Business

Open leadership webcast recap: How social technology can transform how you lead with Charlene Li

The Open Your World webcast series highlights leaders and thinkers in the open source space—in business, in technology, and in life.  Our most recent guest was Charlene Li, whose latest book, Open Leadership, is a New York Times bestseller. She also co-authored the popular new-media tome, Groundswell, and is a founder of the advisory firm Altimeter Group.

This is a summary of Charlene Li's webcast presentation. » Read more

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Why Business is Brain-Dead--and How to Wake Up

Often, when I'm invited to speak to boardrooms, I start by gently saying: "Listen up folks. Business is brain-dead. Right now, even as we speak, your business is probably undergoing a slow, barely perceptible, but wholly pernicious brain death." I might take a custom-made, baby-soft $2000 loafer to the head and get muscled out of the room, but as I'm ushered through the cubefarm hinterlands I try to explain: "No, really. I don't say this for effect, it is literally true: business has a serious cognitive malfunction--an inability to process reality". » Read more

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Open For Business: Open source for sale

I have been asked to turn "Open for Business" into a monthly column, focusing on applying the open source way to business. Let the reader beware that I am not a millionaire. I don’t own multiple houses or drive a new car, but for the past eight years I have made a living running a business focused exclusively on open source software (and that’s without needing outside investment). The suggestions offered in this column fall in line with our business plan of "spend less than you earn." I hope others will find them useful.
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Does your organization think like Ptolemy?

Who is in your community? It seems like such a simple question.

In reality, your organization probably doesn’t just interact with one community, but a whole host of very different communities and sub-communities. The only thing these communities may share is that they are made up of individual human beings.

When asked to list the groups of people making up an organization’s community, most would probably end up with a list that looked something like this: » Read more

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A generational look at open management

Whether you're a newly appointed manager or a weathered veteran, one thing's for certain: when it comes to leading the workforce of the future, the times they are a-changin'. The ability (and willingness) to understand and adapt to the new paradigms of working will separate the good managers from the great managers, and both from the clueless ones. » Read more

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Will IT slowly strangle corporate outposts?

While the home of most corporate parents (America) worries that IT may not be helping the business enough, the home of many subsidiaries (Ireland) worries that IT is a tool that will force the closure of corporate outposts. » Read more

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OSS for wealthy nations and societies

One of the key issues why open source software has not taken roots in Singapore is the mismatch in messaging and perception in what open source offers. Though innovation is the key message as the benefit of open source software, the more dominant message that persists in the country regarding OSS is cost saving. In a society and nation like Singapore, where there is an abundance of economic wealth and that is more interested in banking on the big brands, why should they care about saving costs and working with smaller companies? » Read more

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The hole in the soul of business

I’m a big fan of New Yorker cartoons. There’s usually at least one in every issue that provokes a wry smile or a wince of self-recognition. While I’ve never actually participated in the magazine’s weekly caption competition, I occasionally gin up a prospective entry. Last week, the contest featured a drawing of a couple sitting in a living room. The husband (perhaps?) was perusing a newspaper on the sofa while his wife lounged in a nearby armchair. She was a mermaid—naked from the waist up, her large flipper resting demurely on the floor. With her head angled towards her companion and her mouth open in mid-sentence, I imagined her to be saying: “After ten years, I think you could have learned to scuba dive,” or “Hiking in the Alps again? I thought we could take a beach holiday this year.”

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B Corps: new advancements in a community advancing our communities

B Lab, the organization behind the growing community of B Corporations (companies using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems) or B Corps for short, recently released its 2011 annual report.

The report highlights some interesting progress over the last year, including a 75% increase in the number of certified B Corps, with larger businesses also joining the growing movement.
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A better way to win: Profiting from purpose

"I would not give a fig for the simplicity on this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity." —Oliver Wendell Holmes

When it comes to managing their costs, most companies operate with a simple model. They start by trying to maximize their gross margins so that they have a high cushion for spending in areas where they feel they need to spend heavily in order to compete, such as advertising and promotions. But a growing number of high-performing companies are showing that there is a better way to manage spending and improve performance. These companies live and operate on the other side of complexity.

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