Executives responsible for setting strategy at large corporations should look to emerging startups to help understand future trends, as acquisition targets, or as competitive threats. However, assessing the activities of their peers – other major multi-nationals within and outside their own industry – remains critical to making good strategic decisions. With that in mind, Lux Research has developed a new tool, the Lux Competitive Benchmark, to provide a fresh perspective on how the growth initiatives and innovation efforts at large companies drive performance.
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It is easy to attribute today’s low oil prices to specific causes, like the OPEC’s competition with the U.S. shale industry, but current low oil prices are just a symptom of a larger dynamic in the energy space: high volatility. Studies show that crude oil is significantly more volatile than more than 90% of other commodities, and becoming more so (see Figure below). Oil volatility has far-reaching implications. Low oil prices have led to a string of layoffs in the oil industry and has impacted alternative energies that still struggle to compete with traditional fuel. It also forces energy-intensive industries to operate conservatively, slowing their expansion and keeping cash on hand in case of another oil shock. The sheer scale of the oil industry creates severe repercussions for the economy as a whole: even small fluctuations in the price can increase unemployment and decrease output as the market hedges its bets against higher prices.