Death To Hard Drives

If you manufacture hard drives the end is in sight. I do not say this because I lost my third drive in six months yesterday. (Ok, I admit it. Maybe there is a connection. I might be a tad irritated. Death to hard drive manufacturers!) The traditional hard drive is under siege. Gadgets are transitioning away fast and cutting edge laptops are giving up on them entirely. A previous disruption in the hard drive industry came with the transition from ‘large’ drive technology to ‘small’ portable drive technology. Brands collapsed. Companies changed hands.  (Famously discussed in Clayton Christensen’s book The Innovator’s Dilemma) Enter the solid state drive (SSD). They’re pricey. They’re small. They’re fast. They consume less power. They’re solid state. (SO THEY DON’T BREAK. Again. Not that I’m mad. I am a fanatic backer-upper. I just dislike the mojo that times breakdowns with important deadlines. Used to have this … Continue reading

Scenario Planning As A Spur To Entreprenurial Thinking

War games, contingency planning, thought experiments all provide potential glimpses into the future that can help distribute knowledge, test reactions and improve flexible thinking. I’m a fan. So it was with some interest I noticed Business Horizons’ recent issue on entrepreneurship included a paper that strongly argues scenario planning not only prepares a corporation for external disruptive events, but it can improve an organization’s overall entrepreneurial capacity. Scenario planning has long been used to prepare for emergency events. Since the 9/11 terror attacks corporate use of scenario and contingency planning increased from 38% to over 70% of executives surveyed, again primarily as a means of preparing for external disruptive (exogenous) shocks. In the article, Beyond risk mitigation: Enhancing corporate innovation with scenario planning, William J. Worthington, Jamie D. Collins and Michael A. Hitt, show that “advanced use of scenario planning can help firms go beyond innovative responses to more complex … Continue reading

Creative Response To The Uncertainty Paradox

Newsweek’s declaration that the recession is over and long lines at auto dealers seems to have upped feelings of angst in many circles. Reactions from ‘yeah sure’ to ‘How did I miss it’ to ‘yipee,’ indicate that maybe not everyone is on the same page. Which really shouldn’t be a surprise given folks disagree on the state of the economy when times are good or bad. So what do you do when you don’t know, can’t know? I wanted to pull together a few pieces of conversation both directly and indirectly related to the Uncertainty Paradox that struck a chord for me over the past week or so. A big issue when you’re stuck in a period of extreme uncertainty is how to take the next step forward. Kay Plantes in dealing with business model innovation brought up Tide’s experiment with Tide Basic, a product introduction with a reduced feature … Continue reading

Fear and Loathing In Las Healthcare

I was shrinking my carbon footprint on the bus from Chicago trying to jot down notes about my thoughts on healthcare when the cold medicine took hold and the twisted facts everywhere began to resemble the screeching of bats. I’ve let the post rest but I’m still stuck in a rut where every time I see Harry and Louise I end up ruminating on Duke and Dr. Gonzo. “There was every reason to believe I was heading for trouble, that I’d pushed my luck a bit far. I’d abused every rule Vegas lived by-burning locals, abusing the tourists, terrifying the help. “The only hope now, I felt, was the possibility that we’d gone to such excess, with our gig, that nobody in a position to bring the hammer down on us could possibly believe it. …When you bring an act into this town, you want to bring it in heavy. … Continue reading

Shaking Up the MBA | Dirty Fingernails Entrepreneurship

There’s been a lot of discussion about whether the MBA curriculum has led business leaders astray. To the point that this year’s crop of Harvard Grads decided they needed to take an oath to look beyond stock price and financials in making business decisions. Hmmm. This got me thinking about my own grad-school days. My favorite prof taught entrepreneurship at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. Of all my classes at IU, this one clearly informed me of how little I would know when I escaped academia for the workforce. He was less a professor and more a serial entrepreneur who chose to teach business students a bit about the ‘real world.’ If memory served, he favored what I call ‘dirty fingernails’ entrepreneurship, where it isn’t as much about managing at first, as it is about creating value that didn’t exist or is in short supply – finding the … Continue reading