January 19


What you could learn from ‘HBR’s 10 Must Reads 2017’ (2016, 200 pages)

Each year HBR publishes its most popular articles in a single book.  The type of articles and the topics they cover are a bellwether for what academics and global business leaders find important.  

In the latest edition, the articles focus on data analytics, design thinking and innovation.  Below, I have briefly summarised what I felt where the most relevant articles.

In their article ‘Collaborative Overload‘ the authors argue that collaboration is a double edged sword.  Too much collaboration or the wrong type of collaboration can be counterproductive.  Instead, the authors argue that managers need to: match supply and demand, redistribute work and get the incentives around collaboration right.

Algorithms Need Managers, Too‘ is a provocative article, which highlights the challenges of automation.  While computers and advanced data tools can identify patterns and optimise processes, the input and results need to be considered carefully by human beings who understand the business problem and analytics.

The importance of platforms such as the App Store is addressed in the article ‘Pipelines, Platforms, and the New Rules of Strategy‘.  The article describes the importance of ‘network effects’ and how to develop new KPIs to measure how customers interact with and on your platform.

Design thinking remains popular. In ‘How Indra Nooyi Turned Design Thinking into Strategy‘, Indra sets out how she put designing for customers at the centre of Pepsi’s strategy.

The subject of ‘frugal innovation’ has been gaining traction recently, and in “Engineering Reverse Innovations“, the author highlights the factors which separate success and failure.

In “People before Strategy: A New role for the CHRO” the authors suggest that the competitive advantage of the future will be an organisation’s key talent.  A single executive should create and drive the organisation’s talent strategy.  New KPIs will be needed so that organisations can focus on recruiting, developing and retaining top talent.

We are now entering the ‘fourth industrial revolution’.  This revolution will be driven by data and automation.  In their article “Beyond Automation“, the authors begin to address how society and people will need to adapt.

You should read ‘HBR’s 10 Must Reads 2017’ for updates on the latest thinking on what is concerning business leaders today.

You can find the book on Amazon UK here.