Tomorrow's Challenges

Thought leadership articles on business issues faced by leaders and executives across industries.

July 2017

By Benoit F. Leleux

In 2006, three young Austrian had a brilliant idea: a tracking system for amateur runners to record runs and improve their times. They knew that more people were taking up running. They had the...

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July 2017

By Ralf W. Seifert with Richard Markoff.

Companies are increasingly investing in their sales and operation planning (S&OP) process and tools. Gartner, an American technology research and advisory firm, considers demand planning accuracy at t...

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July 2017

By Seán Meehan with Karine Avagyan, Charlie Dawson.

Customers matter. No one would argue with that. But so do finance, people, operations, innovation and lots more. What impact do all these competing priorities have on a company’s ability to remain tru...

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June 2017

By Michael D. Watkins

Every year, thousands of managers enter new leadership positions. Their actions during the first few months on the job can determine their success or failure, yet little first-rate advice is available...

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June 2017

By Jennifer Jordan with Tim Vriend, Onne Janssen.

Martin Winterkorn, the former CEO of Volkswagen, was leading his company on a course to surpass Toyota as the largest car maker in the world. And he succeeded. In July 2015, he achieved this pinnacle...

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June 2017

By Francisco Szekely

Why does a company exist?  If you’d asked executives this in the 1970s, the most common answer would have been ‘to make money’. Consumers, employees and the natural environment didn’t really figure in...

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June 2017

By Ralf W. Seifert with Richard Markoff.

The omni-channel supply chain is in our headlines and on our lips. Retailers are experimenting with different ways to meet growing consumer expectation to interact with products in different ways. The...

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June 2017

By Carlos Cordon with Michael Leck.

In September 2013, shipping giant Maersk Line was facing an unprecedented organizational challenge. The company was about to enter into an alliance, dubbed the P3 network, with two other container...

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June 2017

By Knut Haanaes, Michael Sorell

The US film industry has been immensely successful and has overshadowed its rivals around the world, but are we starting to see signs of its decline? Is it a victim of the success trap? 2017 has been ...

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June 2017

By Michael D. Watkins

In “ Onboarding Isn’t Enough,” a recent Harvard Business Review article co-authored with Mark Byford and Lena Triantogiannis from Egon Zehnder, we showed that many companies think they are doing a goo...

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June 2017

By Michael D. Watkins

In “ Onboarding Isn’t Enough,” a recent Harvard Business Review article I co-authored with Mark Byford and Lena Triantogiannis from Egon Zehnder, we showed that many companies think they are doing a...

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May 2017

By Marco Mancesti

Leaders cannot orchestrate in a vacuum. In fact, they depend on others in at least three important ways:  1]     Leaders guide, they do not execute. Therefore, they rely on others to take care of...

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May 2017

By Goutam Challagalla

The liberalization of the Indian economy in the 1990s led to a chaotic housing boom in Mumbai. Thousands of real estate developers jostled for space in a sellers’ market, throwing up apartment blocks...

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May 2017

By Stéphane Garelli

The recent death of Kenneth Arrow, one of the greatest economists of our time, is a reminder that most of the Nobel Prize winners in economics were also brilliant mathematicians. In addition, a number...

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May 2017

By Ralf Boscheck

Healthcare spending, currently projected to grow by 5.8% annually in the U.S. and to represent 20.1% of the total economy by 2025, has made healthcare market reforms a critical and ongoing priority of...

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May 2017

By Stéphane Garelli

Business is about change — but no CEO would like to face disruption on the scale seen in the newspaper business over the past 15 years.  I am chairman of the Swiss top tier newspaper, Le Temps . It wa...

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April 2017

By Howard H. Yu

Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, recently passed Warren Buffett to become the world’s second-richest person, behind only Bill Gates. And on Wednesday, Bezos revealed that he has been selling about $1 billion...

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April 2017

By Bettina Büchel

The €10 billion food packaging business Tetra Pak once faced a dilemma familiar to most multinational corporations. The company was mired in a classic “strategic-agility conundrum” — it lacked the...

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April 2017

By Carlos Cordon with Isaak Tsalicoglou.

The writing is on the wall: if you want to innovate in the digital world, you must be agile. Four of the top five companies by market cap (Microsoft, Apple, Alphabet and Amazon) use Agile methodologie...

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April 2017

By Michael R. Wade

As Apple’s stock climbed to its fifth record in March on Tuesday, and it’s 11th record this year, it’s a good time to take a serious look at what the tech giant should take on...

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April 2017

By Knut Haanaes, Michael Sorell, Øystein D. Fjeldstad

Corporate mortality is a hot topic. Scholars and consultants keep cropping up in the news with reports on the decline of the lifespan of major corporations. The BCG Henderson Institute found that the...

