Insights

5 Things All Great Leaders Do to Create a Culture of Leadership

What’s the secret to creating a culture of leadership that will take your organization forward for years to come? There is no secret — it starts at the top with you.

In my experience as a leadership speaker and consultant, it starts with senior leaders reflecting internally — to understand their purpose, gain clarity about what they stand for and what the organization stands for — and identifying how to communicate this with the rest of your organization.

It is the strength of individuals who make an organization world class. And companies that make leadership development a strategic priority have the ability to attract and retain the best leadership talent, and move to the head of the pack.

Leadership Culture Starts at the Top

Transformational leaders understand that a culture of leadership doesn’t start with a written document, but by the behaviours, they model every day. You can’t simply write down what you want your leadership culture to be and expect others to follow. Your culture is made up of the values you live daily — and those are not aspirational — they are actual.

Leaders must understand and communicate a clear vision to create an environment that attracts people who share their same values.

You lay the groundwork by being clear with your purpose, and by leading by example and modeling the behaviors they would like to see practiced. Only then can you begin to establish the right structures and processes to foster and reinforce the desired culture.

If you want to develop great leaders, you first need to learn to be a great leader yourself.

5 Things All Great Leaders Do to Create a Culture of Leadership

While it’s easy to assume that great leaders were born to lead — and some are — more often great leadership is a result hard work, gaining experience over time, continuously evolving, and being open to learning new skills and trying different approaches. Thankfully, most of us were not born a natural leader, we had to learn — and this willingness to grow and develop will help create a culture of leadership.

Here are 5 things that great leaders do to help create a culture of leadership:

  1. Define clarity of purpose: All great leaders find their purpose. It’s clearly defined, and it is the catalyst for everything they do. Purpose helps to fuel their work ethic and drive their passion for what they do. More importantly, they create a purpose that resonates with others, and they communicate organizational values and vision in a way that brings people together to rally behind their vision, creating a strong culture of leadership.
  2. Walk the talk: You must reinforce company culture and values daily and with consistency. Leadership culture is a living and breathing entity. Strong leaders understand that organizational culture is dynamic and know it’s critical to reflect a culture of leadership through their actions. If your team sees you practicing what you preach, they will be more open to buy-in. Values should be a regular touch point in decision-making to ensure they are being lived every day —  not just when it is easy or convenient. Leaders also establish a culture of leadership when they hire new people by hiring for character over competence and establishing expectations clearly during onboarding, training, and coaching, and by putting people in leadership positions who share the same values and live them consistently.
  3. Practice self-awareness: Leaders need to be willing to change first — before organizations can change and transform. Leaders need to have the ability to be self-aware, as well as organizationally and culturally aware, of the impact of their actions and decisions. They allow others to have a voice, they are open to critique and outside ideas, and they are willing to grow individually and professionally.
  4. Recognize the value of people: Great leaders understand that the most valuable resource in their organization is people. They invest in people and help them develop their own leadership capacity — scaling it throughout the organization. Transformational leaders have a genuine desire to lift people up to achieve their own success.
  5. Create transformative organizational change: Leaders themselves need to be transformative in order to inspire higher performance and customer-focused culture. As discussed in, 6 Ways for Leaders to Create Organizational Change, “how you approach to change is just as important as what you want to change. If you want to be a transformative leader and create long-lasting organizational change, you need to approach it in a way which minimizes negative reactions, is aligned with business strategies and corporate cultures and is inclusive in nature.”

Anyone can be in a leadership position, but this doesn’t mean they are a leader. There is a difference between managing and leading. Managers look after things/checklists (budgets, invoices, scheduling, reports) and usually do so from behind a desk.

However, people are led. Great leaders know that to connect with their teams, they need to be engaged — ready to step in and support their people, even working side by side to get the job done. Leaders take the time to build their social skills and interact with others so that there is a strong teamwork atmosphere.

Forget about looking for the secret formula or shortcuts to create a culture of leadership. You won’t find them. Start by taking a look in the mirror and reflecting on your own leadership. This is the first place to look for answers about how to create a culture of leadership.

