Talking industry and innovationStuck in the middle? How to break the barriers to innovation

Innovation is without question the holy grail for companies. While there is an immense pressure to innovate, it remains elusive for most. Ninety-four percent of managers were dissatisfied with their company’s innovation performance in a McKinsey poll, while a KPMG study found that two-thirds of U.S. CEOs are concerned that they're not disrupting business models.

In a recent Gartner study, at least 84 percent of 3,160 CIO respondents in 98 countries said they have responsibility for areas of the business outside traditional IT. The most common being innovation and transformation...Read more

Remembering Jack Bogle and Herb Kelleher, Two Great StrategistsRemembering Jack Bogle and Herb Kelleher, Two Great Strategists

Within a two-week period, America lost two great business icons, Southwest Airlines co-founder Herb Kelleher (March 12, 1931 – January 3, 2019) and Vanguard founder Jack Bogle (May 8, 1929 – January 16, 2019). I never met Kelleher but admired his work from afar. Jack Bogle and I had a longstanding friendly exchange of ideas that I will miss.

To me, they exemplify the true strategist in action. This is despite Kelleher’s seeming dismissal of strategy. Perhaps his most famous quote, in response to a question about Southwest strategy...Read more

Share Leadership to Spread InnovationShare Leadership to Spread Innovation

When innovation flourishes in a specific part of an organization or system, but then fails to diffuse more widely, it suggests a lack of effective leadership.

Considering how ‘shared leadership’ between managers and professionals might help spread innovation into everyday practice, two Warwick Business School professors, Graeme Currie and Dimitrios Spyridonidis, studied the diffusion of promising health care innovations from an R&D centre to hospitals throughout an English city...Read more

Using Pretotypes to Drive InnovationUsing Pretotypes to Drive Innovation

All businesses are being reshaped by new technologies. Digital transformation is the stuff of numerous articles, conferences and research projects, all trying to understand and clarify what are its primary drivers, and how organizations can best cope with the changes it brings. However, the opportunity for business executives to get valuable hands-on experience of new technologies that can transform their organizations is still difficult to come by.

In response to this IMD, the leading Swiss business school, has paired up with the equally prestigious technology institute EPFL...Read more

Talking industry and innovationTalking industry and innovation

Forbes India, in association with French international banking group BNP Paribas, conducted the first session of the second season of the Forbes India Conversations: The Thought Leadership Forum, on December 11, 2018, in New Delhi, bringing together senior business leaders to share insights on ‘India as an emerging cradle of innovation.’

Brian Carvalho, editor, Forbes India, was in conversation with Advait Kumar, founder, Swajal Water; Pawan Singh, MD and CEO, PTC India Financial Services; Jasbir Singh, chairman and CEO, Amber Enterprises; Nicolas Gravel, director, Centre de Sciences Humaines (CSH); Anuj Kapur, chief operating...Read more

The Harsh Reality of Innovative Companies

Gary Pisano, professor at Harvard Business School, studies innovation at companies large and small. He says there’s too much focus on the positive, fun side of innovative cultures and too little understanding of the difficult truths behind sustained innovation. From candid feedback, to strong leadership, to individual accountability and competence, to disciplined choices, Pisano says leaders need to understand and communicate these realities. He’s the author of the HBR article “The Hard Truth About Innovative Cultures” and the new book Creative Construction: The DNA of Sustained Innovation....Read more

Robot Trucks Enter The Fast Lane As Daimler, TuSimple And Udelv Ramp Up PlansRobot Trucks Enter The Fast Lane As Daimler, TuSimple And Udelv Ramp Up Plans

Since Waymo kicked off the commercial phase of its robo-taxi service in Phoenix a month ago there’s been an uptick in skepticism (and even some anger) about how quickly self-driving-vehicle technology will make its way into everyday life. At the same time, plans to automate heavy trucks and delivery vehicles are accelerating, based on news coming out of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show...Read more

Why We were Drawn to Leaders Who Emphasize the NegativeWhy We were Drawn to Leaders Who Emphasize the Negative

There’s a tendency to assume that we want our leaders to be encouraging, magnanimous, and optimistic. But in the last decade, across borders and sectors, we’ve been seeing an increasing number of leaders better known for a style that is more vitriolic, punitive, and negative. This disconnect led me to wonder how positive or negative rhetoric affects our perception of someone’s leadership. My subsequent research shows that although we may think we want our leaders to be cheerleaders, we instinctively tend to empower naysayers instead...Read more

Tata Motors 2.0Tata Motors 2.0

In February 2016, barely a month after he took over at Tata Motors, India’s largest automaker, Guenter Butschek was poised to show the world, and his company, that he meant business.

