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Empowerment: The Emperor's New Clothes

by Chris Argyris

Everyone talks about empowerment, but it's not working. CEOs subtly undermine empowerment. Employees are often unprepared or unwilling to assume the new responsibilities it entails. Even change professionals stifle it. When empowerment is used as the ultimate criteria of success in organizations, it covers up many of the deeper problems that they must overcome. To understand this apparent contradiction, author Chris Argyris (Harvard Business School Professor Emeritus and Director at Monitor Co.) explores two kinds of commitment: external and internal. External commitment--or contractual compliance--is what employees display when they have little control over their destinies and are accustomed to working under the command-and-control model. Internal commitment occurs when employees are committed to a particular project, person, or program for their own individual reasons or motivations. Internal commitment is very closely allied with empowerment. The problem with change programs designed to encourage empowerment is that they actually end up creating more external than internal commitment. One reason is that these programs are rife with inner contradictions and send out mixed messages like "do your own thing--the way we tell you." The result is that employees feel little responsibility for the change program, and people throughout the organization feel less empowered. What can be done? Companies would do well to recognize potential inconsistencies in their change programs; to understand that empowerment has its limits; to establish working conditions that encourage employees' internal commitment; and to realize that morale and even empowerment are penultimate criteria in organizations. The ultimate goal is performance.

Managing Global Innovation 6. Organizing for Global Innovation Projects

by Keeley Wilson Yves L. Doz

Managing Global Innovation is an 8-chapter book written by Yves L. Doz and Keeley Wilson of INSEAD and published in 2012 by Harvard Business Review Press. In today's global economy, existing knowledge is the catalyst for innovation, but gathering and using this knowledge depends on global factors which can create barriers to access. The authors provide a practical framework for the successful management of knowledge and innovation by optimizing the "innovation footprint," a framework designed to improve communication and receptivity and facilitate collaboration. The book is divided into four parts that address both theory and practice at each stage of the framework as well as the inherent challenges to innovation. The authors' detailed, practical guide for building and leveraging a global innovation network is based on extensive field research conducted worldwide. In Chapter 6, Organizing for Global Innovation Projects (31 pages), the authors present a three-stage process of identification, definition, and delivery to manage successful global innovation as well as the requirements for embarking on such an effort. Innovation prerequisites include corporate stability, trust between all teams, a shared context, a plan for personal interactions, and adequate planning time. The authors examine each stage of the global project life cycle and a guideline for managing each in table form. The chapter includes several examples of corporate projects as well as a decision tree for structuring and managing global projects.

Managing Global Innovation 5. Improving Receptivity and Communication

by Keeley Wilson Yves L. Doz

Managing Global Innovation is an 8-chapter book written by Yves L. Doz and Keeley Wilson of INSEAD and published in 2012 by Harvard Business Review Press. In today's global economy, existing knowledge is the catalyst for innovation, but gathering and using this knowledge depends on global factors which can create barriers to access. The authors provide a practical framework for the successful management of knowledge and innovation by optimizing the "innovation footprint," a framework designed to improve communication and receptivity and facilitate collaboration. The book is divided into four parts that address both theory and practice at each stage of the framework as well as the inherent challenges to innovation. The authors' detailed, practical guide for building and leveraging a global innovation network is based on extensive field research conducted worldwide. Chapter 5, Improving Receptivity and Communication (29 pages), presents solutions that address the barriers to integration and help companies develop strategies for the transfer and integration of knowledge. The authors present various methods of facilitating communication and receptivity. Global innovation relies on the openness of a company's culture, as several examples demonstrate: Xerox created knowledge tools to promote cultural change; Citibank and Synopsis improved connections between different locations and cultures by enabling data sharing and managing technology. Overcoming contextual differences such as national languages, professional cultures, and expected behaviors is addressed by creating a common language - or shared framework for innovation - as shown by how Siemens developed a design center in Asia. Finally, the authors examine the challenge of leveraging complex knowledge with an in-depth look at the role of experienced and insightful "cosmopolitan" managers, with multiple examples.

