December 3, 2013

Research and development has long been an expensive element of the auto industry. For decades devising even the smallest addition to an engine could cost millions of dollars and take as long as eight months to accomplish. But thanks to advances in technology over the last five years, engineers can now test dozens of designs within a virtual environment. As a result, automakers are at last seeking affordable innovations in fuel efficiency and overall vehicle performance.

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December 1, 2013

Although many people can think of a great business idea, not everybody has the time or money to see their product come into fruition. That is unless they’re lucky enough to have their idea produced by crowd-sourcing manufacturer Quirky. The New York-based company has built a $50 million business by turning user-submitted blueprints into marketable goods.

Each week Quirky receives more than 2,000 invention ideas from its community of approximately 500,000 members. Staffers then select the best ideas of the Continue reading

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November 24, 2013

Coming up with innovative products and services is no simple task for companies to accomplish. After all, most new item that businesses roll out takes years of research and development, a costly investment that’s not guaranteed to succeed. In order to avoid R&D burnout, many companies have held competitions in the hopes of finding a great idea from outside the organization. And according to a new MIT study, this might just be the most efficient way for companies to innovate. Continue reading

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November 19, 2013

 

For many image-conscious consumers, product customization provides a way to stand out from the crowd without searching high and low for something totally unique. At Big Shot Bikes, for instance, customers can choose the color and shape of up to 10 parts of the Colorado company’s fixed gear bikes. Once customers select their preferences, Big Shot assembles the bicycles and ships them to the buyers for under $500. With such a relatively reasonable price tag, the company wants consumers Continue reading

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October 23, 2013

Last autumn the Weather Channel officially became the Weather Company, signaling the start of a major rebranding effort. The meteorological media firm didn’t pull the plug on its long-standing TV station, though. Instead, the change reflects the Weather Company’s new position as a data and analytics outfit concerned with all things weather. Over the course of 75 years the Atlanta-based company has amassed huge amounts of atmospheric information concerning dew points and cloud cover percentages. All this data combined with Continue reading

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October 11, 2013

The hierarchical structure of modern corporate offices can be traced back to 19th century railroad companies. With vast networks of track stretched across the country, transportation magnates needed to designate clear lines of communication among their far-flung operations. A system of middle managers and regional executives eventually rose to prominence and ensured that things ran smoothly. Over the course of the 20th century, businesses of all stripes adopted this top-down structure as their own, eventually leading to the Continue reading

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September 22, 2013

When it comes to promoting a product, marketers usually have two routes they can take: either hype the item’s notable features or draw the audience in with something creative. Choosing the latter option is a much riskier endeavor, though. After all, it’s easy to forget a boring commercial. Advertising backfires worst when a company miscalculates the level of their own wit and unleashes a high concept disaster. For instance, last year a Pop Chips ad featuring Ashton Kutcher as a Continue reading

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September 19, 2013

For many budding tech entrepreneurs, getting accepted into a prestigious business incubator is almost as important as receiving a diploma from Stanford. The jolt of capital and resources provided by accelerator programs like Y Combinator or Techstars often act as springboards into multimillion-dollar successes. But not all startups want to become the next Google. Some would rather operate more like the Bill Gates Foundation by applying their innovative skills to addressing major world problems. While these aims are certainly noble, Continue reading

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September 2, 2013

When it comes to pulling off a corporate comeback, there’s nobody quite like Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. He’s had to fend off detractors at every juncture, beginning with those who denied his company’s ability to compete with the traditional video store. After almost singlehandedly ending that era of home video distribution, Hastings nearly lost it after he split Netflix’s streaming and DVD delivery services in two. The schism cost the company millions of subscribers and sent stock tumbling from $298 Continue reading

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millenMillenials are unlike any other generation that has come before. With 80 million born between 1980 and 2000, Millenials represent the largest age group in American history. They are also perhaps the most self-centered generation the world has ever seen. Fifty-eight percent more college students scored higher on a narcissism test in 2009 than in 1982. Forty percent of Millenials believe they should be promoted at work every 2 years regardless of their performance. They’re also obsessed with fame: three Continue reading

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