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Biomimicry: from curiosity to commercial reality

"Nature imitates art", argued Oscar Wilde, but today’s scientists imitate nature. This article examines the remarkable field of biomimicry, in which nature’s ingenious solutions to problems that have long baffled engineers are imitated and adopted. The authors highlight leading examples and show...
Technology & innovation management

Private Equity: Strategies for creating value in a difficult market

The credit crunch and the subprime crisis have changed the landscape for private investors. But that doesn’t have to mean the end of the road for private equity. Good private equity firms have kept going for decades, and in this article, the authors examine the options in tough times and set out...
Private equity

Black Swan events - Should you be concerned?

The discovery of black swans in Western Australia was a shock for scientists. Today those unexpected birds have become a symbol for the disruption of the bell curve that is used for most forms of variation. Bhopal, Exxon Valdez and Société Générale have shown that, in business, the highly...

Understanding customer needs as the driving force for innovation

Service, individuality, quality and reliability have turned us into one of the leading travel organizers worldwide.
Travel & transportation

Back to basics - again

Five years ago, after the bursting of the previous stock market bubble, the Prism article "Back to Basics" took a close look at the rules of the game followed by companies that have achieved long-term success. In this article the authors take a second look at the companies they analysed back then...

Product carbon footprinting - How to stay ahead in a carbon-constrained world

The climate debate has moved beyond the question of whether climate change is happening. The issue is no longer whether there should be limitations on carbon emissions, but when and how these limitations should be imposed. Do you know how much carbon dioxide your company emits to make its products...

New business models for mobile operators

Just a few years ago, mobile network operators dominated their industry. The mobile phone ecosystem was in effect closed, and the network operators controlled not only the networks but also the services and the technology. Today they risk becoming mere "bit-pipe" providers. This article shows which...
Telecommunications, Information technology, Media & Electronics (TIME), Technology & innovation management

Bringing business models down to earth

The term "new business model" has an enticing ring to it, as it refers to a new and supposedly better way of making money. Ryanair, McDonald’s, IKEA and Amazon are examples that come to mind immediately. Admirable as these may be, they are also so extraordinary that they provide little guidance to...
Strategy, Technology & innovation management

Global dominance through the emerging middle segment

The rise of emerging markets in the coming decades will have huge implications for companies. Any multinational company that aims to be a global leader must know how to capture a significant share of the largest customer segment in countries such as China, India, Russia and Brazil. These new...

Improving satisfaction throughout the customer life-cycle

It is becoming ever more crucial for companies not only to keep customers happy, but to keep the right customers happy. But how can they measure the value of customers through the whole customer life-cycle? In this article, the authors explain the methodology developed by Arthur D. Little that...
Consumer goods & retail