For nearly 25 years now, IDEO has stood at the cutting edge of the possibilities of design. Founded in Silicon Valley in 1991 by David Kelley, an early popularizer of the design thinking methodology, IDEO has grown into a diverse global organization, with experts on tap in disciplines ranging from behavioral service to software engineering. Thirteen years ago, IDEO opened an office in Shanghai. Charles Hayes, a partner at IDEO and Managing Director of IDEO China, talks about the evolution of IDEO China, IDEO’s approach to design thinking in a Chinese context and evolving Chinese business and consumer cultures.
Once upon a time, designers were considered a fairly rarified breed in the corporate world—people with more interesting hair, eyeglasses and talent than the rest of us, but not a key part of the “real” business. Today, however, that’s changing. As more and more companies face the need for constant innovation, design is earning more respect. In fact, these days, many organizations are training their employees to think like designers. Jeanne Liedtka, a professor of strategy and author of three books on design thinking, argues that learning to approach problems the way designers do can be a useful way to spark innovation in almost every company.
Whether you’re working at your dream job or you’ve been plotting your escape for months, chances are you’ve experienced your fair share of days that simply can’t end soon enough. From snarky colleagues to grim commutes, the possibilities for our working day taking a wrong turn are seemingly endless, and remedies aren’t always in sight. Caroline Webb, CEO of Sevenshift, an advisory firm focused on performance in the workplace, has put together a guide for improving our work life with her book How to Have a Good Day. Drawing upon research in neuroscience, behavioral economics and psychology, Webb tells us how we can make our work smarter, productive and satisfying.
In an ‘always on’ world enabled by hyperconnectivity, divisions between office and home, and work and rest are becoming increasingly porous, with a new email notification never far away. But is it really necessary? In her new book The Happiness Track, Emma Seppälä, Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, draws upon the latest research to argue that these high-intensity work styles are fundamentally misguided. As she writes in the book, “We have simply accepted overextension as a way of life.” In this interview, Seppälä sets out why that’s a mistake and what we can do to improve our wellbeing.
Several Latin American countries suffer from acute income inequalities and extreme poverty. For governments, that poses a tricky question: how to lift hordes of people out of poverty? The Latin American experience shows that well-meaning government initiatives often don’t trickle down all the way to the poorest segments of society. Felipe Perez, professor at INCAE Business School, feels that the best way out of this is to rely on Bottom of the Pyramid initiatives that are seeded by the local population at the grassroots. If this were to happen, people who are part of the problem can also be part of the solution.
About 15 years ago, Brian Robertson was feeling frustrated with the management hierarchy traditionally used by companies. He felt it had a tendency to stifle innovation, create inefficiencies and prevent individuals from fulfilling their potential. Robertson channeled that dissatisfaction into the development of one of the best known self-management systems, Holacracy, something that has been adopted by the likes of Tony Hsieh, CEO of online shoe retailer Zappos. In this interview, Robertson, the author of Holacracy: The New Management System for a Rapidly Changing World, clears up some of the misconceptions and gives an overview of Holacracy.
Luxury sales are down in China due to a variety of factors: from the economic slowdown to the corruption crackdown, and even the changing tastes of the Chinese consumer. Luxury brands that relied on China sales to prop up their numbers are scrambling for solutions even as they are being forced to shut down stores. Is this the end of luxury’s dream run in China? What strategy should brands deploy to regain lost ground in China’s luxury market? CKGSB Knowledge spoke to Benoit Garbe, Senior Partner, and Nicolas Derville, Analyst, Millward Brown Vermeer, to diagnose what’s wrong with China’s luxury market and offer possible prescriptions.
China’s economic growth has dropped to a 24-year low. There’s not much room for further decline as Beijing has reaffirmed its goal of doubling the GDP between 2010 and 2020. This means growth of 6.5% a year. The conventional methods of boosting growth are no longer deemed dependable. Beijing is now pinning its hopes on unlocking another round of “economic dividends” by carrying out reforms to make the entire system more market-driven. But can China carry out economic transformation without hurting growth? We ask Anthony Saich, Director of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School.
Many family businesses don’t last beyond the third generation. As someone wisely put it: “Of shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations”, or wealth gained in one generation will be lost by the third. Yet the Pitcairn family business stands out in sharp contrast to this morose trend. The business has been going strong for more than 100 years and spans five generations and 650 family members. How has the Pitcairn family managed to keep business and ownership separate? How do they keep the family happy and the business well run? Pitcairn Company Chairman Dirk Junge shares some valuable lessons from the Pitcairn experience.
Are you among those who worry about where their products come from? So you prefer to shell out an extra buck for fair trade coffee instead of a regular cup of joe. You look for the Fairtrade certification when you buy clothes. But what about your phone? Fairphone, an Amsterdam-headquartered company, is selling phones on the premise that they are made from conflict-free minerals. Is that a compelling proposition for customers? Will they pick an ethically produced phone over an iPhone which has greater functionality, more aspiration value and a style quotient?