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April 2017

By Jean-Pierre Lehmann

Though there is some flurry of activity for reviving certain trade initiatives – for example, a modified Trans-Pacific Partnership deal – the global outlook for trade remains stormy. The first thunder...

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March 2017

By Ralf W. Seifert with Mervegül Kirci.

The cost of global food waste and loss is estimated to be $940 billion a year. For businesses, this represents a significant proportion of shrinkage in retail supply chains and it has a direct impact ...

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March 2017

By Dominique Turpin

Now is the age of market disruptors: of Uber, Deezer, Alipay, Rakuten and many others. These innovative start-ups and nimble brands are crashing into markets traditionally dominated by multinational...

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March 2017

By Michael R. Wade

Imagine that you are an executive overseeing retail banking at a large financial services company. In addition to the normal challenges you face as one of the company’s leaders, you are confronted wit...

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March 2017

By Stéphane Garelli

If the post-truth era triumphs, if alternative facts supersede evidence, if polls are so wrong, it is perhaps because the relationship people have with the real world has changed. Throughout time,...

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March 2017

By Amit Shankar Mukherjee

America has an anti-free-trade populist in the White House. Without rethinking how its companies face the world, India will find it extraordinarily difficult to argue that it creates value, that it...

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March 2017

By Stéphane Garelli

It happens regularly all over the world and in every company. The CEO addresses his collaborators: “You are the most important resource at this company”. He believes it, and he is right. His...

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March 2017

By Ralf W. Seifert with Katrin Siebenbürger Hacki.

The second edition of the IMD Global Supply Chain Survey examines how organizations rate themselves on 20 important trends in supply chain management. It shows that experts from leading European...

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February 2017

By Denise H. Kenyon-Rouvinez with Enrica Sighinolfi.

The fourth industrial revolution – featuring artificial intelligence, big data, the internet of things and so on – presents many challenges to private banks when it comes to wealth management. They wi...

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February 2017

By Bettina Büchel

Once top teams recognize the need to fundamentally revisit their strategy, they need to be critically aware of the key decisions in formulating the strategy process in order to ensure that the strateg...

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February 2017

By Ben Bryant

Between Samsung explosions and Volkswagen recalls, FIFA’s racketeering and Wells Fargo’s fake accounts, some of the most recent corporate scandals have been mainstream events with far-reaching impact....

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February 2017

By Marco Mancesti

How many times have you heard a business goal similar to this: “We will be n°1 in the next 5 years”? Whether you are running a start-up, a department, a much larger organization or a strategic project...

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February 2017

By Paul Strebel

Strategy is a dead concept say Bill Fischer and Michael Wade, two of my colleagues at IMD. The world is moving too fast for strategy. Industry boundaries are blurring, new entrants and technologies ar...

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February 2017

By Michael D. Watkins

If you want to provoke a vigorous debate, start a conversation on organizational culture. While there is universal agreement that (1) it exists, and (2) that it plays a crucial role in shaping behavio...

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February 2017

By Winter Nie

During his election campaign, President Donald Trump threatened to impose 35% to 45% tariffs on Chinese imports to force China into renegotiating its trade balance with the U.S. The immediate result o...

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February 2017

By Carlos Cordon

In an amazing twist, technology is rendering the old fundamentals of supply chain management obsolete. In Russia, Adidas increased sales in Moscow by double digits in 24 hours, thanks to a supply chai...

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February 2017

By Amit Shankar Mukherjee

During the past 16 years, businesses have experienced many major, self-inflicted crises. Consider, for example, the malfunction of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (and several other completely different...

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January 2017

By John W. Walsh

Narellan Pools, an Australian-based swimming pool builder, leveraged big data to glean customer insights. The resulting marketing campaign generated a ratio of revenue to expenditure of 54:1....

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January 2017

By William A. Fischer

What could ever be dumb about the fast-arriving internet of things — that seemingly inevitable assemblage of ever more networked devices, products and everything in-between? Dumbness? That would be us...

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January 2017

By Benoit F. Leleux with Marta Widz.

Receiving one of the most prestigious accolades for "excellence in family business" was a memorable moment for Hans Michael Jebsen and Heinrich Jessen – the two principal shareholders of Jebsen & Jess...

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January 2017

By Arturo Bris with Christos Cabolis, José Caballero.

Public policies can strongly influence the quality of leadership capabilities and competencies available in a particular country. For example, policies that increase education expenditure, personal...

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January 2017

By Knut Haanaes

A few years back I was involved in an exercise where we observed the strategy processes of a large set of leading global firms. These were all companies you would expect to be exceptionally good at...

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