Change is afoot at IBJ

by: Issues: July / August 2014. Categories: Features.

When appointed Editor of Ivey Business Journal late last year, I was tasked with leading an examination of the reader experience aimed at increasing the intellectual return on time invested by our readers. I am pleased to announce the end result will be a change in format later this year.

IBJ is read in more than 150 countries by an audience comprised of C-suite executives, corporate directors, managers and academics. The publication launched as The Quarterly Review of Commerce in 1933 with a mandate to “serve as a source of excellent reading material for the alert business executive.” Since then, it has evolved from a print product to an online resource that is currently published bi-monthly. The new IBJ will still serve as an intellectual tool to help improve the practice of management. But it will not publish issues. The redesigned product will better serve our international audience with a steady stream of featured articles on management issues, business-related blog posts and executive interviews. Popular and noteworthy content from our archives will be more visible and searched more easily. And since constructive debate is key to continual learning, which is a cornerstone of good management and leadership, the new IBJ will be more interactive. Stay tuned.

Speaking of debate, this issue of IBJ features an Ivey Interview with Nasir Shansab, who was the leading industrialist in Afghanistan before his family was forced to flee the nation in 1975. Afghanistan is rich in natural resources, which optimists think will help the war-torn country attract investments that will dramatically improve local living standards and support the democratic reforms made during the recent U.S.-led occupation. But Shansab warns foreign investors not to fall for the optimism generated by the billions of aid dollars that followed Western troops in to his homeland. Massive corruption, it seems, has also followed the funding and seriously hampered progress.

In a feature commentary on governance, Knud Jensen from the Ted Rogers School of Management argues junk science has overwhelmed the process of judging the effectiveness of corporate boards, which are being rated by features (such as the number of female directors and the separation of CEO and chairperson roles), instead of how well they actually function.

The potential of Big Data projects also comes under the microscope. A.T. Kearney partners Christian Hagen and Khalid Khan write about how leaders in analytics succeed by using data in predictive and anticipatory ways. Meanwhile, UBS Director Nicholas Willis and Kamil Mizgier, a UBS systems specialist and Postdoctoral Researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, detail the related never-ending growth of technical headaches created by Big Data and other IT projects due to the rising disparity in the info systems landscape.

And since the ability to debate is as important as debating important issues, I am pleased to point out that University of Manitoba Professor John McCallum, a long time IBJ contributor, is back with some easy-to-follow advice on how executives can improve their persuasion skills.

Enjoy.