Warren Buffett’s ‘Secret Sauce’
by JC Spender

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There is a small industry of commentators who decode the Berkshire Hathaway (BHI) Annual Letter to Shareholders – which includes Bill Gates.  Their findings vary but the letter released this February was especially interesting (in Gates Notes – “the best ever”).  Most focused on BHI’s financials, only to be expected.  But the letter included wide-ranging remarks by the ‘Sage of Omaha’ on the economy, the history of US productivity, and today’s social inequality.  Few remarked his stating that an economy driven by rising productivity leads to job losses for people whose skills get outmoded or when production moves elsewhere.  Or that ‘safety nets’ are needed, fabricated in Congress’s ‘contentious clashes’.  His analysis was ultimately sunny […]

Why the new entrepreneurial citizen must learn from the past to account for an uncertain world
by Paolo Quattrone

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People tend to forget, but words have a history. ‘Society’ – as philosopher, anthropologist and sociologist Bruno Latour reminds us – combines the Latin socius (an ally or companion) with ‘-ties’. It’s about how we as individuals bind ourselves to one another to form communities. But the way we govern and understand ‘socie-ties’ – be they states, public or private institutions – has not escaped our modern obsession with interpreting the world around us through calculation. Whether through financial figures, electoral polls or reality show audience votes, we’ve come to believe we can simplify anything with supposedly objective data. In this drive to manage corporations, states and communities by numbers, we have come to believe […]

A Framework for the Collaboration Economy
by Rick Goings

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The global economy is changing. The old engines of job creation are stuttering. The jobs gap is rapidly widening, threatening stability in societies around the world. Corporate structures, meanwhile, are creaking or failing – disrupted by technology that is leveling the playing field between small businesses and big enterprise. This is not a slow economic evolution, but – as I have argued before – more like a tectonic rupture along the three fault lines of technology, talent, and demographics. The result of this transformation: We are moving into a post-corporation world, with an economy based not on hierarchies, but collaboration. Let me be clear: neither big business nor small enterprises are dead. However, they will […]

Brexit: Crisis and Opportunity – Nothing Lasts Unless Incessantly Renewed
by David Hurst

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Multilayered complex systems are stable when the large and/or slow processes govern through constraint the smaller, faster ones. Sudden change can take place when agents at a lower level escape the restrictions of agents higher in the system, disrupting the whole. This principle applies to all complex systems from golf swings to management organizations and political structures.   The Founding Fathers ensured that this was the case in the structure of the American government when they wisely arranged the different branches of government in a systems hierarchy of constraint. The House of Representatives is elected every two years, Presidents every four years, the Senate every six years (on staggered terms) and the Supreme Court is […]

How The invisible Hand of Society Funds Entrepreneurship, Innovation, And Growth
by Eyal Kaplan

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On one of the many Boards I served on during twenty years as a venture capitalist, another member was a seasoned corporate executive. He had retired from being the CEO of a $3.5 billion (in revenue) company, and “in a moment of weakness”, as he described it, was recruited by a partner with a VC firm as the CEO of a startup company. In three years he led the startup on a growth path and successfully sold it. When we met shortly after that, I congratulated him and asked whether the experience was good enough to start a second career. He looked at me and said “Absolutely never. Startups are so small. They may present […]

How Disruptive Can China Be?
by Bill Fischer & Denis Simon

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“China is the world’s second largest investor in R&D with a forecast spending of $396.3 billion for 2016.” It will spend 20.4% of the world’s R&D budget in 2016, compared with the U.S.’s 26.4%. There should be no doubt that China believes in S&T, R&D and innovation!  But, how disruptive have China’s investments in innovation been, and what can we expect for the future?   For some industries in the West, this question will appear somewhat ridiculous. The American textile and apparel industries, for example, will tell you that the evidence is found in the blood on the floor – their blood, on what used to be their floor. Similarly, American and European metals industries […]

Entrepreneurial seed – a new perspective on natural and human networks
by Guido Bosbach

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Have you ever seen a tree start growing beside its parent or have you ever seen trees grow alone in the middle of nowhere in a challenging environment? Both are results of natural entrepreneurial thinking. Both follow very similar rules and principles that organizations (and start-up founders) follow when they try to explore new business opportunities.   The core vision of a tree is not just, as it may seem from a straight forward and efficiency driven human perspective, to grow strong and live long and prosper. Neither is it to use energy and carbon dioxide to produce wood, energy and, as a by-product, oxygen. All that is just the core imperative to fulfill its […]

Management Wisdom: Recovering the Tension Between the Hard and the Soft
by David Hurst

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In The Witch Doctors: Making Sense of the Management Gurus (1996, revised 2011) John Micklethwait (former editor-in-chief of The Economist, now of Bloomberg News) and Adrian Wooldridge (Schumpeter columnist for The Economist) identified four defects in management theory: That it was constitutionally incapable of self-criticism Its terminology confuses rather than educates It rarely rises above common sense It is faddish and bedeviled by contradictions They declared management theory “guilty” on all charges in various degrees, and went on to identify the root cause of the problem as an “…intellectual confusion at the heart of management theory; it has become not so much a coherent discipline as a battleground between two radically opposed philosophies. Management theorists […]