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Innovation Is Intentional Evolution
06/18/2013

By Rod Collins

There’s a familiar proverb in business circles: “What got you here today won’t get you there tomorrow.” When change happens, the best leaders understand the importance of recognizing dramatic market shifts and being able to implement innovative strategies to respond to new opportunities. With the sudden emergence of the accelerating rate of change spawned by the digital revolution, business leaders are becoming keenly aware that the survival of their companies may very well hinge on their ability to get innovation right.

Seth Kahan’s latest book, Getting Innovation Right: How Leaders Leverage Inflection Points to Drive Success, is a practical guide for business leaders who, while recognizing that innovation is a strategic necessity, are not quite sure what innovation is or how they go about improving their capacity to use innovation to successfully manage at the pace of change.

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The Key to Managing Complexity: Creative Management
06/10/2013

By Rod Collins

Most businesses today continue to employ a management discipline that was initially formulated in the early twentieth century by the first management guru, Frederick Taylor. Taylor developed the fundamental management model that guided the evolution of the modern corporation throughout the twentieth century. Known as Scientific Management, this model was designed to catapult the efficiency and productivity of workers by applying scientific methods, such as time and motion studies, to discover the best ways for workers to perform the various tasks of production under the close supervision of a hierarchy of managers.

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In Learning Organizations the System is the Star
06/04/2013

By Rod Collins

In response to the corporate efforts to adapt to the new demands of accelerating change and escalating complexity, Peter Senge has identified organizational learning as a critical core competency for meeting the challenges of a faster paced and more complex business world. In his seminal work, The Fifth Discipline, Senge makes the case that most companies fail to adapt to changing business circumstances because they suffer from learning disabilities.

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What Is Knowledge Management?
05/28/2013

By Rod Collins

While knowledge management has become a topic du jour and many companies are embarking on new initiatives to keep up with current management trends, few companies truly grasp just what knowledge management is all about. Most of these initiatives are data storage exercises to record and catalog current and historical factual information. These massive library efforts are designed to leverage the power of technology to assure that the organization has instant access to one of its most precious assets. In this context, knowledge management is nothing more than another form of asset management.

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Management Lessons from the Birds and the Bees
05/21/2013

By Rod Collins

The rapid emergence of the Digital Age is challenging all our assumptions about the ways we work together. As the Internet transforms the world into an interconnected network, we suddenly find ourselves in a world transformed by the unprecedented combination of accelerating change and escalating complexity. While the technology revolution is expanding the power of possibilities, it is also testing the limits of established ways of thinking and acting. Many managers are discovering  that if they want to succeed in the new world of twenty-first-century business, they'll need to master its new rules. If they want to successfully manage great change, they'll need to change how they manage.

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The Management Wisdom of Complex Adaptive Systems
05/07/2013

By Rod Collins

Traditional management assumes that business organizations are closed systems and that managerial hierarchies are the best way to maintain the equilibrium of the company. That's why conventional wisdom favors elaborate control systems so that managers, like engineers and pilots, can apply immediate corrective action to restore balance when things go awry.

However, the new business models of the Digital Age, such as those used by Linux and Wikipedia, are showing us that the most efficient operations behave like complex adaptive systems where self-managing participants, following a set of simple rules, organize themselves to solve incredibly complex problems. Generally, there are no bosses or hierarchies in these open systems, nor are there complicated regulations to govern the collective behavior of the individual contributors.

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Fixing Business Schools
04/23/2013

By Rod Collins

Business schools have increasingly come under fire because the leaders of many of the mighty companies who have fallen over the past several years are graduates from elite MBA programs. Concerned about the possible impact on their endowments, many B-schools are beefing up their curricula by adding ethics courses or adopting Hippocratic-type oaths for their graduates. Although well intentioned, these quick fixes are not likely to have a lasting effect on the business community because they don't address the fundamental root of the problem.

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Why Planning Is No Longer a Strategic Activity
04/16/2013

By Rod Collins

Whether starting a new initiative, dealing with an unexpected  crisis, or solving an emerging business problem, the first step of the traditional manager is usually to draw up a plan of action. Planning provides comfort in the face of complexity because, by defining and sequencing a set of action steps, the manager has the sense that a reliable path to a certain outcome has been put in place. Planning assumes that the world is both stable and predictable.

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Is Jim Collins Looking For The Keys Under The Lamppost?
04/09/2013

By Rod Collins

Jim Collins is one of the most influential business thinkers of our time. His distinct methodology of identifying matched pairs of companies to shed light on how and why high performers behave differently has captivated the readers of his best sellers, Built to LastGood to Great, and How the Mighty Fall. The contrast between what works and what doesn’t work creatively encapsulated in compelling visuals such as the “Flywheel” or the “Hedgehog Concept” has provided harried executives with much needed insights and grounding in an increasingly complex world.

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You Have To Slow Down To Move Fast
03/26/2013

By Rod Collins

One of the biggest challenges confronting business leaders today is learning how to manage at the speed of accelerating change. In times of great change, business advantage belongs to those who can move fast. But, as many of leaders are discovering, moving fast is not as easy as one might think. That’s because those who have mastered this new challenge have learned the paradoxical rule of speed: You have to slow down to move fast.

Perhaps no company has embraced this paradox and used its power to create competitive advantage better than the Toyota Motor Company. Well over 50 years ago, Toyota turned its back on conventional management wisdom, embraced new ways of thinking and acting, and, in the process, transformed a fledgling Japanese carmaker into the world’s largest automotive enterprise.

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How Design Thinking Is Redesigning Business
03/19/2013

By Rod Collins

Whether we like it or not, today's business leaders find themselves in a completely different world with a completely different set of rules. They are rapidly discovering that a 19th-century management model is ill equipped to handle the complex challenges of a 21st-century post-digital world. Tim Brown's Change By Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation is an insightful guide for business leaders who are ready to accept that managing at today's speed of change is only possible if they change how they manage.

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Healthcare Reform: Five Key Strategic Areas for Carriers
03/12/2013

By Ken Barrette and Robert Moss

In a few short months, activities related to the establishment of the new healthcare exchanges will shift into high gear. In July, the administration will begin educating the uninsured on how they can select a carrier and enroll in this new health benefits program. Beginning in October, open enrollment will begin and set in motion the single largest entry of new enrollees into the health insurance market. The historic program goes live in January 2014 as tens of millions of people join the ranks of the insured.

As carriers engage in their final operational preparations for the launch of the new state exchanges and get ready to welcome their newest members, they may also want to focus on five key strategic areas to assure a successful transition into the new world of healthcare.

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Sometimes a Cup of Coffee Is More Than a Cup of Coffee
03/05/2013

by Rod Collins

When Howard Schultz bought Starbucks in 1987, it was just another coffee shop in Seattle with 17 stores and 100 employees. By understanding its market and investing in a value proposition to deliver excellent service to a large untapped segment of coffee drinkers, Starbucks has created a whole new industry with over 10,000 stores of its own along with several look-alike competitors. Starbucks discovered that sometimes a cup of coffee is more than a cup of coffee - at least for a sizable customer segment of 25 million middle class workers.

In a fast paced world of ever increasing change, this sizable group of customers needs more than just a cup of coffee. They also want a place between home and work where they can slow down, relax, take a breath, check e-mails, or just chat with someone who knows their names.

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