DEEP Insight
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From Identifying Needs to Generating Opportunities Premium

Discovery Before Solutions

Vilà, Joaquim; Camps, Xavier

When companies encounter problems, they tend to jump straight to solutions. Yet, it can be far more effective to reframe the initial challenge on the basis of customers' needs. This is a key component of design thinking, an approach many companies are using to transform some of the seemingly intractable problems they face. Based on extensive research and practice in this area, the authors outline the initial phase of design thinking, consisting of discovering customer needs and generating new opportunities, and they explain how to put it into practice. In addition, they describe under what conditions problems are best suited for design thinking, presenting real-life situations in which it can be applied, and suggesting some considerations for managers to help ensure effective implementation.

How Design Can Boost Social Impact and Business Results Premium

The Value of Good Design

Sosa, Manuel E.

Many managers approach problems with an engineering mindset: build it the right way and make sure it works. Designers, on the other hand, approach problems with the question: are we building the right thing in the first place? In this article, the author discusses how companies can build a design culture, using examples from EGGS Design in Oslo, Norway, and ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California. The key, he says, is to bring together insight, imagination and iteration -- the three key elements that research and experience show can boost business results while solving complex social challenges, often in surprising ways.

Got an Idea for Your Business? Test Your Assumptions! Premium

Working Back to a Solution

Liedtka, Jeanne M.

Business people are primed to take action to change the present and solve problems. But by jumping straight to solutions before they have thoroughly explored the current reality of the user experience, their grand ideas may fall flat. Although starting with a solution is rarely the best way to go, the author provides tips for those who go this route, suggesting how they can still leverage the design-thinking model to test assumptions and get back on track. Using the example of a U.S. hospital's innovation effort, the author highlights three common challenges that arise when companies get ahead of themselves. Sometimes you need to take a step backward in order to take two steps forward.

Building Blocks for Healthy Alliance Coordination Premium

A Micro Framework for Macro Efficiency

Ariño, Africa; Andreu i Civit, Rafael

The case of a healthcare alliance serves to illustrate how partners can better coordinate their activities to improve their joint performance. Building on the knowledge-based view of the firm, the authors distill the microcomponents that underpin coordination at the intrafirm level, and they extend that framework to the alliance level. By knowing which individual-level capabilities, knowledge pieces, routines and coordination schemes to adjust, the alliance's structure can be fine-tuned, and participants given the training and support they need, to create value and boost the chances of successful interorganizational collaborations.

Does My Partnership Need a Joint Steering Committee? Premium

Governance in Non-Equity Alliances

Reuer, Jeffrey J.; Devarakonda, Shivaram V.

Non-equity alliances have become important vehicles to collaborate with external partners, particularly in the biopharmaceutical industry. To guide these collaborations effectively, partners are using contracts to custom-build jointly staffed managerial units with clearly demarcated decision-making responsibilities. In this article, the authors discuss their research on the conditions that most often favor setting up a steering committee. They suggest that joint administrative control through these committees provides distinct benefits for companies that might otherwise run up against high levels of uncertainty and put proprietary knowledge at risk.

How to Hook Knowledge When Angling for Innovation Premium

Learning Through Licensing

Moreira, Solon

To innovate today, there's no escaping the fact that firms will have to learn how to locate and extract valuable knowledge from beyond the boundaries of their own firm, sector or industry. But how do you venture outside your firm's boundaries, perhaps even allying with rivals, without giving away your own competitive advantage? Licensing knowledge through strategic alliances is one way to do it. But the author sees at least three necessary preconditions for making such arrangements work. Licensing may avoid some of the downsides of M&As, but you need to protect yourself from getting taken advantage of by partners. In a world of disruption, R&D alliances may hold the key to long-term growth and survival.

Globalization Under Fire: How Should Leaders Respond? Premium

Strategic Truths for a Post-Truth World

Ghemawat, Pankaj

While anti-globalization anger has surged and opponents of globalization have won some major political victories, it is important for business leaders not to overreact. Before even thinking about reworking your company's international strategy, make sure you have an accurate picture of the state and trajectory of globalization. Most business leaders have exaggerated perceptions of globalization, which can lead to costly strategy errors. This article debunks such myths and articulates recommendations covering strategy, societal engagement and organizational cosmopolitanism. These recommendations are grounded in two laws of globalization that will endure through the present turbulence.

3 Keys to Shockproof Your Global Supply Chain Premium

Business & Geopolitics

Rosenberg, Mike

As the world shifts to a less stable geopolitical structure, executives may find themselves ill-equipped to handle critical events, from terrorist attacks to civil unrest, which could disrupt supply chains and put operations at risk. Despite growing tensions in the world and the increasing fragility of global supply chains, management teams don't seem to pay sufficient attention to geopolitical threats, for a variety of reasons. This article explains the reasons behind the myopia. The author suggests some practical actions that readers can take, in three key areas, to anticipate and prepare for change, thereby reducing their supply chain's exposure to geopolitical shocks, so that their business prevails over the long term.

Tips for Nurturing Global Leadership Talent Premium

Diversity Management

Reiche, Sebastian

Despite anti-globalization rhetoric to the contrary, cross-border work is increasing, and multinationals are struggling not only to prepare their employees for global leadership responsibilities but to fill the number of international assignments available. Brexit is only the latest excuse for mobility and talent management to be at the top of the CEO agenda. For companies with limited experience in this area, the risks are multiplied. However, there are also great opportunities. This article -- based on the author's research on global work, talent retention and cross-cultural management -- recommends how to nurture global leadership in three talent functions: hiring and promotion; development; and socialization. With practical tips and company examples, he shows that, with the right mindset, executives can rise to today's global leadership challenge.

7 Forces to Success in PPPs Premium

Smart Cities via Public-Private Partnerships

Berrone, Pascual; Ricart, Joan Enric; Ferradans, Hugo; Rodríguez, Miguel; Salvador, Jordi

As more of the world's population moves to cities, businesses have myriad opportunities to carve out new, lucrative niches, using their expertise, knowledge and access to cutting-edge technology and data to help tackle the growing list of challenges being faced by local authorities. This article, based on work by IESE Cities in Motion and PPP for Cities, outlines what businesses can bring to public-private partnerships. The authors explore the types of partnerships available as well as break down the seven forces for success in today's PPPs.

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