Saturday, March 17, 2018

Getting the Autocratic Leaders We Deserve

strategy+business, March 13, 2018

by Theodore Kinni

A couple hundred years ago, the French philosopher Joseph de Maistre wrote, “Every nation gets the government it deserves.” As with other great one-liners, de Maistre’s bon mot has been repeated many times since, and somewhere along the line it morphed into “We get the leaders we deserve.” How we feel about this bromide depends on the leader sitting in the seat when it is uttered.

Right now, I find it discomforting. A good part of that feeling stems from my reading of Open Source Leadership: Reinventing Management When There’s No More Business As Usual (McGraw-Hill Education, 2017), by Rajeev Peshawaria, an experienced leadership professional who has served as chief learning officer at Coca-Cola and Morgan Stanley. Peshawaria is now CEO of the Iclif Leadership and Governance Centre, a nonprofit consultancy based in Kuala Lumpur. “Perhaps the biggest inconvenient truth of the current times is this,” he writes. “We’ve been idealizing democratic and all-inclusive leadership far too much, when the need of the hour is — and always has been — autocratic, top-down leadership.”

Photograph by Hero Images / Alamy

Peshawaria doesn’t define autocrat, so I assume he means leaders who rule with unlimited authority or whose influence or power is undisputed. He supports his conclusion that we need more autocratic leaders with data — specifically the results of Iclif’s survey of 16,000 senior and midlevel executives in 28 countries. In it, he provided a list of famous (but not infamous) leaders, such as Nelson Mandela, Jack Ma, and Mahatma Gandhi, and a mixed bag of leadership traits. About half of the traits represented inclusive, democratic behaviors, such as “relied on consensus and support” and “listened to find middle ground.” The other half represented top-down, autocratic qualities, such as “dared to be different” and “remained firm in their course of action.” The executives were asked to identify the top three traits that the leaders had in common. The autocratic traits came out on top.

Then, Peshawaria asked the executives to rate the following statement: “In order to drive unprecedented success for the organization in today’s fast-paced environment, a significant amount of top-down leadership is required.” Three-quarters of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed. Read the rest here.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Seven Technologies Remaking the World

Learned a lot lending an editorial hand here:

MIT Sloan Management Review, March 9, 2108

by Albert H. Segars

Once upon a time, business leaders could leave technology to the technologists. But today, we are at the starting line of a universal technological revolution — one that is fundamentally altering four key realms of our world: commerce, health care, learning, and the environment. Given the pervasive and diverse nature of this revolution, business leaders must understand the technologies that are driving it, the capabilities they offer, and their potential impacts.

This report provides executives with a lexicon to the revolution. It identifies seven core technologies — pervasive computing, wireless mesh networks, biotechnology, 3D printing, machine learning, nanotechnology, and robotics — and describes their implications for commerce, health care, learning, and the environment. Use it as a guide and a basis for strategic discussion as you and your team seek to understand today’s business frontiers and the opportunities that lie ahead.

Seven Technological Sparks

“You’re only given one little spark of madness,” said the late actor and comedian Robin Williams. “You mustn’t lose it.” Williams used his spark to ignite his comedic rocket and blast past the established boundaries of his craft. Technology provides a similar spark: It enables us to push beyond the established boundaries of our world.

The mechanized spinning of textiles, large-scale manufacturing of chemicals, steam power, and efficiencies in iron-making sparked the first Industrial Revolution (1760-1840). Railroads, the telegraph and telephone, and electricity and other utilities sparked the second Industrial Revolution (1870-1940). Radio, aviation, and nuclear fission sparked the Scientific/Technical Revolution (1940-1970). The internet and digital media and devices sparked the Information Revolution (1985-present). In each instance, the inflection point that marked the new revolution was the appearance of new technologies that fundamentally reshaped key aspects of the world, such as commerce, health care, learning, and the environment.

Today, we see technological sparks everywhere. They are emerging from the digital, chemical, material, and biological sciences, and they are precipitating a revolution that is altering nearly every dimension of our lives.

But what are the dominant technologies driving this revolution? And how will they shape and reshape the world of commerce — and the world at large? These are critical questions for executives, and the answers will determine how value will be defined in the future, how businesses will be structured and managed, and where new opportunities for profitable growth may lie.

