September 29, 2016 / Articles We Like / Strategy

On Inspire Change: A Step-by-Step Guide to Disrupting an Industry

Disruption involves taking big risks to solve big problems that have never been solved before. If you are looking to know when and how to disrupt a market, take a look at Kevin Rands recent Business article Inspire Change: A Step-by-Step Guide to Disrupting an Industry.

Kevin thinks you need to start by listening to consumers and checking the pulse of your industry. Are there pain points and frequent complaints in social media?  Does the industry lack creativity and innovation? Is there a lack of customer loyalty among the market leaders?  Is it a fragmented market? If there are market issues, you just might be in the right position to change, redefine, or take the lead.

What do think about Kevin’s five recommendations?

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September 29th, 2016|Categories: Articles We Like, Strategy|Tags: , , |
August 1, 2016 / Strategy / Wise Talk

WiseTalk Summary on Transformation for the Digital Age

On July 20, 2016, Sue Bethanis hosted David Rogers, professor at Columbia Business School and the author of the recent book The Digital Transformation Playbook. David is a globally-recognized leader on digital business strategy. David talked with Sue about why traditional businesses need to rethink, adapt, and learn from todays’ digital disruptors and innovators.

Favorite Quote:
“The reason that digital technologies matter so much to businesses is because it matters to customers. Through technology, customers can discover, learn, interact, and influence each other. It’s changing the relationship businesses have with their customers.”

Insights:
Digital transformation is a question — How does a business that was started before the digital era need to adapt in order to grow, thrive, and reach its next stage of profitable growth?
According to Rogers, digital transformation really isn’t about technology, it’s about changing strategic thinking and organizations’ need to upgrade their thinking across these five domains of strategy:

  1. Customers – Businesses need to shift from thinking about their customers as targets (who they market to) to thinking about them as networks. We need to look at customers as active and dynamic participants and partners. Technology is changing the customer relationship with businesses and with each other. There is now a much more reciprocal dynamic relationship with customers and it is important to understand the ways that they (customers) are interacting with each other and making decisions. Businesses now have better insight into the customer’s very rapidly changing path to purchase.
  2. Competition – We are shifting from a world where traditional competition was very much a zero-sum game. We are now not only dealing with rivals within our industry, but also with competitors from outside our industry (for example, Uber and the auto industry). We are now in an environment where companies are dealing with “co-opetition”. The same company may be your fiercest rival and a critical business partner.
  3. Data – Traditionally, data was expensive to obtain and was primarily used in an organizational silo fashion to manage processes and forecasting. Basically, businesses used data to operate more efficiently and effectively. Now, data is everywhere. There is an incredible sea change in unstructured data which is commonly called “Big Data”. We are now seeing businesses that can bring this data together in an integrated fashion. Instead of just improving operating efficiency data can be used to create new value and to innovate and drive the business forward.
  4. Innovation – There is a big shift from the traditional model of innovation that is based on senior organizational leaders making tough decision and placing big bets. We are shifting to a model that is based upon a process David Rogers calls “rapid experimentation.” The role of leadership is very different in this model. Instead of trying to figure out the answer, leaders set the goal and the question of innovation and enable their organization to figure out how they can effectively learn as quickly and rapidly as possible. Digital technologies now enable continuous testing and experimentation so that business leaders don’t sink everything into one big bet that may or may not work.
  5. Value – The last domain of digital transformation is the value a business delivers to its customers. Industry definitions and borders are becoming much more fluid and evolving. As the environment changes, businesses need to shift from taking a static view of who they are. Every business should look at every change and new technology and ask itself, “How can this create a new opportunity for me to deliver value to my customers that I wasn’t able to deliver yesterday?” It is important to be thinking about how to be as relevant to your customer today and going forward as you’ve been in the past.

On Data Sharing:
Certain industries are more comfortable with sharing data and there are certainly key differences among age groups.

  • Brand Trust – Even when an individual is hesitant to share data, if there is a particular brand where they thought they had a trusted relationship with for more than six months they were more likely to share their data.
  • Creating Value – People are really influenced by the perception that there is value being exchanged. When they feel that by giving the data to your company they can see that it allows you to serve them better, they are much more open to the idea of sharing data.

On Learning to Experiment:
Experimentation is really just an iterative process of what does and doesn’t work. Thinking about innovation as a series of experiments is about organizing your innovation process around learning.
There are a couple of different types of experiments and as a manager it is important to understand the distinctions.

  • Convergent Experiments – You start with a specific question and you are converging on an answer (example: an A/B test). In the ideal situation, these experiments can actually be designed using a scientific method.
  • Divergent Experiments – There is not a single specific question like an A/B test. You are posing an unknown set of questions that require a different process design. This is where you might be putting a prototype in the hands of customers or discovering through an iterative process what may be most meaningful for the business. The process may actually generate new questions for each stage. The ultimate goal is to test as many assumptions as possible behind a general idea of an innovation.

