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News and Views

Osprey is committed to helping you develop innovative ways of
delivering services. We continually gather insights and monitor trends in order to bring creativity and practical knowledge to our solutions. We're pleased to share topical insights found by our advisors from a broad variety of sources:

Tapping the Gulf's Booming Service Industry

Osprey and its global alliance network is slated to launch a broad series of initiatives to deliver advisory, training and research services to industries in the booming Gulf Cooperation Council of six nations: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. 

The project, OspreyME®, features a blend of the best and brightest 
SME's, analysts and educators from around the world alongside 
talented regional business strategists and practitioners all interested in harnessing innovative technologies and business practices.

"Industrial reform in the GCC is fast becoming a reality, and the services sector is growing at a record pace," according to Bob Fielding, Osprey's VP Alliances. "Our work taps the business and technology 
trends to ensure that rising consumer expectations are met by market leaders."

[ more ], Spring, 2010

What's Next? Boeing's 787 Dreamliner Interiors

Designing for the customer experience is What's Next. Since the launch of Boeing’s heralded 787 Dreamliner, most of the hype has been about the plane’s breakthrough light weight design. Half the plane is made of composite materials.

But, as Business Week noted recently, the redesigned cabin interiors are "potentially game-changing". They will impact the 
quality of the customer experience. The cabins were designed by Seattle’s Teague, a company that has been working with Boeing for over 60 years. The Teague designers aimed at designing a motif that would convey a sense of comfort, style and grace.  It looks like they succeeded. 

The interiors feature numerous modular components that can be customized by airline customers while maintaining Boeing’s signature "look and feel”. The cabin will offer “sweeping archways” design, window shades whose opacity can be controlled, greater humidification of cabin air, and a sky simulation effect through color-changing, light-emitting diodes in the ceiling. Seats will be wider and so will the aisles. It’s obvious that Boeing and Teague focused on enhancing the 
customer experience and, in the process, they move the industry forward.  

787 Dreamliner video clip, courtesy The Boeing Company  

[ Full article ], August 6, 2007

Customer Analytics Lends itself to Shady Practices

Thomas H. Davenport and Jeanne G. Harris, co-authors of Competing on Customer Analytics (2007), have turned their attention to the ethics of working with customer data. In a Harvard Business Review case study, “The Dark Side of Customer Analytics,” they explore the case of a grocery chain that sells its customer shopping history data to an insurance company.

The insurer can determine from the data whether particular clients are at a higher risk for health problems, and manage the risks accordingly. But what about the ethical considerations of this practice? As analytical tools afford businesses new opportunities to use customer data, new privacy questions arise. How would customers feel about these companies’ “arrangement” if they knew about it? This case study sheds new light on the question of customer data.

[Full article], May 2007

Fair Warning, Here Comes Web 3.0

For years, the world has been operating in what observers call Web 2.0, an environment where users can readily share information, music and images and even drive the process of knowledge-sharing. In November, the New York Times heralded the emergence of a nascent, semantic-based environment, called Web 3.0.

It is described as a layer of meaning on top of the existing web and a “foundation for systems that can reason in a human fashion”. When will it be here and what it mean to us? On NPR’s On the Media, artificial Intelligence expert Nigel Shadbolt explains how the web is evolving toward a more intuitive, adaptive network and describes the implications of the “next phase”.

NPR’s On the Media, Jan 5, 2007

A Podcasting Idea whose Time has Come

Harvard Business School Publishing (HBSP) recently launched the HBR IdeaCast, a bi-weekly podcast featuring business ideas and commentary from Harvard Business School Publishing.

Programming is inspired by various publishing lines at HBSP including Harvard Business Review articles, HBS Press books, and HBSP conferences and newsletters. During its first month of operations, the HBR IdeaCast quickly become one of the most downloaded business podcasts on iTunes, a sign that consumers find its content relevant to today's marketplace.

"Podcasts have quickly become yet another way people want to receive information," said Paul Michelman, Executive Editor in HBSP's New Publishing Ventures group. "We hope the HBR IdeaCast will not only serve the needs of our current readers and customers, but also will help introduce the ideas and content we publish to a new generation of managers worldwide."

Future HBR IdeaCasts will include an interview with HBR senior editor Gardiner Morse on the art of making deliberate mistakes; Tamara Erickson's view on the hot 'Middlescence' phenomenon; and an interview with customer loyalty maven, Fred Reichheld, about his new book, The Ultimate Question.

"HBSP collaborates to create products and services in the media that best serve our customers: individuals and organizations who believe in the power of ideas," says Michelman. "HBR IdeaCast is just another channel for us to offer our listeners unparalleled access to the newest ideas and to the best thinkers in management."

Harvard Business School Publishing [HBR IdeaCast], June, 2006

Building Value through Innovation

It sounds like a broken record, but companies everywhere are fixated on becoming more innovative in order to gain a competitive edge. It seems like a new theory about business innovation is unveiled almost every week. Meanwhile, each company approaches the challenge in a different way, with different results. Why do some succeed, while others fail? How do companies create cultures that lead to innovativeness?

The on-line journal Knowledge@Wharton explored these questions recently with business leaders at the Ben Franklin Forum on Innovation. Participants included executives from companies such as IDEO, P&G, Intel and Microsoft, among others. In this series of 18 podcast interviews, we hear how various organizations go about creating innovative products and services.

Knowledge@Wharton ­ Ben Franklin Forum [Podcast series], February, 2006

Innovative Service as a Competitive Advantage

We’ve witnessed an unprecedented growth in the service sector during the last 2 decades. It now comprises 70% of aggregate production and employment among nations. Many service companies focus their attention on improving their product offerings, but few succeed in creating true service innovations. This article contends that by viewing service in terms of its core benefits, managers can recognize innovative ways to gain advantage over their rivals, and compete on the basis of superior service.

The authors of this MIT Sloan Review piece present a two-by-two matrix to help managers think strategically about how service innovations can create new markets. The dimensions of the matrix correspond to the nature of the offering and the degree of service “separability” from accompanying products.

The authors cite best-practices in service innovation at Southwest Airlines, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, FedEx, eBay, Starbucks, Google, Walgreens, and Netflix, among others, to underscore their point about the benefits of focusing on innovating service offerings.

[Full article, fee-based], Winter, 2006

The Future of Outsourcing - A Look Ahead

As companies seek solutions for a variety of challenges through outsourcing, outsourcing is offering a new set of benefits, as it evolves. Many observers think that outsourcing is becoming a critical way of remaining competitive in an increasingly global economy.

Many firms look to outsourcing to update and streamline operations, while others use it to free up resources to focus more on innovating and engaging customers. Others are learning to leverage global talent pools to take products to market sooner at lower costs.

A recent Business Week article points out that, as it matures, 
outsourcing offers benefits beyond labor arbitrage. But these opportunities sometimes look better on paper than in practice. Outsourcing still poses many problems. Surveys show that many managers still worry about the inconsistent quality of work and unexpected costs.

The challenges will intensify as rising global salaries reduce the cost advantages gained through offshoring. Success stories will come from companies effective at managing the global talent pool to “transform” their organizations.

[Full article], Jan 31, 2006

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