Top 5 Harvard Business Review breakthrough ideas

In which we select the best of the annual Harvard Business Review list of twenty breakthrough ideas (free link) for the benefit of time-constrained executives everywhere. This service is provided at no extra charge.

1. “Here Comes the P2P Economy,” by Stan Stalnaker. Web 2.0 is accelerating a shift to an economy with many, many small sellers.

2. “Task, not time: Profile of a Gen Y Job,” by Tamara Erickson. Young workers are not tied to the clock, or the office. Give them specific tasks and let them do them when, and where, they see fit.

3. “A Doctor’s Rx for CEO Decision Makers,” by Jerome Groopman. A relatively new technique–intensive peer review of failures–allows physicians to detect and understand decision biases that contribute to misdiagnoses. Such a process can help business decisionmakers as well.

4. “The Gamer Disposition,” by John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas. People adept at multiplayer computer games have qualities (such as desire to improve, appreciation of diversity, and results-orientation) that businesses should be seeking in their employees.

5. “What Good Are Experts?” by Michael Mauboussin. Research and experience with decisionmaking tools such as prediction markets is showing that expertise has a more narrow application than previously thought. Good businesses will assess which tool works better for the problem at hand–prediction markets for probabilistic problems, computers for rules-based problems, and experts for the remainder–and act accordingly.

Bonus “I really didn’t know that” item: “Islamic Finance: the New Global Player,” by Aamir Rehman and Nazim Ali. Despite the seemingly-restrictive rules of Sharia, Muslim law, on investing and charging interest, a vibrant and growing Sharia-compliant financial marketplace has emerged in the Islamic world.

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