Source: http://customerthink.com/5-things-all-great-leaders-do-to-create-a-culture-of-leadership/

The Bible on Leadership: From Moses to Matthew – Management Lessons for Contemporary Leaders

Millions have been inspired by the Bible’s spiritual lessons. Now, Lorin Woolfe provides a unique way to view the Bible . . . for leadership lessons that can be applied to our modern business world. Consider David’s courage and innovation in slaying Goliath with just a stone and a sling; Moses’ outstanding „“succession planning““ in picking Joshua; Joseph and the political skills that brought him to the seat of power; and of course, Jesus’ compassion, communication skills, and vision that launched Christianity (a long-term success by any measure). These are leaders among leaders. Their achievements – and their inspired methods of achievement – offer a wholly different perspective on business leadership. For the dozens of Biblical stories presented, the book provides: * A concise retelling of each story * One (or more) leadership lessons suggested by each story * Examples of contemporary business leaders who exhibit some of the inspired traits of these ancient leaders, including: Fred Smith of FedEx, Howard Shultz of Starbucks, Tom Chappell of Tom’s of Maine (a “toothpaste with a mission”), Roy Vagelos of Merck, and many more. The chapters cover these universal topics: Courage * Purpose * Communication * Honesty and Integrity * Power and Influence * Performance Management * Team Building * Humility * Compassion * Justice * Encouragement and Consequences * Wisdom * Creating the Future Each topic concludes with a list of key points to keep in mind as readers continue on their own leadership journeys.

Download the file here: TheBibleOnLeadership

MIT Just Announced the Top 10 Worst Tech Innovations of the 21st Century. Here’s What They All Have in Common

Premature scaling, lack of customer discovery, and applying outdated methods led to some of the worst innovations.

MIT Technology Review published a list of the worst innovations from the past two decades. Some were too early for market; some were a product without a customer; others were helpful, but caused more problems than they solved. The list includes:

  1. Segway 
  2. Google Glass
  3. Electronic voting
  4. One laptop per child
  5. CRISPR babies
  6. Data trafficking
  7. Cryptocurrency
  8. E-cigarettes
  9. Plastic coffee pods
  10. Selfie sticks

What do many of these innovations have in common? They were built in the 21st century using 20th-century entrepreneurial rules. They failed to put customers ahead of investors. They built solutions and products in secret, and only when the products were „perfect“ went looking for a customer. They failed to find a repeatable, sustainable, scalable business model.

Entrepreneurs in the 20th century were driven by engineering innovations, and generally the emphasis was on secrecy. Companies would spend years developing „the next big thing“ and only show prototypes to focus groups that signed NDAs. Working during the original dot-com boom in New York, I saw this daily. Many 20th-century founders raised money first and then turned their mind to users. Profit often came last. This approach often led to premature scaling (where founders invest resources before proving the need for them and knowing how to efficiently deploy them). Remember, the internet had not yet developed infrastructure, so startups had to do everything manually and by themselves.  There were no Google Adwords, PayPal APIs, Amazon SDKs, or Facebook Pixels. So launching a startup took millions.

But today, hundreds of dollars are all that is needed to test your startup opportunity. The tenets of 21st-century entrepreneurship can be found squarely in the Lean Startup methodology developed by the likes of Stanford’s Steve Blank, Harvard’s Eric Reis, and MIT’s Bill Aulet. Here’s how to ensure your business model is steeped in 21st-century methodology:

