25 February 2018

Digital innovation becomes meaningful only when we know the stories behind it

Algorithms, Big Data, machine learning, neural networks and artificial intelligence, they all have the capacity to lift the quality of our lives. Attempts to capture this potential are hampered by secrecy and mystification. It’s time to acknowledge that ‘Digitalization as a black box’ has become outdated. Openness, responsiveness and having a compelling narrative should be the new standard.

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22 October 2017

Personalisation and other Big Data value propositions

Not a day goes by without hearing or reading something about Big Data. In most cases you immediately notice whether you’re dealing with a believer or a critic. The first will emphasize the advantages and technological opportunities. The other will primarily point out the negative consequences for either individual and/or society at large. Nevertheless, both agree on one thing; the impact of Big Data on our lives, economy and society is huge and will increase quickly.

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19 September 2016

What every organization could learn from the iTax case

As the iTax dust following the European Commission’s ruling on Apple’s tax behavior is settling down and key players have shared their opinions and possible next steps, it’s time to take a closer look. What could every organization learn from iTax?

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19 July 2016

Triple A change leadership competencies

Whether the business is energy, architecture, healthcare or public service, in the present age of transformation change leadership is on every C-suite agenda. Not just for the sake of business, but in particular also for change leadership itself. To handle top issues like climate change, digitalisation, growing social inequality and structural economic stagnation senior executives can’t succeed without the use of today’s Triple A change leadership competencies; the ability to unlearn, the art of cooperation and the capacity for story telling.

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20 March 2015

The true purpose of being purposeful

As we are living in the age of transformation once commonly held beliefs are evaporating. This is true for politics, society at large as well as economics. One of the most fundamental changes has to do with our ideas and beliefs about doing business. The homo economicus, the concept of profit maximization, the dominant logic of efficiency and the winner takes it all mentality, they’re all getting obsolete.

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8 February 2015

It’s about time for a new economic framework

Not a day goes by without thriving stories concerning the sharing economy, new companies that are disrupting existing markets, artificial intelligence driven robots or CEO’s who suddenly declare there is more to (business) life than the upcoming quarterly results. Obviously, something is underway. However, we are lacking an accompanying economic framework that helps to explain the difference between what makes sense and what does not.

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22 December 2014

New skool banking; ‘tone at the top’ says it all

A lot has been said and written about new skool banking. On many occasions the subject of the debate was about new rules and regulation, more and better (internal) governance or the necessity for new business models. Until now there was only to a limited extent attention for the quality of leadership. Especially the absence of a dialogue on ‘tone at the top’ one could cite as a (major) deficiency.

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19 August 2014

Three crucial questions for the success of any organization

As much as today’s executives are busy with ‘Lean’ and ‘Mean’, and as much as present-day management literature is still full off hierarchical and planned structures from a long gone industrial or even military past, the only viable conclusion is that they all are examples of yesterday’s reality. Whoever wants to be successful today, tomorrow and throughout the remaining part of the 21st century is aware that raising efficiency and standardisation belong to the Museum of Economic Progress. In the world of today there are three crucial questions for the success of any organization.

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13 April 2014

Restoring confidence in Accountancy starts from outside and not from inside

There’s no denying that accountants anno 2014 are having serious problems. Whether it concerns the role they played in the emergence of today’s financial crisis, the involvement in an ever-expanding list of fraud or their outdated corporate structures, the problems are piling up. National and international regulators are on top of it. Many firms are no longer capable of solving the problems on their own and call in the help of renowned corporate turnaround specialists. The most recent example is former ING CEO Jan Hommen who has been asked by KPMG to help them out of trouble.

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31 January 2014

Unconventional insights into reputation management every CEO should know

A new generation of CEO’s is getting in place. For example at Shell, ING and recently also at Philips. Expectations about their leadership are quite high. They will lead their companies at times that are fundamentally different than before, while future perspectives remain largely uncertain. For many of these CEO’s the need to strengthen their company’s reputation is top of mind. Yet, in order to be successful in reputation management it is necessary that these CEO’s go beyond today’s best practices. The four unconventional insights described below can be helpful.

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2 September 2013

Today’s biggest reputational risk is contemporary reputation management

Reputation management is ‘hot’ and thus reputation consultancy is a booming business. The self-proclaimed reputation experts, most of whom are formerly PR or communication experts who have ‘reframed’ their business, guide their clients through the world of reputation while using fancy models. Without any diffidence they even tell clients we now live in a ‘reputation economy’. It’s almost like we’re reviving the start of this millennium.

