Showing posts from November, 2017

GE Bids Goodbye to the Electric Bulb

Thomas Edison “invented” the electric bulb. The company that he founded later became GE . After 125 years, GE is dropping the electric bulb from its portfolio . We don’t learn from history – not even from recent history. The previous CEO famously brought in an acknowledged expert in strategy and innovation. It may be safe to assume that endless meetings would have been held, senior managers would have gone through intensive training, and new “strategies” would have been developed. Frank Vermeulen is a professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the London Business School. In what is surely a provocative hypothesis, he says that “ new strategies ” are often not strategies at all . He adds for good measure: “We want to be number one or number two in all the markets in which we operate” is one of those. One wonders whether he was referring to the legendary Jack Welch . As I have written earlier, GE has been on a downward slide for over fifteen years.

The Creativity Paradox

This column is inspired by the work of best-selling author and motivation expert Daniel Pink . Professor Teresa Amabile of Harvard Business School has studied individual productivity , creativity , and organizational innovation for over three decades. In a landmark study published in 1993, Professor Amabile provides the fascinating account of an experiment. “She asks a sample of 23 artists to provide her with 20 pieces of their work – 10 commissioned pieces (for which they would have been paid by the sponsors) and 10 non-commissioned pieces (work they did out of their passion). She displays the 460 pieces of art thus collected in random order. Then she invites experts to evaluate the 460 pieces.” It is not often that you get overwhelmingly significant results in social science . Professor Amabile categorizes her findings as “ startling .” The experts evaluate that the 460 pieces are at a comparable level in technical terms . However, the experts rate the


This column is inspired by the work of Professor Dan Ariely , the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University, and one of the world’s leading experts on honesty and trust. Trust is the foundation of life . Trust is what makes relations work, trust is what makes businesses successful, and trust is what separates happy societies from others. Many of you may have had this experience – you are at an airport or at a public place. You wish to use the restroom. Have you asked someone next to you, a stranger, to look after your baggage for a few minutes? Has the role been reversed anytime? At the heart of believing someone we may never have seen before is trust. We live in an inter-dependent world . We would find it very difficult, if not impossible, to live a life of complete isolation. On top of this, we are not self-sufficient. We need reciprocity to live and work together . Reciprocity in a positive way is advantageous to our s