Is Dumb the New Smart?

How dumb is your business? At the risk of drawing the ire of corporate elitists, I submit to you that the dumber your business is, the better off you are. The truth is that great companies are those which can thrive and prosper in the absence of sophistication. As odd as it sounds, businesses that are not dependent on smart ...

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What business are you in?

Overcoming Identity – Apple & HP by Adam Hartung “What business are you in?” is one of the most common business questions asked. People usually want a simple answer, like “I make widgets” or “I provide widget services.” A simple answer allows people to easily cubbyhole the business, and remember what it does. And many think it provides for a ...

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Open Innovation + Rapid Incubation = Power

Recently, I have read several interesting articles on how companies develop new projects based on rapid incubation or fast prototyping practices. Anthony Townsend, Director of Technology Development at the Institute for the Future wrote about rapid incubation and lightweight innovation models in this article, Moving Beyond Open Innovation. I agree with Townsend that the approaches he touches upon seem to ...

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It's Time for CRM to Go Social

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is just a fancy name for a customer data management system. CRM systems don’t do anything for most people as a customer. Now it’s time for CRM to get social. Remember 8 years ago every VCs were pouring money into CRM (Customer Relationship Management), I never liked that word. It is a fancy name for some ...

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Building a Better Pizza

How Much Can Innovation Sell Pies? by Robert F. Brands with Jeff Zbar First, there was pizza – round dough, with cheese, sauce, and toppings. Then, competition arrived, and the simple pizza pie simply wasn’t enough. Delivery companies began a string of innovations. Hand-tossed, think-crust, “Chicago-style,” stuffed crust and “Meat Lovers” were among the pies du jour. Then one chain ...

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Redefining Failure

I view life as a series of experiments. When you look at it through this lens, failure means something completely different. One definition of an experiment is: “A test or investigation, especially one planned to provide evidence for or against a hypothesis.” The only way an experiment can fail is if you don’t get the evidence. Even if the evidence ...

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How to Avoid Commoditizing Yourself

Do some of your customers and prospects treat you like a commodity? If they do, you’re likely competing on price far more than you’d like. Companies and industries that slide into commoditization almost always have a better option. There’s always a way to identify, quantify and communicate significant incremental value and results for your clients that your competitors fail to ...

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The Who What Why of Innovation

This problem analysis method examines an issue from twelve different viewpoints. It is based on the words of the poem by Rudyard Kipling: I keep six honest serving men, they taught me all I knew. Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who. We probe the topic using these questioning words from a positive ...

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Defining the 'Social Team'

If you’ve been following me online on Twitter or elsewhere, you’ve probably heard me mention the concept of “Social Teams” more than a few times recently. It is, in my mind, a powerful idea that has the ability to change the way companies and individuals view online collaboration efforts – with the potential to achieve dramatic results. I’ve always believed ...

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Rethinking the Role of a Manager

The root of the word “manager” comes from the same root as the words “manipulate” and “maneuver”, meaning to “adapt or change something to suit one’s purpose”. Although these words may carry a pejorative meaning, there is nothing inherently wrong with them. Indeed, into each life a little manipulation and maneuvering must fall. For example, if the door to your ...

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