Customer Intelligence and Teamwork Drive Innovation

Innovation happens in many places and has many faces. Enterprises are required to nurture internal processes that work in sync like ecosystems to encourage front line intelligence to feed ideas through to management so that services, products, processes and teamwork ensues collaboratively to deliver benefits to the Value Chain. This requires effective team work and a supporting methodology that aims to treat your team more like an agile soccer team if you think about it so that anyone can effectively take control of the ball and score the goal.
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In the book “Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice” by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen; the core concept of the “Job To Be Done” theory is introduced which is hugely relevant for enterprises wanting to leverage collaborative team work in creating value. The theory stresses that in order to drive organisational product, service and process excellence; we need to focus on alleviating the forces of anxiety, inertia, substitution and resistance across both the customer and employee value chain. Christensen articulates a mechanism to achieve this by firstly creating “specs” that define what outcomes and values are required in order to lead to customers or employees firing old methods, solutions, products and services and adopting new ones. In doing so, the product development team (as an example of a department vested with solving consumer problems) will be satisfied as they have induced consumer adoption either by bringing non-consumption into consuming contexts or working on incremental product and service innovation. Christensen states that “The circumstance is fundamental to defining the job (and finding a solution for it), because the nature of the progress desired will always be strongly influenced by the circumstance”.
This is important as traditionally, managers usually follow one of four primary organising principals in their innovation quest (or some composite therefore) being product attributes, customer characteristics, trends and/or competitive response. The challenge here is that these are not bad or wrong but they are essentially sampling of the most common and are insufficient and therefore not predictive of customer behaviours. In this article, I allude to how the Bioteaming action rules across the Organization, Execution and Connectivity Zone facilitates the dynamics required to solve the ‘job to be done’.

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C3: a new approach to Collaborative Project Management

Most approaches to project management concentrate on the tasks which need to be successfully completed to achieve the project goal. Important as this is, it is at most only half of the story of successful project management. The C3 approach addresses the hidden side of project management – the people-collaboration-end-result perspective and is also a powerful tool for conducting a quick project healthcheck.

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The five major theories of how people “learn”: a synopsis

Carlton Reeve has written an excellent series of five articles in Play with Learning which compares and contrasts the 5 main theories of learning (Behaviourism, Cognitivism, Constructivist, Experientialism and Social Learning) which underpin personal learning. Carlton also identifies different computer games founded on each theory. I have produced a short synopsis here with links to the 5 original articles which are well worth studying.
Each of these 5 theories (or modes) has its place in learning. In fact the most effective learning will likely contain some element of each mode. For example, this blending of learning modes is used in our portfolio of Business Simulation Games to develop highly effective Leadership and Management skills when combined with facilitation and learning in teams.

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How to assess Power and Influence: a simple but effective method

When we are dealing with change we need to be able to make quick but robust assessments of the power/influence of the different players. My colleague, Andrew Constable, has developed a concise but comprehensive approach to assessing power which he calls the 8P’s of Power.

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A practical framework for change – head, hearts, hands & feet

The late Stephen Covey always reminded us that “the main thing was to keep the main thing the main thing !” However when you think about “Change Management” you could be excused for thinking its all about detailed road maps and large tomes of procedures and checklists. These are all important but sometimes they can also sadly distract from the whole point of the exercise. To stop you falling into this trap I offer you my easy to remember 4 point mental checklist based on the human body to help you constantly check that you have not been “detail distracted”!

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Simplexity: small causes yield huge effects

The way small causes yield huge effects is itself only one piece of the much grander idea of simplexity, a science that is increasingly being studied at universities and institutes around the world, but nowhere more intensely than at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico. No single unified rule governs all complex or simple systems, but there are a few big ones.

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