Top 10 Tips for fostering Innovation

Generating and implementing new ideas is essential for survival in business. Innovation is the catalyst that stimulates new thoughts. Successful organizations build innovation as a foundation in their culture. Promoting a passion for collaborating to build innovative solutions is critical. Attached is a capability map for Innovation in pdf format.

10. Focus your products/services, on offering/enhancing value for the customers to complete “jobs”. Customers must be willing to pay for the value offered.
9. Decompose customer jobs into respective processes, capabilities and explore “key moments of truth” that can be improved.
8. Build customer intimacy and look for inefficiencies. Challenge “status quo”. Imbibe a “cycle of continuous improvement”.
7. Explore “reverse innovation” – solving customer pain in emerging markets with early adopters; build, test, learn then expand to other global markets.
6. Encourage, promote, reward innovation with formal venture planning processes across the value chain to source, fund, develop, productize, monetize and share ideas throughout the organization.
5. Allocate time for experimenting across all levels within the organization.
4. Promote working with limited resources/constraints; it breeds innovative/creative solutions.
3. Explore new business models applying new and existing technologies to form new solutions.
2. Enhance collaboration within departments, between departments and between companies and partners. Engage stakeholders.
1. Foster an entrepreneurial culture of taking risks, dealing with ambiguity, failing fast, learning and moving on.

Reading Reference – Inspiring and Executing Innovation – Harvard Business Review

Innovation Capabilities

Top 10 Tips for Conducting Root Cause Analysis

When we are faced with a problem that we need to address, most of us go after the symptoms not the cause, hence we miss out on the opportunity to address the issue at hand. A thorough root cause analysis is critical to ensuring appropriate corrective actions to prevent future repetition.

Here are some tips on conducting a root cause analysis.

10. Select a format for the documentation/delivery/tracking of the report produced.
9. Engage the right team members with subject matter expertise in the process/problem.
8. Ensure that you have access to the relevant data and sources of information.
7. A corrective action plan should include: what, how, when, who, where.
6. Consider facts as evidence, basis of assumptions that lead to derivations of conclusions.
5. Ask the question “why” till you cannot ask another why. 6 is usually the optimal number.
4. Divide the situation into discrete tasks and sub-tasks in the sequence performed while noting the gap between the desired and actual outcomes.
3. Focus on attributes of the problem that have a measurable difference.
2. Accurately identify the what, who, when, where and how about the problem.
1. Once you have the cause, confirm that its elimination will prevent recurrence of the problem.

Reading Reference: The Root Cause Analysis Handbook by Max Ammerman

Top 10 tips for effective presentations

We spend so much time preparing, delivering and sitting through presentations. Yet, are we effective? Do we achieve our outcome? Is there room for improvement? Enjoy the following tips for more effective presentations.

10. Less is more. KISS (Keep it simple stupid).
9. A picture is worth a thousand words.
8. Not more than 5 bullets on a slide. Each bullet could be a short sentence, phrase or a few words.
7. Start with an impact. Tell a personal story. Connect with your audience.
6. Introduce with an objective, outcome, if relevant to set expectations.
5. Tell a story. Engage with the audience.
4. End with a call to action. What would you like from the audience that would be beneficial to them?
3. For every slide have “one” key message. How would your audience answer the question “so what”?
2. Know your target audience. Who are they? Why are they here? What is the purpose?
1. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and experience your presentation. How would you react?

Reading Reference: HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations by Nancy Duarte

Leadership and Management: Are they different?

Leadership is strategic while management is tactical. Leadership involves setting the vision, strategy, motivating and aligning people and resources to deliver on them. Management is about dealing with the complexity of tactical tasks to deliver on initiatives in a repeatable predictable manner. Management plans, budgets, solves issues.
Successful leaders are required to balance both traits while managing organizations. It is not an either or situation.

Here is a good HBR piece that explains both Management and Leadership.

Lesson on Culture

While building and growing companies, we focus on technology, customers, revenue but most often miss out on some basic tenets that build and sustain great companies; values, culture, people that are foundational elements for long term success. I came across this presentation that outlines the culture of Netflix. Even though Netflix faced some challenges in 2012, if they “walk the talk” as presented in this material, they will thrive in the long term. Enjoy the presentation below.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg praised the deck saying:
“It may well be the most important document ever to come out of the Valley.”

A high performance culture generates high performing teams that deliver sustained great results. It is refreshing to see the importance given to honesty, selflessness and teamwork. The difference between “good process” and “bad process” is important because as companies grow they tend to implement complex processes that inhibit innovation and speed. Responsible policies foster responsibility.

Dare 2B Digital Conference #d2bd13

Dare 2B Digital Conference – 2013

On 2/9/13, I had the privilege to present and participate in the Dare 2B Digital conference. The conference targeted middle and high school girls while encouraging them towards cool careers in Science and Technology. It aimed to inspire their inner entrepreneur to change the world. Workshops this year covered topics that included mobile applications, movie animation, eCommerce and digital communications. This year the conference was sold out. It was well attended by about 350 young women, 150 parents and 50 volunteers and mentors. A resounding success! Kudos to Ruth Stergiou, the CEO and founder of Dare 2B Digital (#d2bd13) for an amazing job.

#Symantec was a proud sponsor of this conference along with companies like Oracle, Google, Facebook, eBay, Mozilla, Netapp, Intel and others. I have had the privilege to speak for the past 3 years on a topic close to my heart. “Keeping Kids Safe online”. The session was for parents of middle and high school girls attending the conference. It touched upon issues like Cyber Bullying, phishing, as well as provided tips on protecting one’s identity, reputation, online especially on social networks.

The State of the web

I came across this presentation by Mary Meeker last year. Since I just started the blog, I thought it was worth posting as the content is relevant and thought provoking.
Here is a link to Mary Meeker’s presentation on the internet. Interesting analysis, thoughts and predictions. A must read. The concept of re-imagination of everything will bring back good memories for some. Yesterday I was at my daughter’s school learning about the new Common Core State Standards and learned that when today’s grade school students enter the workforce, 65% will be working in jobs that that have not yet been created. This presentation leads me to believe that there is a lot yet to be imagined as Mary states. Enjoy!