Breakthrough ideas

The Harvard Business Review list of breakthrough ideas for 2009 had a few interesting entries. My favorite was the 'IKEA Factor' .... we do often see examples where folks are reluctant to let go of things they have invested time and resource in.

Institutional memory goes digital

Suppose every utterance and facial expression at a meeting were routinely captured and archived in high-definition digital video recordings - searchable and available in perpetuity. Would this be a godsend or a nightmare? The answer is probably both, but we're about to find out for sure. Within a few years, a synthesis of technologies from an array of companies will make possible a "total recall system," or TRS, that can produce such recordings. [The HBR List; institutional memory goes digital]

The IKEA Factor

Research conducted with my colleagues Daniel Mochon, of Yale University, and Dan Ariely, of Duke University, shows that labor enhances affection for its results. When people construct products themselves, from bookshelves to Build-a-Bears, they come to overvalue their (often poorly made) creations. We call this phenomenon the IKEA effect, in honor of the wildly successful Swedish manufacturer whose products typically arrive with some assembly required....
... Finally, the IKEA effect has broader implications for organizational dynamics: It contributes to the sunk cost effect, whereby managers continue to devote resources to (sometimes failing) projects in which they have invested their labor, and to the not-invented-here syndrome, whereby they discount good ideas developed elsewhere in favor of their (sometimes inferior) internally developed ideas. Managers should keep in mind that ideas they have come to love because they invested their own labor in them may not be as highly valued by their coworkers - or their customers. [The HBR list 2009: the IKEA factor]

Just because I'm nice, don't assume I'm dumb

Inaccurate warmth/competence judgments can lead managers to trust untrustworthy associates or undervalue potentially important connections with people. They can also undermine companies' efforts to build effective teams, identify lucrative opportunities, and retain good employees. For example, mothers, like the elderly, are chronically stereotyped as less competent (although warmer) than other workers and as a result are often underpromoted and underpaid. [The HBR List: Just because I'm nice, don't assume I'm dumb]

Should you outsource your brain?

With a shortage of analytic skills in the United States and Western Europe and a ready supply in India, Eastern Europe, and China, it's perhaps not surprising that organizations are now outsourcing these more cerebral functions.[The HBR List: Should you outsource your brain?]

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