To help executives answer these questions, I conducted two surveys of veteran technology entrepreneurs working in companies in a variety of sectors, analyzed the results, and then developed and assessed the validity of the findings in a series of individual interviews and field visits. The study revealed seven classes of technology that are driving today’s universal revolution: pervasive computing, wireless mesh networks, biotechnology, 3D printing, machine learning, nanotechnology, and robotics.

Each of these technology classes exhibits three distinctive and rapidly evolving capabilities that are significantly different, more advanced, and larger in scope than the technologies of past revolutions. Read the rest here.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Accelerate Employee Learning to Increase Your Company's Clock Speed

Learning a lot lending an editorial hand here:

Boss Magazine, March 2018

by David Mallon

And so it has: Since the 1960s, fewer and fewer employees are doing rote work, and more and more of them are being called upon to do processing work—that is, work that requires ongoing employee learning.

It’s not news that the pace of business is accelerating. The adoption rate of new technologies is on the rise: customer demand shifts with the click of a mouse, and new and disruptive competitors appear out of thin air. Increasingly, the clock speed of your company—its strategic and operational response times—is becoming a key determinant of its survival and success.

How can you increase your company’s clock speed? The first and perhaps best way to start moving the needle is to help increase the speed of employee learning.
Work is Learning

More than a half-century ago, Marshall McLuhan, the Canadian media guru, wrote, “The future of work consists of learning a living (rather than earning a living).”

And so it has: Since the 1960s, fewer and fewer employees are doing rote work, and more and more of them are being called upon to do processing work—that is, work that requires ongoing employee learning. Thus, the ability to learn quickly has become a key enabler of both employee performance and organizational clock speed.

In an era when work is learning, long-established ways and means of employee training and development (T&D) are approaching their sell-by dates. Pulling people off the job to impart knowledge and skills is inefficient at best.

Increasingly, it’s ineffective, too. That’s because of the half-life of much of the knowledge and many of the skills that are being imparted is shrinking—especially when that employee learning is focused on jobs that people are doing today, but are less and less likely to be doing tomorrow.

Instead, companies should be enhancing the ability of employees to learn many new skills and to respond to constant change on the fly. They should be following the example of what we at Bersin call “High-Impact Learning Organizations” or HILOs. Read the rest here.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A Better Way to Bring Science to Market

Learned a lot lending an editorial hand here:

MIT Sloan Management Review, Feb. 28, 2018

by Joshua S. Gans

In 2012, when the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management was launched, the audacious target of this seed-stage program for massively scalable, science-based companies was $50 million in equity creation in five years. In 2017, CDL companies surpassed $790 million in equity creation. Such is the power of a market for judgment.

A market for judgment is a nexus between science and technology. By science, I mean the kind of knowledge that is produced in academic institutions and research labs. By technology, I mean the commercial application of that knowledge. A market for judgment is a place, like CDL, where the producers of knowledge meet and mingle with businesspeople and investors.

Markets for judgment are necessary and valuable because science and technology are mismatched in several ways. They are mismatched in geographic terms: Science is concentrated in universities, which are located all over the world; technology aggregates in a few places, such as California’s Silicon Valley and Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the U.S. The landscape of science is the gently undulating Great Plains whereas the landscape of technology spikes like Mount Olympus.

The distribution of scientific and technological talent is also mismatched. I think that may be because of the antithetical nature of the two jobs. Scientists are supposed to go down fruitless paths; it’s part of their process. Technologists are supposed to go down fruitful paths; in their process, fruitless paths are decidedly unwelcome and potentially destructive.

In short, although science and technology are supposed to go hand in hand, they usually can’t get that close. CDL was designed to determine if we could bring science and technology closer together by building a market for judgment. Read the rest here.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How to Get Time on Your Side

Image result for pink when

strategy+business, Feb. 21, 2018

by Theodore Kinni

The vagaries of time can be bewildering. One day, you drive through heavy traffic as if in a 
perfectly choreographed dance number; the next, it feels as if you’ve entered a demolition derby. One day, you’re brimming with ideas; the next, your creativity well is as dry as Death Valley. Timing is everything, right?

