Drops from the Fire Hose – October 16, 2012

Designing products for value — McKinsey Quarterly

Recognizing the challenges of the new environment, a few product makers in industries as varied as appliances, automotive, consumer packaged goods, high tech, and medical devices are taking a different approach. By encouraging more focused collaboration among multiple functional groups (notably marketing and sales, operations, engineering/R&D, and procurement), these leaders are combining deep insights about customers, competitors, and supply bases to strip out costs and amplify what customers truly value. The results—including better products, happier customers, higher margins, and, ultimately, a stronger ability to innovate—should serve these organizations well in years to come.

The Five-Minute Nonprofit MBA — Stanford Social Innovation Review

Many of my clients are engaged in this process, and I compiled a list of resources to help them. It doesn’t cover “sexy” topics like strategy, vision, and change management; it covers the basic competencies involved in managing people:

  • recruiting
  • developing staff
  • retaining talent
  • performance reviews
  • empowering initiative
  • and (gulp), termination

The art of executing these competencies well may not be glamorous, but any leader who lacks these skills—nonprofit or corporate—is destined for pain.

Bloomberg Has Put Together A Brilliant Guide On What’s Next In The US Economy — Business Insider

He projects growth to slow to 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter.

Brusuelas thinks that an increase in hiring is unlikely, and there is “slight risk” that unemployment could tick up to 8 percent again by the end of the year.

Moreover, the Fiscal Cliff has increased the risk of a recession.

“The probability of the fiscal shock taking place next year has grown,” he says. “While the Fed is on record saying it can act to help mitigate the impact of fiscal policy, it cannot completely forestall the full effect” of the shock set to kick in Jan 2013 should the current fiscal policy path be left unchanged.

Brusuelas’ presentation is one of the best and more comprehensive overviews of the economy we’ve seen.

Does Ben Bernanke want to replace GDP with a happiness index? — Quartz

Rather, Bernanke suggests that survey measures of happiness and life satisfaction should take their place alongside GDP as measures of how a nation is doing. In doing so, he joined current British Prime Minister David Cameron, who said ”it’s time we focused not just on GDP but on GWB—general wellbeing” and former French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who said he would ”fight to make all international organisations change their statistical systems by following the recommendations” of the Stiglitz report. He refers to Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz’s committee’s work proclaiming “the time is ripe for our measurement system to shift emphasis from measuring economic production to measuring people’s well-being.” The emphasis is in the original.

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