Saturday, April 28, 2012



I wanted to alert all of you in our community about the upcoming KIN Global meeting. The KIN is a fabulous, collaborative series of meeting orchestrated by Kellogg with a powerful group of companies (see for more info on KIN). You can register on-line at

Your role as an innovation leader: Expand
your horizons. Build powerful, new value for
your organization—and the world.

What is true prosperity? How can we foster a broad-based vision of prosperity amidst
the competing forces of globalization and localization, diminishing resources, rapid urbanization and increased demand for basic services? How can we build long-term value for our organizations by meetings these demands?

Both profit and meaningful change result from solving critical challenges. KIN Global provides an entirely new collaborative approach—bringing the world’s corporate innovators together with businesses, government, non-profit and academic leaders from around the world—to create new knowledge and discover paths to sustainable growth.

KIN Global is not your typical conference…

KIN Global is an invitation-only, 2.5 day event limited to 190 global change-makers, and a catalyst for cross-sector collaboration. Beyond dynamic keynotes and panels, a portion of KIN Global provides a series of working sessions around issues of interest to our delegates—to help them advance their own agendas, leverage partnerships and create shared value. KIN Global is interactive. Delegates come to share ideas, work on topics relevant to
their organizations and join a network of thought leaders, visionaries and implementers.


Technology, Entrepreneurship & Prosperity
Indonesia’s Ascendancy & the Future of Asia
America’s Evolving Role in the World
Aging Societies: Challenges & Opportunities
Global Natural Resources Industry & Sustainable Development

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cutting through Complexity with Business Agility
Enabling change, innovation and strategic directives—faster and smarter
IBM Global Business Services

We often talk about the critical need for companies to be ambidextrous—they have to be great at many things and processes. This is a key component of implementing innovative solutions. The IBM study puts this in context of being agile.

It’s a complex business world. A simple statement, but one rich with many implications, and a reflection of an economic environment driven by change, complexity and uncertainty. To learn how today’s companies are dealing with these changing  economic realities, IBM interviewed 1,500 CEOs in face-to face conversations as part of the IBM 2010 Global CEO Study…. 
…The IBM Business Agility Study surveyed companies in the financial, insurance and healthcare industries, investigating business leadership, strategies, technologies, and how agility impacts business transformation. Each company in our study achieved significant business results and described themselves as agile. The study revealed that agility can be a powerful tool for cutting through the complexities currently dominating the corporate landscape.... 
…Agility is the ability to respond quickly to change and, simultaneously, it is a force of change. It is permeating a new mindset that:  
• Embodies creative leadership: Companies now realize that creativity trumps other leadership characteristics. Creative leaders are comfortable with ambiguity and experimentation. To connect with and inspire a new generation, they must lead and interact in entirely new ways. 
• Reinvents customer relationships: Customers have never had so much information or so many options. CEOs and companies are making “getting connected” to customers their highest priority to better predict trends and provide customers what they really want. 
• Builds operational dexterity: Companies must redesign operating strategies for ultimate speed and flexibility. They must seek ways to create new and elegantly simple products, services and customer interactions that deliver greater value 
Providing creative leadership, reinventing customer relationships and establishing operational dexterity address different business matters, but there is an underlying fundamental current that pulses through these business goals—agility.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Nokia Crisis Deepens, Shares Plunge
Shares Tumble as Phone Maker Warns of Weaker-Than-Expected Sales, Margins; Software Glitch Adds to Woes


In our last posting, we discussed the hyper change mode of the digital communication world. This article focuses on the impact on one of its major players. Realize, however,  the real story is in the trail of companies who dominated or were major players in the market just a few years ago but are either gone, going, or struggling to find its footing—Motorola, Nokia, RIM, and Microsoft. The biggest challenge for these companies lies in the concept that innovation driven growth must be coupled with “creative destruction”. You must cannibalize what you have for something better or more adaptive to changing market dynamics before your competition does. This is a leadership issue.

