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Issue 17 – January 25, 2013
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
Got Growth?....................................................................................................... Lou Killeffer Innovation Fail – Milkshake Marketing ……..………………….………..…...…. Tony Ulwick Wrong Way Innovation ……………………………………………....…..……… Scott Bowden 15 Reasons Why Daydreamers are Better Learners ...............................…. William Koch World Economic Forum – Innovation Imperative from Davos .…………… Paul Hobcraft 5 Important Brand Trends for 2013 …………………………………………. Matthew E May Sell Microsoft NOW – Game over, Ballmer loses …………….……….….... Adam Hartung 2013 Innovation Wisdom – Make Mistakes ……………………….…...….. Robert F Brands How Dreamworks, LinkedIn & Google Build Intrapreneurial Cultures …….. John Webb Big Useful Data ….……………………………………………………...….….…..… Steve Todd
Your hosts, Braden Kelley, Julie Anixter and Rowan Gibson, are innovation writers, speakers and strategic advisors to many of the world’s leading companies.
“Our mission is to help you achieve innovation excellence inside your own organization by making innovation resources, answers, and best practices accessible for the greater good.”
Cover Image credit:
Hands with Red Frame
Posted on January 20, 2013 by Lou Killeffer
Are you, your team, and your company poised for real growth this year? Are you all aligned on how and where to begin to get where you need to go? If so, congratulations, regrettably I suspect you’re in the minority.
We all know uncertainty is everywhere. The recession may lift or it may linger; the cliff may rise again or it may fall; ditto the price of oil, the strength of Europe, the growth of China, and the global market at large. The persistent discontinuity of the “new normal” is now so well established the phrase itself is little more than a cliché as we enter 2013. Happy New Year!
Still the pursuit of business growth persists. In fact, for many, it’s becoming urgent. But for all the time, energy and resource it rightly commands, there seems to be a pervasive lack of understanding about just how real growth is achieved, much less sustained.
Of course there are really only two ways to improve one’s business; you either address the bottom line or the top line. And for the past twenty years, there’s been so much focus on the bottom line that most companies today are actually quite efficient.
Six Sigma, total quality management, and process optimization have all helped CEOs focus on their core and make their business better by becoming leaner and more efficient. But you can no longer succeed by focusing exclusively on the bottom line. Today’s CEO won’t get very far blaming the “new normal” for soft results or a stalled business. No, today’s CEOs need growth, not just performance. And it’s the search for top line growth that’s driving the intensifying trends toward innovation. But top line growth is hard. Really hard. Game changing growth and innovation can be unpredictable. After all most innovation fails, at the staggering rate of 60 – 80%.
Just as efficiency found its champion in Six Sigma’s strategies and tools I’ve often wondered if there could be a corresponding and systematized approach to growth. What if, instead of capturing lightning in a bottle or relying on the spark of individual genius, there were an ongoing framework of measurement that showed the way and improved success on the path to growth? Why couldn’t there be a defined sequence of steps with quantified targets focused not on efficiency and cost reduction but rather on the growth of sales, revenues, and profits? What if growth itself could be broken down into its constituent parts; elements and processes that could be replicated and applied again and again across an organization? Could such a “process” be modeled?
Now, a new company, dedicated to an entirely new and all too timely proposition – that like quality performance before it, growth itself can be deconstructed, understood, and engineered – has stepped forward with just such an offering.
The Growth Posture Index® (GPI), from The Growth Strategy Company at Arlington, Virginia, is a new management tool that measures the key competency and readiness factors affecting the future growth of individual companies. The result of two years extensive research, data collection, and analysis among the 500 largest companies in the world, The Growth Strategy Company’s GPI identifies thirty-three success factors across six organizational competencies and two fundamental readiness conditions to gauge growth potential. GPI delves deeper into diagnosing the root causes that can be holding a company back, while also suggesting new and often non-traditional avenues to growth.
Sorting for the critical conditions the company must prepare for, and the corresponding competencies it must embrace and enable – and acting on them all – are the keys. As such, the GPI is a new enterprise level measurement and management tool that promises a method and process that can lead companies to the environmental, structural, and cultural conditions where real growth can be achieved and sustained.
So much so that it may help us all as the pendulum of management thinking swings from our rapture with efficiency to a renewed passion for growth; growth that can be both designed and managed. It’s not either/or mind you. The pursuit of one won’t replace the other, rather companies today need both efficiency and growth to succeed. The insight – and, indeed, potential breakthrough – is that now they may both be investigated, understood, and designed as outcomes through informed process and discipline.
While my familiarity with this new management tool is superficial at best, and I’ve no idea how productive the GPI will prove to be in practice, I applaud the company’s initiative, believe in the intellectual integrity of the endeavor, and suggest anyone facing the all too common issues referenced here might very well benefit from kicking the tires themselves.
So what’s really going on today across your enterprise? How familiar are you with what’s necessary to achieve and sustain long-term growth in today’s marketplace? Where does your company stand in its pursuit of growth? And where do you?
image credit: thegrowthstrategycompany.com; copyright Lou Killeffer November 2012 All rights reserved. Five Mile River Marketing. image credit: businesswoman image from bigstock
Lou Killeffer is a Principal with Five Mile River Marketing. A versatile marketing strategist, Lou’s passion for communications and innovation has made him a trusted advisor to some of the world’s most enduring businesses and brands, from AT&T to UPS, where he helps enterprises embrace change, look ahead, and focus on sustaining success.
Innovation Fail – Milkshake Marketing
Posted on January 16, 2013 by Tony Ulwick
Clayton Christensen Doesn’t Get the Job Done
In Clayton Christensen’s well-publicized milkshake marketing video and HBR article “Marketing Malpractice: The Cause and the Cure,” he proposes doing market segmentation differently: around the job-to-be-done.
We have the utmost respect for Christensen, who has been a steadfast advocate of jobs-to-be-done thinking for nigh on a decade. However, our own two decades of experience with jobs-to-be-done thinking compel us to point out that his milkshake marketing example is fundamentally flawed. The flaws show just how hard it is to apply jobs-to-be-done thinking correctly and to launch successful innovations as a result.
Click here to see the video
In the video and article, Christensen ponders why, at the beginning of a working day, commuters go into a fast-food establishment and buy a milkshake. “What job are they hiring the milkshake for?” he asks. He concludes that this segment of milkshake consumers are hiring the milkshake because “they face a long, boring commute and need something to keep that extra hand busy and to make the commute more interesting.” In other words, the job-to-be-done is “to face a long, boring commute.” Or perhaps it is “to keep that extra hand busy” or “to make the commute more interesting.”
The end result of any market insight should be innovation, but to our knowledge, no restaurant or fast-food establishment has capitalized on Christensen’s insight and introduced a breakthrough breakfast milkshake that garnered skyrocketing sales. Why not? In our view, it is because both Christensen’s view of what the job-to-be-done is in this case and his starting point for the market segmentation analysis are incorrect. Consequently, he ends up reaching the wrong conclusions about what the restaurant should do to innovate and grow its revenues.
Let’s start with the first problem. The jobs Christensen identifies are not jobs-to-be-done. Specifically, they are not outcome-driven jobs, which means they are not jobs that can be addressed with products. Nor are they markets. In order to be considered a market, a job-to-be-done needs to be the key task or goal the customer is trying to accomplish. Facing a long, boring commute, by contrast, is not a key task or goal. It is a context within which you execute a job. Put another way, if the commute is long and boring, then it might be nice to make it more interesting, but the commute itself is not a goal you set for yourself, it is only a situation you find yourself in. To define the job-to-be-done correctly, the first thing we must ask is, “What job are people trying to get done when they stop at the quick-service restaurant in the morning?”
Using our proprietary techniques and rules to define the customer’s job-to-be-done, we researched this market and concluded that morning commuters are not buying milkshakes to make the commute more interesting or to keep their extra hand busy. Instead, morning commuters are trying to “get breakfast on the go.” This is the job-to-be-done. They want to get and eat breakfast in their cars while driving to work.
Identifying the job correctly is critical because everything else in the innovation process (identifying the customer needs, segmenting the market, sizing the growth opportunity, generating feature ideas, creating messages, etc.) depends upon that first step.
Now for the second problem: market segmentation. After identifying the job-to-be-done, we segment the market based on differing ways in which customers (the job executors) struggle to execute the job. We segment markets to identify under- and overserved customers and new opportunities to pursue. So we always start with the job-to-be-done and then segment the customers (the job executors) to determine if and how they struggle differently when executing the job.
