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Is “The American Dream” moving overseas?

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Is “The American Dream” moving overseas?

It appears entrepreneurial activity has slowed in the US, but is growing overseas.

Why is the spirit of change/innovation important to any economy?

OnPoint Interview: Beyond Silicon Valley, Declining Entrepreneurship.

Has Silicon Valley become corporate? Can the entrepreneurial spirit thrive?

Has Silicon Valley become corporate? Can the entrepreneurial spirit thrive?

 

A new Brookings Institute study reveals a drop (by nearly half) in new business creation (“entrepreneurship”) and business risk-taking overall across the last 30-40 years in the US. Even in Silicon Valley itself, considered the hotbed of business creation in the US, according to the study, the percentage of new businesses was dramatically reduced over the last three to four decades.

 

During a recent OnPoint show, four thought-leaders, including  Danielle Kurtzleben, economics and business correspondent for Vox.com, Nancy Koehn, historian and professor business administration at the Harvard Business School (HBS). Ray Hennessey, editorial director of Entrepreneur.com. (@Hennesseyedit), Lina Khan, policy analyst in the Markets, Enterprise and Resiliency Initiative at the New America Foundation. (@linamkhan)

 

Why are economists like Danielle Kurtzleben,  economics and business correspondent for Vox.com, concerned?  She explains, “This sort of ‘churn’ or ‘business dynamism,’ which includes moving from job to job and learning new skills,  is essential to growth.” Another word she uses to describe it is “creative destruction” (linking “entrepreneurship” to “innovation.”)  She warns, “Productivity is reduced when there is less change.” Based on observations of global competitive trends, she warns, “If you are not moving workers around, this really could put a crimp on growth.”

 

Nancy Koehn, historian and business administration professor at HBS, whose work focuses on entrepreneurial leadership, is equally disturbed. She says, that, in this study, “we see an ongoing and steepening trend, especially in the last six years.” She underlines, “This is a big deal.” Why? Because, she explains, this means that job creation and innovation are also down. This has cultural implications as well because America has always been the place defined by its entrepreneurial spirit. She calls it “can-do” and “make-it-up-as-you-go-along,” and “do-something-different” and states that these concepts have been part of the “American Dream.” She says that the definition of “entrepreneurship” (coming out of HBS in the 1970’s) is “opportunity driven vs. resource constrained,” and that this is the root of economic growth and the rise of new, successful businesses, concluding, “Entrepreneurial activity is important to the beginnings of big business…..This trend is worrisome for what it portends for 20-30 years from now.”

 

The speakers agreed that, while entrepreneurship and the innovation mindset is markedly subdued  in the last 30 years in the US, overseas, it is “catching fire.”

It will be interesting to verify this trend of entrepreneurial activity growing overseas while stagnating in the US with real data and to see if, over time, what these economists predict, will reshape the global playing field for new business growth.

OnPoint Interview: Beyond Silicon Valley, Declining Entrepreneurship.

Aligning ourselves around the term “entrepreneurship” (2006, HBS Professor Howard Steven article)

 

Special Thanks:

 

Thank you, Kaz Asakawa @Kaz_Asakawa management professor and specialist in innovation at Keio University in Japan,  for bringing this issue to my attention.

 

Call to action for the 21st Century by the Dean of Harvard Business School and his team

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Call to action for the 21st Century by the Dean of Harvard Business School and his team

 

“To prepare leaders to succeed in this more complex world, and to increase our scale and reach to bring our mission to even more people, requires a relentless dedication to innovation.”

Dean Nitin Nohria of Harvard Business School

Dean Nitin Nohria of Harvard Business School

 

This week, Harvard Business School (HBS) seemed to reproduce itself at the Fort Mason Center of San Francisco, as Dean Nitin Nohria, and other HBS luminaries, including Faculty Chair Robert Steven Kaplan and William Sahlman, came to present their newly launched capital campaign. I enjoyed talking with the dean and others, old friends and new. This post is to share the fresh approach to life and to work that they imparted.

 

The new campaign is to position the School for leadership in management education in the 21st century. The primary objectives of The Harvard Business School Campaign are to:

 

  • Inspire significantly increased levels of participation and engagement among alumni

  • Inform, identify, and engage the next generation of HBS leaders

  • Strengthen the perception of HBS and business in the world

  • Engage with and support the University in new and mutually beneficial ways

  • Raise funds for current priorities and future flexibility.

