Monthly Archives: March 2011

6 Sides of the So-Called Box

Unless you’ve been in a coma for the past 20 years, I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase “get out of the box.” It’s everywhere. Whole industries have sprung up around it, including mine. No one can deny that getting out of the box is a good thing to do. Seems like a no-brainer, eh? Kind of like helping little ...

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Stay Agile and Win

Many leaders of small firms focus on making their business work efficiently and on delivering high-quality customer service. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these objectives. They are both essential aims. However, if they lead to rigidity and the exclusion of variation then they can undermine the key advantage that small businesses have over large businesses – agility. If you ...

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The Great Innovation Lie

Like any good managing director, I regularly watch what the competition and others in our field are up to. One thing I have noticed over recent months is a tendency to turn corporate innovation into a highly complex system involving numerous processes, approaches and models. Such systems are being promoted by consultants who, not surprisingly, charge by the hour for ...

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Who's in Charge Here Anyway?

How many times has this happened in your organization? A sudden change in your market (or as often happens these days, a sudden change in the world outside your industry) dictates a major mid-course correction to the strategic plan. So you gather the management team, strategize the issue, and end the meeting with several decisions that will take the plan ...

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Checking In With Air New Zealand

Recently I wrote about some great ideas circulating the airline industry. Topping the list was Air New Zealand, which continues its relentless leadership in innovation and customer service. The last time I last covered the company’s virtues in some depth was 2007, so a recap is overdue. In 2008 Air New Zealand’s paperless check-in kiosks completely eliminated the check-in counter ...

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Confusing Complexity

Lost Revenue Opportunities and the New York Times by Patrick Lefler The New York Times will soon introduce a paywall to its very popular website in order to turn online visitors into paying customers. It’s part of their latest drive to reignite revenue growth in the face of an industry decline that has seen Times revenue drop 27% over the ...

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Innovation and Entrepreneurship

I was watching the most recent Mastercard commercial the other day, and it really got me thinking. Innovation really goes hand in hand with entrepreneurship. The tagline in the commercial is “for those who never stop pursuing their dreams, there’s Mastercard”. If we want to encourage innovation, then we should be encouraging entrepreneurship. It all starts with education. President Obama ...

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Innovation and the Peter Principle

By this point in your career, regardless of your length of time in your career, you’ve met someone who demonstrates the description of the Peter Principle. According to the authors of the book, the Peter Principle espouses that “In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence”. Of course any sweeping statement like this one must ...

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Resource Allocation in Open Innovation

The “standard” scenario is that companies start small with open innovation. It is often just one guy charged to create some quick, small wins. If this works, more resources are added and a team with several people will be formed. Projects like this are common to companies so there is no reason to worry in the short-term. It is actually ...

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