strategy+business Autumn 2019

Experience the ideas and stories that raise the game for management, written and expounded clearly enough to provide the basis for thoughtful action. Through in-depth feature stories, thought leader interviews, and strategic commentaries, each issue of strategy+business provides an informed global perspective for decision makers in organizations around the world.

United States
PwC Strategy& LLC
4 Issues

in this issue

2 min
opportunities in a crisis

Instead of thinking of businesses as job creators, maybe we should think of jobs as business enablers. In “A strategist’s guide to upskilling” (page 66), PwC specialists Laurent Probst and Christian Scharff argue passionately that when automation threatens employment, the proper response is neither denial nor panic, but upskilling: training people in the skills of our new digital reality and matching them to the improved jobs that companies need to fill. You may doubt that a single initiative can accomplish this, but as the authors describe their experience in Luxembourg, you’ll see the possibilities. Other new workforce opportunities include the operations jobs that airline leaders might create if they followed the advice in “Blockchain’s benefits for the aviation industry,” by Chuck Marx, Rachel Parker Sealy, and Scott Thompson (page 8). Or…

10 min
blockchain’s benefits for the aviation industry

The aerospace industry is vast (in 2018, revenues were US$838 billion), complex, and interconnected — and growing rapidly. Demand for new commercial aircraft may reach approximately 40,000 planes over the next 20 years. As the companies that manufacture, operate, and service aircraft expand, they are seeking out AI, 3D printing, and other capabilities, technologies, and tools that will allow them to optimize performance. There’s another cutting-edge technology they should consider: blockchain. What does blockchain, most closely associated in the public mind with cryptocurrencies, have to do with the process of moving 250-ton machines through the air? Simply put, what the aerospace industry doesn’t know about its planes is costing it serious money. Having a more accurate view of a plane’s configuration and maintenance history could help reduce costs and losses, boost…

3 min
three reasons net promoter score is past its prime

The Net Promoter Score (NPS), which has long been used to measure the loyalty of a company’s customers, is under fire for becoming the false god of corporate America. In a searing article, the Wall Street Journal recently labeled NPS “a dubious metric” — one that is routinely cited by CEOs in earning calls and that somehow, magically, never declines. “Much of Corporate America is obsessed with NPS,” declared the article, before going on to list many of the activities the measure is used to justify, from employee bonuses to executive compensation. NPS hasn’t been useless, though. We can thank it for underscoring the importance of customer satisfaction ever since it was introduced in 2003. But in 2019, executives should question its efficacy and seek something better and broader. There are three…

6 min
competing for consumers in driverless cars

If someday you no longer need to drive when you’re in your car, what will you do instead? Comfort, convenience, and entertainment already matter to drivers. But when drivers become passengers, these aspects of the in-car experience — centered on a new screen built into vehicles that will also enable more productivity — will matter even more and will create a vibrant “fifth-screen” economy. As driverless cars start to coexist with traditional ones and dominate in a few specific markets, carmakers will need to prioritize these in-car experiences to be able to compete for consumers. In many parts of the world, driverless cars won’t make sense anytime soon. A robotaxi fleet won’t be economical in sparsely populated rural areas. Electric cars, which most autonomous fleets will rely on, don’t have the range…

3 min
communicating project developments one step at a time

You’ll be hard pressed to find a city in the US with a deeper connection to its historical roots than St. Augustine, Florida. The City holds the honor of being the oldest continuously occupied settlement of European origin in the United States, and it shows: just taking a stroll down one of the city’s many cobblestone streets invokes the type of old town, coastal-colonial that feels as if you just stepped off a time-machine. Preserving this moment in time would be impossible if not for the help of the city’s extensive zoning regulations and efforts. The plans are designed to preserve the historic character of many buildings in the area through a series of compliance checks that are regulated via the city’s historical preservation board. Due to the intricate nature of…

3 min
how business schools can change the world

I teach an experiential learning course in Mumbai, India, in which MBA students visit and mentor schoolchildren in slums. The goal is to help children explore their areas of interest and strengthen their capabilities. These relationships are yearlong journeys of discomfort and discovery. At the end of the year, I ask my students to answer the question, “Why is your mentee’s family poor?” In a group discussion, we examine popular misconceptions. Are the poor lazier than, say, those in your own family or community? Are they somehow less capable? Is there some cultural or religious reason they are poor? Is it a lack of gender parity? A lack of ambition? A lack of interest in education? What provides students the ability to go beyond a theoretical analysis of poverty is their firsthand…