Competing in the Global Ideas Economy


Winning in a Global World: Douglas Oberhleman
The New Calculus of Value Creation: Doug Conant, Kurt Schneider, Murray Martin
Performing while Transforming: Abhi Talwalkar, Bill Nuti, Mark Dorman
How U.S. Companies Can Lead in the New Global Economy: David Novak, Nick Akins, Chris Kearney
Building a Capability for Breakthrough Innovation
What’s Next for Governance?

How U.S. Companies Can Lead in the New Global Economy

On breaking into Asian markets…

“In international [dealings], the one thing I’ve learned is that if you don’t have local knowledge, you won’t have a very good business. The most important thing you can do in China is to get a Chinese leader you believe in and build a Chinese team around you. We’ve had very little success anywhere in the world wherever we had an expat there for very long. When we started in France, we didn’t have anybody [who] had any idea of what was going on there, and we wasted a ton of money until we got a team that was local. We believe in a de-centralized model, building local capability and then having the local leaders figure out how to localize what you offer and make it as relevant as possible. As long as you start with your people capability, you’ll figure out how to satisfy your customers, and then you’ll make some money.”
David Novak, Chairman and CEO, Yum! Brands

On eliminating silos…

“In many companies like ours, with diversified business platforms and a diverse geographic profile, there is a natural tendency to rely on the financial reporting segments that you’re in. That [approach] inhibits exchanges of ideas across the company. We’re doing a couple of things to change that, particularly on the innovation front. We created an innovation council, pulling the best and brightest and most talented people from all segments of the company to participate. And they weren’t necessarily all engineers. They were salespeople, lawyers, HR people—everybody who had a great idea of where the company was, where we were taking it and what we wanted it to look like. Then we started breaking down those barriers and getting people—who had previously only known the people in their respective silos—to know one another.”
Chris Kearney, Chairman, President and CEO, SPX

On solving the technical-worker talent gap…

“We see it every day. Our average age is almost 50—and you see these positions and the structure of our business changing, so we’re looking for a different skillset. Today, we also have an entire floor of our corporate headquarters devoted to cyber security. That’s a new talent requirement that we have to try to maintain and which the banks are pulling away. So, it’s not only the legacy skills that we continue to require because of people retiring but also those new skills that we have to be concerned about.

“I talk to university presidents, and I also talk to governors and others about craft positions, as well boilermakers, pot fitters, welders—that type of work. We partner with technical colleges, supply instructors and develop curricula for these jobs. We need to encourage that as much as we do the college education.

“There’s another facet that needs a lot of work. And that is what do we do about the inner-city schools? There are a lot of urban settings where corporations need to step up and ensure that those younger students are mentored and developed in a way that they can make decisions about what they do in the future.”
Nick Akins, CEO, American Electric Power (AEP)