Felietony Archive


The Mix That Matters

Only one of Coca-Cola’s last six CEOs grew up in the United States. Deutsche Telekom set out to increase the representation of women in its management ranks in 2010, and now 40% of the people on its supervisory board are female. The Japanese beverage company Suntory didn’t promote an insider when it was looking for a new president to oversee a geographic expansion effort; it recruited the former chairman of Lawson, Japan’s second-largest convenience store chain.

When companies undertake efforts to make their management teams more diverse by adding women and people from other countries, industries, and companies, does it pay off? In the critical area of innovation, the answer seems to be yes. A study of 171 German, Swiss, and Austrian companies shows a clear relationship between the diversity of companies’ management teams and the revenues they get from innovative products and services. (See “Study Methodology.”)

Study Methodology

The study comes at a time when diversity’s business benefits have become a topic of intense discussion. In the past, the indirect benefits of diversity were sufficient—an expansion of the job candidate pool at all levels, or an increase in social and political status for the company. Direct financial benefits weren’t needed to justify diversity initiatives—no one could even say for sure if such benefits existed. This study shows that they do.

BCG and the Technical University of Munich conducted an empirical analysis to understand the relationship between diversity in management (defined as all levels of management, not just executive management) and innovation. (See “How Diversity and Innovation Are Defined in This Report.”) Although the research is concentrated in a particular geographic region, we believe that its insights apply globally. The following are the major findings:

  • The positive relationship between management diversity and innovation is statistically significant, meaning that companies with higher levels of diversity get more revenue from new products and services.
  • The innovation boost isn’t limited to a single type of diversity. The presence of managers who are female or from other countries, industries, or companies can cause an increase in innovation.
  • Management diversity seems to have a particularly positive effect on innovation at complex companies—those that have multiple product lines or that operate in multiple industry segments. Diversity’s impact also increases with company size.
  • To reach its potential, gender diversity needs to go beyond tokenism. In our study, innovation performance only increased significantly when the workforce included a nontrivial percentage of women (more than 20%) in management positions. Having a high percentage of female employees doesn’t do anything for innovation, the study shows, if only a small number of women are managers.
  • At companies with diverse management teams, openness to contributions from lower-level workers and an environment in which employees feel free to speak their minds are crucial in fostering innovation.

Five Work Environment Factors That Amplify Diversity’s Impact

Our study provides clear evidence that having a diverse management team is a valuable asset when it comes to innovation. But as with any valuable asset, it needs to be developed to reach its potential.

Diversity has the greatest impact on innovation at companies that reinforce diversity through five conditions in the work environment:

  • Participative Leadership Behavior. When managers genuinely listen to employees’ suggestions and make use of them, diversity’s benefits multiply. Swarovski, the Austrian manufacturer of cut crystal, uses what it calls nudges to remind executives that their meetings will be more productive if attendees actively participate instead of deferring to those who are more senior. The nudges take different forms, including posters in hallways and whiteboard reminders in conference rooms.
  • Openness to Cognitive Diversity. This describes a dynamic in which employees feel free to speak their minds. The German cable company Unitymedia, which participated in our survey, supports openness to cognitive diversity by encouraging opposing ideas and “constructive conflict,” in discussions both among peers and between employees and managers. A culture where change starts with a question, not a decision, “allows us to capture the potential of diversity,” an HR executive at Unitymedia told us in a follow-up interview.
  • Strategic Priority. At some companies, diversity has considerable top management support. An example is France’s Airbus Group, whose Balance for Business initiative (aimed at increasing gender diversity at the largely male aeronautics company) has been endorsed by the top executive team, including the company’s CEO.
  • Frequent Interpersonal Communication. When companies find ways to facilitate dialogue between people with different backgrounds, it can provide a creative spark and bolster innovation. Google does this through its cafés, which allow for spontaneous conversations among people who may have different educational, work, and national backgrounds, as well as vastly different levels of expertise.
  • Equal Employment Practices. There’s nothing new or complicated about this concept, but it is still not universally implemented. Some companies are further ahead than others, however. The US apparel company Gap, for example, has won praise for eliminating the pay differences between its female and male employees. The apparel company’s commitment to gender diversity is also evident in the number of women on its senior leadership team and in the fact that a majority of its store managers are female.