  1. Get out of the building. No answers are found in a company boardroom or a founder’s garage. Answers as to what business model will disrupt an industry lie in the collaborative space between stakeholders. „Get out of the building“ means meeting face-to-face with lots of other people in order to hear their ideas.
  2. Share everywhere. Once, founders were told to keep their ideas to themselves. But this paranoia over intellectual property has been replaced by collaborative communication. Instead of keeping your venture a secret until it is perfect, you should show it to early adopters and other stakeholders in an effort to have them collaborate on the development. Working with users early in the process increases your chances for building a successful solution that sells.
  3. Get a minimum viable product. At the heart of the Lean Startup method is the idea that „done today beats perfect tomorrow.“ The old notion that companies only have one chance to make a first impression is replaced with the idea that users benefit through early collaboration, and it is better to release an ugly prototype today than to wait for months until it is perfect.
  4. Build, measure, learn. The process of building a startup is a series of experiments that require you to build a prototype, test it with real early adopters, and use that data to drive strategic decisions on how to iterate the business model.
  5. Pivot. A pivot is a change to one of the nine key elements of a startup’s business model (customer segment, UVP, KPIs, channels, etc.). In the modern day, entrepreneurs apply a systematic and scientific approach to testing assumptions and pivoting based on the results.
  6. Continuous deployment. Just as you need to get your MVP into the hands of early adopters, that process is continuous. Ventures are always building the next version; testing the impact changes have on adoption, revenue, and profit; and pivoting as needed.
  7. Split testing. The best way to decide what color your product should be, for example, is an A/B test, where 50 percent of users see Color A and the other 50 percent see Color B. Then, track which had a greater impact (e.g., which led to more sales).
  8. No more business plans. Business models have evolved from business plans to Lean Canvases. Business plans were too static, took too long to research, and really only reflected the management’s internal assumptions. A Lean Canvas is a one-page business model representation that acts as a living document, allowing founders to evolve the business model through experimentation and iteration.

Innovations like Google Glass, Segway, and cryptocurrency were built after 2000, but using 20th-century approaches. These products were built in secret and touted as game changers, but really didn’t engage in the customer discovery and iterative evolutionary process that has led to startup successes like Tinder, Uber, and Dropbox.

So if you don’t want your new product, service, or solution to end up on next year’s MIT list of the worst technology innovations, make sure you’re building a 21st-century business using 21st-century methods.

Source: https://www.inc.com/sean-wise/mit-announced-top-10-worst-tech-innovations-of-21st-century-heres-what-they-all-have-in-common.html?cid=search

Creating a culture of accountability

A team member laser focused on creating success in their own patch could be placing dangerous constraints on team results.

Is your team driving with the handbrake on?

Are some of your staff, laser focused on creating success in their own patch, essentially choosing to serve the part over the whole?

In doing so, they place constraints on the achievement of group results and we’re familiar with the undermining symptoms of this short-sightedness: the blame game, denial, the blind eye, the ball drop, withholding information or truth, being reactive at crisis point rather than proactive at causal point, lack of collaboration and engagement, and/or a general unwillingness to serve outside of the specific KPIs of one’s own role.

In fairness, most of us could admit to engaging in these behaviours ourselves at times, but if any of this conduct becomes imbedded in team members as a long-term way of being, business results will strongly reflect it.

Call it ethos, attitude, culture or code, we’re dealing with the testing challenge of shifting an employee’s work principles and beliefs but, according to the authors of recent bestseller Crucial Accountability, the effort involved in coaxing staff towards a stronger commitment to answerability for team results can be a significant triumph.

In the book, they share a VitalSmarts case study which states: “When an IT group improved crucial accountability practices by 22%, quality improved over 30%, productivity climbed almost 40%, and costs plummeted almost 50%, all while employee satisfaction swelled 20%.”

Following are 5 suggestions for ways to help your staff release the parking brake and move forward in sync to achieve team objectives like a well-oiled machine.

1. Shift their ‘working business model’:

Use your inspirational presentation powers to create a compelling message around the fact that the practices of collaboration and accountability are the new ‘sexy’.

Help them set aside the competition to reign as performer supreme. Demonstrate that a team member now ‘stars’ with a more holistic mindset – one that engenders group trust, a personal sense of responsibility to outcomes, shared commitment to strategic goals, openness to feedback, and the courage to hold both self and others answerable.

2. Create an environment of trust

To support the above paradigm, set expectations for team engagement that is non-judgemental, accepting and respectful yet gracefully honest. When team members feel safe, they will share, contributing ideas, suggestions and feedback without fearing hidden agendas, ridicule, cynicism or one-upmanship.

3. Encourage robust engagement

Generate roundtable, solution-focused discussion to ensure the sharing of knowledge. Having one’s ideas heard and considered, inspires personal investment in any eventual strategic plan of action agreed upon.

4. Provide strategic clarity

The team needs to know exactly what they are going to be accountable for. Make it your responsibility to clarify in detail the desired end result of any plan of action, decision or goal.

