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Opinion: Canadian CEOs facing an innovation disconnect - The Globe and Mail

Both Canadian and global CEOs told us the environment, territorialism and disruptive technologies were their top three concerns.

For Canadian companies, lack of consensus on environmental issues weighs heavily given our disproportionate dependence on the resource sector. And with nearly a third of our gross domestic product tied to exports, growing trade differences with and between Canada’s two largest trade partners raises concerns about the continuing health of our economy.

While our leaders are carefully watching how these national and geopolitical issues pan out, they are putting their focus on technology. Almost two-thirds plan to increase investment in disruption detection and innovative processes – with the same number planning to collaborate with innovative startups.

But CEOs must also brace for the effects of automation and artificial intelligence on their work force. It comes down to culture, and three-quarters of CEOs say they want a culture in which failure in pursuit of innovation is tolerated. However, barely half say that it exists today.
Canadian  CEOS  collaboration  disruption  innovation  large_companies  start_ups 
may 2019 by jerryking
Bezos on why failure is not failure
April 11, 2019 | By | FT Alphaville : Izabella Kaminska

According to Bezos no customer was asking for Echo before it was launched, thus Amazon's foray into listening tech was definitely them wandering. And yet, if they'd listened to market research (a firm no thank you!) they'd have lost out on more than 100 million sales of Alexa-enabled devices. So there.
Alexa  Amazon  Amazon_Echo  AWS  big_bets  experimentation  failure  Jeff_Bezos  large_companies  market_research  scaling 
april 2019 by jerryking
The Missing Piece in Big Food’s Innovation Puzzle
April 1, 2019 | WSJ | by By Carol Ryan.

.......In truth, they are becoming reliant on others to do the heavy lifting. Specialist food ingredient companies like Tate & Lyle and Kerry Group work with global brands behind the scenes to come up with new ideas. These businesses can spend two to three times more on innovation as a percentage of turnover than their biggest clients.

One part of their expertise is overhauling recipes. Ingredients companies can do everything from adding trendy probiotics to taking out excess sugar or gluten. Nestlé got a hand from Tate & Lyle to remove more sugar from its Nesquik range of flavored drinks, while Denmark’s Chr. Hansen helped Kraft Heinz switch from artificial to natural colors in the U.S. giant’s Macaroni & Cheese......Another service food suppliers offer is coming up with successful innovations to help revive sales. Nestlé’s ruby chocolate KitKat, which has become very popular in Asia, was actually created by U.S. cocoa producer Barry Callebaut, for example.

See also, "For innovation success, do not follow the money"
07-Nov-2005 | Financial Times | By Michael Schrage "There is
no correlation between the percentage of net revenue spent on R&D
and the innovative capabilities of an organisation – none,"...Just ask
General Motors. No company in the world has spent more on R&D over
the past 25 years. Yet, somehow, GM's market share has
declined....R&D productivity – not R&D investment – is the real
challenge for global innovation. Innovation is not what innovators
innovate, it is what customers actually adopt. Productivity here is not
measured in patents granted but in new customers won and existing
customers profitably retained..
customer_profitability  Big_Food  brands  flavours  food  foodservice  health_foods  healthy_lifestyles  ingredients  ingredient_diversity  innovation  investors  Kraft_Heinz  large_companies  Mondelez  Nestlé  new_ideas  R&D  shifting_tastes  start_ups  Unilever 
april 2019 by jerryking
The gutting of Barrick Gold – it didn’t have to be this way - The Globe and Mail

