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10 posts from January 2013

January 30, 2013

Making a genuine gender difference

Blog_woman_waitingroom_300x199It is one of the enduring paradoxes of working life: Advancing women in business life seems common-sense but in practice appears to flounder and not make the headway we all expect. The reasons for this were a topic of discussion at the recent OECD Gender Forum – Closing the Gender Gap: Act Now, where I joined a distinguished group of participants, including government and business leaders. It was clear from our discussion that challenges remain.

Take diversity for example. Deloitte Australia has recently carried out ground-breaking research (“Waiter, is that inclusion in my soup?”) in the manufacturing, retail, and healthcare sectors. When modelling the relationship among diversity, inclusion and business performance, the research found that when both diversity and inclusion were high, there was an uplift of some 80 percent in perceptions of business performance. Buoyed by these results, the research was widened to include customer service, innovation and engagement. And the same thing happened: Perceptions of business outcomes are always significantly higher with high diversity and high inclusion. Another finding was that where employees perceive their organization is committed to and supportive of diversity, and where employees feel included, they are 80 percent more likely to believe they work in a high-performing organisation.

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January 28, 2013

Mainstreaming impact investing: Overcoming the hurdles, addressing the skeptics

Blog_tree_money_300x200Asset management is in a state of flux. Trillions of dollars are expected to change hands over the next number of years as baby boomers begin to transfer their wealth to the next generation – a generation that has grown up in a culture that calls on business to play a more active role in building a better society.  In this context, the field of “impact investing” has taken center stage as a means to enable and empower for-profit business models to address society’s toughest challenges.

But what exactly is impact investing, and isn’t all investing intended to create impact? First coined by the Monitor Group in 2009, impact investing is an emerging industry that places capital in businesses (or entrepreneurs) that intentionally seek to create social or environmental value. This could be an investment in a dairy products producer in Nairobi that works to increase the efficiency and production levels of small-scale farmers in rural Kenya. Or, it could be an investment in an innovative program that seeks to reduce youth recidivism (repeat criminal offense) in New York City. The common thread among impact investments is the notion of intent – when the investor intentionally seeks to create social or environmental value, the investment is an impact investment.

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January 25, 2013

A sense of optimism

During this week's World Economic Forum in Davos, Deloitte UK CEO David Sproul provided daily recaps on his experience at the Forum. Below is an excerpt from his latest blog post. To read the full article as well as previous days' posts, please visit the Deloitte UK Responsible Business blog.

Borris_innovationlive_davos_300x200Reflecting on the many conversations I’ve had with clients, and others, this week, it’s clear that there is a definite sense of optimism compared to the position at the start of 2012.

The concerns of last year—particularly of a eurozone exit—have receded materially. Despite the continued low growth in Europe there is a definite feeling of greater resilience and a growing confidence that economies are improving, albeit slowly. I’ve also seen much greater recognition of the need for business leaders to have a stronger voice in making the case for responsible business.

Alongside client meetings, Davos has also again provided a good opportunity to engage with the media—with the BBC, the Telegraph and the Times all carrying interviews.

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January 24, 2013

Bringing female perspectives in the boardroom – Challenges in Japan

Dttl_YorikoGoto_DeloitteJapan_300x200I have the honor to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos as one of the five representatives from Deloitte this again year. Deloitte LLP, the U.S. member firm, was the first professional firm that launched an initiative for the retention and advancement of women in the United States. Started in 1993, the Women’s Initiative changed the firm culture to retain and advance female professionals with leaders’ solid commitment.

Within 20 years, the U.S. firm achieved quite a number of goals: closing the gender gap in retention and promotion (female partner ratio from 7% to 23% and female board member from 1% to 30%). This was, of course, a turbulent journey, but does prove that we can make it happen if we believe in it.

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January 23, 2013

Nurturing innovation

Blog_innovation_300x200“Innovate or Die” is not a phrase that is easily translated to be understood in Japanese. Everyone acknowledges that over time emerging countries or companies can catch up with developed countries by becoming more innovative. However, over the past 20 years many Japanese companies and citizens seem to have gradually lost their determination to innovate.

