Harley Stays Cool in the Heat

Few brands were hit as hard by the recession as Harley-Davidson. Demand for motorcycles has taken a hit, and demand for premium motorcycles has taken an even bigger hit. It’s hard to sell a lot of twenty-some-thousand-dollar bikes when discretionary income is at a premium. Harley’s revenues continue to suffer, dipping 7.7 percent in the third quarter. Under these circumstances, ...

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The CFO and Innovation


Can it work? by Stefan Lindegaard I ask whether CFO’s can make innovation happen, but in reality this should not even be a question of whether it can be done but rather a question of how to do it. The reason for turning this a how-to question is the increasing role of the CFO in many companies. Their influence keeps ...

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Microsoft Stalling, Apple Growing


When will Apple have more revenues than Microsoft? How about later this year? by Adam Hartung Many of us remember the first Apple vs. Microsoft battle. Apple pioneered much of the personal computer business, and led the innovation curve for years with its implementation of the mouse and on-screen graphics. But eventually Microsoft successfully copied the innovations with Windows, and ...

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Should you be measuring ROR instead of ROI?


For literally decades, the notion of return on investment, or even more specifically return on invested capital (R.O.I. either way) was the gold standard for justifying a business decision. If the return exceeded the investment enough (also weighing risk, disruption, and many other factors) then it would get the green light for funding. This was, and is, especially common in ...

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The Decade's Top Performing CEOs

I was intrigued when I read on the Harvard Business Review web site “Do we celebrate the wrong CEOs?” The article quickly pointed out that many of the best known CEOs – and often named as most respected – didn’t come close to making the list of the top 100 best performing CEOs. Some of those on Barron’s list of ...

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Open Innovators Outperform the Market by 16.9%


by Hutch Carpenter At the Open Innovation Summit last week in Orlando, there were a number of companies there discussing their various initiatives for open innovation. What is open innovation? UC Berkeley professor Henry Chesbrough, perhaps the father of the movement, formulated this definition several years ago: “Open innovation is a paradigm that assumes that firms can and should use ...

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How a Blizzard Saved the ATM


“Build it and they will come.” We hear that mantra a lot. But with innovation, it is often more like, “Solve a pain and they will come.” The ultimate success of the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) is a great example of this. The other night I was having dinner with someone who in the mid-1970’s worked with Citibank, the second ...

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Is Your Innovation Drowning in Cash?


Jason Zweig writes the Intelligent Investor column for the Wall Street Journal. His recent contribution oddly echoed a query I received the prior Thursday during a speaking engagement in New York. Referencing the ‘Loss of Nerve’ principle in “When Growth Stalls”, my questioner wanted to know if it was prudent to conserve all the cash he could during the economic ...

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The Growing Housing Divide


I was speaking with a friend of mine recently and he brought up an interesting point. He asserted that there was a widening gap in home prices between where people want to live and where people have to live. How else can you explain the housing price fall in most of the country while places like Seattle continue to have rising prices?

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The Evil Downside of Gift Cards


This past holiday season I saw probably one too many articles trumpeting the value of gift cards to retailers and how they are a great thing for retailers. My skeptic side starts coming out as I see article after article appear, and I have to start asking "Is the increasing prevalence of gift cards as a holiday gift (primarily Christmas) a good thing for retailers?"

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