Managing Global Innovation 4. The Barriers to Integration

by Keeley Wilson Yves L. Doz

Managing Global Innovation is an 8-chapter book written by Yves L. Doz and Keeley Wilson of INSEAD and published in 2012 by Harvard Business Review Press. In today's global economy, existing knowledge is the catalyst for innovation, but gathering and using this knowledge depends on global factors which can create barriers to access. The authors provide a practical framework for the successful management of knowledge and innovation by optimizing the "innovation footprint," a framework designed to improve communication and receptivity and facilitate collaboration. The book is divided into four parts that address both theory and practice at each stage of the framework as well as the inherent challenges to innovation. The authors' detailed, practical guide for building and leveraging a global innovation network is based on extensive field research conducted worldwide. In Chapter 4, The Barriers to Integration (13 pages), the authors examine how a company's capability of absorbing new knowledge is critical in converting knowledge to successful innovation. There is an in-depth look at common challenges companies face: a lack of receptivity to new knowledge, inadequate connections between IT system and people, and transferring and integrating complex knowledge. The authors also explore the importance of a culture that enables exchange and shared contributions. Without an open culture, a company can suffer from centralized control, a lack of trust, or internal competition, all of which impede shared work.

Managing Global Innovation 2. The Optimized Footprint

by Keeley Wilson Yves L. Doz

Managing Global Innovation is an 8-chapter book written by Yves L. Doz and Keeley Wilson of INSEAD and published in 2012 by Harvard Business Review Press. In today's global economy, existing knowledge is the catalyst for innovation, but gathering and using this knowledge depends on global factors which can create barriers to access. The authors provide a practical framework for the successful management of knowledge and innovation by optimizing the "innovation footprint," a framework designed to improve communication and receptivity and facilitate collaboration. The book is divided into four parts that address both theory and practice at each stage of the framework as well as the inherent challenges to innovation. The authors' detailed, practical guide for building and leveraging a global innovation network is based on extensive field research conducted worldwide. Chapter 2, The Optimized Footprint (30 pages), provides a framework for how a company can create an agile and flexible innovation footprint. First, the authors explore the traditional brick-and-mortar model and the inherent difficulties of relying on physical location. The authors posit that a company's "innovation footprint" should maximize speed and efficiency by balancing location with alternative approaches. They examine three alternative approaches: experiencing in a specific location, foraying via short-term knowledge gathering, and attracting the critical knowledge. The authors define different types of knowledge and explore which alternative approach is best suited to each knowledge type. The chapter includes a real-world corporate examples, including HP Labs India, SNECMA, and Nokia.

How SmithKline Beecham Makes Better Research-Allocation Decisions

by Paul Sharpe Tom Keelin

Shrinking R&D budgets and shorter product life cycles mean investment dollars must be invested with precision if companies are going to stay on the cutting edge in their industries. For a pharmaceuticals company like SmithKline Beecham (SB), the problem is this: How do you make good decisions in a high-risk, technically complex business when the information you need to make those decisions comes largely from the project champions who are competing against one another for resources? Tom Keelin from Strategic Decisions Group and Paul Sharpe from SmithKline Beecham explain how they overhauled the resource allocation processes within the pharmaceutical development function at SB. In 1993, the company experimented with ways of depoliticizing the process and improving the quality of decision making. In most resource-allocation processes, project advocates develop a single plan of action and present it as the only viable approach. In SB's new process, the company found an effective way to get around the all-or-nothing thinking that only reinforces the project-champion culture. In another important departure from common practice, SB separated the discussion of project alternatives from their financial evaluations. The new process at SB has allowed the organization to spend less time arguing about how to value its R&D projects and more time figuring out how to make them more valuable. In the end, the company learned that by tackling the soft issues around resource allocation--such as information quality, credibility, and trust--it had also addressed the hard ones: how much to invest and where to invest it.

