Harvard Business Review - December 2010


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TATCHA: Marketing the Beauty Secrets of Japanese Geisha

Most executives put a huge amount of time into their jobs, assuming that more hours equal more value added. That's too simplistic. Think first, read or write second. Figure out your argument in advance; then jot down your four or five key points and write the concluding paragraph. Prepare your plan, but be ready to change it. Arrive early for a speaking engagement in order to grasp the mood of your audience and tailor your speech accordingly. Let others own their space. Instead of assigning detailed tasks, present general priorities and let your reports decide how to implement them.

Two trends are likely to define the 21st century: threats to the sustainability of the natural environment and dramatic increases in urbanization. This paper reviews the goals, business models, and partnerships involved in eight early "ecocity" projects to begin to identify success factors in this emerging industry. Ecocities, for the most part, are viewed as a means of mitigating threats to the natural environment while creating urban living capacity, by combining low carbon and resource-efficient development with the use of information and communication technologies ICT to better manage complex urban systems.

We present the results of a day field experiment in which over elite software developers prepared solutions to the same computational algorithmic problem. Participants were divided into two groups with identical skills distributions and exposed to the same competitive institutional setting.

Branding in the Digital Age: You’re Spending Your Money in All the Wrong Places

The "sorted" group was composed of individuals who preferred the competitive regime instead of a team-based outside option. The "unsorted" group had population-average preferences for working in the regime or the outside option.


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We find this sorting on this basis of institutional preferences doubled effort and the performance of solutions-controlling for skills, monetary incentives and institutional details. Building on research in strategy formation and organizational innovation, this paper reports on a field study of a young company in the sustainable cities industry.


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We examine how company founders, facing the high ambiguity inherent in very early phases of a new industry, formed a strategic goal. Our data show goal formation as a phased social process. By aggregating previously encountered solutions to known problems, the founding team formed an emergent goal that presented an innovative solution to a new problem and became the basis of the new company's business model. We analyze this process to explain how, under conditions of ambiguity, organizational goals can form through a collaborative social exchange that resembles the innovation process.

Our research suggests that, under particular conditions, novel ideas can be generated and ambiguous contexts navigated without great foresight. Instead, entrepreneurs can arrive at innovative ideas through the collaborative integration of disparate local problems and solutions. By illuminating the goal formation process in a nascent industry, we contribute to organizational literatures on strategy, decision-making, and innovation.

In , Logoplaste, a top 10 manufacturer of rigid plastic containers, was debating a more dramatic expansion strategy as a means to guarantee the company's continued success. The company, which began with a few plants in Portugal in the s, now had 60 plants across five continents and was a valued partner to large multinational consumer goods companies, many of whom were pressuring Logoplaste to expand. The case explores Google's communication strategy with Wall Street analysts. In particular, the case focuses on Google's commitment to a no-guidance policy and provides an overview of guidance practice among major U.

Lindsay Ronga and Gary Vaynerchuk are launching Cork'd, an online social network for wine lovers. Despite Gary's status as a celebrity wine connoisseur, the team faces a significant challenge: several other wine social networks are well established and already have large user bases. How can Cork'd gain traction in this crowded space? Thomas Eisenmann, Jeffrey J. A small cancer diagnostics start-up is deciding whether to acquire a laboratory to make and sell its bladder cancer test or build its own manufacturing and sales team.

Complicating the decision is the fact that the many hotels in its portfolio vary greatly in their character, clientele, positioning, and locations. Cherie Blair was famous, or infamous, in the United Kingdom as first lady from to Her marriage to Tony Blair, however, was the result of her own groundbreaking career in law—a career she fought to keep during the 10 years of her husband's tenure as prime minister, even though it meant bringing suit against his government at times.

Blair balanced multiple roles and expectations. In December , Frank Sottosanti, Chief Marketing Officer of BBVA Compass, was reviewing the marketing performance of the company and deciding how to allocate next year's marketing budget across various offline and online channels. February O. He had led SBI on a journey of transformation from an old, hierarchical, transaction oriented, government bank to a modern, customer focused, and technologically advanced universal bank.

In , when Bhatt assumed leadership, SBI had been losing market share for over two decades to private and foreign banks. Analysts and industry observers had predicted that at the prevailing growth rates ICICI Bank, a private bank launched in , would overtake SBI in terms of deposits in four years. However, by , SBI had more than doubled its profits, deposits and advances; regained market share and won the Asian Banker Achievement award for the strongest bank in the Asia Pacific region.

No investment in innovation is ever a sure bet. This makes innovation initiatives hard to justify when money is tight. The trick is to find the promising assets you already have in hand. According to strategy consultant Lance Bettencourt and consumer-products executive Scott Bettencourt, almost every company has previous discoveries with overlooked market potential.

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The six most common types of in-hand innovations include products that failed to launch because of particular circumstances, which may have changed since then; previously developed capabilities and features addressing customer needs that have recently risen in prominence; products that customers like for unexpected reasons and that could take off if repositioned; extras created for bundled offerings that could be spun out as stand-alone products; separate components that could be combined into an enhanced offering; and overdesigned products that could be simplified to help the company reach new customer segments.

With such innovations, much of the work has already been done. June Go Go. The visualization below summarizes the entire year HBR topic trend analysis. The timeline is separated by decade s beginning in through s ending in mid , accounting for differing numbers of articles for each time period. Below, I review each term category and, where relevant to illustrate certain trends, provide a representative HBR article.

Declining-Focus Terms —Two terms that, across the year timespan, have decreased considerably in use within HBR article titles.

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Increasing-Focus Terms —Seven terms that have increased substantially within HBR article titles across the year time period. Whereas the terms above represent notable past through current trends as manifested in HBR article coverage, to spot terms and concepts likely to continue upward into the future requires a different type of analysis.

For this part of the analysis, I identified the eight terms showing the strongest upward trajectory in the past three years through today , compared to the first part of the s These topics exhibit both the discussion energy and concept depth to remain key business themes through and beyond. When paired with the first part of the analysis spanning 50 years and well over 8, articles from HBR, the broader landscape for hot workplace topics becomes clear—which macro and micro-level business concepts rise, fall, stagnate, and are entirely redefined through the weathering effects of long-term market forces, technological disruption, and social change.


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