Is corporate market power really surging?
By Alex Verkhivker – In economic circles, an argument has gained traction that corporate market power is surging, resulting in skyrocketing markups, a falling labor share, and other negative consequences for consumers and workers. But some researchers are pushing back, emphasizing weaknesses in the argument and urging policy makers to be cautious before taking any actions.
Proponents of the market-power argument often rely on one of two methodologies, one that calculates and compares total revenues and costs at the economy-wide level and another that uses company-level data. University of Minnesota’s Loukas Karabarbounis and Chicago Booth’s Brent Neiman focus on the first of these two, in which the economy is considered a pie that is made of up three slices: the labor share (which goes to workers), the capital share (costs incurred to use factories, equipment, software, etc.), and economic profits. Economic profits are calculated by finding the difference between revenues and costs, including the cost of capital faced by companies to fund their assets used in production. more>
By George Bradt – The Wall Street Journal suggests Exxon’s once perfect machine is running dry. It got strategic timing wrong, investing too much too soon in capacity-building. It’s yet one more lesson on the critical importance of getting the timing right between implementing revenue-generating programs and building capabilities.
Strategy is about the creation and allocation of resources to the right place in the right way at the right time over time. It’s about choices. It’s about accepting failure as an option and asking “what if?” Most understand that the “right place” where to play choice is every bit as important as the “right way” how to win choice. Many get the “right time over time” choice wrong. This is what has gotten Exxon into trouble.
Moving from your current reality to a new, desired destination requires projects and programs that actually move you in that direction supported by the capabilities needed to deliver those projects and programs.
Here’s the rub. If you focus too much on running the projects and programs (path I) you get ahead of your capabilities and can’t deliver them. If you focus too much on building capabilities (path III) you run out of cash. The art of strategic timing is stepping up your capabilities ahead of program delivery requirements – but not too far ahead. more>
Posted in Business, Education, How to, Leadership, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, Leadership, Organization, Planning, Resource allocation, Strategic mistakes, Technology
The Tyranny of Metrics, Author: Jerry Z Muller.
By Jerry Z Muller – More and more companies, government agencies, educational institutions and philanthropic organisations are today in the grip of a new phenomenon. I’ve termed it ‘metric fixation’.
The key components of metric fixation are the belief that it is possible – and desirable – to replace professional judgment (acquired through personal experience and talent) with numerical indicators of comparative performance based upon standardized data (metrics); and that the best way to motivate people within these organizations is by attaching rewards and penalties to their measured performance.
The rewards can be monetary, in the form of pay for performance, say, or reputational, in the form of college rankings, hospital ratings, surgical report cards and so on. But the most dramatic negative effect of metric fixation is its propensity to incentivize gaming: that is, encouraging professionals to maximize the metrics in ways that are at odds with the larger purpose of the organization. more>
Posted in Book review, Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, Leadership
Tagged Business improvement, culture, Jobs, Leadership, Organization, Performance management
By Ron Bates – Regardless of your role—from building stakeholder relationships to securing a desired agreement or commitment—we all need to be able to get others to support, approve, or act—based on our ideas.
So how do you get more people to support, approve, and act on your ideas?
It starts with understanding the perception gap you’re trying to close. The only reason someone is going to support, approve, or act on your idea is that they perceive it in a favorable light. What changes someone’s perception? They learn something new.
How often do we consider the other person’s perception and perspective when we attempt to communicate our ideas, insights, or observations? How often do we anticipate the conversation, questions, and objections? Do we practice articulating our message—prior to any conversation?
Are we trying to change someone’s perspective by enrolling them through the questions we ask—or—are we in pure output mode? Are we assuming anything? Have we thought about what the other person’s perspective needs to be to for them to act in our favor? Do we understand the gap we’re trying to close? more>
By John Cassidy – Since Donald Trump entered the White House, American democracy has sometimes been described as dangerously fragile, but that isn’t necessarily true. Having survived for two hundred and forty-two years, American democracy is more like a stoutly built ocean liner, with a maniac at the helm who seems intent on capsizing it. Every so often, he takes a violent tug at the tiller, causing the vessel to list alarmingly. So far, some members of the ship’s crew—judges, public servants, and the odd elected official—have managed to rush in, jag the tiller back, and keep the ship afloat. But, as the captain’s behavior grows more erratic, the danger facing the ship and its passengers increases.
All that concerns him is discrediting the Russia investigation and saving his own skin. To this end, he will do practically anything he can get away with. And, judging by the deathly silence from the Republican leadership over the past couple of days, he won’t receive any resistance from that quarter. To repeat, the danger is increasing. more>
Posted in Business, CONGRESS WATCH, Economy, Education, Energy & emissions, Healthcare, History, Leadership, Media, Net
Tagged Congress Watch, Donald Trump, Government, Internet, Leadership, Organization, United States
By Andre Durand – With the past year’s record-breaking wave of breaches, it is now safe to believe that most Americans have had their personal identity information exposed—and analysis of the Hudson Bay breach has confirmed this knowledge is now being traded in dark markets.
The long-term ramifications are going to have an impact on every public and private sector organization that utilizes our identity to conduct business and to provide access to critical systems, which will create disruption in our day-to-day activities and even to our way of life.
Because business and government institutions that handle personal information are vital to our society, it’s time to designate “identity” as a new segment in the nation’s critical infrastructure, a set of 16 sectors the Homeland Security Department deems essential to the nation’s well-being.
