Updating a Classic: Writing a Great Business Plan

Q&A with: William A. Sahlman
Published: October 6, 2008
Feature: Research & Ideas

Harvard Business School professor William A. Sahlman's article on how to write a great business plan is a Harvard Business Review classic, and has just been reissued in book form. We asked Sahlman what he would change if he wrote the article, now a decade old, today.

Making the Decision to Franchise (or not)

Published: July 28, 2008
Feature: Research & Ideas

Owners operating outlets across multiple markets have a variety of organizational models to choose from, including franchising. The decision is one of the most important they will make. A new Harvard Business School study looks at how 420 convenience store chains organized to serve diverse customers.

Getting Down to the Business of Creativity

Published: May 14, 2008
Feature: Research & Ideas

Business leaders must manage and support creativity just as they would any other asset. Harvard Business School professors Teresa Amabile, Mary Tripsas, and Mukti Khaire discuss where creativity comes from, how entrepreneurs use it, and why innovation is often a team sport. From the HBS Alumni Bulletin.

The Changing Face of American Innovation

Q&A with: William R. Kerr
Published: November 5, 2007
Feature: Research & Ideas

Chinese and Indian scientists and engineers have made an unexpectedly large contribution to U.S. technology formation over the last 30 years, according to new research by HBS professor William R. Kerr. But that trend may be ebbing, with potentially harmful effects on future growth in American innovation.

Jumpstarting Innovation: Using Disruption to Your Advantage

Published: September 4, 2007
Feature: Research & Ideas

Fostering innovation in a mature company can often seem like a swim upstream—the needs of the existing business often overwhelm attempts to create something new. Harvard Business School professor Lynda M. Applegate shows how one of the forces that threatens established companies can also be a source of salvation: disruptive change. Plus: Innovation worksheets.

Concentration Levels in the U.S. Advertising and Marketing Services Industry:
Myth vs. Reality

Authors: Alvin J. Silk and Charles King III
Published: December 18, 2008
Paper Release Date: September 2008
Feature: Working Papers

How concentrated is the U.S. advertising and marketing services industry? Over the past several decades, the effects of deregulation, globalization, and technological innovation have reshaped the advertising and marketing services industry as they worked their way through the economy. Estimates from the existing literature are typically based on data from trade sources and present a picture that emphasizes rising concentration over time and domination by a handful of holding companies. These estimates are suspect as they suffer from a number of conceptual and measurement limitations. This paper analyzes changes in concentration levels in the U.S. advertising and marketing services industry, using data that have been largely ignored in past discussions of the economic organization of the industry.

Opening Platforms: How, When and Why?

Authors: Thomas R. Eisenmann, Geoffrey Parker, and Marshall Van Alstyne
Published: October 16, 2008
Paper Release Date: September 2008
Feature: Working Papers

It is crucial for firms that create and maintain platforms to select optimal levels of openness. Decisions to open a platform entail tradeoffs between adoption and appropriability, and opening a platform can spur adoption by harnessing network effects, reducing users' concerns about lock-in, and stimulating production of differentiated goods that meet the needs of user segments. At the same time, opening a platform typically reduces users' switching costs and increases competition among platform providers, making it more difficult for them to appropriate rents from the platform. This paper describes research on factors that motivate managers to open or close mature platforms.

Strategy Execution and the Balanced Scorecard

Q&A with: Robert S. Kaplan
Published: August 11, 2008
Feature: Research & Ideas

Companies often manage strategy in fits and starts, with strategy execution lost along the way. A new book by Balanced Scorecard creators Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton aims to make strategy a continual process.

Sharpening Your Skills: Balanced Scorecard in Action

Published: July 23, 2008
Feature: Sharpening Your Skills

Introduced by Harvard Business School professor Robert Kaplan and colleague David Norton, the Balanced Scorecard has been used by thousands of organizations to align business activities with the strategy.