December 2011

Artisan soap's sudsy success

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Articles - December 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011

1211_Soap_02Oregonians are buying artisan, whether it is gloves they purchase from a crafter on the website Etsy, home-brewed beer they buy from a co-worker, or specialty cheese they pick up at a farmer’s market. Add to the list: handcrafted bar soap.

 

Holiday retail's uncertain outlook

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Articles - December 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011

1211_HolidayRetailThe annual holiday shopping marathon is upon us, and in the face of a still-fragile economy, retailers around the country and locally are collectively holding their breaths.

 

Farm stores take root in urban areas

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Articles - December 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011

1211_FarmStores_02When the chickens came home to roost, so did the urban farm store business.

 

Pulverizing the plastic problem

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Articles - December 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011

1211_PlasticProblemThe way it works now, about 16 million pounds of plastic soda and water bottles redeemed each year through Oregon’s beverage container deposit program are baled and sold as scrap, often to foreign companies. Millions more plastic bottles never get redeemed and are instead recycled curbside. They, too, usually end up as exported scrap.

 

Bend housing bounce

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Articles - December 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011

1211_BendHousingDespite a housing market that is still depressed, one housing development in Bend — one of the hardest-hit cities in the housing-led recession — seems to be bouncing back.

 

Biodegradable diaper company expands

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Articles - December 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011

1211_gNappiesSix years after launching gDiapers, a privately held Portland company that manufactures reusable and biodegradable diaper products, co-founders Jason and Kim Graham-Nye are expanding to the United Kingdom with a new brand, gNappies.

 

Business heats up for small food processors

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Articles - December 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011

1211_SmallFoods_02As the state’s economic malaise continues to suck the life out of industry after industry, one sector has withstood the worst of the blows. Food processing in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest as a whole has grown over the last few years, according to industry statistics. The state’s estimated $12 billion food processing industry has its giants but its true strength lies in its small businesses.

 
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Leading with the right brain

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Editor's Letter: Power Play

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. 

Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.

This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay. 

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

— Linda


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Growing a mobility cluster

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Why are there so few transportation startups in Portland?  The city’s leadership in bike, transit and pedestrian transportation has been well-documented.  But that was then — when government and nonprofits paved the way for a new, less auto centric way of life.


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