In the context of the modern world, growth has become a pain more than a challenge. And that is not good for any society. The greatest fallout of this is that it sucks out the very joy of living. When that becomes the case, there is very little Individuals, Enterprises and / or Societies can do other than manipulate themselves and others around them into believing whatever is convenient. Such a make-believe society has very little chance of being able to survive; leave alone thrive. How can one get out of this self-destruct mode?
First of all, let us admit that the challenge of growth is different from how it was perceived a few years ago. The Internet of everything has changed everything into a Glocal (Globally Local) manifestation. This has tremendously impacted the perception of “Value” of a Customer / Consumer in every segment of life itself; and hence needs a of foundational re-defintion. Greater emphasis is required to Create and therefore generate demand rather than just put a spin around a yarn often spun.
Secondly, the advance of technology has put an added impetus to doing things more efficiently than in the past; from a simple going to the loo to performing a complex brain surgery. And every step of that technology is guided by Information and Intelligence that intersperse the pauses between our breathing. It is critical to therefore understand its sanctity and move away from pithy slogans like big data and expand one’s big thinking first; in order to get everything bigger and better with information continuously rather than discretely. In other words, we might want to call this the need to Innovate every waking moment with the Processes that move Data and Work Products from Source to Consumption. And it must become an Institutional Practice.
Last but not the least, both the above demand a fundamental need to go back to the drawing board and have the ability to Design. Not just a function but an entire ecosystem first and then match the function of a process to concurrently facilitate that Chain of Collaborative Elements globally. This is the true promise of a Connected World that can source real talent to Create a New World and Obliterate the Problems of the old one; rather than meander around just trying to solve with Old thinking and techniques that may no longer be of any relevance.
The new world demands a dramatic shift in Capabilities (Capacity to Transform + Ability to Perform). It would be a disservice for the older generation to lead the Gen Y into the potholes that they have dug for themselves. There is very low tolerance among them to wear out the pain as the older generations have managed and technology will allow a faster route to destruct if it is not gainfully employed for Productive and Peaceful endeavors.
At Kodak, Changing to a Future beyond Film
The inspiration for this edition of blog is the above inserted film I viewed and I knew I had to write about it. I have had the great opportunity to actually serve Kodak as a consultant when I used to work with Coopers & Lybrand. Similarly, I have and continue to serve other major Fortune rated organizations across the North America. My experience includes work globally and therefore the fortune to observe Culture and Human Behavioral differences and learn subtly not only the art of thriving in these cultures but also their strengths and weaknesses.
There is so much talk about Innovation in world today and yet very little significant contribution to the growth of society. Those that persisted with a Culture of Innovation are the only ones attempting the next higher threshold of capability and their concern is not always about Marketing but Creating and Cultivating Core Competence in their people towards a Unified Cause and Vision. And despite the Internet of Everything, it is still People that have to do it and will continue to do it; build a better world.
Be it Government or Private Enterprise, the method of engaging talent from the age of monopoly has not changed. To produce an assembly of the same black car, line after production line, you didn’t need people to be Creative. You wanted them to Conform. Look around at supposedly the “Most Innovative” companies in the world and you will notice very little has changed. And that includes the likes of Google and Apple.
It is about time Talent and Merit were recognized and given their due in the useless hierarchical structures of an enterprise. Employment and Entitlement became synonymous for a class that needs a base to find its bearings before it can rear its wings. Let that remain and they can Conform if there is no Choice. But making the majority of the organization Conform because of the Carrot of entitlements is the only reason why Innovation fails at both Government and Private Enterprise.
Make an educator accountable for producing Path Breaking Research in Universities. Make the Research & Development department of a consumer product company believe in shaping the minds of markets and creating demand for new products and services. Make Doctors accountable for Preventive and not Procedural Medicine. Make Musicians produce music that defines and not defies Sound Energy. Innovation is a Path to Progress; not a Pavement to be Pedestrian. Let Merit take center stage in society and let there be a new world that sees Opportunities and not Problems. This video of Kodak should reinforce that thought.
Yesterday I was in a chat conversation with a young person who is readying himself to travel to the US to get a Master’s Degree in Computer Sciences from Georgia Tech. And he was ruminating that he is going to miss his family and friends and that parting was difficult. And I retorted inadvertently, No…you are not going to miss them. They are going to be there with you 24*7 via Facebook, Google, Skype, Vonage and what not. And what is a 22 hour flight for someone who comes from an economic background as yours? Not only that, his parents keep traveling to the US on business all the time. And he has extended family all over the US. The choicest global cuisines including Indian are available in every segment of food business in the US or China or even Russia.
There was of course a time when an Indian left the shores of India and crossed the seas for nearly a month before he got to the US and even a letter took a couple of months to reach from one continent to another. The journey was unpredictable and life was too. There is a lot more certainty in every aspect of Logistics & Transportation as well as environment and conditions of living. We have brought all this change upon ourselves and we are physically global but have yet to condition our minds on the globality of life. Such a maturity on globality and globalization will happen the day we don’t see the barriers between nations and races and ethnicities and religions. We see a human race that is adapting to life on this planet and is striving for each other’s quality of life; not against each other’s quality of life!
