Adobe, the leading software company targeting creative professionals, is exiting the shrink-wrap software business in favor of subscription-based software and online "cloud" services. While perhaps painful at first, the business model change will be ultimately beneficial for consumers and Adobe alike, and other software companies are likely to follow, say experts at Wharton.
Knowledge@Wharton May 08 - May 21
Warby Parker has vision. The e-commerce startup known for its $95 retro-cool frames has attracted a steady stream of customers and top-notch investors. And just last month in New York City, the company opened its first free-standing store which, according to co-founder Neil Blumenthal, represents "uncharted territory ... the convergence of e-commerce and bricks and mortar. The idea that it's one or the other is ridiculous," he says. "E-commerce as a term will become obsolete in five or six years."
Finalists in this year's Wharton Business Plan Competition proposed innovations to disrupt areas including health care, used car sales, children's retail and fashion. On the day of judgment last month, eight teams described their business plan and potential market, with several thousand dollars in prize money on the line. Check out descriptions of each plan, and see if you can guess the winner.
More than 50 years after management guru Peter Drucker first wrote about the difficulty of defining and measuring the productivity of knowledge workers, management experts say many companies still do a poor job of it. To get a better gauge of how much employees are accomplishing, experts say managers need to remember that quality is often as important, if not more so, than quantity, and that blanket policies rarely remedy such a highly individualized issue.
READ Global, an international non-profit that uses community libraries as a platform for creating social change in rural villages throughout India, Bhutan and Nepal, is the winner of the second annual Barry & Marie Lipman Family Prize awarded to an organization that is creating social impact through leadership and innovation. Wharton administers the prize on behalf of the University of Pennsylvania. Michael Useem, director of Wharton's Center for Leadership and Change Management, recently interviewed Tina Sciabica, executive director of READ Global. (Video with transcript)
As the recent successful campaign to fund a movie based on the television show "Veronica Mars" proves, crowdfunding is now recognized as a reliable funding avenue for both start-ups and established firms. But the growth of the sector also creates more regulatory challenges and raises questions about the risks that funders take when they put their money behind a project.
Is investing in foreign stocks still a good strategy for offsetting risk and boosting returns in your portfolio? How do social comparisons impact the different dimensions of trust that people can have for each other? How can companies use emotional cues to convey a particular identity to consumers? Wharton professors Karen Lewis, Maurice Schweitzer and Patti Williams, respectively, examined these issues -- and what they mean for business and consumers -- in recent research papers.
Beth Comstock, a senior vice president and chief marketing officer at General Electric, thinks everyone should embrace change, accept challenges and never fear failure. It is advice that has helped her continue to grow in her career at NBC, CBS and now GE, where, among other things, she convinced the CEO to support a new slogan for the company: "imagination at work." Comstock offered her thoughts during a Wharton Leadership Lecture.