Thursday, July 09, 2020

MediaWeek Report: Business Strategy in Time of Change

Some interesting recent clips related to publishing media and business strategy.
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Business Strategy:

From McKinsey: Covid-19 and student learning in the United States.  The Hurt Could Last a Lifetime
Even more troubling is the context: the persistent achievement disparities across income levels and between white students and students of black and Hispanic heritage. School shutdowns could not only cause disproportionate learning losses for these students—compounding existing gaps—but also lead more of them to drop out. This could have long-term effects on these children’s long-term economic well-being and on the US economy as a whole.
Several articles from From Strategy+Business: How managers are building new skills to deal with the pandemic:
And starting in May, across the many interviews I’ve been conducting with senior leaders, I’ve heard more optimism in their voices — a sense that their companies were settling into a new normal, and that for all the health and economic damage the pandemic has caused and all the uncertainty that remains, they were seeing positive developments in the cultures of their companies.
A big reason for this shift is that the practice of certain core leadership skills that everyone knows are important (yet many struggle to implement) is suddenly becoming a daily habit.
And: The ability to cope with ambiguity is at a particular premium.
But when the COVID-19 national emergency was declared on March 13, owners Thomas de Geest and Rossanna Figuera realized they had exactly enough cash on hand to give their workers two weeks’ severance pay. Tearfully, they said goodbye and emptied their bank account. Once they made the painful decision to let their employees go, the couple made arrangements with creditors and landlords. Then they focused on what they could do to help others. They found the answer in their mission: to give people the happiest moment of their day.
And: To lead in a changed world make yourself essential
Everything you do now will be scrutinized: Is it essential or not? Companies holding out for a post–COVID-19 bounce back to things as they were will be sorely disappointed. Instead, consider this just the beginning of shifting behavior from consumers. That reality calls for a new kind of thinking and action from companies: Double down on digital transformation, know what to hold, manage in shorter increments, and plan for operational resilience.
Academic Publishing:

Techdirt notes the growth of preprint servers across all major publisher platform as a bi-product of the Covid-19 challenges.
An excellent new survey of the field, "Preprints in the Spotlight", rightly notes that preprints have attained a new prominence recently thanks to COVID-19. The urgent global need for information about this novel disease has meant that traditional publishing timescales of months or more are simply too slow. Preprints allow important data and analysis to be released worldwide almost as soon as they are available. The result has been a flood of preprints dealing with coronavirus: two leading preprint servers, medRxiv and bioRxiv, have published over 4,500 preprints on COVID-19 at the time of writing. The publishing giant Elsevier was one of the first to notice the growing popularity of preprints. Back in 2016, Elsevier acquired the leading preprint server for the social sciences, SSRN. Today, Elsevier is no longer alone in seeing preprints as a key sector.
Ithaka: University Presses in Time of Covid-19

Over the past few weeks, Ithaka S+R has conducted conversations with a variety of university press directors to get a sense of how they are faring during this uncertain and challenging time. We spoke with a total of 11 directors representing small, medium, and large presses from public and private universities, all in the US. The discussions were wide ranging, touching on everything from how they were coping with the practical issues around pivoting to a remote workforce, to the broader question of the expected impact of the pandemic on their current and future programs. It should be noted that many of these conversations took place before the killing of George Floyd and the ensuing struggle to address systemic racism that has seized all of us personally and reverberated within our organizations. This too is shaping presses in powerful ways, but we confine this report to our exploration of their responses to the COVID challenge. Here is what we learned from these discussions, starting today with the present circumstances. In a second piece, we will examine how press directors are looking ahead to the future.
Culture:

The art of political writing from The New statesman:  
The art of political writing: Bernardine Evaristo, Colson Whitehead, Edna O’Brien and more Orwell Prize-shortlisted writers explain how politics informs their prose.

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