Most big companies Eric Reguly followed – Inco, Falconbridge, Alcan, Dofasco, Molson, Fairmont, Four Seasons, among others – were flogged to foreigners, their head offices downgraded to branch plants or eliminated. ....Canadians were sellers, not builders.....If there was one company that was safe from the takeover onslaught, it was Barrick Gold, I thought......At the time, Barrick was run by its founder, Peter Munk, the Hungarian-born Canadian patriot who wanted to build the world’s biggest gold miner. After achieving that goal, he mused about creating a diversified resources giant, the equivalent of a BHP Billiton or Rio Tinto under the Maple Leaf. But he was too late: By the time he was ready to put the pieces together, in the middle part of the previous decade, all his potential targets, including Inco, had been plucked clean from the Toronto stock market.....
Eric_Reguly  branch_plants  head_offices  hollowing_out  John_Thornton  large_companies  LSE  mining  Peter_Munk  Pierre_Lassonde  sellout_culture  TMX  Barrick  Corporate_Canada 
january 2019 by jerryking
Meg Whitman: ‘Businesses need to think, who’s coming to kill me?’
January 18, 2019 | Financial Times | by Rana Foroohar 7 HOURS AGO.

Whitman has just launched Quibi, a $1bn start-up of which she is chief executive (entertainment mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, her co-founder, is chairman). The venture, backed by a host of entertainment, tech and finance groups including 21st Century Fox, Viacom, Alibaba, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, has the lofty aim of becoming the Netflix of the mobile generation, offering high-quality, bite-sized video content for millennials (and the rest of us) hooked on smartphones......Whitman's experience has left her with plenty of advice for chief executives struggling with nearly every kind of disruption — technological, cultural and geopolitical. “I think every big business needs to be thinking, ‘Who’s coming to kill me?’ Where are the big markets that for regulatory reasons, or just because things are being done the way they always have been, disruption is likely? I’d say healthcare is one,” ...... a “Quibi”, is the new company’s “snackable” videos, designed to be consumed in increments of a few minutes....“You have all these in-between moments, and that’s what inspired the length of the content,” she says. “Very few people are watching long-form content on this device,” she says, holding up her iPhone. “They’re spending four to five hours a day on their phones, but they’re playing games, watching YouTube videos, checking social media, and surfing the internet. And although [people] pick up their phones hundreds of times a day, the average session length is 6.5 minutes.”.......Whitman’s hope is that just as people now binge on hour-long episodes of The Crown or House of Cards at home, they’ll do the same on their smartphone while in the doctor’s office, or commuting, or waiting for a meeting to start. As Whitman puts it, “every day you walk around with a little television in your pocket.” She and Katzenberg are betting that by the end of this year, we’ll spend some of our “in-between moments” watching micro-instalments of mobile movies produced by Oscar winning film-makers or stars ... interviewing other stars. ....The wind was at her back at eBay, where she became president and chief executive in 1998, presiding over a decade in which the company’s annual revenues grew from $4m to $8bn. “It’s hard to change consumer behaviour. We did that at eBay. We taught people how to buy in any auction format on the internet, how to send money 3,000 miles across the country and hope that you got the product.”

Quibi, she believes, doesn’t require that shift. “People are already watching a lot of videos on their phones. You just need to create a different experience.” She lays out how the company will optimise video for phones in ways that (she claims) will utterly change the viewing experience, and will leverage Katzenberg’s 40 years in the business.

paranoia  CEOs  disruption  Meg_Whitman  Rana_Foroohar  start_ups  women  bite-sized  Hollywood  Jeffrey_Katzenberg  mobile  subscriptions  web_video  high-quality  smartphones  advice  large_companies  large_markets  interstitial  Quibi 
january 2019 by jerryking
How Small Companies Can Get Big, Fast
Apr 10, 2014, 07:00am
How Small Companies Can Get Big, Fast

Michael Skok

What’s in it For Them?

One mistake small companies make when they get the chance to approach a larger company is that they make the conversation about them, the little guy. They begin by asking how the large company can help them sell their product or service when it should be the other way around. The best way to make a partnership pitch is by approaching a company and telling them what you’re going to do for them.

So flip all the points above and ask yourself how you’ll pitch to your potential partner to ensure this is a must-have partnership for them.

