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Jim Balsillie: Dragging Canada into the 21st Century | TVO.org
Technological innovation at the outset of this millennium has been nothing short of revolutionary. And it shows no signs of slowing down. Jim Balsillie, the former co-CEO of Research In Motion, says Canada is not keeping up. Worse, that policymakers and businesses still don't seem to fully appreciate the scope of the change underway. He's now chair of the Council of Canadian innovators, and he joins The Agenda to discuss his ideas.

#1 job. Accumulate valuable intangible assets. which you then commercialize. You acquire a lot of IP and data assets.
Jim_Balsillie  Canada  Steve_Paikin  policymakers  priorities  digital_economy  innovation  knowledge_economy  ideas  intangibles  intellectual_property  competitiveness  protocols  Sun_Tzu  under-performing  under_appreciated  21st._century 
february 2019 by jerryking
GE and Siemens: power pioneers flying too far from the sun
November 12, 2017 | FT | by Ed Crooks in New York and Patrick McGee in Frankfurt.

Rivals GE and Siemens both face difficult challenges ahead with the threats emanating in the 21st century from the renewable energy revolution that risks rendering obsolete their century-old strengths in supplying equipment for the electricity industry.....As the costs of solar and wind power have plunged, making them cheaper than fossil fuel generation in many parts of the world, the traditional model of the industry has changed. Capital spending on the new technologies has soared. Battery storage is also starting to be a cost-effective solution for supporting the grid, challenging the market for “peaker” gas turbines that are used when demand is at its highest. Yet both groups have taken positions in renewable energy but have stumbled along the way.

The result is that GE and Siemens are being forced to drive down costs dramatically in their core power businesses. Siemens is looking to cut thousands of jobs in its power and gas unit....while both groups face a turbulent environment, the immediate outlook is considerably brighter at Siemens, which appears to be better positioned to adjust to the disruption sweeping through the energy industry....GE’s 2017 has been a disaster.....GE's CEO, John Flannery, has already moved fast to signal his intentions: clearing out many top executives, grounding corporate jets, stopping the cars provided to senior managers, cutting back the network of global research centres and promising to sell peripheral and underperforming businesses worth up to $20bn....GE's sales of aeroderivative gas turbines, used to support grids at times of peak load, were half the planned numbers, while sales of packages for improving the performance of gas-fired plants were just a third of projections.....“All major vendors got the market [i.e. for gas turbines] wrong,” ...The next big worry is servicing for turbines — once a gold mine but one that is bound to decline as new orders fall. With turbines being sold at no margin or sometimes at a loss, competition for servicing contracts is heating up, further eroding margins.

For the foreseeable future, the gas turbine market is likely to remain difficult,...“The question is whether this is just a cyclical problem, or whether there is something structural in the industry that is really starting to cause problems.”

There is good reason to think that it is structural, given the plunge in solar and wind costs. ... “a combination of rooftop solar and battery storage could make economic sense in India, African countries and other places where they don’t have well-developed power grids”......According to the IEA, in 2016 $316bn was invested in renewable energy worldwide last year, almost three times as much as the $117bn in fossil fuel power generation.....If Mr Flannery founders, then breaking up GE might come to seem like the only option left to investors. It would not magically dispel the problems of the business, and would be difficult because of the group’s complex tax position and liabilities, including insurance claims dating from before GE pulled out of the industry in 2004-2006.

To avoid a break-up, GE might follow the template Siemens created in 2014 for a more decentralised structure. Mr Kaeser calls it a “fleet of ships” model, with divisions becoming semi-autonomous and separately listed. Siemens’ largest division, its medical equipment unit, is scheduled to list next year.

“The time of old-fashioned conglomerates is over,” he says. “They are definitely not going to survive.”
CEOs  Siemens  GE  industrial_age  founders  19th_century  decentralization  conglomerates  renewable  obsolescence  solar  batteries  cost-cutting  turnarounds  divestitures  wind_power  under-performing  power_grid  electric_power 
november 2017 by jerryking
Laurier initiative to separate the strong startups from the weak - The Globe and Mail
JENNIFER LEWINGTON
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Jul. 08, 2016

[For Corey & UpSpark]
Earlier this year, the school’s Lazaridis Institute for the Management of Technology Enterprises issued a report, Scaling Success: Tackling the Management Gap in Canada’s Technology Sector, that concluded Canada “continues to underperform its peers in the creation of high-growth firms.” For example, a majority of tech startups in the professional, scientific and technical sector demonstrated “consistently negative rates of business creation” between 2001 and 2012, according to the report.

Given the poor showing, the dean asks: “So how do we take our most promising startups and take them to the next level?”

One answer, he hopes, is a new collaboration between the Lazaridis Institute and several tech-focused industry partners.