Christensen’s does the opposite, and this is a mistake. Instead of asking, “What job are people trying to get done when they stop at the quickservice restaurant in the morning?” he asks, “What job are people hiring a milkshake to do for them?” He then calls the different jobs he discovers, such as making the morning commute more pleasant or keeping the kids quiet, “segments.” But these are not segments of customers that are struggling in different ways to get a job done. These are customers that are engaging in altogether different jobs. Christensen fell into the product-centric trap that most companies fall into: making the goal of innovation to sell more of an existing product (milkshakes) instead of creating the best product (which may not be a milkshake). The customer-centric goal of innovation should only ever be to create the best product to get a job done, without reference to particular solutions.
If the focus is on morning commuters trying to get breakfast on the go, here’s how jobs-to-be-done market segmentation should be executed:
Once we define the job correctly (getting breakfast on the go), we uncover all the metrics customers use to measure the successful execution of the job. These metrics are the customer’s needs or desired outcomes. They are uncovered by first creating the job map (defining the steps in the job) and then uncovering the metrics in each step. In this market, more than 100 needs exist, including needs related to ordering, receiving, organizing, eating and disposing of the meal.
With all the needs uncovered, we then quantify with hundreds of customers which needs are most important to them, but poorly satisfied with the current solutions (biscuits, milkshakes, eggs, etc.) they choose today. It is with this data that we segment the market. Using factor and cluster analysis, we uncover groups of morning commuters that struggle differently when executing the job-to-be-done. These different groups of commuters are our segments.
Using this approach, we may find a segment that has underserved needs related to ordering and eating the meal, while another segment may have underserved needs related to receiving, organizing, and disposing of the meal. Many possibilities exist. Different products and services may be required to address the different unmet needs of each segment. With this insight, new opportunities for growth are revealed: opportunities that milkshakes cannot address.
This is exactly what we discovered when we helped Bosch create the CS20 circular saw. We studied carpenters (the job executor) who needed to cut wood in a straight line (the job-to-be-done). Using the segmentation methods described above, we discovered one segment of carpenters who struggled because they had to make very complicated cuts. They had 14 unmet needs. We also found a segment of carpenters that make simple cuts and were overserved. The CS20 saw didn’t address the overserved segment, but it did address the 14 unmet needs in the segment that had to make complicated cuts. Eight years after its introduction, this award-winning saw is still very successful for Bosch. This is how we intended jobs-to-be-done segmentation to be performed.
The way we apply jobs-to-be-done theory not only offers a fruitful new approach to market segmentation, it also opens the door to new ways of thinking about market sizing, ideation, concepting testing, product positioning, and other aspects of innovation. All this thinking is embodied in our Outcome-Driven Innovation process.
Image credit: Merchant Supply Depot
Tony Ulwick is the pioneer of jobs-to-be-done thinking and the inventor of Outcome-Driven Innovation. He is the author of the best-selling book What Customers Want and has published articles in the Harvard Business Review. He holds 5 patents on his innovation process. As the founder of Strategyn, he has generated billions of dollars in revenue growth for dozens of global firms.
Wrong Way Innovation
Posted on January 19, 2013 by Scott Bowden
In the study of innovation, the concept of accidental or serendipitous discovery is a well-known phenomenon, as seen in the work of Michael van Hove and Robert F Brands in these pages.
One particularly interesting example of accidental innovation is that of Henry Bessemer’s converter that was used to increase the speed of steel production. As recounted in John Steele Gordon’s An Empire of Wealth, Bessemer was working in 1856 in the field of military weaponry and had invented an improved artillery shell that proved too strong for the weaker cast-iron cannons of that era. Bessemer was attempting to create a stronger metal for cannon tubes when a gust of wind in his workshop hit molten iron. The gust of wind added oxygen to the iron and carbon in the molten metal and removed the impurities from the mixture. The end result was purified steel. Bessemer’s invention revolutionized the steel industry and drove growth throughout the American economy.
Another example of accidental innovation, the case of gunpowder, is cited by Mark Robinson in a 2002 article in Wired. The concoction that we know today as gunpowder was originally investigated as a way to prolong life but accidentally found to have explosive properties.
Building on the concept of accidental innovation, a recent National Public Radio interview with the British author Simon Garfield suggests another possible approach to innovation – wrong way innovation. The impetus behind this is Garfield’s assertion in his new book, On the Map, that Christopher Columbus intentionally went the wrong way to lead to his great discovery. Garfield states that Columbus was likely armed with knowledge of a westward route to Asia from “a recent printing of Ptolemy, The Travels of Marco Polo and a letter of guidance from Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli, the Florentine physician and astronomer who decades earlier had suggested to the King of Portugal that a journey to the riches of Asia might be attained far more easily by sailing westward rather than around the base of Africa.” Columbus, though, believed that his journey to Asia would be 2,400 nautical miles, which is one-fifth of the actual amount, and thus Columbus’s vision for success hinged on maps that were distortions of reality. Had he been armed with knowledge of the true distance to Asia, Columbus might have never attempted the journey.
Garfield also observes that distortion is a powerful tool for mapmakers, and perhaps the most famous map that presents a distorted view of reality is that of the London Underground. The iconic Tube map is revered for its simplicity and colorful presentation of a complex system, though the scale leaves something to be desired as the distance between stops is not consistent (some stops are a few hundred yards apart, while others are miles apart). Nonetheless, the Tube map is incredibly useful and the staple of anyone navigating across the city.
Thinking about how distortions, or indeed incorrect information, can lead to successful discovery suggests the possibility that there is value in wrong way innovation. That is, by heading in the wrong direction, whether intentionally or inadvertently, an innovator can achieve success in spite of his or her starting point.
Echoing this point, a recent book review in the Wall Street Journal by Laura J. Snyder examines authors who investigate the field of alchemy to look for linkages to modern science. Snyder reviews John Glassie’s biography of Athanasius Kircher, a German Jesuit priest in the 1600s, who dabbled in research topics including the properties of light, language, medicine, and mathematics. Snyder notes that Kircher’s work in the field of natural magic reveals how “erroneous ideas about investigating nature helped lead to modern science.” Snyder states that by developing hypotheses that eventually were shown to be false, Kircher unintentionally pushed forward the boundaries of science. For modern scientists who are familiar with the concept of disproving the null hypothesis, the idea of investigating an erroneous explanation for an event rings true. Glassie even argues that Isaac Newton could have read Kircher’s work, given their shared focus on topics ranging from sundials to optics to alchemy.
What these anecdotes suggest is that the most logical path to innovation may not always be the best approach. Innovation practitioners who find themselves struggling to develop a new approach to solve a problem may want to consider intentionally heading in an opposite direction from their previous plan, or may want to try a distorted view of their problem to see if this different perspective yields insights into the problem they are trying to solve.
The innovator could formulate a hypothesis to explain a phenomenon, then translate that statement into a null hypothesis and spend time investigating that concept with the workshop participants to see what insights can be derived from this approach. For example, an innovation team focused on developing insights into making a product smaller and lighter might spend a little time thinking about reasons why the product should be larger and heavier. Some of the new thinking resulting from this counter-intuitive approach could yield unexpected insights into what the team is really trying to accomplish. Like a driver on a road trip who makes a wrong turn but ends up discovering something even more meaningful than what was intended at the original destination, the innovation leader who is willing to try a different path may end up deriving new insights by heading in what initially is viewed as the “wrong” direction.
Sources: Laura J. Snyder, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentices,” Wall Street Journal (January 5-6, 2013), p. C8. Simon Garfield, On the Map: A MindExpanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks (New York: Gotham Books, 2013). John Steele Gordon, Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power (New York: Harper Perennial, 2005). John Glassie, A Man of Misconceptions (New York: Riverhead, 2013). image credit: two arrows image from bigstock
Scott Bowden works on Innovation Programs for IBM Global Services.
15 Reasons Why Daydreamers are Better Learners
Posted on January 17, 2013 by William Koch
The student’s eyes drift to the classroom window and the teacher’s voice fades from consciousness. The daydream begins.
It’s a familiar scene, one we have likely both experienced as students and struggled against in our students as teachers. But daydreaming is not what it might seem. Recent research in both psychology and neuroscience clearly shows that daydreaming is an essential part of mental processing, reasoning and, yes, even learning.
