Happy World Innovation Day

Happy World Innovation Day

Today is World Innovation Day - the final celebration of World Creativity and Innovation Week. This week marked World Creativity and Innovation Week which has the stated purpose of: Open minds, hearts, eyes to new ideas, new decisions, new actions: one week worldwide. The movement has gained so much momentum in fact that the United Nations has added World Innovation Day on April 21 to its UN Days of Observance alongside Earth Day, Water Day, and World Humanitarian Day. Today you are encouraged to celebrate innovation and problem-solving, in particular against the big world problems: social, humanitarian, environmental, learning, children, etc. You can add your own initiative to the growing list of Innovation Celebrations happening today around the world at https://wciw.org/wciw-2017/. As of April 16 there were 85 celebrations and initiatives planned across 28 countries around the world. Join in the worldwide movement. Show your passion for innovation. Be the change you want to see in the world. Innovate....
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Working Smarter Using the Eisenhower Matrix

Working Smarter Using the Eisenhower Matrix

Dwight Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, serving as president from 1953 to 1961. He faced challenges such as the Korean War, the start of the space race, the Lebanon crisis, and a growing conflict with the Soviet Union. One of his famous quotes was: What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important. It was from that quote that the concept of the Eisenhower Matrix was born, a concept which has been talked about in many famous books including First Things First and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey where it became a foundational component of his time management approach. While the concept and framework are not new, they are just as relevant today as we plan our work (and personal) tasks. In fact taking a thoughtful approach to work using the Eisenhower Matrix may be even more important today with the rapidly increasing pace of business and information. (more…)...
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Scaling to Differentiation

Scaling to Differentiation

I recently wrote about the importance of "Framework Thinking" as a way to simplify how you look at problems, structures, and processes so I thought I would extend that thinking as an example of how you can think about how you organize your business structure. Scaling an organization requires an evolution of maturity in your structures, your processes, and your approach to priority management and without recognizing that need for evolution and a focus on building a solid foundation you can quickly find yourself in crisis mode as you grow. I have written about the importance of foundation as well in the past as it related specifically to building an innovation capability in your organization, but the same concept of foundation applies as you think about your organizational structure. (more…)...
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Simplify Alignment with Framework Thinking

Simplify Alignment with Framework Thinking

Growing a business is hard. Entrepreneurs get started in business with a great idea and the energy to bring it to reality, and then grow the business based on their hard work and hopefully the hard work of a growing team of exceptional team players around them. But at some point the outcomes of that raw desire and entrepreneurial energy start to peak and then turn downward as the organization grows and the coordination of all of those exceptional players starts to become more difficult. What created success as a start-up organization in terms of agility, organic collaboration, and energy-driven execution starts to falter as the number of clients, the scale of the opportunities, and the complexity of the organization rises. (more…)...
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I Am Canadian

I Am Canadian

Today, as my neighbours to the south celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day to celebrate the life of one of the greatest spokesmen for Civil Rights we have ever seen, I have found myself bombarded with messages in the news and in social feeds that scares me as a Canadian. This is a unique MLK Day with the looming inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States, a man who has pulled no punches in sharing his discriminatory views during (and after) the election campaign and who has filled his cabinet with similarly right wing and discriminatory folks. The words of Martin Luther King Jr are ringing in my ears as I look to the south of Canada: There is nothing more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.Martin Luther King Jr. But the language and messaging that has come with the Donald Trump election campaign and media fury has spilled over into Canada, into the country that I am proud...
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ROI Comes From Customer Value Creation

ROI Comes From Customer Value Creation

I read a post the other day looking at the ROI (Return On Investment) in immediate payment systems (banking speak for instant payments) and one particular statement made by the author made the hair on the back of my neck stand up... In fact, the real driver may not be the ROI but just keeping up with customer and regulatory needs. The reality is that if the ROI is some sort of fuzzy "feel good" or "customer experience" story without any strong numbers most businesses won't invest in these types of problems. In this example, if all of the major banks in a country (such as Britain or Canada) decide that "instant payments" don't have a positive ROI they will all choose to not build that capability since it isn't "worth it". If they do choose to build it it will be based on a "loss aversion" or "cost reduction" ROI and it will likely be built at a high cost and...
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Failing Forward

Failing Forward

I was reading today about a number of the biggest product failures of all time (kind of a fun read actually), and one of the things that jumped out at me was the number of companies that are known for being really innovative that made the list of failures. Normally if you were to put together a list that included Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and Starbucks you would be reviewing the "most innovative brands" or something similar. What does it tell you if some of the best known innovators are also on the list of the biggest innovation failures of all time? Easy... Everybody fails. It's what you do with those failures that matters. Just for fun let's highlight a few of the "big failures" to illustrate my point: (more…)...
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Curiosity Killed the Cat (But Satisfaction Brought It Back)

Curiosity Killed the Cat (But Satisfaction Brought It Back)

I was doing my morning reading today and I came across a few posts and thoughts the value of opposing ideas, disagreement, and controversy and it reminded me of the value of curiosity when we are going about our daily lives. More and more often we see leaders just "speaking louder" on the belief that if they just talk louder they will convince more people to agree with their position (as radical as it might be). We see our friends and family getting into comment wars on social media and posting articles and ideas that are clearly intended to create tension and disagreement. We see people who are shocked by the fact that there are people with ideas and opinions that don't align perfectly with their own. We see more and more people with a clear false consensus bias which is reducing the quality of our societal conversation (and making it very challenging to maintain our own curiosity). False Consensus Bias = People have a...
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How Did You Do In 2016?

How Did You Do In 2016?

As we wrap up another year and start to think about our real plans and goals in 2017 I have been doing a lot of reading of year end "best of" lists, looking forward "trendspotting" lists, and a few "remember our goals last year" lists and the last category made me really think... mainly because there have only been a couple of them. So many lists at this time of year celebrating the "best of" what happened in 2016... so many companies and prognosticators talking about "what will happen" in 2017... and almost nobody talking about how the two aligned for the past 12 months. Perhaps it isn't surprising to see that very few people actually take their "plans and goals" from the start of the year and publish their results against those "wishes and dreams" lists that they published a year ago... it would after all require us to show some humility and acknowledgement for those things that didn't go...
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Flawless Execution – In Innovation

Flawless Execution – In Innovation

I've had many bosses who spoke about the need for "flawless execution" in our organization. They spoke of delivering with excellence, achieving plan, and a relentless pursuit of productivity in our work. And then they spoke about how innovative we were going to be - how we were going to try new things, adapt and increase our pace, and become more agile. And when they were done you could look around the room and see confusion and fear. "How can I take chances, try new things, adapt and increase pace, and be more agile while I am delivering with excellence, making no mistakes, achieving my plan, and delivering productivity?" was the thought going through everyone's mind... "Aren't those the exact opposite approaches?"... And then nothing changed. (more…)...
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