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Tim O'Shaughnessy, the 29-year-old CEO of LivingSocial, is growing a revolutionary worldwide business of "daily deals"-in which retailers offer a heavily-discounted product or service available for purchase for brief (often 24-hour) windows. The case explores the complicated sharing of risks and rewards between LivingSocial, participating retailers, and customers, focusing on the return on investment in both the short- and longer-term for LivingSocial's retail partners. In addition, given the rapid growth of the daily deals space and the accompanying proliferation of competitors including Groupon and Amazon.com, the case focuses on the need for constant innovation in product offerings to maintain differentiation from copycats.
When you recognize that talent management is a business problem, it makes sense to apply what you know about structuring challenges in ways that are most cost effective. This chapter explains how to structure internal development to reduce uncertainty and lower costs by using techniques from operations research. These techniques include shortening the forecasting cycle, relying on the principle of portfolios to reduce variability, and reorganizing the delivery of developmental programs to improve responsiveness.
CEO Michael Collins must decide if and how a process he developed to further innovation in the kids' industry could port over to other industries. The process was based on Collins' experiences as an inventor and as a venture capitalist, and it allowed his company to be an intermediary between inventors and innovation-seeking companies. The process seemed to be working quite well in the kids' industry and Collins had to decide what would "travel" to a different vertical.
Distribution center operations (from order taking to order fulfillment) and the importance of attending to process details at Arrow Electronics, a large distributor of electronic components and computer products are described. The case also details the actions the company takes to achieve and maintain accurate inventory records and the importance of inventory record accuracy to the company's strategy.
The way you frame your decision at the outset can make all the difference. This chapter describes one of the keys to effective decision making: stating your decision problems carefully, acknowledging their complexity and avoiding unwarranted assumptions and prejudices.
Involves the copyright issues associated with Bram Cohen's revolutionary program BitTorrent, which makes it possible to transfer very large files, such as movies, at a high speed over the Internet. The program, which is available for free over the Internet, is used for peer-to-peer sharing of movies and music and for the legitimate distribution of licensed software, including games. Discusses Warner Bros.' online distribution strategy as well as the negotiations between BitTorrent and the Movie Picture Association of America and Warner Bros. that ultimately led to Warner Bros.' agreement to make BitTorrent its first authorized peer-to-peer film distributor.
CFO tests company's revenue recognition practices against the recently issued SAB 101 requirements and proposes plan for adoption of SAB 101.
Operational and Strategy Review Meetings: Keeping the Organization on a Strategic Trajectory for Breakthrough Performanceby Robert S. Kaplan David P. Norton
With strategy and operational plans in place, the enterprise embarks on executing the strategy: producing and delivering products and services to customers, implementing initiatives, and improving processes. However, like mission control after a spaceship has been launched, the enterprise needs to continually monitor and adjust its performance to achieve strategic objectives. Managers guide the enterprise by holding a structured set of meetings that deal with operational and improvement programs and review the strategy and adjust or transform it as needed.
Supplement for case 713042
In spite of its abundant energy resources, Nigeria in 2012 had one of the lowest levels of energy use in the world. Self-generation of power from costly generators was double that of grid-supplied electricity. The history of its power sector was one of inefficient monopolies, missteps, and corruption. But a wholesale change to the market, designed under reformist President Obasanjo and pushed forward by President Jonathan, promised greater efficiencies and investment guided by private-sector principles including widespread privatization, pricing reforms, and reliance on firms to produce and distribute the electricity. Power producer firms on the sideline needed to decide whether they wanted to be a part of this new market.
In its third year of existence and poised to double its workforce, Warby Parker attributed its success to an innovative approach in the eyewear industry and to the company culture that supported it. With a mission combining social and business goals, the company had articulated a stakeholder-centric model that benefited consumers through high-quality, fashionable, and affordable eyewear: the global community by donating, through sustainable channels, one pair of glasses per every pair sold; employees through a fun culture and inspiring work; and the environment, by becoming carbon neutral. The case covers the decisions that Warby Parker must make at the beginning of its third year of existence as a consequence of growth and in order to avoid losing momentum. Some of the challenges that Warby Parker faced were maintaining the company culture, finding adequate partners to preserve the quality of the "Buy a Pair, Give a Pair" program, and devising an integrated online and offline marketing strategy that fit the brand personality.
In mid-1993, representatives of Rhone-Poulenc, a leading nationalized French firm, worked with the French government to plan the imminent privatization of the firm. One aspect of the privatization was to create incentives for employees to buy and hold shares in the firm. A partial privatization earlier in 1993 proved that workers were reluctant to hold equities, even after receiving discounts and subsidized financing. The key financial officers of the firm received a proposal from Bankers Trust that would offer employees a unique investment in the firm, which might increase employee participation in the share offering. This alternative would guarantee employees a minimum rate of return yet allow them to enjoy appreciation of the firm's shares. The financial officers have to decide whether to propose this employee stock ownership alternative to the French government and to Rhone-Poulenc's board for inclusion in the forthcoming privatization.
Sometimes the trials of leadership may lead to doubts about basic motivation. Why persevere under such conditions? This chapter explores the question of meaning in life and in work. If a leaders' motivation stems from a desire to make a contribution or effect positive change in an organization or in people's lives, then he or she will likely be prepared to dig deeper to achieve his or her goals. This chapter was originally published as Chapter 10 of "Leadership on the Line."