1. Daydreaming is the Mind’s Natural State
The most common view of the human mind assumes that our normal way of thinking consists of concentrated focus upon immediate tasks at hand. But researchers have found that this is not the case.
Daydreaming is now considered to be the normal state of our minds, with focus appearing as a break from the more common mind wandering. A recent study has found that our mind wanders forty seven percent of the time we are awake with very few activities not equally peppered with natural periods of daydreaming.
Another study has shown that the parts of the brain stimulated during daydreaming consist of the “default network” regions of the brain that are associated with most higher level mental activity. This suggests that we have evolved specifically to be a daydreaming species. It is even more telling that those who suffer injuries to the region of the brain in which daydreaming occurs suffer from a lack of spontaneous speech and thought.
The fact that daydreaming is the natural state of the human brain suggests that those who take most naturally to daydreaming will best exhibit the skills necessary for successfully navigating the human world. Far from representing a lack of discipline, daydreaming is a hallmark of a healthy and active human mind.
2. Critical Thinking and Intelligence
Aside from the “default network”, one of the main regions of brain used during daydreaming consists of the “executive network”, the region of the brain associated with complex problem solving. Before this was revealed, for example through the 2009 study at the University of British Columbia, it was commonly thought that the “executive network” was only active during focused problem solving.
As this study suggests, a healthy amount of daydreaming is connected to improved critical thinking capabilities, an invaluable characteristic in successful learners.
It has also been shown that daydreaming is dramatically more present in those considered to be of superior intelligence when compared with learners of average intelligence. One study suggests that the improved integration of the default and executive networks developed through their continual exercise through daydreaming significantly contributes to the formation of increased intelligence.
It’s a truism that our “dreams”, by which we usually mean our goals and desires, provide motivation in life. What is less recognized, however, is the central role played by the process of daydreaming in envisioning and imaginatively experiencing the lives we wish to lead and people we want to become.
Our goals and desires are what they are because we have spent time freely living through our daydreams what it would be like to achieve them. For these reasons, daydreaming in learners is related to higher levels of ambition and a deeper sense of motivation.
Freely imagining “what you would do if…” is far from idle. Having envisioned scenarios and played out possible events gives us an increasing sense that we can handle them.
In this way the imaginative anticipation that often occurs in daydreaming contributes as much to a robust sense of confidence as it does to a healthy motivation. Think about it this way, daydreaming is a training ground for your mind where it plays through and sometimes struggles with scenarios it has not experienced or wants to react differently to in the future.
Though successful training certainly doesn’t guarantee success during the real event, it does provide a mental preparedness and a firm sense that no matter what may occur we can deal with it. For this reason some of the most confident learners are also those with the healthiest daydreaming lives.
5. Increased Insight
Did you ever wonder what causes that moment of insight when something suddenly clicks or a solution becomes clear? The answer is a lot of hard work on the part of your brain that goes unnoticed.
Moments of insight, those sudden revelations that seem to come from nowhere, are long prepared for through the brain’s ongoing hidden organizing and processing. Daydreaming, as a mental state activating both the default and executive networks of the brain, plays an important role in that organizing and processing. What you may think is just your mind drifting is actually your mind actively forming connections between information, synthesizing what was previously only chaos, and preparing the ground for the moment when things suddenly fit into place.
Once we appreciate this we see that daydreaming is just as productive as spending an hour working on a difficult math problem. Recent work has shown that spending less time on the problem and more time letting our mind wander could contribute to getting the answer faster.
Benjamin Baird and Jonathan Schooler at the University of California at Santa Barbara have shown, as discussed in an article in The New Yorker, that spending time daydreaming after first being given a task leads to more insightful responses to the task than focus and concentration do.
In his book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking Malcolm Gladwell discusses the phenomenon of “thin-slicing”, the mind’s jumping to conclusions based on surprisingly little information.
Despite what we tend to assume, Gladwell demonstrates that jumping to conclusions based on limited information is often statistically the most reliable way to arrive at the right decision. For example, Cook County Hospital changed the way it diagnoses heart attacks to focus on less information.
Here is how Gladwell describes this part of the book on his website: “They instructed their doctors to gather less information on their patients: they encouraged them to zero in on just a few critical pieces of information about patients suffering from chest pain–like blood pressure and the ECG–while ignoring everything else, like the patient’s age and weight and medical history. And what happened? Cook County is now one of the best places in the United States at diagnosing chest pain.”
The key point about thin-slicing is that its effectiveness depends upon two factors. Knowledge, especially when derived from experience, and mental integration that allows for swift access to the knowledge and experience we have gained. If we return to our image of daydreaming as
the training ground of the mind, the increased integration it imposes on knowledge and experience we have collected improves our ability to successfully jump to conclusions based on little information.
It makes us more successful thin-slicers and improves our split-second decision making.
7. Improved Problem Solving
What is problem solving? From what we have already said we might suggest it is an effective use of the default and executive networks of the brain resulting in increased intelligence, critical thinking, insight and thin-slicing.
The argument that the integration of default and executive networks results in improved problem solving is offered by the author of Daydreams at Work: Wake Up Your Creative Powers, Amy Fries, in an article at Psychology Today: “…your mind-wandering capacity is like that computer program–it can get to solutions that your conscious mind just can’t see.”
In general daydreaming makes us better thinkers. Being better thinkers makes us better learners.
The traditional view of daydreaming understands it as a form of escapism.
We are unhappy or uninterested in where we are and so imagine we are somewhere else. It is important, this view assumes, to resist this escapist urge and instead cope with the world as it is. It turns out, however, that daydreaming is itself a central element of our mental coping mechanisms.
As already mentioned, daydreaming provides the brain with the exercise course where it can secretly play out different solutions to problems. More than this, however, those precious daydreaming moments allow us the conscious rest necessary to face difficult tasks or situations with a fresh mind. Yet, during these seeming moments of rest, the brain is still hard at work beneath the surface organizing potential responses without the generally awkward interference of conscious thought.
Researchers such as Eric Klinger have shown that children who weave an imaginative story around their play are likely to be happier at play and to play longer. It is easy to generalize this point to adults as well, the ability to tell ourselves imaginative stories about the world and our own lives through daydreaming makes even the tedious or downright painful parts of our life more enjoyable.
In learning the ability to cope with challenging, frustrating or boring tasks is a key ingredient for success.
9. Mental Elasticity
Coping is a key element of mental elasticity, the ability to shift our thought and behavior smoothly in response to changing situations and information.
Daydreaming, as the practice ground for mental processing, greatly increases the mind’s ability to smoothly shift in the face of unanticipated events and situations. So while daydreaming clearly contributes to organizing information and experience we have already learned, making the learned material more useful by improving our ability to apply it, it also enhances our response time in the face of the unexpected.
Recent research has shown that children with a healthy amount of empty play time, i.e. play time not directed through specific games or spent watching television, display a greater amount of creativity.
Those, on the other hand, who tended to turn to entertainments such as television when bored were unable to invent interesting stories. The time spent daydreaming during imaginative play is a practice period for creative invention. The neuroscience of this should be clear when one considers the similarity between problem-solving and creativity in general.
Those parts of the brain used during creative problem solving are also used during daydreaming.
Concentration, while certainly important in both education and life, is not something we can increase simply through hard work, practice or will.
The brain, much like a muscle, can indeed be improved but there is a limit to how far it can be developed. The fact that we are a daydreaming species and that daydreaming is the natural state of the human mind points to the artificiality of the mental states associated with extended concentration.
What is becoming clearer is that concentration is not as simple as one might think. Rather, what appears to be the ability to continually concentrate on one problem or subject is looking more like a complex play involving using daydreaming rest periods, even surprisingly brief breaks, in a way that refreshes our ability to concentrate. Consider daydreaming like taking a power nap.
Even a half-minute spent briefly relaxing control upon the mind can improve a learner’s concentration immediately after this break.
12. Increased Short Term Productivity
Even as concentration works best interspersed with brief, and some times longer, moments of daydreaming “rest” during which the mind synthesizes what has been gained, so too does productivity in general go up when it is demanded in smaller bursts and peppered with healthy moments of daydreaming.
This is nowhere demonstrated as clearly as through the highly successful Pomodoro Technique for time management. This technique employs a timer and breaks productive work into twenty-five minutes segments with a short five-minute break between each segment of work. After four such segments of work and breaks you take a longer break of fifteen minutes. This technique’s surprising ability to
increase productivity depends upon the mind’s limited power of concentration with moments of daydreaming rest needed between periods of increased mental control.
