From ideas to execution: The rules for strategic innovators, by V. Govindarajan

Jun 18 2009

Future is now. Future is not about what you do in the future.


  • Strategy is about next practices.
  • For you to be a leader in 2030 your opportunity gap is a lot bigger than your performance gap.
  • We need different methods and capabilities to succeed in the future.
  • Don’t think about best practice think about next practices.

Three box model

  • Box 1: manage the present
  • Box 2: Selectively forget the past
  • Box 3: Create the future

Emerging markets

  • Customers of the future will be fundamentaly different, and will demand fundamentally different companies.
  • An emerging market will transform the corporation trying to adapt to it.
  • Grow up in emerging markets cannot be caught up with box 1 approach.
  • Emerging markets represents a huge discontinuity.

Three reasons why companies find it so hard to use next practices

  • Physical inertia.
  • Psychological inertia.
  • Strategical inertia.

Company dedication to projects

  • How many projects will be in horizon 1?
    Core business. It should be 60%-70% of the efforts.
  • How many projects will be in horizon 2?
    Adjacent space. It should be 20%-30% of the efforts.
  • How many projects will be in horizon 3?
    Entirely new business model. It should be 5%-10% of the efforts.

Strategy Architecture

  • Non-linear shift
  • Strategic intent
  • Current core competencies
  • Growth Playbook
  • New core competences

Other highlights

  • Because of the though economical conditions, projects are being more conservative today.
  • Simple message: future is now. future is not about what you do in the future.
  • Today I have to do two things: make the business work and invest in the future.
  • The opportunity gap is enormous in the near future.

Extract by Josep Oriol Ayats and Guillem Mateos.

Making Management Innovation an Integral part of your business strategy, by G. Hamel

Jun 17 2009

“The companies that will win in the future will be the ones that are really focused on human beings”


  • Management is one of most important technologies human has invented, and we need to reinvent that technology.Management was really invented to solve the problem on how to turn human beings to robots.Somehow we are satisfied with the same management system of middle 1900.

Gary Hamel’s interview from Hit Barcelona on Vimeo.

Why has management evolution stopped?

  • Maybe we have solved all the possible problems or maybe we have simply been caught in a paradigm trap, which i think is the correct answer.

The 3 new challenges that face organitzations today are:

First challenge: Change

  • Are companies changing as fast as the world is?
  • A lot of companies have been left behind on the change curve.
  • Product advantages don’t last as long as they used to.
  • The dividing line between a leader and a competitor is usually months only.
  • Change only happens in crisis.
  • Today the challenge is building an evolutionary advantage over time.

Second challenge: Protection barriers

  • The protection barriers companies used to have are falling.
  • We have to be adaptable in a new environment.
  • Innovation is the only protective barrier. There are ways to determine innovation is not a key point in a company.

Third challenge:  Knowledge is becoming a commodity

  • We need to integrate knowledge in a creative way.
  • We need a completely different way of thinking about our people.

Other highlights

  • Worker values pyramid: Obedience, diligence, expertise, initiative, creativity, passion.
  • The job of managers is not to get employees to serve the organization, but to build the environment to encourage people to collaborate and contribute.
  • “All commitment is voluntary”.
  • “If you never tell a colleague what to do it will never work with you again”.
  • We have to destroy the notion of the CEO.
  • How do you became a management innovator? You have to be willing to challenge conventional thinking.
  • You have to go to the social revolution on the web to see the future of management.
  • The assumption is that when you get people more freedom they get less disciplined.
  • Involvement drives commitment.
  • The single reason companies get into trouble is when they concentrate responsibility in few people so the organization depends on personal characteristics of that people.

If you had grown up in the internet world:

  • Every idea should compete in equal condition.
  • What matters is your contribution not your credentials.

Management is only on doing to simple things

  • Amplifying human capabilities (the internet has done it)
  • Aggregate those capabilities (we see that through open source)

The irony is we as individual are already adaptable, innovative and interested but our organizations are not as much.

Our next 50 years: Science, technology and the mother of invention, by R. Kurzweil

Jun 17 2009

“Exponential growth of information technology”


  • Progression today its not linear, its exponential.
  • Target your projects for the world that will exist when you finish them.
  • To be successful is not to make your project work, it is to be correct on the timing.
  • The exponential growth is predictable and very explosive.
  • We constantly try to predict whats coming

Predictability is completely unaffected by booms, problems and other successes.