5. Set ground rules

Request a commitment to the specific actions, work values and attitudes that will ensure that outcomes envisioned come to fruition, placing team results over egoistic needs.

Encouraging commitment to a culture of collaboration, trust, accountability, responsiveness and pride in group accomplishment will help transform the solo performer to valued contributor, and everyone wins.

Source: https://www.theceomagazine.com/business/innovation-technology/creating-a-culture-of-accountability/

How Successful People Think: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life

Gather successful people from all walks of life-what would they have in common? The way they think! Now you can think as they do and revolutionize your work and life!

Wall Street Journal bestseller, HOW SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE THINK is the perfect, compact read for today’s fast-paced world. America’s leadership expert John C. Maxwell will teach you how to be more creative and when to question popular thinking. You’ll learn how to capture the big picture while focusing your thinking. You’ll find out how to tap into your creative potential, develop shared ideas, and derive lessons from the past to better understand the future. With these eleven keys to more effective thinking, you’ll clearly see the path to personal success.

Download the book here: howsuccessfulpeoplethink-changeyourthinkingchangeyourlife-150414064712-conversion-gate01-ID-3023c225-7df9-4268-9ab4-d2b9cb3d4c62

The 10 Best Business Books of 2018

For the entrepreneurs and executives on your gift list, here are 10 great titles to read by the fire.

 

Publishers in 2018 couldn’t match last year’s headline-grabbing business books: Ellen Pao’s tell-all about sexual discrimination at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Thomas Piketty’s tell-all about the ravages of rising inequality, to name two. But there were plenty of great new titles. More books about women and the nature of work joined leadership and technology as popular subjects. And Ken Kocienda, who invented the iPhone’s autocorrect feature, explains why your device shows „duck“ when you meant to type a different word.

Here are 10 of our favorite business books of 2018.

CREDIT: via Amazon

1. Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet, by Claire L. Evans
What unites the female programmers, hackers, game designers, and others in this engaging counter-history is user empathy. „They are never so seduced by the box that they forget why it’s there: to enrich human life,“ writes Evans, a reporter for Vice. Her account begins with familiar foundational figures of computer science, such as Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper, before segueing into the age of networks. There we meet key contributors like information scientist Elizabeth „Jake“ Feinler, who made the Arpanet navigable while finessing requests to make coffee. Stacy Horn founded the early, edgy online community Echo, where more than half the users were women, many chatting among themselves in private hangouts. The internet is a reflection of its makers, Evans reminds us. Female perspectives and attitude are in its DNA.

CREDIT: via Amazon

2. Creative Selection: Inside Apple’s Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs, by Ken Kocienda
Kocienda, a 15-year Apple veteran with a hand in the company’s most iconic products, is a generous, self-deprecating guide to life under Jobs. The phrase „creative selection“ riffs on Darwin: It casts product development as a long iterative process in which only the strongest design aspects survive. The book’s „who“–that is, Jobs, as seen through Kocienda’s interactions with him–matters less than the „how.“ Here Kocienda limns, through the lens of his own experience, the „essential elements“ of Apple’s innovation culture, which include dreaming big, combining complementary skills, making tough choices, and developing taste and empathy. This is a book about the poetry of software creation, and occasionally a thriller, as Kocienda and his team battle doubt and fear of failure to achieve something not just great but magical.

CREDIT: via Amazon

3. Dying for a Paycheck: How Modern Management Harms Employee Health and Company Performance–and What We Can Do About It, by Jeffrey Pfeffer
The Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year is toxic. That’s an apt description of the workplaces in Pfeffer’s disturbing, important book. Pfeffer, a professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, explains how overwork, stress, lack of control, and insecurity impair employees’ health–and even shorten their lives. One study found 41 percent of people say work-related stress made them sick, and 7 percent had been hospitalized. Office wellness programs alone won’t cut it when offices themselves contribute to addiction, depression, obesity, and other ills. Drawing on examples from such companies as Patagonia and Google, Pfeffer suggests how a humans-first philosophy is also good for business.