What We Found Most Interesting:
Businesses must understand the importance of strategies to build platforms, not just products. In the digital era, the competition shift is being driven by the growth of platform business models – a business that creates value by facilitating direct interactions between different types of customers. So, instead of the business creating the value – the business is creating value by bringing together different parties that are each contributing and exchanging different kinds of value themselves.

To learn more about David Rogers and his thoughts on digital disruption, listen to the WiseTalk recording.

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February 2, 2016 / Articles We Like / Leadership / Strategy

On "The Wild West of Measuring Corporate Sustainability"

Many companies have made sustainability measures part of their corporate goals. The impetus to do so might be driven by cost reduction measures, the need to ensure a future supply of materials, or a desire to make a positive impact on the communities they serve. Reporting on progress of sustainable development is a fairly recent business trend, and as such, varying degrees of standards exist, with varying degrees of transparency. At the same time, investors are becoming more savvy about the information they want from their portfolio companies.

In this Stanford Social Innovation Review article, The Wild West of Measuring Corporate Sustainability, author Eric Nitzberg builds a case for why executives ought to stay ahead of sustainability reporting trends to meet the expectations of modern investors. He also cites key sustainability reporting resources leaders can leverage to inform their sustainability strategies moving forward.

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January 28, 2016 / Articles We Like / Strategy

On “Shake It Up: How to Identify Industries That are Ready for Disruption”

Innovation is a top priority for all companies, with the unicorn of innovation being “disruption”. Possibly the easiest way to innovate is to disrupt an existing industry (think Uber or Airbnb).

Many executives we work with are tasked with innovation as part of their jobs, and need a strong strategic thinking toolkit to do so. We share this article because it provides a framework for thinking about industry trends, to spur new ideas on where disruption might be possible.

In the business.com article by Anna Johansson, Shake It Up: How to Identify Industries That are Ready for Disruption learn about the telltale signs of markets that are ready for disruption, and read some examples of markets the author believes are poised for disruption. Add this to your strategic thinking toolkit!

What are your favorite tools for spotting industry trends?

 

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January 28th, 2016|Categories: Articles We Like, Strategy|Tags: , , |
May 15, 2015 / Articles We Like / HR / Talent Management

On “5 Dos and Don’ts of Talent Development”

Effective talent management processes balance internal talent development with the introduction of new talent into an organization. The blend of existing high-potential talent and the qualities and experiences fresh high-potential talent can infuse into your culture is what enables innovation.

Leadership guru, Louis Carter’s recent article on Human Resources Online, 5 Dos and Don’ts of Talent Development, highlights five ways to effectively recruit and develop high-potential talent. From developing a common language to discuss potential through allowing process ownership, these five suggestions combined with five tendencies to avoid, remind us all of the importance in balancing tradition with innovation.

What are some ways your organization strikes the balance between tradition and innovation in your high-potential talent management processes?

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March 3, 2015 / HR / Talent Management / Wisetalk

WiseTalk Summary on Disrupting Talent Management

On February 26, 2015, Sue Bethanis hosted Steve Cadigan, a Silicon Valley talent, people and culture expert, founder of Cadigan Talent Ventures LLC, a Silicon Valley-based talent strategies advisory firm, and former Vice President of Talent at LinkedIn. Steve helped us understand why traditional talent sourcing and hiring methods are in need of disruption, shared his vision on how disruption can benefit both prospective employees and employers, and shared innovative ideas for changing the way employers source talent.

Favorite Quote:
“If you want to win the war for recruiting, you have to change the game.”

Insights:

  • The process of recruiting and building an organization is still in its infancy of what it can be and could be. The traditional model is “I have a need”, put a job description together, hire a recruiter, and the recruiter hunts for talent. Steve thinks the reason this model perpetuates is due to priority and ownership. He believes talent drives value creation but rarely sees the right investment of priority, attention and time from executive teams. It’s the last thing on their agenda, the people systems are an afterthought bolted onto an ERP solution, and boards of directors rarely have people serving on them who have a strong understanding of the powerhouse muscle of talent. He believes ownership of talent belongs with the whole company, not just human resources, especially in Silicon Valley, where the biggest thing a company needs to be great at is building a great team. It should be a core responsibility and the biggest muscle being working on.
  • Steve believes the employee-employer relationship is changing, and power is shifting to employee, particularly in Silicon Valley. Potential employees have more information available to them, more choice, and can decide where they want to go to. He argues that an employer brand in a company that’s growing is almost as important if not more important than your product brand. Consumers want to buy from someone who treats their employees well and is providing a good work environment. Brand can’t be spun anymore. It’s the collective voice of Glassdoor, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, bloggers, all of which is the manifestation of the voice of your employees.
  • In an increasingly transparent world, instead of investing in a huge recruiting team, Steve argues the better investment is to try to make your organization the desired destination for the best people in the world. This is different from needing a few hours to source and interview every week. This is about what kind of environment, culture, organizational structure, communication plan, relationships, how the workspace is designed, etc., which contribute to a differentiator in answering the question, why does someone want to come work here? Steve believes if companies do that well, and they know what kind of person they’re looking for, they’ll create a magnetic pull for talent. Hunting for talent in the traditional sense won’t allow a company to scale fast enough.