What it suggests is that teachers would do well, not only to appreciate the importance of daydreaming for successful learners, but even to organize lessons so as to actively encourage short breaks for daydreaming.
13. Connection to Class Material
Learning is nearly impossible if students do not feel connected to the material they are learning.
Students have to care about what they learn to be the most successful learners. This connection to the material involves imaginatively playing with the material through which students rearrange and experiment while finding ways to connect it to their wider concerns, life, and fantasies.
For this reason students who actively daydream, especially when they are encouraged to incorporate class material into their daydreams in whatever way they like, are much more successful learners.
14. Increased Empathy and Emotional Intelligence
One of the most important skills for people in general, let alone learners, is what we might call the “moral imagination”.
The moral imagination is the ability to think oneself into another person’s shoes, to imagine what it would be like to be them. This skill is necessary if one is to expand one’s sense of sympathy and empathy, but it is also a key element in problem-solving and reading comprehension. If a student is to understand a text or solve a problem what is required is creatively putting themselves in the place of the characters in the text, or in the sphere of life that most naturally relates to the problem to be solved.
For this reason emotional intelligence, the ability to have a varied and complex emotional life through engagement with and response to the emotions of others, is a central if unexpected element of all mental processing and learning. It is just this ability to imagine our way out of our own situation and into that of another that daydreaming develops and encourages.
For this reason not only are daydreamers more empathetic and emotionally open people, they are also better at comprehending literary and historical texts.
15. Improved Self-Knowledge
Since the time of Socrates it has been thought that coming to know ourselves is both a major goal and the foundation of all truly successful learning. We can think about daydreaming as carrying out a dialogue with ourselves.
In contrast, watching television or playing video games primarily involves an external exploration or dialogue, one that can involve learning but doesn’t often involve reflective self-discovery. If we are to be successful learners we need to have a robust sense of our interests, our goals and the talents or skills we wish to have.
This intimately involves the imaginative self-exploration only a healthy daydreaming life can provide.
image credit: classroom & superhero image from bigstock. Previously posted on informED
W. H. Koch has a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in philosophy. He is passionate about education and teaches philosophy and critical thinking at the university and college levels. He has also provided tutoring, taught reading, literature and study skills to students from the per-kindergarten to college level.
World Economic Forum – Innovation Imperative from Davos
Posted on January 22, 2013 by Paul Hobcraft
The World Economic Forum begins agenda for this year’s meeting in Davos, taking place between 23rd to 27thJanuary, 2013 and saw Innovation is back on the agenda, big time. The agenda is a collective ‘innovation tour de force’ to solve all of our current ills for our leaders to work through, to begin to find all the solutions necessary.
The three program pillars of the 2013 session are in themselves a statement of where we are and what we need to work though: “Leading through adversity”, “Restoring economic dynamism” and “Strengthening societal resilience”. The themes are all placing the emphasis on the building, improving, unleashing, rebuilding reinforcing, sustaining and establishing which tells us exactly where our present business and economic woes need to go to be on the economic up.
The rise of innovation
So let’s take a peek at the rise of “innovation” within the preliminary agenda available, it is actually used 47 times within the document but in very specific ways that take it beyond the buzzword into something that has substance.
Those of us working within the innovation space might want to think through each of these in how to contribute to working towards many of the solutions to the goals raised within these innovation challenges. If I was in Davos I would be dizzy from this innovation confrontation.
Innovation becomes substantial in context
So the veritable list is made up of different discussion prompters over the four days, shown in no particular order just as they come. No wonder GE suggests our leaders are suffering “Innovation Vertigo”
Unleashing Entrepreneurial Innovation, Financing Innovation and Entrepreneurship in China, Unlocking innovation through social media platforms, Delivering biotech innovations, Fostering growth and social innovations, Leapfrogging innovation in developing countries, Breakthrough research and innovation, Fostering anti-disciplinary thinking for breakthrough innovation, Creating 600 million new jobs and what innovation will be needed, Collaborations with universities spurring innovation,
Fostering entrepreneurial innovation, in low growth environments, New research, technologies and innovation on the cusp of solving some of the world’s major global issues, Shaping digital norms by assessing a framework that allows innovation and rewards creativity, Scaling social innovation for greater impact, Funding corporate growth by unlocking long-term capital through innovation and infrastructure, Restoring Europe’s vibrancy by sparking and sustaining innovation-driven competition, Embedding innovation as a growth engine, Navigating today’s vast network of innovation and knowledge, Unleashing entrepreneurial innovation, What new funding models are driving innovations for growth, How can jazz and improvisation serve as a strategic model for leadership, Collaboration and innovation, How we need to leverage social technology for innovation for the next generational workforce, Build local capacity and innovation ecosystems, , Foster scientific and technological innovation, Build on past IP to gain the innovation dividends, What needs to be done to ensure intellectual property regimes will boost innovation Investing in sustaining innovation for competitiveness, Push the global innovation frontier and meet the innovation imperative, Prioritize innovations for human development, Managing in a world with decentralized innovation, Finding new centers of innovation as the next labs, Exploring the global innovation heat map for philanthropy, How technological innovation are transforming industries, Building new national innovation capacity to promote sustainable, inclusive and resilient prosperity, and finally Even Clayton Christensen will be there with his insight on how to fix national finances and that is scheduled to be a webcast live on the Wednesday.
So one can only hope that the innovation imperative message will finally get through to everyone attending the World Economic Forum. The one stating innovation is essential but it does need the dedicated focus within its understanding, structures and organization. As our leaders come down from the mountain, they do need to have an Innovation tablet in their hand and chiseled in their brain “thou shalt do …. as next steps”
Yes, it does seem innovation is not just back on the agenda, it is the necessary catalyst we all need to solve the acute set of business, economic and societal problems we have.
Those going to Davos, please enjoy but if you do bring back the real imperative and need to innovation as you finally got the message, please recognize it needs an awful lot of managing to understand its parts. One suggested place is working this through via an Executive Innovation Work Mat series of work outs; it might help resolve the “innovation vertigo” you might be experiencing as discussed in the GE Global Innovation Barometer released specifically to coincide with the World Economic Forum.
image credit: ankaraka.org.tr
Paul Hobcraft runs Agility Innovation, an advisory business that stimulates sound innovation practice, researches topics that relate to innovation for the future, as well as aligning innovation to organizations core capabilities.
5 Important Brand Trends for 2013
Posted on January 18, 2013 by Matthew E May
Is there anything more important than your brand? It’s your face to the outside world.
As far as what you need to know to help shape your brand in 2013, Landor, the brand strategy firm responsible for creating the famous FedEx logo, saves us that trouble in their look ahead with a series of videos accompanied by a short downloadable pdf that looks at eight important areas impacting brands–gamification, brand purpose, Asian luxury, packaging, data, China, design, and branding itself–and answers a simple question: What can we expect to see in 20103?
Here are the five most relevant branding trends for 2013
According to Jason Bice, Landor’s Senior Manager of Verbal Branding, gamification is poised to be as important as social and mobile were in the past. In fact, in his view, “gamification could be onsidered the third component of a new ‘holy trinity’ of digital marketing.” The questions that all small business business owners should be trying to answer is: how do I turn a virtual achievement in a real one?
One answer might be bridge digital and physical space. For example, REI partnering with Foursquare so you can explore the most exciting places in the world.
“Where gamification is going to take us is still up for grabs,” Bice maintains, “but one thing is certain: 2013 is going to be an exciting year for brands that embrace this trend. They are going to move past an advertising model that simply tells you about a better reality and into an interactive model that actually creates one.”
2. Brand purpose
Landor’s Chief Marketing Officer, Hayes Roth, believes brand purpose should be a part of your company’s very foundation. “There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not this is just another way to speak about brand positioning,” he says. “Is it a dressed-up version of what we’ve always done, or is it about something more important? We tend to believe that it is about something more important.”
To bolster that view, Roth points to the recent annual meeting of ANA (Association of National Advertisers), which featured speakers from powerhouse brands like Unilever and Proctor & Gamble. “Virtually every one of the major marketers who presented talked about how brand purpose was not just a nice-to-have something they were going to do, but was actually becoming part of the DNA of their organizations.”
