The virtues of unintelligent organisation design

  LEADERSHIP & ORGANISATIONS Julien Clément, INSEAD PhD student, and Phanish Puranam, INSEAD Professor of Strategy and Organisation Design Any structure at all is better than none, as long as it leaves some room to explore. Every organisation’s formal structure contains a host of assumptions about how, and with whom, members should interact in order […]

Warning: Do not just average predictions!

OPERATIONS Ville Satopää, INSEAD Assistant Professor of Technology and Operations Management At a 1906 livestock show in Plymouth, England, nearly 800 people participated in a contest to guess the weight of a slaughtered ox. The average of these estimates was 1,197 pounds. This is remarkable because the true weight of the ox turned out to […]

How to thrive in the subscription economy

STRATEGY Tien Tzuo, Founder & CEO, Zuora What you deliver and how you deliver it to customers has to be completely rethought. A trend began in 2007 that would soon be recognised as a once-in-a-century transformation of the way business is transacted: away from buying products towards subscribing to services. We call this new business […]

The double-edged sword of being a lean start-up

ENTREPRENEURSHIP Vikas Aggarwal, INSEAD Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise   Experimentation is vital in early-stage start-ups, but it involves a set of trade-offs that can influence a firm’s ability to adapt to future technological change. “Move fast and break things” was the oft-quoted motto of Facebook’s early days. This ethos of speed is […]

How your firm can reignite sales growth

MARKETING Amitava Chattopadhyay, INSEAD Professor of Marketing Connecting with a fundamental consumer concern can give your brand purpose and create a platform for long-term profitable growth. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, the company’s annual losses were in excess of US$1 billion.  Bankruptcy loomed on the short-term horizon. One of Jobs’ first moves […]

The teachable moments of financial crisis

LEADERSHIP & ORGANISATIONS Henrich Greve, INSEAD Professor of Entrepreneurship Squint hard enough and you can find traces of long-ago crises in the way communities do business today. For communities, financial crises are unforgiving mirrors. When money dries up in tightly-knit communities, trust emerges as a sort of substitute currency to bolster imperilled institutions. Mistrustful communities […]

Lessons from the Merchants of Venice

STRATEGY Giovanni Tassini, INSEAD MBA 17J, and Loic Sadoulet, INSEAD Affiliate Professor of Economics Making the most of its position as an important sea port, Venice’s remarkable economic development during the Middle Ages relied on network effects, contractual innovation, and coordination among the players involved in long-distance trade. Companies today still exploit these mechanisms to […]

Strategy making: How to tap the wisdom of the crowd

STRATEGY Daniel Mack, PhD Candidate at INSEAD, and Gabriel Szulanski, INSEAD Professor of Strategy Even firms that typically prefer to centralise decisions needn’t miss out on the benefits of opening up their strategy making. Strategy making has traditionally been the purview of the top management team. Leaders in the inner circle of organisations pride themselves […]

How digital platforms increase inequality

ENTREPRENEURSHIP In their 1995 book The Winner-Take-All Society, Robert H. Frank and Philip J. Cook explained how a few highly rated sportsmen win the bulk of rewards in their field. As digital platforms gain prominence, we are likely to see winner-take-all outcomes across a wider range of professions beyond sport, entertainment and the few widely […]

Identifying social norms makes for better business

RESPONSIBILITY N. Craig Smith, INSEAD Chaired Professor of Ethics and Social Responsibility, and Markus Scholz, Endowed Chair of Corporate Governance and Business Ethics at the University of Applied Sciences for Management & Communication, Vienna The concept of Creating Shared Value (CSV) triggered a major leap in the global movement to redefine the role of business […]