As a run-up to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Deloitte conducted a Millennial survey targeting those born after 1982 in 18 countries worldwide (300 targets per country). Overall, responses from Japanese indicate that they’ve lost confidence in their ability to be innovative. For instance, the positive response to the question “Do you work for an innovative company?” was only 25% in Japan compared to 60% for the global average.  Also, of the positive responses to the question “Do you consider yourself as innovative?” responses for Japan were only 24% compared to 62% on average globally.

Will Japan keep losing its determination to be innovative? Of course, it shouldn’t. The country needs to revitalize by breaking through the barriers of innovation.

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January 22, 2013

Collaborative Capitalism: The power of business and government working together

Joe Echevarria at Davos 2012Last year was the first time I attended the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. It was a unique opportunity to hear insights from influential world leaders about the most pressing business issues and to discuss the critical role America plays in the global economy.

While last year’s event was marked by uncertainty with the volatile global economy, decreased trust in business, and the U.S. presidential elections, I anticipate this year’s discussion will focus on how we move the global economy forward to achieve a state of resilient dynamism, the theme of this year’s Forum, emphasizing the need to be both adaptable and fluid. To do this, we will need a bold vision and even bolder action. In our post-fiscal cliff reality, encouraging partnership between business and government is critical to creating more effective policies, restoring confidence, and increasing certainty, while creating a solid foundation for future growth. I like to call this fresh take on partnership Collaborative Capitalism.

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January 18, 2013

Cyber resiliency at the World Economic Forum

Blog_jolyon_cyberresiliencyLaunched at the World Economic Forum in Davos last year, we are asking CEOs and governments to sign a simple set of cyber principles, thereby personally committing to taking cyber risk as a top priority. The Principles are straightforward but powerful, asking leaders to recognize their interdependence, to acknowledge the importance of their leadership on this issue, the need to incorporate cyber risk management into their operations, and perhaps most importantly, the shared responsibility, and so to ask their partners, customers and suppliers to do the same.

This year we are bringing leaders from many different industries and nations together to build on our initial success. We’ve created a powerful community, one that can really move the needle to improve our global cyber resilience. I’ll ask this community during our meeting in Davos to collectively determine what success looks like, which issues need to be dealt with first, and what they will commit to.

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January 17, 2013

When men and mountains meet

Barry outside at Davos 2012The poet William Blake wrote that “Great things are done when men and mountains meet.”1 Despite this poem being more than 200 years old, and recognizing the dynamic collection of men and women leading business and society today, this line perfectly sums up my feelings of anticipation ahead of my return to the mountain in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, to participate in the 2013 World Economic Forum.

This will be my sixth year attending the forum whose theme this year is “Resilient Dynamism.” Each year I’m impressed by the quality and insightfulness of the event, and by the intelligence and passion of those who take part. Where else do you get the opportunity to interact with smart young innovators, top academics, government leaders, and senior executives … all in one place?

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January 14, 2013

From strategy to execution - Helping clients solve their most critical challenges

Dttl_Monitor Deloitte_adjacent_320x212In virtually every conversation we have with our clients, we hear about the same core challenge: Organizations are facing near-constant change, and the time they have to react and make decisions is getting shorter.

Whether the challenge is rooted in the global economy, new regulations, emerging technology or something else, companies must gather as much information as possible, conduct vigorous analysis, and decide whether to shift strategy, all with increased outside scrutiny. Every decision is analyzed in real-time, so the room for error is getting smaller and every mistake is magnified.

That’s why we are so excited to welcome the Monitor team to Deloitte. This transaction combines the strengths of both our networks – including thought leadership, talent, resources, and global reach -- to further solidify Deloitte as a worldwide leader in strategy consulting.

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India manufacturing competitiveness

India flagExecutives often ask me about the manufacturing landscape in India. Based on my observations during a recent visit to India and my ongoing discussions with our clients, India is a vibrant market which continues to attract investment interest. This trend indeed is echoed in the 2013 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index report released by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited’s (DTTL) Global Manufacturing Industry group.  The global industry survey had over 550 respondents, who were chief executive officers (CEOs) and senior leaders at manufacturing companies around the world. These executives ranked India as the fourth most competitive nation today and believe that the country will rise up in the rankings to be the second most competitive manufacturing nation in five years. As you can imagine, there were many executives and government officials in India who were very interested to hear more about the study, so my trip back to India last month was very timely.

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