Health & Medicine

  • Health and medicine have become an information technology.
  • We could identify the gens responsible for diseases and modify them to turn them off.
  • Health and medicine will be a million times more powerful in 20 years.
  • Human brain is being completely reverse engineered.
  • Life expectancy will grow faster than you get old


  • What now fits in a cellphone will fit in a blood cell in 25 years.
  • Within 20 years we could completely replace fosil fuels with solar energy.
  • Change is going faster and faster.
  • Try to project where technology will be.
  • Technology is an evolutionary process.
  • Technology has accelerated itself.
  • Biology is very subobtimal to what we actually engineer.

Information Technologies

  • Information technologies follow remarkably predictable patterns.
  • Information technology its a democratizing technology.
  • Information technology has a fifty percent deflation rate.

Other highlights

  • Exponential growth can not go on forever: it comes to an end.
  • When prices reach a certain level, technologies explode.
  • “Identify new applications and try to identify when they will be possible”.
  • Very few people could do their jobs without innovations that exist today.
  • Prediction for 2010: computers disappear.
  • Prediction for 2029: an intimate merger 1000 times old computation equal 1000 times of human brain.

Extract by Josep Oriol Ayats and Guillem Mateos.

How to become one of the companies that are transforming the world, by R.M. Kanter

Jun 17 2009

“Inspirational leadership makes innovation work”


  • Innovation travels from one place to another.
  • The spirit is to create something that will endure.
  • Innovation is a hot topic today.
  • Innovation is the only way we are going out of recession.
  • If you want new ideas you have to be open to all kind of ideas.

Imágenes exteriores generales y sesión de networking con emprendedores e inversores from Hit Barcelona on Vimeo.

There are 5 lessons essential to innovation, called “The 5 Fs”

1st: Focus

  • They should be highly focused, but not focused on their business portfolio.
  • They should be focused in a mission that unites the entire company for innovation.

2nd: Flexible

  • Flexibility means to be flexible with respect to rules and processes. Every company needs to have the flexibility to take their own course separate from the rules that had been established.
  • The lack of flexibility kills innovation more than anything else.
  • Without flexlibility there is no innovation.
  • Before becoming the right idea is someone’s crazy idea competing.
  • If an idea looks really good means that we understand it, which in turn means it’s not so innovative.

3rd: Fast

  • Companies should not bound to large hierarchys.
  • “We don’t want boureaucracy anymore”.
  • Companies should be more organized around projects than around bosses.
  • You have to move fast because of the flexibility. Any team has a focus, every team that is flexible can move quickly, then they start to operate like companies, without burocracy.
  • Everyone can and should self-organize.
  • If you want to move fast you want everyone on your company to volunteer.

4th: Friendly

  • It stands for collaboration.
  • In order to success people have to enlight partnerships, internal and external.
  • CEOs have to suspend their egos.
  • Any company willing to learn from its parters is gonna get the best.

5th: Fun

  • If it’s not fun to go through demands of innovation, nobody’s gonna do it.
  • If the organizational culture doesn’t make it fun, it won’t succeed. It’s motivation that makes work fun.

Other highlights:

  • Kanter’s Law: any project can look like a failiure in the middle. Specially when the ideas are very new. Persisting and persevering is the only way to get through it.
  • One of the secrets of innovation is innovators have more success but also more failure, and that is just because they tried more.
  • Every innovation often requires secondary innovations to get the primary innovation off the ground: innovation is also important in the processes and not just in the product.
  • Innovation never drops itself in.
  • People won’t let business stay without values.
  • The thinking should be “I have two jobs: one at .. and the other to save the world”.
  • ”Be the change that you want to see in the world” Mahatma Gandhi.

Extract by Josep Oriol Ayats and Guillem Mateos.

Time to get answers!

Jun 12 2009

On June 17th Hit Barcelona brings together five of the most prominent business gurus for a unique day of top-level conferences, addressing critical topics in the current global economic uncertainty.

Get involved in the programme and ask Gary Hamel, Michael Eisner, Ray Kurzweil, Vijay Govindarajan or Rosabeth Moss-Kanter your questions directly via the following link:

Each expert will answer the most voted for questions live during their session, you can follow their answers on HiT Barcelona’s blog and Twitter/HITBCN.

Don’t miss this opportunity, get online and get answers!

Sign Inn here to ask

Gary Hamel: the core competencies

Jun 09 2009

The Wall Street Journal recently ranked Gary Hamel as the world’s most influential business thinker, and Fortune magazine has called him “the world’s leading expert on business strategy“. Wikipedia names him as an American management guru and the originator (with C. K. Prahalad) of the concept of core competencies.