Working with Communitech, a Waterloo-based innovation centre that supports more than 1,000 technology companies, the Institute plans to develop an assessment tool this fall to identify startups with the potential to scale up. The tool, currently being tested, would evaluate companies for the quality of their product, technology, staff, management and financial muscle.
assessments_&_evaluations  brands  business_schools  Colleges_&_Universities  Communitech  culling  failure  Fortune_500  gazelles  high-growth  Kitchener-Waterloo  large_companies  scaling  start_ups  tools  under-performing  WLU 
july 2016 by jerryking
Sears Canada races to close more stores amid cost-cutting efforts - The Globe and Mail
Jan. 24, 2016 | G&M | MARINA STRAUSS - RETAILING REPORTER

Sears Canada Inc. is stepping up its efforts to close another round of stores, raising more questions about its fate and putting pressure on landlords who already have a lot of empty retail space.

The struggling Sears has instructed real estate firm CBRE to look for alternative uses for Sears’s weakest stores, such as its clearance outlets... As well, Sears officials are working internally to shrink its store network, he said....Sears’s most recent store-closing plans differ from previous shutdowns, which involved landlords often approaching Sears with offers to buy back the retailer’s store leases to replace Sears with alluring foreign retailers, such as United States-based Nordstrom Inc., which could draw more customers.

But amid the rash of retailers such as Target that have closed stores, landlords no longer have compelling new retailers to fill so much space. ...Sears is determined to turn around its core business and remain in many locations, although some may be downsized or closed when the lease expires. He hired Carrie Kirkman, a seasoned merchant, late last year as Sears’s new president, aiming to lure younger consumers with new styles and store layouts. He’s looking to improve the state of some of Sears’s stores.
Marina_Strauss  retailers  cost-cutting  commercial_real_estate  CBRE  consolidation  store_footprints  under-performing  downsizing  small_spaces  Sears_Canada  RioCan 
january 2016 by jerryking
Nine retailers closing the most stores
Douglas A. McIntyre and Alexander E.M. Hess, 24/7 Wall St. 8:30 p.m. EDT March 12, 2014

A number of factors can lead companies to close stores. One is mergers and acquisitions activity. As organizations join forces under a single umbrella, locations that once competed for sales can become redundant, leading to store closings. The most recent example of this is the marriage of Office Depot and OfficeMax, completed late last year. Management has made it plain that the merger would produce cost savings by consolidating jobs and closing stores.

The pressures businesses face from the growth of online retail is another factor that can contribute to store closings....Outside of those retailers undergoing mergers, or shrinking to limit costs and preserve their bottom lines, a number of retailers have had to shrink their store count in order to shift into new markets. ...Companies close stores for different reasons. In the case of Sears Holdings, is likely to shutter a number of locations as part of a larger strategic overhaul to fund its transformation and make operations more efficient. Closing stores "frees up capital, reduces losses and de-risks our model," the company said in an earnings presentation.

In contrast, J.C. Penney is only closing stores that noticeably underperformed.
bricks-and-mortar  consolidation  de-risking  downsizing  e-commerce  LBMA  mergers_&_acquisitions  retailers  store_closings  store_footprints  under-performing 
march 2015 by jerryking
If I was...setting out to be an entrepreneur - FT.com
January 15, 2014 | FT | By Daniel Isenberg.

“Worthless Impossible and Stupid: How Contrarian Entrepreneurs Create and Capture Extraordinary Value”.

...If I were setting out as an entrepreneur today, I would buy an existing company to scale up rather than build a start-up from scratch. I would make incremental tweaks of improvement rather than innovate, exercise cool judgment rather than hot passion and build my departure plan from day one...a lot of great businesses, such as PayPal [the online payments system] and Kaspersky [the internet security company] are carved out of, or combined from, existing assets, or are family businesses taken sky-high by the second or third generation...Rather than start a new company, I would buy a rusty old business to fix up and grow as fast as I could. I want a discarded company that is undervalued but can be dusted off, refurbished with vision and talent, and scaled up. I would be talking to venture capitalists....I know that proprietary technology is not a market maker by itself. Great marketing and management almost always trump big innovation.

Minnovation – small tweaks on existing products – is what moves the ball of economic growth forward. Neither Facebook nor Google, for example, were technology pioneers.

Big innovations are few and far between and are often the stuff of large companies with long patience and deep pockets....Next, I would drain my venture of passion and replace it with commitment, hard work and realistic and relentless self-assessment....start with a stark test of harsh neon lights, exposing every flaw and crack long before the market does so that I can fix them before the customers vote with their feet....plan one's passionless departure from the start, creating a platform to allow the talented people and partners I hire to outperform me very soon.
entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  rules_of_the_game  unglamorous  books  Daniel_Isenberg  advice  howto  passions  exits  lessons_learned  turnarounds  contrarians  scaling  minnovation  undervalued  under-performing  carveouts  family_business  proprietary  incrementalism  self-assessment  customer_risk  breakthroughs  large_companies  vision  refurbished  spin-offs  hard_work  dispassion  marketing  management  commitments  marginal_improvements  unsentimental  outperformance 
january 2014 by jerryking
Identify new growth niche and how you can profit
March 19, 2013 | Financial Post | By Rick Spence.

