Unlocking Opportunities for Growth: How to Profit from Uncertainty While Limiting Your Risk

Unlocking Opportunities for Growth: How to Profit from Uncertainty While Limiting Your Risk

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By (author) Alexander Van Putten, By (author) Ian C. MacMillan

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  • Publisher: FINANCIAL TIMES PRENTICE HALL
  • Format: Paperback | 176 pages
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 230mm x 13mm | 231g
  • Publication date: 23 February 2012
  • Publication City/Country: Upper Saddle River
  • ISBN 10: 0133012700
  • ISBN 13: 9780133012705

Product description

"This book is a must for any Business Development Manager, Corporate Strategist, R&D Director, and anyone else who is accountable for growth in a corporation. It is an easy read that is practical and not fraught with useless academic theories." Ron Pierantozzi, Ph.D., CEO of PPT Research and Former Director, Business Development, Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. A Breakthrough Approach to Investing in Business Innovation Most companies analyze investments using tools that bias them against real innovation and lead them to avoid their best opportunities. This book introduces a breakthrough alternative: Opportunity Engineering. Drawing upon recent advances in financial analysis, but without requiring a lot of math, the authors show how to engineer the risk out of uncertain opportunities so you can pursue more high-payoff innovations. You'll learn how to escape from the "go/no-go vise" and implement more flexible decision-making that considers all the business alternatives, models, and opportunities associated with each project. You'll learn how to systematically structure high-potential projects to limit downside exposure and boost your potential upside. The authors show how to define the scope of investment opportunities, identify key drivers of potential profits, document assumptions, design out major risks, and tease out key challenges and vulnerabilities. Using these techniques, you can escape the mindset that limits you to low-impact innovations and begin pursuing serious growth opportunities--and make business uncertainty work for you, not against you. Why companies avoid their best opportunities for innovation Getting past risk-averse analysis that snuffs out experimentation and innovation Systematically engineering your opportunities Capturing the upside, slicing out the downside Beyond rigid "go/no-go" decisions How flexible, staged innovation creates more opportunities for delivering value Constructing an engineered growth portfolio of innovation investments Optimizing your mix of core-enhancing investments and high potential "long shots"

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Author information

Alexander B. van Putten is an adjunct faculty member at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where he has been teaching graduate students since 1993. He is actively involved with Wharton's executive education programs where he lectures on issues surrounding innovation, corporate entrepreneurship, and strategic growth. He is a partner of Cameron & Associates LLC, which consults on strategy and business planning for clients ranging from Air Products & Chemicals, Shell Global Solutions to Seagate Technology, Novell, and Westcon. Prior to teaching at Wharton, van Putten was a general partner in equity and fixed income arbitrage and commercial mortgage securitization partnerships. He was also an SVP responsible for investments at Chrysler Capital Realty. Early in his career, he worked in the investment departments of Bankers Trust and Safeco Insurance Companies as well. van Putten has a BA in economics from Boston University, a MBA from the Wharton School, and is a DBA candidate at Edinburgh Business School. He has published articles in Harvard Business Review and Research-Technology Management. Ian C. MacMillan is the academic director of the Sol C. Snider Entrepreneurial Research Programs at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is also the Dhirubhai Ambani Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Management Department. Formerly he was director of the Entrepreneurship center at NYU and taught at Columbia and Northwestern Universities and the University of South Africa. In 1999 he was awarded the Swedish Foundation for Small Business Research prize for his contribution to research in the area of entrepreneurship. Prior to joining the academic world, MacMillan was a chemical engineer and gained experience in gold and uranium mines, chemical and explosives factories, oil refineries, soap and food manufacturers, and the South African Atomic Energy Board. He has been a director of several companies in the travel, import/export, and pharmaceutical industries and has extensive consulting experience, having worked with such companies as DuPont, General Electric, GTE, IBM, Citibank, Metropolitan Life, Chubb & Son, American Re-Insurance, Texas Instruments, KPMG, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Fluor Daniel, Matsushita (Japan), Olympus (Japan), and L.G. Group (Korea). MacMillan's articles have appeared in the Harvard Business Review, The Sloan Management Review, The Journal of Business Venturing, Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Executive, Management Science and Strategic Management Journal, among others. His most recent book, Discovery-Driven Strategy, is published by Harvard Business School Press, and can be considered the sister book to this one.

Review quote

"In Unlocking Opportunities for Growth, Putten and Macmillan help company leaders discover a new method for evaluating business opportunities and demonstrate that, just as a product can be engineered, so to can the financial returns of business investments. No longer do the outcomes of investments in R & D, new markets, and new products need to be accepted as the hand that was dealt. Instead, both general and financial managers can learn new ways of planning and directing business investments to create maximum returns coupled with reduced risks". - Business Book Review, September 2008

Table of contents

About the Authors xi Foreword xiii Chapter 1 Breaking the Go/No Go Vise Grip on Innovative Growth 1 Chapter 2 The Opportunity Engineering Process 9 Chapter 3 How to Engineer Opportunities: Stage I: DDP 21 Chapter 4 How to Engineer Opportunities: Stage II: CheckPointing 41 Chapter 5 Creating an Engineered Growth Portfolio 71 Chapter 6 Applying Opportunity Engineering Throughout Your Business 95 Chapter 7 Project Valuation Using EVS Software 123 Appendix A The Underpinnings of the EVS Software 143 Appendix B EVS Formulation 147 Bibliography 149 Index 155