‘You’ve bought it now. The money’s gone.’ That snarky comment made by thousands of parents (mine included) to their reckless child encapsulates the meaning of sunk cost. Once you met the cost, it’s gone: sunk. You’ve sunk it into the investment for good or for ill.
This, then, could be the shortest Big Ideas article yet. Sunk Cost is a familiar and easy concept.
Continue reading Sunk Cost and the Sunk Cost Fallacy
It is a cliché to assert that technology is ubiquitous in the workplace. Yesterday’s innovations will eventually become today’s commonplace tools. So, we all live with and easily manage technology our great grandparents would have found strange and maybe alarming. But some of us are comfortable with the very latest creations – those that will only be deeply familiar to the coming generations. And we might describe these people as having a high TQ: a high Technology Quotient.
The Big Idea, ‘Technology Quotient’ takes its inspiration from IQ, Intelligence Quotient. But what does it measure and is it a useful concept?
Continue reading Technology Quotient (TQ): Measuring Digital Savvy
Imagine an army of tiny robots. Each one can do one thing. It does it precisely and tirelessly. And when it completes it, another robot takes over and does another thing. This chain of ‘bots’ can together do what people can do. But without error, rest-breaks, or complaint. Welcome to the world of Robotic Process Automation.
Although it’s often abbreviated to RPA, we’ll stick with Robotic Process Automation. Because, if you’re reading this, you are probably not familiar enough yet, for the acronym to register easily. Because this article purports to be only one thing: a basic primer for the uninformed.
For more depth, you’ll need to seek out an expert on Robotic Process Automation. Maybe, by the time you read this, that expert will look like a little bot in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen. And, sitting behind it will be a series of other bots. Collectively, they may be a robotic process automation that answers questions about robotic process automation. How weird would that be?
Continue reading Robotic Process Automation: RPA
A Business Case is a valuable tool. It’s the corporate world’s equivalent of the scales of justice. Like a mini adversarial system wrapped up as a document of record.
As a project manager, business cases are like mother’s milk to me. But they won’t be for everyone. So before I introduce yet another gratuitously clichéd metaphor, let’s explain what a business case is, and why you need it.
Continue reading Business Case: Investment Appraisal and More
Like many big ideas, the Internet of Things operates at many levels. It may sound frighteningly complex to you. But in fact, the core of the idea is very simple.
But, underlying a simple concept, the technology that makes the Internet of Things (IOT) possible is fiendishly complex. Indeed, it is really the convergence of many advanced technologies.
We shall not be taking a dive into the technology (you may be glad to hear). However, any well-informed manager needs to understand the big picture of:
- what it is
- what it can do
- where it is going, and
- the concerns we might have
So, in this article, we’ll give you your primer on the Internet of Things.
Continue reading The Internet of Things: IOT
What’s the biggest long-term competitive advantage an organisation can have? It’s the ability to adapt rapidly to changing circumstances. And for that, it needs to learn. That’s the Big Idea behind Peter Senge’s Learning Organisation.
The Learning Organisation sits at the confluence between two powerful forces for good:
- Individual learning, development, and personal growth
- Systems thinking that allows us to mentally connect up the network of parts into a complex whole
What it means is simple in concept, though fiendishly hard to achieve in practice. A learning organisation is one that continually develops and evolves so that everyone shares a consistent vision and collectively prepares themselves to meet the next challenge in achieving it.
Continue reading The Learning Organisation: Advantage through Adaptation
Outsourcing feels like it’s been around forever. And doubtless, as an adjunct to business operations, it has. But, as a widely-used business strategy, it really only dates to the 1980s.
Since then, outsourcing has become a vital option for large and small business, and for many public services too.
So, what is outsourcing, why do organisations use it as much as they do, and what are the risks?
Continue reading Outsourcing: Outsiders Working for You
As a way of changing ownership of a business, a Management Buyout (MBO) can work well for all parties.
It’s a widely-used mechanism in many places. Management Buyouts have a lot to commend them, so it’s wise to understand the basic principles.
Continue reading Management Buyout: Same Team New Ownership
How do some products achieve astonishing quality and functionality at affordable prices? The answer is in the discipline of Value Engineering.
Value Engineering is often tarred with the same brush as ‘cost-cutting‘. Although it has a similar role, it plays to a wholly different business strategy. So, let’s look at what it is and why it matters.
Continue reading Value Engineering: The Same for Less
Franchising is a halfway house between being an entrepreneurial business owner and taking a job with all the certainty and uncertainty that entails.
Franchising is a common next-step for managers who leave their safe employment and want to set up and operate their own business. But they don’t have the ideas or the appetite for a wholly new business of their own. As a business model, franchising offers significant benefits to:
- the person granting the franchise (franchisor)
- the person operating the franchised business (franchisee), and
But with benefits come inevitable costs and risks. So, in this article, we’ll look at the Big Idea behind franchising, what it is and what it means for business people on either side of the transaction.
Continue reading Franchising: Half-way to Independent Business Ownership