Training Article

Scott Cowen’s picture

By: Scott Cowen

It was a year ago that our country lost one of its most well-known and respected mavericks in recent political history. After John McCain passed away, many felt that his death left a void that would be hard to fill and wondered whether nonconformist leaders like him, who usually worry more about what’s right than about what’s popular, still exist. The McCain Institute for International Leadership even launched a nonpartisan campaign called #MavericksNeeded, reminding us all of the need to uphold principles of freedom and democracy, encourage moral reasoning, and bring progress.

One year later, we get our pick of politicians on the national stage who are willing to go it alone and ruffle some feathers. The four freshman Congresswomen known as the “squad” come to mind, and so might the four Republicans who crossed party lines when they voted with all Democrats in the House to condemn President Trump’s recent “go home” comments. Texas Democratic Representative Al Green has been called a maverick for trying to get Trump impeached three times without the necessary support from his party.

Matt Minner’s picture

By: Matt Minner

Across the United States, small and medium-sized manufacturers are contemplating integrating industrial robots into their facilities. There is a growing awareness that increasingly flexible and affordable robotics systems can help existing workers in a variety of different ways, taking on repetitive tasks and freeing up staff for higher level work and increasing productivity overall.

To serve this growing need, dozens of robotics systems integrators have come online and promise complete packages to guide manufacturers, from initial assessment to fully realized industrial automation. But deferring to these experts can feel a little imposing to manufacturers that rely on established processes they’ve developed internally.

So how does a manufacturer contemplating a first robot-integration project participate fully so that the project is a success on their terms? Here are four suggestions to guide you during the process.

Jamie Seo Yeon Song’s picture

By: Jamie Seo Yeon Song

The internet has radically democratized the means of marketing cultural products. Enormous advertising budgets are no longer necessary to get the word out about a new release; companies can connect directly with vast numbers of current or potential consumers through Twitter, Facebook, or whatever virtual communities may be relevant for their target audience.

Indeed, I previously found that these changes have significantly eroded the size-based advantage enjoyed by dominant players in the culture industries. My 2017 paper (co-authored by Henrich Greve, INSEAD professor of entrepreneurship), also the subject of an INSEAD Knowledge article, showed how in the world of e-book publishing, the Big Five companies (Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, and Penguin Random House) derived less sales advantage from their relative clout than smaller presses did from user-generated buzz on Twitter and Amazon.

Anthony D. Burns’s picture

By: Anthony D. Burns

Not long ago, we had a client inquire about virtual reality (VR) and quality training. VR and its close relative, augmented reality (AR), are hot technologies right now, not just in entertainment, but also in industry, including their use in training. So it’s no surprise that clients inquire about them. However, as with any technology, you must pick the right tool for the right job, and VR and AR are not always the right choice.

VR explained

VR is a technology that allows a person to feel immersed in a 3D virtual world. This is usually achieved using a headset with a separate display for each eye. Unlike a single-screen view of a 3D scene, the slight parallax in views for each eye gives the viewer an immersive, 3D effect. Headsets range from $10 for Google Cardboard with your mobile phone, to well over $1,000 for self-contained headsets.

Movement of the headset wearer’s head is detected by the accelerometer and/or gyroscope in the mobile phone (Google Cardboard) or the proprietary headset. This movement is then used to adjust the view of the two cameras, one for each eye, in the 3D virtual scene. As you move your head, the scene moves.

Dylan Walsh’s picture

By: Dylan Walsh

In principle, the mountaineer’s work is simple: “To win the game he has first to reach the mountain’s summit,” said George Mallory, who took part in Britain’s first three attempts on Everest during the 1920s. “But, further, he has to descend in safety.”

The tension between these two goals—summiting while also surviving—makes the Himalayas context especially interesting and relevant for companies also balancing multiple goals, says Lindred Leura Greer, an associate professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

“Mountaineering provides an interesting setting, and an extreme one, in which you’re trying to win while also trying to mitigate loss,” Greer says. “This looks a lot like, say, a startup, where you’re trying to maximize to become a unicorn while at the same time trying to make sure the small details don’t pull you under.”