Actually, no. That’s what Daniel Pink declares in the last sentence of his illuminating and often surprising new book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. “I used to believe that timing is everything,” he writes. “Now I believe that everything is timing.”

What Pink means is that there are predictable oscillations present in the days of our lives, and in individual and group work, that affect the outcomes we are working toward. In When, he argues that we can improve our chances of success in work and life if we simply recognize these oscillations and use them to our advantage. This may seem akin to casting runes, but in his trademark style, Pink supports his thesis with a convincing and nuanced reading — and synthesis — of a wide variety of scientific research.

Much of the research that Pink offers stems from the application of big data and analytics. Take, for instance, the study of 26,000 earnings calls from 2,100 companies over a span of six and a half years conducted by three business professors. They discovered that the tenor of calls and their effects on stock price are related to the hour in which they are held. Calls made first thing in the morning tended to be positive. Call results declined until lunchtime, when there was a small bounce, and then declined again until after the closing bell. (What time is your next earnings call?) Read the rest here

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Power of a Free Popsicle

Insights by Stanford Business, Feb 19, 2018

by Theodore Kinni

a person holding a popsicle | iStock/etorres69Los Angeles boasts plenty of terrific hotels. At this writing, the top three on TripAdvisor are the Beverly Hills Hotel, Hotel Bel-Air, and the Peninsula Beverly Hills. If you can get a room at any of them for under $700 per night, TripAdvisor says you’re getting a “great value.”

The fourth name on the list is the Magic Castle Hotel. You can snag a room there for $199, but TripAdvisor doesn’t call that out as a great rate. The Magic Castle Hotel, as Chip Heath, the Thrive Foundation for Youth Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business, describes it, “is actually a converted two-story apartment complex from the 1950s, painted canary yellow … [with] a pool that might qualify as Olympic size, if the Olympics were being held in your backyard.”

How does the Magic Castle Hotel maintain such an enviable TripAdvisor ranking among the 355 hostelries it lists in LA? In their new book, The Power of Moments, Heath and his brother, Dan Heath, a senior fellow at Duke University’s CASE Center, trace it to the hotel’s ability to create “defining moments.” These moments, they say, are ones that bring meaning to our lives and provide fond memories.

One of those defining moments is the Popsicle Hotline. Visitors at the hotel’s pool can pick up a red phone on a poolside wall to hear, “Hello, Popsicle Hotline.” They request an ice-pop in their favorite flavor, and a few minutes later, an employee wearing white gloves delivers it on a silver platter, no charge. It’s a small defining moment that doesn’t cost much to produce, but has paid off for the Magic Castle Hotel.

In The Power of Moments, the Heath brothers identify four metatypical defining moments. Elevation moments transcend ordinary experience, like the arrival of an ice-pop on a silver platter. Insight moments rewire our understanding of the world, like George de Mestral pulling burrs from his clothes after a hike and getting the idea for a new kind of fastener that he named Velcro. Moments of pride accompany achievement, which is why employee recognition is such a powerful tool. And moments of connection — like weddings, graduations, and retirements — strengthen relationships. Read the rest here.

Friday, February 9, 2018

The End of Scale

Learned a lot lending an editorial hand here:

MIT Sloan Management Review, Feb. 9, 2018

by Hemant Taneja with Kevin Maney

For more than a century, economies of scale made the corporation an ideal engine of
 business. But now, a flurry of important new technologies, accelerated by artificial intelligence (AI), is turning economies of scale inside out. Business in the century ahead will be driven by economies of unscale, in which the traditional competitive advantages of size are turned on their head.

Economies of unscale are enabled by two complementary market forces: the emergence of platforms and technologies that can be rented as needed. These developments have eroded the powerful inverse relationship between fixed costs and output that defined economies of scale. Now, small, unscaled companies can pursue niche markets and successfully challenge large companies that are weighed down by decades of investment in scale — in mass production, distribution, and marketing.

Investments in scale used to make a lot of sense. Around the beginning of the 20th century, the world was treated to a technological surge unlike any in history. That was when inventors and entrepreneurs developed cars, airplanes, radio, and television, and built out the electric grid and telephone system.

