Leaders

Social finance: a new frontier for development in Indonesia

Jakarta – Gatot Subroto, by Dino Adyansyah, under a CC-BY-2.0 licence
Introduction

It is estimated that Asia Pacific countries face an annual development financing shortfall of about $44 billion. So if development challenges are to be tackled effectively, the slack in finances needs to be picked up by the private sector. This would bring market incentives for financial gain closer to public […]

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    Brexit: prioritise getting a good deal from the EU over getting a speedy one

Brexit: prioritise getting a good deal from the EU over getting a speedy one

New Oxford Street, view from Centre Point Tower (cropped), by Eric Huybrechts, under a CC-BY-SA-2.0 licence

Almost five months on from the EU referendum, politicians are still coming to terms with the complexity of legally disentangling the UK from the European Union. The business community will always try to make the best of any situation, and find opportunities in post-Brexit […]

Internet platforms are transforming global trade

Cardboard box, by bykst, under a CC0 licence
Since 2011, the eBay Public Policy Lab and a team of economists at Sidley Austin LLP have together studied the exporting practices of firms using the online commerce platform. We have uncovered a fundamental transformation within global trade. Global trade has expanded beyond container shipments of one large company’s wares along predetermined […]

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    From apartheid to today’s divided politics: a CEO calls for responsive leadership

From apartheid to today’s divided politics: a CEO calls for responsive leadership

Syrian refugees, by Freedom House, Public Domain
In three months’ time, the world’s leaders will gather in Davos and the world’s citizens will ask of us: what have you been doing all these years to make the world a better place? The world is fraying as social and economic inequity increases. It’s no surprise that frustration is mounting. We see this reflected in […]

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    Untied to economic fluctuations, insurers are less likely to generate systemic risks

Untied to economic fluctuations, insurers are less likely to generate systemic risks

In a nutshell, macroprudential regulation is made up of two building blocks: surveillance and supervision. Surveillance is concerned with identifying, assessing and monitoring the build-up of systemic risks, i.e., those regarding the financial stability of a country or region. Supervision is aimed at preventing, mitigating and managing systemic risks.

A key lesson from the recent global financial crisis is that […]

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    Shareholder committees can restore responsible company ownership

Shareholder committees can restore responsible company ownership

For capitalism to work, the holders of capital (i.e. shareholders) need to exercise a measure of control and oversight over the companies they own. Without this, directors may simply run corporations in their own interests. For example, Shareholders today often merely rubber stamp recommendations for Director nominations and have a very limited formal role in setting executive pay. Symptoms of […]

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    Are the days of leadership as command and control by white men numbered?

Are the days of leadership as command and control by white men numbered?

As my train rolls through the stunning Swiss landscape, I find myself distracted by three young women talking animatedly about coding, where they might do their PhDs and whether they might prefer to work in academia, banking or high tech. They’re on their way to a Nanobiotech conference while I’m on my way to an event on how men […]

The commodity price rout and Africa’s unusual electoral cycle

The ongoing electoral cycle in Sub-Saharan Africa is turning out to be somewhat unusual. In the Nigeria March 2015 poll, the People’s Democratic Party suffered its first loss since the end of military rule in 1999, whilst in South Africa’s August 2016 municipal election the ruling Africa National Congress (ANC) registered its worst performance since the end of apartheid […]

Success isn’t just about salary and title

The way social mobility is currently understood is leading us down an economic and social cul-de-sac. New research released by Professor John Goldthorpe showed that social mobility in this country stalled in the latter part of the 20th century and earlier part of the 21st. This builds on work released this year by the Sutton Trust showing unequal access […]

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    Euro zone crisis and climate change: Addressing two targets with one instrument

Euro zone crisis and climate change: Addressing two targets with one instrument

The threat of climate change requires a transition of society away from fossil fuels towards renewable energies. Such transition cannot be achieved in a context of economic stagnation. The deplorable state of the European economy is the direct consequence not of the financial crisis of 2008/09, but of the seemingly unsolvable euro zone crisis. This places the long-term challenge […]