Managing Global Innovation 1. The Innovation Challenge

by Keeley Wilson Yves L. Doz

Managing Global Innovation is an 8-chapter book written by Yves L. Doz and Keeley Wilson of INSEAD and published in 2012 by Harvard Business Review Press. In today's global economy, existing knowledge is the catalyst for innovation, but gathering and using this knowledge depends on global factors which can create barriers to access. The authors provide a practical framework for the successful management of knowledge and innovation by optimizing the "innovation footprint," a framework designed to improve communication and receptivity and facilitate collaboration. The book is divided into four parts that address both theory and practice at each stage of the framework as well as the inherent challenges to innovation. The authors' detailed, practical guide for building and leveraging a global innovation network is based on extensive field research conducted worldwide. Chapter 1, The Innovation Challenge (20 pages), examines the challenges that companies face when trying to develop global innovation competencies. While the traditional model of innovation was formerly centered on a company's home market with new developments being sent to other markets, today's economy requires that innovation derive from global sources. The authors summarize the results of their joint survey with Booz & Company and highlight the necessary steps that companies must take to develop knowledge diversification and dispersion. The authors explain why Essilor and Tata Communications exemplify companies with successfully integrated innovation models.

Set-Up-to-Fail Syndrome

by Jean-Francois Manzoni Jean-Louis Barsoux

Why do some employees perform poorly? Most managers would answer this question by ticking off a list that includes weak skills, insufficient experience, inability to prioritize assignments, or sometimes even a lack of motivation. In other words, most managers would contend that poor performance is the employee's fault. But is it? Not always, according to Jean-Francois Manzoni, assistant professor at INSEAD, and Jean-Louis Barsoux, research fellow at INSEAD. Their research with hundreds of executives strongly suggests that it is bosses themselves--albeit accidentally and with the best intentions--who are often responsible for an employee's sub-par achievement. They call this dynamic "The Set-Up-to-Fail Syndrome," and in this provocative look at what makes--and sustains--dysfunctional work relationships, the authors conclude with a detailed description of how to break out of the negative spiral that can drain both individuals and organizations of valuable productive energy.

Power of Virtual Integration: An Interview with Dell Computer's Michael Dell

by Joan Magretta Michael Dell

This interview offers a deeper look inside Dell's highly publicized success and offers managers a model of how traditional relationships in a value chain can be reconceived in the Information Age. The individual pieces of Dell Computer's strategy--customer focus, supplier partnerships, mass customization, just-in-time manufacturing--may all be familiar. But Michael Dell's business insight about how to combine them is highly innovative: Technology is enabling coordination across company boundaries to achieve new levels of efficiency and productivity, as well as extraordinary returns to investors. In this HBR interview, Michael Dell describes to HBR editor-at-large, Joan Magretta, how his company is achieving "virtual integration" with its customers and suppliers. Direct relationships with customers create valuable information, which in turn allows the company to coordinate its entire value chain back through manufacturing to product design. Dell describes how his company has come to achieve this tight coordination without the "drag effect" of ownership.

Even Swaps: A Rational Method for Making Trade-Offs

by John S. Hammond Ralph L. Keeney Howard Raiffa

This article offers insight to any decision maker struggling with a hard choice. Making wise trade-offs is one of the most important and difficult challenges in decision making. The sheer volume of trade-offs, however, is not what makes decision making so hard. It's the fact that each objective has its own basis of comparison, from precise numbers (34% versus 38%) to relationships (high versus low) to descriptive terms (red versus blue). You're not just trading off apples and oranges; you're trading off apples and oranges and elephants. How do you make trade-offs when comparing widely disparate things? In the past, decision makers have relied mostly on instinct, common sense, and guesswork. They've lacked a clear, rational, and easy-to-use trade-off methodology. To help fill that gap, Howard Raiffa, a professor emeritus at Harvard University, John Hammond, a Boston-area consultant, and Ralph Keeney, a professor of systems management at the University of Southern California have developed a system--which they call even swaps--that provides a practical way of making trade-offs among a range of objectives across a range of alternatives. The even-swap method will not make complex decisions easy; you'll still have to make hard choices about the values you set and the trades you make. What it does provide is a reliable mechanism for making trades and a coherent framework in which to make them.