These new technologies ushered in the age of scale by enabling mass production and offering access to mass markets. Electricity drove automation, allowing companies to build huge factories to churn out a product in massive quantities. Radio and TV reached huge audiences, which companies tapped through mass marketing. The economies of scale governed business success.

Scale conferred an enormous competitive advantage. It not only lowered fixed costs — it also created a forbidding barrier to entry for competitors. Organizations of all kinds spent the 20th century seeking scale. That’s how we ended up with giant corporations, and universities with 50,000 students, and multinational health care providers.

Today, we’re experiencing a new tech surge. This one started around 2007, when mobile, social, and cloud computing took off with the introduction of the iPhone, Facebook, and Amazon Web Services (AWS), respectively. Now, we’re adding AI to the mix. AI is this century’s electricity — the technology that will power everything.

AI has a particular property that supplants mass production and mass marketing as a basis of competitive advantage. It can learn about individuals and automatically tailor products for them at scale. This is how the GPS navigation app Waze gives you a route map tailored to your destination at a specific moment in time — a map that probably won’t work for anyone else or at any other time and doesn’t need to. AI enables mass customization for increasingly narrow markets. If a product is custom built specifically for you, you’ll probably prefer it to a product that’s built for millions of people who are only kind of like you.

This is the basis of economics of unscale. The winning companies in today’s tech surge are companies that profitably give each customer exactly what he or she wants, not companies that give everyone the same thing.

There is another, equally important way in which the current tech wave is propelling economies of unscale. Because companies can stay nimble and focused by easily and instantly renting scale, they can adjust more quickly to changing demand and conditions at much lower cost and with far less effort.

Thus, scaled companies find themselves beleaguered by unscaled competitors. Stripe is an unscaled financial services company based in San Francisco that is challenging the big banks. Airbnb, also based in San Francisco, is an unscaled hotel company that is taking customers away from the big chain hotels. Warby Parker is a New York City-based unscaled eyewear company that is threatening the big eyewear brands.

If economies of unscale will rule in this new world of business, how can a corporation, which, by definition is a large, scaled-up enterprise, compete and thrive? Read the rest here

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Truth About Corporate Transformation

Learned a lot editing this article from the BCG Henderson Institute:

MIT Sloan Management Review, January 31, 2018

by Martin Reeves, et. al.

Transformative Corporate Change Technology Strategy LeadershipCorporate transformation sits atop the strategic agenda for many CEOs. While transformation is ideally undertaken preemptively, in practice it is much more commonly a reaction to changing — and challenging — circumstances. Such transformations represent a fundamental and risk-laden reboot of a company, with the goal of achieving a dramatic improvement in performance and altering its future trajectory.

Given the stakes, we were startled to find that the research underpinning the design and execution of corporate transformations is surprisingly thin. As a result, transformations are often guided by beliefs that, while seemingly plausible, are more anecdotal than empirical in nature. It’s time for a more evidence-based approach.

To study corporate transformation and its success factors, we analyzed financial and nonfinancial data of all U.S. public companies with $10 billion or more market cap between 2004 and 2016. We identified companies with a demonstrated need for fundamental change, namely, those companies with an annualized deterioration, relative to their industry average, in total shareholder return (TSR) of 10 percentage points or more over two years. This definition provided us with a large data set for empirical analysis including more than 300 companies across different industries over more than a decade.

Further, we trained a proprietary algorithm to quantify the strategic orientation of companies, based on semantic patterns within the “Management’s Discussion and Analysis” section of 70,000 10-K filings. We built a prediction model to identify formalized transformation programs, based on restructuring costs and major corporate announcements (as reported by Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC). And we conducted a multivariate regression analysis to determine the impact of a number of factors on change in TSR during transformations...Read the rest here.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

How to Lead Cynics

strategy+business, January 30, 2018

by Theodore Kinni

We (and by we, I mean a random sample of American adults) have a pretty cynical opinion of you (and by you, I mean business executives). According to a Gallup poll conducted in December, 28 percent of us rate your honesty and ethical standards as low or very low, 54 percent rate them as average, and just 16 percent rate your honesty and ethics as high or very high. To put this in perspective, business executives rank just below lawyers. Among the 22 professions covered in the survey, only advertising practitioners, members of Congress, car salespeople, and lobbyists rank lower.