Sparks: What other companies need unlikely solutions? How could you help them with data management, management of perishables, or guaranteeing consistent quality?
Sparks: What niche information markets could you develop and own? Or, what services could you offer to celebrity startups that have everything except business experience?
Spark: Retailers are eager to lock up new brands to differentiate themselves. How can you help more marketers achieve a competitive advantage?
Spark: What other marginal products and businesses will tech giants such as Google and Facebook drop next? How can you help users adjust? Or, what under-performers should you be trimming from your own product roster?
Sparks: Designers and builders should target early adopters eager for a colour makeover.
Spark: Where else can you find a business whose margins are so huge that Buy-One, Get-Three-Free makes sense? Or, when big names are offering value propositions like this, how can you retool your promotions and sales to compete?
Spark: How could you solve major problems like these without a supercomputer?
Spark: Gadgetry is changing so fast that even markets you thought had stabilized are wide open to new ideas. How can you use hot new technology to disrupt your industry?
Rick_Spence  growth  niches  entrepreneur  kill_rates  IBM_Watson  massive_data_sets  celebrities  ideas  entrepreneurship  new_businesses  solutions  disruption  under-performing  early_adopters  competitive_advantage  perishables  information_markets  adjustments  data_management  culling  differentiation  retailers  brands 
march 2013 by jerryking
Watermill Ventures
397010 HARVARD , Case (Field)
Watermill Ventures
Teaching Note: 398062
Watermill Ventures acquires and turns around an under-performing businesses. The case describes the criteria the company uses to identify acquisition candidates. its screening and selection process, and the way it introduces strategic thinking at the business it acquires. Steve Karol, Watermilll's founder, is concerned because the company has only acquired two companies in its three years of operation He is considering a number of actions, including establishing a Web site to broaden the base of contact.
Teaching Purpose: To expose students to a screening and selection process for acquiring companies, as well as the strategy development process used to turn them around and improve their performance.
Industry: acquisitions; steel
Issues: Acquisitions;Strategy formulation
Setting: Massachusetts, Alabama, 8 employees, $480 million revenues. 1993 Length: 21 page(s)
case_studies  turnarounds  HBR  under-performing  screening  buying_a_business  strategy  selection_processes 
august 2012 by jerryking
Bankrupt Restaurants Are Still Holding On - NYTimes.com
By WILLIAM NEUMAN
Published: December 27, 2011

Consumers, who have generally cut back on the number of meals out since the recession began, are benefiting from the proliferation of zombies. Healthy and failing restaurants alike have been forced to discount relentlessly to lure diners. But for the restaurants, particularly small independent operators, the competition from the undead is a nightmare that just won’t end.

The hard times for restaurants began in 2008, as the recession and staggering unemployment forced Americans to cut back on dining out. During the 12-month period ending in August, the average American ate or got takeout at restaurants 195 times, down from 208 times in 2008, according to Harry Balzer, the chief food industry analyst for the NPD Group.
restaurants  bankruptcies  franchising  under-performing  oversupply  hard_times 
december 2011 by jerryking
Distressed companies provide valuable lessons in economic downturns - The Globe and Mail
May 3, 2010 10:29 | Globe & Mail | Harvey Schachter .
Distressed companies provide valuable lessons in economic downturns.

SPEED RATHER THAN PERFECTION;

CASH IS KING;

FOCUS ON HIGH–IMPACT ISSUES;

MAKE THE TOUGH PEOPLE CALLS (JCK i.e. get the right people in place);

UNFREEZE THE ORGANIZATION: In a distressed organization, decisions that usually take months to make can be taken in hours or days. Those rapid decisions, they argue, are at least as good as the slow, agonized decisions of the past - so unfreeze your organization with quicker decisions, and a willingness to shake up your systems to improve performance.

Avoid doing the following: CUT FAT, NOT MUSCLE; FOCUS ON MORE THAN SURVIVAL:
cash_reserves  cost-cutting  distressed_debt  economic_downturn  Harvey_Schachter  high-impact  Jeffrey_Gitomer  immobilize  lessons_learned  paralyze  recessions  speed  the_right_people  turnarounds  under-performing 
may 2010 by jerryking
How to Turn Trash Into Treasure - WSJ.com
April 13, 2007 | Wall Street Journal | By ELLEN BYRON. Under
pressure to deliver growth, a number of consumer-products titans,
including Procter & Gamble Co., Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive Inc.,
have been selling well-known but underperforming brands to better focus
on those with more potential. Smaller firms trying to play Dr.
Frankenstein have bought such familiar castoff brands as Sure and Right
Guard deodorants, Comet cleaner, Aqua Net styling products, Pert Plus
shampoo and Rit dye.
orphan_brands  resuscitation  marketing  consumer_goods  culling  P&G  Unilever  Colgate_Palmolive  CPG  divestitures  brands  under-performing  personal_care_products 
may 2009 by jerryking

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