Thursday, June 28, 2007

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Jun 27 - Jul 10

What's Hot
(Podcast with Transcript)
David Marshall: China's 'Wake-up Call' for American Real Estate

David G. Marshall, CEO of Amerimar Realty in Philadelphia, has made a career of seeking out bitter lemons and turning them into sweet -- and profitable -- lemonade. Through the years, he has taken over distressed properties -- such as The Rittenhouse in Philadelphia, Pier 39 in San Francisco and Denver Place in Colorado -- and made them into successful enterprises. Marshall recently went to Shanghai as part of the Wharton Fellows program and came to the conclusion that what is happening in Chinese real estate ought to be a wake-up call for the U.S. market. Knowledge@Wharton spoke to Marshall about his visit to China and other issues.


Innovation and Entrepreneurship
(Podcast with Transcript)
Finding That 'Sweet Spot': A New Way to Drive Innovation

Larry Huston was vice president of knowledge and innovation for many years at Procter & Gamble. During that time, he was the architect of its Connect + Develop program, the creator of P&G's Brand Bootcamp operation, and innovation leader for the company's global fabric and homecare business, among other initiatives. He is now managing partner of 4INNO, and recently joined Wharton's Mack Center for Technological Innovation as a senior fellow. Knowledge@Wharton asked Huston to talk about innovation and its role in the global economy.

Strategic Management
Many Family Firms Rely on a Largely Invisible CEO -- Chief Emotional Officer

When your family business involves an extended network of 52 family shareholders, as it does for Bukit Kiara Properties, a Malaysian real estate development firm, simply pulling everyone together for family dinner can be hard work. But N.K. Tong, who co-founded Bukit Kiara with his father, says there's just one person to call: "My auntie." Tong's aunt plays a role some scholars describe as "chief emotional officer," an informal position usually filled by a family member or close advisor. But the topic is not as warm and fuzzy as it sounds: Not only can the job be stressful, it can fall by the wayside as businesses are passed on to succeeding generations.

Finance and Investment
'Getting the Models Right': How to Value Hard-to-Price Assets

Trying to determine what things are worth is a huge challenge in today's business world, where companies are increasingly being pressed to account for the changing values of complex financial instruments -- from insurance policies to employee stock options to exotic derivatives. Consequently, firms are turning to ever more intricate financial models that attempt to deduce values using an array of indicators, even though such models are complicated and can be easily manipulated. This dilemma was the topic of the Tenth Annual Wharton/Oliver Wyman Institute Risk Roundtable held on May 31-June 1.

Health Economics
'Harry and Louise,' the Sequel? The Universal Health Care Debate Is Back

In 1993, a television ad featuring "Harry and Louise" -- a "typical" American couple dismayed by the Clinton administration's universal health care proposal -- helped to kill health care reform in the U.S. for the next decade. With the 2008 presidential election in sight, the debate has resurfaced, but are the prospects for universal health care any better today? In an ongoing study of health care systems spanning five countries, Arnold J. Rosoff, Wharton professor of legal studies and business ethics, has identified a set of factors that, in one combination or another, come into play when a country commits to adopting universal health care. This time, he says, one thing seems likely: Instead of a health care "revolution" in the U.S., change will come in increments.

To Increase Charitable Donations, Appeal to the Heart -- Not the Head

One pitch for charity described the needs of Rokia, a young girl in Africa who is desperately poor and faces starvation. Another pitch talks about food shortages affecting more than three million children, many of whom are homeless. Which pitch is more effective? Not surprisingly, it's the first, but Wharton marketing professor Deborah Small and two co-authors delve deeper into the issue of sympathy and how it relates to charitable giving. Their paper is titled, "Sympathy and Callousness: The Impact of Deliberative Thought on Donations to Identifiable and Statistical Victims."

Leadership and Change
Good News about Bad Press: For Corporate Governance, Humiliation Pays Off

In 2000, Bill Browder, manager of The Hermitage Fund, sifted through reams of obscure Russian securities registration data to piece together a presentation outlining how managers of the Russian oil company Gazprom were shifting corporate assets to entities controlled by friends and relatives. Browder shared his findings with journalists who then wrote about the case, leading to the firing of the firm's CEO and subsequent reform. Hermitage's role in the Gazprom shake-up is the basis of new research exploring the role of public shame in corporate governance. The research was presented at a recent Wharton Impact Conference sponsored by the Weiss Center for International Financial Research.

Leadership and Change
Turning Around the London Subway System: From Terrorism to the Olympics

The bombs rocked the London Underground within 50 seconds of each other near the end of rush hour on July 7, 2005, killing dozens of passengers and injuring hundreds more. It was the worst attack on London since World War II. But the majority of the Underground, or the Tube, as it's known locally, was operating again by the next morning, according to Tim O'Toole, the Underground's managing director and chief executive, who spoke at the recent 11th annual Wharton Leadership Conference. What made that possible, O'Toole said, was the response from the Underground's frontline employees, not just at the bomb sites, "but across the entire network."


Articles from Around the Network

Universia Knowledge@Wharton
Latin America Confronts the Strength of its Currencies

Latin American currencies have appreciated a great deal since the beginning of this year because of a strong influx of U.S. dollars into the region. The currencies that have performed the best this year are the Colombian peso -- which has risen 17% relative to the dollar -- and the Brazilian real, which has risen 10%. This hurts the region because products lose their competitiveness in the world market. The Mexican peso is the one exception: Its currency is losing strength due to the decline in remittances sent home by Mexican immigrants.

India Knowledge@Wharton
Do Highly Educated Immigrant Entrepreneurs Help the U.S.
Maintain Its Edge?

Emma Lazarus's words at the base of the Statue of Liberty -- "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses" -- are well known. According to new research by Vivek Wadhwa, executive-in-residence at Duke University, "highly educated" and "entrepreneurial" should be added to the list. Following a survey of 28,000 U.S. startups, Wadhwa and his coauthors found that a vast majority of immigrant entrepreneurs have strong educational backgrounds, especially in the so-called "STEM" areas (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The U.S. depends on these immigrants "to maintain its global edge," the researchers argue, and that calls for a relaxation in U.S. immigration policy. Other experts who are familiar with the study aren't so sure.

China Knowledge@Wharton
Private Equity Summit in Beijing: An Upbeat Affair, but Words of Caution as Well

At the Finance and High-Tech Industry Summit held on May 25th and 26th in Beijing, Chinese investment bankers, private equity fund managers, stock exchange reps and Chinese entrepreneurs debated the current state of private equity in China. The summit, organized by the China Beijing International Hi-Tech Expo, was an overtly upbeat affair -- not surprising, given the boom that China's PE sector is experiencing. Speakers specifically highlighted industries such as pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals and solar power as being ripe for PE attention.
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