It’s certainly not my place or my intention to impugn the honesty and ethics of any single business leader, or any professional for that matter. But there is clearly a lot of cynicism out there these days. So if you’re not good at leading cynical people, chances are you’re not good at leading a lot of the people you’re supposed to be leading.

I like to think I know a bit about what it takes to lead cynical people because I’m one of them, by nature and by nurture. Often, business leaders are advised not to hire people like me. The conventional wisdom holds that cynics’ jaundiced world view makes us too difficult to be led. Worse, our rotten attitudes are going to infect our coworkers.

This is untrue. It’s possible that a small number of us are truly irredeemable cynics. But most of us are not. “Scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist,” as George Carlin, the late, great comedian (and a world-class cynic), put it. Cynics can make great employees, but only if you can allay our suspicions about your motives and reignite our idealism. To achieve that, I earnestly propose three simple guidelines. Read the rest here.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

When a Japanese Company Adopted English as a First Language

strategy+business, January 23, 2018

by Theodore Kinni

On March 1, 2010, Hiroshi Mikitani, the founder and CEO of Rakuten, a Japan-based e-
retailer, announced that henceforth English would be the official language of the company’s 10,000 employees. Moreover, declared Mikitani, who often was billed as Japan’s Jeff Bezos, any employee who didn’t become fluent in English within two years would face demotion.

The initiative, dubbed “Englishnization” by Mikitani, shocked Rakuten’s 7,000 or so 
Japanese employees — 95 percent of whom did not speak their employer’s newly established lingua franca. It also made headlines around the world, and drew some domestic fire: “It’s stupid for a Japanese company to only use English in Japan when the workforce is mainly Japanese,” said Honda Motors CEO Takanobu Ito. (Five years later, Ito would be out and English would be in at Honda, too.)

Rakuten’s Englishnization didn’t shock Tsedal Neeley, author of The Language of Global Success: How a Common Tongue Transforms Multinational Organizations. “By mandating English,” writes the associate professor at Harvard Business School, “Rakuten was prepared to join the approximately 52 percent of multinational companies that had adopted a language different from that of their originating country in order to better meet global expansion and business needs.”

In The Language of Global Success, Neeley reports the results of her five-year longitudinal study of the initiative, which began a couple of months after Mikitani’s announcement. She also ticks off the reasons companies need a lingua franca. Communication and knowledge exchange top the list. Rakuten was operating in a fast-moving and highly competitive sector. And by 2010, the 13-year-old company was pursuing a strategy of global expansion. It was clear to Mikitani that the language barriers within Rakuten were bogging down everything — integration of acquisitions, management of business units in 27 countries, the minutiae of daily work. For instance, an email from an English-speaking employee in the U.S. to a Japanese colleague required translation, as did the reply and any additional messages — and the translations themselves often required interpretation. As you might guess, even simple exchanges could drag on for days. Read the rest here.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Five Principles for Organizing Collective Intelligence

Sloan Management Review, January 3, 2017

by Theodore Kinni

Big Mind Book Cover Jacket
Collective intelligence is nothing new. Back around 400 BC, the Greek historian Thucydides described how a “great many” soldiers counted the bricks in the wall of a besieged town and their individual totals were compared to determine the correct height for the assault ladders needed to capture it.

Geoff Mulgan, CEO of Nesta, the U.K.’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, and a senior visiting scholar at Harvard University’s Ash Center, relates the story in his insightful new book, Big Mind. The book is about how the “collective” in collective intelligence works. That is, of course, a very timely topic now that technology has not only enabled us to muster larger collectives of intelligence than ever, but also has expanded them to include smart machines. Witness the entire open-source movement.

Big Mind is notable for a number of reasons. One of them is that we don’t have a lot of guides for managing and optimizing collective intelligence, in contrast to the shelves and shelves of books describing how to optimize the output of individual brains. Another reason is the five fundamental principles that Mulgan offers, in the excerpt below, in a nuanced answer to the question: “What is it, at the micro and macro levels, that allows collective intelligence to flower?” Read the excerpt here

Friday, December 15, 2017

Seeking Scale? Think Old

The Longevity Economy: Unlocking the World’s Fastest-Growing, Most Misunderstood MarketMIT Sloan Management Review, December 14, 2017

by Theodore Kinni

These days, scale is a top-of-mind issue among leaders of tech companies. Yet many of these leaders are missing the biggest and most obvious scaling opportunity they’ll ever encounter: old people.