The point is, companies can no longer make a promise they can’t keep–the social web has heightened transparency, and as Roth argues, someone will find you out, sooner rather than later, and word will spread quickly. Authenticity is something no company, and no brand, can afford to ignore and hope to survive. Says Roth: “Purpose is a way to combine altruism, professionalism, and pure marketing knowledge into creating a better world, and we hope, a better marketplace for our clients and ourselves.”
If you’re a product company, think “on-the-go” and “single serving.” According to Landor Executive Creative Director Philip VanDusen and Senior Design Realization Director Anne Reid, packaging trends need to keep pace with, or stay ahead of, our mobile culture. 20 percent of meals in the U.S. are eaten in the car, and 27 percent of U.S. households are single-person–sociodemographic shifts with big implications for how companies must package and display their wares.
Pyschographic shifts, such as the trend toward personalization, carry important implications. Absolut vodka, for example, recently retooled their production line in order to make each bottle unique–a different abstract painting on every bottle–hence the name Absolut Unique.
And “sensory packaging” is on the rise, which impacts in-store displays. ‘Crest toothpaste,’ points out Reid, “has a scratch-and-sniff to show you the varieties of flavors available. Downy Unstopables has a cool feature where they have little holes punctured in the lid and you can squeeze the package and it releases the scent.”
4. Data Visualization
Landor Managing Director Suzie Ivelich believes that data visualization is the future, and points to companies like Google, IBM, and GE, of which are diving into the data visualization. According to Ivelich, data visualization is all about value, and engaging customer with data that they want to engage with.
“Meaning,” she explains,“how do I build something that they want to spend time with, that they want to get their hands dirty with, that they’re going to learn something from? It all comes down to value. In the way that a company designs a car that you really want to drive because you enjoy driving it and you’re allowed to explore the road any way you want; a great data visualization is one that allows customers to really look at the data and engage with it in a way that they find interesting.”
5. Simplicity, Storytelling and Passion
Ian Wood, Landor’s Global Strategy Director, argues that these three elements must figure centrally into any successful brand, well beyond 2013.
“Brand models have accreted lots and lots of elements over time,” Wood says. “And people fear cutting away. I think what we need to do is make our brand models more actionable, more understandable, and most of all, simple enough for people to believe in and get passionate about.”
“We all know the story about cows and branding,” he continutes. “The origin of brands lies in storytelling, in language, and in sitting around campfires. We need to return to a recognition of the fact that the value of a brand is in stories, particularly in a digital world where the presentation of things is much more diverse. We need to get better at storytelling and we need to celebrate it.”
Wood argues that the branding, like leadership, is about driving changes, which in turn requires creating passion in people. “The currency of brands is passion,” he explains.
The burning question for 2013, Wood believes, is: “How can we make brands more about consequence and outputs and less about inputs? Simplicity, passion, and storytelling—these are the ways that we can get brands to be more effective and drive business results.”
image credit: brand marketing image from bigstock
Matthew E. May is the author of “IN PURSUIT OF ELEGANCE: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing.” He is constantly searching for creative ideas and innovative solutions that are ‘elegant’ – a unique and elusive combination of unusual simplicity and surprising power
Sell Microsoft NOW – Game over, Ballmer loses
Posted on January 24, 2013 by Adam Hartung
Microsoft needed a great Christmas season. After years of product stagnation, and a big market shift toward mobile devices from PCs, Microsoft’s future relied on the company seeing customers demonstrate they were ready to jump in heavily for Windows8 products – including the new Surface tablet.
But that did not happen.
With the data now coming it, it is clear the market movement away from Microsoft products, toward Apple and Android products, has not changed. On Christmas eve, as people turned on their new devices and launched their first tweet, Surface came in dead last – a mere 2% compared to the number of people tweeting from iPads (Kindle was second, Android third.) Looking at more traditional units shipped information, UBS analysts reported Surface sales were 5% of iPads shipped. And the usability reviews continue to run highly negative for Surface and Win8.
This inability to make a big splash, and mount a serious attack on Apple/Android domination, is horrific for Microsoft primarily because we now know that traditional PC sales are well into decline. Despite the big Win8 launch and promotion, holiday PC sales declined over 3% compared to 2011 as journalists reported customers found “no compelling reason to upgrade.” Ouch!
Looking deeper, for the 4th quarter PC sales declined by almost 5% according to Gartner research, and by almost 6.5% according to IDC. Both groups no longer expect a rebound in PC shipments, as they believe homes will no longer have more than 1 PC due to the mobile device penetration – the market where Surface and Win8 phones have failed to make any significant impact or move beyond a tiny market share. Users increasingly see the complexity of shifting to Win8 as not worth the effort; and if a switch is to be made consumer and businesses now favor iOS and Android.
Microsoft’s monopoly over personal computing has evaporated. From 95% market domination in 2005 share has fallen to just 20% in 2012 (IDC, Goldman Sachs. Comparing devices, in 2005 there were 55 Windows devices sold for every Apple device; today explosive Apple sales has lowered that multiple to a mere 2! (Asymco). Universally the desire to upgrade Microsoft products has simply disappeared, as XP still has 40% of the Windows market - and even Vista at 5.7% has more users than Win8 which has only achieved a 1.75% Windows market share despite the long wait and launch hoopla. And with all future market growth coming in tablets, which are expected to more than double unit volume sales by 2016, Microsoft is simply not in the game.
These trends mean nothing short of the ruin of Microsoft. Microsoft makes more than 75% of its profits from Windows and Office. Less than 25% comes from its vaunted servers and tools. And Microsoft makes nothing from its xBox/Kinect entertainment division, while losing vast sums on-line (negative $350M-$750M/quarter). No matter how much anyone likes the non-Windows Microsoft products, without the historical Windows/Office sales and profits Microsoft is not sustainable.
So what can we expect at Microsoft:
1. Ballmer has committed to fight to the death in his effort to defend & extend Windows. So expect death as resources are poured into the unwinnable battle to convert users from iOS and Android.
2. As resources are poured out of the company in the Quixotic effort to prolong Windows/Office, any hope of future dividends falls to zero.
3. Expect enormous layoffs over the next 3 years. Something like 50-60%, or more, of employees will go away.
4. Expect closure of the long-suffering on-line division in order to conserve resources.
5. The entertainment division will be spun off, sold to someone like Sony or even Barnes & Noble, or dramatically reduced in size. Unable to make a profit it will increasingly be seen as a distraction to the battle for saving Windows – and Microsoft leadership has long shown they have no idea how to profitably grow this business unit.
6. As more and more of the market shifts to competitive cloud businesses Apple, Amazon and others will grow significantly. Microsoft, losing its user base, will demonstrate its inability to build a new business in the cloud, mimicking its historical experiences with Zune (mobile music) and Microsoft mobile phones. Microsoft server and tool sales will suffer, creating a much more difficult profit environment for the sole remaining profitable division.
Missing the market shift to mobile has already forever tarnished the Microsoft brand. No longer is Microsoft seen as a leader, and instead it is rapidly losing market relevancy as people look to Apple, Google, Amazon, Samsung, Facebook and others for leadership. The declining sales, and lack of customer interest will lead to a tailspin at Microsoft not unlike what happened to RIM. Cash will be burned in what Microsoft will consider an “epic” struggle to save the “core of the company.”
But failure is already inevitable. At this stage, not even a new CEO can save Microsoft. Steve Ballmer played “Bet the Company” on the longdelayed release of Win8, losing the chance to refocus Microsoft on other growing divisions with greater chance of success. Unfortunately, the other players already had enough chips to simply bid Microsoft out of the mobile game – and Microsoft’s ante is now long gone – without holding a hand even remotely able to turn around the product situation.
Game over. Ballmer loses. And if you keep your money invested in Microsoft it will disappear along with the company.
image credit: winbeta
Adam Hartung, author of Create Marketplace Disruption, is a Faculty and Board member of the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, Managing Partner of Spark Partners, and writes for Forbes and the Journal for Innovation Science.
2013 Innovation Wisdom – Make Mistakes
Posted on January 18, 2013 by Robert F Brands
At the beginning of every year, I pick one solid quote to live by for the year. This year, my quote comes from Neil Gaiman. Gaiman himself never graduated from college. He never even enrolled in college. Yet, today, he is one of the most celebrated and prolific writers working today.
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.” – Neil Gaiman
Innovation is impossible to achieve without taking a necessary amount of risk. To increase initiative and innovation, you have to encourage and even embrace failures and mistakes.
