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“Learning From Corporate Flops”—Rita McGrath featured in Wall Street Journal

The Business Insight section of the Wall Street Journal features an interview of Rita McGrath by MIT Sloan Management Review’s editor Martha E. Mangelsdorf on Monday, October 26th. Entitled Learning from Corporate Flops the WSJ notes that “Rita Gunther McGrath, an associate professor at Columbia Business School, has studied corporate new ventures extensively. In the process, Dr. McGrath concluded that many traditional tools for corporate planning, while useful in relatively... read more »

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How decisions made under uncertainty can cast a long shadow - Internet Pricing

The reality of having to make decisions under uncertainty is that quite often, you'll get things wrong. Unfortunately, sometimes those wrong things have very long and path-dependent consequences. I'm thinking in particular of two decisions that were made virtually industry-wide as the Internet evolved: 1) the decisions that content should be 'free'; and 2) the decision to sell Internet access on a flat-fee for unlimited access basis. As a recent... read more »

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Customer experience innovation - description of a talk that I sometimes give

Sad, but true: Most companies have potentially disastrous blind spots with regard to truly understanding their customers' experiences with their products and services. This session introduces a simple, intuitive tool – the customer consumption chain – to help companies visualize the activities customers go through to address their own needs, some of which might involve making a purchase. When the chain breaks down, is unsatisfying, or is less convenient than... read more »

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Why smart projects so often go wrong - SAP and Business ByDesign

In class, I’ve been using German software giant SAP’s foray into Software as a Service as a ‘living case’ example of a company venturing into highly unknown territory.  Without knowing more than what is available in the public domain, participants usually conclude from the analysis that the software maker’s ambitions for the project are highly ambitious, if not impractical. Just today, then I ran across a most interesting blog on... read more »

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Create a Special Unit to Drive Growth

Rita McGrath’s blog at HarvardBusiness.org has been reprinted by Business Week. As the economy shows some signs of shrugging off its doldrums, growth is back on the agenda. After cutting costs for a year or more while repeating the mantra “do more with less, “should companies be looking to special groups to jump-start growth?” Corporate venture groups, incubator “greenhouses,” and other units dedicated to identifying and incubating growth opportunities have... read more »

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NYT Small Business quotes Rita McGrath re health care reform bill

“Consultant Rita McGrath, discussing a theoretical mandate with a threshold of 25 employees, imagines ‘thousands of businesses employing exactly 24.5 people, all interconnectedly doing business with one another rather than falling foul of the over-25 employee stricture.’ ” For the complete article, click here. read more »

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Flexibility is at a premium when things are highly uncertain

Recently, CK Prahalad wrote a very thought-provoking article that emphasizes how much value getting fixed costs and expensive assets to a minimum when things are highly volatile.  Recommended reading! read more »

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Watch Rita McGrath Explain Achieving Growth

Economics can explain a lot. When looking at the sea change impacting every industry, and fitness and wellness is not immune, just follow the money for answers regarding what the future will bring. “It couldn’t be more straightforward,” said Randall Rothenberg, CEO of the Internet Advertising Bureau. “Today the average 20 year old can create a global TV network with tools built into a laptop. So from an Econ 101... read more »

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Mastering Strategy—What the Experts Say

In the October edition of the Columbia Executive Education newsletter Connected, Rita McGrath notes “Companies devolve to planning with no time for strategy…They don’t apply the same rigor to their strategy process as they do for their planning process.” Rita McGrath will be leading the program Creating and Executing Breakthrough Strategy, November 15-20, 2009. Professor McGrath’s program builds on strategic learning concepts, but focuses specifically on the challenges of driving... read more »

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Before we depend on the cloud, maybe it better be more like the airlines

I’m just back from an amazing conference – the Microsoft Global Chief Information Officer Summit in Seattle.  Which, since I’m based on the East Coast, involved a rather long couple of flights.  Now, today, nobody has very much nice to say about airlines, but I’ve always found it remarkable that even amidst the stresses facing the industry, we takes its safety for granted.  Gripe, gripe, gripe, yes, but we’re willing... read more »

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Grabbing Lightning

Our good friends over at RPI (authors of the book Grabbing Lightning) have posted a great set of observations about how organizations can set up a system for truly breakthrough innovation.  Among the points they make is that it’s vital to use the right planning tools for the amount of uncertainty you’re facing, an observation that I would echo.  You can read the post at their web site. read more »

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Industry Week Article Holding the Line on R&D quotes Rita McGrath

In an August 1 article Holding the Line on R&D by Josh Cable… Rita McGrath, a Columbia University associate professor who focuses on innovation, corporate growth and new business, has observed less of the “across-the-board, off-with-their-heads mindset” toward R&D than in previous downturns. McGrath, who recently penned a book on corporate innovation strategies, “Discovery Driven Growth,” believes that many companies learned their lesson the hard way in the 1980s and... read more »

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Internet Bookwatch Review of Discovery-Driven Growth

Research and Development can either be a highly profitable venture or a complete wasteful bust – but what determines the outcome? “Discovery-Driven Growth: A Breakthrough Process to Reduce Risk and Seize Opportunity” is a business guide to new technologies and products in business. Encouraging companies to take wise risks — risks that can be profitable in lessons even if they technically turn out to be failures–and to avoid stagnation, authors... read more »

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Columbia Business School Professor Talks About Discovery-Driven Growth

BMC-Admin has posted an interview with Rita McGrath about Discovery-Driven Growth here. read more »

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Using Smell to Sell

Rita McGrath’s Dynamic Strategies post Using Smell to Sell at Harvard Business Review appears here. read more »

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