By Rocío Lorenzo , Nicole Voigt , Karin Schetelig , Annika Zawadzki , Isabelle Welpe , and Prisca Brosi

More: www.bcg.com


The Most Innovative Companies 2019

This article is a chapter from the BCG report, The Most Innovative Companies 2019: The Rise of AI, Platforms, and Ecosystems.

Users of Google’s email software recently discovered that Gmail was offering to finish their sentences for them. This new Smart Compose feature relies on Google’s expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), along with billions of training examples and the company’s cloud-based Tensor Processing technology, to intuit what Gmail users want to say—often faster than the users can complete their own thoughts.

In a world where computers can compose notes to your friends, it’s hardly surprising that the theme of BCG’s 13th annual global innovation survey and report is the rising importance of AI and of platforms that support innovation. This is not an out-of-the-blue development. Our last few reports have highlighted the crucial role of science and technology in innovation, the impact of digital technologies on both digital natives and more traditional industries, and strong innovators’ increasing use of various internal and external vehicles to uncover new ideas. This year’s survey shows that AI use is rapidly expanding and that many companies are relying more on platforms and their cousin, ecosystems, to support their innovations efforts.


Two New Forces

Most companies are at least exploring the use of AI, and strong innovators are seeing positive results. Nine out of ten respondents in our current survey say that their companies are investing in AI, and more than 30% expect AI to have the greatest impact of any innovation area on their industry over the next three to five years. (See Exhibit 2.) Four in ten self-described strong innovators report receiving more than 15% of their sales from AI-enabled products, compared with less than one in ten weak innovators. In a companion article, we take an in-depth look at the widening gap in where and how AI is affecting innovation. (See the companion article “AI Powers a New Innovation Machine.”)

Platforms and ecosystems serve multiple functions, including facilitating (and sometimes profiting from) the innovation of others, expanding reach and collaboration, and enabling new multiparty solutions and offerings. Again, strong innovators are more likely than weak ones to expect a significant impact within three to five years and to be actively targeting these areas. (See Exhibit 3.) Strong innovators also show other signs of being focused on external innovation. For example 75% report using incubators, 81% leverage academic partnerships, and 83% partner with other companies. Weak innovators lag consistently in all of these areas.

Platforms are technologies that provide a foundation for developing other business offerings. Numerous industrial goods companies, including Siemens (number 16) and Boeing (number 11), have built substantial platform businesses in predictive maintenance to complement their traditional engineering and manufacturing endeavors. Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM, among others, offer a range of software and services from their cloud platforms.

Ecosystems go a step further and leverage a range of partners that pull together the underlying technologies, applications, software platforms, and services needed to produce an integrated solution. (See “The Emerging Art of Ecosystem Management,” BCG article, January 2019.) The two main mobile operating systems—Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS—have grown into complex ecosystems of telcos, device manufacturers, service providers, and app developers, among others. Rapidly changing technologies and growing customer demand for a highly customized user experience further amplify the need for partnerships.

The opportunity to innovate entirely new revenue streams, business models, and sources of continuing advantage is particularly strong for B2B businesses, thanks to the masses of data that devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) generate. Data ecosystems will play a critical role in defining the future of competition in many B2B industries. (See “How IoT Data Ecosystems Will Transform B2B Competition,” BCG article, July 2018.)

Authors: Michael Ringel, Senior Partner & Managing Director, Boston; Florian Grassl, Partner & Managing Director, Munich; Ramón Baeza, Senior Partner & Managing Director, Madrid

More: www.bcg.com


Will AI connect brands to consumers or create a chasm between them?

Some brands won’t survive the rise of AI. Others will use it to form a much deeper relationship with consumers.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has already transformed multiple industries to the benefit of consumers. Yet when it comes to how consumers actually experience the world, AI is still in its infancy. Today we can talk to our phones or smart devices around the home, but it’s often a frustrating experience, and the functionality is limited. Nonetheless, even in these early stages of the AI revolution, it’s clear that the way consumers engage with brands is going to change fundamentally. The question is, how?

