Issue 4, 1996

Viewpoint Globalisation: Facing the Organisational Issues

Arun N. Maira

Globalisation is posing unprecedented challenges to business organisations. For example, the Wall Street Journal (August 5, 1996) reports how "global" companies in many industries – automobiles, telecommunications, appliances, and others – are suffering like Hamlet: they cannot afford not to be in China and, at the same time, cannot afford to be in China. In some industries, the rush to China has resulted in capacity exceeding demand by 200 percent. Further, in a recent survey conducted by the International Consortium of Executive Development Research, global companies based in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Korea, reported that they were ill-prepared for globalisation. Of the 34 organisational dimensions on which they were asked to rate their performance – which included being the lowest-cost producers and having the fastest product development times – these global companies rated themselves lowest on cultivating a global mindset. They know they must rush into globalisation, and they know they are not prepared for it! [...]

Issue 4, 1996

Environmental Performance and Business Success - The Electrolux Experience

Jonathan B. Shopley and Howard B. Ross

"Environmental protection is a question of long–term survival for individuals, companies, and society. Activities must be adapted to nature's own limitations in terms of resource use and pollution. Environmental care must be a cornerstone in our operations and must characterize our daily work."
Leif Johansson President and CEO Electrolux Though some may debate it, real progress has been made over the past two decades in how companies around the world manage operations to minimize environmental impact and to clean up past mistakes. In the United States, regulations and the threat of legal action have been primary motivators for improved environmental performance. In Europe, market forces and competition have yielded progressive results that make interesting comparison to those from the United States. When we look at what drives European companies to launch environmental initiatives, we find competitive and strategic concerns shaping key decisions. [...]

Issue 4, 1996

Accelerating Shared Learning for Business Results

Joan L. Bragar

Sharing best practices around the world.. .moving from bureaucracy to entrepreneurial enterprise.. .gaining authentic commitment at all levels.. .repositioning global organizations.. .these are the critical challenges facing modern corporations. How do they meet them and come out ahead of the pack? How do they create cultures that not only accept but encourage innovation and adaptivity? At Arthur D. Little, we have found that the ability to accelerate shared learning processes is an essential component of effective and sustainable change. [...]

Issue 4, 1996

A Conversation Scott Aviation Makes a Case for Outsourcing R&D

William A. Danesi and Albert Sherman

Scott Aviation is a leading U.S. supplier of protective respiratory devices and emergency oxygen equipment. Scott has recently experienced a significant turnaround in its performance, thanks to new product introductions. These new products were created both through internal efforts and through significant outsourcing of R&D, principally in collaboration with Arthur D. Little. Bill Danesi, Director of Engineering at Scott, recently met with Albert Sherman, Arthur D. Little's Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Technology and Product Development, to discuss some of the lessons learned in that collaboration. [...]

Issue 4, 1996

Improving R&D Performance through Networking - Lessons from Canon and Sony

Sigvald Harryson

The cost and complexity of R&D efforts today, coupled with accelerating technological change and shrinking product lives, create an urgent need to improve R&D performance. Canon and Sony do this by focusing their internal R&D efforts on the commercialisation of technology, while going outside to source specialised technologies and competencies. In this article, we will argue that external sourcing of advanced technologies and their related competencies actually enhances a company's ability to perform market-driven R&D and to commercialise these technologies. We first examine how Canon and Sony keep their R&D activities responsive to market needs, and then discuss the link between R&D and Manufacturing. [...]

Issue 4, 1996

A Conversation Change and Learning at El Tiempo

Luis Fernando Santos and George Kastner

Casa Editorial El Tiempo (CEET) is the largest publishing house in Colombia, with 1995 sales of $175 million and net profit the same year of 20 percent. The company currently owns the country's largest daily newspaper, El Tiempo, which has an average circulation of 254,000, as well as Portfolio, a weekly business journal; magazines; video stores; a major commercial printing press; and a book club that operates in Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Chile. CEET also provides a news fax service, on–line financial services, and audio–text services. The company is providing access to the contents of its publications via the World Wide Web, as well as a proprietary bulletin board service that contains the newspaper's historical database. [...]

Issue 4, 1996

Applying Learning Organisation Concepts to Public Institutions: The Mexico City Story

Hector Villanueva, Michel Martell, and Hector Valenzuela

In an era of sweeping political and economic change, public institutions all over the world are feeling pressured to make their societies more open and competitive and, thus, to make themselves more responsive and efficient. In the United States, a Democratic president has proclaimed that "the era of big government is over." In Mexico, a process of major political and economic liberalisation, similar to those in many other countries around the globe today, is bringing about dramatic changes in the country's public sector. [...]

