Clayton Christensen, who introduced "disruptive innovation" and its theory of how incumbents can overlook seemingly inferior upstarts that eventually consume their market share, died last week after years of battling health problems. Clark Gilbert, the president of BYU-Pathway Worldwide, remembered Christensen for his business and spiritual contributions, as "[n]ot only did Clay's insights help explain the failure of leading firms, they helped guide the search for new innovations that lead to the birth of whole new industries."
The manufacturing industry is transforming in the face of new technology, business models, and the creation of smart factories and business practices, Sophia Zoria writes. Leaders should manage cybersecurity through steps such as focusing on openness and flexibility, she advises.
Why it matters: On January 25, LeBron James passed Kobe Bryant on the NBA's all-time scoring list, earning a congratulatory tweet from the Black Mamba. Sixteen hours later, Kobe, his daughter and seven others were no longer with us. There are only a handful of players in the history of basketball who transcended the sport the way Kobe did. He was a consummate champion who approached the game with a level of intensity paralleled only by Michael Jordan. He was synonymous with the city of Los Angeles for the better part of two decades. For basketball fans, one of the highlights of 2020 was going to be seeing Kobe inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame alongside other greats of the 2000s like Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan. Kobe will undoubtedly still highlight the class of 2020, but certainly no one expected his induction to be posthumous.
Asking for help at work, whether you're the CEO or a new hire, shows courage and vulnerability, argues Wayne Baker of the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business in a new book. "You have to be clear on why you are making the request, the goal you are trying to achieve, and use SMART criteria," he says, with SMART being defined as specific, measurable, assignable, realistic and time-related.
Strategies are more likely to succeed when there is clarity on the vision, who has oversight and how projects will be managed, writes Gary Chin. "Be clear on the project management methodology that will be used, such as traditional, agile, or hybrid," Chin writes.
Teams that work in different time zones need to ask detailed questions, err on the side of sharing too much information and act without waiting for everyone's signoff, writes Spencer McCullough of Zapier, a company where all employees work remotely. "At Zapier, if we're 80 percent sure about something, we 'default to action' (another one of our core values)," he writes.
K&J Growth Hackers was formed by two would-be rivals for a piece of business, and the marketing firm has thrived despite the founders being separated by the Pacific Ocean. "The things we've done to live a beautiful life as founders while going through the immense stress of starting a business are what we try to inspire among our team members, clients and the community," co-founder Jonathan Maxim says.
The US Navy holds several patents for some apparently physics-defying inventions such as a compact fusion reactor and a vehicle that operates in space and underwater, credited to a man named Salvatore Cezar Pais, who works for the US Navy Strategic Systems Programs. "Overall, my impression is that while there may (or may not) be an interesting engineering feat in the patents, the rest of the claims are extraordinary," says Charles Collett, an assistant professor of physics at Muhlenberg College, "and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
An "anti-identity strategy," where a company positions itself by focusing on what it does not do, can be effective in some cases, write Madeleine Rauch, Sarah Stanske and Anna Canato. They examine this strategy in a real-world enterprise, noting that it offers dual benefits of flexibility and stability during times of extreme change.
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