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Posts By Rita McGrath

New HBR article:  Living with Complexity and Link for Free Download

Gokce Sargut and I are working together on the fascinating subject of how organizations can sensibly and strategically cope with the demands of complex situations.  One of the papers from our ongoing research project is out in this months' Harvard Business Review.   We offer a perspective on why complexity is so hard to deal with (because it has interactive qualities that make outcomes unpredictable) and offer some suggestions on how... read more »

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Growth ambitions, yes.  Growth capability?  Still working on that…

My colleagues over at the growth practice at consultancy Accenture surveyed some of their largest clients about their growth prospects.  The results are in my blog, "ready for growth, but  not prepared" over at the Harvard Business Review site.  Among the more interesting findings are that the firms all believe growth is important and is back on the agenda, but struggle with finding the right capabilities to support it.    read more »

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Out of touch Telco Managers and my colleague Tom Stewart’s response!

"Shocked, Shocked" says my dear friend Tom Stewart of a recent report in the New York Times that Telecommunications operators felt "out of touch" with their customers.  What do you mean?  That call to a robot in which you are asked to enter your customer number, only to reach a real person and be told to enter your customer number? The completely incomprehensible pricing models for wireless data plans? Being charged for... read more »

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Talent flows - Silicon Valley Style

This neat article offers a snapshot of who is winning and losing the talent wars in Silicon Valley among the big players (Microsoft, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.).  It offers a great graphic to spark interest and debate.  One of the interesting points it makes is that Facebook is a net winner among people moving around various jobs in the Valley.  Check it out.  read more »

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Interesting application of options idea to “Green” Energy programs

A colleague of mine drew to my attention an NPR story about the Federal government's plans to develop green technologies.  In many ways, the approach echoes options reasoning:   Many small bets Substantial upside if the opportunity is successful Less concern about the rate of failure than the cost of failure Genuine uncertainty   A pretty interesting approach.  read more »

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Tata Awards for Intelligent Failure

This blog post offers a nice description of Tata's awards for intelligent failure.  Under the rubric "Dare To Try" the company encourages people to be willing to take intelligent risks. It's one of many company practices that seek to make the most of failure!    read more »

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Forget college and change the world?

PayPal founder Peter Thiel thinks he has found a new way to change the world.  A recent article describes how his foundation has created $100,000 grants for young superstars to put their college plans on hold, and under the direction of a mentor, work on really difficult problems that require scientific and technical innovation.  It's another interesting example of how entrepreneurs give back, and how private money can be used... read more »

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More women in top management = more success as a company

Experts and observers have long argued that there is a benefit to firms of having more women in senior decision-making roles.  The reasons are many, including the importance of diversity, the fact that senior women more readily represent female customers (the majority of buyers in many industries), and a general openness to talent.  Some new research done at Columbia finds that companies with women in the top team do enjoy... read more »

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Does doing good mean doing well?  Research from colleague Ray FIsman

In a recent piece in Columbia Ideas at Work, my colleague Ray Fisman summarizes some research he has done on whether promising to donate a portion of one's proceeds to charity means more profits for eBay sellers.    Among their findings: Turns out — based on our eBay evidence — the champions of corporate philanthropy have gotten the story at least half right. Take a Giving Works item advertising that... read more »

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Strategic Innovation Does Not Equal Dollars Spent

My colleague Gray Hammond sent along this interesting coverage of innovative companies, and I thought it might be of interest to my readers as well. Booz & Company’s latest annual study of global innovation, The 2010 Innovation 1000: How the Top Innovators Keep Winning, surveyed more than 400 executives at companies worldwide to find out the characteristics of the most innovative firms. Here are the top 10 most innovative companies:... read more »

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An Internet Kissing Machine? Oh brother, what’s next. Wait, Maybe I Don’t Want to Know…

Believe it or not, reports have surfaced that a group of Japanese researchers are hard at work on an Internet Kissing Machine.  Yes, apparently, two people equipped with the devices can exchange more than just emails if they happen to be separated.  And I've evidently been hiding under a rock somewhere, because this is proclaimed to be the latest in whole industry of such devices, under the umbrella name teledildonics,... read more »

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Say It Ain’t So:  The Shortening Half Life of the Business School Case Study

We in business school just love to use examples.  It's examples, stories and personal insights that make what we teach accessible, inspiring and sometimes game-changing.  Along the way, many of these great stories get written up as cases, either formal ones like those created by the Harvard Business School, or less formal ones, such as those captured in articles, stories and books.  There is just one problem with all this –... read more »

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Free Webinar On Business Model Challenges and Innovation

Business Model Erosion and Innovation to combat this phenomenon is very much a topic of concern for strategists and innovators.  In this free half-hour webinar sponsored by Columbia Business School Executive Education, I reflect on some of the ways in which companies need to become alert to the potential erosion of a business model.  Have a look!  Feedback always welcome.  read more »

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Thought for the day on developing people

A LinkedIn exchange that was forwarded to me by a colleague:   What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave the company?"   CEO answers, 'What happens if we don't, and they stay?"   Now there is food for thought! read more »

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Intelligent Failure Noted in The Economist

In an article published in the April 16 Economist, the positive side of failure, as featured in a recent special issue of the Harvard Business Review is discussed.  Interesting reading for those of us who follow failures and try to learn from them.  read more »

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