Posts in category: Business Practice

The Dark Matter that is consumer-led innovation

“The amount of money individual consumers spent making and improving products was more than twice as large as the amount spent by all British firms combined in research and development over a three-year period.” Wow. From Innovation Far Removed from the...

What cultures value

We can tell what a culture values the most by the laws and prohibitions it sets against the opposite of those values. In other words, the opposite of what is strictly forbidden is what a culture values most deeply. We have laws against embezzlement, price fixing, and...

Freeway driving as a business ecology metaphor

From an operations perspective: You can focus on operating the details of your own car (business) or anticipate the actions of other drivers (your competitors). You can look out the front. Or look out both sides. You can practice defensive or aggressive driving (or...

Innovation is not a business model

A successful sustainable business need to run on order and predictability. They do so with tested processes and systems that are dovetailed into a particular supply-demand chain. Innovation requires chaos and dynamism. Breakthroughs cannot occur when you are busy...

A change-embracing approach to business process improvement

Four truisms: Improving is not perfecting. Some battles are not worth fighting. Flowing with reality is saner than forcing your way against the tide. Some aspects of human nature are practically immutable. Most businesses start on a process improvement project because...

Most businesses can’t and don’t want to be more innovative

No slack-off time = no innovation. Most of us work too many hours trying to keep on top of our to-do lists. How many have time to think? Let alone thinking, reflecting or reading up on new things. Or exploring new things, new approaches, trying out a new gadget....

Is culture change a fallacy?

Is the fundamental idea behind culture change flawed? Apparently two thirds of change management programmes fail. The broad steps of any change management programme are: Change people’s perception of the need for change. We now need to be more creative because our...
Cheap-Fast-Good – having it all?

Cheap-Fast-Good – having it all?

The Project Triangle says: for any given project, you can only realistically achieve two out of the three factors. An outcome can be fast and good, but not cheap. Or fast and cheap, but not good. Or cheap and good, but not fast. Can China give the world all three?...

Creating vs replicating your world

This arrived in my inbox after I wrote this post reflecting on home ownership. “Our journey as human beings is not about following a pre-ordained path. Life doesn’t make any more sense when things are done ‘in order’… it’s way more exciting to know that you are...

Size; and “too big to fail”

Size and positional might does not guarantee a win. But you can be too big to fail and thereby be “allowed” to do just about whatever you want. 12 persons changed the world in 9/11. With a minimal of basic tools. 12 persons out-thought and out-manoeuvred the...

F**k my weaknesses

This is my response to an overheard piece of advice (person A was vehemently trying to convince person B to spend loads of time and effort on fixing their weaknesses): No. I don’t want to improve my weaknesses. It is never pleasant nor particularly effective. It saps...

The age of crises

We seem to be living in an age of crises. Environmental, political, religious, ethics, meaningfulness, relationships … you name it – there’s a crisis for it. Where there are crises there are opportunities of course. Here’s a framework for thinking about the...
Processes make corporations stupid

Processes make corporations stupid

I know the value of good processes to reduce the chaos and avoid repeated mistakes. Many smaller business could benefit from some level of processification. Large corporations could, on the other hand, benefit from a reduction or loosening up of their processes. Good...

Commission-based remuneration kills creativity

This is a follow-on thought from my post on Daniel Pink’s TED talk. Research has shown that the Carrots & Sticks approach to motivating people actually destroys their creativity. What does this say about jobs where the issue of money, of being paid a decent...

More incentives does not equal more performance

This TED talk by Daniel Pink presents some counter-intuitive and interesting research on the relationship between motivation and performance in problem solving/creative thinking jobs. More money or more threats only work on simple process-based jobs. Extrinsic...
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