Knowledge Centre:
News Digests

Stay abreast of what’s happening internationally with developments in corporate public affairs. Here is news that you may find useful and interesting:

CEOs should activate their company’s stakeholdersND

Francis Gouillart, Harvard Business Review, 10 October 2011

The extensive networks of stakeholders that surround large companies (including suppliers, employees, distributors, and customers) represent a microcosm of the global economy. CEOs have the potential to trigger beneficial processes of collective engagement by organising theme-based communities along the value chain to facilitate interactions. This shift in thinking away from value-chain-centric views of business towards the creation and maintenance of multi-stakeholder communities holds the key to business success and is already being mobilised in emerging markets. For more information see

Latest game theory: Mixing work and playND

Rachel Emma Sullivan, The Wall Street Journal, 10 October 2011

International Business Machines Corp, Deloitte and Touch Tohmatsu and other comanies are applying social media in-house to make business tasks more engaging and to encourage collaboration between employees. Tasks such as management training, data entry and brainstorming are ‘gamified’. The concept is that employees receive points or badges for completing tasks within time limits and are then ranked on leader-boards. It is estimated seventy per cent of compoanies will introduce these or similar workplace practices by 2014. For more information see,

Breakthrough ideas for the talent war in Asia ND

Joel Backaler, Forbes, 4 October 2011

Expectations of aggressive growth in high-growth emerging markets in Asia are being obstructed by high attrition rates among key local talent. The intense demand for local talent has created a seller’s market, with aggressive recruiters offering significantly higher wages in order to headhunt new staff. This strategy has led to escalating wage costs and has prompted the need for more sustainable recruitment strategies. Successful attempts to overcome attrition have focused upon building local HR capacity, investments in localised talent engagement, and management commitments to ongoing innovation in HR tactics. For more see

The business of sustainabilityND

Sheila Bonini, McKinsey Quarterly, October 2011

McKinsey has found that larger numbers of executives are better-integrating sustainability goals beyond concern for reputation. Sustainability is approached more actively to improve operational efficiency and lower costs. But there is much room for improvement. Firstly, sustainability can be integrated into internal communications and engagement knowing that sustainability performance attracts and retains employees. Secondly, different industries use different levers (growth, return on capital, and risk management) so companies must identify the biggest opportunities for optimal value creation. Lastly, companies must factor sustainability into ‘hard’ areas of business, such as supply chain and the budget. For more information see

Return on influence, the new ROIND

Amy Jo Martin, Harvard Business Review, 27 September 2011

The meteoric rise of social media has given rise to the need for new metrics to measure return on investment for online marketing. The standard ‘cold metrics’ gauging such indicators as reach, frequency and page views are increasingly being augmented with ‘warm metrics’ which track engagement levels, viral factors, and sentiments. These seemingly intangible components of social media marketing and corporate online presence can be measured by dividing the total revenue generated via social efforts by the number of fans to determine a per-fan value. This approach has grown increasingly important for measuring the digital influence of brands and products in recent years. For more information see

A look back (and ahead) at social media’s impactND

Toby Daniels, Forbes, 22 September 2011

Social media is moving at lightening fast pace. In 2009 people weren’t so familiar with Twitter, LinkedIn was privately owned and Foursquare didn’t exist. In the past year, social media had been used for a range of activities from the Arab Spring Uprisings across Tunisia, Egypt and Libya organising protests and influencing public opinion, the London Riots, ends of careers with Anthony Weiner’s Twitter pictures, to watching Tsunamis real-time. We are in the midst of a transformation in communications methods as society and government, industry and economy are all affected. A new generation of digital leaders are building a network of intelligence on a global scale. For more information see

China in transitionND

Sheridan Prasso, Strategy and Business, 19 September 2011

China is transitioning into a consumption driven economy rather than an export-led one due to the middle class. Ching Li, director at Brookings Institution stated that the Chinese middle class were a powerful source of political, economic and social stability and their problems became government problems and could affect the entire world. Despite high inflation, high property tax and increasing unemployment, the top two fastest-growing areas of consumption in China were religious tourism and pet care products. The service sector (healthcare, consulting, and environmental products) have many opportunities for growth. Government leadership will also be changing in 2013. For more information see

