Reverse Mentoring Cracks Workplace

29. November 2011

Date: 28-11-2011
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Top Managers Get Advice on Social Media, Workplace Issues From Young Workers

Workplace mentors used to be older and higher up the ranks than their mentees. Not anymore.

In an effort to school senior executives in technology, social media and the latest workplace trends, many businesses are pairing upper management with younger employees in a practice known as reverse mentoring. The trend is taking off at a range of companies, from tech to advertising.

Mentors are teaching their mentees about Facebook and Twitter.

The idea is that managers can learn a thing or two about life outside the corner office. But companies say another outcome is reduced turnover among younger employees, who not only gain a sense of purpose but also a rare glimpse into the world of management and access to top-level brass.

Reverse mentoring was championed by Jack Welch when he was chief executive of General Electric Co. He ordered 500 top-level executives to reach out to people below them to learn how to use the Internet. Mr. Welch himself was matched with an employee in her 20s who taught him how to surf the Web. The younger mentors “got visibility,” he says.

Fast forward a decade and mentors are teaching their mentees about Facebook and Twitter. Read the rest of this entry »

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Built to last

25. November 2011

Date: 25-11-2011
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 »


Where are the world’s most innovative companies and what do they do?

17. November 2011

Date: 16-11-2011
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.”


India’s Innovation Stimulus

6. November 2011

Date: 06-11-2011

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 »