At its core, innovation is an experiment of sorts. It requires a culture of risk, opportunity and challenge. For every innovative product that comes out of the NPD process, there are plenty of ideas that don’t. There are plenty of failures and plenty of mistakes. What’s important is that companies have a tolerance for failure and encourage risk taking. It is not enough to encourage employees to take risks. Your organization’s culture must clearly communicate how you will support innovators who take intelligent risks.
No Risk = No Innovation; one of the ten Imperatives to Robert’s Rules of Innovation. Rather than view failure as inherently bad, successful innovation requires that executives and teams commit to learning from each experiment gone bad – and incorporate those teachings into the next endeavor.
For your 2013 New Year’s Resolution, I encourage you to make mistakes! Do not be afraid of failure.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Encourage. Promote well-reasoned risk taking. The pursuit of innovation isn’t some fool-hardy flight of fancy. Insist upon a plan to be presented first to ensure understanding and buy-in across the affected organization. Know your tolerance for risk and failure in the pursuit of innovation. Clearly communicate the risk profile you are asking your people to adopt and state why it is important to the organization’s success.
- Test. In order to develop and test ideas, innovators need robust and consistent, processes and frameworks. True innovation requires thorough testing in pursuit of success. Testing, measurement, and an accounting of what’s been learned – even in failure – brings measurable outcomes from successes and failures alike.
- Trust. Do you – as a CEO or team leader – trust your people to pursue new ideas on behalf of the company? Build a culture of trust in the individual’s pursuits – so long as safety measures are in place to safe guard against failure damaging the organization.
Adopt Failure as a Learning Experience!
The most successful companies today strive to be entrepreneurial and innovative. However, It is not enough to create a one-time “aha” moment. To get results in Innovation, a structured, repeatable process is essential. Look to all imperatives of Robert’s Rules of Innovation.
Here’s to a New Year of Innovation!
image credit: neilgaiman.com
Robert Brands is the founder of InnovationCoach.com, and the author of “Robert’s Rules of Innovation: A 10-Step Program for Corporate Survival,” with Martin Kleinman – published Spring 2010 by Wiley (www.robertsrulesofinnovation.com).
How Dreamworks, LinkedIn and Google Build Intrapreneurial Cultures
Posted on January 23, 2013 by John Webb
Drive Innovation, Competitive Advantage and Customer Experience
The traditional perception of intrapreneurship being the domain of a few ‘exclusive’ individuals is being replaced by the recognition that a pervasive ‘intrapreneurial culture’, centered on the customer experience and driven by entrepreneurial values, is key to sustained innovation and competitive advantage. Some organizations, including the likes of Dell and Google, have formalized the role of the intrapreneur through official positions such as the ‘Entrepreneur In Residence’ (EIR) or ‘Chief Innovation Officer’, whilst others have sought to ‘buy-in’ intrapreneurs by acquiring start-ups with an entrepreneur in situ. Yet in this age of corporate austerity and intensified competitive threat, businesses need to create and foster intrapreneurial values and behavior across the whole organization if they are to stimulate widespread innovation, increase efficiencies and remain competitive. Defined intrapreneur roles can certainly act as catalysts, however intrapreneurship should be embedded in the overall culture of the business: adopted, accepted and celebrated as core practice and directed towards the organizational goals. Companies must therefore become versed in the methods and practices for activating and developing intrapreneurship if they are to meet the demands of today’s brave new world:
1. Look For It Building an intrapreneurial culture isn’t about ‘creating’ intrapreneurs; invariably they already exist within the organization, they just need to be discovered, nurtured and loved! By identifying and understanding existing intrapreneurs, their endeavors can be encouraged and appropriately supported to enable them to flourish. Where the company doesn’t recognize intrapreneurs they are more likely to become disenfranchised as their natural efforts are undermined and quashed, further having a resonant disruptive impact on the wider team. Intrapreneurs don’t fall into a single profile; moreover a diverse mix of individuals exhibiting a range of intrapreneurial attributes, skills and personalities is optimal to drive innovation and value-generation across the business. Leaders must accept and not fear diversity, as it is a key stimulant of ideas; they should therefore look to assemble and unleash a diverse workforce if they are to maximize the intrapreneurial opportunity. By actively seeking and being seen to encourage intrapreneurship, by giving intrapreneurs the room to explore their full potential and range of interests, the company will build it’s brand in the talent market, giving an edge over it’s competition in being able to attract and recruit the most sought after individuals. It is important that as the organization recruits new talent, it proactively seeks people with intrapreneurial traits who will complement and augment the incumbent team.
2. Be Transparent Company vision, goals and strategy are not the purview of a mere few. Owners and leaders must be transparent and candid with their teams if they are to stimulate and develop intrapreneurship, not just in providing a future direction, but also the realities of the now. Intrapreneurs are not renegades; they do not act as subversives to the organizational collective good. Intrapreneurial endeavors should always be conducted in the best interests and congruent with the overarching vision and strategies of the parent business. As such, intrapreneurs need to see the big picture if they are to bring new thinking and value that is aligned to the organization’s needs and goals. Their initiatives will be more relevant and productive if they have visibility and understanding of the wider context, as well as having greater scope to merge and align their ideas with others. Intrapreneurs, as employees, feel more empowered if they know where they’re going and why they’re going there.
3. Be Inclusive Make people feel integrated and part of the company, no matter what their job is. Give them a sense of value and togetherness so that they are motivated to work for the best of the business and not just their own self-interests. Intrapreneurship is a win-win; it advances both the needs and success of the individual and the organization. If the intrapreneur is dis-enfranchised, there is a risk that they will take their ideas, equity and value-generated outside as either an entrepreneur or possibly a competitor. An intrapreneurial culture builds value across the workforce which is predicated upon giving people a voice in their own work. They need to feel empowered such that they have the scope to be able to contribute and make change.
4. Give People Ownership To create an intrapreneurial culture, people must be empowered to make decisions – empowered to have ownership. In this respect, employees need to be encouraged to create solutions independently of the chain of command. This breads a fluid environment of rapid ideation and activity where individuals and teams are prepared to form views and make judgments, which ultimately create value for the business. The success of any venture is the summation of the decisions and thinking that contribute to it, whether from top down or the minute-by-minute decisions that go into all employees performing their tasks. In today’s knowledge economy, companies that foster independent thinking will better serve customers, build additional value and gain competitive advantage. Intrapreneurs are contributors.
5. Make Risk-Taking and Failure Acceptable As intrapreneurs make decisions, they must be willing to take intelligent risks and, although fully prepared to be held accountable, not fear persecution or ridicule if they fail. Risk-taking and consequently failure are necessary components of progress that need to be accepted, understood and embraced by the organization. Failure is an important part of the innovation process, a signpost on a journey indicating which way not to turn (at that particular point in time). Organizations should therefore tolerate some failure and accept calculated risk taking. Not all ideas will produce successful new products, create more efficient ways of doing things, or lead to a strategic advantage. But all ideas can be a step towards each of these, either forwards, backwards, or pivoting to the side. In all failure there is success in producing a result; it may not be the result intended or desired, but it provides a learning experience allowing change to be made in order to generate a new outcome. Intrapreneurs must be prepared to take action on a daily basis in order to reach their desired goals; they need to be allowed to learn from every experience in order to progress. It is the responsibility of leaders and managers to develop a culture of learning from failure that moves on to the next, more informed attempt…otherwise known as experimentation.
6. Create a Learning Culture Knowledge fuels and underpins innovation. It allows possibilities to be seen and explored; it informs and guides direction by providing context, insight and understanding which in turn lead to new thinking, ideas and solutions. In most cases, once people leave school or college proactive learning becomes sporadic at best. A core trait of highly successful individuals however is they have an un-quenching thirst for learning and personal development; they seek knowledge and insights in all their forms and actively pursue opportunities to augment. Not only is this through reading books, texts, articles or interviews in their given discipline; attending events, workshops or seminars; or searching and exploring content online, but also through interactions with others – everyday meetings and conversations, or time spent with individuals who can specifically build their understanding, i.e. people who’ve been there and done it before. This form of absorptive education is crucial for the development of intrapreneurs. Companies must imbue values of endless self-improvement, knowledge seeking and development through the definition, articulation and ongoing experience of their core values as a means of instilling these principles across the workforce.