China as an innovation nationND

John Kao, CNN, 12 September 2011

China has more university graduates as engineers and scientists than the U.S. and China now accounts for 12 per cent of global research and development spending. The country’s leaders plan to increase the portion of its GDP devoted to R&D from its current level of 1.6 per cent, to 2.5 per cent by 2020, and has emphasised the importance of innovation with its latest 5-year plan. Whereas the U.S. has traditionally been considered the world’s preeminent ‘innovation nation’, this title may not remain America’s alone as China mobilises its resources in a pervasive and innovative way to promote a range of strategic industries. For more information see

China wage rises bring shift in productionND

Rahul Jacob, Financial Times, 6 September 2011

Production is shifting from China to countries with lower wages such as Thailand, Bangladesh and Vietnam. Growing demand by factory workers in China for higher wages has resulted in an increase of the minimum wage, prompting some multinational companies to spread labour-intensive manufacturing across Southeast Asia. However, as China invests in cutting edge infrastructure and continues to see productivity improvements in the workforce, the manufacturing giant will remain a highly competitive and attractive location for production. For more information see

A clear approach to connect sustainability to competitive strategyND

Eugene Tay, Green Business Times, 1 September 2011

Five core elements of a clear model to approach competitive sustainability strategy include crafting a sustainability strategy that has a clear definition of ‘sustainability’ and an understanding of how stakeholders are directly impacted. To implement this strategy, it is advised a central team should lead management efforts. Cross-department committees, stakeholder advisory panels and board-level oversight are required to embed sustainability in value-chain activities. Analysing and communicating sustainability through well-designed metrics will assist in delivering outcomes and sustainability management efforts can be renewed consistently for ongoing success. For more information see

Asia-Pacific leads the world in smartphone use: Google/Ipsos studyND

Emily Tan, Campaign Asia, 1 September 2011

Google and Ipsos found that smartphone and overall mobile penetration in the Asia-Pacific was the highest in the world. Most users in this region are first-time users and while they don’t use their smartphones as much as the US in searching, socialising and sharing videos— usage will rise in the near future. Japanese, Korean and Singaporean customers are already heavy users and online mobile shopping is widespread in Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. The region is a gold mine for app developers and as usage grows, demand for broadband will reach about 1.6 billion connections by 2015, pushing operators to deliver better services. For more information see

Australia’s three CEO blindspotsND

Ken Boundy, Business Spectator, 25 August 2011

Australia underestimates three important strategic themes. Firstly, companies don’t fully understand the impact of China in terms of it becoming the largest consumer, a creator of technology and in need of primary resources. Secondly, few ASX 200 companies are integrating environmental responsibility with growing profitability. Thirdly, they must recognise the need to embrace digital technology-based innovation. CEO of Deloitte Digital stated that any corporate leaders indifferent to technology changes; social media, cloud computing, mobile devices and data are irresponsible of leadership and governance. There is much work to do. For more information see

Turning your customers into advisorsND

Morey Stettner, Chief Executive, 25 August 2011

Customers’ opinions are paramount for companies to upgrade sales. Many entrepreneurs are forming Customer Advisor Boards (CABs) to engage their customers to address problems beyond product feedback and influence big-picture strategic issues affecting the company’s future. It is important that companies recruit the right mix of diverse customers who have budget authority, are in senior positions and set direction for their employers. It is about listening and learning, not selling with the 80/20 rule and CEOs talking less. CAB benefits can be measured via customer satisfaction scores, streamlining issues and increased sales. For more information see

