Mutual Exclusivity Kills Innovation

Mutual exclusivity.  It’s when two things can’t happen at the same time.  It’s when two propositions can’t both be true.  It can also be when a business unit is told to both extend its parent company’s core franchise while also being a new growth effort.  You’ve been warned.

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Beware of Core Competence

“Core competence.”  We’ve all heard about it.  The idea of core competence is one of the most sacred in business.  It’s standard in every MBA playbook.  It can also be so fundamentally misunderstood that it’s a trap for the unwary.  Beware! (more…)

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Intuition is for Scoundrels

Whenever you hear the words “intuition” and “decision” in the same sentence… run.  Don’t just run, sprint like a third-grader.  Sometimes this will make you look odd, but that’s a risk worth taking.  To warp a line from Bob Dylan – intuition is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings. (more…)

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When complete decisions are a bad idea

Academic. Theoretical. Anecdotal. These are the kinds of things people say about business decision research – and they don’t mean it as a complement. Research about how people make decisions is often seen as “interesting but useless.”  It passes the time on an airplane but doesn’t lead to better decisions as a practical matter. (more…)

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Business Malpractice and the Dangers of Theory

“Businesspeople” – be they managers, executives, entrepreneurs or investors – are among the most voracious creators and consumers of “theory” on the planet.  This is because businesspeople thrive or perish by the quality of their decisions, so any theory that improves those decisions is precious indeed.  Yet there’s a problem.  While certain disciplines routinely teach the rigors of theory building, it’s all too often absent in business education and practice.  This will not do. (more…)

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Guest Post: Filling the Black Hole to Rejuvinate the US Economy

Guest Post by author Zak Cassady-Dorion

The black hole of financing, the ‘missing middle’, and the ‘opportunity gap’ all refer to the same thing.  There are a huge amount of entrepreneurs with great ideas and great businesses who are not able to grow sufficiently because they don’t have access to capital.  Properly funded, these businesses could go a long ways to help rejuvenate the US economy.  According to one source, over 700,000 fledgling companies that start in the USA each year don’t qualify for traditional bank, PE or VC financing.  Even for the handful that do qualify, the terms of the deal are often onerous and collateral requirements keep them from bringing their innovative solutions to the market place. (more…)

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Revenue-Based Funding by Corporations

There’s a difference between traditional venture capital and corporate venture capital.  While standard VCs are primarily concerned with financial goals (i.e. a high IRR%), corporate venture capital (CVC) groups such as Intel Capital, GE Capital, and the J&J Development Corp. have dual goals: financial and ‘strategic’ value.  CVC investments must somehow assist the core business of their parent companies in addition to creating financial returns. (more…)

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