Recommendations on how to structure and write proposals, reports, and other business documents.
It is arguably easier to find good advice on presenting than on writing, although most of us write more often than we present. Good business content – whether a proposal, a report, a paper or other type of deliverable – is clear, concise and factual: this article suggests 10 rules to write such content. As for our recommendations on problem-solving and project management, these guidelines are based on our own experience and mistakes, so you will find both good and bad examples illustrating them.
Suggestions on how to structure, plan, analyze and present complex issues
Problem solving has been coined as a buzzword, perhaps undeservedly so: whether alone or in teams, for academic or professional purposes, most of us are frequently required to solve problems. Some of them are part of our daily routine and can be dealt with fairly quickly; others are less orthodox and require more thought. This article suggests 8 rules to deal with the latter type, based on our own experience. As part of this learning process we have broken these rules many times (and still do, on occasion), so you will find both good and bad examples illustrating these guidelines.
Seven tips to facilitate the management of geographically dispersed teams
The last decades have been fertile in producing an increasingly globalized world. Our network of friends is spread all over the globe. Facebook, Skype, Youtube, and countless other tools help us to stay connected. The work environment is no different: If you work for a large organization, you probably find yourself dealing with colleagues from other countries on a daily basis. If you work for a smaller local company, chances are that at some point you will end up working together with remote business partners. As economic activity becomes more and more dispersed (Exhibit 1), working with geographically dispersed teams becomes more and more commonplace. In this article we share seven suggestions to facilitate the management of these virtual teams.
Six suggestions to leverage the growing renewable energy opportunities in emerging markets
Large-scale deployment of renewable energies has so far been concentrated in Europe and in the US, but that is changing. Take wind energy, solar PV and CSP (Concentrated Solar Power), for instance: 44%, 35% and 23%, respectively, of new capacity for the next 5 years will be deployed in emerging markets (Exhibit 1). For North American and European companies that have so far focused on domestic markets, emerging markets can thus represent an opportunity for additional revenue, but also a risk for increased costs and diluted market focus. In this article we explore six suggestions to develop and implement a sensible market entry strategy for emerging markets.
A decision tree to help you navigate through the multiple techniques available to collect opinions, analyze ideas, and reach consensus.
More often than not, decisions today are made by teams, based on a broad number of collected ideas and opinions. Collecting these inputs and then reaching a consensus can be made through a broad number of decision-making techniques. In this article we analyze five of the most popular ones: Prediction Markets, Surveys/Polls, the Delphi Method, the Nominal Group Technique, and the venerable Face-to-face Meeting.
There is a clear link between corporate sustainability and financial results, but which one is the trigger? Well, the link can actually run both ways.
Little doubt remains about the correlation between improved sustainability practices and better financial results: Exhibit 1 compiles the results of close to 160 research papers, most of which found a positive correlation between these two benefits. But which one is the trigger? In other words, do better sustainability practices lead to improved financial results, or does the availability of funds lead to increased investments in sustainability? In this article we explore the issue of causality between sustainability and financial performance, and what it means for various stakeholders.
Recent developments in renewable energies might overthrow the diesel generator as the technology of choice for off-grid mobile base stations.
Renewable energy has evolved considerably over the last couple of years. So much, in fact, that solutions recently deemed to be unfeasible might now warrant a second look. Take mobile telecom operators, for instance: diesel generators are usually preferred over renewable energy based solutions for remote off-grid base stations, because they are cheaper and more reliable. In this article we explore three recent developments that might tilt the balance in favor of telecom towers powered by renewable energy.
2012 has been a great year for us. Not because we have grown considerably: X&Y Partners is and will continue to be a small company. And not because there were significant advances in the areas we work on: renewable energies and clean technologies continue along a fast but somewhat rocky path; policies to address climate change are still timid; and the bulk of the work towards a more sustainable development still lies ahead us.
2012 was a great year for us because we took a decisive step towards sharing our knowledge.
Forecasting is about the journey, not the destination: what you learn in the process will be more useful than the forecast itself.
We are often asked to make market forecasts, so we decided to go back to some of our older forecasts and see how well we fared. We found that most forecasts had a fair 15-20% deviation from the actual figures (Exhibit 1). There were however outliers: on the one hand, we overestimated the global installed capacity of wave energy by an order of magnitude, while on the other hand we predicted the evolution of wind energy costs inside a 5% margin. In any case, the real value of forecasting is what you learn in the process, as it forces you to understand and quantify the forces that shape a particular market. In this article we share four lessons learned while making market predictions and forecasts.
Feedback has been coined as a buzzword. It is undeserved: asking for help and actually listening to the resulting opinions is uncomfortable but very useful.
There are sentences that stick to your mind, like gum. In my case, one of these is about feedback. It all goes back to the days of my MBA. At the end of a group project that had gone wrong from the start, we decided to organize a round of feedback to understand what had happened. One of my colleagues didn’t hold anything back: she told the rest of us, eyes in eyes, where we had failed and how we should improve. She finalized by saying that “feedback is a gift that I give you, you can decide to accept or reject it”.