CREDIT: via Amazon

4. Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (and Everything Else), by Ken Auletta
Most people don’t like advertising. But they do like the media that advertising makes possible. And businesses legitimately need a way to get out their messages. So the advertising industry makes a reasonable protagonist–call it an anti-hero–for this saga of technological, social, and business model disruption told colorfully by New Yorkercommunications writer Auletta. The frenemies besetting traditional players are obvious suspects like Facebook and Google, but also the in-house agencies of media clients, global consultancies, and consumers protective of their time and privacy. The phrase was popularized by Martin Sorrell, the blunt, combative founder of WPP who is one of Auletta’s principle characters. Sorrell resigned as CEO in April following investigations into his conduct. Thus the personal crisis of an industry titan plays out against the existential crisis of an industry.

CREDIT: via Amazon

5. Leap: How to Thrive in a World Where Everything Can Be Copied, by Howard Yu
This deeply researched mix of strategy guide and business history is a strike against complacency. Competitive advantage comes and goes with the tide. And, in fact, Tide detergent encountered strong resistance from P&G executives anxious to protect the Ivory Soap legacy before triumphing in the market with synthetics. That need to cannibalize your own products is just one lesson from Yu, a professor at IMD in Switzerland, who draws on examples ranging from Southern textile mills to WeChat to demonstrate his principles of constant reevaluation, reinvention, and repositioning. Being best at what you do has never been enough, Yu says. Being best at something different–over and over–is key to flourishing over generations.

CREDIT: via Amazon

6. Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World, by Rand Fishkin
In February, when Fishkin stepped away from Moz, the SEO business he co-founded in 2004 with his mother, he described the experience on his blog: „On a scale of 0-10, where 0 is ‘fired and escorted out of the building by security’ and 10 is ‘left entirely of his own accord on wonderful terms,’ my departure is around a 4.“ That gives you a sense of the candor and humor with which Fishkin (whose new startup is SparkToro) approaches entrepreneurship and that animates this tale of a founder’s bumpy ride. More important, the book abounds with hard-earned insights, some of which take down conventional Silicon Valley wisdom. Among them: Successful full-scale pivots are almost nonexistent; and great products are rarely minimally viable.

CREDIT: via Amazon

7. The Meaning Revolution: The Power of Transcendent Leadership, by Fred Kofman
Too many leadership books blather on about meaning and mission without explaining what they are or how they work. Kofman, LinkedIn’s „leadership philosopher,“ makes those amorphous ideas concrete. The book contains useful tactics for improving motivation and satisfaction. For example, „escalating collaboration,“ an approach to defusing conflict by involving all parties in creative problem-solving; and forging an effective culture by weaving together consensus, intensity, adoptability, and attitudes and behaviors. Kofman’s writing is informed by his experience working with leaders in the most challenging situations, including LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman (who supplies the foreword), Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella.

CREDIT: via Amazon

8. New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World–and How to Make It Work for You, by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms
The best book of its kind since Clay Shirky’s Here Comes EverybodyNew Power explains the mechanisms and implications of technology-enabled movements. Old power acts like a currency: It is closed and held by a few. New power, by contrast, is a current: open, made by many, and most effective when it surges. The transition from old to new power unleashes potent effects that business and political leaders can use for good, both their own and others’. The Scottish beer company BrewDog, for example, has raised money from tens of thousands of its „equity punk“ customers. Buurtzorg, a home care organization in the Netherlands, improves community health care by giving power to small, self-directed teams of nurses. Heimans, an activist, and Timms, CEO of the 92nd Street Y, demonstrate how to lead virtuously in this hashtag age.

CREDIT: via Amazon

9. Regulatory Hacking: A Playbook for Startups, by Evan Burfield with J.D. Harrison
Yes, the Trump administration is taking an ax to regulations. But its emphasis is on rules pestering large corporations. Burfield, an investor who works with startups around the world, shows entrepreneurs–who can’t afford lobbyists–how to maneuver in markets where the government’s hand is heavy or their innovations don’t fit existing frameworks. Among other advice, Burfield suggests founders create „power maps“ to uncover sources of influence that might advance their causes. 23andMe, for example, built relationships with scientists who had longstanding ties to the FDA. Airbnb mustered the support of its grassroots users. Rules are made to be broken–or at least tweaked, Burfield says. But he cautions: Sometimes it is easiest to comply.