The worldwide population of older adults — people age 65 and up — reached 617 million in 2015 (almost twice the total population of the United States); in the U.S. alone, older adults represent an $8 trillion consumer market. Thanks to longer life expectancies, there will be 1 billion people age 65+ by 2030, and 1.6 billion of them by 2050.

The problem — which Joseph F. Coughlin, director of MIT’s AgeLab and the author of The Longevity Economy, lays out in the excerpt below — is that most tech companies simply don’t get this deep-pocketed, growth market. Worse, because of the relative youthfulness of tech companies, their leaders are not only missing the biggest market they’re likely to see before they become old folks themselves, they’re also overlooking the job candidates who could help them tap it as well.

If your company is seeking scale, read the excerpt here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

How to Break Bad Business Habits

strategy+business, December 13, 2017

by Theodore Kinni

Back in the day, reading the newspaper on my morning commute to Manhattan was an origami-like exercise in folding and refolding. I never wondered why newspapers were printed on broadsheets that were too big for the bus. But Freek Vermeulen did. The clumsily sized standard for newspapers of record peeved him.

It took the associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the London Business School years to ascertain that the widely used broadsheet dated back to 1712. That’s when the English government began taxing newspaper owners by the number of pages they printed. Bigger pages meant fewer pages and thus less tax. The tax was eventually abolished, but the broadsheet remained the standard — even though the cost of the paper was high and its unwieldy handling irritated readers such as Vermeulen.

In 2003, an English newspaper bucked the long-established standard. The struggling Independent ran an experiment. It offered its paper in broadsheet and in a format exactly half that size in one market. The smaller paper outsold the larger by three to one. The Independent’s leaders quickly adopted the half-size version nationwide, and the paper’s print circulation rose 20 percent annually for several years.

The lesson, says Vermeulen, and the worthy theme of his new book, Breaking Bad Habits: “Killing bad practices can open up new avenues of growth and innovation and reinvigorate your business.” Read the rest here.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Creating Positive Moments for Your Customers

strategy + business, November 22, 2017

by Theodore Kinni

Quick question. Customers rank their interactions with your company on a scale of 1 (very negative) to 7 (very positive). Should you invest more resources in improving the experiences of customers who rank their interactions at a 1, 2, or 3, or those who rank them at a 4, 5, or 6?

When brothers Chip and Dan Heath, a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business and a senior fellow at Duke University’s CASE Center, respectively, asked executives how they invest their resources, the executives estimated that, on average, their companies spend 80 percent of their resources trying to improve the experiences of their unhappiest customers. Yet, report the Heaths, in 2016, when Forrester Research tabulated its annual U.S. Customer Experience Index and modeled the financial results in 16 industries, it discovered that “there’s nine times more to gain by elevating positive customers than by eliminating negative ones.”

This finding supports the main point in The Power of Moments, the latest in a series of formulaic but insightful books by the Heaths that seek to illuminate questions with important business ramifications, such as how to make ideas sticky and how to create change successfully. The point in this case is that “positive defining moments” can produce extraordinary effects in both individuals and organizations. The book explains how such moments are created. Read the rest here

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The €1 trillion challenge in European banking

strategy&, November 8, 2017 

Learned a lot lending an editorial hand on this whitepaper. 
Download or read it here

The €1 trillion challenge in European banking

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Four Ways Nonprofits Can Increase Their Impact

Insights by Stanford Business, November 1, 2017

by Theodore Kinni

People reaching-out from behind a fence

Only a mere 50 years ago were philanthropic and charitable organizations in the U.S. defined as an independent sector distinct from government and business. Since then, the economic impact of the nonprofit sector in the U.S. has grown to $1.7 trillion.

The sector’s sheer heft — it’s larger than the banking and retailing industries — is one reason that Stanford GSB alumni and lecturers Bill Meehan and Kim Starkey Jonker wrote Engine of Impact: Essentials of Strategic Leadership in the Nonprofit Sector, which came out this November. Another is their conviction that the sector has entered a new era, which they’ve named the “Impact Era.”