Tata Motors’s new launch, the Zica, a hatchback that the company had showcased at the Auto Expo in New Delhi that month, was ready to be rolled out. But it had the same moniker as the global mosquito-borne virus that was killing infants or causing congenital abnormalities...Read more

The Critical ‘when?’ Question in StrategyThe Critical ‘when?’ Question in Strategy

Time matters in strategy. Should a firm enter a market now - or later? Does it need to move quickly when doing so? Timing matters, but there are no clear rules. When facing the question of when to act, strategic decision makers are often thrown for a loop.

Themistocles, the ancient Athenian strategist who engineered the stunning defeat of the Persian navy at the Battle of Salamis in 480 BC, sought guidance from the Delphian Oracle before moving into battle against Xerxes’ fearsome invading force. Timing was a critical factor in the Hellenic counter-attack. Themistocles is said to have divined the timing of his attack to coincide with the hour during which the prevailing fresh sea breezes were favourable for the Greek coalition fleet whilst fatally exposing the lofty, towering barbarian ships broadside to the attacking Greek triremes...Read more

Strategic planning is like river rafting around large rocksStrategic planning is like river rafting around large rocks

“When I’m asked about the best strategy I usually tease people and say, ‘Give me a moment and I’ll fish it out of my pocket,’” says CBS Professor Marie Louise Mors, laughing.

“After all it’s terribly complex because it depends on the industry, company size, what you would like to achieve and so on. There isn’t just one answer. Strategy is nuanced and in motion. And that’s what makes it fun.”

Mors teaches the course “Strategy Development” on the Global...Read more

C-Level Leaders Offer Predictions For 2019C-Level Leaders Offer Predictions For 2019

As we approach 2019, I reached out to experts to identify what is on the minds of marketers. In last week’s article, I listed general marketing predictions that can impact most firms. This week, I focus on more specific, actionable predictions.

"I expect we'll see AI-powered marketing attribution tools hitting their stride in 2019. In today’s digital environment, attribution continues to be a challenge — businesses are still piecing together data points from different platforms and many are still struggling to understand the full path to purchase — which marketing channels are driving revenue? What kinds...Read more

The Board’s Role in StrategyThe Board’s Role in Strategy

A friend who serves on a number of consequential public company boards came to my office not long ago to ask my opinion on something that had become a contentious issue across his boards. The question: What is the proper role of a board with respect to company strategy?

On some of my friend’s boards, the prevailing view is that strategy is their job and they insist on having board strategy retreats during which they set strategy. On other of his boards, the prevailing view is the extreme opposite: their job is to wait for management to come forward...Read more

Why Family Businesses Need to Find the Right Level of ConflictWhy Family Businesses Need to Find the Right Level of Conflict

From the outside, the Alexander family seemed to have it all.

Henry, the grandfather and family patriarch, had managed to turn a small corner store into a national chain and market leader. Not only did the business provide the next two generations a lifestyle that would have seemed unfathomable when Henry opened his first shop, but the business helped keep the family extraordinarily close. Henry’s sons all lived in close proximity, as did their children, most of whom worked for the company after graduation and spent much of their free time together...Read more

Fear: The Big Inhibitor of Innovation and TransformationFear: The Big Inhibitor of Innovation and Transformation

Momentum is growing in the corporate world — more and more companies are realizing that the convergence of advancing technologies will fundamentally change how we live and how we work.

This realization has led some leaders to initiate either a digital transformation or the building of an innovation system. In many cases, the ultimate objective is to “win” — beat the competition by increasing the speed and quality of human learning in order to attain the highest levels of human cognitive...Read more

How To Unleash Innovation

You have said that many big, established corporations are in trouble. How so?

A few things are going on. First of all, many of these ‘legacy companies’ have failed to keep up with their customers. I was recently chatting with some of Facebook’s leaders, and even they said they’re having trouble keeping up with people. Things have been changing so quickly that lots of companies have fallen behind — in particular, many of the established consumer packaged-goods companies.

The second reason legacy companies are in trouble relates to the first: They have been far too rigid with their business models and haven’t been agile enough in reacting to change. A third thing I would mention...Read more