7. Train Employees on Creating and Selling Innovation One famously innovative company, Dreamworks Animations – the studio behind groundbreaking movie franchises including Shrek, Madagascar and Kung-Fu Panda – values and encourages creativity from all its employees, even support staff such as accountants and lawyers. According to Dan Satterthwaite, Head of Human Resources, they actively solicit ideas and regularly receive hundreds from staff across the business. Regardless of their defined roles, Dreamworks employees are specifically trained on how to pitch their ideas successfully,
whether it involves creative input for a new movie or a food choice for the cafeteria. According to Satterthwaite: “The work that we do is so collaborative that we must have people who can not only sit at their desk and solve a problem, but then be able to articulate that solution to their supervisor and to the team.” All employees also have access to courses such as artist development, giving them the skills, knowledge and aptitudes that have enabled Dreamworks to repeatedly come up with the next blockbuster animated movie. This inclusive, high engagement culture has consequently led Dreamworks to consistently gain high employee satisfaction rankings as a great place to work. As Satterwaite puts it: “We challenge all our employees to be their own CEOs.”[i]
8. Support People With Ideas Allowing and asking for workers to pitch their ideas is a core element in developing an ‘open innovation’, intrapreneurially-led culture. Employees have their fingers on the pulse of the customer and marketplace, and hence are best positioned to spot new trends and see opportunities early. They should therefore be encouraged to contribute to the innovation dialogue of the business. Companies may not only solicit general ideas, but also ask employees how they envision solving specific problems, or to provide suggestions about new strategies and tools before they’re implemented. It’s important for the organization not to solely rely on formal, structured communications channels to gather and transmit ideas around the business. In order to gain widespread participation, ad hoc and informal channels should also be adopted – idea boxes, email addresses, intranet sites and wikis are all tools for accumulating input. The majority of ideas generated through such channels are likely to be limited to incremental innovations, i.e. doing things the way they always have been but better, rather than real break-through, new direction innovation. Incremental innovation can drive rapid revenue growth and cost savings, but is unlikely to provide new business streams or strategic competitive advantage. For the latter, these programs must be deployed in unison with wider intrapreneurship agendas and the intrapreneurs supported to see their ideas through to fruition. When a solution is developed, the business must assist the intrapreneur on the ground by providing expert and executive-level resources and advice in order to increase the chances of success and reduce time from idea to execution.
9. Offer Room to Play Around A practiced method for promoting intrapreneurship is to give individuals allocated time away from their ‘day jobs’ in order to encourage their creative processes and support them in the development of new ideas and initiatives. This has generally taken two forms: internal one-hit ‘hackathons’, and providing ongoing ‘flex time’ or ‘tinker time’ to experiment with new ideas and side projects. These schemes provide employees with the room to play around outside of the mental confines and stresses of their prescribed roles. The concept has become
increasingly popular across innovation-led companies, notably within the tech space, including the likes of Hewlett-Packard, Apple and Google where their “20 Percent Time” has famously given birth to products including Gmail, Google Earth, and Gmail Labs. Set aside innovation time allows individuals and teams scope outside of their daily responsibilities to scout for and test different ideas and approaches, which creates intrapreneurial value without diminishing or distracting from the ongoing function and development of the core business. One of the challenges with ’20 Percent Time’ is that it can be unfocused and lacking output; to counter this, LinkedIn launched their ‘InCubator’ program in December 2012, essentially operating as an internal ‘startup’ incubator. Engineers can get 30 to 90 days away from their regular work to develop ideas of their own into products; the program is highly structured with rounds of judging, including a final round with founder Reid Hoffman and CEO Jeff Weiner, to filter ideas and extract the most viable and potentially profitable new products. [ii]
10. Create a Safe Place for Innovation Removing short-term pressure for immediate returns and taking a longer-term view on innovation is critical to giving intrapreneurial ventures the space to develop and succeed. Basing management decisions on a long-term philosophy, even at the expense of short-term financial goals is the first principle of ‘The Toyota Way’, the tenets that have guided Toyota over generations to become the world’s second largest car manufacturer (Forbes Global 2000 2012 [iii]) and one of the most innovative companies around. The revolutionary Prius hybrid electric model took nearly 5 years and an estimated $1 billion to develop, without any real understanding or sense of the market opportunity, simply a vision that hybrids were the cars of the future [iv]. It has gone on to sell over 2.6 million cars worldwide [v]. The need to meet short-term defined goals or deliver immediate financial results limits the ability for the intrapreneur to experiment and push boundaries; it restricts decision making by placing confining barriers on solutions. That’s not to say that intrapreneurs should be left unfettered, but added value will increase exponentially as a culture of innovation and continuous, ongoing improvement is developed over time.
11. Celebrate and Reward Intrapreneurial Behaviour Celebrate intrapreneurial successes and the people behind them – whether individuals or teams, it’s important to give credit where it’s due. Recognition and reward will act as significant affirmations for the intrapreneur and provide them with reasons to stay, continue to add value and to grow their contributions in the future. Financial incentives such as profit sharing on ideas will reward for the risk, time and effort put into making the endeavor a success but equally, if not more significant will be playing to the psychology of the intrapreneur through public acknowledgement and endorsement. Recognizing intrapreneurs and calling them out sends other employees a powerful signal that innovation
and activation are assets greatly valued by the company. Intrapreneurs also need to see prospects for career advancement within the organization as a key motivation for embarking on and pursuing their endeavor. If they don’t, they’re liable to move externally taking their ideas and the value that they’ve accumulated with them. Clearly the organization has some protection rights in terms of intellectual property, but the business will lose a vital resource and innovative force. Each organization must consider its own culture and values to determine the mix of incentives that will have the greatest impact.
12. Encourage Cross-Discipline Projects and Collaboration A great misconception of intrapreneurship is that it is an individual sport. For any intrapreneurial venture to succeed, collaboration is key to stimulate and refine innovation and to execute efficiently and effectively. Companies therefore need to proactively create, encourage and facilitate ongoing collaboration between individuals and teams. The only rule that 3M places on their 15% of innovation time for each employee is that they must share their insights with others. Collaboration brings people and resources together to generate a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts, through a collective approach. It improves problem solving by combining experiences to short cut the learning curve as to what works and what doesn’t, eliminating time and resource requirements. Individually our knowledge is limited, it is only by working together that we can extend this to gain a fuller comprehension of the situation and identify possible scenarios or solutions, leading to more thoughtthrough and consequently robust and effective outcomes. Collaboration also facilitates ownership; by contributing to the conception and development of an idea, the collaborators are more empowered and committed to make sure that it actually happens and succeeds.
13. Encourage Networking and Knowledge Sharing Just as direct collaboration with others is key to fostering intrapreneurship, creating and maintaining a network of active relationships with external and, critically internal ‘influencers’ and ‘connectors’ is essential to building awareness, advocacy and momentum for intrapreneurial initiatives. Influencers are those people in the business who, whilst not directly being empowered to make specific decisions, hold knowledge and opinions that are recognized, valued and sought by those that are. Connectors are quite simply the individuals who connect ideas, resources and people within a business; they act as facilitators and conduits for intrapreneurs to both attract and seek out the necessary support to be able to progress their projects. They may or may not be power holders per se, but critically they have the necessary knowledge and relationships to make things happen: they know who to talk to on issues, who the decision makers are, where there are ‘pots’ of resources, who knows who, and what the key components are for projects to get sanctioned. In both cases, building exposure to these groups for the company’s intrapreneurs will create the necessary environment for new concepts to be identified, supported, developed, approved and ultimately succeed. Companies need to seed, encourage and promote networking horizontally and vertically, internally and externally, in order to maximize these informal systems so that intrapreneurship can thrive.
14. Focus on How to Better Serve Customers By placing the customer at the beginning, middle and end of all decision-making, the intrapreneur creates the context and stimulus to generate, refine and execute ideas and thinking that are more likely to succeed. Creativity in of itself is irrelevant if it is not viewed through the lens of the ultimate consumer, be that a piece of art, a product, or an idea. Creativity does not, and cannot exist in a vacuum. The ‘value’ of an idea is only derived when it is active, i.e. when it is creating something new and better from the perspective of a customer experience (whether an internal
or external customer). For something to ultimately be better, the consumer has to see, feel and believe that it is in fact better. Creativity in action equates to innovation.