Issue 3, 1996

Viewpoint Reflections on Succession

Frank Popoff

Succession planning plays a key role in an organization's ability to pursue its long–term strategies and achieve lasting results. Clearly, good management doesn't happen by itself, and succession planning is critical to its continuation, Year in and year out, succession planning is recognized as serious stuff. It's one of the top three responsibilities of corporate boards, along with strategy review/ratification and the evaluation of management performance and compensation. [...]

Issue 3, 1996

Practicing Leadership: Mastering the Basic Moves

Robert J. Thomas

Imagine the following position advertisement in the Wall Street Journal:
Wanted: Individual with the skills to be a coach, teacher, cheerleader, hero, visionary, steward, designer, artist, conductor, figurehead, and/or sensitive, caring human being, as circumstances (financial and interpersonal) demand. Must have demonstrated mastery of the Seven Habits and the Five Disciplines, as well as proficiency in achieving culture change. Intense personal commitment to our mission and our people is essential; however, candidate must also be able to stand apart in order to give (and receive) an objective accounting of reality.

No wonder we hear so often about the shortage of leadership in business! [...]

Issue 3, 1996

Achieving Breakthroughs in Executive Team Performance

Steven P. Ober and David Kantor

Why do intelligent, reasonable executives, when they become part of an executive team, often behave in ways that are clearly not in the best interests of the organization? Why does team–based decision–making sometimes become "group think," which stifles productivity and contributes to bad decisions? And, when this happens in your executive team, what can you do, as an executive team leader or member, to turn the tide? [...]

Issue 3, 1996

A Conversation Becoming a Global Company: From Kabi to Pharmacia & Upjohn

Jan Ekberg and Nils Bohlin

In 1985, Jan Ekberg became CEO of Kabi, a Nordic pharmaceuticals company that had sales of $250 million and was part of the Procordia group in Sweden. Over ten years he guided the company through a dazzling evolution, as Kabi acquired company after company around the world, culminating in the 1995 merger of equals between Pharmacia and Upjohn. The new company is one of the 10 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, with sales over $7 billion. In April of this year Jan Ekberg spoke with Arthur D. Little's Nils Bohlin about the key success factors in making mergers work, building a strong and flexible management team, and taking a company through rapid transition. [...]

Issue 3, 1996

The Role of Leadership in a Learning Organisation

Bryan Smith and Joel Yanowitz

Many executives are now realizing that building the learning capability of their organisations is critical to achieving their business strategy. But this recognition raises some difficult questions. With all the demands on already scarce company resources, where will the energy come from to create a learning organisation? And if you do manage to find – or create – the necessary energy, how can you sustain that energy over time? This article will address these questions and their implications for CEOs and senior leadership teams. [...]

Issue 3, 1996

Leadership Within Middle Management: A United Nations Example

Claudia Valotta and Friedrich Bock

Until recently, finding a leader was a question of luck, like discovering a rare diamond in a basket of gravel. Today, identifying and developing leaders has become a hard job that requires vision, dedication, and generosity. It is a behavioral process that starts at the top, the moment we accept that a corporate organization needs the commitment and the contribution of every member of its staff. Finding leaders today means not only systematically searching for them, but also breeding them – and creating an environment in which they can develop, as well as a credible succession system. [...]

Issue 3, 1996

Leading Organisational Transformation

Joan Lancourt

"Breakthrough thinking," "continuous innovation," "discontinuous change," "transformation": the words are often used interchangeably, their meanings vague and imprecise. Most recently, "transformation" seems to be winning out over the alternatives. The trouble is, the word is applied to all kinds of changes: large, small, continuous, and discontinuous. The need for clarity is more than academic – if we don't know what game we're playing, we risk something akin to trying to score a basket with a tennis racket. We also risk investing a significant percentage of our scarce resources and energy in trying to make changes we are not able to implement or sustain. [...]

Issue 3, 1996

A Conversation Leveraging Best Practices In Petro-Canada

Jim Pantelidis and Tim Partridge

In 1976, the Canadian government sponsored the creation of Petro–Canada as a vehicle for Canadian oil and gas policy and, as it put it at the time, "a window on the oil and gas industry in Canada." Since then Petro–Canada has grown into the second–largest oil company in Canada, with assets worth C$6.5 billion, principally by acquiring the Canadian subsidiaries of multinational oil companies such as Fina, BP, and Gulf. In 1985, the government abandoned interventionist policies and deregulated the energy sector. In 1991 and 1995, the government equity in Petro–Canada was reduced through public share offerings to 20 percent. [...]