Two partners of Warburg Pincus, a global private equity firm, are trying to decide whether to take a portfolio company public, and on what exchange. The company, Norway-based ElectroMagnetic GeoServices (emgs), has developed a market-leading technology that determines whether an undersea rock formation contains oil -- prior to the oil company drilling a hole. With its high-growth characteristics, emgs is very different from the typical oilfield services company, and would be more suitable for floating on the NYSE or LSE, where liquidity and valuations would also be greater than on the Oslo Bors, the other possibility. Yet floating in the U.S. would involve greater compliance expense and might also require the management team to move to New York or Houston, something the team is reluctant to do. The partners need to decide what to do before the IPO window for energy-related companies closes.
Anatolia National Telekom is a multiparty negotiation simulation patterned after the Turkish government's aborted attempt to privatize its state-owned telecommunications monopoly, Turk Telekom, in late 1997. Provides participants with an opportunity to identify and negotiate complex issues related to the valuation and sale of a state-owned enterprise in an emerging market. Members of each negotiating team are valuing a 20% equity stake being offered by three "selling" teams to three prospective "buying" teams representing different types of foreign investors.
If history is any guide, innovation will continue to flourish no matter how difficult the environment. And today's tough times might lead to seminal changes in the world of innovation. Disruptive attackers thrive in downturns by taking advantage of teetering giants to drive into progressively more lucrative market tiers. This chapter highlights ten specific disruptors (stand-alone companies or products) that could emerge as powerhouses out of the current economic crisis and points to two broad areas of disruptive opportunity. This chapter is excerpted from "The Silver Lining: An Innovation Playbook for Uncertain Times."
Putting ordinary citizens into space strikes most people as crazy. Space is a frontier that the vast majority of humanity currently has no access to, no interest in, and wonders why anyone should spend exorbitant sums of money to travel to. To even consider such a venture flies in the face of conventional wisdom, which is why the privatization of spaceflight represents a unique case study in iconoclasm. The key players are all people who exemplify the three characteristics of iconoclastic thinkers: they see differently, deal with fear, and have high levels of social intelligence.
With an almost forty-year history as a business in China, the Wanxiang Group has navigated through the significantly different political and economic changes in China to succeed as a global leader in the auto parts industry, and to develop into a broad business conglomerate. Beginning in 1994, when it first began its operations in the United States, Wanxiang started to expand its role as a parts supplier into a discerning acquirer of distressed companies in the U.S. While it saw acquisition as an exciting means for growth, company strategy at its Hangzhou, China headquarters also included vertical integration with a goal of developing a full-on electric car. Were these two goals divergent or complementary: mutually supportive or exclusive?
This chapter documents three case studies of strategy maps in private-sector companies Northwestern Mutual, Media General, and Volvofinans. These organizations use the strategy map to clarify strategy at the execution level; communicate strategy to employees; align business units, departments, functions, and initiatives; and focus management processes.
Knowledge workers are the innovators, designers, and marketers of your company's products and services. They are also the strategists, executives, and IT specialists whose ideas and expertise fuel your success. The question is: Are they delivering their best performance? This chapter defines the knowledge worker and the growing importance of this segment of the workforce, explaining how managers can harness the skills of these individuals. This chapter is excerpted from "Thinking for a Living: How to Get Better Performance and Results from Knowledge Workers."
Many teams encounter problems operationally when the work first begins. Work patterns may develop that hinder the planned vision of the team. This chapter examines key aspects of team operations that help create the most effective group possible.
Traditionally, whenever you have a generation gap, it includes suspicion from the dominant group about what the rising cohort is prepared to contribute. Never has that been more the case than with boomers who question the work ethic of twenty-somethings. It turns out, however, that five of the values that most set this generation apart from older generations--values derived largely from their emersion in a world of video games--have surprising potential to drive great professional performance. This chapter is excerpted from "The Kids Are Alright: How the Gamer Generation Is Changing the Workplace."
This chapter introduces some common themes that have emerged as the author has contemplated common mistakes in how companies manage their people and their business in his weekly column for Business 2.0.
Human communities have always had to acquire new adaptive capacity. With each new wrinkle of complexity, often generated by new technologies, people have had to invent and discover new ways of living and doing business across group boundaries. So it should come as no surprise that in the face of our ever-changing and globalizing technologies, practices, and aspirations, we face important challenges for which our current repertoire of strategies for managing relationships across groups will not suffice. In this chapter, Ronald Heifetz, founding director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, briefly outlines the kind of work required when organizations and communities face intergroup problems requiring some degree of new organizational or cultural adaptation. Here he focuses on three aspects of adaptive work: the commonality of loss, the politics of inclusion and exclusion, and the task of renegotiating loyalties. This chapter was previously published as chapter 10 of "Crossing the Divide: Intergroup Leadership in a World of Difference."
Wang Jianlin, founder and Chairman of the Dalian Wanda Group (Wanda) kept close tabs on one of his flagship projects going up on the shores of the Yellow Sea. There construction was underway on Wanda Studios Qingdao, the largest film and production facility in the world. The studio was a key initiative of Wang, a central player in the country's rapidly growing movie business. Wanda was already the largest theatrical exhibitor in the world, but the studio represented an enormous bet on a less familiar part of the value network of the film industry. Its vertically-integrated approach was also quite different from the Hollywood of today, which has evolved to a much more specialized division of labor.
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