LAST Insight
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A Law Against Multitasking 

In an age of multitasking, it's worth remembering Little's Law.

Ribera, Jaume

Little's Law, along with other useful "lean" operations methods and tools, is more applicable to our daily lives than we may think. And as with any law, it's important that we heed it.

The Toxic Side of Mutual Funds 

Did the Nobel Prize-winning work of Harry Markowitz unwittingly contribute to the rise of common ownership today?

Azar, José

In his classic 1952 paper, "Portfolio Selection," financial economist Harry Markowitz developed what is known as "modern portfolio theory." The success of Markowitz's ideas brings us to our current situation: mutual fund companies -- namely, BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street and Fidelity -- are now the world's largest asset managers; and hence a rise in common ownership issues.

Remaining a Competitive Force 

Why have the ideas of strategy expert Michael Porter stood the test of time?

Valentini, Giovanni

Twenty-five years ago, Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter first came to IESE to deliver a session on international competitiveness, a subject on which he is an authority. For more than three decades, Porter's books have shaped the way we think about business strategy. In a field prone to passing fads, his ideas have staying power.

In Search of Effective Business 

Antonio Valero's vision of business policy is as relevant today as when he published his book on the subject 25 years ago.

Calleja, Luis Manuel

As the world rethinks the role of management and the social responsibilities of business in the wake of the global financial crisis, a rediscovery of Antonio Valero's ideas might help light the way.

The Innovation Prophet 

Schumpeter had much more to say beyond the concept of "creative destruction" for which he is famous.

Pastor, Alfredo

Schumpeter deserves to be read again in light of contemporary debates on two topics: "Can socialism work?" and the effects of "the capitalist process" on middle-class families, a subject on which much ink continues to be spilt today.

Un-Artificial Intelligence 

If not for the contributions of Marvin Minsky, inventions like GPS and Siri might not exist today.

Valor Sabatier, Josep

Marvin Minsky -- considered the father of artificial intelligence, who died in January 2016 -- devoted much of his life to understanding how a machine could acquire the same everyday learning as a human.

Possibilism: The Path Ahead 

Albert O. Hirschman resisted the quest for perfect knowledge. Instead he embraced uncertainty and focused on the possible.

Ferraro, Fabrizio

As political and corporate leaders grapple with complex competitive environments and grand challenges like climate change and global poverty, social scientists and management scholars are struggling to offer convincing solutions. In rethinking these issues myself, I rediscovered the work of Albert O. Hirschman, whose fascinating ideas remain relevant to today's challenges.

A Beautiful Mind, Without Doubt 

It would be hard to understand basic economic concepts without the groundbreaking contributions of John Nash.

Ricart, Joan Enric

The late John Nash's intellectual framework for understanding non-cooperative games enriches our perspective, enabling us to grasp the competitive dynamics involving various agents, and make rational choices. This lies at the heart of strategic management, with implications for all functional areas of a company.

What Business Are You In Again? 

Theodore Levitt's classic advice on marketing is worth revisiting in this age of product-focused customization.

Villanueva, Julián

The fundamental question famously posed by Levitt remains as relevant as ever: "What business are you in?" How you answer that question reveals much about your true orientation: "producing products" or "providing customer-creating value satisfactions"?

Quality as Standard 

W. Edwards Deming's ideas on quality control put learning, self-improvement and worker pride at the center of management where they belong

Ribera, Jaume

"Learning is not compulsory ... neither is survival." William Edwards Deming (1900-1993), the American statistician who advanced the concept of total quality management, was famously direct and to the point. As evidenced by his highly influential role in the late 20th century boom of Japanese products and in the resurgence of the U.S. car industry in the 1980s, learning is essential to long-term survival.

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