Bringing Discipline to Project Management

by Jeffrey Elton Justin Roe

How many projects in your organization have come in on time and on budget? If you're like most senior managers, the answer is likely to be none, no matter how many data-management systems, team-training programs, project-management software packages, or best practices you've been using. Are the project delays and cost overruns inescapable? One business thinker who says no is Eliyahu M. Goldratt. In his widely read novel The Goal, Goldratt pioneered the theory of constraints as a solution for factories struggling with production delays. Now, in Critical Chain, he extends the theory to the realm of project management. Whether a production process or a new-product-development project is at issue, the theory tells managers not to improve each step in the process but instead to focus on the bottlenecks, or constraints, that keep the process from increasing its output. Reviewers Jeffrey Elton and Justin Roe, consultants at Integral Inc., believe the theory works well for project managers dealing with individual projects. But they argue that senior managers need to take a broader perspective into account in order to manage a portfolio of all but the most innovative projects. And they question whether even properly focused managers can easily overcome the many balkanizing pressures that projects, in all their uncertainty, often fall prey to. To handle such pressures, companies also need talented leaders--a "constraint" that many will have difficulty overcoming.

Discipline of Building Character

by Joseph L. Badaracco Jr.

What is the difference between an ethical decision and what the author, Harvard Business School Professor Joseph Badaracco, Jr., calls a defining moment? An ethical decision typically involves choosing between two options: one we know to be right and another we know to be wrong. A defining moment challenges us in a deeper way by asking us to choose between two or more ideals in which we deeply believe. Such decisions rarely have one "correct" response. Taken cumulatively over many years, they form the basis of an individual's character. Defining moments ask executives to dig below the busy surface of their lives and refocus on their core values and principles. Once uncovered, those values and principles renew their sense of purpose at the workplace and act as a springboard for shrewd, pragmatic, politically astute action. Three types of defining moments are particularly common in today's workplace. The first type is largely an issue of personal identity. The second type concerns groups as well as individuals. The third kind involves defining a company's role within society. By learning to identify each of those three situations, managers can learn to navigate right-versus-right decisions successfully. The author asks a series of practical questions that will help managers take time out to examine their values and then transform their beliefs into action. By engaging in this process of self-inquiry, managers will be gaining the tools to tackle their most elusive, challenging, and essential business dilemmas.

New Mandate for Human Resources

by Dave Ulrich

Mention "human resources" and most line and operating managers groan. Simply put, HR has a reputation for inefficiency and incompetence. But a new and transforming era for HR has arrived, asserts Dave Ulrich, a professor at University of Michigan's school of business. The challenges of today's competitive environment mean that HR must refocus its work away from activities that sap value from the organization and instead focus its efforts on achieving outcomes that improve company performance. Ulrich says HR's radical reinvention must be led by senior managers.

Siblings and Succession in the Family Business (HBR Case Study and Commentary)

by Warren D. Miller Kent Noble Joseph A. Wolking Victor Ney Kelin F. Gersick

How do family businesses handle succession? What happens when siblings compete for the position of CEO? Can nonfamily board members navigate successfully through conflicts among family members? Should they even try? This fictitious case study examines a host of issues with which family businesses regularly grapple. It describes the situation that faces the board of directors of Benson Electric, a rapidly growing family enterprise, upon the unexpected death of CEO and patriarch Buck Benson. Benson, the son of the company's founder, left no succession plan. Caught in the middle of an emotionally torn and feuding family, the directors must determine how to proceed. How can they manage the succession process without alienating family members and worrying employees and customers? In 98108 and 98108Z, four commentators--Joseph A. Wolking, Kent Noble, Kelin Gersick, and Victor Ney--advise the directors on their best course of action.

Preventing the Premature Death of Relationship Marketing

by Susan Fournier David Glen Mick Susan Dobscha

As companies develop more and better ways to understand and respond to their customers' needs, relationship marketing has become the talk of the marketing community. Executives, academics, and consultants alike have the same goal in mind--creating meaningful relationships with consumers that will yield both the cost-saving benefits of customer retention economics and the revenue-generating rewards of customer loyalty. Unfortunately, a close look at consumers suggests that these relationships are troubled ones at best. The things that marketers are doing to build relationships with customers, are, in fact, subverting them. Relationship marketing--what is supposed to be the acme of customer orientation--is falling far short of its mark. Susan Fournier, assistant professor at the Harvard Business School, Susan Dobscha of Bentley College in Waltham, MA, and David Glen Mick, a professor at the University of Wisconsin offer a way to get this concept back on track.

