Collaborative teams – USA versus Europe

TLogistics | Business Innovation Factoryoday is the last day of the Ryder Cup 2014, and the score is 10-6 (see update below for the final score). We have been here before. In the past, this score has been overturned on the last day twice (in fact, every time, see footnote).

Super-events

Each sport has its super-events which evoke significantly more emotional energy than other events, often inspired by national rivalries. Cricket has The Ashes, golf has the Ryder Cup (see footnote) for men and the Solheim Cup for women, and there are many super-events in other sports. However, the Ryder Cup, unlike the vast majority of professional golf tournaments, is a team event. This raises the question of how their performance depends on collaborative behaviour within the team.

Game or business

During the BBC commentary on this event, Nicolas Colsaerts was asked about the two sides and the differences between the approach to the game on the two continents. Continue reading “Collaborative teams – USA versus Europe”

Tesla in Texas: two innovations interacting?

Selling innovative products

If you are selling something, then you want people to buy it, but how? The challenge is greater if your product is more innovative. But maybe other innovations can come to the rescue.

Resistance from existing distributors

Tesla_logo

For Tesla, the electric car manufacturer which is shaking up the motor industry, Texas is different. Tesla believe that existing car dealers have little incentive to sell electric cars, so they decided to sell them direct through their own sites, rather like a kind of Apple Store chain for cars.

But in Texas the car dealers don’t like that and they have laws to stop it.
Continue reading “Tesla in Texas: two innovations interacting?”

To innovate or not to innovate? That is not the question!

Sooner or later continuous improvement, by any individual or organisation, runs out of steam.

Marching up the slope ahead of us makes sense as an effective way to move onwards and upwards, until we reach the summit. But the summit of what? Most likely it is not the summit, it is just a summit.

There are other summits, and many of them are higher than this summit. Now what?

Discontinuous improvement is called for, to transition across the valley or chasm to the slope of our next, higher challenge. With sufficient resources and expertise, we might be able to build a bridge or to swing or, even, fly across. Without them, we must commit to descending into the valley.

Or, of course, we could just stay where we are at the top of our little summit.

The questions about innovation are not about why we innovate or whether to innovate. They are about what, when, where and how we innovate.

Any riots in the clouds?

Earlier this week, I overheard an interesting and unusual support call being handled at a company which provides business systems. On the face of it, you might enjoy this topical little story, but it might also get you thinking, as it did me, about some rather more substantial issues.

This customer was calling because he wanted to take his business system home! Continue reading “Any riots in the clouds?”

Organising for innovation

Aspects and characteristics

It is unlikely that anyone doubts that the ability of an organisation to innovate is strongly dependent on the nature of that organisation. Its nature can be described by various characteristics (including cultural, behavioural and structural characteristics) and by several aspects (including the static and dynamic aspects) of those characteristics.  Continue reading “Organising for innovation”

LikeMinds turn to “innovation and opportunity”

Yesterday, LikeMinds 2011 was announced. Yet again, the fields of enquiry chosen for the conference are topical, substantial and accelerating: “innovation and opportunity”. What a choice!

This will be the fourth LikeMinds conference in the UK in Exeter; other conferences have taken and will take place around the world: in Helsinki and in Dubai, for example. Amazingly, the Exeter conference has also doubled in size for the third time; yes, this conference will be eight times the size of the first one. Surely this doubling cannot continue, … or can it?!

Innovation

Innovation is on everyone’s agenda these days, and there are good reasons why. We feel the need for innovation in so many fields, that one has to question whether this is leading us to a better future or whether, like the increasing size of the LikeMinds conference, this pace is sustainable as the power law of human development is raised to the next index as it diverges towards oblivion. However, this perceived need for innovation is not, in my humble opinion, the reason why innovation is on everyone’s agenda; I have describedposted on and spoken about this previously and expect to do so, from time to time, again.

Opportunity

Opportunity is, on the other hand, not on everyone’s agenda, it seems to me. Continue reading “LikeMinds turn to “innovation and opportunity””

Pull away

How often does the response reveal more than the stimulus?

There was an interesting observation in one of the comments on Robert Scoble’s recent post about Google and its difficulties with innovation. But there was an even more interesting remark in his response to the comment.

In my earlier post, I described some general observations, raised by that post about Google, about the management of innovation. But this post is specific to a technique.

In his reply, Robert refers to the observation in the comment (by webwright) as a “good trick”. What was it that was a “trick”? It was that at Amazon, according to the commenter, the development of a product begins with the writing of a press release.

Surely, this is far more important than a “good trick”!

By writing a press release, are they not capturing their vision of the product by implementing what they see as the last stage of the product development: the announcement of the product to the public?

In writing that press release, they are capturing their desired outcome for this, as yet non-existent, product. This requires knowledge to be gathered and decisions to be made about:

  • the audience for the product
  • the perspective from which that audience views the product
  • the aspects that are relevant from that perspective
  • the characteristics of those aspects that are valued
  • the attributes which contribute to those characteristics
  • and the target levels for those attributes.

Without the press release as a specification of the outcome, the product vision might take different forms in the minds of different people, it might slip and slide around over time as some ideas become favoured over others, or as difficulties arise during development.

With this specification, written from the perspective of the customer, the vision is set. This shifts the questions of product management and product from “what we can do for them?” to “how can we do that?”! This is a very important shift.

“Pull”

There is a name for this, it is called “pull”.