734.418.0918 [email protected]
Dr. Paul Clyde, President, William Davidson Institute

Dr. Paul Clyde, President, William Davidson Institute

The University of Michigan has a clear and tangible impact on the Ann Arbor area economy in many ways. Sometimes, however, the impact of the University on our local economy is less obvious but nevertheless substantial.

The William Davidson Institute (WDI) at the University of Michigan is one example of a university institution that brings intangible benefits to our community. WDI brings our community into the world by sending out project teams who help to spur private sector development in emerging economies. Then when they return, they bring their experiences back to inform the university, and by extension, the local business communities.

With its staff of about 35 people, plus 19 Research Fellows, WDI partners with 50+ organizations around the world to create and apply sustainable business models in the private sector to support emerging market economies, thereby improving the health and welfare of citizens in those economies. WDI project fellows also bring back stories of these successful economic development practices, and these stories, in turn, shape and form the way we think about our role in the global economy.

WDI began at the University of Michigan in 1992 as an independent, non-profit research and educational organization focused on providing private-sector solutions in emerging markets. It is unique in that it combines academic research with hands-on development projects. Another distinctive is that from its beginning it focused its efforts on providing assistance to the private sector for economic development.

Paul Clyde is the president of WDI and the Tom Lantos Professor of Business Administration at the Ross School of Business. Prior to WDI, Clyde was the Academic Director of the Part-Time MBA Program at the Ross School of Business, where he also led the development of the Weekend MBA Program. And true to WDI form, Clyde has also actively advised or directed more than 50 healthcare projects in 12 different emerging markets.

“2017 is our 25th anniversary,” says Clyde. “We will be celebrating 25 years of work in these markets. WDI was unique when it started in 1992, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Many of the organizations that were working in this area at that time focused on policy issues surrounding the transition. WDI was unusual in that it focused on private sector development from the beginning. There still is a lot of policy work going on, of course, but 25 years later there are now a lot more organizations like WDI, who focus on the private sector as well.”

Recently, WDI has been able to see significant development in the countries that it serves. After steadily investing in private sector programs, its impact can be seen in clear positive outcomes in some economies.

“The part that is exciting is that we are at a point in history that is unlike any up until about 10 or so years ago,” says Clyde. “We are seeing real and significant progress in low and middle income countries around the world that we had not seen before. Looking at the past 100 years, especially the time period since World War II, there has been a lot of money poured into development without much by way of results until relatively recently.

“WDI’s role in this development is in working with the private sector to develop business models that are going to be profitable in those environments. In my mind, that is a very important role, because it is going to be the private sector that ultimately transitions these economies. We’ve observed dynamic changes in countries throughout the world. Over the past 20 years, you can see a much stronger and more productive private sector in these low and middle-income countries that have resulted in clear improvement in key measures, such as increases in per capita income and decreases in mortality rates. You generally are seeing healthier countries, and the impact from the growth in the private sector is considerable.

“The role we at WDI play in that growth is an important one. And because we’re both a research institute and an on-the-ground practicing institute, we get to see work from the beginning conceptual stage to execution. The organizations we get to interact with around the world are inspiring.”

“Interaction with the local Ann Arbor community is not strictly part of our mission,” says Clyde. “However, we do draw quite a bit from the local community, particularly from the university community, in the thinking that goes into designing and running these projects and the work that we do in these countries.” Clyde continues, “Over the course of a typical week I interact with three or four different schools or departments around campus in working with them on projects and exchanging ideas on what we’re doing. And the University of Michigan is unique in its ability to support WDI because it is so big and has so many different schools and departments that are top-notch departments that we can draw on for our projects.”

The emerging economy of Rwanda is a good example of a country that has benefited in part from WDI’s involvement on the ground. WDI began its work in Rwanda in 2006 with a capacity-building project for the School of Finance and Banking. And since 2008 WDI has partnered with Goldman Sachs in the 10,000 Women project, a program designed to help underprivileged women across Rwanda grow their small or medium-sized businesses.

