Why Your Company Should Use the Kickstarter Model to Innovate

Harvard Business Review

If you''ve got a genuinely creative idea — or even a " me, too with a twist " — Kickstarter''s "crowd funding" platform offers a genuinely innovative way to finance creativity and innovation. They''re creative and/or innovative efforts appealing to creatives and innovators.

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The $2,000 Car

Harvard Business Review

We call this phenomenon reverse innovation — any innovation that is adopted first in the developing world, and then later in the developed world. Surprisingly, such innovations defy gravity and flow uphill from the poor to the rich. Reverse innovation will become more and more common. The fundamental driver of reverse innovation is the income gap that exists between emerging markets and the developed countries. Phase 3: Local Innovation.

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Announcing the Leaders Everywhere Challenge

Harvard Business Review

This is our call to management innovators (and aspiring management innovators) around the world to make a real difference when it comes to improving management thinking and practice. Push down P&L responsibility and give lower level employees a lot more decision-making autonomy. Never before has leadership been so critical, and never before has it seemed in such short supply. It takes extraordinary leadership to keep an organization relevant in a world of relentless change.

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Three Diversity "Best Practices" That Hurt Women

Harvard Business Review

Our annual Global Gender balance Scorecard shows that 63% of the women sitting on Executive Committees of the top 100 US companies are in support functions, not P&L roles. The issue of gender balance in corporations often seems unnecessarily complicated.

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Strategy Essentials You Ignore at Your Peril

Harvard Business Review

If you have a competitive advantage, it will show up on your P&L. Making that commitment actually improves your ability to innovate and to adapt to turbulence. Michael Porter, the world's leading authority on competition and strategy, is sometimes the victim of his own success. We use his terminology every day — competitive advantage, the value chain, differentiation, value creation. We think, therefore, that we "know" his work. But in fact, most managers don't.

Top 10 Sustainable Business Stories of 2012

Harvard Business Review

This isn't just a wonky exercise: As PepsiCo exec Al Halvorsen told me, "the real reason you do an LCA is improve the business, to put more efficient processes in place, and innovate in the supply chain.". Sustainability innovation opens up: Unilever, Heineken, and EMC ask the world for help.

How IBM's Sam Palmisano Redefined the Global Corporation

Harvard Business Review

They are innovating in ways that create virtuous circles for a generation or more." He was comfortable making smart bets to position IBM for decades-long growth, such as creating the Emerging Business Organization to incubate new businesses and shield them from P&L pressures. In the 20th century, a select group of leaders — General Motor's Alfred Sloan, HP's David Packard and Bill Hewlett, and GE's Jack Welch — set the standard for the way corporations are run.

One Microsoft. Four Ways to Integrate Fiefdoms.

Harvard Business Review

The first is to get various functional silos and P&L centers sharply aligned with the specifics of customer requirements. Apple''s consumer-friendly innovation and Wal-Mart''s quick inventory and price adjustments were the result of similar mechanisms masterfully run by Steve Jobs and Sam Walton respectively. One Ford. One Apple. Now one Microsoft.

Case Study: When to Drop an Unprofitable Customer

Harvard Business Review

With three efficient plants staffed by 3,000 employees, it had reinvented itself to become an innovative manufacturer of modular steel staircases and fiberglass doors. These deductions, which totaled 12% of sales, had previously been collapsed into a single line item in the P&L for each customer. Jane's smug expression said clearly, "Add this to your P&L, Tommy.".

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Top 10 Green Business Stories of 2011

Harvard Business Review

The larger trend here is the continued growth of "open" — open data and open innovation, including new value-chain business partnerships and cattle-call contests inviting in any and all ideas. Valuing and internalizing the externalities: Puma Calculates its Environmental P&L. It's unclear what companies can do with these numbers since externalities are by their nature, well, external to the regular P&L.

Microsoft Taxes Itself

Harvard Business Review

And more recently, athletic apparel company Puma (working with my colleagues at PwC and the UK's TruCost) produced an " environmental P&L " which measured the "real" cost of carbon and other environmental inputs like water. It's innovative and committed, but it also points to a massive global failure of leadership on climate policy. This week, Microsoft is announcing an unusual initiative that it hopes will change how the company operates: an internal fee on carbon.

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Why Verizon's iPhone Could Be Good for AT&T

Harvard Business Review

A consumer P&L is a powerful tool in the face of a competitive threat, as it enables them to proactively lock up their most valuable Super Consumers and avoid expensive over-reactions to losing Divas and Deal Chasers. Redbox, the innovator whose DVD dispenser machine rents DVDs for $1 per day, had also grown quite rapidly. We would expect the consumer P&L for the Super Consumer portion of the top 6% of data hogs to be much more attractive than the P&L for the Diva/Deal Chaser.

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Bring Back the General Manager

Harvard Business Review

Here are several ideas: Turn discrete customer segments or geographies into P&L units by giving managers the ability to "purchase" centralized services, and the accountability for achieving profitability targets. Finally, carve out innovation incubators that will serve not only to build new businesses but also to grow general managers. Have you noticed that general managers are scarce these days?

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Sell More with Smarter Trade Promotions

Harvard Business Review

Trade promotion is often the single biggest line item in a manufacturer's P&L. What companies often find is that trade promotion opportunities have broader strategy, branding/marketing and innovation issues at the core.

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Silver Linings for 2012

Harvard Business Review

Employees (and the more enlightened leaders I know) are realizing that happiness doesn't have much to do with endless "growth" or P&L sheets; it has much more to do with employees' personal fulfillment, if only for a few moments, each day at work and in life. I predict that employers who recognize this shift, and tap into it, can unleash new levels of productivity and innovation — but only if they play their cards right.

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