 

“Today, as we launch this new Campaign for Harvard Business School,” said Dean Nitin Nohria in addressing the alumni leaders and invited guests who attended the event, “let us take the opportunity to ask ourselves: When future generations look back on this time, what will our legacy be? What choices will we make? How will we reimagine this institution and leave it stronger than we found it?

 

“When I look at the challenges facing our world today, I’m convinced that now more than ever we need the type of leadership Harvard Business School can provide,” Nohria said.

 

“Over the last century, more than a billion people have been brought into the circle of economic inclusion—but there are still billions more waiting, in America and around the world. Business leaders have a vital role to play in helping to widen this circle of inclusion. Together, we can make a difference,” he emphasized.

 

Nohria also spoke of the role of HBS in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship and the spirit of Silicon Valley, and referenced the mission of Harvard Business School in this “call to action.” I believe it is one that should motivate all of us, young and old, rich and poor, and in all corners of the world:

 

“To prepare leaders to succeed in this more complex world, and to increase our scale and reach to bring our mission to even more people, requires a relentless dedication to innovation.”

The mission of Harvard Business School: “We educate leaders who make a difference in the world.”

The Brand IDEA: Managing Nonprofit Brands with Integrity, Democracy, and Affinity (Jossey-Bass, 2014)

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The Brand IDEA: Managing Nonprofit Brands with Integrity, Democracy, and Affinity (Jossey-Bass, 2014)

For mission-driven organizations of all kinds (non-profit or otherwise), this recently published book will be essential summer-reading. It demonstrates how the brand emanates from the organization’s mission and values and requires the active participation of both internal and external audiences.

The Brand IDEA: Managing Nonprofit Brands with Integrity, Democracy, and Affinity (Jossey-Bass, 2014)

The Brand IDEA: Managing Nonprofit Brands with Integrity, Democracy, and Affinity
(Jossey-Bass, 2014)

Nathalie Laidler-Kylander and Julia Shepard Stenzel have written a new book to help nonprofits more effectively manage their brands to further their missions. The Brand IDEA framework outlines the concepts of Integrity, Democracy, and Affinity: aligning the brand with the organization’s mission and values, engaging internal and external stakeholders in defining and communicating the brand, and leveraging the brand to support partnerships and collaboration.  Drawing on interviews with over 70 organizations, the book explores in detail how nonprofit organizations are developing and implementing new ways of building and managing their organizational brands. Examples include: how Special Olympics transitioned from a state of brand confusion to a clear brand identity that has increased cohesion and consistency, how Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts transformed patrons into brand ambassadors, and how the Girl Effect freely offered its brand assets to partners to dramatically increase both reach and impact.

“Every nonprofit leader should read this book. The Brand Idea provides a wealth of insight, real-world examples, and practical advice about the important role that brand plays, not only among external constituents, but among internal ones as well.”  Eric Nee, Managing Editor, Stanford Social Innovation Review

Nathalie Laidler-Kylander, Ph.D.,  teaches management, leadership, and marketing at Harvard’s Kennedy School and Tufts’ Fletcher School. She has been researching and writing about nonprofit brands for over a decade. Julia Shepard Stenzel consults with nonprofits and is an active nonprofit board member. Both Nathalie and Julia are graduates of Harvard Business School.

Authors Nathalie Laidler-Kylander and Julia Shepard Stenzel

Authors Nathalie Laidler-Kylander and Julia Shepard Stenzel

For more information, please visit www.nonprofitbrandidea.com.

The book is available at:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Brand-IDEA-Nonprofit-Integrity/dp/111855583X

and

http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-111855583X.html (use discount code IDEA7 for 30% off through the end of the year)

Linking a vision to a societal issue – providing momentum for change

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When I asked Dr. Kevin Kumashiro, the new dean at The University of San Francisco’s (USF’s) School of Education, about his vision for the school, he did not talk about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and other more popular themes for educational institutions. Instead, he answered, “Rather than ‘brilliant’ lecturers, our educators need to find ways of deeply understanding the context of the students whom they serve. If they have an appreciation of their lives, their neighborhoods and their communities, they can provide them with the skills and tools their students will need into the future.”

