Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Top 10 articles of the year

10 (tie). "Consumed: Boxed Set (the Buddha Machine)," Rob Walker, New York Times Magazine, July 29. The story of the most innovative music package in recent memory.

10 (tie). "Beyond Pokémon: Nintendo DS Goes To School in Japan," Yukari Iwatani Kane. Wall Street Journal, July 11. Video games are not just for goofing around anymore.

9. "Do Startups Really Need Business Plans?" Kelly Spors. Wall Street Journal, January 9. Going against the conventional wisdom.

8. "How Managers' Everyday Decisions Create--or Destroy--Your Company's Strategy," Joseph Bower and Clark Gilbert. Harvard Business Review, February.

7. "How Leaders Create and Use Networks," Herminia Ibarra and Mark Hunter. Harvard Business Review, January. There were several fascinating articles on using personal networks this year. This was the best.

6. "Strategic Insight in Three Circles," Joel Urbany and James Davis. Harvard Business Review, November. Creating and communicating a strategy using a Venn diagram.

5. "The Value Captor’s Process: Getting the Most out of Your New Business Ventures," Rita Gunther McGrath and Thomas Keil. Harvard Business Review, May. Companies can do a lot better with products that don't make the final grade, if they employ some basic tactics to get value from them.

4. "Can a Company Be Run As a Democracy?" Jaclyne Badal. Wall Street Journal, April 23. The subject of a growing number of articles this year. Perhaps this is telling us something.

3. "A Leader's Framework for Decisionmaking," Dave Snowden and Mary Boone. Harvard Business Review, November. How to navigate the maze of business problems, from simple to chaotic, using the Cynefin framework.

2. "Poisoned Toothpaste in Panama Is Believed to Be From China," and other articles by Walt Bogdanich et al. on the subject of tainted Chinese products. New York Times, May-October.

1. "At the Pentagon, an 'Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure,'" Jonathan Karp. Wall Street Journal, May 14. How one part of the US government uses stories of "worst practices" to help guide people in their ethical decisionmaking.


Rita Gunther McGrath said...

Thanks for including our piece in your "top ten" list for the year. We think it's important for companies to recognize that the whole venture process, not just pieces of it, need to be considered when you want to maximize the gains from investing in innovation.

Rita Gunther McGrath

John Caddell said...

Rita, what I liked about the article was the holistic way it treated all the different ways companies can market innovation. So rather than technology licensing being a completely different animal from, say, full product roll-out, they are part of the same process. And since we can't really know in advance which path will be most fruitful for any innovation, we must keep all options open till we can make the best decision.

We used to call the software products we created that didn't make the grade "shelf-ware." We tried to find customers for these in our normal marketing. In retrospect, I wish we had had a more rigorous process for deciding what to do with them. Ironically, other companies developed some different products that resembled our shelf-ware years later and profited from them--meaning there was probably ways we could have exploited them if we'd been more insightful.



Rick Sklarin said...

John, Thanks for including my article in your Top Ten Articles of the Year. I enjoyed your challenge to write my article on the top reasons consultants fail and I continue to look for new lessons to make client-consultant relationships more effective.