategy in the Age of Devastating Innovation. Paul Nunes and I have known each other for many years, and we’ve both been writing about the subject of disruptive innovation from different vantage points and different angles. Actually, this project started probably three or four years ago when Paul’s last book came out, which is called Jumping the S-Curve. The book is Big Bang Disruption: Strategy in the Age of Devastating Innovation.

What Big Companies Can Learn from the Success of the Unicorns

Harvard Business Review

The term “unicorns,” coined, in 2013, by Aileen Lee, founder of Cowboy Ventures , is commonly used to identify venture-backed private companies valued at $1 billion or more. Moreover, the innovations lying at the heart of the unicorns’ success stories are digital innovations.

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How the Internet Saved Handmade Goods

Harvard Business Review

A recent article in The Economist , citing the work of Ryan Raffaelli at Harvard Business School, points to what it calls a “paradox” in the aftermath of disruptive innovation. This is typical of the stage of Big Bang Disruption we refer to as “Entropy,” when the supply chain supporting products and services displaced by a disruptive innovation collapse into a kind of economic black hole. Disruptive innovation Information & technology Innovation

The Tech Trends You Can’t Ignore in 2015

Harvard Business Review

Toward the end of 2014, Google researchers unveiled a new project that uses neural networks and deep learning to identify multiple elements of a scene without human assistance. Smart virtual personal assistants: SVPAs started entering the market in 2013. Innovation Internet

How to Quantify Sustainability’s Impact on Your Bottom Line

Harvard Business Review

Specifically, our analysis found that the net benefits to ranchers ranged from $18 million to $34 million (12% to 23% of revenues) in net present value projected over 10 years. For slaughterhouses and retailers (Brazilian operations), we also projected positive benefits: $20 million to $120 million (0.01% to 0.1% These and other benefits translate into better cost management, agricultural innovation, and increased land productivity and quality.

The Key to Change Is Middle Management

Harvard Business Review

doubled from 20% to 40% between July and December 2013, and has stayed at that level since. I studied large-scale change and innovation efforts in 56 randomly selected companies in the high-tech, retail, pharmaceutical, banking, automotive, insurance, energy, non-profit, and health care industries. The permitting time has since been nearly halved for key pilot projects.

Tinkering with Strategy Can Derail Midsize Companies

Harvard Business Review

The tales of two companies, cell phone accessories retailer Cellairis and skin care products maker Rodan + Fields, illustrate the dangers of top-level strategic tinkering. They had the epiphany that they could use cheap retail space – the carts that sit in the middle of shopping malls – to sell mobile phone accessories, mostly cases. System-wide revenue for 2013 was $350 million – seven times revenue for 2005. And it doesn’t have a retail channel to fall back on.

Great Brands Never Have to “Give Back”

Harvard Business Review

A recent headline, “JCPenney Releases 2013 Sustainability Report,” reads like the punch line to a bad joke. One that is exemplified by efforts like GE’s Ecomagination project, which involves developing alternative-fuel engines and other products that address today’s environmental crisis and drive economic growth. For great brands, CSV doesn’t simply draw upon the company’s innovation capabilities.

Scaling Up is a Problem of Both More and Less

Harvard Business Review

My colleague Andy Hargadon noted this when he did an ethnography of the renowned innovation firm IDEO in the 1990s. After a brief opening with perhaps some news about the company, a self-deprecating story about himself, or a bit of indiscreet but juicy gossip, Kelley, a skilled facilitator, spent the rest of the meeting calling on people to describe new projects, introducing newcomers, recognizing birthdays, and asking if anyone had seen a good movie or discovered a new technology.

Top 10 Sustainable Business Stories of 2012

Harvard Business Review

Over one-third of the world's largest companies surveyed by the Carbon Disclosure Project are already seeing the impacts of climate change on their business. The retail giant's powerful buyers, or merchants, now have a sustainability goal in their performance targets and reviews.

Early Lessons from India’s Demonetization Experiment

Harvard Business Review

The existence of this parallel economy is a substantial drag on the Indian economy: According to recently released data , only about 1% of Indians paid taxes on their earnings in 2013. Innovation and Creativity Emerged Around Digital Payments. Here, the government’s innovative capacity shone through. Finally, India does not have reliable national retail sales data, so statisticians have to use production figures to estimate consumer spending.

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Keeping It Professional When You Work in a Family Business

Harvard Business Review

“Succession between generations is a very risky project,” says Fernández-Aráoz, which is why it’s critical to talk early and openly about rules for advancement and what handing off power might look like. Working in the family business can be fraught.