As a consultant and management educator, Hamel has worked for companies as diverse as General Electric, Time Warner, Nokia, Nestle, Shell, Best Buy, Procter & Gamble, 3M, IBM, and Microsoft. His pioneering concepts such as “strategic intent,” “core competence,” “industry revolution,” and “management innovation” have changed the practice of management in companies around the world.

At present, Hamel is leading an effort to build the world’s first “Management Lab.” The MLab is a pioneering attempt to create a setting in which progressive companies and world renowned management scholars work together to co-create “tomorrow’s best practices” today. The goal: to radically accelerate the evolution of management knowledge and practice.

Michael Eisner: media and entertainment success

Jun 09 2009

Michael Eisner is the former chief executive officer of the Walt Disney Company and the man generally considered responsible for Disney’s monumental success in the 1990s.


How explains, during the 1970s and early ’80s Eisner earned his reputation as a keen businessman, first as a programming director for ABC television and then as president of Paramount movie studios.

In September, 1984, Michael Eisner became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of  The Walt Disney Company. Since the death of Walt Disney in 1966, the studio had continued to enjoy periodic box office successes, and to earn profits from its theme parks and merchandising, but many in the industry felt the company was suffering from a lack of direction. Within a few years, Eisner transformed the company into a media giant whose interests included movies, sports franchises, theme parks and television networks.

After a downhill in the late ’90s and leaving Disney, Michael Eisner has founded The Tornante Company (the name comes from the Italian for “hairpin turn”) to invest in and develop companies in the media and entertainment sector. Tornante holdings range from Team Baby Entertainment and the Internet television company Veoh Network, to the Topps bubblegum and trading card company.

In 2006, Michael Eisner hosted his own business and entertainment interview program, Conversations With Michael Eisner on the CNBC television network.

Vijay Govindarajan: Rules for Strategic Innovators

Jun 08 2009


“We can be weak in defeat, or we can be strengthened by it.”

Vijay Govindarajan is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading experts on strategy and innovation, one of the outstanding thought-leaders of the new generation, according to The Wall Street Journal and Business Week. Known as VG, is the Earl C. Daum 1924 Professor of International Business at the Tuck School and founding director of Tuck’s Center for Global Leadership. He is also the faculty co-director for Global Leadership 2020, Tuck’s executive education program that focuses on global management and is taught on three continents.
Govindarajan has been named to a series of lists by influential publications including: Top Ten Business School Professor in Corporate Executive Education, named by Business Week; Top Five Most Respected Executive Coach on Strategy, rated by Forbes; Outstanding Faculty, named by Business Week in its Guide to Best B-Schools; Top 50 Management Thinker, named by The London Times; Outstanding Teacher of the Year, voted by MBA students; “superstar” Management Thinker from India, named by Business Week.
The recipient of numerous awards for excellence in research, Govindarajan was inducted into the Academy of Management Journals’ Hall of Fame, and was ranked by Management International Review as one of the “Top 20 North American Superstars” for research in strategy and organization. One of his papers was recognized as one of the ten most-often cited articles in the entire 40-year history of Academy of Management Journal.
VG works with CEOs and top management teams in Global Fortune 500 firms to discuss, challenge, and escalate their thinking about strategy. He has worked with 25% of the Fortune 500 corporations including: Boeing, Coca-Cola, Colgate, Deere, FedEx, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, J.P. Morgan Chase, Johnson & Johnson, New York Times, Procter & Gamble, Sony, and Wal-Mart. He is a regular keynote speaker in CEO Forums and major conferences including the World Innovation Forum and Business Week CEO Forum.
He has published seven books, including the international best seller Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators, named by Strategy & Business the Best Strategy Book of 2006 and ranked by the Wall Street Journal as a Top Ten Recommended Read. His articles have appeared in the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review; Strategic Management Journal; Harvard Business Review; California Management Review; and MIT Sloan Management Review.
VG received his doctorate and his MBA with distinction from the Harvard Business School, where he was included in the Dean’s Honor List. He received his Chartered Accountancy degree in India where he was awarded the President’s Gold Medal for obtaining the first rank nationwide.

Organizations: the emotional infrastructure


As VG remarks in his own web, “what we’re saying is that optimism, the ultimate intangible, has a powerful role to play in rebuilding the world economy. We still have the same factories, the same workforce, the same talent, as we had before the crisis.”
“All organizations consist of three infrastructures — physical, intellectual, and emotional.
Physical infrastructure refers to a company’s buildings, equipment, etc. Intellectual infrastructure refers to its competencies - key processes, its people, and their expertise in their particular knowledge domains. Emotions, though, are different from intellect.

