Robert Flynn

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Managing Regulatory and Political Risk

Posted by Robert Flynn on Nov 21, 2017 3:38:26 PM

In our paper The Global Economy’s New Frontiers, my colleague Nathaniel Emmons and I argue that when investing in emerging economies, companies can realize high returns but only if the risks are successfully managed. Transnational mining companies operating in Zimbabwe, for instance, are in crisis management mode following this month’s coup, impeachment of President Mugabe, and transfer of power to yet another strong-man. Not an unanticipated series of events given the political instability experienced in recent years, and something that needs intense effort to navigate.

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Topics: Consumer Goods, Healthcare, Merger and Acquisition, Competitive Strategy, Early Warning

CVS – Aetna: The Power of Strategic Competitive Analysis

Posted by Robert Flynn on Oct 27, 2017 2:46:39 PM

The Wall Street Journal and other sources revealed yesterday that pharmacy operator CVS Health Corporation has made an offer to acquire No. 3 health insurer Aetna Inc.  Wouldn’t it have been rewarding to have known the probability of such an acquisition?  Wouldn’t executives of Walgreens and Express Scripts or United Health Group and Anthem have benefited from an evaluation that showed the rationale for such an acquisition? Fuld + Company analysis produced in June 2017 did precisely that. Anticipating just such a move four months ago demonstrates of the power of competitive strategy.

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Topics: Competitive Intelligence, War Games, Early Warning Monitoring, Healthcare, Competitive Strategy

Six Reasons Why CVS Health Should Acquire Aetna … Soon

Posted by Robert Flynn on Jun 21, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Should CVS consider acquiring a health plan? If yes, then which one? With a market-cap of about $80 billion and an impressive portfolio of assets across retail and pharmacy, why would it make sense for CVS to include a health plan in its portfolio?

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Topics: Brand Insights, Healthcare, Merger and Acquisition, Competitive Strategy

Presenting the Obvious: A Strategic Interpretation of David Foster Wallace’s, "This is Water"

Posted by Robert Flynn on Jun 8, 2017 1:20:57 PM

It’s commencement season, a time of celebration and anticipation of what the future will bring. While attending graduations this weekend, I was reminded of the one speech that broke the mold; David Foster Wallace’s commencement address at Kenyon College in 2005, later published in book form in 2009 as This is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life.

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Topics: Competitive Intelligence, Competitive Strategy, risk management

Strategies for Investing in Developing Markets

Posted by Robert Flynn on May 17, 2017 3:01:13 PM

The global economy is in transition, not so much as the result of fluctuating superpower politics, but more so as the quiet byproduct of shifting investment in emerging economies. We are at the end of supersized returns previously found in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS), foreign direct investment constants since 2001 that have in recent years become increasingly fragile economies. Their era as primary centers for investment has been replaced by a “Frontier Era,” a period marked by a concentration on economies scattered throughout Africa and Asia. A dramatic shift as hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign direct investment will swing from the pockets of one group to new, emerging markets.  

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Topics: New Market Entry, Competitive Strategy, risk management

Jack Bauer and the Flu

Posted by Robert Flynn on Oct 23, 2015 6:49:12 AM

On February 5, 2015, Public Health England announced that the flu vaccine had demonstrated low effectiveness against the main strain of flu that had circulated this past winter. Dr. Michael Skinner of Imperial College London, said in response, “Trying to predict which seasonal flu vaccine to produce each year must be a bit like a Jack Bauer car chase in Los Angeles…bound to prove somewhat hit & miss.” 

A similar miss occurred in 2004, when the United States suspended The Chiron Corporation’s shipment of 48 million doses of vaccine, citing problems at the company’s Liverpool, England, manufacturing plant.

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Topics: Brand Insights, Market Analysis, Pharma, Scenario Analysis, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Merger and Acquisition

Holiday Gaming - Microsoft's Big Chance

Posted by Robert Flynn on Oct 13, 2015 9:00:00 AM

If Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, has his way, packages under the Christmas tree and exchanged during Chanukah will be full of boxes containing Xbox consoles and games. To increase gaming revenues, he's made some organizational moves assigning Phil Spencer as head of Xbox and Xbox Live, reporting to Windows chief Terry Myerson. But internal changes will not be sufficient in this huge, highly competitive and fast-paced market, especially given Microsoft's slow growth relative to competitors, a laggard performance largely driven by the impact of mobile gaming.

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Topics: Competitive Intelligence, Consumer Goods, Brand Insights, Innovation, Manufacturing/Industrial, Market Analysis, New Market Entry, Scenario Analysis, Technology/Telecomm, Industry Convergence, Merger and Acquisition, Product Positioning, Competitive Strategy

Automotive Disruption: Fines Doubled in Construction Zone

Posted by Robert Flynn on Sep 23, 2015 1:27:32 PM

While it was a boat that President Obama used to explore the Alaskan scenery, it is the automobile industry that should sit up and take notice. One anticipated result of the President’s trip, and ongoing international negotiations, is increased environmental regulation that would impact automobile manufacturers. Shifting consumer demand, expanding access to customer data, increased merger and acquisition activity and international regulatory changes are creating market uncertainty that needs to be explored and understood through robust scenario-based planning analysis. Shareholders will expect no less.

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Topics: Competitive Intelligence, Consumer Goods, Brand Insights, Innovation, Market Analysis, New Market Entry, Scenario Analysis, Industry Convergence, Merger and Acquisition, Competitive Strategy

Deciphering the Alphabet

Posted by Robert Flynn on Sep 3, 2015 11:42:00 AM

Google’s transformation into Alphabet, announced in early August by CEO Larry Page, is on one hand inconsequential "Page Six" news and on the other the most momentous business event of the past decade. For companies in the technology and other sectors that Google has begun to explore, it’s a wake-up call as it signals Mr. Page's intention to continue to expand his conglomerate, increasing risk for companies across numerous industries. Fortunately, knowing that objective and deciphering the implications of this announcement, allows competitors time and opportunity to adjust their competitive strategy.

The recognition that Mr. Page and Google co-founder Sergey Brin have started and nurtured numerous side businesses including cloud computing, self-driving cars, life longevity, and even satellites brings a yawn from even the most casual observer. After all Elon Musk has gained fame as CEO of Tesla Motors (cars), CEO of SpaceX (rockets), and Chairman of SolarCity (power systems). And as far back as 1878 no less a man than Thomas Edison set the standard when he created General Electric – lightbulbs, steam turbines, locomotives, radio, toasters, even ovens. The conglomerate structure of Alphabet has a long, well-established tradition.

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Topics: Competitive Intelligence, Consumer Goods, Brand Insights, Innovation, Market Analysis, New Market Entry, Technology/Telecomm, Industry Convergence, Merger and Acquisition, Competitive Strategy

Climate Change Proposals Highlight Need for Scenario Planning

Posted by Robert Flynn on Aug 20, 2015 2:47:00 PM

President Obama this week unveiled his plan to cut nationwide carbon dioxide emissions 32 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels. The plan, an attempt to galvanize other countries to achieve a global climate treaty in the short term and to establish the President’s legacy for the long term, has been lauded by some and criticized by others. Despite the President's firm goals, given the opposing applause and uproar, the success of his plan and the impact to the nation's business environment remain hazy.

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Topics: Competitive Intelligence, Manufacturing/Industrial, Scenario Analysis, Competitive Strategy

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