Issue 2, 1996

Leading the Accelerating Organisation

Arun N. Maira and Peter B. Scott-Morgan

A year ago, in the third quarter 1995 issue of Prism, we wrote about the need for organisations to learn to change and change to learn if they are to survive and thrive in an increasingly unpredictable future. We explored the challenge of integrating the "hard" and the "soft" views of organisation in order to engage people's hearts and minds in a coordinated quest for continually improving performance. And we set forth six key facets of organisation that make continual change and improvement possible: strategic flexibility, change-readiness, hidden leverage, operational alignment, organisational involvement, and learning acceleration. Together, these six facets comprise a comprehensive model of change. (To remember the model easily, think of the acronym SCHOOL.) [...]

Issue 2, 1996

Aligning Development Resources with Product Development Priorities for Continuous Improvement

Christian Mouthuy and Jason Onassis

This article tells the true story of a company that was losing market share because its marketing, R&D, and manufacturing units were operating on three separate paths. The company redesigned its entire product development process, aligning business priorities with technological capabilities and creating teams on which all functions of the company worked together. As a result, the company was able to respond to the market much faster and more effectively than ever before. [...]

Issue 2, 1996

Structured Idea Management as a Value-Adding Process

Lucy Rowbotham and Nils Bohlin

In the book Product Juggernauts, Jean–Philippe Deschamps and Ranganath Nayak make a compelling argument for building and managing a world–class product creation process as a critical component of becoming a high–performance business. The process they outline begins with ideas. Many companies, however, do not address the generation and management of good product ideas as an explicit process; rather, ideas tend to "float" around the organisation, acquiring currency in proportion to the personal and political power of the champions who promote them. In this article, we outline a rational, objective, and highly productive approach that we call Structured Idea Management (SIM). By adopting an SIM process, a team can move quickly from raw ideas to structured and integrated concepts, whether for new products, new processes, or new ways of working. Furthermore, SIM also provides the levels of internal commitment and confidence necessary to ensure that concepts are taken forward and capitalised on. SIM has been applied successfully to a wide range of topics, including beverage packaging, a cosmetic dispenser, yogurt packaging, a beer dispenser, an electrical hair care product, lubricant applications, a household care product, polymer applications, a vending machine, a telecommunications product, a tamper-evident pack manufacturing machine, an electrical switch, missile defence measures and personal hygiene products. [...]

Issue 2, 1996

Becoming a Product Juggernaut

Jean-Philippe Deschamps and P. Ranganath Nayak

"Juggernaut" is an English adaptation of "Jagannath," a traditional Indian divinity associated with the notion of irresistible or unstoppable force; and a product juggernaut is simply a company that keeps winning over its competitors through the sheer superiority of its product offering. At Arthur D. Little, we have been privileged to work side–by–side with actual and aspiring product juggernauts throughout the world, helping them mobilize their organizations to generate steady streams of market winners. Through this experience, we have defined some best practices in the increasingly ferocious product battle. In this article1 we highlight the main characteristics of product juggernauts and focus on their unique capability: a very effective process for imagining, conceiving, developing, and launching new product offerings. We also outline ways to build such a capability within your own organization. [...]

Issue 2, 1996

Technology Valuation - A Milestone on the Path from Art to Science

Mildred A. Hastbacka and, LA. Khoury

If you believe that your chief source of sustainable business success is the company's skill, knowledge, and information, you are likely in the forefront of the new economy – an economy fueled by intellectual assets, rather than hard assets. And if you are an executive of a technology–based business, you're probably fully aware that the source of your competitive advantage is your technology–based intellectual asset base. Collectively, these assets – including patents, trademarks, trade secrets, know–how, engineering drawings, and computer software – can be worth several times the book value of your tangible assets. Very likely, you realize that much of your technology–based asset pool is still untapped as a source of value–creation. [...]

Issue 2, 1996

A Conversation Breakthrough Technologies: Finding Them and Making Them Happen

John Magee and Bernard Lacomis

John Magee, Arthur D. Little's Chairman of the Board, recently had a discussion with Bernard Lacomis, President of Arthur D. Little Enterprises (ADLE), about the process of developing and licensing new technology. ADLE is a subsidiary of Arthur D. Little that turns ideas – –from many sources – into new products. The two men also discussed ADLE's successful development of the new Commercial–Advance technology, which allows VCR users to skip over commercials in prerecorded television programs, and ADLE's approach to protecting valuable intellectual property. [...]

Issue 2, 1996

Working Against the Clock: Timescale-Driven Development

Ray Edgson, Chris Hammond, and Brian Moon

Traditional product development methods take more time than is generally acceptable today. They also treat time as an important but secondary consideration, beginning the planning process with a set of assumptions about the steps involved and only then asking, "How long will it take?" We have developed an approach that we call timescale–driven development, which sets traditional methods on their heads. Time–scale–driven development allows new products to be developed much faster – even when they involve high technical risks or regulatory requirements. With timescale–driven development, we know how long we have – the question is what must we do and how must we do it before the deadline. Having a defined end date shapes the planning process, dictating how much time can be apportioned to certain fundamental activities, such as soak tests and tooling manufacture. The process even determines to some degree the specification – the number of prototypes that will be necessary, the resources that will be required, and whether resources must be found externally. [...]

