Harvard has become the first American university to sign on to a United Nations-backed code of responsible investment – in a move to assuage a carbon divestment campaign.
Six months after explicitly rejecting calls to divest from fossil fuels, managers of Harvard's $33bn endowment will now be guided by a set of investment principles taking into account environmental and social factors such as water and human rights, the university announced on Monday.
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) is well known for his Art masterpieces and for his architectural and engineering inventions but less people are aware of his chef’s skills. His notebooks on culinary affairs ooze with so much irony that he probably wanted them inaccessible, a possible reason why the Maestro wrote them backwards; an awkward practice common to all his handwritten documents. Amusingly, a menu designed by Leonardo and Sandro Botticelli, the renowned Italian painter, for a Florence tavern was so illegible that, despite the proportioned figures drawn by the latter, neither clients nor cooks were able to interpret it.
Leonardo is considered a genius for all seasons and his notebooks also show that he was a tireless worker and that he kept everything under observation, his senses on the alert in order to improve objects and daily routines. This openness to the external world, to how things work and how can they be improved, is the basis of innovation and a desirable attitude for all managers. Intelligence without a constant disposition to improve practical things may become a useless asset.
The notes on kitchen were written by Leonardo for his own use, during his service as advisor to Luigi Sforza, the head of a prominent aristocratic family of Florence’s Renaissance. They include recipes, design of devices to improve cookery, recommendations on the etiquette at the table and more. For example, Leonardo is attributed to have introduced the use of napkins, as recorded in one of his notes: “An alternative to dirty table clothes” –apparently, guests used to clean themselves with the same tablecloth.
I include some of the notes that caught my attention, though the whole book is recommendable and entertaining.
On new devices for the Kitchen
Leonardo’s notes of to-do-things and new objects to be designed, combined with his characteristic drawings, raise reader’s affection and admiration. In one of the notes, “the new machines that I have yet to design for my kitchens”, he announces his intention to develop different devices “to pluck ducks, cut pigs into small cubes, knead bread, grind meat and press sheep”. Another note deals with one of the first accounts of how freezing preserves food. He tells about a person called Leoni Buillarotti who every year took hundreds of frogs to Lake Trasimeno before it froze and then cut pieces of the ice with the frogs inside and kept them in a cold place. According to Leonardo, the frog’s legs cooked by Buillarotti were one of the most demanded exquisite delicacies of the time.
On manners at lunch
A really hilarious note is the one describing “indecent behaviors at my Master’s table”:
- “Nobody should seat on the table, nor show his back to the table, nor on the lap of another guest”.
- “Nobody should take food from another’s guest plate, unless he first asks for permission”.
- “Nobody should clean his knife with his neighbor’s clothes”.
- “Nobody should take food from the table and put it in his pocket for later consumption”.
- “Nobody should pinch or beat his table neighbor”.
The list of recommendations continues. Indeed, a note that could be used in toast if you look to provoke laughter from your audience
Had Leonardo lived in our days, I am sure he would have become an active Linkedin contributor though I wonder whether he would have developed his own software to write backwards.
Knowledge@Wharton: We’re speaking today with Eric Orts, a professor of legal studies and business ethics at Wharton, about his new book, Business Persons, a Legal Theory of the Firm. Thanks for joining us today, Eric.
Eric W. Orts: You’re welcome. I’m happy to be here.
Knowledge@Wharton: The book covers a lot of ground. But let’s focus on a couple of specific ideas that were very interesting. One has to do with … the Citizens United Supreme Court case, which gave corporations the right to spend unlimited amounts on political groups, campaigns and candidates. So, based on Citizens United, corporations are people too, right? Or are they?
Orts: Well, that’s one of the main questions that I try to answer in the book or at least elucidate. The title of the book includes the phrase “business persons.” What I mainly argue … is that corporations are persons, but that doesn’t mean that they are people. Therefore, as the majority of the Supreme Court said, they have all of the rights, apparently, that people do...
