What Business Can Learn from Organized Crime: Harvard

Fascinating piece here, though no mention of American Cosa Nostra included. So, broaden your horizons a little; Google some new words, like Superzonda and Shadow­Crew; learn how you could try to earn $2 trillion  -- in a year; and keep up to date about the latest email scams...

From the Harvard Business Review:

"When 10 men attacked the Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai, in November 2008, they executed one of the best-orchestrated, most technologically advanced terrorist strikes in history.

"Before the assault they had used Google Earth to explore 3-D models of the target and determine optimal entry and exit routes, defensive positions, and security posts. During the melee they used BlackBerrys, satellite phones, and GSM handsets to coordinate with their Pakistan-based command center, which monitored broadcast news and the internet to provide real-time information and tactical direction. When a bystander tweeted a photo of commandos rappelling from a helicopter onto the roof of one of the buildings, the center alerted the attackers, who set up an ambush in a stairwell.

"It took three days for authorities to kill nine of the terrorists and arrest the tenth; his confession provided details of the operation, which had resulted in 163 deaths and hundreds of injuries.

"Atrocities like this one are an extreme example, but the fact remains that technology is increasingly put to nefarious uses. Consumers and businesses must deal with the results, from small-bore, almost laughable “I’m stranded in England please send money” e-mail scams to large-scale appropriations of credit card data. During the 25 years I’ve spent in law enforcement—as a police officer, a counterterrorism consultant, and, for the past decade, a cyberrisk and intelligence specialist—the most striking trend I’ve seen is the growing sophistication of global crime syndicates and terrorists (the former are now believed to bring in $2 trillion a year).

"Some of this isn’t new: Colombian drug cartels, for instance, have been technologically advanced since the days of Miami Vice. But more-recent international crime groups, including the Russian Business Network, South America’s Superzonda, and the worldwide Shadow­Crew, have become especially adept at expropriating legitimate business tactics to create highly efficient global teams and set new best practices in adaptive strategy, supply chain management, the use of incentives, global collaboration, and other disciplines. Here are five lessons companies can learn from the activities of such groups...."

Read more, but full article is PPV: What Business Can Learn from Organized Crime - Harvard Business Review


  1. The more mob books I read and the more I learn of the deep mechanization's they employed, I am convinced that a lot of businesses are the functional equivalent of organized crime enterprises.

  2. Anonymous, read this article, you'll have to cut and paste the link -- I think you'll get a kick out of it:http://cosa-nostra-news.blogspot.com/2011/05/mafialifeblogcom-blog-archive-mafia.html


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