Issue 2, 1996

Scenarios and Long-term Visioning: Critical Elements of Technology Strategy

C. Gail Greenwald and Stephen E. Rudolph

In this high–tech era, technology discontinuities occur in every industry sector. Digital mobile telephony, computer optical storage systems, high performance polymers, biotechnology, and genetic engineering are all examples of the technologies that are changing the world we live in, creating opportunities for some companies and putting others out of business. How can companies anticipate technology discontinuities so that they become opportunities for competitive advantage rather than threats to survival? [...]

Issue 2, 1996

Managing Technology Discontinuities for Competitive Advantage

Chris Floyd

In this high–tech era, technology discontinuities occur in every industry sector. Digital mobile telephony, computer optical storage systems, high performance polymers, biotechnology, and genetic engineering are all examples of the technologies that are changing the world we live in, creating opportunities for some companies and putting others out of business. How can companies anticipate technology discontinuities so that they become opportunities for competitive advantage rather than threats to survival? [...]

Issue 1, 1996

Viewpoint Go for Growth: Five Paths to Profit and Success

Robert Tomasko

Grow or die – it's a call to arms spreading throughout America's corporations. Growth is appearing at the top of many management meeting agendas. It's prominently featured in glossy annual reports and confidential strategic plans. It's optimistically discussed with investment analysts. Its pros and cons are debated around the water cooler and on e–mail. [...]

Issue 1, 1996

The Business Benefits of Ergonomics

Marilyn Joyce and Andrew J. Marcotte

Some managers still think that ergonomics means simply providing a new chair or an antifatigue mat, or having a committee make adjustments to a workstation. In fact, ergonomics can help organisations maximize the capabilities and productivity of their workforces, make wise capital expenditures, minimize the costs of manufacturing and employee benefits, and avoid lawsuits. In this article we offer several examples of the business benefits of ergonomics, as well as some suggestions about how to consider the business implications of ergonomics for your organization. [...]

Issue 1, 1996

Organisational Learning and Safety: Breaking the Performance Plateau

R. Scott Stricoff and Joel Yanowitz

Traditionally, companies have improved their safety performance by investing in new technologies, procedures, training, and management systems. But in the past decade, many companies that have continued to invest in building leading-edge safety programmes have reached a performance plateau. Since 1982, there have been no sustained reductions in major accident rates in US industry. European regulators report a similar story: the incidence of major accidents has not diminished. [...]

Issue 1, 1996

Improved Products Through Design-for-Environment Tools

Robert D. Shelton and Jonathan Shopley

In the past, product development teams were often insulated from other disciplines within the company. Too often, products were developed without adequate input from marketing about customer needs, from manufacturing about realistic and cost–effective production, from the environmental group about potential negative impacts, or from other functions units with their unique perspectives on key product attributes. The negative impacts of this insulation included product–introduction delays, lack of vital attributes in the final products, and ongoing friction between the product development group and other functions. [...]

Issue 1, 1996

ISO 14001: Is It for You?

John S. Willson and Ronald A. N. McLean

The newest feature on the corporate environmental landscape is the emergence of voluntary standards for environmental management systems. The most prominent among these, because it is an international standard intended to harmonise potentially conflicting national or regional ones, is ISO 14001. [...]

Issue 1, 1996

An Environmental Road Map for Entering Emerging Market!

Paul D. Boehm, Alan E. Marples, and Bernhard H. Metzger

As new market economies around the world take off, their environmental performance continues to lag far behind environmental leaders in North America, Western Europe, and the Asia Pacific region. Even so, foreign companies and investors that have pioneered business ventures in these markets have learned that environmental issues can help make or break a project's success. [...]

Issue 1, 1996

Rethinking the Environment for Business Advantage

J. Ladd Greeno, Karen Blumenfeld, and S. Nasir Ali

Many business leaders have come to accept the validity of the message that environmental activists have been preaching for decades, namely, that industrial pollution of the environment is an inefficient use of resources that causes both environmental damage and economic losses. Despite this recognition, only a handful of companies are reaping the competitive benefits of integrating environmental, health, and safety (EHS) knowledge into their management decisions. A far greater number are finding the path toward environmental integration extremely difficult to follow. In fact, so widespread is this difficulty that it has entered into the business lexicon as the "green wall" phenomenon. [...]

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About Prism

Twice a year, Arthur D. Little covers the latest cutting-edge thinking on strategy, technology and innovation in its corporate magazine Prism. For over 20 years Prism has continually set the standards in innovative thinking and groundbreaking concepts in the world of business and management.

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