Dr. Kevin Kumashiro

Dr. Kevin Kumashiro, Dean, USF School of Education

I am intrigued by Dean Kumashiro’s vision and believe it will inspire change not only within the university itself but beyond. Specifically, by focusing on the living conditions of students, we can begin to address one of the biggest causes of the education gap in our country – income disparities. Impacting this key societal issue will give students better access to the type of education that is sufficient to compete outside of poverty – in mainstream America and on a global basis. It will be interesting to follow Dean Kumashiro’s tenure at the USF School of Education and to see how his graduates approach their role in affecting social change. Notably, Dean Kumashiro’s vision for The School of Education ties into this Catholic university’s firmly entrenched value of helping the economically disadvantaged.

For an overview of how the issue of “access to education” has become a leading topic in educational policy discussions, please read some of the seminal documents on this topic, below:

The White House issued a report in early 2014 entitled, Increasing College Opportunity for Low-Income Students: A Call to Action

The Southern States published this piece, which became the initial wake-up call to this issue in 2013, entitled The New Majority: Low Income Students in the South and in the Nation.

Last weekend’s New York Times Magazine piece continued the dialogue with Paul Tough (expert on mental attitudes) and his review of research showing that attitude gaps in kids from low-income families prevent them from either applying to, or completing college or university. Read Who Gets to Graduate.

The Branding Debate

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Over the past two days, I enjoyed reading pieces that covered both sides of the branding* debate (See definition of the term, “branding”, below). This is because they represent  facets of the conversations I hear within organizations of all stripes that are reflecting on their marketing needs. These points of view can be used as data points to consider when determining how much time and money to put into the branding effort of any operation.

The main question:

  • Is branding worth the investment?

Related questions:

  • Should we invest in a professional branding agency or build on our own brand?

  • How much time, energy, and effort  is this exercise worth?

  • How about a brand “refresh” instead of “re-branding”?

  • How can we measure the results of this investment?

Read on and enjoy, along with more and more of us, following the branding debate as it unfolds over time.

1. Apparently Apple is focusing less on its brand and more on the quality of its product (this is typical of high tech products in America, but also applies to consumer products in other countries, like Japan where new product development receives a greater proportion of investment dollars than traditional branding efforts). Read this recent piece in the Harvard Business Review

2. This piece covers the example of a global company that did not test its logo, only to realize that the imagery it used reminded British consumers of a popular underwear brand. (A quick $15 survey could have prevented this.) New York Times recommending brand research to avoid unintentional (if not funny) consequences.

* (Simple definition of the term “Branding”)

Since “branding,” like many marketing teams, is one that can be  used in many ways, here I am defining it as that element of the overall marketing approach that addresses the identity of the organization, in terms of words and images (literal and figurative) associated with that organization, and how these are communicated to others.  It is typically tied to the overall marketing plan because it is the result of a deep understanding of the company itself, its target customers, and how it distinguishes itself from other players in the marketplace. As is true of every element of the marketing plan, it is reflective of the entire marketing strategy. For those who are in interested in how branding extends throughout the entire marketing plan, read this piece in the Harvard Business Review.

 

Integrating Business and Education in Silicon Valley

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Eric Swalwell Promotes Access to Companies for Local Students

Recently, President Obama announced grants to help integrate work experience into educational programs in the US with the intention that the grants will help finance partnerships between local education agencies and employers.  Participants in this program will have the opportunity for job-shadowing and mentoring which will give students a chance to experience, first hand, high-demand industries such as information technology, health-care and other science and technology sectors. This grant program is an important development for our educational system as it introduces a reshaping of what current high schools offer and will ensure that students are properly prepared for the rigors of college and a rapidly evolving job market.

Rep. Swalwell at the App workshop he hosted in April 5, 2014 in Hayward

Rep. Swalwell at the App workshop he hosted in April 5, 2014 in Hayward

This vision is already becoming a reality to East Bay students.  Congressman Eric Swalwell, who serves as the U.S. Representative from California’s 15th congressional district, which covers most of eastern Alameda County in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area, has created a program that is providing East Bay students with access to companies that can inspire them and help prepare them for a successful career in industry. He says, “We need schools to put themselves into the community that surrounds them. For example, here in the East Bay and Silicon Valley, we have biotech and tech firms that can help students understand the relevance of math and science in the world around them. It is my hope that students and their teachers dedicate themselves to reaching out to those in industry to establish mutually beneficial relationships, and vice-versa.”

