Monday, January 26, 2015

The Truth About Breakthrough Strategies
You won’t find them through typical strategic planning, executive retreats, or brainstorming sessions.

Very interesting

Ford, Apple, Netflix, Starbucks, and Google struck gold with these breakthrough strategies, and changed the game in their respective industries.. Although each strategy is distinctive, they share a few common characteristics that tell us how breakthrough strategies really come to be.First, they start with flashes of insight prompted by working on big problems… 
..  research tells us that innovative strategies are sparked by “precedents” from unexpected places that seem to offer at least a partial solution to the challenge you have in mind. For example, before they founded Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin were working on how to make the Web more useful for e-commerce. But Page was also working on the Stanford Digital Libraries Project, and realized that you could rank Web pages the way scholars are ranked by their annual number of citations. Howard Schultz was noodling on how to raise people’s demand for high-quality coffeewhen he was inspired by observing Italians from all walks of life enjoying espresso at their local watering holes. Ford’s idea for the moving assembly line originated in meatpacking plants, where butchers disassembled carcasses moving past them along an overhead trolley… 
… Then things get really fascinating, because breakthrough strategies always involve “creative combination.” For example, to help make the Macintosh a digital hub for consumers, Jobs created the iPod by combining visual cues from Braun’s T3 pocket radio; a 1.8-inch 5GB hard drive from Toshiba; the navigation features of the Bang & Olufsen BeoCom 6000 wireless telephone; capacitance technology invented in 1910 for the scroll wheel; the programming code from SoundJam MP (a popular MP3 player app), and his Pixar experience, where he learned about negotiating with the music industry for the right to sell songs individually…. 
… Finally, people—not companies—create breakthrough strategies. Breakthroughs go against the grain of accepted wisdom, and markets and organizations are powerful immune systems that throw up multiple barriers to turning new ideas into commercial reality. It takes a person who believes enough in the strategy to be willing to fight an organization or the broader market for however long it takes to make it happen….. So what does all this tell us about breakthrough strategies? They rarely come from the typical strategic planning effort

Monday, January 19, 2015

Retina 5K iMac: Powerful Proof of the PC
DEC. 24, 2014
Farhad Manjoo

What do you do when you are in the computer business and the rapid evolution of mobile devices is taking share an alarming rate? Sound familiar to a situation you may be facing? Here is a way to deal with it.

About a year before he died, Steve Jobs was asked at a conference to predict the future of the market for personal computers. Back in the late 1970s, as the chief executive and a co­founder of Apple, Mr. Jobs had presided over the birth of the PC industry, but then, after blockbuster sales of the iPhone and the iPad,he had taken to describing the tech business as entering the “post­PC” era. Did he really believe that desktop and laptop computers were going extinct? 
He reached for an analogy. “When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks, because that’s what you needed on the farm,” Mr. Jobs said. But as farming died off and people in urban areas began to buy automobiles, the auto market split into distinct categories. There were easy to use, relatively maintenance­free cars for everyday drivers, and powerful, specialty vehicles like trucks for people who needed to get stuff done. Laptops and desktops “are going to be like trucks,” Mr. Jobs predicted. “They’re still going to be around. They’re still going to have a lot of value. But they’re going to be used by one out of x people.” 
Four years later, Mr. Jobs’s predictions have pretty much panned out.
Benedict Evans, an analyst at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, estimates that the number of smartphones and tablets in use around the world surpassed two billion in 2014, eclipsing the number of laptops and desktops in  use. But just as Mr. Jobs argued, the rise of mobile devices has not led to the death of desktops and laptops. In 2014 the once­sharp decline in PC sales began to level off. In some ways this year was a renaissance for the personal computer as our laptops and desktops acquired fantastic new powers that made them better than ever.
One approach—the low end. We saw the rise of Chromebooks, the Google­powered laptops that run an operating system based on the Chrome web browser, which often sell for around $200. Because they’re inexpensive and easy to maintain, Chromebooks began to cut into the low end of the computer market in 2014, and they’ve proved especially popular in education, where teachers and parents appreciate their simple design….And this year, low­priced Chromebooks and Windows machines helped the PC industry hold steady against the rise of phones. 
But there’s a question of long­term viability. How long can PC makers survive by selling cut­rate devices? 

