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Jeff Jarvis runs the internet and media blog Buzzmachine.com, writes about media for The Guardian, teaches at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism, and is the author of What Would Google Do? (our book review here). We spoke with Jarvis recently about his book and how he sees the world as changing in the 12 months since its publication. The transcript of the interview follows.

IESE/IME: Could you tell us a little bit about your book, and what you hoped the impact of your book would be?

Jeff Jarvis: The idea behind What Would Google Do? was not to write about Google so much as to write about the changes in our world. I believe that we’re going through something much more than a recession right now, we’re going through a fundamental shift from an industrial economy to whatever follows, a digital-based economy that operates very, very differently. My real thought was that one could try to understand that by looking at companies that are succeeding in this new reality, that understand this new reality, and who better than Google. Read the rest of this entry »

The ‘big insight’ model of creativity is wrong; creativity comes from the outside, and you can increase your chances of getting good ideas by immersing yourself in new environments. We have published a short article on the subject in IESE Business School’s alumni magazine – a special edition with a focus on IESE’s new campus in New York.

You can get the article in PDF or get the Spanish-language version (full magazine).

Our new case study on pfizerWorks, an innovative service that allows Pfizer’s employees to outsource the boring parts of their jobs, has just been published and is now available for purchase via IESE Publishing (link below).

About the case
The case follows Jordan Cohen, the architect behind pfizerWorks, through the five years it took him to build the service from a loose idea into a large-scale, highly innovative service offering, all while working inside the world’s largest pharmaceutical company. Through the work of Cohen and his team, the case highlights the special demands faced by innovators in large companies, including the need for trust-building, the ability to navigate internal politics, and the process of selling your ideas to internal stakeholders.

The case also yields unique insights into the challenges and opportunities of using global sourcing from countries such as India, as well as the possibility of using technology to radically enhance the productivity of knowledge workers.

Where to get it
The case study can be found here: Jordan Cohen at pfizerWorks: Building the Office of the Future

UPDATE:
The pfizerWorks case has now also been picked up by Gary Hamel (in his MIX initiative) and by Ron Ashkenas on HBR’s blog.

By Paddy Miller and Azra Brankovic

Have you noticed that more and more video interviews and podcasts are done by amateurs (someone in the office) with a Flip or a Kodak Zi8 camera. Easy to use and download images that are good enough for any internal company presentation and come at 100th of the cost of getting professionals in to do it. Take a look at YouTube and you’ll find millions of homegrown movie makers doing their own material. Many podcasts and webinars are done directly from the office and with minimal technical ability. Wired (10/27/09) talks about it as “The Good Enough Revolution” — where just-good-enough products are gaining share (cheap netbooks, shaky phone calls over Skype, watching movies on laptop screens) because we are prizing accessibility and ease of use over quality, and indeed the notion of “quality” is being re-defined to mean cheap, accessible and easy to use. We’re busy, mobile, and wanting something that’s going to work.

Vijay Govindarajan writes about GE learning fast how to turn the good-enough-revolution into big bucks in his HBR article “How GE Is Disrupting Itself.” Vijay talks about GE spending $3 billion to create at least 100 health-care innovations that would substantially lower costs, increase access, and improve quality. Note the correspondence of those last three terms with the above. We believe “quality” here does not mean premium quality, but improved quality in the sense of just good enough. Read the rest of this entry »

Day Two of this year’s World Business Forum featured Gary Hamel speaking about management innovation.  The content of his talk was familiar to us—he spoke of the need for management itself to change, away from the traditional, top-down model of the past 100 years and toward a tapping of the creative potential of all employees.  He pointed to the flat structure at materials company W.L. Gore as exemplary in this regard.  The company does not have titles; rather, people are asked to be “leaders” by their co-workers. 

Traditional management had dealt with answering questions such as “how to turn fractious humans into semi-programmable robots,” Hamel said, with the suggestion that we have moved on from the need for this sort of management.  This turned us back to Patrick Lencioni’s talk on Day One of the forum, on leading successful teams.  Fractious humans were very much present in that talk—not in the sense of people stubbornly refusing to lift their loads, say, but in the sense of interpersonal conflict in teams.  Read the rest of this entry »

The Australian Business website CEO Forum Group featured an abbreviated version of our article Leading Innovation: Four Dangerous Myths, published by the American Management Association’s MWorld.

It has been announced that A.G. Lafley will be retiring as CEO of Procter & Gamble, remaining Chairman of the organization. After we reviewed a book last year called The Game-Changer[1], written by A.G. Lafley and Ram Charan, his co-author, it might be the right moment to revisit his ideas that constitute his legacy. The book detailed the open innovation system that Lafley had pioneered at P&G over the past half a dozen years that has become known as Connect and Develop. What stood out about The Game-Changer was its lack of feel for the soft side of bringing about change. There were none of the usual human factor stories, the anecdotes about ordinary employees making the big time, in fact there was little feel for people in the book. This was strange because we had met Lafley at an IESE and WSJ breakfast session and he was very much a people person. The book was a long way from his personal style. He came across as a warm, open person with a real passion for P&G, its products and its customers. His presentation was inspiring to listen to and watch; it gave his audience lots of ideas that day about what could and should be done. Read the rest of this entry »

Since this blog now appears to cover tea time encounters we thought you might be interested in a breakfast we had a while back with CK Prahalad, who was very prominent at the recent World Innovation Forum (where he focused on co-creation and the new assumptions of business*).

The power breakfast is an American invention. My dictionary informs me it is an informal meeting relating to influential business or professional practice – as in, met with a high level academic at a power breakfast. It usually combines a lengthy but light meal that could sustain one for the rest of the day together with an action focused business discussion.

The academic is CK Prahalad, everyone calls him “CK” (pronounced see-kay). The breakfast venue is Brasserie Roux, St. James Place, close to the Mall in London. Our power breakfast achieves the opposite to the definition of one – it provides a forum for discussion that sustains one for weeks while, on the gastronomic front, we struggle to keep body and soul together. Read the rest of this entry »

We sat sipping tea out of paper cups. It used to be that you drank coffee out of cartons only when you went into Starbucks. Coffee may be acceptable in a carton, but tea? It calls for some ingenuity to find cups backstage at the Nokia Theatre where Vijay Govindarajan is soon to appear before a packed house. He is one of the main attractions at the World Innovation Forum – the Davos of the innovation world.

He sits with one leg folded over the other, a picture of serenity. We talk about India and cricket. But he is here to talk to everyone else about the subject of his latest book, Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators. He tells me it is based on years of research and I can believe him. He has been working in this area for as long as anyone can remember. He says this gives everything he writes a practical turn – sometimes difficult on issues that are complex. “Forgetting” is one of them. What are the real issues in “forgetting” your past? I ask. He is thoughtful on this and takes his time to answer. Read the rest of this entry »

Our article “Leading Innovation: Four Dangerous Myths” has been published in the American Management Association’s Spring 2009 MWorld:

Leading Innovation: Four Dangerous Myths