from the world's big
During a Recession, Think Radically
Over the past twenty years, Hamel has authored 15 articles for the Harvard Business Review. He has also written for the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, The Financial Times and many other leading publications around the world.
Hamel's books, Leading the Revolution and Competing for the Future, have appeared on every management bestseller list and have been translated into more than 20 languages. His latest book, The Future of Management, was published by the Harvard Business School Press in October 2007 and was selected by Amazon.com as the best business book of the year.
Since 1983, Hamel has been on the faculty of the London Business School where he is currently Visiting Professor of Strategic and International Management.
As a consultant and management educator, Hamel has worked for companies as diverse as General Electric, Time Warner, Nokia, Nestle, Shell, Best Buy, Procter & Gamble, 3M, IBM, and Microsoft. His pioneering concepts such as "strategic intent," "core competence," "industry revolution," and "management innovation" have changed the practice of management in companies around the world.
Hamel speaks frequently at the world's most prestigious management conferences, and is a regular contributor to CNBC, CNN, and other major media outlets. He has also advised government leaders on matters of innovation policy, entrepreneurship and industrial competitiveness.
At present, Hamel is leading an effort to build the world's first "Management Lab." The MLab is a pioneering attempt to create a setting in which progressive companies and world renowned management scholars work together to co-create "tomorrow's best practices" today. The goal: to radically accelerate the evolution of management knowledge and practice.
Question: What’s the secret to innovation?
Gary Hamel: Today everybody knows that innovation is important and in a downturn, it's more important than ever before, because the only way that you can kind of maintain your growth trajectory, the only way you can outperform your competitors in a downturn, is if you're out innovating them. And the good news about innovation is that there's very little correlation between investment and return. There are companies that have ploughed a lot of money into some new technology. Think of all the money the auto companies have put in over the last few years into fuel cells. It may or may not pay off. I think of Motorola with their big satellite phone project a decade ago, Iridium. You could invest a lot of money in something and have almost nothing to show for it.
On the other hand, there are a lot of examples where people have come along with fundamentally just a new idea, a new concept, and it was so powerful, so intriguing, it takes off with very little investment at all. Facebook, for example. I don't know what it took to start Facebook as a company, but it's probably a decimal point in the average Fortune 500 organization.
So that's a great thing. I mean, innovation is much more about the quality of the idea and its power. In fact, the more truly innovative an idea, usually the less money you need to blow it into the marketplace because it's going to sail with its own momentum. People are hungry for the thing, it creates new value, meets new needs. It's going to be easy to sign on business partners who will help you to defray the risks and so on.
So rather than thinking that a recession is somehow toxic to innovation, a recession is a perfect time to turn up the heat in the organization, to really be asking people for ideas that are more radical. Not necessarily more risky, not things that require more investment, but things that really do have the power to change customer expectations, industry economics, have the power to change the basis for competitive advantage. We need those ideas more in a recession than in any other time.
But innovation is not only about products. It's not only about new strategies and new business models. Perhaps the most powerful form of innovation of all is innovation in management itself. And we don't think usually about management innovation, that's kind of almost even an oxymoron. But when you go back over the last 100 years and you look at competitive history. You ask yourself, what accounts for big and enduring shifts in competitive advantage? How did leadership in the auto industry move from Ford to General Motors and Toyota? Why was it GE at the beginning of the 20th century that became one of the world's first great industrial companies? Why Visa rather than all those other potential credit card companies that were vying for industry supremacy 30, 40 years ago? What happened there?
When you go back and you review that history, you find that those enduring shifts in leadership were not primarily the result of product innovation or strategy innovation. They were the result of management innovation. General Electric back in the beginning of the 20th century, working with Thomas Edison, to invent the world's first R&D labs. People had been doing science forever, but GE brought management discipline to science, so that Edison could say, we'll produce a minor breakthrough every six weeks, a major breakthrough every six months. They put science on a schedule and within a few decades, GE had more industrial patents than any other company in the world.
Think about Ford, really perfecting the assembly line. This whole new way of bringing people together. Running a highly vertically integrated company. Coordinating all of those inputs to produce the Model T. Or a couple of decades later, General Motors invents the divisionalized organization structure. So centralized finance, centralized policy, decentralized operations. You let divisions even compete with each other, which was a radical idea and that fueled General Motors past Ford.
Sadly, it was the last time that General Motors was a management innovator. And then you look at Toyota about 30 years ago. The great idea at Toyota was not about quality or efficiency of a lean manufacturing, the great bold idea was a management idea. The idea that you could train ordinary people to be extraordinary problem solvers. You teach them statistical process control, pareto analysis. You give them the right to stop a billion dollar production line if they see a problem. That was a management breakthrough and it was so profound and such a radical reshaping of responsibilities inside the organization, that it took their American competitors more than a generation to truly figure out what Toyota had done.
Recorded on August 15, 2009
There’s no better time to innovate than during tough times, says management guru Gary Hamel, especially because the best ideas often require the least financial investment.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.
- The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
- Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>
A new swine flu in China<p>Last week, researchers in China also reported another public health concern: a new virus that has "all the essential hallmarks" of a pandemic virus.<br></p><p>In a paper published in the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/23/1921186117" target="_blank">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a>, researchers say the virus was discovered in pigs in China, and it descended from the H1N1 virus, commonly called "swine flu." That virus was able to transmit from human to human, and it killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide from 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>There's no evidence showing that the new virus can spread from person to person. But the researchers did find that 10 percent of swine workers had been infected by the virus, called G4 reassortant EA H1N1. This level of infectivity raises concerns, because it "greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses," the researchers wrote.
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.
Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Times of crisis tend to increase self-centered acts.