Making the Deal Real: How GE Capital Integrates Acquisitions

by Ronald N. Ashkenas Lawrence J. Demonaco Suzanne C. Francis

Thousands of companies every year acquire other companies, or are acquired themselves. This event is usually painful and messy--and statistics show, it is frequently unsuccessful as well. Nearly half of all mergers fail. One company that has made a fine art of the acquisition integration process, however, is GE Capital, which has integrated hundreds of companies in the past decade. Consultants Ron Ashkenas and Suzanne Francis, and Lawrence DeMonaco of GE Capital, offer four lessons from the company's successful run.

Changing the Way We Change

by Mark Millemann Linda Gioja Richard Tanner Pascale

Companies achieve real agility only when every function and process--when every person--is able and eager to rise to every challenge. This type and degree of fundamental change, commonly called revitalization or transformation, is what many companies seek but rarely achieve because they have never before identified the factors that produce sustained transformational change. The authors identify three interventions that will restore companies to vital agility and then keep them in good health: incorporating employees fully into the principal business challenges facing the company; leading the organization in a different way in order to sharpen and maintain incorporation and constructive stress; and instilling mental disciplines that will make people behave differently and then help them sustain their new behavior. The authors discovered these basic sources of revitalization by tracking the change efforts of Sears, Roebuck and Co., Royal Dutch Shell, and the United States Army. This article is one of the first practical revitalization guides to appear anywhere, and it is based not on theory but on actual experience.

To Diversify or Not to Diversify

by Constantinos C. Markides

One of the most challenging decisions a company can confront is whether to diversify. The rewards and risks are extraordinary. Success stories such as General Electric, Disney, and 3M abound, but so do stories of failure--consider Quaker Oats' entry into the fruit juice business with Snapple. There has been much talk about the importance of strategic focus for companies in recent years, so much so that diversification as a corporate strategy has gone out of vogue. In this article, London Business School Professor Costas Markides argues that companies may be overlooking significant growth opportunities by abandoning diversification moves. In order for diversification to work, though, he proposes that companies consider a number of essential questions before they leap into new business: What business am I in? Do I have all of the critical success factors? Can I break up my core competencies? The answers to these and other questions may make the difference between success and failure in the new business. Much has been written about "focusing on core competencies," while diversification has been largely ignored. And yet, diversification can be a powerful way to grow a business.

Spark Innovation Through Empathic Design

by Dorothy Leonard Jeffrey F. Rayport

Almost all companies today compete to some degree on the basis of continuous innovation. And many turn to customers for information to guide that innovation. The problem is that customers' ability to guide new product and service development is limited by their experience and by their ability to imagine and describe possible innovations. How can companies identify needs that customers themselves may not recognize? A set of techniques Harvard Business School Professors Dorothy Leonard and Jeffrey Rayport call empathic design can help resolve those dilemmas. Its basic principle is observation--watching customers use products or services. But the critical twist is that such observation is conducted in the customer's own environment--in the context of normal, everyday routines. In such a context, the company is privy to a host of information that is not accessible through other observation--oriented research methods such as focus groups or usability laboratories. This article explores a new way for companies to spark innovation--a new way for them to identify consumer needs, and thus design successful new products to meet those needs. The techniques of empathic design--effectively gathering, analyzing, and applying information gleaned from observation-are familiar to top engineering/design firms and a few forward-thinking manufacturers, but are not common practice.

When Consultants and Clients Clash (HBR Case Study and Commentary)

by David H. Maister Robert H. Schaffer Idalene F. Kesner John Rau Charles. J. Fombrun Sally Fowler

This fictitious case study by Idalene F. Kesner, the Frank P. Popoff Professor at Indiana University, and Sally Fowler, assistant professor at Victoria University, explores the issues that arise when the wires get crossed between a team of consultants and their key client. The client is the CEO of a newly-merged company; the consultants have been hired to help knit together the two former companies' policies and cultures. Unfortunately, the client's impression of the current status of the new company and the consultants' assessment of the situation facing them are vastly different. In 97605 and 97605Z, John Rau, Charles Fombrum, Robert H. Schaffer, and David H. Maister advise the consultants and the client about their options, offer their perspectives on what makes a good client/consultant relationship, and discuss the difficulties that face newly merged companies.