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    Businesses can no longer ignore social media sentiment analysis

Businesses can no longer ignore social media sentiment analysis

In February 2015, Bridgewater Associates, a $165 billion hedge fund founded by billionaire investor Ray Dalio, contacted a number of artificial intelligence (AI) programmers. He offered them an opportunity to join David Ferrucci, who came to Bridgewater at the end of 2012 after leading the Semantic Analysis and Integration Department at IBM’s T.J. Watson’s Research Center for a number […]

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    Traditional targets and bonuses often don’t improve performance in an organisation

Traditional targets and bonuses often don’t improve performance in an organisation

Why do leadership seminars only use the colours blue, black, and grey? Why do business people walk around in darkly coloured suits and ties? Why do all management book covers look so bland and depressing?

Where is the pink in management?

I have managed organizations for 20 years. In the beginning, I had no clue how to do this. I was […]

How demography influences monetary policy

There are three main longer term factors that determine how our economy performs. These are:

Population trends (demography);
Technical know-how (innovations);
How we manage ourselves (governance and education).

There is debate whether innovation is currently slowing or accelerating, and governance questions are always with us. But this blog is primarily about demography, and its influence on monetary policy, largely taken from a joint paper  […]

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    Five reasons for small businesses to stay positive about Brexit

Five reasons for small businesses to stay positive about Brexit

Waking up early on June 24th, I was surprised to learn the outcome of the UK referendum on EU membership: the majority of voters had opted for Brexit. Similar to the General Election just over a year before, this had caught the pollsters and bookmakers by surprise. The markets too were spooked, with the value of sterling falling sharply, […]

Are you ‘covering’ your identity at work?

Look around at your desk. Do you have a picture of your partner, your children, or your pet? Does it tell your colleagues a little about you and your life outside work or is it a neutral, blank canvas?

While there is much talk about ‘bringing your whole self to work’, what does it really mean? For many, it’s not […]

Six principles for Britain’s post-Brexit startups

In 1973, when bright and ambitious Stanford University grads were laying the paving stones for Silicon Valley, Britain joined the European Economic Community, the precursor to today’s European Union. Back then, few if any investors or entrepreneurs had their eyes on Europe. The bright California sun was too dazzling, plentiful venture capital too exciting. Meanwhile Britain, the ‘sick man of […]

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    Egypt as No. 2: What’s next for Africa’s (new) second largest economy?

Egypt as No. 2: What’s next for Africa’s (new) second largest economy?

Perhaps the best thing about Egypt’s emergence as Africa’s second largest economy, overtaking South Africa, is that it had nothing to do with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rebasing exercise ─ the periodic revision of GDP estimates, as done by Nigeria and Kenya in 2014, with a view to obtaining an up-to-date reflection of the economy and changing dynamics […]

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    Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive – Book Review

Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive – Book Review

Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive. Charles Duhigg. William Heinemann. 2016.

Find this book: 

This is a self-help book. The clue is in the title, which promises to make the committed reader ‘smarter, faster, better’. Another clue is in the subtitle that, displaying the genre’s penchant for coating its nostrums in the sheen of science, pledges to reveal the […]

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    Tower Hamlets attracts more equity deals than Edinburgh and Manchester combined

Tower Hamlets attracts more equity deals than Edinburgh and Manchester combined

The number of announced equity investments into UK-headquartered non-listed companies dropped significantly between the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2015 and the first quarter (Q1) of 2016 – from 314 to 280. We could claim the drop is not relevant, since it applies to a comparison between different seasons. But equity investments also fell between Q1 2015 and Q1 2016 […]

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    InsureTech firms look to disrupt, but not to overtake incumbents

InsureTech firms look to disrupt, but not to overtake incumbents

The insurance industry is rarely credited with innovations we now take for granted. The idea for a fire service was brewed up in 17th century coffee houses to insure against arson, pension funds came from the desire to protect the wives of clergymen in the 18th century, and the blueprint for the modern welfare state ultimately emerged from Bismarck’s […]