Speaking of which, this morning I picked an elevator that arrived to take me to the 28th floor of my workplace. There was one other person already there waiting for the elevator. However, he did not make a move. So I held my arm to the sensors and asked him loudly whether he wanted to join in. He did and thanked me and even wished me a great day before he went out on the 16th floor. He was engaged on his mobile phone messaging and had not perhaps noticed the elevator which arrived away from him and therefore had not taken it. I could have for all my narrow mindedness let the elevator door close on me and travel solitary cooking up all kinds of theories on racism and spewed it out at the next available opportunity when someone pretended to be interested in my intellectual discourse. Thank God I did not opt for the latter. For such is our power to strengthen the barriers that plague our societies that destroys the quality of life.
Therefore I wonder what all the Social Media is about! It is the most significant tool for promoting globality and globalization; and yet it is more parochial than ever. Businesses look upon it as a sole marketing tool and individuals look upon it as a personal advertising tool. Is this a flower garland in the hands of a monkey? Oh, I hear the protesters saying that it is only evolving….but what is the end game to that evolution. There needs to be a vision for evolution as well. Otherwise, the word used is “drifting” for it until the next wave catches you and tosses you to a spot you never intended to be in the first place!
Design therefore is essential, at a personal, enterprise and societal level to address this phenomenon called Globality and Globalization. Globality is a verb and Globalization is an adjective that needs to be understood and woven into the fabric of our lives.
Does that make sense to you? I would love to hear your comments….
Unlike the past, when human kind stumbled upon the Renaissance, Political and Industrial Revolution, the Digital Revolution has been in the making for the last 20 years though the Internet was officially invented in the 1950’s. The cycles of maturity are getting more and more rapid as the time has advanced and we are at a point of inflection in its history, when we have yet to consume more than 90% of the benefits it has spewed in a fraction of the time it has taken to develop.
Before we even go there, the term digital today means everything that we do in our lives to be connected and communicating in our communities where the globe is the village and the standards are universal with respect to interactions. So we are no longer talking about one area being more developed or mature than the other. Quite the contrary, the latecomers to the party seem to be taking more advantage of this revolution than the incumbents.
From a the June 2014 survey report published by McKinsey titled “The Digital Tipping Point” it becomes quite evident that most corporations in the world still see the term digital as IT. We need to infer this only because of the terminology used and the initiatives described and / or attributed to the digital enterprise. However, the revealing insight on the five top issues facing the enterprise is necessarily true of digitization; whether participating in the digital revolution or not.
Like saying I have cancer but I am taking care of the Acne on my face. For ages, IT folks have argued thus, even justifying that they were doing something as opposed to nothing. Well, that something means absolutely nothing in the current digital revolution context. Size and shape of businesses are being replaced by creativity to corner customers and consumers on experience. The smaller the player, the easier it is to Innovate. The Digital Revolution demands a Transformation in the Thinking and Structuring of Action.
The three C’s are foundational both within and outside the enterprise for enterprise to succeed in being digital.
- Content: This must be narrative oriented and Purposeful in nature. It must educate without pontificating retaining the rate of interest.
- Convergence: This must follow the content closely not just with respect to the device but also the right rendering focusing on the duration and the nature of content; keeping a clear distinction between Channel, Medium and Devise though personalized.
- Collaboration: This must involve the customer and consumer to participate in the experience across the lifecycle of Product, Process and Personal Experience.
The above are the first three foundational steps that need to be established in an enterprise to build digital content that will contribute to the sweet spots of Innovation and Growth.
Posted in Big Data, Business Process Management, Business Strategy, Business Strategy & Innovation, Business Technology, Change Management, Customer Management, Innovation, Management, Society
Tagged Branding, Business Innovation, Business Intelligence, business management, Business Strategy, Business Transformation, Change Management, cultural transformation, Enterprise Architecture, Innovation
I am writing a blog edition after a considerable hiatus. The reason for this is the disillusionment with the reading habits of people. It appears there is very little audience and patience for the written word. Even when there is, the absence of dialog is heartbreaking. For me writing is not just to express myself and let my steam off. It is about generating a dialog and therefore Thought Leadership. I would like to quickly add here that I have not stopped myself from constantly examining where I might lack in communicating my ideas.
Recently I was asked a question about “Trust – whether it was at all necessary in the context of relationship”. This question could not stop me further from writing this edition of my blog. Trust is a very passionate subject with me. I believe it is the genesis of all relationships and can never ever be supplemented. Let me stick here to the context of Leadership.
People often use the terms “Trust” and “Faith” interchangeably. Nothing could be further from truth. Trust is inherent and intrinsic to a relationship. It does not demand anything and it remains as a supportive element of a relationship; be that between a leader and a follower or any other human relationship we might know on the face of this earth. Faith on the other hand is a corruption of trust, in that it is demanding. Trust is born out of conviction and respect for ideas, while faith is born out of imagination and a hope for ideas to succeed.
