25. November 2011
Source: The Economist: Schumpeter
Jim Collins has stayed at the top by practising what he preaches
WHY do some companies flourish for decades while others wither and die? Jim Collins got his start as a management guru puzzling about corporate longevity. Given that Mr Collins has remained at the top of his profession for almost two decades, it is worth applying the same question to him.
How has he produced one bestseller after another? His latest book, “Great by Choice”, is piled high in every bookstore. A previous one, “Good to Great”, sold more than 4m copies. And how has he achieved such oracular influence over bosses? In 2009, for example, Akio Toyoda, the president of Toyota, stunned the car industry by announcing that he had been reading Mr Collins’s “How the Mighty Fall” and had concluded that his company was in the fourth of Mr Collins’s five stages of decline. Read the rest of this entry »
17. November 2011
Source: The Economist
Subject: Where innovation lies
Where are the world’s most innovative companies and what do they do?
Companies that make semiconductors and other electronic components are collectively the most innovative industry, according to an analysis of patents carried out by Thomson Reuters, an information-services provider. Its “Top 100 Global Innovators” report rates companies by the proportion of their patent applications that are granted; the number of “quadrilateral” patents (those granted in China, Europe, Japan and America); how often patents are cited by other companies; and whether patents relate to new techniques or inventions or are refinements of existing ones. This approach is intended to overcome the limitations of using the number of patents filed or granted as a measure of innovation. Of the 100 companies in the list, which is not ranked and relates to patent activity from 2005-2010, 40 are from America, 27 from Japan and 11 from France. No Chinese companies qualified. The report says this “underscores the fact that although China is leading the world in patent volume, quantity does not equate to influence and quality.”
6. November 2011
Source: THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN, NYT
THE world hit seven billion people last week, and I think I met half of them on the road from New Delhi to Agra here in India. They were on foot, on bicycle, on motor scooters. They were in pickups, dented cars and crammed into motorized rickshaws. They were dodging monkeys and camels and cows. Somehow, though, without benefit of police or stoplights, this flow of humanity that is modern India impossibly went about its business. But just when your mind tells you that this crush of people will surely overwhelm all efforts to lift the mass of India out of poverty, you start to notice a pattern: Every few miles there’s a cellphone tower and a fresh-looking building poking out of the controlled chaos. And the sign out front invariably says “school” — engineering school, biotechnology school, English-language school, business school, computer school or private elementary school.
India is still the only country I know where you can find a billboard advertising “physics degrees.”
All these schools, plus 600 million cellphones, plus 1.2 billion people, half of whom are under 25, are India’s hope — because only by leveraging technology and brains can India deliver a truly better life for its masses. There are a million reasons why it won’t happen, but there is one big reason it might. The predicted really is happening: India’s young techies are moving from running the back rooms of Western companies, who outsourced work here, to inventing the front rooms of Indian companies, which are offering creative, low-cost solutions for India’s problems. The late C.K. Prahalad called it “Gandhian innovation,” and I encountered many examples around New Delhi. Read the rest of this entry »