Monthly Archives: May 2017

Dissolving the line between client and staff spaces

In corporate offices, clients traditionally occupy dedicated and contained spaces that are segregated from staff areas and amenities. These spaces are designed as microcosms for meeting and entertaining, often contained in the most desirable parts of buildings with the best views and with the most luxurious interior design. This approach carefully plans a sequence of arrival spaces and ‘protected routes’ […]

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    Sasha Hoffman: ‘Autonomous cars are just one piece of a much larger equation’

Sasha Hoffman: ‘Autonomous cars are just one piece of a much larger equation’

Piaggio Fast Forward is the autonomous vehicle arm of the Piaggio Group, creator of the iconic Italian Vespa motorcycle. Even though PFF dreams of one day helping to move people, its focus now is on helping carry heavy packages for short distances, such as grocery bags from the store around the corner to your doorstep. ‘Autonomous cars are just […]

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    Growing social value polarisation harms economic development

Growing social value polarisation harms economic development

A striking development in recent years has been the increased polarisation in terms of values and attitudes that many societies around the world are witnessing. This is noticeable both in public opinion surveys as well as in recent election outcomes. People are shifting to more extreme positions on many important social and economic issues and are also voting for […]

Flexible labour markets, real wages and economic recoveries

In its 2016 Employment Outlook, the OECD documents that real hourly wage growth has behaved quite differently across countries over the past ten years.

This is true even among the large European economies. Comparing the level of real hourly wages in the fourth quarter of 2015 with a counterfactual value based on the assumption that wages had grown according to […]

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    Can philosophy teach us anything about leadership and management?

Can philosophy teach us anything about leadership and management?

Philosophy can teach us much about leadership and management, but you would not guess it from the two recent books by Robert Spillane and Jean-Etienne Joullié, Philosophy of Leadership (Palgrave Macmillan) and The Philosophical Foundations of Management Thought (Lexington). The premise of each is this: the roots of our thinking about leadership and management reach deep into ancient times, and we […]

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    How Soon is Now? From Personal Initiation to Global Transformation – Book Review

How Soon is Now? From Personal Initiation to Global Transformation – Book Review

How Soon is Now? From Personal Initiation to Global Transformation. Daniel Pinchbeck. Watkins. 2017.

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Our civilisation is in the throes of multiple, interlocking crises. Over the past 60 years, half our planet’s tropical forests have been destroyed, and by 2050 most of the rest will be gone. 40 per cent of our agricultural topsoil is seriously degraded, and […]

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    Post-Brexit industrial strategy and the complacency in the General Election

Post-Brexit industrial strategy and the complacency in the General Election

Unlike during the 2015 campaigns, the state of the economy is not at the forefront of this general election. Neither is one of the UK’s biggest economic problems: productivity. Peter Kenway and Dan Corry write that solving this problem should be the primary goal of the institutions responsible for industrial strategy.

Debate about the state of the economy was centre-stage in the 2015 election […]

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    ‘Ledger Nirvana’ in trade processing either doesn’t exist or is aeons away

‘Ledger Nirvana’ in trade processing either doesn’t exist or is aeons away

One of the areas frequently mentioned as ripe for improvement by applications of the broad group of technologies known as blockchain, or distributed ledger technology (DLT), is capital markets. In the “ledger nirvana” of many blockchain proponents, market counterparties use consistent sets of trade data. They also use smart contracts, computer protocols that facilitate, verify, or enforce the negotiation […]

Performance needs purpose

We’ve all met the eye-rollers. The leaders who say ‘business-is-business’ and ‘people work to get paid’. The ones who leave ‘pastoral care’ to the HR team down the hallway. Because there’s work to do and money to be made…

When it comes to engagement and motivation, they’ve got a frustratingly clear view: they’re firmly in the driver’s seat with performance-related […]

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    Marc DaCosta: “Define your problem, then look at the data, not the other way around”

Marc DaCosta: “Define your problem, then look at the data, not the other way around”

As co-founder and Chairman of Enigma, a firm specialising in collecting, integrating and analysing data, Marc DaCosta is not your typical technology entrepreneur. He began his career as an intellectual property strategy consultant to technology companies, but maintained close ties to academia, receiving a PhD in cultural anthropology from the University of California. Mark is also a fellow at […]

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    Increasing foreign competition pushes family members out of firms

Increasing foreign competition pushes family members out of firms

When competition from abroad increases, family firms are more likely to fire senior managers who are members of the family than those who are not relatives. What’s more, these firms are more likely to replace the unrelated managers who were fired with executives from outside the family. Meanwhile, leadership jobs previously occupied by relatives are left vacant. These are the central findings of my […]

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    Great Divergence: The steamship gives us clues on the impacts of globalisation

Great Divergence: The steamship gives us clues on the impacts of globalisation

How does globalisation affect development? This question has a long tradition in economics and has been much debated both in academia and in policy circles.

