Thursday, May 17, 2007

from wathon news


May 16 - May 29

Note To Readers
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-- The Knowledge@Wharton Team

What's Hot
Wireless Broadband Utopia: Are We There Yet?

The wireless broadband pieces appear to be falling in place: Sprint Nextel says its next-generation high-speed network will be launched in a few markets by the end of 2007. Intel plans to embed so-called "WiMAX" enabled semiconductors in laptops by the end of 2008, and startups like Craig McCaw's Clearwire hope to blanket much of the nation with WiMAX service. Other companies are supporting hybrid wireless networks so that devices can hop between technologies. Where is all this heading, and what does it mean for the "Anywhere Consumer"?


Leadership and Change
Presidential Politics: What to Expect from France's Nicolas Sarkozy

On May 6, conservative Nicolas Sarkozy won the French presidential election, defeating socialist Segolene Royal and taking over from Jacques Chirac, who had held the positon for 12 years. The election drew a very high 85% turnout, which many saw as a sign that French voters recognize the need to get out from under their economic stagnation and social unrest. Sarkozy is depicted as a friend, but also a critic, of the U.S.; as a supporter, to some degree, of the European Union; and as a reformer bent on changing France's burdensome labor laws, but also willing to meet with union leaders. Knowledge@Wharton asked Jeff Weintraub, a visiting scholar with the University of Pennsylvania's political science department, to give us his views on the possible consequences of Sarkozy's election.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Business Plan Competition 2007: The 'Eight Great' Make Their Pitch

In a perfect world, there would be faster computers, less lower back pain, more accurate ways to detect the warning signs of a heart attack and even better-fitting business attire for female executives. And that would mean more comfort and time to enjoy the sweet things in life, like a gourmet chocolate bar. If the "Eight Great" finalists in the 2006-2007 Wharton Business Plan Competition -- who recently competed for more than $70,000 in prize money -- are able to achieve their entrepreneurial schemes, the world would indeed become such a place. Knowledge@Wharton summarizes the presentations and announces the winners.

Executive Education
Middle Eastern Businesswomen Discuss Challenges They Face at Home and Abroad

This spring, Wharton and the Penn law school hosted 37 professional women from the Middle East for a four-week legal and business fellowship program offered in partnership with America-Mideast Educational and Training Services (AMIDEAST) and the U.S. State Department. The women studied management and business skills at Wharton executive education and legal skills at the law school. Knowledge@Wharton asked three women from the program to talk about their experiences in the U.S. as well as in their home countries, including their views on such topics as workplace ethics, business opportunities for women and the role of Islam in society.

Are Your Customers Dissatisfied? Try Checking Out Your Salespeople

The sales associate, noticing the approach of a customer, is suddenly intent on restocking merchandise or discussing when she will take her next break -- anything to avoid actual contact with the shopper. It's the type of behavior that dominates the list of complaints cited in the second annual Retail Customer Dissatisfaction Study. The study, conducted by Wharton's Jay H. Baker Retail Initiative and the Verde Group, found that disinterested, ill-prepared and unwelcoming salespeople lead to more lost business and bad word-of-mouth than any other management challenge in retailing.

Human Resources
Workplace Loyalties Change, but the Value of Mentoring Doesn't

In Homer's poem "The Odyssey," Odysseus had a tough time finding his way home after the Trojan War, what with all those monsters threatening to derail his journey. But Odysseus at least had left a wise and trusted fellow named Mentor to be the guardian and teacher of his son, Telemachus. Modern employees need mentors as much as Telemachus, especially in these times of upheaval. In fact, mentoring is just as important as ever for younger workers -- and for organizations themselves -- according to experts at Wharton and elsewhere.

Serving Up Smaller Restaurant Portions: Will Consumers Bite?

The average person, according to the experts, makes 200 food-related choices a day. Actually, make that 201 choices. Courtesy of a new campaign by a leading restaurant chain, diners who are used to choices that make their meals bigger can now actually choose to order portions that are significantly smaller. This spring, T.G.I. Friday's announced what it called an "unprecedented move in the casual dining industry" when the restaurant chain began offering smaller portions at lower prices for select dishes. The question now becomes: Will consumers bite? Or, in this case, bite less?

Managing Technology
Shantanu Narayen on Adobe's Future Direction: Product Strategy for the Next Generation of the Web

A key element of what has been called "web 2.0" -- along with ideas such as user-generated content and social networks -- is the concept of "rich Internet applications," which use the web as a platform for innovative types of online experiences. A new generation of Internet-connected applications is beginning to emerge led by such companies as Adobe Systems. Knowledge@Wharton recently interviewed Adobe president and COO Shantanu Narayen about the company's latest product introductions. In the second part of this interview, published in India Knowledge@Wharton, Narayen talks about the key role that India will play in the company's global growth strategy.


Survey on Idea Creation

The Wharton management department is conducting research on how creative ideas advance from the conceptual stage to the funded development stage. Below is a link to a survey asking readers -- who are either idea advancement decision-makers or idea creators -- to describe factors surrounding one great idea that advanced, and one great idea that did not, as a way to identify factors that might help or hinder the idea advancement process. The survey will not require readers to disclose any personal data or proprietary information about their ideas. Those who participate can receive the study results, if they choose. Please take a moment to click here to complete the survey.


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