Sunday, January 24, 2016

Analog Leadership vs. Digital Leadership From Design Thinking Concepts

A friend shared this table with me, a while ago. I think it is very useful to look at the Design Thinking driven leadership/management practice traits outlined below.

Design Thinking mindset can define & should define all roles in any company to embed continuous innovation culture. This transformation should start the with leadership traits. Few companies live and practice this as part of their DNA (Google, Facebook, AirBnB).


Analog Leadership Digital Leadership
Failure is not an option Fail often to succeed sooner
Consolidate influence Distribute influence
Hierarchy and previous experience helps to decide who is the right person matters Ideas matter (past experience is irrelevant) leadership can provide support
Communicate from one to a few, no matter where in the organization you are. Communication flows down the hierarchy Communicate in real time many to many
Leadership is a role Leadership is a commitment
All or nothing – one big bet Prototype frequently – many small bets
Ideas from respected experts Ideas from as many sources as possible; naïve expertise & novice ideas are welcome
Teach Learn by doing and then teach others about your hacks
Marathon Sprint
Benchmark our industry peers Benchmark against your dreams, not your industry peers. Create something that is impossible for others to recreate!
Value Chain Value Ecosystem
Arms-length value-chain involvement We are as capable as our value chain!
Delegator Connector
Talent-hoarder Talent promoter and talent builder
Organizer Star-maker, mentor, explorer
I-shaped people who are domain experts with deep expertise, but little curiosity T-shaped people with respected expertise, but with broad curiosity bandwidth
Traditional initiatives launches begin with pushing new ideas from the idea-originator into the marketplace Steve Jobs taught us that digital success starts with a fixation on the customer experience
We rely on our competencies Boundary-less (www of talent; whoever is right, whatever is needed to woo them to work because you love your craft)
Slow Blinding speed. Scaling up is important. Design & user experience is used to gain competitive advantage
Study It Try it: create working prototype
Incremental dreams - forecast Exponential dreams -- backcast
All or nothing – one big bet Prototype frequently – many small bets
Individuals Teams that are diverse, multi-disciplinary and has experts. The leader is the glue. The integrator
Innovation focuses products (offerings) Innovation focuses on business models and creating new habits with customers
Innovation is a noun (some dept. does it); brand is a clever slogan Innovation is a Verb (everyone an innovator); brand is a verb and authentic
Secrets Transparent
Hit-makers Long-tail promoters
Switched-on episodically Switched-on all the time
Episodic innovation Continuous innovation
Incremental innovation VS. radical innovation Incremental + Radical innovation

Friday, January 22, 2016

Design Thinking Insights Applied to Remittances Company

Checkout These folks have found the real need of immigrants who send money to their loved ones to home countries.

A while ago at PayPal, using design thinking uncovered that immigrants from Mexico only cared about the exchange rate minute-by-minute because the net amount transfer was the most important thing for them and their loved ones.

Banks and other online remitters make money by setting their self-determined excessive exchange rates and predatory fees & this is how they milk the immigrants.

Why get ripped off by banks when you need to send money overseas?

Here is a company that guarantees upfront the exchange rate at the time of you sending money.

Their user interface is awesome and makes it very easy to understand what is going on with the intended transfer.

Customer support is proactive, responsive, and timely.

Oh! One more thing, founders also created Skype.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull: A book review

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True InspirationCreativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A tour de force work by creating, living, practicing and improvising a world class creative company culture at Pixar & Disney Animation group.

In particular, the practice has been honed for almost 25 years and additionally tested and successfully deployed inside iconic Disney Animation group. Not many people can claim this impressive repeat creative culture creation.

Any venture wishing to create a lasting creative culture must start with incredible constant self-awareness and absolute candor that begins with top leadership.

Creative culture practice is a marathon and not a sprint!

The most resonant theme expressed is candor at all time and all levels. One of the most misunderstood and ignored concept missing from many prior published works. Candor at all levels is the ability of all people at all levels of the organization having difficult and tough conversations to resolve hidden and unpredictable issues.

One memorable line is: if the hallway knows the truth and conference room does not then it reflects the lack of candor, where people are afraid to speak up without fear of retaliation.

In reading through Pixar quest to live a creative culture, it is very evident that Pixar practices the art of 'Design Thinking' in their particular way for every movie that Pixar has produced. For example, before any movie, the staff went to the actual location to do the 'research' which equates to Design Thinking's observe and empathize techniques.

One example given is, filmmakers of 'Nemo' went and visited dentists offices and then traversed the sewers to find out if fish can escape from dentists office sink to the ocean via sewers. Movies makers also became certified scuba divers to experience what it is like to navigate all the way from sewers to the ocean.

One of the surprises in the book is the last chapter about Steve Job's role at Pixar before its acquisition by Disney. It is the most touching and candid description of Steve Job's transformation to an excellent listener and his knack for giving constructive feedback during Pixar pre-release movie previews.

In fact, Steve's legendary product introductions were stories that people loved to buy iPod, iPhone, and iPad. I am sure he learned the art of storytelling from the master storytellers at Pixar.

This heart touching elucidation runs counter to all what his been written about Steve Jobs after his passing away. Ed Catmull's unique account comes from a close working relationship with Steve Jobs for over 20 years.

Finally, any company trying to navigate through the disruptive digital transformation should make this book a required reading for the entire organization, starting with top leadership.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Design of Business: Book Review

The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive AdvantageThe Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage by Roger L. Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A must read for any leader & corporate boards who are challenged with growth in current times and need to transform their companies into a constantly innovating organization.

Very profound insights as to why the lost art and desire of pursuing the unknown to uncover unmet user needs in this age.

The good news is: the solution is in plain sight!

But it requires deep thinking and calculated risk taking to grow. When companies like CocaCola starts to practice the art, the magic happens.

For corporate managers who are happy milking the current status quo, this book can provide a path forward to grow constantly.

In essence, it requires a transformation in the mind of leaders (leaders themselves must become constant learner's).

View all my reviews