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19 June 2013

The similarities and differences between reputation management and corporate communication

The growing importance of reputation management and corporate communication, for private as well as public organizations, is beyond doubt. Executives are getting more involved and interested, the number of (academic) courses is growing at a fast pace and even private investors have discovered the market’s growth potential and are taking minority interests in specialised consultancy firms. However, what is striking is that reputation management and (corporate) communication are increasingly being considered as synonyms. This suggested interchangeability is incorrect and ignores the essence of both disciplines. In brief, it is about time to describe the similarities and differences in a clear and unambiguous way.

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16 April 2013

Handling the perception paradox

The next major challenge in reputation management

For the last ten to fifteen years reputation management’s major challenge has been its introduction to the C-suite agenda. This pursuit for boardroom relevance is not finished yet, but tremendous progress has been made. There are two main reasons that have contributed to this development. The first has been the fast growing number of situations in which top executives were confronted with serious reputation damage. This has sparked their attention for reputation management. The second reason has been the advancement that made reputation a measurable business indicator. Being able to quantify and weigh stakeholder perceptions into reputation scores allowed it to blend in the dominant C-suite logic of accountability and spread sheet management. However, the next major challenge of reputation management has already appeared on the stage; handling the perception paradox.

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24 March 2013

The Economist on reputation management

Too easy, but above all a missed opportunity

Almost a year ago in April 2012, The Economist wrote a now much debated article entitled ‘What’s in a name? Why companies should worry less about their reputations’. The article contains a critical review of the emergence of reputation management as a young and fast growing management topic. Although the criticism of The Economist was initially tantalizing, it didn’t bring reputation management towards a next level of professionalism. This is because the critical analysis in the article is (too) superficial and not really completed. But it is particularly unfortunate that The Economist failed to interpret reputation and reputation management from an economic perspective. This is truly a missed opportunity.

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20 February 2013

Rethinking reputation management

From image enhancement towards building trust

A growing number of corporate executives publicly claim they are, more than ever before, well aware of the value and importance of their organization’s reputation. These executives even say that managing this reputation is increasingly one of their main tasks. However, if one looks closely at how they fill in this (new) responsibility at the moment, then this is yet quite disappointing. In many cases it appears that reputation management still is the equivalent of image enhancement by the use of PR and communication. So far, a more managerial approach with focus on building sustainable trust between the organization and its stakeholders seems to be rare.

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7 February 2013

Reputation accountability increases quality of annual report.

Waiting on elaborated integral reporting standards is undesirable

Anyone who regularly scans newspapers, watches the 8th O’clock news or surfs news sites, increasingly encounters the word ‘reputation’ in the headlines. The rising media attention for an organization’s reputation reflects the growing social and economic importance of such reputations. But despite all this, even the best annual reports of today barely give any consideration to the subject of an organization’s reputation. Let alone there are examples of annual reports in which one finds actual reputation accountability. Even in the annual reports of the winners and nominees for the Dutch  Sijthoff prize for the best annual report, reputation is only mentioned occasionally in the context of risk management. A certain risk then possibly has impact on the reputation of the organization, but information about this effect, how big or small it is and what measures have been taken (or not), is nowhere to be found.

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24 January 2013

Accountants and the ‘Brent Spar’ lessons

Big firms show serious lack of conscious for the social role of accountancy

In recent years the well-known ‘big’ accountancy firms have been confronted with increased media and public attention because of their involvement in a wide range of (financial) scandals. Whether it concerned problems in civil housing corporations, financial services organizations, education institutes or fast moving consumer companies, when confronted with these problems the accounting firms’ reaction is in almost all cases was exactly the same: we are innocent, we operated within the current set of legal rules and so we can’t be blamed for these problems. With their response the accountants appear to have completely missed the well-known  lessons learned from Shell’s Brent Spar affaire and, as a result, they show they have no clue concerning their social role.

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24 June 2012

Reputation management’s next step in maturity

Integrating reputation management in general management practices helps organizations to further strengthen their reputation and to ensure top management’s involvement.

For many years reputation was predominantly an important theme for marketing and communication professionals. However, in recent years reputation is ever more frequently also on the agenda of the executive board. The increased threat and impact of reputational damage, the possibilities to quantitatively measure reputation and the growing recognition of reputation as an important ‘corporate asset’ (that represents value) have strongly contributed to the upward evolution of reputation management towards the boardroom.

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