Because of private sector growth and development, Rwanda has also experienced general economic and health improvements. According to the World Bank, annual per capita income in Rwanda, as measured in purchase power parity (PPP), almost doubled from $730 in 2003 to $1450 in 2013. Meanwhile, according to the Guardian, the child mortality rate fell almost 60% in that same period.

Fortunately, what happens in Rwanda doesn’t stay in Rwanda. Successful projects like 10,000 Women with Goldman Sachs bring more partnering opportunities for WDI with other organizations. The program also brings back case studies and stories of how entrepreneurialism and private sector growth can directly benefit the country as a whole, a message that is a reminder for those who want to see a thriving Ann Arbor area economy.

Ann Arbor resident Matt Brown has traveled to Rwanda regularly since 2009 as part of the 10,000 Women project. Brown is a Management and Organization faculty member at UM’s Ross School of Business who also conducts his own consulting projects in the Ann Arbor area.

According to Brown, his time in Rwanda through WDI led to some important lessons on entrepreneurialism and business development that he can bring back to impact our local economy.

“We have a lot to learn from these women business owners,” says Brown, “because they embody the very spirit of new venture creation and have found a way to escape the fatigue and exhaustion that seems to haunt many domestic entrepreneurs in the U.S. If only I could teach my own students in the U.S. how to manage their own business development the way the Rwandan women—with such scarce resources– approach their commercial activities, they might all fare quite well. Perhaps they might even learn how singing and dancing along the way helps you rekindle the joy of the journey.”

WDI founder Bill Davidson would be pleased to see WDI’s impact. Detroit-born Davidson received his undergraduate business degree from the University of Michigan in 1947 and went on to be CEO of Guardian Industries Corporation, a partner with the Detroit Pistons, and a majority owner of the Palace Sports and Entertainment. He has given over $200 million to local charities and universities.

Davidson’s $30 million gift to start WDI as an institute at the University of Michigan was a visionary effort to support the global economic transformation taking place at the time. His desire for the Institute was for it to “forge a path for those responsible for economic change in these emerging markets – that it will give them the knowledge, the methods, and the blueprints for a successful transition to a market economy.”

“We are not just educators, administrators, or businessmen,” said Davidson. “We are co-workers for the cause of economic and social freedom.”

Davidson vision of private sector impact is embedded in the Institute’s mission and will continue to steer WDI in the future.

“Bill Davidson had foresight that others did not have. WDI was initially set up to work with transition economies, and we have since expanded to all lower and middle income countries. In 2016, we focused our approach into some specific areas, such as health care, education, and finance.

Clyde is excited about WDI’s mission and expects to see continued growth in supporting the private sector in developing countries.

“For the next 25 years, our focus isn’t going to change. We’re going to continue working with the private sector. I think that there is still a lot of work to be done in the private sector and we’re still unique in that we not only work with social enterprises, but also with the private sector and their core businesses to see how can you be productive and profitable in these economies. If we can do that effectively, we can see growth and change take place at a much faster pace.’

Succeeding at Planning: Results from a Survey of Higher Ed Leaders

Succeeding at Planning: Results from a Survey of Higher Ed Leaders

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Society of College and University Planning (www.scup.org) recently partnered with the Baker Strategy Group to conduct a study with 2,285 leaders who plan at colleges and universities. Our aim was to determine the challenges our colleagues face in the planning process. The feedback we received was enlightening.

Several themes emerged with regard to challenges faced by higher education leaders:

  • Time Constraints: There is not enough time to plan well.
  • Financial Constraints: There is not enough money to execute the plan.
  • Complexity of Planning: Orchestrating the planning process is intricate.
  • Long-Term Vision/Planning: There is a lack of a clear vision for the future.
  • Uncertainty/Change: Plans are easily disrupted when new circumstances arise.
  • Action/Implementation: Executing plans is difficult to do well.
  • Collaboration/Cooperation:  There is a lack of active collaboration in planning.

