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3 posts from March 2012

March 26, 2012

An 8,500 mile journey to the other side of the world

Tim Blog 200X200A couple of weeks ago, I took an interesting trip to Chennai, India. In advance of my trip, one of my clients pointed out that if you drew a straight line through the center of the earth departing from my home city of Milwaukee in the United States, to the other end of the earth – some 8,500 miles away – it would take you to Chennai. So it goes to say that it was certainly a long airplane ride.

In preparing for my first trip to Chennai, I learned that the city is actually known as the Detroit of Asia. A number of global automobile manufacturers (OEMs and suppliers) have set up operations there to serve the domestic market and also use it as an export base given the fact that Chennai is the second largest port in India. As a result, Chennai has become a significant manufacturing hub for India. Complementing this manufacturing focus, the city is also known for its extensive engineering and technology talent. As I met with a number of executives it was apparent that an increasing number of manufacturers are relying on the engineering talent in Chennai to design the products produced there.

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March 21, 2012

30 percent by 2057 – Can we get there quicker?

StonesThere is no doubt that the trend to have more women on company boards and their greater representation at the senior levels of companies and other organizations is on an upward trajectory. The problem is that the trend is moving at a slower pace than many would wish. And the reasons for this are infuriatingly varied. There is no one easily identifiable issue which is holding up progress and this makes it harder to try and accelerate that progress. But there are many areas where enthusiasm, enterprising initiatives and, in some cases, government action, are making a real contribution to change.

Much of this came to the fore at the recent workshop of the OECD, BIAC, the business and industry advisory committee to the OECD, and the American Chamber of Commerce in France. I’ve mentioned this event before in previous blogs, and it is its second session on which I reflect today.

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March 08, 2012

Big ideas, little price tag

Laura_blogSometimes it’s the little things that make life better. Like the DVD envelop buried beneath my pile of mail—a reminder that for a low monthly cost I can enjoy unlimited movies with no late fees. Or the way my MP3 player untethered my favorite tunes from a growing avalanche of CDs and forever changed the way I think about buying, sharing, and listening to music. Or how a free phone app lets me quickly pay my parking meter without a frantic search for spare change.

As a modern consumer, I’ve grown to expect new technologies and services that help me get things done in new and different ways. It's a simple progression: technology advances, prices drop, and over time performance generally improves.

But one major sector of the economy has struggled to embrace the type of innovation that will achieve more for less—government. In an era of increasing commoditization, consumers want quality and convenience, all for a small price tag. Governments have certainly leveraged technology to improve the performance of cumbersome processes in the past 10 years but often at a high cost.

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