Enter Apple and the new iMac it unveiled in the fall, an expensive desktop with a beautiful, high­resolution screen. If Chromebooks are cars, the new iMac is the world’s best truck. It’s a device optimized for professionals, not casual users, and it blazes a path forward for the once­beleaguered PC industry.
As phones and tablets become more powerful and useful, and as they begin to occupy more of our time, PC manufacturers will have to create computers that take advantage of PCs’ shape, size and power. They’ll have to find new features that can’t be mimicked by smartphones. With a display unmatched by any other computing device you can buy today, the new iMac does just that. 
Playing the high end has proved lucrative for Apple. In the third quarter of 2014, by the research firm IDC’s estimates, Apple became the fifth­largest PC seller in the world. Though its market share is dwarfed by the Windows PC giants Lenovo, Hewlett­Packard, Dell and Acer, Apple is predicted to rake in about half of the PC industry’s profits. “They’re doing remarkably well.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Build a change platform, not a change program-
  Part 2
It’s not you, it’s your company. Management Innovation eXchange founders Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini believe that continuous improvement requires the creation of change platforms, rather than change programs ordained and implemented from the top.
October 2014 | byGary Hamel and Michele Zanini

Here is what the authors suggest. I strongly urge you read the article for it gives very good illustrative examples.

The challenge is to tackle deep change for tough systemic issues in a way that avoids the pitfalls of traditional change programs (PREVIOUS BLOG). Put another way: how do you create platforms for sustained company-wide conversations that can amplify weak signals and support the complex problem solving needed to address core management challenges?.. 

We believe that three shifts in approach are necessary: 

From top-down to activist-out. Transformational change conventionally starts at the top because companies haven’t enabled it to start anywhere else. To make deep change proactive and pervasive, the responsibility for initiating change needs to be syndicated across the organization...
From sold to invited. Transformational change cannot be sustained without genuine commitment on the part of those who will be most affected. This commitment is best achieved by bidding out the change program’s “how” to everyone in the organization..
From managed to organic.What we need is constant experimentation—with new operating models, business models, and management models. Not freeze and refreeze, but “permanent slush.” This approach means placing less emphasis on building a powerful project-management office and more on building self-organizing communities that identify, experiment, and eventually scale new initiatives.  (PROCESSES LIKE MDG AFFORD THE STRUCTURE TO DO THIS)


Thursday, January 08, 2015

Build a change platform, not a change program
It’s not you, it’s your company. Management Innovation eXchange founders Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini believe that continuous improvement requires the creation of change platforms, rather than change programs ordained and implemented from the top.
October 2014 | byGary Hamel and Michele Zanini

Very powerful. The next post will define their recommendations. 

Transformational-change initiatives have a dismal track record. In 1996, Harvard Business School professor John Kotter claimed that nearly 70 percent of large-scale change programs didn't meet their goals, and virtually every survey since has shown similar results. .....The problem lies in beliefs about who is responsible for launching change and how change is implemented. 
The reality is that today’s organizations were simply never designed to change proactively and deeply—they were built for discipline and efficiency, enforced through hierarchy and routinization. As a result, there’s a mismatch between the pace of change in the external environment and the fastest possible pace of change at most organizations.... 
....What’s needed is a real-time, socially constructed approach to change, so that the leader’s job isn’t to design a change program but to build a change platform—one that allows anyone to initiate change, recruit confederates, suggest solutions, and launch experiments.(THIS IS THE UNDERPINNING LOGIC OF THE MDG PROCESS. THE LEADERSHIP DRIVEN EFFORT OF INSTITUTING PROCESSES LIKE MDG ALLOWS ALL IN THE ORGANIZATION "TO INITIATE CHANGE......" THE LEADERSHIP COMPONENT OF MDG SETS THE STAGE FOR CREATING THE GROWTH PLATFORM).... 
Three intertwined assumptions limit the efficacy of the traditional model of change: 
Change starts at the top. This mind-set implies that executives have the sole right to initiate deep change and are best placed to judge when it is necessary. Truth is, executives are often the last to know. They are insulated from reality by layers of managers who are often reluctant to sound an alarm. By the time an issue is big enough and unavoidable enough to attract the scarce attention of the CEO, the organization is already playing defense (I BELIEVE THE TOP HAS TO SET THE STAGE FOR THE GROWTH PLATFORM)....
Change is rolled out. When change is imposed from above, with both ends and means prescribed, it’s rarely embraced. Traditional change programs fail to harness the discretionary creativity and energy of employees and often generate cynicism and resistance. Senior executives talk about the need to get buy-in, but genuine buy-in is the product of involvement, not slick packaging and communication....
Change is engineered. The phrase “change management” implies that deep change can be managed, like a large-scale construction project or an IT overhaul. But if change is truly transformational—if it breaks new ground—it can’t be predetermined.