Harvard's top "working knowledge"

Harvard Business School's Working Knowledge series lists its 25 most-read articles for 2006. As the site suggests, the top articles were a bit different this year. Gone were the issues that could be counted on to generate interest in the past - articles on Wal-Mart, Apple, negotiation. Readers last year showed the most interest in subjects like open source, network effects and innovation management.

At the top of the most-read list was Microsoft v. Open Source, Who Will Win?, in which the authors apply economic modeling to the question of whether proprietary are open software will vanquish its rival.

The author of a "How Important is Executive Intelligence for Leaders?" believes that it is in part the ability to "digest, often with the help of others, large amounts of information in order to form important decisions that produce useful action with the right amount of deliberation." Such intelligence is compared to "knowledge," which is derived from experience."Executive intelligence," on the other hand, is developed "through repeated solving of new, unfamiliar problems using information, both relevant and irrelevant...."

Then there is three dimensional negotiation and lessons from innovation failure. In these digital times, the latter is also an economic, as well as educational, lesson. Virtualization enables fast failure, which, at least as far as experimentation goes, is necessary for quick success.

That sort of knowledge really does work.