Nokia Corp., long the biggest name in the cellphone business, is scrambling to stay relevant in the smartphone age. 
On Wednesday the company warned things will get worse before they get better, saying that competitors are rapidly eating into its sales in emerging markets such as China and India.
Nokia also said its newest phone in the U.S. had a software glitch that is preventing some users from connecting to the Internet, marring its attempt to fight into the world's most important smartphone market...
....In the U.S. and in other big markets for high-end smartphones, Nokia has struggled to gain traction despite a big bet on high-end devices powered by new software developed by Microsoft Corp. 
Nokia is also losing its dominance in developing countries like India and in the Middle East as consumers increasingly dump their basic Nokia phones for cheap smartphones running Google Inc.'s Android operating system...... 
.......On Wednesday, the company said its core handset unit was likely a money loser in the first three months of the year, with a negative 3% operating margin, as harsh competition in emerging markets weighed on sales... 
... Like BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd., Nokia is trying to re-establish its relevance in a market dominated by Apple Inc.'s iPhone and Google-powered devices. Both Nokia and RIM are working on new devices they hope will make a splash, even as Apple and Android work on improvements of their own... 
....Akaash Saini, a 21-year-old college student in Seattle, said he's been looking forward to the Lumia since last year and even pre-ordered the phone from AT&T...He said he needs access to certain iPhone apps to communicate with colleagues at work 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Billion-Dollar Turning Point for Mobile Apps
Published: NYT April 10, 2012

In my exec ed. class and practice, I talk a great deal about the importance of REALLY understanding the context or system you and your customers (and competitors) “live” in. It is more than instructive to see the impact of a market whose context is in the hyper change mode.

"The path for Internet start-ups used to be quite clear: establish a presence on the Web first, then come up with a version of your service for mobile devices. Now, at a time when the mobile start-up Instagram can command $1 billion in a sale to Facebook, some start-ups are asking: Who needs the Web.
Smartphones are everywhere now, allowing apps like Foursquare and Path to be self-contained social worlds, existing almost entirely on mobile devices. It is a major change from just a few years ago, underscoring how the momentum in the tech world is shifting to mobile from computers.
“For decades, the center of computing has been the desktop, and software was modeled after the experience of using a typewriter,” said Georg Petschnigg, ….“But technology is now more intimate and pervasive than that. We have it with us all the time, and we have to reimagine innovative new interfaces and experiences around that….
…..“People are living in the moment and they want to share in the moment,” Professor Sundar said. “Mobile gives you that immediacy and convenience.”…
….Start-ups that put their resources into mobile from the beginning can skip some of the hassles. “You’re freed from worrying about so many of the things that you have to think about when it comes to Web development,” said Oliver Cameron…
… Then there is the relative ease in finding an audience. Web sites and software packages have trouble standing out in the crowd. But apps have a simple distribution mechanism in app stores, which can immediately bring an app to a customer’s attention."

Friday, April 06, 2012

Breaking strategic inertia: Tips from two leaders
A CFO and a business unit head explain how they overcome the barriers that all too often separate capital, talent, and other resources from vital strategic goals.
APRIL 2012

Managing your portfolio and the resources –capital and people- to run it is one of the most critical aspects of driving sustainable growth. Regardless of all the great processes and ideas you may have, if you cannot resource the most promising initiatives to win while still meeting your current performance commitments, you will not be successful. The article highlight learning’s from a number of executives. Here is one of the case studies for making decisions at the business unit level.

……Andreas Kramvis, who heads Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies, provides insight from a business unit perspective and outlines his novel approach to bringing strategy and resources into alignment…
…When you are in a business unit, you are much closer to your markets than the corporate entity is. Your knowledge of how to invest should be much sharper as well. Through rapid reallocation of your existing resources, you should be able to capitalize on opportunities more quickly than if you needed to apply for funds through a corporate capital process. The last thing you want to do is go hat in hand to corporate asking for capital when your businesses are not running well….
.. To ensure that your organization is constantly reallocating resources from weak areas to promising ones, you need a systematic operating method. Most companies have a rhythm of meetings and performance reviews but spend much of their time looking in the rearview mirror: What was last month’s performance? What was last year’s performance? I believe you need to impose an operating mechanism that reallocates resources in real time and that educates your organization and instills core capabilities.
One operating mechanism I’ve found helpful is something I call “business decision week.”1 We run BDW ten times a year, and we take its name seriously: decisions are actually made on the spot in real time. Attendance is mandatory for my direct-leadership team. Confidentiality limits the number of people who can be in attendance at some sessions, but for others there is no reason not to have a large number of managers listen in. The discussions are lively, and listening in can be a great learning opportunity.
I will not take a meeting outside BDW to discuss a project requiring capital approvals. Similarly, I will not take a separate meeting about resources for a new project involving research and development. Having one-off meetings and decisions would waste a lot of time and defeat the objective of this open system, in which all the key people must be present and comment on the matter at hand.
Business decision week forces my leadership team to look out the windshield. What are the biggest opportunities we should concentrate on? What capabilities do we need in order to pursue them? Where are our people wasting time, and where should they be spending more time today? How about in six months? We try to place management time and focus on areas where we can grow, rather than focusing on firefighting and activities with low potential.