The entire identity chain must be strengthened to prevent these criminal activities. Birth certificates, which can be used to open bank accounts, are still administered by hospitals that are ill-equipped to manage security. Our government devotes huge resources to ensuring that currency can’t be counterfeited, yet it pays scant attention to documents that can be used to obtain multiple forms of ID. Every physical document we use to prove our identity should be made far harder to duplicate.
We can then move onto our digital systems. more>
Posted in Broadband, Business, Communication industry, CONGRESS WATCH, Economy, Education, History, Leadership, Media, Net, Technology
Tagged Broadband, Business improvement, Congress Watch, Government, Identity, Internet, Leadership, Organization, Technology
Human Factors Research Helps Accelerate Mission Planning
By John Toon – The key to a successful flight mission is planning – sometimes several hours of it. Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) specialists in human factors and human computer interfaces are working with NAVAIR PMA-281, Strike Planning and Execution Systems in Patuxent River, Maryland, to streamline the current mission planning process and identify user interface requirements supporting multi-domain mission management in next-generation naval planning capabilities.
With guidance from the GTRI researchers, the project will improve usability of the mission planning software tools, creating a more consistent and intuitive screen design that’s easier to learn and more logical to follow. This effort could benefit all Department of Defense (DoD) agencies for collaborative mission planning.
“We are working with Navy and Marine Corps aviators to identify areas in mission planning where work-flow can be streamlined, reducing the time required to mission plan,” said Marcia Crosland, project director for GTRI’s Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS) User Interface Design and Usability efforts. “Our task has been to define the user interface concepts and decision-making tools to help reduce the time required for mission planning. We’ve created detailed designs and specifications to direct current and future development of mission planning systems.” more>
- Faster Detection, Cleanup of Network Infections are Goals of $12.8 Million Project, John Toon
- Robot Teaches Itself How to Dress People, Jason Maderer
- Wearable Ring, Wristband Allow Users to Control Smart Tech With Hand Gestures, David Mitchell
- Helping the Air Force Search for Actionable Intelligence Worldwide, John Toon
- Flexible, Wearable Oral Sodium Sensor Could Help Improve Hypertension Control, John Toon
- Uncovering a Hidden Protein “Tail” that Puts the Brakes on Cell Signaling, John Toon
- Chemical Octopus Catches Sneaky Cancer Clues, Trace Glycoproteins, Ben Brumfield
- Ultrafast Compression Offers New Way to Get Macromolecules into Cells, John Toon
- Researchers Chosen to Examine Antarctic Glacier at Risk of Collapsing, Jason Maderer
- Remote-Control Shoots Laser at Nano-Gold to Turn on Cancer-Killing Immune Cells, Ben Brumfield
- Severe Storms Research Center Works to Improve Tornado Warning Time, John Toon
- New Technologies are Helping Connect and Protect the Internet of Things, Josh Brown
- Robot Designed to Defend Factories Against Cyberthreats, Josh Brown
- The Next Frontier in Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Parmelee
- A Close Look at Measles Virus Assembly, Quinn Eastman
- Mini-vessel device probes blood interactions in malaria, sickle cell disease, Quinn Eastman
Posted in Broadband, Business, Communication industry, EARTH WATCH, Economy, Education, Healthcare, Media, Net, Science, SPACE WATCH, Technology
Tagged Broadband, Business improvement, Earth, Ecology, Georgia Tech, Internet, Mission Planning, Organization, Productivity, Technology
Why policy makers should nudge more
By Alex Verkhivker – When policy makers around the world want to influence their constituents’ behavior, they have a few options. They can offer a carrot, such as a tax incentive, stipend, or other reward. They can use the legislative stick by passing a mandate or a ban.
But research suggests they should turn more often to a third tool, a “nudge,” which in many cases is the most cost-effective option.
Nudging is the word used in behavioral science for structuring policies and programs in ways that encourage, but don’t compel, particular choices. For instance, requiring people to opt out of rather than into a program, such as a retirement savings plan, might nudge them toward participating. So might reducing the paperwork necessary to enroll. more>
Posted in Business, CONGRESS WATCH, Economic development, Economy, History, How to, Leadership, Regulations
Tagged Business improvement, Chicago Booth, Congress Watch, Government, Leadership, Organization, Productivity, Regulations
Automotive manufacturing and autonomous vehicles
By Dave Lauzun – Automotive manufacturing has been happening for a long time, but when most people think of automotive manufacturing, they imagine a moving assembly line. The moving assembly line revolutionized how vehicle manufacturers produce cars, but it wasn’t always the go-to process.
As vehicles were first beginning to be built at the turn of twentieth century, vehicle manufacturers typically built the whole car at once. It was a time-consuming, costly process that kept cars out of most consumers’ hands.
In 1913, over at Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford wanted to cut down on the time and cost associated with building the Model T. He needed to find an efficient way to build this car, and he came up with idea of being able to “productionize” the Model T through a moving assembly line. In this assembly line, the Model T production was broken down into 84 steps, and employees were trained to do just one step.
The results of this change were enormous for Ford Motor Company. The automaker drastically reduced the time it took to build the Model T from 12 hours to 90 minutes. The cost savings in manpower and time to produce the vehicle on the assembly line also meant the company could drop the price of the Model T from $850 to $300.
How will automakers turn their focus away from research and development and toward the mass production of autonomous vehicles? And, how can that mass production be economically viable for their business and for their customers? more>
Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, History, Leadership, Product, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Business improvement, Industrial economy, Jobs, Leadership, Manufacturing, Organization, Productivity, Siemens, Technology