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February’s Harvard Business Review

by mel starrs on March 10, 2009

in Management

One residual effect from my MBA is a penchant for the mighty monthly tome, the Harvard Business Review. Incredibly expensive in the UK, but always has great quality content.

Some of my favourite snippets from the February edition (which has probably just disappeared from the stands – lesson #1 of blogging – publish before irrelevance sets in):

There were a host of ideas in the Breakthrough Ideas of 2009, most of which is not behind the publication’s normal subscription fence, including:

From Goldstein’s ‘Harnessing Social Pressure‘ on pg 25, “A publicized behavioral norm becomes a “magnetic middle”, drawing people toward it. To avoid inadvertently encouraging your best-behaved customers to backslide, try showing approval for their behavior.” Ties in neatly to not scaring people into going green.

On pg23, a Rwandan CAD bureau, Gasabo 3D Design, is held up as an example of the outsourcing opportunities now available in sub-Saharan Africa.

Benyus and Pauli on pg28 discuss ‘The Business of Biomimicry‘ including DSSCs (dye sensitised solar cells). 60% cheaper than traditional PV cells, although not yet as effective, this could be a technology to keep an eye on.

By far the most intriguing feature is on Arakawa. The arcihtect’s intention is not to die and to this end, creates architectual features that promote “death resistance” by requiring people to navigate unsettling, disorienting, and dangerous but whimsical spaces. I can’t decide if this is genius or completely bonkers.

And great news for me on pg37 in Pentlland’s ‘How Social Networks Network Best‘:
“A recent MIT study found that in one organisation the employees with the most extensive personal digital networks were 7% more productive than their colleagues.” Those with the most cohesive face-to-face networks were 30% more productive (but unfortunately they didn’t define ‘most cohesive’). Either way, social interaction of either kind is important.

On pg39 HP announce their aim of ‘literally instrumenting the planet‘ using CeNSE. Think of the possibilities for POE in buildings?

The case study this month is a topic dear to my heart ‘Gen. Y in the Workforce‘. As the first commentator says,”this is a classic case of impatient Generation Y meets “pay your dues” Generation X.” The article could have benefitted from more advice on how to manage Gen Y expectations, but it’s good read nonetheless.

The ‘Seize Advantage in a Downturn‘ is an imminently sensible article, advocating keeping an eye on cashflow and securing credit. It would be easy to turn the article around and apply the principles to individual careers in an effort to recession proof one’s career.

The article ‘Why good leaders make bad decisions‘ was the subject of HBR Ideacast earlier this month. Again, a topic I am intrigued by. One of my favourite topics on the MBA and a book I would recommend to anyone is Bazerman’s Judgment in Managerial Decision Making. Despite being a textbook, it is imminently readable and indeed a better source of information than what turned out to be a fairly weak and disappointing article.

There are a few other articles which I haven’t covered. The March edition is now out.

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  • http://www.nmanagement.co.uk Heather Northey

    I also read Knowledge from Wharton which is a bit more digestible, and listed to HBR podcasts (available itunes). ANother good source of information particularly on business innovation is AIM and MLab run by London Business School. They have some excellent local seminars and have recently featured topical work on GenY management and the Web 2.0 effects.

  • http://www.nmanagement.co.uk Heather Northey

    I also read Knowledge from Wharton which is a bit more digestible, and listed to HBR podcasts (available itunes). ANother good source of information particularly on business innovation is AIM and MLab run by London Business School. They have some excellent local seminars and have recently featured topical work on GenY management and the Web 2.0 effects.

  • http://grangeheights.com Kieran

    Open University MBA students (e.g me!!) get if free and I am ashamed to say I do not check it out as it has outstanding articles as your post shows

  • http://grangeheights.com Kieran

    Open University MBA students (e.g me!!) get if free and I am ashamed to say I do not check it out as it has outstanding articles as your post shows

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