I got the idea for emotional infrastructure by observing the behavior of family units. Families, after all, are founded on an emotional infrastructure. And if there is one institution that has survived over the centuries, it is the family. Therefore, my logic went, if organizations have to learn how to build an enduring institution they could learn a lot by observing how families build and sustain emotional bonds.

Here are a few observations. A company’s physical infrastructure costs money to build. It’s also transparent to the competition, and therefore easily copied.

Emotional infrastructure, on the other hand, is not transparent and therefore much more difficult to imitate. You don’t have to incur major capital outlays to build emotional infrastructure. (Does Southwest Airlines ring a bell?)

I’ve observed that families build emotional infrastructure using eight explicit factors. One of these factors is adversity. It is during times of adversity that families come together and bond emotionally. What Wipro has done during these times of adversity will build an enduring competitive advantage by strengthening the company’s emotional infrastructure.Customized Inflatables

Unfortunately, most American companies destroy emotional infrastructure through re-engineering and reducing costs through layoffs. Companies with the right innovation mindset will emerge stronger from this recession; those that don’t get it will suffer and perhaps even perish.”

Raymond Kurzweil: when computers exceed human intelligence

Jun 02 2009

Raymond Kurzweil is an inventor and futurist. He has been a pioneer in the fields of optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology, and electronic keyboard instruments.

Ray Kurzweil, as wikipedia explains, first began speculating about the future when he was a child, but only later as an adult did he become seriously involved with trying to accurately forecast future events. Kurzweil came to realize that his success as an inventor depended largely on proper timing:

His new inventions had to be released onto the market only once many other, supporting technologies had come into existence.

A device issued too early and without proper refinement would lack some key element of functionality, and a device put out too late would find the market already flooded with a different product, or consumers demanding something better.


See a brief video profile

It thus became imperative for Kurzweil to have an understanding of the rates and directions of technological development. He has, throughout his adult life, kept close track of advances in the computer and machine industries, and has precisely modeled them. By extrapolating past trends into the future, Kurzweil formed a method of predicting the course of technological development.
After several years of closely tracking these trends, Kurzweil came to a realization:

the innovation rate of computer technology was increasing not linearly but rather exponentially.

Since growth in so many fields of science and technology depends upon the power of computers, improvements to computing power translate into improvements to human knowledge and to non-computer sciences like nanotechnology, biotechnology, and materials science. Considering the ongoing exponential growth in computer capabilities, this means fantastic new technologies will become available long before the vast majority of people—who intuitively think linearly about technological advance—expect. This core idea is expressed by Kurzweil’s “Law of Accelerating Returns.”

Stay alive until the year 2029 or forever

Ray’s intention, as neoteo explains, is to stay alive until the year 2029.  Estimates say that it should then be more or less possible to transfer his brain to a much more intelligent and longer-lasting computer, hence allowing him to live for ever after.  Kurtzweil does not think that medical progress would yet be able to avoid his body dying by then, making this transfer a good opportunity to insure immortality.  The result would be a computer thinking like Ray and believing it is the actual Ray, the original Ray however being no longer alive.

Kurzweil is one of the most powerful brains of our times and would be even more so with this experiment, continuing to build and expand knowledge for thousands of years living inside a computer.

Technologies that continue as market leaders

Ray Kurzweil was the principal developer of the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition. Ray has successfully founded and developed nine businesses in OCR, music synthesis, speech recognition, reading technology, virtual reality, financial investment, cybernetic art, and other areas of artificial intelligence . All of these technologies continue today as market leaders.
Ray Kurzweil was inducted in 2002 into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, established by the U.S. Patent Office. He received the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize, the nation’s largest award in invention and innovation. He also received the 1999 National Medal of Technology, the nation’s highest honor in technology, from President Clinton in a White House ceremony. He has also received scores of other national and international awards, including the 1994 Dickson Prize (Carnegie Mellon University’s top science prize), Engineer of the Year from Design News, Inventor of the Year from MIT, and the Grace Murray Hopper Award from the Association for Computing Machinery. He has received twelve honorary Doctorates and honors from three U.S. presidents. He has received seven national and international film awards. Ray’s books include The Age of Intelligent Machines, The Age of Spiritual Machines, and Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever. Four of Ray’s books have been national best sellers and The Age of Spiritual Machines has been translated into 9 languages and was the #1 best selling book on Amazon in science. Ray Kurzweil’s new book, published by Viking Press, is entitled The Singularity is Near, When Humans Transcend Biology.

Read the rich history of his entrepeneur adventures.