Five implications for consumer products companies

  1. Brands can win from the rise of direct to consumer (D2C), if they invest in the right infrastructure. AI will become a significant bridge between brands and consumers. This is a huge opportunity for brands that can sell direct to consumers. To take advantage of it, they need to build infrastructure, especially fulfilment logistics and customer services.
  2. Companies will form unexpected alliances to master last-mile fulfillment. Future consumers will expect fulfillment to happen in a way that suits them, at no extra cost. Brands will have to work with logistics firms, retailers and other suppliers to aggregate the delivery of goods and services. Without these alliances – some of which could involve competitors working together or directly with “brand ambassadors” – it will be impossible to satisfy the consumers’ fulfillment expectations at a profit.
  3. Everyone can become a brand ambassador, and be rewarded for their influence. Smart companies will value future consumers not just by how much they spend, but by their ability to influence other people. Today, brand ambassador roles – and the benefits that come with them – are limited to celebrities and social media stars with obvious influence. In future, brands will be able to measure and engage the influence-power of every consumer. The ability to mobilize a mass of micro-influencers will be key to marketing success.
  4. Brands will have to choose how they play in a world where shopping and buying are different activities. Future consumers will trust their chosen AI platform to buy most of what need; they’ll only consciously “go shopping” for a select few products and services. Future consumers will expect whatever they purchase to meet their exact needs and expectations, even when their AI bot is doing the buying. Engaging a human shopper and meeting the purchase criteria of an AI bot will require very different business models. The former is about premium services and immersive brand experiences that reflect the values and purpose of the target consumer. The latter is about the strength of the algorithm, the best value proposition, efficient fulfillment and minimal marketing or packaging costs. One brand can’t thrive in both spaces.
  5. Subscription models will grow. Consumers will likely buy fewer goods “on demand.” Instead they’ll prefer subscription services. Products may become secondary to the services or experiences that frame them. To play in this space, companies will need to give the consumer end-to-end support for the lifespan of their relationship.

By Helen Merriott, EY UK&I Consumer Industries Advisory Leader

More in: www.ey.com/


Tackling the 1.6-Billion-Ton Food Loss and Waste Crisis

The scale of the problem is staggering. Each year, 1.6 billion tons of food worth about $1.2 trillion are lost or go to waste—one-third of the total amount of food produced globally.1 To put the figure in perspective, that is ten times the mass of the island of Manhattan. And the problem is only growing: BCG estimates that by 2030 annual food loss and waste will hit 2.1 billion tons worth $1.5 trillion.

This massive misuse of resources is emerging as a critical global issue, with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals setting a target of halving food loss and waste by 2030. The urgency reflects the fact that the food waste disaster has far-reaching implications. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Resources Institute, it accounts for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. And it is difficult to imagine solving the hunger problem—some 870 million people around the world are undernourished—when so much of the global food supply is lost between the farm and the table.

The challenge is enormous, but there is a clear way forward. On the basis of an extensive analysis of the food value chain from production through retail and consumption, BCG has identified five drivers of the problem, issues that—if addressed—could reduce the dollar value of annual food loss and waste by nearly $700 billion and create major progress toward hitting the SDG target. Certainly no one group, government, or company can make this happen. Rather, real headway will require commitment and coordinated action from consumers, governments, NGOs, farmers, and companies.

Companies that play a major role in the food value chain in particular can be catalysts for change. Through our research, we have identified 13 concrete initiatives companies can take to address those five drivers and help slash the amount of food lost and wasted every year.2 This is not only a chance to help the world—it is a compelling business opportunity. Recent research by BCG has found that companies that are effective at addressing societal challenges tend to be rewarded with higher margins and higher TSR. Companies that play a role in the food value chain stand to reap tangible business benefits such as lower costs, the opening of new markets, and new revenue opportunities. Just as important, these companies can burnish their brand and improve their ability to attract and retain talent as they tackle a daunting global challenge.