Usually, one of the key benefits a large company will want to realize is competitive advantage from faster time-to-market and more nimble development. Start there and figure out how you can build out things like opportunities to increase average revenue per user or ARPU for them. But be prepared to prove it and don’t rush it. Like any relationship it needs to be two way.
Gulliver_strategies  large_companies  minimum_viable_products  partnerships  product-market_fit  serving_others  small_business  value_propositions 
december 2018 by jerryking
Every Company Is Now a Tech Company
Dec. 4, 2018 | WSJ | By Christopher Mims.

There was a time when the primary role of leaders at most companies was management. The technology required to do the work of a company could be bought or siloed in an “IT department,” treated more as a cost center than a source of competitive advantage.

But now we’ve entered a period of upheaval, driven by connectivity, artificial intelligence and automation. The changes affect the world of business so profoundly that every company is now a tech company. But now companies born before the first internet bubble also must realize they can no longer function as non-tech businesses......The question is, how does a non-tech company become a tech company quickly? Increasingly, the answer is bringing tech talent into the highest executive ranks, adding deeply knowledgeable and indispensable “technical co-founders” long after the company was founded......To put it another way: When faced with a competitor like Amazon, do you do as Walmart did, and invest heavily in tech firms and technical knowledge? Or do you go the way of Sears…into bankruptcy court?

In August 2016, Walmart announced it would acquire e-commerce startup for $3.3 billion, the largest ever deal of an old-line bricks-and-mortar company buying an e-commerce company. The acquisition was about a transfusion of new minds as much as Jet’s technology, which was far ahead of Walmart’s online operation at the time....Mr. Lore is now chief of e-commerce at Walmart......Walmart’s e-commerce business revenue grew 43% in the last quarter alone....Wal-Mart is successfully pursuing a “second-mover strategy” against Amazon....Things don’t always go this smoothly. In fact, when well-established companies acquire tech-savvy startups in order to bring aboard engineers and executives--acqui-hires-- it’s usually a disaster.....Within the first three years after an acquisition, 60% of employees at a startup leave......That rate of turnover is twice that of employees hired the old-fashioned way. What’s worse, the employees who leave tend to be the most aggressive and entrepreneurial—and more likely to launch a competing startup.....For large companies stuck between the rock of disruption and the hard place of acquiring startups that can’t hold on to key employees, what’s to be done?[sounds like a cultural clash] John Chambers, who was chief executive at Cisco for more than 20 years, where he oversaw 180 acquisitions, has some answers. In his new book, “Connecting the Dots,” Mr. Chambers outlines some rules. For one, corporate cultures should align. Also, it helps if the company you’re buying already has significant traction in the market..... it’s essential to promote the leaders of acquired companies into your own ranks. Mr. Chamber’s rule at Cisco was that a third of the company’s leaders should be promoted from within, a third should be recruited from outside, and a third should come from acquisitions. .......As the competitive landscape continues to change and technology becomes ever more essential to how business is done, investments that might have seemed too risky a few years ago now may sometimes turn out to be the best path to survival.
acquihires  artificial_intelligence  automation  Amazon  books  Christopher_Mims  connecting_the_dots  CTOs  Cisco  cultural_clash  digital_savvy  e-commerce  Jet  John_Chambers  large_companies  post-deal_integration  reinvention  silo_mentality  technology  Wal-Mart 
december 2018 by jerryking
Why big companies squander good ideas
August 6, 2018 | | Financial Times | Tim Harford

.....Organisations from newspapers to oil majors to computing giants have persistently struggled to embrace new technological opportunities, or recognise new technological threats, even when the threats are mortal or the opportunities are golden. Why do some ideas slip out of the grasp of incumbents, then thrive in the hands of upstarts?.....“Disruption describes what happens when firms fail because they keep making the kinds of choices that made them successful,” says Joshua Gans, an economist at the Rotman School of Management in Toronto and author of The Disruption Dilemma. Successful organisations stick to their once-triumphant strategies, even as the world changes around them. More horses! More forage!

Why does this happen? Easily the most famous explanation comes from Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School. Christensen’s 1997 book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, told a compelling story about how new technologies creep up from below: they are flawed or under-developed at first, so do not appeal to existing customers. Holiday snappers do not want to buy digital cameras the size of a shoebox and the price of a car.

