A puzzling approach to recruitment

In the days of the Cold War and James Bond, recruitment to the security services was through a clandestine ‘nod and a wink’, a tap on the shoulder or a whisper in university corridors. Historically, particularly bright students were invited for a “cup of tea and a chat” by the intelligence service. It was who knew whom, and certainly not a transparent process. However, the UK intelligence agency, MI5, has been openly advertising for recruits since the 1990s. However, with the ...

Listen to your focus group!

Market research is neither an exact science, nor infallible, as many marketing failures will attest. Nonetheless, it is not the best idea to do the exact opposite of what your target market is telling you. On the UK’s TV version of the The Apprentice, two teams of budding entrepreneurs fighting to win a £250,000 prize fund to invest into their own business, were given the task of developing a new ‘free’, premium magazine (‘freemium’). Both teams carried out market research ...

Visioning on a Monday morning

One of the activities I used to enjoy on a Monday morning was a quick look into the future. Students would gather news stories that had caught their eye over the previous week and would bring in news cuttings, which we would put to the marketing, finance, social and HR test. For example, we might examine a technology advance and examine the possible ramifications in terms of the market, costs and human resources. I would nominate two students per week ...