Myth of the Top Management Team

by Jon R. Katzenbach

Companies all across the economic spectrum are making use of teams, but many senior executives and CEOs have become frustrated in their efforts to create teams at the top. Too often, they see few gains in performance from their efforts to be more teamlike. And they recognize that the rest of the organization knows that the senior group doesn't really work together as a team. Nevertheless, a team effort at the top can be essential to capturing the highest performance results possible--when the conditions are right. Good leadership requires differentiating between team and non-team opportunities, and then acting accordingly. Jon R. Katzenbach, a partner at McKinsey & Co. in New York City and the author of Teams at the Top: Unleashing the Potential of Both Teams and Individual Leaders (Harvard Business School Press, in 1997) explains why teams at the top are often ineffective--and when they can be essential to capturing the highest performance results for their organization.

Strategy Under Uncertainty

by Patrick Viguerie Hugh Courtney Jane Kirkland

What makes for a good strategy in highly uncertain business environments? How do executives choose a clear strategic direction when no amount of sophisticated analysis will allow them to predict the future? The authors, consultants at McKinsey & Co., outline a new approach for dealing with the high levels of uncertainty that regularly confront managers today. This article explains how to make crucial distinctions among the levels of uncertainty managers face, and then how to choose a strategic posture appropriate for that level. This strategy framework helps managers to tailor a portfolio of actions--comprising big bets, options, and no-regrets moves--to the uncertainty at hand. An important and timely addition to the strategy arsenal, this article offers a discipline for thinking rigorously and systematically about uncertainty.

What's Wrong with Strategy?

by Marcus Alexander Andrew Campbell

Why is it that successful strategies are rarely developed as a result of formal planning processes? What is wrong with strategy or the way most companies go about developing it? Andrew Campbell and Marcus Alexander, seasoned practitioners of the art of strategy, who consult, teach and do research at the Ashridge Strategic Management Centre, offer a "common sense" piece on why the planning frameworks managers use so often yield disappointing results. Strategy, they explain, is not about plans but insights. Strategy development is the process of discovering and understanding insights and should not be confused with planning, which is about turning insights into action. The answer is not new planning processes, better designed plans, or more effort. The answer is for managers to understand two fundamentals--the benefit of having a well-articulated and stable purpose and the importance of discovering, understanding, documenting, and exploiting insights about how to create value.

What's Stifling the Creativity at CoolBurst? (HBR Case Study and Commentary)

by Gareth Jones Teresa M. Amabile Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries Suzy Wetlaufer Elspeth Mcfadzean Paul Barker

This fictitious case study explores the challenges facing CoolBurst, a Miami-based fruit-juice company. For over a decade, CoolBurst had ruled the market in the Southeast. Why, then, are its annual revenues stuck at $30 million, and why have profits been stagnant for four years straight? CoolBurst's new CEO, Luisa Reboredo, knows that the company's survival--and her own--depend on the answers. Reboredo has succeeded former utilitarian CEO Garth LeRoue. While LeRoue had undeniably made CoolBurst into the well-oiled machine it was, he'd also been stubborn in enforcing a culture of tradition, self-discipline, and respect for authority--a culture so staid and polite, it left little room for employees to be creative. LeRoue, for instance, had almost fired two of CoolBurst's most creative employees for inventing four new drinks without his permission. Sam Jenkins, one of those employees, had been so angered by the incident that he left the company to work for CoolBurst's largest competitor. How can Reboredo encourage her employees to start thinking creatively. And how can she nurture any creative individuals who may join the company in the future? In 97511 and 97511Z, commentators Paul Barker, Teresa M. Amabile, Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries, Gareth Jones, and Elspeth McFadzean offer advice on this fictional case study.

Managing in an Age of Modularity

by Kim B. Clark Carliss Y. Baldwin

Modularity is a familiar principle in the computer industry. Different companies can independently design and produce components, such as disk drives or operating software, and those modules will fit together into a complex and smoothly functioning product because makers obey a given set of design rules. As businesses as diverse as auto manufacturing and financial services move toward modular designs, the authors say, competitive dynamics will change enormously. Leaders in a modular industry will control less, so they will have to watch the competitive environment closely for opportunities to link up with other module makers. They will also need to know more: engineering details that seemed trivial at the corporate level may now play a large part in strategic decisions. Leaders will also become knowledge managers internally because they will need to coordinate the efforts of development groups in order to keep them focused on the modular strategies the company is pursuing.

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