However, Christensen explains, these technologies do find customers: people with unusual needs previously unserved by the incumbent players. The new technology gets better and, one day, the incumbent wakes up to discover that an upstart challenger has several years’ head start — and once-loyal customers have jumped ship.
............Within academia, Rebecca Henderson’s ideas about architectural innovation are widely cited, and she is one of only two academics at Harvard Business School to hold the rank of university professor. The casual observer of business theories, however, is far more likely to have heard of Clayton Christensen, one of the most famous management gurus on the planet.

That may be because Christensen has a single clear theory of how disruption happens — and a solution, too: disrupt yourself before you are disrupted by someone else. That elegance is something we tend to find appealing.

The reality of disruption is less elegant — and harder to solve. Kodak’s position may well have been impossible, no matter what managers had done. If so, the most profitable response would have been to vanish gracefully.

“There are multiple points of failure,” says Henderson. “There’s the problem of reorganisation. There’s the question of whether the new idea will be profitable. There are cognitive filters. There is more than one kind of denial. To navigate successfully through, an incumbent organisation has to overcome every one of these obstacles.”

......Henderson added that the innovators — like Fuller — are often difficult people. “The people who bug large organisations to do new things are socially awkward, slightly fanatical and politically often hopelessly naive.” Another point of failure......The message of Henderson’s work with Kim Clark and others is that when companies or institutions are faced with an organisationally disruptive innovation, there is no simple solution. There may be no solution at all. “I’m sorry it’s not more management guru-ish,” she tells me, laughing. “But anybody who’s really any good at this will tell you that this is hard.”
Apple  blitzkrieg  disruption  ideas  IBM  innovation  iPod  missed_opportunities  hard_work  Rotman  Steve_Jobs  theory  Tim_Harford  upstarts  large_companies  WWI  Xerox  Walkman  Clayton_Christensen  organizational_change  organizational_structure  MPOF  militaries  digital_cameras 
september 2018 by jerryking
Venture capital firms have a gender problem. Here’s how to fix it - The Globe and Mail

Investing in women entrepreneurs isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do. Companies with a female founder have been shown to outperform all-male competitors. Despite this, when StandUp Ventures was founded last year to back female-led tech startups, many in the industry were skeptical that there even was a pipeline of women-led firms worthy of funding. Turns out there are plenty – StandUp has already made five investments. If more funds step up to the plate and back female entrepreneurs now, we won’t be having this conversation about female VCs again in a decade.

Change isn’t going to happen overnight. VC firms are very different creatures from the startups they fund: They’re conservative and built for stability, not agility.
gender_gap  venture_capital  vc  women  angels  start_ups  large_companies  under-representation  entrepreneur  founders 
july 2018 by jerryking
JetBlue Tech Execs Tap Startups To Help Airline Innovate - CIO Journal. - WSJ
As digital technology transforms business, enterprises can be at a disadvantage relative to newcomers. One solution is to work with startups, but that can be tricky because of security, regulatory and policy requirements at large companies. CIO Journal spoke to the top technology executives at JetBlue Airways about how they make the relationship work through a corporate venture arm, JetBlue Technology Ventures.

The Silicon Valley-based venture group looks for technology that could add business value within 18 months, as well as that which may have longer, 5- to 10-year payoffs. It has made early and mid-stage investments in 18 startups since 2016.

“Being part of the Silicon Valley innovation ecosystem is very important for us,” Eash Sundaram, JetBlue’s chief digital and technology officer, tells CIO Journal.
Ms. Simi said JetBlue may have never come across the startups in the venture arm’s portfolio if they had simply made a request for proposals for a specific technology project. Instead, the dedicated venture team vets startups, makes strategic investments and works alongside them to match technologies to JetBlue’s current and future needs.

“It’s been hugely helpful at JetBlue in terms of keeping our thinking fresh and innovative,”
JetBlue  brands  large_companies  airline_industry  innovation  start_ups  CIOs  machine_learning  blockchain 
july 2018 by jerryking

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