15. Be Sensitive to External Changes Creating an organizational ‘nervous system’ that is sensitive to external changes allows the business to innovate faster. Intrapreneurs need to think and react at speed if they’re going to stay ahead of emerging trends and opportunities given the constant flux of today’s markets and ever increasing competition. The organization therefore needs to provide its intrapreneurs with the intelligence to move quickly. Part of this is creating an internal and external data framework that drives consumable and actionable insights. However pure data alone is never enough; intelligence should always be augmented by a network of human gatherers who actively gain insights through building networks and contacts in the market. In this respect, it’s important to consider how this intelligence is consolidated and disseminated across the business. In most cases, highly valuable knowledge is usually retained and guarded by individuals or teams without sharing; only by pooling this will the organization empower its intrapreneurs to create value and drive competitive advantage.
16. Shorten the ‘Yes Chain’ One of the biggest challenges for any intrapreneur or intrapreneurial venture is to navigate the idea or initiative through the maize of corporate decision making to get to the ultimate sources of power that can actually sanction the project or provide allocation of resources. As organizations grow in scale and complexity the ‘yes chain’ becomes more complex and layered, making it time consuming and draining to reach the necessary conclusions. More often than not, the idea will never make it to the final ‘yes’. Key to Steve Jobs turning around the fortunes of Apple when he returned in 1997 was walking into the Design Team’s workshop and seeing the array of prototypes on the shelves, exclaiming: “My God, what have we got here?”[vi]. Under the previous regime the vast majority, if any, of these concepts would never have been seen by the ultimate decision makers; yet this was the birth of the stream of ideas that led to the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad. By shortening or circumventing the ‘yes chain’, companies can be more reactive to opportunities; drive innovation by activating a constant stream of ideas; and create a broad intrapreneurial culture leading to more engaged and empowered employees.
17. Create and Allocate a Funding Pot for Intrapreneurial Initiatives One of the biggest hurdles for intrapreneurial ventures is the inability to secure the necessary resources, at the right time, in order to move the project forward. By carving out a funding pool specifically to be used to seed intrapreneurs, companies can enable greater traction for new ideas and thus increase the likelihood of creating new, sustainable business streams. In this respect, the business should act and apply the same principles and rigor as any investor would in the case of an entrepreneurial venture. Intrapreneurs must pitch their ideas and supporting business plans in order to access funding, and be held accountable throughout the development process. That said, the rule of ‘creating a safe place for innovation’ applies – don’t rush for immediate results by putting intrapreneurs under undue pressure to make quick returns; the greater opportunity for the parent business is to play a longer game to realise continuous value over time. It is important for all employees to understand the processes and criteria by which any funding is allocated so that they can align their pitches accordingly and that there is transparency and understanding when applicants are unsuccessful. This is a small investment for potentially significant gain, not only in terms of greater efficiencies, new revenue streams or developing competitive advantages, but in the wider benefits of fostering an intrapreneurial culture revolving around a more engaged, motivated and loyal workforce.
Intrapreneurship, alongside entrepreneurship, must be the solution to solving the enormity of the current global economic crisis. For companies to not only survive this environment but to be able to thrive, they need to proactively look to create and foster intrapreneurship and build an intrapreneurial culture across all employees. As Richard Branson puts it: “Perhaps the greatest thing about this form of enabled intrapreneurship is that often everyone becomes so immersed in what they’re doing that they feel like they own their companies. They don’t feel like employees working for someone else, they feel much more like … well, I think the only word to describe it is “belongers.” [vii]
[i] ‘Company values ideas, input from every employee – Dreamworks is believer in every employee’s creativity.’ By Anita Bruzzese, Gannett, USATODAY.com
[ii] ‘LinkedIn Gone Wild: ’20 percent Time’ to Tinker Spreads Beyond Google.’ By Ryan Tate. Wired.com, December 6th, 2012.
[iii] Forbes Global 2000
[iv] ‘Toyota: The Birth of the Prius’. By Alex Taylor III. CNN Money, February 21st 2006.
[v] Wikipedia: Toyota Prius
[vi] ‘How did a British polytechnic graduate become the design genius behind £200 billion Apple?’ By Rob Waugh, The Daily Mail 20 March 2011.
[vii] ‘Richard Branson on Intrapreneurs.’ By Richard Branson, Entrepreneur.com 31 January 2011.
Image credit: filmbuffhowsy.co.uk
John Webb is International Marketing Director for Cloud Computing and SMB at Rackspace Hosting Limited, having previously led marketing teams at Rockstar Games, Yahoo! and Heinz. John blogs on marketing strategy, innovation and intrapreneurship at in2-marketing.com. You can follow him on Twitter @WebbJS
Big Useful Data
Posted on January 20, 2013 by Steve Todd
The results of the Digital Universe study offer product innovation hints that are likely to surface due to exponential data growth.
In my last post I specifically called out complex event processing (CEP) as a technology that will fuel significant innovation going forward.
In this post I’d like to posit that unstructured data tagging will also be on the rise. Consider this interesting statement from the survey:
All in all, in 2012, we believe 23% of the information in the digital universe (or 643 exabytes) would be useful for Big Data if it were tagged and analyzed.
On the flip side of that number, does it follow that 77% (2152 EB) of data would be useless?
What exactly does “useful” really mean, anyway? The graphic below offers some context:
Take a look at the 2020 data. Blue means “useful”. The height difference between yellow and blue maps to “not useful”.
After studying the report for quite some time, it dawned on me that these designations apply to “unstructured data”. Transactional, structured content is self-describing. Row-column data, for example, has inherit meaning (e.g. a schema) and is therefore useful.
Unstructured data, on the other hand, is often a blob of unknown, variable length content. In order for it to have any value at all, additional meta-data is required.
It is precisely the addition of meta-data that will render the unstructured content as “useful”. In fact, the rise of meta-data tagging is also called out specifically by the IDC:
Metadata is one of the fastest-growing subsegments of the digital universe (though metadata itself is a small part of the digital universe overall).
If metadata tagging represents an emerging area of high-tech innovation, what types of unstructured files will be the first targets? Once again, the IDC has a useful graphic (followed by their definitions of each file type):
Surveillance footage. Typically, generic metadata (date, time, location, etc.) is automatically attached to a video file. However, as IP cameras continue to proliferate, there is greater opportunity to embed more intelligence into the camera (on the edge) so that footage can be captured, analyzed, and tagged in real time. This type of tagging can expedite crime investigations, enhance retail analytics for consumer traffic patterns, and, of course, improve military intelligence as videos from drones across multiple geographies are compared for pattern correlations, crowd emergence and response, or measuring the effectiveness of counterinsurgency.
Embedded and medical devices. In the future, sensors of all types (including those that may be implanted into the body) will capture vital and nonvital biometrics, track medicine effectiveness, correlate bodily activity with health, monitor potential outbreaks of viruses, etc. — all in real time.
Entertainment and social media. Trends based on crowds or massive groups of individuals can be a great source of Big Data to help bring to market the “next big thing,” help pick winners and losers in the stock market, and yes, even predict the outcome of elections — all based on information users freely publish through social outlets.
Consumer images. We say a lot about ourselves when we post pictures of ourselves or our families or friends. A picture used to be worth a thousand words, but the advent of Big Data has introduced a significant multiplier. The key will be the introduction of sophisticated tagging algorithms that can analyze images either in real time when pictures are taken or uploaded or en masse after they are aggregated from various Web sites.
Let’s assume that we’ll see significant innovation in unstructured tagging for surveillance, medical, entertainment/social and consumer use cases.
The growth in meta-data results in a management problem. If the content gets separated from the meta-data, then the content will revert back to useless.
How do you (permanently) unite the metadata together with the content? The best solutions will permanently graft the metadata and the content together. This will lead to the continued rise of information storage systems that specialize in keeping content and meta-data together: Objectbased storage systems.
For those of you unfamiliar with the benefits of object-based storage, earlier this year Chuck Hollis posted a summary of the Atmos implementation of object-based storage. Study his post and it will become clear why object-based technologies are so important.
Tagging transforms unstructured content into something useful (e.g. something that can be analyzed).
Analysis of objects will therefore become critical for the Digital Universe, and a topic worth exploring in a future post.
Steve Todd is an EMC Fellow, the Director of EMC’s Innovation Network, and a high-tech inventor and book author Innovate With Global Influence. An EMC Intrapreneur with over 200 patent applications and billions in product revenue, he writes about innovation on his personal blog, the Information Playground. Twitter: @SteveTodd
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