Given this analogue, Greer and other researchers used mountain climbing as a lens to explore longstanding assumptions about group performance. For decades, academics have suggested a straightforward link between a group’s solidarity and its success: The more a group operates with a single mind, the better its execution.

David Midgley’s picture

By: David Midgley

Ask any manager at a large organization why the purchasing department matters, and the first factor he will mention will probably be costs. But cost control, though a core competency, is far from the only way purchasing affects firm performance.

Every contract signed with a supplier represents a considerable amount of trust on the part of the buying firm. It’s the purchasing department’s job to ensure that trust is invested wisely, not squandered on the unworthy. Therefore, purchasing is obliged to be the organization’s eyes and ears within the supplier environment.

Bill Kraus’s picture

By: Bill Kraus

Continuous improvement is generally considered to be a journey in pursuit of perfection and is regularly associated with the concept of lean manufacturing. In early 1990, reflecting on the Toyota Production System, the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP) created a six-part definition regarding the components of lean manufacturing:
• A systematic approach
• To identifying and eliminating waste
• Through continuous improvement
• By flowing the product
• At the pull of the customer
• In pursuit of perfection

In late 1990, our Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions (AMS) MEP team embraced lean and began promoting it to our manufacturing clients. However, in our enthusiasm, we inadvertently set about “doing lean to our people rather than with our people.” Considerable time and effort was expended in the teaching of “tools” (e.g., value stream mapping, 5S, quick changeover, kanban). Then, like hammers looking for nails, we descended upon the factory floor.

Daniel Hess’s picture

By: Daniel Hess

We all expect hospitals to be open and operating when we need them, but extreme weather events like hurricanes are a strain on resources and pose significant challenges for hospitals.

Closing a hospital is an extreme action, but several hospitals in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina did just that before the arrival of Hurricane Irma in 2017.

With more than 300 hospitals and a higher share of older adults than any other state, Florida had a critical issue facing emergency planners during those storms.

As a professor of urban planning, I have studied emergency planning and evacuation and also co-authored an extensive report on how hospitals coped with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Gustav. Hospitals plan for catastrophic events, but there are always lessons to be learned.

Hospitals try to stay open and care for patients already hospitalized as well as those who suffer injury or illness from a storm. Here’s how they do it.

DNV GL’s picture

By: DNV GL

Workplace safety is a complex issue, addressing everything from rules for operating heavy machinery to guidelines for respecting your fellow employees. For many of these issues we, as a business community, have developed and applied a variety of best practices and global standards—such as ISO 45001—to help establish and preserve a safe and healthy working environment for everyone.

The U.S. Dept. of Labor estimates that two million employees are victims of workplace violence annually, resulting in a loss of 1.2 million workdays and an estimated $55 million in lost wages.  The long-term costs to business continuity and the human capital that supports it are almost staggering. 

As a society, we work toward the prevention of accidents that result in personal injuries; we have policies about professional behavior and decorum, and plans to deal with emergencies by natural causes such as fires, floods, and electrical outages. What we must now develop are the operational plans and policies to deal with targeted violence such as active shooter events. 

Knowledge at Wharton’s picture

By: Knowledge at Wharton

From a lone statistician toiling over narrowly defined problems for the marketing department, to a C-level executive overseeing a mission-critical area impacting every function of the company, the meaning of “data and analytics professional” has changed a lot in recent years. A. Charles Thomas’s career has reflected those developments.

Thomas, who is General Motors’ first-ever chief data and analytics officer, shared where corporate data analytics has been, where it’s going, and the evolution of chief data officer roles, in a keynote at the recent Wharton Customer Analytics conference “Successful Applications of Analytics.” He spoke from his experience not only at GM, but also other major companies, including Hewlett Packard, the United Services Automobile Association (USAA), and Wells Fargo.

During the late 1990s, he said, data analysts were typically individual contributors working with transactional data involving marketing, credit, and retail. “The [data analyst’s] reputation was ‘a smart guy,’” said Thomas. “You want an answer, you come to Charles.”

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