Thursday, January 20, 2011

HBR 24

The Harvard Business Review lists 24 actions for 2011 in the HBR Agenda, a collection of posts by a group of business and management leaders, sharing their plans for the year ahead. There’s an exciting mix of projects here – for example:
  • Vijay Govindarajan wants to help design a $300 house with basic modern services such as running water and electricity, and shared access to all of the modcons, turning poverty alleviation into a massive opportunity for business to make a difference.
  • Clay Shirky is studying design as a key driver behind the quality of our online conversations – looking at why some sites enjoy genial exchanges where others are hijacked by attention seekers.
  • Robert I. Sutton, in a similar vein, is writing a book on how to ‘scale’ constructive behavior.
  • A.G. Lafley will be working with Boards and CEOs to develop better succession planning processes at a time when great business leadership matters more than ever.
  • Michael Porter is working with Robert Kaplan to lower the real cost of healthcare – a critical project as healthcare costs in the US and elsewhere are on the rise.
These are just a few of the two dozen initiatives on the Agenda, and as HBR points out, one of the best things about so many of them is that they focus on challenges bigger than business. I’ve been talking about the potential for business to make the world a better place for a while now and couldn’t agree more. Read more about what’s on the Agenda here.


Susan P. said...

I'm always interested in reading these types of proposals, for various reasons. Firstly they demonstrate individual drive, passion and commitment, but, also, they showcase a range of societal issues that governments don't (or can't seem to) easily address e.g. the M. Porter healthcare research.

The scaling of constructive behaviour is intriguing because there are burgeoning groups online discussing architectural et al scaling and whilst individuals (including myself) have attempted to move discussion to response and behavioural issues, there isn't a 'science' per se around this. It's not sociology exactly any's a type of techno society that not too many are talking about as yet. I'm sure they will.

I completed my PhD as a reflexive investigation of web based chat society but these types of works aren't about scale per se.

Some projects people aim to achieve are also locating practical solutions to make every day life easily and better. I'd love to see someone tackle the number of child deaths from kids falling out of apartment windows. I raised this issue with a television program dealing with inventions and hope they can achieve something in this area.

But aren't such lists also very inspiring. People striving for betterment often feels so positive.

Susan P. said...

Btw Kevin, I'm not usually that interested in gender breakdowns, however, as all the mentions here were about men...were there any applications from women?

Bajaj said...

Hi Kevin,
It is really amazing to see how so many people working for the greater good of the society.
I think apart from individuals it is also a responsibility of organisations to take a step forward and do the same. I read an article back in 2009 that talks about how GE was able to reduce the cost of their products after some innovations done in developing countries. These innovations were then introduced in the developed world and let to a drastic decrease in the cost of the products.
Not only this provides companies with a competitive edge but also benefits the end user who has to pay less for the same services.
For more details I am adding the link to the article:

Cheers for bringing this data up!