A Growing Problem—and a $700 Billion Opportunity

Food loss or waste occurs at all steps in the value chain—but it is most pronounced at the beginning (production) and at the end (consumption). (See Exhibit 1.) In developing countries, the problem is largely a function of the production and transportation of food from farms, while in developed countries it is most prevalent in the consumption phase, among both retailers and consumers

To understand the scale and scope of the problem, BCG created a food loss and waste model. (See “Quantifying the Food Waste Challenge.”) That work reveals a disturbing upward trend line: BCG projects the volume of food loss and waste will rise 1.9% annually from 2015 to 2030 while the dollar value will rise 1.8%.3 Food loss and waste are projected to increase in most regions around the world, with a significant spike in Asia in particular.

More: /www.bcg.com/


Polska w czołówce państw UE marnujących najwięcej żywności

Polska ma ogromny potencjał w produkcji rolnej, o czym świadczy fakt, że 13 proc. naszego eksportu stanowią produkty rolno-spożywcze. Jednocześnie nasz kraj znajduje się w czołówce państw Unii Europejskiej, które marnują żywność w największym stopniu. Szacunkowe dane mówią nawet o 9 mln ton wyrzucanego jedzenia rocznie. Z okazji Światowego Dnia Żywności eksperci firmy doradczej Deloitte wskazują, że przygotowywany właśnie projekt ustawy o przeciwdziałaniu marnowaniu żywności, choć jest krokiem w dobrą stronę, nie rozwiąże całościowego problemu ponieważ dotyczy tylko placówek handlowych. Tymczasem ważne jest budowanie kompleksowego programu działań na rzecz przeciwdziałania zjawisku food waste.

Przypadający na 16 października Światowy Dzień Żywności ustanowiony przez ONZ w 1979 roku ma na celu pogłębianie świadomości opinii publicznej na temat globalnych problemów żywnościowych i wzmacnianie poczucia solidarności w walce z głodem, niedożywieniem i ubóstwem. – Są to problemy niezwykle istotne, ponieważ wciąż dwa miliardy ludzi na świecie cierpi z powodu niedożywienia. W krajach rozwiniętych, do których możemy zaliczyć także Polskę, dyskusja toczy się obecnie wokół tego, że zbyt dużo żywności, która mogłaby zostać wykorzystana, jest marnowana – mówi Irena Pichola, Partner w Deloitte, Lider Zespołu Sustainability Consulting Central Europe.

Polska znajduje się w czołówce krajów europejskich, w których wyrzuca się najwięcej jedzenia – w przeliczeniu na statystycznego mieszkańca znajdujemy się na piątym miejscu w UE (235 kg/os/rok). Według badania CBOS co czwarty z nas wyrzucił jedzenie w ciągu ostatnich siedmiu dni. Zgodnie z danymi Eurostatu w Polsce marnuje się około 9 mln ton żywności rocznie. Tak naprawdę jednak nikt do końca nie wie, jak duża jest skala problemu. – Brak jest jednolitego systemu mierzenia ilości żywności, która jest marnowana. Unia Europejska prowadzi prace w tym zakresie, a  firmy wdrażają rozwiązania, które mają nie tylko monitorować wielkość problemu food waste, ale także, w oparciu o  zebrane dane, podejmować działania mające na celu minimalizację tego zjawiska. Pomagamy firmom wdrożyć międzynarodowe standardy w tym zakresie – mówi Paulina Kaczmarek, Menedżer w Zespole Sustainability Consulting, Deloitte.
Handel, gastronomia i gospodarstwa domowe