When we observe history, we can find very few leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela who banked on the principles of trust to generate followership. A majority of leaders such as Hitler, Mussolini, Khomeini, Saddam Husain and / or George Bush (both son and father) whipped up passions of the people and demanded that their doctrine be subscribed to and followed in absolute faith. In the modern day, leaders such as Gorbachev or Obama who subscribe to the former view of creating trust have been often sidelined and history / people are not very kind on them despite their great qualities of leadership. In the corporate world, trust is a very rare word even when the very models of B2B, B2C and C2C are based on the principles of trust. Perhaps a very rare name comes to mind such as Herb Kelleher, Chairman & CEO of Southwest Airlines or Jamshedji Tata.
Trust takes nothing more than a dialog to build relationships while Faith takes enormous amounts of PR. The ideas of trust are usually fundamental and core to life while that of faith are alien and imposed upon life. Those of us living through the “Organic” Fad know by now that anything that is imposed has to give way eventually for a simpler way of living. Shouldn’t a connected world learn to trust people and cultures rather than be dictated by the narrow-minded dogmas of a few misleading powerful people who choose to impose themselves as dictators? Isn’t this the significance of globalization where people in the world can benefit from understanding and learning each other in a spirit of mutual trust and respect for freedom?
Perhaps one of the foremost things that we humans need to learn in this modern free and democratic world is the meaning of Freedom. It is not the ability to do whatever one wants without being watched. It is the ability to do things that everybody watches and appreciates as meaningful to their own lives.
It is not an exaggeration to use the word Trust interchangeably with Brand in a societal, enterprise and /or the personal context of the people who inhabit them. That is how the word “Brand” came into being symbolizing the significance an entity. The origins of branding of course come from a symbol being branded (burned with a hot iron stamp) into the skin to distinguish one’s cattle from the other. In today’s enterprise context the question that comes to be is what is the brand you carry that distinguishes you and the organization or society you represent? And by that, what do you define your success by?
In its recent research report released in late 2013, Booz & Company has correlated the drivers contributing to the success versus the assumptions / perceptions of the companies researched globally over a three year period and come to some broad conclusions.
- There is no dominant school of strategy that dominates the thinking of leadership. It is very surprising to see from the following graph that the three dominant success factors considered by leaders in these modern economic are: 1) Economies of Scale; 2) Some things better than anyone else; 3) Controlling Lucrative Assets
- Paradoxically the three most relevant factors are considered least as success factors including: 1) Agility as an Innovator; 2) Distinctive way of providing Value; 3) Coherence in the Company Direction
- Many of them belied the understanding of Identity, Addressing Causes and being motivated to deliver Value. They attributed too many strategic initiatives (29% respondents) and focus on short-term performance improvement (27% respondents) as the reasons for this. Only 7% respondents believed that their leaders ignored external market forces while 36% believed leaders lacked the combined strength of Strategy Development and Execution.
Booz & Company in their annual research titled “The Global Innovation 1000” since 2011 have been highlighting on how Culture is Key to Innovation. This is referenced here that Innovation is the pivot on which the future of success for enterprises rests today. Three simple terms define the term “Culture / Trust” as the below illustration demonstrates; Values, Beliefs and Assumptions. There is a complete lack of trust in our societies today and that reflects in every aspect of our life; be it in families, enterprises and governments. Therefore, it is no surprise that we see ourselves adrift globally, despite the huge advances of technology and availability of wealth. These however are not able to solve any of the societal problems such as Poverty, Energy Deficit or Terrorism. Examine closely and you will see a pattern in all of them. The overarching narrative is driven by a selected few that likes to maintain the status quo of mediocrity for one’s own preservation and benefits. This is the reason Breakthrough Innovation or Life Inspiration is so hard to find in any field of life.
Our societies globally have come to a point when private enterprise is driving public life in most ways as well as influencing governance and policy. Therefore the rot needs to be stemmed first here where Culture needs to take center place with a well defined and delivered narrative that connects Potential and Performance. Business enterprises the world over must renew the design of their enterprise to the five principle constructs of Digital Revolution, Globality, Experience Economy, Gen Y Workforce and Societal Wealth as the following illustration demonstrates:
- The narrative must excite the enthusiasm of the people in the Values espoused by an enterprise and make them willing contributors to work towards its delivery.
- The narrative must create the Belief in the people that Methods, Tools and Practices that they get to adopt are adequate to help them achieve their aspirations.
- The narrative must develop the deep-rooted conviction in people that the Assumptions (when experienced is perceptions) they make are supported strongly; both in the case of failure and success as they are born out of a collective understanding of a context that is common and uniform across a global enterprise.
We must find a way to address this Cultural Transformation as suggested in the above picture. Transforming enterprises and societies with the right context from a Performance to Potential Orientation. A Powerful Narrative that emerges from active strategic processes in organizations and societies must guide the people to believing in their capabilities to deliver value. They should be able to make a difference and contribute effectively to their organizational and societal causes. They should be able to see their own growth in the growth of the causes they participate and support.
Posted in Big Data, Business Process Management, Business Strategy, Business Strategy & Innovation, Business Technology, Change Management, Customer Management, Innovation, Management, Personal Transformation, Society, Transformation, Uncategorized
Tagged Branding, Business Innovation, Business Intelligence, business management, Business Strategy, Business Transformation, collective leadership, Wealth Creation