Computers: increasingly powerful, numerous and cheap

Ray’s best-selling book, The Age of Spiritual Machines, When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence, extends Ray’s prophetic blueprint to what George Gilder calls the “metamorphic moment” when computers exceed the full range of human intelligence, which Ray sees as only a few decades away. This book has been published in nine languages and achieved the #1 best selling book on in the categories of “Science” and “Artificial Intelligence.”
Kurzweil projects that between now and 2050 technology will become so advanced that medical advances will allow people to radically extend their lifespans while preserving and even improving quality of life as they age. The aging process could at first be slowed, then halted, and then reversed as newer and better medical technologies became available. Kurzweil argues that much of this will be a fruit of advances in medical nanotechnology, which will allow microscopic machines to travel through one’s body and repair all types of damage at the cellular level.

But equally consequential developments will occur within the realm of computers as they become increasingly powerful, numerous and cheap between now and 2050. Kurzweil predicts that a computer will pass the Turing test by 2029, by demonstrating to have a mind (intelligence, self awareness, emotional richness) undistinguishable from a human’s. He predicts that the first AI is built around a computer simulation of a human brain, which are made possible by previous, nanotech-guided brainscanning. An AI machine could handle the full range of human intellectual tasks and would be both emotional and self-aware.

Kurzweil suggests that AI’s will inevitably become far smarter and more powerful than un-enhanced humans. He suggests that AIs will exhibit moral thinking and will respect humans as their ancestors. According to his predictions, the line between humans and machines will blur as a natural part of technological evolution. Cybernetic implants will greatly enhance human cognitive and physical abilities, and allow direct interface between humans and machines.

Learn form Kurzweil

In February 2009, Kurzweil, in cooperation with Google and the NASA Ames Research Center, announced the creation of the Singularity University. The University’s self-described mission is to: “assemble, educate and inspire a cadre of leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies and apply, focus and guide these tools to address humanity’s grand challenges.” Using Kurzweil’s Singularity concept as a foundation, the University plans to provide students the skills and tools to guide the process of the Singularity “for the benefit of humanity and its environment.”
Futurism, as a philosophical or academic study, looks at the medium to long-term future in an attempt to predict based on current trends. His predictions are based on the ‘Law of Accelerating Returns’

R. Moss Kanter: How to become a company that transforms the world

May 20 2009

Grand declarations about innovation are followed by mediocre execution that produces anemic results

Rosabeth Moss Kanter is the first speaker of the Innovation Plenary Congress, the meeting summit where internationally renowned speakers will share key opinions on the effective innovation strategies.


Internationally recognized business leader, author and consultant in business and government transformation, her strategic and practical insights have guided leaders of large and small organizations worldwide for over 25 years, through teaching, writing, and direct consultation to major corporations and governments. Moss Kanter  especially highlights, as you can read in the interview published in Working Knowledge, what companies can do to avoid the innovation traps that snare so many:

Innovation seems to be rediscovered in each managerial generation (about every six years) as a fundamental way to enable new growth. But each generation seems to have forgotten or never learned the mistakes of the past, so we see classic traps repeated over and over again.

Errors such as  “burying innovation teams under too much bureaucracy, treating the innovators as more valued corporate citizens than those who work in the current business, and hiring leaders who don’t have the relationship and communications skills necessary to foster innovation. And too often executives lack courage—they call for innovation but then pull the plug on every idea brought their way. Companies need a culture and way of working that emphasizes flexibility and attention to relationships across areas.”
“Managers at companies like IBM, Seagate, Williams-Sonoma, P&G and Gillete, have learned the innovation lessons of the past. They strike the right balance between getting the highest returns from current activities and investing in new growth, they create organizational flexibility, and they foster communication and relationships.”

New business opportunities

Currently, Rosabeth Moss Kanter is working closely with a number of global companies that set high standards for themselves.  She is looking to see how they develop those standards, how they apply them to every business function, and how they use them to raise the standards of the countries in which they operate. She is also currently the chair of a Harvard University group that aims to help successful leaders at the top of their professions apply their skills to addressing challenging national and global problems.

Professor Kanter is the author or co-author of 17 books, which have been translated into 17 languages.  Her 18th book will appear in August 2009, under the tentative title, The Vanguard: How Principle-Led Companies are Changing the World of Business (and Maybe the World).

Professor Kanter has been named to lists of the “50 most powerful women in the world” (Times of London), and the “50 most influential business thinkers in the world” (Accenture and Thinkers 50 research). In 2001, she received the Academy of Management’s Distinguished Career Award for her scholarly contributions to management knowledge, and in 2002 was named “Intelligent Community Visionary of the Year” by the World Teleport Association.
Rosabeth Kantor goes into leading-edge corporations, learns from them and then serves up what she’s learnt in nicely digestible messages for the rest of us.