New Center Founded to Help Businesses Compete
Posted October 26, 2004 | ATLANTA
In business markets driven by constant technological and commercial change, successful companies and industries must ceaselessly reinvent themselves to thrive. But rather than reacting on the fly to change, businesses can anticipate and seize advantage from technology and industry shifts to build effective and innovative business models, shared by companies large and small.
To pioneer the next step in enterprise transformation, Georgia Institute of Technology announces the creation of the Tennenbaum Institute, the first multi-disciplinary center of its kind, uniting academic, government and corporate experts to create industry-shaping business models. This proactive approach demands a holistic view of industries and world markets to help US companies remain competitive nationally and internationally.
Established through a $5 million gift from Georgia Tech alumnus Michael Tennenbaum, the Tennenbaum Institute will focus on developing business practices and organizational cultures that will help existing enterprises become more cost-effective and competitive by leveraging technological and market innovations. The Tennenbaum Institute will address both private and public sector enterprises in areas such as aerospace, automotive, banking, computing, defense, education, health care, non-profits, pharmaceuticals, retail, telecommunications and transportation.
As a long-time veteran of Wall Street, Michael Tennenbaum has helped numerous ailing companies back from the brink of a crisis. Tennenbaum primarily invests in companies that are in desperate need of change, and he saw a need for a different approach to enterprise transformation—a need that a multidisciplinary initiative like the Tennenbaum Institute could fill.
"I think it's going to be a big success. It's a strong idea, and it's housed in a good spot," Tennenbaum said. "I think that education has gotten so specialized that there's a big opportunity to build more knowledge by combining different specialties, rather than just to keep drilling down deeper into one specialty."
The Tennenbaum Institute and its members will work together to research the interdisciplinary nature of enterprise transformation, identify and evaluate the best practices for accomplishing transformation and disseminate knowledge and best practices through publications (hardcopy and online), meetings (workshops and forums), education (graduate and executive) and outreach (extension services).
"We're excited and honored that Michael Tennenbaum has helped Georgia Tech move forward with a uniquely multidisciplinary and forward-thinking approach to enterprise transformation," said Georgia Tech President Dr. Wayne Clough.
As a top ten public university, Georgia Tech excels not only in academic fields, including engineering, architecture, computing, liberal arts, management, and sciences, but also boasts some of the top academic economic development centers and incubators such as the Advanced Technology Development Center, the Georgia Tech Research Institute, and VentureLabs. Georgia Tech is a perfect home for the center to bring together a wide cross section of disciplines to help businesses and organizations evolve ahead of the curve.
"The Tennenbaum Institute represents an opportunity for Georgia Tech to excel at multidisciplinary research and education in its broadest sense and consequently impact our understanding of major economic and social issues as well as contribute to these issues being addressed," said William B. Rouse, executive director of the Tennenbaum Institute and the H. Milton and Carolyn J. Stewart chair of the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech.
With expertise and research from each of Georgia Tech's six colleges, as well as the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), the Tennenbaum Institute's research and education portfolio includes transformation methods and tools, emerging enterprise technologies, organizational simulation, investment valuation, organizational culture and change; and best practice assessments, with an emphasis on helping private and public sector enterprises face challenges likely to emerge in the years ahead.
"Our job is not necessarily to solve a business or organization's problems today. Our job is to anticipate its emerging problems in a five year or so time horizon and to research the best ways of understanding and addressing those problems," Rouse said.
The Institute would, for instance, help member companies determine what types of emerging technologies will be available in five or ten years and how adopting them might change the way these companies would do business or how customers would interact with the companies, Rouse said.
Dollar General Corp. will be the Institute's first corporate member and will bring its issues, concerns, knowledge and skills to the Tennenbaum Institute's exchange and debate.
About Michael Tennenbaum
In addition to being the senior managing partner of Tennenbaum Capital Partners, which manages private funds with assets over $3.5 billion, Michael Tennebaum is also chairman of PEMCO Aviation Group, chairman of Anacomp, vice-chairman of Party City Corp. and former vice chairman of Investment Banking of Bear, Stearns and Co. Inc. where he served in various capacities for 34 years. While at Bear Stearns, he completed transactions in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, gaming, energy, media, transportation and retailing. He is a trustee emeritus of the Georgia Tech Foundation and a member of the Board of Associates of the Harvard Business School.