Some Ideas Are Better Than Others (and I don’t mind saying so)

Some ideas are better than others. This is a challenge for business strategists, who are voracious consumers of ideas (books, seminars, case studies, articles, blogs, biographies, etc.), but who aren’t typically trained to judge an idea’s quality. This leaves strategists vulnerable to bias, persuasion, poor heuristics and psychophysiological reactions (called ‘intuition’). Everyone from the doorman to the chairman has an…

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Will robots kill jobs, or create them?

A lot of people are worried about losing their jobs to either a robot or a line of code. This anxiety is fair – just ask Encyclopedia Britannica.  Some say 6% of all US jobs will be lost to robots by 2021, others say 38% of US jobs will be automated by 2030, and even in Australia the government estimates…

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Business intuition’s blind spot

I saw this YouTube clip explaining why it can seem as if good-looking people are jerks, and why it seems like healthy food always tastes bad. It made me realize the same effects happen in business, and it’s a bad thing. The YouTube video uses a nifty 2x2 matrix, plotting how "nice" people are versus how good looking you find…

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Push or Pull? …but only if the answer is Push

One of the biggest squabbles in corporate strategy is the “Push vs Pull” debate. Is it better to push technology into the market (‘build it and they will come’) or is it better to focus on finding customer problems first (create ‘pull’ for your products by finding pain points)? Supply or demand? It isn’t a trivial question. Big companies like to push…

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The Low-Down on Down Under: Australia

Why Australia? I’ve had this question a lot since my decision to relocate to Brisbane. Apart from sunshine, koalas and barbecue, what’s the draw? I’d be lying if I said sunshine, koalas and barbecue didn’t influence the decision, but in my first visit to Oz last Fall I found myself surprised by what could be described as an unexpected boom…

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Start Small, Finish Big

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard venture capitalists and executives insist new businesses should target big markets. They also love chasing “hot” markets that are en vogue. There was the renewable energy wave, “the Facebook of…” and early SaaS. More recently we have 3D printing, the Internet of Things, mobile everything and “the Uber of…”. We have FinTech, MedTech, EduTech,…

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Forgetful Elephants

They say elephants never forget. In addition to describing big, lumbering animals, the word “elephant” can also be a nickname for big, lumbering companies (ex. IBM, GE, Walmart). However unlike the grey, trunky animals that presumably never forget, companies and businesspeople suffer from a kind of amnesia; they forget failure. Managers seem to forget failed businesses – full stop. Failure…

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Overconfidence, bad models and delusion

How bad can a predictive model be before people abandon it?  Intuitively, most people assume a model or decision process has to be right at least 51% of the time.  However when it comes to innovation and growth investing, people clutch onto models that are dead wrong 70%, 80% and even 99% of the time.  At what point is this…

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The Future: bigger companies, faster deaths

There are more huge companies than ever before.  That may surprise you, but if you count the number of companies in the Fortune 500 with $5 billion or more in revenue, you’ll find the number has been growing for decades (even when adjusted for inflation or population growth). While there are more huge companies every year, they’re living ever-shorter lives. …

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Hey big innovator, get out of your way!

Why is it so hard for big companies to successfully innovate and launch new businesses?  This has been one of the most popular questions in management theory for decades.  Despite deep pockets and armies of innovators, big companies still fail 70% - 90% of the time, making their odds of new business survival no better than micro-businesses and startups.  Consider…

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