Obecnie w polskim parlamencie procedowany jest projekt ustawy o przeciwdziałaniu marnowaniu żywności. Nakłada on na placówki handlowe o powierzchni powyżej 250 mkw. (w których przychody ze sprzedaży środków spożywczych stanowią co najmniej 50 proc.) konieczność zawarcia umowy z organizacją pozarządową i nieodpłatnego przekazywania żywności na cele społeczne. Dodatkowo, projekt ustala roczną opłatę w wysokości 0,1 zł za 1 kg masy marnowanej żywności. Według ekspertów Deloitte ta ustawa to bardzo ważny krok. Zwracają oni jednak uwagę, że jej przyjęcie w obecnym kształcie pozwoli przeciwdziałać marnowaniu żywności tylko w placówkach handlowych, podczas gdy problem dotyczy także produkcji, przetwórstwa, gastronomii, a przede wszystkim konsumentów. Organizacja EU Fusion, działająca dla Komisji Europejskiej, wskazała w zestawieniu „Food waste data set for EU-28”, że głównym źródłem marnotrawstwa żywności są gospodarstwa domowe (53 proc.), przetwórstwo (19 proc.), gastronomia (12 proc.), produkcja (11 proc.) oraz sprzedaż (5 proc.). Projekt ustawy nakłada na sklepy obowiązek prowadzenia kampanii edukacyjno-informacyjnych na temat racjonalnego gospodarowania żywnością. Wiele sieci już teraz prowadzi działania w tym zakresie, oddziałując tym samym na postawy klientów. Z pomocą w przeciwdziałaniu marnowaniu żywności przychodzą również nowe technologie – na świecie powstają aplikacje, które służą dzieleniu się żywnością w sąsiedztwie.

Statystyki FAO są zatrważające: globalnie marnujemy więcej jedzenia niż potrzeba do wyeliminowania głodu. Z tego powodu marnowanie żywności to obecnie jeden z największych etycznych i społecznych problemów. Co więcej, negatywnie wpływa na środowisko. W 2017 roku AmRest, wykorzystując skalę swojego biznesu, podjął szerokie działania zapobiegające marnowaniu żywności. Marka KFC zarządzana przez firmę, wprowadziła program Harvest, polegający na przekazywaniu nadwyżek produktów organizacjom społecznym przy współpracy z bankami żywności. Do tej pory przekazaliśmy aż 280 ton jedzenia, co daje około miliona posiłków dla potrzebujących – mówi Ewelina Jabłońska-Gryżenia, CSR Manager z firmy AmRest, która jest operatorem takich marek jak: KFC, Pizza Hut, Burger King i Starbucks.

Współpraca biznesu z organizacjami pozarządowymi

– Ważne jest budowanie całościowej i efektywnej strategii na rzecz przeciwdziałania marnowaniu żywności. Taki program powinien obejmować działania w łańcuchu dostaw i w ramach operacji biznesowych, skupiające się na odpowiednim przechowywaniu żywności, optymalizacji procesów produkcji i transportu czy też odpowiednim oznaczeniu produktów na półce sklepowej. Dobrym przykładem jest aktywność przedsiębiorstw, które zachęcają dostawców do minimalizacji odpadów, a jeśli już one wystąpią, nakłaniają swoich partnerów do ich prawidłowego zagospodarowania. Jesteśmy gotowi pracować z firmami nad ograniczaniem zjawiska marnowania żywności we współpracy z dostawcami i konsumentami – mówi Irena Pichola.

W aspekcie redystrybucji żywności, ważny jest sposób przekazywania społeczeństwu, zwłaszcza potrzebującym, bezpiecznych i pełnowartościowych produktów, które w innym wypadku mogłyby zostać zmarnowane.  – Nasze doświadczenia pokazują, że firmom brakuje dobrych praktyk w zakresie kryteriów doboru NGO czy wdrażania oprogramowania, które automatyzuje proces współpracy z organizacją i przekazywanie tej żywności – wskazuje Paulina Kaczmarek. Dlatego istotny jest wybór odpowiedniego partnera po stronie organizacji pozarządowej. W 2018 r. w Polsce działało blisko 9 tys. organizacji pożytku publicznego, choć tylko część z nich zajmuje się pomocą potrzebującym. Otwarte na współpracę z biznesem są niewątpliwie banki żywności, czyli organizacje non profit, których jest w Polsce 32 – z czego 31 jest zrzeszonych w Federacji Polskich Banków Żywności.

Irena Pichola