What Peter Drucker Would Be Reading

Peter Drucker

Recent selections from around the web that, we think, would have caught Peter Drucker’s eye:

1.  Wharton Puts First-Year MBA Courses Online for Free: Thank you, Wharton. With online learning platform Coursera, those of us looking for business enlightenment without spending a hundred grand or more can sit in on most of the core courses offered to a first-year Wharton MBA student. “About 700,000 students in 173 countries have already enrolled in Wharton MOOCs, more than the combined enrollment in Wharton’s traditional MBA and undergraduate programs since the school’s founding in 1881,” reports Louis Lavelle in Bloomberg Businessweek.

2.  Consulting on the Cusp of Disruption: Consultants like to show up and tell us all about how we need to adapt and change. But what about adaptation and change for consulting companies themselves? Clayton M. Christensen, Dina Wang and Derek van Bever make the case in Harvard Business Review that the time is nigh, and those firms that don’t stay ahead of the game will find themselves surprised—and probably in trouble. The authors write, “If you are currently on the leadership team of a consultancy and you’re inclined to be sanguine about disruption, ask yourself: Is your firm changing (at least) as rapidly as your most demanding clients?”

3.  Spurring Innovation Through Competitions: Why do people engage in competitions, even when the odds are so low of winning? Who knows—but it’s a great thing for companies that make use of contests in order to come up with creative ideas. Writing in MIT Sloan Management Review, Alan MacCormack, Fiona Murray and Erika Wagner point out that many companies, including Netflix (which offered a $1 million prize), have done very well for themselves in solving business problems by throwing open the doors to submissions from anyone. They write, “Particularly in lean times, innovation competitions represent a high-leverage tool that taps into powerful motivations to draw out disproportionate efforts from a wide variety of participants.”

4.  Dx Comment of the Week: Last week, when we looked at outcomes-based budgeting for healthcare and asked what sort of things could tame costs, reader Fred Pieplow had this to say:

Outcomes-based medicine requires a team commitment. Not only does the medical practitioner need to diagnose the core issue and prescribe the correct remedy; the patient needs to comply. If that compliance requires patients to give up some behavior they enjoy, then the result is in the patients’ hands and not the practitioner’s hands. . . . We need to get consumerism into the system (I just delayed a test to see if exercise will reduce a symptom because I have a high deductible plan) and find a way to balance the litigation threat while protecting the patient.