Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Readers may have noticed that, starting with the last issue, we no longer have a regular book reviewer but have broadened our perspective to include several reviewers. In this issue, we have reviewers from the UK, Denmark and the USA. You may observe that Donald Mitchell, who wrote the series of articles on business model innovation for JBS, has contributed book reviews for the past two issues. Holder of undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard, he began writing reviews of business and other non-fiction books for Amazon.com online about five years ago as a form of discipline – the opportunity to write short pieces and indulge his voracious reading habit as he practiced the art of writing. He has now become one of Amazon's most popular reviewers of non-fiction, especially of business books, reading several books each day (at speed-reading rates) and writing reviews. His reviews are five times more likely to elicit a "yes, this review was helpful" response than those of other online reviewers.
Don Mitchell started writing articles and books after Peter Drucker encouraged him to share his insights with a larger group than merely his clients. He began tracking CEOs and management teams of large companies whose stock prices has grown the fastest in the past three years, reporting the results in Chief Executive magazine. Some CEOS and their companies appeared year after year near the top of the list. When Mitchell interviewed them and visited their facilities to learn more about their success, he found that they were changing their business models much more frequently than other companies. Most strategists and executives subscribe to the belief that it is difficult and unwise to change the business model too often. But these companies were changing their internal processes and their business models every two to four years, and they were demonstrating outstanding performance.
Mitchell's research focused on what lessons could be derived from the continuous innovation he saw at these companies, with the expectation that the lessons could be applied to other organizations. The first article in the Journal of Business Strategy that Mitchell and his co-author, Carol Coles, wrote examined the nature of business model innovation. In the second article, they explored where continuing business model innovation could be found. In this issue of JBS, Mitchell and Coles describe the precise steps needed to design and implement a continuing innovation process. The companies investigated by Mitchell and Coles are often not household names and, even when they are mentioned in articles or books, tend to be cited for achievements other than business model innovation. The authors continue to monitor the best practices of this select group by inviting them to seminars where participants share information and help expand the innovation process to other companies.
In another series, we have the third article from Rob Docters and his colleagues on pricing, with the fourth and final piece to appear in the July/August issue. Docters and his co-authors have a unique ability to make the nuances of pricing understandable and interesting.
JBS continues to assemble a mix of articles that represents the best of academia, business, and management consulting. We have an article from two professors at the Darden Graduate Business School at the University of Virginia on "windows" rather than walls. They are referring not to the Microsoft program but to the importance of transparency in business in a digital environment. Sam Bodily and Sankaran Venkataraman, the authors, cite eBay as an example of the best in building windows to customers, not walls. Ebay also serves as a best practices example in another article, by Accenture consultants John Ballow, Roland Burgman and Michael Molnar. They examine the issue of present and future value using eBay and several other companies.
From Deloitte comes an inside view of the secrets behind successful mergers. Of course, mergers should not depend on secrets to be effective, but so many fail that it is clear someone is out of the loop. Top executives from Hewlett-Packard/Compaq and AmeriSource Health Corporation/Bergen Brunswig reveal what steps they took to ensure that their mergers would count among the successful ones.
Matteo Peccei, a London-based consultant from Marakon, cautions companies against too loud a sign of relief at recovering economies. Now is not the time for relaxing cost controls, he maintains, if the advantages of increased sales are to reach the bottom line.
As always, the editor of JBS welcomes comments, criticism and suggestions from readers. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.