Join Rita's Mailing List!

Posts By Rita McGrath

So much for “Keep the Change”

In 2005, Bank of America did something very unusual – they introduced an innovation in financial services that customers actually liked!  Called Keep the Change, the program targeted young women who were terrified of running up credit card debt and so used their debit cards for everything from coffee to the newspaper.  Consultancy IDEO helped with the design of the program, by observing how the target customers kept track of their... read more »

Filed in:

Blog posting that discusses new leadership requirements for complex systems

In a very thoughtful blog Forbes commentator Haydn Shaughnessy observes that today’s complex environments require rather different leadership skills than were necessary in merely complicated systems. Worth a look! read more »

Filed in:

Webinar tomorrow on Living With Complexity - Complimentary!

Just in case you missed it, I will be conducting a webinar tomorrow on living with complexity, based on my recent co-authored article in Harvard Business Review.    Click here to register for free.       read more »

Filed in:

Discovery Driven planning at a personal level

In a retrospective glance at her career Whitney Johnson, now working with Clayton Christensen, suggests that discovery driven planning can work as well for individual choices as it does for new business ventures.  It's interesting to see the technique popping up in so many new places!  read more »

Filed in:

Technology organization charts - some humor sent to me

Many a truthful word is spoken in jest and is that ever true about these technology company organization charts! Check it out just for laughs here. read more »

Filed in:

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 »

Filed in: , ,

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 »

Filed in: ,

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 »

Filed in: ,

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 »

Filed in:

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 »

Filed in: ,

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 »

Filed in: ,

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 »

Filed in:

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 »

Filed in: ,

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 »

Filed in:

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 »

Filed in: