During our 2019 Bootcamp last week, we had the pleasure of hosting Anton Affentranger, former CEO of Implenia, a European construction company with CHF3.8BN in revenues. Alex and Anton discussed innovation within the context of an existing organization. Anton consistently referred to the challenge of innovating at an existing company (exploit portfolio) and how to convince stakeholders to assess innovation differently than execution.
Anton Affentranger has been a high level executive of several large, public companies (CEO of Implenia, Executive Management Member of UBS, CFO of Roche, among others). Anton offered an interesting perspective on innovation within existing companies as he and Alex took the stage at our Bootcamp. Here are some takeaways from Antonâ€™s discussion with Alex.
CEOs are forced to have a short-term perspective. They are bound by quarterly results and expectations. Innovation is not part of an annual report. As a result, there is a mismatch with stakeholder expectations.
Innovation Culture & Readiness:
Innovation has always been a difficult thing to do from a management perspective. CEOs must determine if they have the right innovation culture, the right mindset. While the need for change and growth are constantly growing, CEOs must ask if their organization is ready and capable to innovate and can move as fast as the competition.
Innovation vs Acquisitions:
Spending money on acquisitions is almost easier than engaging in innovation processes. The acquisition price is typically capitalized on the balance sheet. Innovation investments however need to be expensed through the P&L. Also of note, the cost of acquiring innovative companies has grown, and often, startups do not want to be a part of the corporate culture – they want to remain separate entities.
Innovation is a black box. It must be transparent. Executives are often fascinated by innovation but they do not have the toolbox and the confidence to engage in innovation.
Separating Innovation Teams:
One of Antonâ€™s most successful innovation projects was when he created a separate division, gave them a blank piece of paper and gave them one challenge – growth.
It is impossible to have an entrepreneurial mindset and job description within a large company. By definition, an entrepreneur is one whose company ceases to exist when their ideas fail. At an existing, large company, an entrepreneurial mindset is often blocked by layers of management and hierarchy.
Traditional corporate cultures needed several layers of middle management in order to achieve effective communication. Today, anyone can communicate, can reach out to executives, customers, competition, etc. Hierarchy is no longer necessary and can be a roadblock.
The Most Innovative CEOs:
CEOs with control over the company are often the most innovative (like Amazon and Jeff Bezos). These CEOs have a constituency/stakeholders that go beyond quarterly earnings. Crisis can also open the door to innovation – in order to survive, innovation is a must (like Bracken Darrell at Logitech).
For more information on managing innovation in an existing company please check out our blog posts on Execution vs Innovation, Innovation Readiness, the Portfolio Map and the Ambidextrous Organization.
Gloria Vanderbilt was reportedly worth around $200 million at the time of her death. Here’s why she may not will it to her sons.
“Gloria Vanderbilt was 95 years old when she died. What an extraordinary life. What an extraordinary mom. What an incredible woman.”
Regulation has a critical role to play to protect customers and businesses operating in industries that are sensitive to various threats. In complex industries such as the financial industry, regulation is often perceived as a barrier and a burden.
Visual live-drawn by Holger Niels Pohl
As the pace of change in our world has increased, competitive advantages have become temporary. Companies now need to be able to support and nurture innovation – not as one-off projects, but as a repeatable process. Innovation proficiency is no longer optional.
The questions for leaders and intrapreneurs are:
How ready is your company to nurture and support innovation?
Do you have the right leadership support, organizational design and innovation practice?
In this session, Tendayi Viki, Associate Partner at Strategyzer, Thinkers50 2018 Radar Thinker and the author of The Corporate Startup, joins Alexander Osterwalder in an insightful discussion around how companies can assess their levels of innovation readiness using some of our latest insights from the field.
Enjoy the replay!
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New Balance Athletics Inc. has long advocated and benefited from tariffs, competing with Nike Inc. and other footwear companies while still making shoes in the U.S. Now, it’s among the critics of President Donald Trump’s duties testifying at a public hearing starting Monday.
The Boston-based firm said while it supports Trump’s efforts to force China to address intellectual property theft in a trade deal, its U.S. factories are supported by a global supply chain connected to China and built over decades. Duties on soles and other components would hurt the business, as do China’s retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports, the company said.
Trump’s proposed levies “will not just translate into higher costs, but jeopardize our ability to maintain production levels and continue investing in our domestic factories,” New Balance Vice President Monica Gorman said in comments posted online.
The footwear firm is among the U.S. companies lining up for the hearing to drive home a now-common point: Trump’s proposed tariffs are bad for business. But the stakes have never been higher, with the latest wave of threatened duties set to hit essentially all remaining imports from China including mobile phones, laptops, apparel and other consumer items.
New Balance has long pushed to supply U.S.-made shoes to the Pentagon and argued against reducing tariffs on imported finished footwear when the U.S. was negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership with 11 other nations earlier this decade. But Trump withdrew from the TPP in 2017, and his use of tariffs on goods and components has drawn opposition from a swath of U.S. companies and industries.
About 320 officials from U.S. manufacturers, retailers and other companies and trade groups are set to appear over seven days of a hearing. While some companies including Rheem Manufacturing Co. support the duties, most are arguing that Trump shouldn’t tax their products.
While Trump likes to say China is paying the tariffs, economists say it’s U.S. importers that pay them and some of that gets passed to consumers in higher prices. Companies also say they can’t easily avoid them by moving operations outside China, as the president suggests.
It’s the fourth round of hearings, after Trump levied duties on $250 billion of products last year. As talks on a trade deal with China faltered last month, he ordered a tariff increase to 25% from 10% on $200 billion of goods and targeted an additional $300 billion in products — including consumer goods the administration tried to spare in previous rounds.
Hallmark, Forever 21
Some executives are coming to Washington to testify for the fourth time, even though many don’t have much hope of success given that Trump sees tariffs as “beautiful” and leverage for a deal — especially after he said the threat of duties on Mexico produced an immigration pact. Some firms got goods removed from previous tariff lists, only to have them put back.
Retailers including Best Buy Co. Inc., Jo-Ann Stores LLC and Forever 21 Inc. have asked to testify against duties on goods including computer tablets, smartwatches and artificial plants. Hallmark Cards Inc. said greeting cards and Christmas ornaments should be spared because of the impact on retailers, consumers and even the U.S. Postal Service.
Technology products account for more than half the value of the $300 billion, which will raise prices for consumers and could prove “catastrophic” — especially for small- and medium-size firms, the Consumer Technology Association said.
Almost a quarter of the more than 3,800 targeted tariff lines involve goods such as textiles, apparel and footwear, according to the American Apparel & Footwear Association. That’s attracted objections from companies including Ralph Lauren Corp., Columbia Sportswear Co. and Designer Brands Inc.
The proposed duties have also drawn opposition from companies that sell products including eyeglasses, fireworks, books, art, vinyl gloves, skis, fishing equipment, seafood, baby cribs and toys.
“Look out, American toy shoppers here comes the Grinch That Tariffed Christmas!” Wendy Lazar, the founder of I Heart Guts plush toy company in California, posted online.
The tariffs could be imposed after a seven-day rebuttal period following the last day of the hearings.
Trump is still waiting for a response from Chinese President Xi Jinping about meeting to restart trade talks, economic adviser Larry Kudlow said last week, while warning that Beijing may face consequences it if refuses. Trump has repeatedly threatened to raise tariffs if Xi doesn’t meet with him at the G-20 leaders’ meeting from June 28-29 in Osaka, Japan.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross downplayed the prospect of a major trade deal emerging from a possible meeting between the two presidents, telling the Wall Street Journal in an interview Sunday that the most he thinks will happen is an agreement to resume talks.
Walmart Inc., Target Corp., Macy’s Inc. were among about 660 companies and associations that made a plea last week to Trump not to impose additional tariffs on Chinese goods, and to return to the negotiating table to strike a trade deal with Beijing.
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The incident was dubbed “The Great Target Outage of ’19” on social media, with many comparing Target’s struggles to the disasterous Fyre Festival.
Companies are increasingly turning to software suites that can help them streamline their work processes, organize data, and boost productivity.
Even back in 2017, 83% of enterprises were using Microsoft Officeâ€™s software suite to due daily tasks like managing email, writing reports, building spreadsheets, and presenting slideshows. Since then, other software suites like G Suite, which now boasts over five million paid users, have gained steam.
Although many people might interact with suites on a regular basis, some may still be asking, â€œWhat is a software suite?â€�
Also called an application suite, software suites are different from standalone applications because they are a group of apps that link together to create an overarching experience for the user.
Software suite users can often access all of a suiteâ€™s apps from a desktop app or through a web portal. For example, Adobe Photoshop is a photo-editing software within the Adobe Creative Suite. Those subscribed to the suite may also gain access to other apps like InDesign or Illustrator.
Currently, some of the most regularly used suites are built for productivity. Many also use cloud technology to store documents and data.
To help you determine if using a software suite is right for your company, hereâ€™s a list of six commonly used examples.
Cost: $5 per month/user (Business Essentials), $8.25 per user/month (Business), $12.50 per user/month (Business Premium)
Microsoft Office was one of the first software suites of its kind. Now branded as Office 365, it holds Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint. Those who purchase the Business or Business Premium subscriptions can also opt into other 365 services like Exchange, Teams, and Sharepoint.
When multiple employees are using Office 365, they can also share documents the create to one shared cloud, called the OneDrive. This feature is available on all versions of the suite.
Cost: $6 per user/month (Basic), $12 per user/month (Business), $25 per user/month (Enterprise)
Googleâ€™s G Suite is an alternative to Microsoft Office. It is mainly based online and includes Gmail, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Docs, and a number of other productivity tools. Data and documents are saved instantly in Google Drive and can be easily shared with other coworkers that have access to the suite.
The suite also offers simple peer editing and comment features, as well as integration opportunities with other office applications like Slack.
G Suite is quickly getting accepted in the office world because of its price, an easy-to-use interface, live editing, and document sharing features.
To learn more about how you can use G Suite to your advantage, check out our ultimate guide.
3. Apple IWork
Cost: Free for all Apple users
IWork is Appleâ€™s response to Microsoft Office. IWorkâ€™s suite comes with all Mac computers and devices. It includes Pages for writing and reports, Keynote for presentations, and Numbers for spreadsheets. Apple also offers its users some initial free space on its cloud, which can be increased for a price later on.
When using applications in IWork, all of the interfaces are clean, simplistic, and easy to understand. Projects created with any of its applications can also be converted to Microsoft formats.
IWork also allows you to create documents that have a sleak, Apple-styled design. Pages, Keynote, and Numbers offer a wide-variety of templates and design options.. While this is also a benefit on Office 365 templates, it seems to be embraced more heavily on IWork apps.
Cost: $79.99 per user/month (Creative Cloud), $109.98 (Creative Cloud + Adobe Stock)
Users can subscribe to the apps individually or in a bundle. Once users make a purchase, their apps can be accessed and downloaded through the Adobe Creative Cloud website or desktop application.
Users can save projects and data to Adobeâ€™s cloud so that multiple users can work together on one document and share large files without hassle.
Video Embed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4VCTB2Pyio
Cost: Varies based on user numbers
For the more established business, HubSpotâ€™s Enterprise suite includes HubSpotâ€™s Marketing, Sales, and Service Hubs. Customers can also choose to just invest in one or more of the hubs without taking on the full Enterprise suite.
To get more acquainted with the HubSpot software before making a big purchase, the company offers its Customer Relationship Manager, or CRM, for free. With this tool, you can manage customer contacts, track customer activity, and learn more about how the Enterprise Suiteâ€™s tools might help your company.
For those in small businesses or students with a low budget, OpenOffice offers a similar, free suite to Microsoft and G Suite. Users can use the suiteâ€™s applications to make documents, spreadsheets, and slideshows. It does not seem like OpenOffice offers the same cloud storage and sharing options that the other office suites include.
Although OpenOffice has an old-school interface and isnâ€™t as intuitive as the other suites, users can save files to a variety of different formats that will be openable with other software. For example, documents can be saved in Pages or Word format so that someone with IWork or Microsoft Office can view and edit them.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Suite
Whether youâ€™re switching software suites, or choosing one for the first time, be sure to consider these factors:
- Cost: How many users will you need to pay for and how often do you wish to pay?
- Functionality: What are the main tasks that a suite could help you with? Will you use it for creating documents and traditional office tasks, or for audio or visual tasks?
- Necessity: Do you really need all the applications in a suite, or just a few?
- Data: Would you prefer to share and store data via a cloud service or through other means?
- Adoption: How quickly will your company adapt to the suite? Will they need training for any of the applications that theyâ€™ll need to use?