After trying these last years to work with a first generation iPad and a year ago with a Surface Pro, I was not impressed — to say the least. But since a few months the iPad Pro has become my main computer. What has changed?
Three months ago I started to switch from my Mac desktop and laptop to an iPad. I was working in Shanghai giving classes and conferences thinking on how to have the most minimalist setup for this kind of interactions. When you focus on mobility and travel it’s difficult to beat a 9.7-inch iPad. And since the new ‘Pro’ version was readily available, there was the promise of removing past problems I encountered trying an iPad for work.
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My upcoming keynote for an undisclosed executive team will be trying to map out how businesses will be changed within the next three years by the next wave of cloud technologies.
Stéphanie and I are regularly delivering strategic keynotes for executive boards in various markets. They all address key issues at stake for specific industrial customers. They are also all wrapped under some form of NDA or another. While it’s always frustrating not to be able to share things, we try from time to time to afford some level of teasing…
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Innovation fads are coming and going every two or three years. They express how most companies are troubled about technology acceleration and markets transformation. Fair enough. But shouldn’t you pause and actually leverage what you explored before jumping to the next trend?
So yes, we are going to the NEXT conference in Hamburg this year, whose theme is: Digital sucks! After years of excitement with everything digital, the time of disenchantment is upon us and the Next conference will ask / answer the question of what’s next? This triggered my thinking about what is next in business agility, now that all the corporate excitement about working with startups and being intrapreneurs is deflating like a souflé.
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It seems deceptively simple to define what constitues a good market problem to work on as a startup. It is actually rather subtle and for some part very counter-intuitive.
Most of the startups participating in one of my trainings are initially shocked at the inordinate amount of time I spend working on ‘the problem’. I’m certainly not alone there. Everyone who is regularly dealing with startups gets eventually frustrated to see how they concentrate en masse on building a product and not focusing on what the market actually needs. And while anyone who ambitions to shake a market’s status quo shouldn’t be too pragmatic, as much rationality as possible should nevertheless prevail. But, very few are the startups committed from launch to tackle a clear-cut problem.
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Most of companies just trudge in the future of their market very passively. With a poor strategic grasp on technology they usually wake up when their customers have no reason to speak to them anymore. They all know it. So why is it still so difficult to wake them up? Why?
As much as we are lead to believe, innovation is rarely straightforward and understandable. We think we get it from a TED talk or a trendy book, but it’s essentially the same as learning paragliding through YouTube. No one serious would recommend that. When I need people to understand innovation there are tricks and shortcuts. I use them to try to spark a ‘A-HA’ moment —a symptom that you can shift away from your usual canned understanding of the matter to something entirely different. One such shortcut is asking « When will the next Star Wars be shot on iPhone? »
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Having an Innovation or Digital VP in is always a good sign that the company doesn’t care enough to invest deeply the subject. Someone eventually ends up in charge because the board passed the hot potatoe to her. But for corporate culture, that might actually be a good idea…
In the past year or so, with so many media scandals about various company culture dysfunctions, many other corporate cultures being dissected, scrutinised and analysed, and the many advice published online, it seems about time to hire Company Culture VPs to ensure the culture is supporting and not hindering your strategy and image. In this short article, I’m presenting the three key missions of the company culture VP.
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Most corporations that have missed the so-called digital revolution, try to medicate with startups. In many cases this is both silly and dangerous. Let’s try to be smarter about this widespread startup fever…
While the first wave of the digital revolution is now well over, most corporations are victims of some level of rude awakening. Surprisingly enough for me, the sovereign cure for their lack of strategic vision has been isolated: startups. As it seems, six-month-old post-internet companies without cash-flow are deemed better than multi-billion global businesses are figuring out the market. Even if you might be very lucid about this foolishness, some of your executive committee is already victim of such startup fever. Let me offer one of the many ways to deal with that issue. And then maybe, you’ll find realreasons to work with startups.
Continue reading “How to deal with startup fever in your company, part 1”
Running a corporate incubation program is not like operation a product pipeline. It’s an uncertain, probabilistic endeavor. Can you wrap your mind around it or do would just prefer to go through the motions blindly?
A few days ago, I was discussing how wrapping your head around the Monty Hall problem could help you better understand the importance of failure in innovation. If you take it a step further today, we could argue that most corporate incubation programs should be build around this probabilistic calculation.
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A majority of automotive industry incumbents still bet on the (very) slow maturation of self-driving vehicles. Of course they can only think about personal cars…
The key argument of doubters on how fast the self-driving vehicles will go live is risk and the social acceptability (or the lack thereof) of deaths from vehicles making choices on their own. Truth to be told, yes, social acceptability is a steep barrier to entry for adopting technologies at large scale. You should nonetheless remember that innovation is not a clean decisive strike either, its death of the status quo by a thousand cuts.
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Leveraging emotions to get more powered innovation is like being able to harness an underestimated and sustainable source of energy. What is stopping you?
When we talk about innovation we say it is motion. Until there is movement or change in the market, you cannot call your invention or idea an innovation. Emotions at work can either support or hinder innovation. They can be strong drivers for action, change and movement, and keep people alert and aware of signals in their environment or become uncontrollable, completely unproductive or even freeze creativity. Finding the “right” level of emotions or as I call it “emotional sweet spot” is key to powered innovation.
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Failure when you innovate is totally acceptable. At least in books and on the internet. In real life, within your business this is a widely different story. Risk is only acceptable when you end up successful… Very successful. This usually demonstrates how poorly we manage risk…
Innovation literature is flooded with various arguments on why and how you should take risk as a company. As someone who’s depending on the success of the companies I work with (sometimes I even presume much more than their own management), I can’t avoid being one of these risk evangelist. The problem essentially is always the same. Risk is waved on principles as a good thing supported by plethoras of well-thinking weak sauce arguments. Inevitably, all these arguments are swiftly shelved when real work needs to be done.
Continue reading “Dealing with failure in innovation and the Monty Hall problem”
Innovative companies have been relying more and more on network effects to aggressively spread transformative market changes. This strategy has many forms and is still dramatically evolving. Do you understand its most recent developments?
Understanding network effects has been the underlying driver of the software revolution sparked less than a decade ago. And as always with innovation, as soon as we think we start to grasp it, it already morphes into something new. In our case, new network effects appear and we barely start to grasp them.
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From birth to old age, the company culture is not embedded in the same way. Hence it is essential to take a differentiated approach to corporate culture change.
The main reason why a corporate culture change fails is the lack of awareness of what the specific culture of the company is. Although it can be observed via the behaviours of employees, leaders are often blind to it until something unexpected and critical for the organisation happens. As it was the case for Uber and United Airlines. But waiting for such a wake-up call might be lethal as the company may not be able to readjust the culture in time and recover from the public blow.
Continue reading “Three scenarios of corporate culture change”