The design thinking craze

Natasha JEN formulates a very calm and articulate deconstruction of the designthinking craze.

Just like open innovation, lean methodologies, effectuation, or intrapreneurship… design thinking is a methodology that is better at selling the idea that there is a one-size-fits-all solution to every corporate strategic hurdles, than actually delivering anything real.
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What it takes to build a mentoring culture that delivers

Worldline has been one of the key customers I’ve been implementing a company-wide strategic mentoring program (you will spot me here and there presenting, gesticulating and laughing in the short video). During the last four years, I’ve been starting up, designing, implementing, training, tweaking, measuring and evolving their mentoring programme to attain specific strategic goals (that I won’t disclose obviously, but you can Google what they’ve been up to since 2014 and have some idea).

As consultants working on the strategic side of things (culture is about strategy) we can’t share much of what we are doing internally. That’s probably the only frustrating part of our job really. If Worldline chose not to communicate that much on this program up to until now, it’s evidently because it was not just a PR « feel-good » operation. That being said, now that the program is really mature and has delivered enough Worldline decided to share a few things about it.

As such, I can also open up a bit on what the key to their success at making mentoring a strategic tool, not just a feel-good operation:

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My Innovation radar 2018 — Part 2, Platforms’ Dark Patterns

We discussed on the previous article the idea of the weak singularity, where all connected devices tend to be harvested by a few massive platforms, as a global sensor network targeting us for ads (or broader influence strategies). 

The follow up of this trend is what we call Platforms’ Dark Patterns, which  refer to how the GAFA / BATX are evolving to deal with growing concerns about privacy, while still sustaining their constant push for pervasiveness in our daily lives. 
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My Innovation Radar for 2018 — Part 1, The Weak Singularity

As I did mid-year 2017, I will start today a discussion on what I have on my innovation radar. This is what I believe will shape both B2B and B2C markets for the next two to three years. Unlike last year, I will split it up in six parts to avoid getting in another mega-article! But very much just like last year, I won’t go for the easy answers and discuss artificial intelligence, virtual reality or self-driving cars. So that may be a good reason to read on. : )
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The Culture Framework

Culture framework

Philippe had been hinting at one of the combined tools we’d like to share: the culture and business frameworks. The culture framework that we’ve been using for years informally when helping organisations in their strategic transformations is the “other side” of the business framework Philippe has been sharing for a while now. We redesigned it recently and tested it extensively with our more recent customers to ensure that it’s practical and actionable for anyone not in the consulting business : )

You will see how it regroups and connects concepts I’ve been sharing in previous articles such as values, vision and behaviours, and key elements I’ve been hinting to when talking about complexity intelligence: purposeful drive, strategic empathy and reconfigurable mindset.

This concepts are usually fuzzy and it’s difficult to see why they would matter on any Monday morning at the office. It shouldn’t be that way.

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China innovation now leads the planet, not California

Among other things, China innovation now leads the on-demand mobility revolution with more and more electric vehicles and… bikes.

on-demand mobility china
(Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report 2018)

While I was already forewarning my customers in luxury, automotive, energy and retail for years, this is now hopefully obvious for everyone.

The country size, the problems it faces with pollution and demography, the rapid growth of its economy, have all shaped it to be the most transformative force on the planet. Industries and startups that are still dreaming of California as THE innovation template are still looking in the rear mirror. 20 of the biggest internet companies by market capitalization are now in China, whilst only 11 are in the US (five years ago it was 2 versus 9). 

These next years will be both thrilling and quite challenging for westerners innovators.

Our next set of tools reconnecting corporate culture framework and business model

I won’t develop fully the tools and how to use them in this article. It’s all about giving a first tour of the concepts and how simple they are.

The first illustration is how powerful CUSTOMER-driven companies (Amazon) connect their culture, leading with strategic empathy to identify emerging problems to invest in, and finally select differentiated products.

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Microsoft slow refocus

After Google this is now Microsoft that tries to wow us with their vision of the future, introducing Surface Hub 2.

Past the obvious elegance and desirability of the product we have to ask if Microsoft will manage to regain its splendor. The strategy is now more and more obvious: if Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple and first and foremost consumers companies (even some use consumers as products), will Microsoft be able to transform in an ubiquitous business platform?

To the credit of Satya NADELLA they already have started to tune down Windows as a core focus. But this is a slow refocus for now. One should ask if merging with IBM and rapidly adding payment solutions wouldn’t be the next logical step.

Or is it just about selling more Azure cloud solutions and Office 365?

[ Update ] June 4, 2018 - Just a few days after this article, Microsoft announced to have acquired GitHub for a cool $7.5 billion. The refocus might just be acccelerating...

Weak signals and innovation

Your innovation culture is as good as you are at holding two opinions at the same time on weak signals, until they are sorted out by the market. This implies that you monitor weak signals. This also implies you know how to form opinions about them and are not afraid of dissensus. It’s always a tall order.

Software ate the world, Google is eating software

In August 2011, Marc ANDRESSEN was famously forewarning us in the Wall Street Journal that software is eating the world. Since then his prediction came to full realization and whether you call it the web, digital, or data, software indeed ate the world. But yesterday, at its annual developper’s conference, Google showed us how they will be eating software:

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