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Business/ Management/ Innovation

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Mapping Social Behavior

Humans are, first and foremost, social creatures. And this, according to the authors of I'll Have What She's Having, shapes—and explains—most of our choices. We're not just blindly driven by hard-wired instincts to hunt or gather or reproduce; our decisions are based on more than “nudges” exploiting individual cognitive quirks.

Business, Climate Politics, and the Rise of Emissions Trading

Over the past decade, carbon trading has emerged as the industrialized world's primary policy response to global climate change despite considerable controversy. With carbon markets worth $144 billion in 2009, carbon trading represents the largest manifestation of the trend toward market-based environmental governance. In Carbon Coalitions, Jonas Meckling presents the first comprehensive study on the rise of carbon trading and the role business played in making this policy instrument a central pillar of global climate governance.

Project teams can improve results by recognizing that the future is inevitably uncertain and that by creating flexible designs they can adapt to eventualities. This approach enables them to take advantage of new opportunities and avoid harmful losses. Designers of complex, long-lasting projects--such as communication networks, power plants, or hospitals--must learn to abandon fixed specifications and narrow forecasts. They need to avoid the “flaw of averages,” the conceptual pitfall that traps so many designs in underperformance.

When designer and computer scientist John Maeda was tapped to be president of the celebrated Rhode Island School of Design in 2008, he had to learn how to be a leader quickly. He had to transform himself from a tenured professor—with a love of argument for argument's sake and the freedom to experiment—into the head of a hierarchical organization. The professor is free to speak his mind against "the man." The college president is "the man." Maeda has had to teach himself, through trial and error, about leadership.

The ability to manage knowledge has become increasingly important in today’s knowledge economy. Knowledge is considered a valuable commodity, embedded in products and in the tacit knowledge of highly mobile individual employees. Knowledge management (KM) represents a deliberate and systematic approach to cultivating and sharing an organization’s knowledge base. It is a highly multidisciplinary field that encompasses both information technology and intellectual capital.

Evolving Captive Center Models

In today’s globalized economy, firms often consider offshoring when confronted by rising costs and fierce competition. One mode of offshoring has continued to grow despite the current global economic turmoil: the captive center. Captive centers are offshore subsidiaries or branch offices that provide the parent company with services, usually in the form of back-office activities. In Offshoring Strategies, Ilan Oshri examines the evolution of the captive center.

The BP Oil Spill Disaster and the Future of Energy in America

On April 20, 2010, the gigantic drilling rig Deepwater Horizon blew up in the Gulf of Mexico, killing eleven crew members and causing a massive eruption of oil from BP’s Macondo well. For months, oil gushed into the Gulf, spreading death and destruction. Americans watched real-time video of the huge column of oil and gas spewing from the obviously failed “blowout preventer.” What was missing, though, was the larger story of this disaster.

Delivering Customer Value through Flexible Operations

In recent years, management gurus have urged businesses to adopt such strategies as just-in-time, lean manufacturing, offshoring, and frequent deliveries to retail outlets. But today, these much-touted strategies may be risky. Global financial turmoil, rising labor costs in developing countries, and huge volatility in the price of oil and other commodities can disrupt a company’s entire supply chain and threaten its ability to compete.

Essential Practices for Successful Innovation

Innovation is the ruling buzzword in business today. Technology companies invest billions in developing new gadgets; business leaders see innovation as the key to a competitive edge; policymakers craft regulations to foster a climate of innovation. And yet businesses report a success rate of only four percent for innovation initiatives. Can we significantly increase our odds of succeeding at innovation? In The Innovator’s Way, innovation experts Peter Denning and Robert Dunham reply with an emphatic yes.

The Internet's remarkable growth has been fueled by innovation. New applications continually enable new ways of using the Internet, and new physical networking technologies increase the range of networks over which the Internet can run. Questions about the relationship between innovation and the Internet's architecture have shaped the debates over open access to broadband networks, network neutrality, nondiscriminatory network management, and future Internet architecture.

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