Our recent study on college and university planning gathered feedback from 2,285 leaders involved in academic and strategic planning as well as leaders active in other areas of planning. Their input provides insights on what is and is not going well in planning across higher education institutions.

College and university leaders view overall planning as fair, at best, with a good deal of room for improvement. Using a 1-10 scale where 1 is “Poor” and 10 is “Excellent,” the average rating for overall planning is 6.1, far from the excellence we might expect from higher education.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/12″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”5/6″][vc_separator color=”custom” border_width=”3″ accent_color=”#c4c0a3″][vc_single_image image=”6761″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”zoom”][vc_separator color=”custom” border_width=”3″ accent_color=”#c4c0a3″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/12″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Not all roles at the institution have the same perspective on current planning effectiveness. Leaders engaged in broad campus planning have a higher view of their institution’s planning, while those involved in academics and student services tend to have a lower view of overall planning at the institution.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/12″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”5/6″][vc_separator color=”custom” border_width=”3″ accent_color=”#c4c0a3″][vc_single_image image=”6767″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”zoom”][vc_separator color=”custom” border_width=”3″ accent_color=”#c4c0a3″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/12″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]This low assessment of planning is consistent across the four census geographic regions. The West, Midwest, Northeast, and South aggregations of the results show minimal differences in how respondents view overall planning on their campuses.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/12″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”5/6″][vc_separator color=”custom” border_width=”3″ accent_color=”#c4c0a3″][vc_single_image image=”6769″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”zoom”][vc_separator color=”custom” border_width=”3″ accent_color=”#c4c0a3″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/12″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]However, we do see that those who spend more time on planning give higher ratings, suggesting that the integration of part-time planners is where the challenge lies.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/12″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”5/6″][vc_separator color=”custom” border_width=”3″ accent_color=”#c4c0a3″][vc_single_image image=”6791″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”zoom”][vc_separator color=”custom” border_width=”3″ accent_color=”#c4c0a3″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/12″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

WHAT IS GOING WELL

While ratings are fairly low across all measures, some measures stand out as relatively high. In some respect, these higher ratings reflect the standard definition of strategic planning: working with a team to listen to stakeholders and drawing up a plan that can be implemented and monitored.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/12″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”5/6″][vc_separator color=”custom” border_width=”3″ accent_color=”#c4c0a3″][vc_single_image image=”6795″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”zoom”][vc_separator color=”custom” border_width=”3″ accent_color=”#c4c0a3″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/12″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

WHAT IS NOT GOING WELL

Areas respondents indicate as least effective relate to developing a culture of integrated planning. These low-scoring practices might seem simple, but they are not necessarily easy to implement in the planning process: a common vocabulary, a transparent process, alternative options, and consistent deliverables.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/12″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”5/6″][vc_separator color=”custom” border_width=”3″ accent_color=”#c4c0a3″][vc_single_image image=”6796″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”zoom”][vc_separator color=”custom” border_width=”3″ accent_color=”#c4c0a3″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/12″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

NEED FOR NETWORKING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Leaders generally devote time to learning, are willing to pay for good educational content, and engage with peers to share knowledge. However, they do not have time to develop their planning skills and do not actively connect with other higher education professionals. The need to strengthen planning skills and learn from other professionals involved in planning is clear.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/12″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”5/6″][vc_separator color=”custom” border_width=”3″ accent_color=”#c4c0a3″][vc_single_image image=”6797″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”zoom”][vc_separator color=”custom” border_width=”3″ accent_color=”#c4c0a3″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/12″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Despite the need for better planning skills, respondents say that they do not plan to pursue professional development for effective planning, even though they expect to be involved in the development of a strategic plan.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/12″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”5/6″][vc_separator color=”custom” border_width=”3″ accent_color=”#c4c0a3″][vc_single_image image=”6799″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”zoom”][vc_separator color=”custom” border_width=”3″ accent_color=”#c4c0a3″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/12″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Collecting benchmarks on what is and is not going well in planning is helpful as a reference, but it does not provide direction for how to improve planning. To succeed in planning, campus leaders should focus efforts on the areas that, if improved, would have the largest impact on overall planning success.

