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Deborah Mills-scofield's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Entries in Innovation (168)

Thursday
Mar052015

Coming: Dips, Rocks and Thunderstorm

Joseph Pistrui's post from his blog really resonated with me and I thought it would with you!  Jospeh is a friend, colleague and wise man. He diverse background and expertise gives him the credibilty to speak on our very dynamic world.  So read on and please ponder.  And thank you, Joseph, for letting me repost your words here!
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A recent tweet by 7billCORPORATE (@7billcorp, part of @7billionideas) really nailed the truth about innovation and business. On 30 January 2015 via Twitter, a brilliant graphic was added to a post that contrasted the perception many people have about the path to progress and what it’s really like. Here ’tis:

Path to Progress

So many think that innovation happens quickly, smoothly, without roadblocks or bumps. And that may be true, for a few. If you are operating in a business environment in which there is a reasonably clear — and straight — line to who your future customers will be and what products and services you need to develop for them, first count your blessings and then get on the accelerator. Assuming you have the technology and know-how to make it happen, these are precisely the conditions when speed is critically important. Start. Go fast. Keep going. Don’t stop.

In these rare moments in the world of enterprise, getting to your destination as fast and efficiently as possible must be your paramount goal. The business world has countless tools for planning and eking out process improvements for such journeys, and you probably already know how to use them well.

In such cases, think of the time you may have watched with envy that shiny red Porsche Carrera speeding off down the highway with the driver pushing “pedal to the metal”. Recall the roar of all that horsepower as it reached top speed and peak performance, unchallenged by anything or anyone on the road.

Unfortunately, such an analogy isn’t the reality for most firms. “The future” for most businesses and organisations I encounter will be the kind of path that 7billCORPORATE displays. There will be dips, rocks, wobbly bridges over unknown chasms and deep water where you expected smooth pavement. Oh, and don’t forget the thunderstorms.

For most of those I meet, their future operating environment is uncertain, ambiguous and even (heaven forbid) unknowable. During their journey in time, many of the time-tested tools and techniques at their disposal will prove to be, well, not very helpful.

That does not mean that what’s needed is a new car and a new driver. Think now of that same Porsche, only this time keeping in mind its other performance capacities, such as cornering, shifting, braking and speed. This exceptionally well-engineered automobile is both ready for the high-speed straightaway as well as the curves, redirections and sudden changes of speed required to drive the rocky road to tomorrow.

Yet, if you lack the mindset to power up and power past unpredictable obstacles, you might as well be on skateboard with only one set of wheels. You’re not going to move far, fast or fearlessly. Which is why, as I work with companies large and small, I find that what’s most needed is a new leadership mindset, skillset and toolset. Too many leaders have great cars, but they lack versatility. The 21st century leader must be able to move fast when he or she knows the right direction, be cautious when the terrain is unknown or threatening, be willing to change directions when new and compelling information becomes available, and be able to stop quickly — even altogether — should the conditions for progress prove impossible.Porsche Carerra

Becoming more versatile (or ambidextrous) as a leader is no small task; but, in my experience, it is now an imperative for survival, and even more an imperative for growth. Our Nextsensing Project is about working with the mindset of any leader facing an uncertain future. No matter what kind of car he or she drives, moving into the future requires an understanding of the unique challenge at hand, the identification of the appropriate tools to use for the situation, and the building of confidence that only rough roads truly test the abilities of the vehicle — and the driver.


Porsche image from http://www.porsche-mania.com


Tuesday
Mar032015

Are You On a Salvage or Launch Mission?

 

Sunk Costs: money you spent that can’t be recovered… salvaged.  This month, I’ve been working with a few companies struggling to walking away from sunk costs. Despite how ‘obviously’ inane it may be, many companies keep throwing good money after bad.  They keep spending more money to try to salvage any use or benefit from what is sunk – down at the bottom of the sea.  In the Venture Capital world we call this financing risk – putting good money after bad on the hope that at some point, Einstein’s Law of Insanity* will be wrong and the salvage mission becomes a successful rescue mission.  Problem is this rarely happens.

So, guess what? Sunk costs are sunk. Move on. Get over it. Put your energy, time and resources into opportunities for growth, into potential launch missions.  Put good money after good money. Stop salvaging and start launching.

* Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

 

Friday
Feb272015

Savory Tales of Connection

 

 Fried Twitter Tales is a collection of stories on the WHY of twitter by some amazing people and I got to be included! Honored! The story that Vala Afshar and I love about twitter, the network and making amazing things happen (like CCChampions & the Celtics) is the first story.  So please download this free e-book, read it, share it and build relationships with amazing people. 

 

Thursday
Feb192015

Seriously, How Can Standardized Tests Teach Kids About Uncertainty?

I had a fabulous time being interviewed by Nick DiNardo of Meet Education Project about my educational and professional path.  Thank you, Nick!!

Monday
Feb162015

Simple Can Be Great!

Elizabeth Weber's recent visit to Lowe's provided many insights she's recorded in a great blog on Medium. It's enlightening and eye opening for B2C or B2B2C businesses. Innovation doesn't always have to be grand, expensive and complicated...sometimes, simple is really great.  Think of your business - there are applications and lessons here for anyone

"Lowe’s launched the Lowe’s Innovation Labs in June 2014. The Labs uses a method known as sci-fi prototyping to explore new customer experiences, such as customers walking into a Holoroom to visualize flooring in a virtual replica of their home, or customers talking to OSHbot, the Lowe’s robot assistant to learn where lawn mowers are located in the store. Lowe’s is exploring the technological and UX frontier for retail shopping, and it is incredible.  But are there simpler, and less expensive ways to improve customer experience in our digital age?" read the rest....

 

Elizabeth Weber is a User Experience Designer in San Francisco.  She a Brown '14 graduate where she launched it's first accelerator, Brown Venture Labs as president of the Entrepreneur Program.  She was the Branding Strategist for Speak Your Mind Foundation and served as a Design Researcher and Product Manager to the President of Brown University in the creation and launch of BrownConnect.