Don’t Shortchange Tomorrow

Fall 2013

It’s commonplace and understandable. You are running your business. Making decisions important to keeping product flowing and customers happy today. You wish you had more headcount to operate the business that you’ve worked hard to build over the years but for various reasons, you are thin on headcount and you, as the business lead, find … Continue reading Don’t Shortchange Tomorrow

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Make Internal Meetings More Productive and Shorter

Fall 2013

“Ask your team to identify their biggest productivity challenges and they will undoubtedly point to their internal meeting schedule as a “biggy.” Here’s one novel idea along with a few simple practices that can make internal meetings much more productive AND shorter.” – The Context Network Principal, Mike J. Borel Eliminate the presentation. Ask that … Continue reading Make Internal Meetings More Productive and Shorter

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Lessons from Africa: The Importance of Production Research

Fall 2013

During a recent consulting trip, I was working in Northern Nigeria with a company called MANOMA SEEDS Ltd located in Funtua operating in Katsina State. This is a start-up company producing mainly open pollinated variety (OPV) maize seed. The company wanted to switch to hybrid maize seed as customer demand for hybrids has increased. In … Continue reading Lessons from Africa: The Importance of Production Research

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A Sweet Assignment: Ag Challenges in Russia and Ukraine

Winter 2012

Context provides companies with the comprehensive research necessary to confidently advance efforts in situations that involve both new business endeavors and new geographies – wherever they are found in the world. As an example, Context recently was asked to explore and provide understanding of the sales potential and the best routes to market for a … Continue reading A Sweet Assignment: Ag Challenges in Russia and Ukraine

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Portfolio Distractions – Figuring Out What to Stop Selling Can be Hugely Important

Winter 2012

“General Managers and Portfolio Managers, this article is for YOU.” – Mike Borel, Context Partner Context conducted a project for a regional business of a global company that identified products and SKUs that were taking more time than they were being charged, and therefore, reducing effort on other products. What did they do? Removed 25% … Continue reading Portfolio Distractions – Figuring Out What to Stop Selling Can be Hugely Important

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Fast Forward Faster

Winter 2011

“This apparent disconnect between projected population increases, and the resulting increased demand for agricultural products and diminishing investment in agriculture provide members of the broader agriculture, food and energy communities with the opportunity to build on past successes and create entirely new paths forward.” -Thomas B. Klevorn, PhD, The Context Network Senior Associate The accompanying … Continue reading Fast Forward Faster

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Generating Big Ideas

Winter 2011

Generating “Big Ideas” is key to strategic thinking. Big ideas are those that enable your company to grow considerably faster than others in the industry. They can be simple and straightforward, or big, bold and appear intimidating. The understanding of ideation thinking has advanced significantly. Different from brainstorming, ideation requires critical thinking and a more … Continue reading Generating Big Ideas

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Metrics, Measurement and Scorecards

Winter 2010

What you measure is what you get. The organization’s measurement system strongly affects the behavior of managers and employees. The most fundamental reason to measure an activity is to improve it. Financial measures alone, like return-on-investment and earnings-per-share, can give misleading signals for continuous improvement and innovation – activities today’s competitive environment demands. Getting the … Continue reading Metrics, Measurement and Scorecards

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Can Being Big Get You Closer?

Fall 2010

When Trends Collide Tesco recently discussed plans to rationalize its supply base and source more fresh produce directly; to become “a more vertically integrated business.” Recent developments in direct sourcing, such as this announcement by Tesco or by Wal-Mart opening a direct buying office in Yakima, WA (2009), provide notice on how large retailers are … Continue reading Can Being Big Get You Closer?

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Fertile Ground for Shifting Value

Spring 2010

Much has been written and discussed describing shifts in economic value from crop protection products to new biotechnology products. Two widely cited examples have involved shifts in value from herbicides to herbicide tolerant soybean seeds (i.e., glyphosate tolerant soybeans) and from corn rootworm insecticides to insect resistant corn (i.e., corn with a Bt gene conferring … Continue reading Fertile Ground for Shifting Value

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