Our analysis of the survey results revealed Seven Factors that are closely related to overall success in planning.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/12″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”5/6″][vc_separator color=”custom” border_width=”3″ accent_color=”#c4c0a3″][vc_single_image image=”6800″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”zoom”][vc_separator color=”custom” border_width=”3″ accent_color=”#c4c0a3″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/12″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Identifying these factors of successful planning is the easy part. The difficult task for college and university leaders is to translate this understanding into specific action that will enable further develop a planning culture at the institution.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Customer-Driven Strategy

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[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]At age 52, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is worth $66.5 billion and recently surpassed Warren Buffet as the third richest person in the world. His fortunes have come largely from Amazon, which he founded in 1994. Today, Amazon has revenues of over $200 billion and is currently one of the largest retailers in the world despite having no physical stores. At the center of this growth is Bezos’ relentless focus on customer strategy.

I remember those early years. In 2008, Amazon’s profits were $4.6 billion, compared to eBay’s $6.5B. As Amazon plowed its profits into its vast server farm and infrastructure, critics were skeptical of the strategy. But Bezos was adamant that a customer-driven strategy taking a long view would pay off.

It was in 2008 when Bezos summarized his view in a now well-known quote: “If you’re competitor-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.”

Organizations today can learn a lesson from Bezos. In our current rapidly-changing environment, in addition to your current competitors, you also have new competitors popping up out of nowhere, often with a novel business model and significant financial backing.

While it’s critical that you are aware of your competition, it would be a mistake to let the competition direct your strategy.

Instead, as Bezos argues, develop a culture of relentless attention to your customers and their experience with you at all touch points of the organization. The more you understand your customers and their needs, the more you can understand how you can help them and deliver a fantastic value proposition.

Here are three things you can do the last quarter of 2016 to invigorate your customer strategy for 2017:

Simplify Your Mission Statement

Sharpen your mission statement into a clear and concise call to a purpose. Amazon’s is “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company where people can find and discover anything they want to buy online.” Be careful, though. Organizations can get hung up on this. Don’t get wound around the axle wordsmithing it; Spend time thinking how you can distill your mission a bit into a clear, concise statement, and then move on.

Clarify Your Target Customers

Be clear on who your customers are. We have found that it is extremely helpful to think of them in segments (we like to call the portfolios). Be sure that these segment are mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive, and definitively reachable. It doesn’t help to have segments that will be divorced from your actual marketing outreach efforts. Focus your efforts on segments that are a good fit and have the most potential. Understand their perspective and what their priorities are as they look to you for help. Be careful to avoid the temptation to be all things to all people; you instead end up as a mediocre solution that nobody selects.

Map Your Strategy

Finally, use a one-page framework to map out your strategy for delivering customer value and reaching the targeted metrics delineated in your business plan. Tools like the Business Model Canvass, Value Stream Mapping, or the Strategy Map are helpful in clearly articulating how you will manage your organization to provide direct value to your customers.

Clarity of purpose, target, and method will do wonders for getting your executive team aligned around a customer-driven strategy.

David is with the Baker Strategy Group, a market research and strategy consulting firm helping clients to make smart decisions and take effective action. A smart strategy is the art and science of understanding your target market and making good strategic choices to allocate resources most effectively to grow your business.

This article was first posted with Capital Letters Marketing.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Art Museum

A well-known Detroit museum sought assistance in further developing its website. After working with a consultant to understand how to serve the customer segments, a new site architecture was clearly needed. The consultant worked with the client resources to identify a strategic partner who offered services for approximately 30% of original cost estimates.

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