There is not a single day when we don’t talk about innovation, digitalization and the competition between startups and big companies. We might miss the point when we do so, because the fundamental shift occurring is not digitalization by itself but the complexity it generates. Complexity causes a reduction of our capability to predict and makes us need to reinvent the way we design and manage organizations. All our beliefs about business are rooted in a world of simplicity, where the causal links were understandable and the evolution of markets foreseeable. This environment led us to focus on one holy metric, that eventually became an obsession: efficacy.
In a world in which information, capital, and labor are no longer confined by time nor distance, nearly everything has an impact on practically everything else. As traditional barriers to entry crumble, organizations that once operated in separate universes now bump up against each other, competing, collaborating, or both in newly defined markets. The tag team of digital and complex systems is slamming business models and upending corporate cultures, nowhere more so than in the realm of communications. Individuals and organizations need more than merely manage technology. They have to master complexity. That means being able to step back and consider all of the critical components of system.
Successful companies have one secret: trust. One that facilitates managerial relations, allows taking risks or difficult decisions, and also helps develop trade relations. But trust cannot be imposed from the top. How is it created? The heart of trust is recognition. Far from being a moral issue, it is a major managerial challenge, a key to the performance of firms today.
For industrial manufacturers, resources remain a huge financial and managerial cost. A change in perspective can lead to real breakthroughs in reducing resource consumption.
Hidden champions are market leaders that are often not well known by the general public. These small and medium size businesses focus on niche markets that they dominate at a national, regional or even global scale, with a market share often exceeding 70%. Exceptionally numerous in Germany, where they form the backbone of the Mittelstand, they explain both this country's exporting power and its resilience to crises.
Up to recent decades, the enterprise was characterized by a unity of place. Enterprises tomorrow will be characterized by a unity of time, that needed for a project, for a small and large scale contracts, but with no unity of place, inasmuch as the workers can be thousands of kilometres away, in third party office premises or at home, in a remote tele-work mode. Working no longer consists of collaborating with colleagues in a given place built for this purpose, but rather networking with others and organizing a shared sociability. The question is: will the very concept of enterprise survive?
What would it take for algorithms to take over the C-suite? And what will be senior leaders' most important contributions if they do? The advances of brilliant machines will astound us, but they will transform the lives of senior executives only if managerial advances enable them to. There's still a great deal of work to be done to create data sets worthy of the most intelligent machines and their burgeoning decision-making potential. On top of that, there's a need for senior leaders to let go in ways that run counter to a century of organizational development.
The myth of scientific management has all but disappeared, yet the industrial world continues to overvalue methods that have been standardized from outside the business environment, at the expense of creative solutions developed within companies themselves. Isn't it time to change the approach? Michel Berry, founder of the Paris School of Management, has long cultivated an attention to the singularity of situations. But how does one share the intelligence hidden in things singular? How should one train, transmit knowledge and exchange views? Envisioning management as an art overcomes these contradictions.
What makes a great leader? The answer to this question has changed over time, as it refers to the way we form our representations of a company – a well conceived machine, a living body, a spirited team... Trends come and go, representations evolve, formulas change. Yet, the actual core of talent, or even the stroke of genius that makes a difference, seems to escape these formulas. So are management sciences condemned to mere prattle?
Organizational social-media literacy is fast becoming a source of competitive advantage. Learn, through the lens of executives at General Electric, how you and your leaders can keep up.
Companies once viewed corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs with general skepticism and even contempt. How times have changed. Today, businesses around the world, spurred by consumers as well as a rising generation of more socially conscious leaders, are making CSR a priority, embedding it into their operations and using it to attract and keep talent.
Crowdsourcing your strategy may sound crazy. But a few pioneering companies are starting to do just that, boosting organizational alignment in the process. Should you join them?
Big consulting firms play a crucial role in the strategic management of companies. But how did they themselves design strategies of their own? During a seminar in the Ecole de Paris, Christopher McKenna (Oxford University) looked back on the history of an industry characterized by a somewhat ambiguous relationship to innovation.
What exactly is gamification, what is it not, and how will it be changing the way we do business in the next few years? Wharton's professor of legal studies and business ethics Kevin Werbach talks with Rajat Paharia, founder of Bunchball, a tech company that enables businesses to implement gamification, and Daniel Debow, co-founder of Rypple, a social performance management company.
When the French poet Louis Aragon wrote the line "the weight of the future pushes each present moment back to but a memory", its application to either the internet or management would never have entered his mind. And yet, the words of the great poet resonate for the contemporary challenge of information technology in enterprise.
Nearly 40 years ago, telecommuting looked like an unstoppable trend. Today, it still does. Why is this revolution taking so long and what will the future of work look like when it finally arrives?
The less heralded consequence of globalization is the emergence of crises of expanding magnitude which test our ability to coordinate and swiftly execute a response. Truly global institutions such as the World Health Organization govern only specific domains and in most areas of human activity such bodies exist little, if at all. We are stuck with the question of how to respond to the new reality and it was with these stakes in mind that HEC Paris convened a workshop last November to discuss the way forward following the paralysis of European airspace in April 2010 as a result of volcanic activity in Iceland.
The furor over the WikiLeaks affair graced headlines of newspapers across the globe and illuminated the nebulous world of hackers and internet pirates. Questions have been raised over the unseen threads that connect actors on both sides of the law. What links do they have with states and large corporations? Are they completely outside the capitalist system? Piracy has a storied history with lessons for the current situation that Rodolphe Durand, Professor of strategy at HEC and co-author of The Pirate Organization (Harvard Business Press, 2012), recently discussed.