Neoclassical theories tell us that reducing trade barriers across countries should provide net benefits to individual economies by making markets more efficient and stimulating competition. Testing these theories, however, turns out to be difficult: rich […]

The Chinese cities that trade built

Easy access to foreign markets, unimpeded by tariffs and quotas, is considered to be an important contributor to economic growth and development, particularly for emerging economies. Less well understood is the role of uncertainty in market access (that is, uncertainty about tariffs and quotas that may be applied in the future by trade partners) in driving economic outcomes.

In recent […]

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    Robert Scoble: ‘The coming wave of technology will really change human life’

Robert Scoble: ‘The coming wave of technology will really change human life’

It’s hard to talk with Robert Scoble and not feel like you were left behind in a pre-historical era and have a lot of catching-up to do. He moves around with glasses for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). In his new book, The Fourth Transformation, he describes the glasses as the fourth user interface since the start of […]

What research tells us about the avocado toast controversy

Australian millionaire and luxury property developer Tim Gurner recently suggested millennials should stop spending money on avocado toasts or expensive coffee so that they could afford to buy property. This comment started a heated debate relative to the way the young – and more generally lower income people – spend their money, and on the morality of conspicuous consumption.

The […]

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    Torbjörn Holmström: ‘We add automation when it helps our customers’ bottom line’

Torbjörn Holmström: ‘We add automation when it helps our customers’ bottom line’

Volvo has been integrating computer systems in its trucks since the 1970’s, when the Swedish carmaker began to hire software engineers. If fully operational autonomous cars represent level 5 of the degree of automation, we’re still in level 2 or 3, says Torbjörn Holmström, Senior Advisor to the CEO of Volvo, who until last October was the chief technology […]

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    Close Calls: Managing Risk and Resilience in Airline Flight Safety – Book Review

Close Calls: Managing Risk and Resilience in Airline Flight Safety – Book Review

Close Calls: Managing Risk and Resilience in Airline Flight Safety. Carl Macrae. Palgrave. 2014.

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There were 51 fatal commercial airplane accidents in 1929, roughly one for every million miles flown. The same accident rate today would imply over 7,000 fatal crashes per year: almost twenty a day. Yet modern airlines are orders-of-magnitude safer than this. Each day a […]

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    Kate Brodock: ‘Some Silicon Valley firms are leaders in parental leave’

Kate Brodock: ‘Some Silicon Valley firms are leaders in parental leave’

Women 2.0 is a for-profit company founded in 2006 as a hub where women in the technology field could network and help each other professionally. Today it has expanded into a media company whose goal is “to close the gender gaps in founding, investing, the workplace and leadership.” LSE Business Review managing editor Helena Vieira spoke with CEO Kate Brodock […]

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    High-speed rail boosts corporate profits but centralises high-skill jobs in big cities

High-speed rail boosts corporate profits but centralises high-skill jobs in big cities

The improvements in communications made possible by high-speed rail in France has boosted profit margins for big firms with many sites around the country, who benefit from the infrastructure. Our research has found that HSR improves their profit margins by 0.6 to 0.8 percentage points.

The study finds that the easier and faster circulation of managers across the different sites of […]

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    Breaking trade links with the EU will be slow, but Brexit will eventually hurt UK exports

Breaking trade links with the EU will be slow, but Brexit will eventually hurt UK exports

Most experts are convinced Brexit will hurt UK exports. That’s because we’ve learned from past episodes that removing trade barriers does actually boost trade. On average, bilateral trade is around 40 per cent larger after trade agreements are signed. But we don’t really know about the reverse effect, that of undoing a trade agreement. It hasn’t really happened before.

It’s probably […]