Thought leadership insights – not just a sales tool!


A friend recently shared with me a thought leadership article (cover shown above) from Accenture, a consulting firm.  The article shared views and insights into factors determining the adoption of electric vehicles, and future direction in which they will likely develop. These views were supported by a study/survey that Accenture had undertaken.

The article addresses a topic that I am interested in, and so I was glad to be informed of the article. What’s even better, the article was free (but was still comparable in quality to what one might find in leading professional media publications).

This highlighted for me an interesting development. Professional service / advisory firms are generally keen to prove their abilities, highlight their knowledge and expertise, and often do this by preparing thought leadership articles. These articles are often freely available on their websites (sometimes on request or after registration).

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Thoughts on the accelerating evolution of business models

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/jpsdk

Thoughts on the accelerating evolution of business models, and the related psychological stages / ‘fear levels’ that we go through

In the past, economics, life and business evolved at a slower (than today) pace. At the time (then) it didn’t feel like it, but then we didn’t really know what was coming.

Today it feels like are we are traveling at speed on the motorway, with our head out the window, having only last week been enjoying leisurely drives down picturesque country lanes. The chances of a life endangering crash are now higher; you get to take in less of the surroundings as you hurtle along, but there’s still the thrill of the ride, while it lasts.

While we need to concentrate on the driving, it is important however still to be clear on the next part of the journey – hence (away from the analogy!) one needs to consider how the increasing pace of business and economic change is impacting one’s future development.

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The ultimate labor market?

The trend known as ‘globalization’ tends to be the cumulative effect of many small, incremental steps. Once in a while there are technical innovations which result in a step change, or acceleration of globalization – the advent of shipping, flight, etc. Computers have also supported the increasing complexity of business, enabling more complex (but still economically and chronologically viable) sourcing solutions to be developed.

Recently I came across a website which, while relatively simple, appears to me to have potentially astounding consequences for globalization: peopleperhour.com.

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Thoughts on the apparent differences in iPad pricing in different markets

Steve Jobs announced the iPad in January as being “a magical and revolutionary product at an unbelievable price.  Starting at $499.”

Whatever your views are on the product, whether it is magical or revolutionary, it was quite easy for anyone, anywhere in the world to see that prices (to US customers) started at $499. Fact. Sort of.

Prices were announced just recently for the launch of the iPad in a further nine countries, including some in Europe, and there has subsequently been a fair amount of discussion in the blogosphere about whether non-US customers are being abused, or taken advantage of, that an ‘unfair’ premium might be being charged to non-US customers.

While this is not impossible, there are some differences between the prices, and other matters for consideration, which I set out in this post, that need to be taken account of.

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Mastering the “killer chart” to ‘wow’ your audience

Hans Rosling, using Gapminder to ‘wow’ audiences with his ability to cross-reference UN and similar data sources

As a practicioner of ‘due diligence’ I consider one of the key skills to be seeing through numbers/data and finding a way to present, in a very succinct manner, a key trend/issue. There are several key elements to this:

  • the ability to hypothesise the outcome, and then consequently choose and develop the appropriate data sets and presentation format (without random trial and error, which is too slow);
  • analyzing the data to determine key trends, even when the data may not appear to exhibit trends; and
  • the communication of the finding in a compelling, interesting and succinct manner.

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Glimmers of hope? Thoughts on the shape and feel of economic recovery

Recent news articles have stated that Germany and France have formally/statisticly exited recession (such as the BBC, on 13 August 2009 “France and Germany exit recession“). During the first half of 2009 equity market swings caused talk of ‘green shoots’ and whether they might be sustainable (Martin Wolf, Financial Times ft.com/economistsforum). Talk of ‘green shoots’ has now been replaced by discussion of economic growth, albeit most projections showing it to be relatively small in the near-term.

For the last 18 months many people have talked about turnaround/recovery possibly occurring in 2010.  As we near 2009 year-end there is clearly hope, and some cautious optimism in the market that this might hold true, even if most seem to agree that there is still a lot of hard work to come and the pace of recovery might be slow (for example, the UK Treasury recently announced, here, that independent forecasts for FY10 have UK GDP growth at an average of 1.4%).

Market commentators are now talking about ‘the shape of the recovery‘, and using terms like ‘the new normal‘ to discuss how a looming economic recovery might present itself.  Can we have confidence that things are changing for the better?

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Online business games – undiscovered, ‘behind the curve’, or of limited value?

I recently wrote a post about Zynga, an online social games developer (here).  Zynga is growing quickly, wth games that they develop having tens of milions of subscribers/players.  In that post I speculated that there could be a huge opportunity for a business to develop (or co-develop) a successful ‘social business game’.

In the meantime, I came across various examples of online business games, including ‘Energyville‘, an online game developed between Chevron (the energy company) and The Economist (the magazine), which was launched in September 2007 (press release). Energyville isn’t in fact a ‘social game’, but rather just an online game, but I thought that this would be a good opportunity to take the thoughts further, given its backing by two well known companies

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