среда, 27 октября 2010 г.

Business Model Generation with Alexander Osterwalder

In the early October in our “Advice on business literature from Helen Edwards”  we suggested you to read the book “Business model generation” written by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur.

And in the middle of the month Alexander Osterwalder came to SKOLKOVO to personally share the secrets of constructing a variety of business models with the first intake of SKOLKVO MBA students. The students have just got down to the final module – building up their own start-up projects.


Alex Osterwalder’s concept of business models is simple and clear and it is always based on the visualization. He especially emphasizes the importance of Design Thinking as a new trend in modern business education. Alex says:

“In business we trained to decide between different options – A, B, C. But that’s the past. The future requires people to be innovative and creative. So it’s not just to be able to decide between A, B and C, they must have the ability to create alternatives, new possibilities, that’s what really important. So you need to educate business students to do that. And business schools are not very well equipped to do that. So typically what do they do? They look into design methods – how do designers work, how do architectures work… They try to teach those methods to business students to create new strategies, new business models, new services”

We will post the full interview with Alex Osterwalder soon. In the meantime, you can read students’ impressions from the workshop.

четверг, 14 октября 2010 г.

How an office impacts success

Article by SKOLKOVO MBA student Anton Saraykin
You can find an original article www.forbes.ru

We are leaving a conference room with green walls and violet pouffes for a hall where I almost stumble over a huge white dog wagging in a friendly way. After a rusty printing-press towering over a heap of coloured stuffed toys I’m not surprised with tomatoes sticking out of flowerpots. “Our chef grows them for salad”, mentioned Steve Winter, Director of Google office in Cambridge, without stopping. “I wonder how they manage to remain the most successful internet company in the world among such a chaos.”

Beside studies in classrooms that I described in the previous post, in the USA SKOLKOVO students work on probation at local companies – from a biotech corporation to an internet start-up dealing in used gadgets. My team consisting of five students asked for Cambridge Innovation Centre (CIC), a co-working space for start-ups. We develop and realize a marketing strategy of international expansion for CIC. In other words, we help attract to the office those entrepreneurs from abroad striving to enter the US market. CIC’s offices are lent by about 300 small start-ups, with average age being three years. Till recently one of the lessees was Google’s Cambridge office until it moved to a detached building where I made for to find ideas for CIC.

Electric guitar for an office

“How long can they play?”, I asked Steve as watching four programmers who arranged a ping pong tournament at the office right in the middle of a workday. Steve just smiles back and I understand that my question is inappropriate. There is a heap of electric guitars, training apparatuses and basketballs in the “playroom”, and there are several of them in the Google building, there is a drumkit in the corner and a tent put up for some purpose. “We carried instruments here from the studio, because rehearsals of our rock band disturbed a neighboring company behind the wall”, Steve explains.



вторник, 5 октября 2010 г.

Pierre Casse’s lecture about leadership given on the Open Day

On the Open Day of the School  Pierre Casse, SKOLKOVO Leadership Professor of Leadership, gave a lecture on a general topic “Leadership: Old Facts and New Trends”. We suggest you acquaint yourself with its main points. It’s understood that a speech put on paper will never substitute a live lecture and energy of the speaker, but we’ll try :)

Professor Casse spoke close to the topic announced, with his theses being both clear and encouraging discussions, so the audience asked several questions which resulted in a discussion.

When giving a lecture Pierre Casse always intersperses it with a great number of jokes, funny stories from his life presenting them as lessons of life. This form of lecture does allow the audience to better learn the stuff.

The article based on Professor Casse’s lecture is rather voluminous. We were afraid to miss something important and useful to you. To make the text more convenient to read, we structured it as clearly as possible. Have a nice reading!

First of all, in his lecture Piere Casse emphasized an important point: you can be a good leader, only if you fight for what you believe in. Leadership is not a set of universal rules, it is a person’s quality and a sort of state, where a key part is played by personal characteristics.


Common facts and useful advice

Widespread mistakes that leaders make:
1) Know everything
When you know an answer to any question, you deprive your people of their own thinking. When you always try to give assistance, you deprive them of responsibility for the result. Give them free space, let them breathe in!

пятница, 1 октября 2010 г.

Advice on business literature from Helen Edwards

We are glad to present a fresh selection of interesting books from Helen Edwards, a SKOLKOVO Library project manager. You can read her previous advice on business literature here.


1. Business model generation: a handbook for visionaries, game changers and challengers
Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur
John Wiley, 2010
281 pages
ISBN 978-0470-87641-1

This book lives up to its name in that it provides the tools to generate new business models. Packed with pictures, diagrams and real life business stories, it breaks down the complex process of understanding today's business models. This book clarifies how seemingly counter intuitive business models have transformed whole industries and reveals how readers can apply these same techniques to create value for their own businesses and within their own organizations.


2. The lords of strategy: the secret intellectual history of the new corporate world
Walter Kiechel
Harvard Business School Press, 2010
320 pages
ISBN 978-1591397823

The history of the four men who formalized corporate strategy and set in motion the modern consulting industry: Bruce Henderson (Boston Consulting Group), Bill Bain (Bain & Company), Fred Gluck (McKinsey) and Michael Porter (Harvard Business School). The book describes the ideas and analysis applied to developing business from the customers, costs, competitors paradigm onwards and shows how a small number of models and frameworks have dominated management thinking in thousands of companies.


3. The hidden brain: how our unconscious minds elects presidents, control markets, wage wars and save our lives
Shankar Vedantam
Spiegel & Grau, 2010.
270 pages
ISBN 978-0-385-52521-3

Written by the Science Correspondent of the Washington Post , this book describes how the hidden brain operates, its focus on speed and how it may apply heuristics to situations where they do not work. The book follows these unconscious biases from small decisions in private, social and professional settings, to major life choices, personal and business, and finally to issues which affect society as a whole, small groups and terrorism, the criminal justice system and politics.