The good news of the Impact Era is that, by 2025, philanthropists will likely contribute a record $500 billion to $600 billion annually to nonprofits, well above the $373 billion recorded in 2015. The bad news is the nonprofits will still come up short by $100 billion to $300 billion in the funding they require. “In brief, [nonprofits] will need more money, and lots of it,” according to Meehan and Jonker in the introduction to Engine of Impact.

Here, Meehan and Jonker discuss how nonprofits can make up the shortfall and meet the challenges of the Impact Era. Read the rest here.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Do-It-Yourself Oceaneering

strategy + business, October 25, 2017

by Theodore Kinni

INSEAD professors W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne hit the thought leadership lottery 
with the idea of blue oceans. Their 2005 book, Blue Ocean Strategy, Harvard Business School Press, which described the advantages of setting sail for new “blue ocean” markets devoid of competitors versus battling for percentage points of share in mature, commoditized “red ocean” markets, sold more than 3.5 million copies. The two professors, having found their own blue ocean, quickly ascended to the pinnacle of strategic consulting: INSEAD presented them with an institute and built blue ocean strategy into its MBA curriculum. Given all this success, the only truly surprising thing is that it took 12 years for Kim and Mauborgne to publish a follow-up.

For the most part, Blue Ocean Shift proves to be worth the wait. It is a practical, well-written guide to finding and exploiting blue ocean markets, informed by the experiences of companies and other organizations that have chosen to seek them out rather than compete toe-to-toe in established markets. Read the rest here.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Why Entrepreneurs Should Care Less About Disrupting and More About Creating

MIT Sloan Management Review, October 16, 2017

WTF? Book Cover Jacket
by Theodore Kinni

If you’re an entrepreneur or aspiring to become one, Tim O’Reilly is the kind of mentor you should try to enlist. He’s been there and done that in the New Economy since, well, pretty much since there’s been a New Economy.

O’Reilly started writing technical manuals in the late 1970s, and by the early 1980s, he was publishing them, too. His company, O’Reilly Media Inc. (formerly O’Reilly R. Associates), based in Sebastopol, California, helped pioneer online publishing, and in the early 1990s, it launched the first web portal, Global Network Navigator, which AOL acquired in 1995.

Since then, O’Reilly has been an active participant in a host of developments from open source to Gov 2.0 to the maker movement. He is founding partner of San Francisco-based O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures LLC, an early stage venture investor, and he sits on a number of boards, including Code for America Labs Inc., PeerJ, Civis Analytics Inc., and Popvox Inc. He has also garnered a huge Twitter following @timoreilly.

In his new book, WTF?, O’Reilly takes issue with the vogue for disruption. “The point of a disruptive technology is not the market or competitors that it destroys. It is the new markets and the new possibilities that it creates,” he writes. “I spend a lot of time urging Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to forget about disruption, and instead to work on stuff that matters.” In the following excerpt, edited for space, O’Reilly shares “four litmus tests” for figuring out what that means to you. Read the excerpt here.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

How to Keep More of What You Make

Learned a lot about how to shelter wealth in private businesses while lending an editorial hand here. Read the rest at

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Take a Timeout, Leaders

Image result for lead yourself firststrategy+business, October 11, 2017

by Theodore Kinni

On July 4, 1845, Henry David Thoreau went to the woods to live deliberately. After 
spending two years, two months, and two days in a 150-square-foot cabin that he built himself for $28.12 and a halfpenny, Thoreau had worked out the gist of the transcendentalist classic Walden; or, Life in the Woods. In it, he wrote, “I never found the companion that was as companionable as solitude.”

CEOs and other leaders would do well to get on companionable terms with solitude, too, according to first-time authors Raymond M. Kethledge, a U.S. Court of Appeals judge, and Michael S. Erwin, a leadership development consultant and assistant professor at West Point. Leaders don’t necessarily have to get off the grid and live in a hut for two years. But in Lead Yourself First, the authors make an extended argument that leaders should reserve some alone time “to find clarity, creativity, emotional balance, and moral courage.” They illustrate their thesis with numerous examples. Read the rest here.