In my classes, we start off by searching for the current issues which relevant professionals in our fields are concerned with: we are looking for the “hot” topic, the things people are talking about at conferences and in management meetings, as firms must seek relentlessly to gain competitive advantage through innovation: while retaining the best of tradition, they look for opportunities in changing markets, technologies, and societies.
Key search terms to start
- “current trends YourTopic 2016 xxx”
- Where xxx = pwc, Deloitte, economist, hbr, ey, kpmg, mckinsey, Wharton
You are looking for that small percentage of people who both know their field and are willing to talk about it. You find them by searching for the words and phrases they use and you limit your search to the top, well-edited journals as you want to start with the mainstream stuff that everyone reads before you fall into your own rabbit hole.
- Current trends, because we want to survey options, new, interesting things that firms might consider creatively to innovate, gain market share, and therefore profit; “current trends” is a term experts use when they survey a field, Google knows this term and its synonyms
- YourTopic, because it really must be something that interests you, engages you, something that you will think about a lot because it is meaningfully yours
- 2017 or 2016 so we are indeed looking at current stuff
- “hbr” for Harvard Business Review, or kpmg, pic, ey, Wharton, McKinsey, because we start with the consulting firms whose business it is to survey fields, show that they know what is going on (so they can solicit business), and at a high managerial level: start with the big boys and girls
Example, “immigrant effect on labor markets”
In one class, we first imagined who the well-informed stakeholders on the question of “immigrant effect on labor markets costs” might be at the local, regional, and world levels and drew up a list, including:
- German political parties
- Deutsche Bank
- World Bank
We then searched for “immigrant effect on labor markets costs world bank”, then replaced “World Bank” with “OECD” and “Deutsche Bank” — and we hit gold!