Tapa blanda: 408 páginas Editor: Gestión 2000 (11 de abril de 2013)
Rafael Martínez Alonso es director en el área de Estrategia y Alianzas de Telefónica S.A. y previamente lo fue en su Gabinete de Presidencia. En el IE Business School es Profesor Asociado en el área de Estrategia e imparte cursos de gestión estratégica, nuevos modelos de negocio y Strategic Foresight, además de ejercer como Tutor de creación de empresas desde 2002. Es también Coach Asociado a Success Unlimited Network® L.L.C., y miembro de la Junta Ejecutiva del Club de Amigos de la Sociedad de la Información. Ha colaborado con diversos medios y es autor del blog estratega.com y la cuenta de Twitter @estratega.
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The best remedy for the world’s ills, the best antidote to combat intolerance or the clash of cultures, or to neutralize bad foreign policies, is to develop good managers, create new businesses, innovate and generate value and wealth at all levels of society. What the world needs now is good entrepreneurs, good managers, and good business leaders.
A few years ago a newspaper in Mexico City ran a story on the creation of a museum dedicated to business leaders in the country. This unique institution intended to house photographs, films, and other documentary material, along with interactive exhibits that will tell the story of Mexico’s most illustrious entrepreneurs, among them Carlos Slim Helú (one of the world’s richest men). The aim of the museum was to encourage a new generation of entrepreneurs by example; to show the best face of management, given that the business stories that appear in the media are often too negative.
Entrepreneurs have probably been the category of managers most neglected. Research into their function and economic impact as individuals is relatively recent. Joseph Schumpeter was probably the first economist to put entrepreneurs under the microscope. His theory of creative destruction highlighted the entrepreneur’s role in stimulating investment and innovation.
However, in today’s constantly changing business environment, the new heroes are the entrepreneurs – the people who create wealth for society, either by creating new companies or by rejuvenating big corporations and even public institutions. By their nature entrepreneurs tend to operate outside of the existing norms or rules. They are the creators of their own rules; they change society and cause new ways of organizing and structuring human activity. Consider Google –whose founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin were awarded an MBA Honoris Causa at my school as featured in the attached photograph. Wikipedia, or Linkedin, all of which were created by entrepreneurs are now truly shaping our society. Indeed, in the coming years, entrepreneurs will be the architects of the new social structures – and the engines of social progress. Furthermore, Carl Schramm, who heads debatably America’s top entrepreneurial think tank, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, had an insight into what causes an economy to grow: “The single most important contributor to a nation’s economic growth is the number of startups that grow to a billion dollars in revenue within 20 years.”
Museums are the temples that society erects to celebrate the arts, the sciences, technology, or the knowledge of earlier cultures and civilizations. There are museums dedicated to just about every human or natural activity, yet until the Mexicans came along, there wasn’t one dedicated to business leaders. Neither are there any Nobel-style prizes for business leaders recognizing their work in creating wealth or running organizations. There may be prizes rewarding their philanthropy and commitment to the arts, but not for their contribution to business and management. How come? Should we assemble firms here in Linkedin to support the creation of a yearly Nobel Prize for the best CEO or best Entrepreneur?
I believe that would be just fair. Management can be one of the noblest professions in the world. It creates growth, wealth and development in society, provides jobs, fosters innovation and improves living conditions.
What does the future of business look like? In an informative talk, Philip Evans gives a quick primer on two long-standing theories in strategy — and explains why he thinks they are essentially invalid.
...Let me start, if I may, with a little bit of history. The idea of strategy in business owes its origins to two intellectual giants: Bruce Henderson, the founder of BCG, and Michael Porter, professor at the Harvard Business School...
Of issues covered by the Basic Human Needs Dimension, New Zealand does best in areas including Water and Sanitation and has the greatest opportunity to improve human wellbeing by focusing more on Shelter. Of issues covered by the Foundations of Wellbeing Dimension, New Zealand excels at providing building blocks for people's lives such as Access to Basic Knowledge but would benefit from greater investment in Ecosystem Sustainability. Of issues covered by the Opportunity Dimension, New Zealand outperforms in providing opportunities for people to improve their position in society and scores highly in Personal Rights yet falls short in Access to Advanced Education.