Rep. Swalwell is a part of the House of Representatives’ Science, Space and Technology committee and has been active in promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education that prepares students for the 21st century economy and workforce. As an example of his commitment, he has been coordinating an inaugural STEM App Challenge in the region. The Challenge is taking place across the country in participating Congressional districts, with winners being selected from each. Students submit the prototype of an app (for a phone or tablet) and a short video explaining the process and thinking behind it. Rep. Swalwell has held three workshops at which students were provided with assistance from both professional app developers and computer science instructors.

A Bay Area Council Economic Institute Report – Exciting news about prosperity but what about our K-12 education?

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The article explores the strengths and weaknesses of our skyrocketing economy (with eye-opening stats and charts!). This fact-based presentation can be a springboard to new approaches regarding issues like our K-12 education, income disparity and the environment.

http://www.bcdc.ca.gov/meetings/commission/2012/BAEconAssessment.pdf

This Bay Area Council Economic Institute Report (2012) assesses factors driving the economic success of The Bay Area, and allows room for us to consider what could make that growth even stronger going forward.  It shows, for example, that The Bay Area economy is one of the most productive and prosperous in the country (see relative GDP per capita relative to other cities in the US). It also spotlights innovation and technology and says that we are “unrivaled in producing world-class companies and jobs in the region, nationally and around the world.” On the other hand, there are issues about our K-12 education, expressed in the statement that “many companies were concerned with the quality of the K-12 public education system.” It also noted the large income disparity across the region, as well as the negative impact of economic growth/prosperity on our environment.

It begs the question: what can each of us (and the organizations we serve) do to re-double our efforts to address the less successful elements of our Bay Area ecosystem?

“50 million children starving in the US.” Did I hear that right?

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Impactful piece on the fact that 50 million US kids are “starving”. No, they don’t appear as we might imagine: emaciated. The lack of proper nutrition causes they to look overfed. Yet they are under-nourished, and diabetes, asthma and other lifestyle disease are increasing at alarming rates. Time and money invested up front would make a world of difference to our kids and to our health care dollars. Kudos to organizations like The Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, who are reaching into the community to initiate change.

Non-profit branding – new approaches relevant to all organizations

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SUMMARY:  This seminal piece reveals how non-profits can use branding techniques in unique ways. Also how these can be used by for-profits. What are these so-called non-profit branding techniques? They revolve around creating a clearly stated values/mission statement and using great marketing techniques to communicate those both internally and externally to increase impact/change.

http://www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/the_role_of_brand_in_the_nonprofit_sector

 

This compelling article, published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, is relevant to non-profits and for-profits alike. It reveals a role of branding which falls outside traditional parameters of  “spreading the word externally” to “inspiring change/cohesion internally”. The authors, Nathalie Kylander and Christopher Stone, who conducted an extensive research study on the success/challenges of branding in non-profits with Harvard University’s Hauser Center for Non-Profit Organizations, and The Rockefeller Institute, come up with important views of branding which will inspire each of us to re-think the power of branding in the organizations we serve.

 

The essential difference in branding in for-profits vs non-profits is that, in for-profits, the end-game is new customers/revenues, whereas in non-profits, the goal is social impact/change. I would say that what unites the two is a goal to increase influence to allow change of any kind to occur (be it to get someone to buy a widget or get them to save water. (If we are working with organizations that “do good” in the world, non-profit or not, I would argue that all types of organizations are about positive social impact.)

 

The message from the article that rung true to me was linking the organization’s values with its branding so that they are communicated clearly. This will enable them to find collaborators/customers/converts. Organizations that aspire to create change need to focus on their values. Specifically, they need to both define their values with the help of their internal and external collaborators, and then communicate them both internally and externally via clear messaging.

Clean, clear messages inspire employees at Linked In

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Today I visited Linked In in San Francisco. Like my visit to the Silicon Valley campus, this one was inspiring. In addition to great food, massive bean bag chairs, inspired employees, I also noticed that the mission and vision were posted everywhere, along with reminders about shared values like: “Connect talent and opportunity at a massive scale”, “Relationships matter” & “Be honest, open and constructive.” This article speaks to Jeff Weiner’s commitment to inspiring leadership:

http://www.businessinsider.com/linkedin-ceo-jeff-weiner-talks-about-leadership-2012-9