Competing for the Global Middle ClassND

Edward Tse, Bill Russo, and Ronald Haddock, Strategy & Business, 23 August 2011

The global middle class is now comprised of around 400 million people in developed countries, and between 300 to 500 million people in emerging economies. This vast market demands goods, services and infrastructure and offers unprecedented and lucrative opportunities for goods and services companies. Competition in this market has revolved around local upstarts, global aspirants and multinational incumbents as each seeks to take advantage of the growth of emerging middle classes. For more information see

How to invest ethicallyND

Bina Brown, Australian Financial Review, 5 August 2011

More people are investing in companies that engage in activities beneficial to society and the environment, and are being rewarded with high returns. The Responsible Investment Association Australasia reports ethical adviser portfolios grew from $972 million to $1.46 billion in 2010 and responsible investors in Australia made better returns than investors in mainstream funds over one, three, five and seven years. People are choosing to invest responsibly because of improving investment returns from companies with good cultures and environmental strategies, concern for the wellbeing of future generations and because they want to invest in accordance to their values and beliefs. For more information see

Intelligence lost: The boomers are exitingND

Robert F. Brands, Bloomberg Businessweek, 5 August 2011

The retirement of the Baby Boomer generation (born between 1946 and 1964), could lead to sizeable losses in intellectual capital unless business leaders act. Knowledge management will be increasingly important in the US as the ‘best educated, most highly skilled’ workforce in US history exits the workplace. No business can ignore this ongoing ‘war of intelligence attrition’, and given the importance of the many years of hard data and know-how held by retiring baby boomers, organisations should prepare a comprehensive strategy for sharing and documenting information before it is lost. For more information see

Understanding your globalisation penaltyND

Martin Dewhurst, Jonathan Harris and Suzanne Heywood, Mckinsey Quarterly, August 2011

While overseas emerging markets can be an attractive incentive for company expansion, McKinsey research has found that local champions have been far more successful compared to their global counterparts and have addressed organisation health, direction setting, coordination and control, innovation and external orientation much more effectively. Global companies can at times find it difficult to share uniform vision across regions, maintain professional standards, facilitate innovation and build strong government and community relationships. It is a constant challenge to balance local adaption against global scale, scope, and coordination even amongst the highest performing global companies. For more information see

New offices go carbon positiveND

Alexandra Cain, Australian Financial Review, 28 July 2011

With rising electricity prices and the carbon tax, a favourable response is being demonstrated among developers with an increasing trend towards carbon positive buildings. New buildings are including energy-producing systems, such as tri-generation — the simultaneous production of electricity, heat and cooling systems from one source. Stockland reported that the combination of tri-generation and photovoltaic technology will generate 70 per cent of the energy its Shellharbour shopping centre will use. Caroline Pidcock, founder of Pidcock Architecture and Sustainability, echoed the values in David Owen’s book Green Metropolis, advocating a compact community with little ecological footprint as the ‘next extension of sustainability’. For more information see

Designing a China business frameworkND

Robert Lawrence Kuhn, Chief Executive, 8 July 2011

Many foreign CEOs seeking to enter the Chinese market have assumed that China’s transformation into a market economy equates to Western-style business. What is most important is to understand China’s unique structure, culture, economy and especially its political characteristics. Chinese government policy directs the strategic fundamentals of all Chinese businesses, so foreign companies must align themselves to the government agenda if they want to succeed. Questions regarding China’s economic and political future, leaders, government and media should be examined carefully. For more information see

Column: Evolve (again)ND

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business Review, July 2011

Companies should work to empower young people - sources of fresh thinking. Ventures in universities sparked the custom-built personal computer in the 1980s (Michael Dell, the University of Texas, Austin), internet portals in the 1990s (Jerry Yang and David Filo, Stanford), and social networks in the 2000s (Mark Zuckerberg, Harvard). Encouraging free investigation can produce highly valuable returns and continuous evolution will prevent a bloody one. Due to adaptive evolution with new technologies, radio coexists with television and newspapers are still alive. However companies that cling to old business models that once brought success and deem new ones as incompatible will fall behind. For more information see

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