What we found most interesting:

Inherently, Steve thinks recruiting is broken because, as has been proven time and again, the traditional hiring process is not the best indicator of job performance. The best hires he’s made were those hired through internships, where the candidate is interviewing the company and the company is interviewing the candidate.

To learn more about Steve’s experience, and hear some of the innovative ideas for recruiting, hiring and building company culture, listen to the recording here.

 

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February 2, 2015 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Finding the Next Steve Jobs

finding-the-next-steve-jobsFinding the Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Keep and Nurture Creative Talent
By Nolan Bushnell with Gene Stone

Head: 3 ( out of 5)
Heart: 4 ( out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: 4 ( out of 5)

Companies want to cultivate creative thinking in employees, believing that without it, they won’t survive. And it’s true: creativity sparks new ideas and when it permeates the culture, leads to competitive advantage.  Companies, therefore, need talent passionate about the present as much as about the future, and who don’t mind being considered different.  A diverse and inclusive workforce is a recipe for innovation in today’s business environment.

The author, Nolan Bushnell, is the founder of Atari Corporation and Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theater. He knows a thing or two about finding and hiring creative talent. Drawing on his experience, each chapter offers insight and tips on how to do just that. While the focus of this book is on hiring creative talent, the innovative concepts could apply to recruitment of other talent. The ideas force us to rethink traditional recruiting and hiring practices, which many studies have shown to be flawed.

Some the ideas presented include:

  • Hiring for Passion and Integrity: Passion is a quality that is inherent; one can’t be trained to be passionate.
  • Ignore Credentials: Employers should stop using a college degree as a sole qualification for employment. Instead, ask unusual questions to test for curiosity and resourcefulness.
  • Look for Hobbies: Hobbies tell us about passions
  • Hire Under Your Nose: Observe people doing their jobs outside of your workplace. Talent can be found anywhere.
  • Comb Through Tweets:  Use Twitter to identify talent. Twitter is a means of expression for many and a lot can be learned by their tweets.

Leaders and human resource professionals interested in building an innovative culture that thrives in the future will want to read this book. Buy it now.

 

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December 22, 2014 / Articles We Like / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / Leadership

On “Research: 10 Traits of Innovative Leaders”

To successfully innovate, companies need strong leaders. As executive leadership coaches, our work with clients in Silicon Valley is inherently tied to helping companies achieve their innovation goals, and that’s why this article resonates with us.

The Harvard Business Review article, Research: 10 Traits of Innovative Leaders, by Jack Zenger and Joseph Falkman, reveals the 10 behaviors innovative leaders consistently demonstrate that make them effective at driving innovation.  We contend that these behaviors are not only key innovative leadership behaviors, but core skills to hone for effective leadership overall.  Read the article now.

Do you agree with this list of behaviors? Why or why not?

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November 30, 2014 / Articles We Like / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation

On “Beyond MVP: 10 tips for creating your Minimum Loveable Product”

Creating a minimum viable product (MVP) is the goal for most new product innovation, and for many of our clients in Silicon Valley. So many decisions go into making an MVP, and balancing those decisions with speed to market is not a small task. With many MVPs failing to leave a lasting impression on customers because their expectations are not met, is there a better way to successfully bring new products to market?

According to Laurence McCahill, yes there is! From a customer experience perspective, the MVP might be an outdated way of thinking about new product innovation. Instead, consider the Minimal Loveable Product (MLP). In the article, Beyond MVP: 10 tips for creating your Minimum Loveable Product, Laurence outlines 10 tips to go from MVP to MLP. In the process, you’ll build a community of users, delight them from the start, and get them talking. The author advocates for design as a critical element, which we love!  Propel the success of your new product by reading this article now.

What’s the greatest challenge you face in creating new products?

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June 27, 2014 / Articles We Like

On: "Charles Eames on Design"

Charles-Eames-400x466In this blog post, Charles Eames on Design, Maria Popova shares one of Eames’ little known interviews. Forty-two years later, the master’s words resonate now more than ever.  He was the forefather of customer-centric innovation and design thinking.

I often say to my team and the leaders I work with, “an idea is only as good as its usefulness.” In this interview, Eames brings home the centrality of customer “need” in design over and over again, and he offers leaders a different way of seeing the world.

Charles & Ray Eames are design heroes of mine, and I favorite Maria Popova (@brainpicker) more than anyone else on Twitter.  I hope you get something out of the interview like I have, and please share your thoughts!

Comment below! Or pose a question via Ask Mariposa.

 

 

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