Oliver Schlake

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Dr. Oliver Schlake is a Clinical Professor at Robert H. Smith School of Business, a senior business consultant, entrepreneur and researcher. His publications and research on scenario-based strategic planning and innovation strategy have been featured in leading academic and practitioner journals worldwide. Oliver has been an international management consultant and strategic advisor for leading companies and government agencies in Europe and North-America. Prior to joining the Smith School he was Assistant Professor for E-Business at National University, San Diego and CEO for German based consulting firm Scenario Management International (ScMI AG).

Fantasy Merger League: 2018 Edition

SMITH BRAIN TRUST — When influential analyst and Loup Venture co-founder Gene Munster made predictions for 2018, there was one that really had people chatting. It was a prediction that online retail juggernaut Amazon.com might cut a deal to buy the struggling Target. It was a mergers-and-acquisition idea that seemed to align with some of the things that Amazon.com has been doing – establishing a brick-and-mortar presence and competing head-to-head with Walmart.

Are U.S. Grocers Headed for a Price War?

The U.S. grocery industry is bracing for a shakeup, and a potential price war, as one German supermarket chain seeks to make its debut and another looks to expand its reach. German grocery chain Aldi says it will invest $3.4 billion to broaden its U.S. footprint, adding 900 new stores by 2022. German rival Lidl, meanwhile, is opening its first U.S. stores this month, with plans to open 100 by next summer. The added competition in the low-margin world of grocery sales comes as food prices for the U.S. are under pressure, falling for 17 straight months. And it comes at a time of continued price-sensitivity for many Americans. Experts from the Smith School explain how Aldi and Lidl and their "no frills" hard-discount business model might impact American grocery getters. Read more...

Drones, Intuitive Sandwiches and the Future

When you envision the future of autonomous delivery, do you imagine an army of drones for every supermarket and corner store, waiting to be deployed to customers' homes? Noted futurist and Smith School clinical professor Oliver Schlake sees a better way. He sees a future where everyone has a drone. He says homeowners and apartment dwellers will install landing docks at home for their personal drones, and retailers will install corresponding docks. Customers will send drones to nearby stores, to retrieve their orders in mere minutes. He explains his vision for drone delivery, a more convenient post office, and bespoke gas-station advertising. Read more...

Why GM Is Breaking Up with Europe

GM headquarters, Detroit.It was never an easy marriage. Now General Motors and its European operations are officially calling it quits, laying bare their incompatibilities and the difficulties of bridging the consumer divide. GM will sell its Opel and Vauxhall brands to Peugeot maker PSA Group in a $2.33 billion deal that will make PSA Group the second-largest automaker in Europe, behind only Volkswagen. The German Opel and British Vauxhall have generated losses for GM since 1999. Part of the problem was an incompatibility between the small, economical models of the European brands and the rest of General Motors, experts say. But there were other troubles, as well. Read more...

12 Big Things That Will Shape Business in 2017

It's nearly New Year.It's almost a new year, and across the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, some prognosticating has begun. We asked a group of professors to look ahead at the trends and developments we might see in the next 12 months. They turned their focus to the stock market, tax policy, Amazon, McDonald's, finance, real estate, Obamacare and more. Here's what they said. Read more...

Toy Craze in an Egg: Why the Hatchimal Is Hot

www.hatchimals.comWhy do we want the things we can't have? In the toy market, especially in the holiday season, it's sometimes because demand just takes off like a flying reindeer, surprising Santa, and toy makers and everyone in between. We're referring, of course, to the Hatchimal, the small, furry, motorized creature that pecks its way out of its colorful plastic egg and sings "Happy Birthday." Store shelves and online retail sites have been widely cleared of the little coveted creatures, leaving parents scrambling. Read more...

Soft Skills Reign at Smith School Business Summit

Companies worried about disruption need science and technology to stay relevant in the 21st century, but speakers at the fifth annual Smith School Business Summit pointed to soft skills as the real competitive advantage. “If you get leadership, management and culture right, everything else takes care of itself,” keynote speaker David Williams told an audience of more than 300 faculty, staff, students and working professionals gathered Oct. 28, 2016, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.

LEGO Sales Slip, But Toymaker Has a Plan

LEGO sales growth fell in the first-half of 2016. But the toymaker says it initiated the slowdown to expand its plant capacity and workforce in time to compete for holiday shoppers with Mattel, which LEGO recently surpassed in global sales. Smith School professor Oliver Schlake says one reason for LEGO's success has been the company's ability to connect with diverse audiences who do not outgrow the "toy." Read more...

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