CREDIT: via Amazon

10. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, by Daniel H. Pink
The question „when“ ranks fourth on that list of the „Five W’s“ that famously govern problem solving and decision making. Popular writer Pink, whose previous books explore subjects like motivation and sales, argues for the primacy of temporal considerations. Timing is a science, writes Pink. Understanding how it works can improve performance and outcomes in business and in life. Afternoons, for example, bring out the worst in us. Midpoints of projects are similarly dour. Coffee followed by a 10- to 20-minute nap is the secret to rejuvenation. And how you end matters almost as much as that you end.

Source: https://www.inc.com/leigh-buchanan/best-business-books-of-2018.html?cid=landermore

21 Great Ways to Innovate

Continuous innovation is not easy and if you keep using the same method you will experience diminishing results. Try innovating how you innovate by employing some of these ideas from Paul Sloane.

How hard is it to innovate? Not once but over and over? How can you repeatedly implement great new products, processes or services? Continuous innovation is not easy and if you keep using the same method you will experience diminishing results. Try innovating how you innovate by employing some of these ideas.

  1. Copy someone else’s idea. One of the best ways to innovate is to pinch an idea that works elsewhere and apply it in your business. Henry Ford saw the production line working in a meat packing plant and then applied to the automobile industry thereby dramatically reducing assembly times and costs.
  2. Ask customers. If you simply ask your customers how you could improve your product or service they will give you plenty of ideas for incremental innovations. Typically they will ask for new features or that you make your product cheaper, faster, easier to use, available in different styles and colours etc. Listen to these requests carefully and choose the ones that will really pay back.
  3. Observe customers. Do not just ask them, watch them. Try to see how customers use your products. Do they use them in new ways? This was what Levi Strauss saw when they found that customers ripped the jeans – so they brought a line of pre-ripped jeans. Heinz noticed that people stored their sauce jars upside down so they designed an upside down bottle.
  4. Use difficulties and complaints. If customers have difficulties with any aspect of using your product or if they register complaints then you have a strong starting point for innovations. Make your product easier to use, eliminate the current inconveniences and introduce improvements that overcome the complaints.
  5. Combine. Combine your product with something else to make something new. It works at all levels. Think of a suitcase with wheels, or a mobile phone with a camera or a flight with a massage.
  6. Eliminate. What could you take out of your product or service to make it better? Dell eliminated the computer store, Amazon eliminated the bookstore, the Sony Walkman eliminated speakers and record functions.
  7. Ask your staff. Challenge the people who work in the business to find new and better ways to do things and new and better ways to please customers. They are close to the action and can see opportunities for innovation. Often they just need encouragement to bring forward great ideas.
  8. Plan. Include targets for new products and services in your business plan. Put it onto the balanced scorecard. Write innovation into everyone’s objectives. Measure it and it will happen.
  9. Run brainstorms. Have regular brainstorm meetings where you generate a large quantity of new product ideas. Use diverse groups from different areas of the business and include a provocative outsider e.g. a customer or supplier.
  10. Examine patents. Check through patents that apply in your field. Are there some that you could license? Are some expiring so that you can now use that method? Is there a different way of achieving the essential idea in a patent?
  11. Collaborate. Work with another company who can take you to places you can’t go. Choose a partner with a similar philosophy but different skills. That is what Mercedes did with Swatch when they came up with the Smart car.
  12. Minimize or maximize. Take something that is standard in the industry and minimise or maximise it. Ryanair minimized price and customer service. Starbucks maximised price and customer experience. It is better to be different than to be better.
  13. Run a contest. Ask members of the public to suggest great new product ideas. Offer a prize. Give people a clear focussed goal and they will surprise you with novel ideas. Good for innovation and PR.
  14. Ask – what if? Do some lateral thinking by asking what if…..? Challenge every boundary and assumption that applies in your field. You and your group will come up with amazing ideas once the normal constraints are lifted.
  15. Watch the competition. Do not slavishly follow the competition but watch them intelligently. The small guys are often the most innovative so see if you can adapt or license one of their ideas – or even buy the company!
  16. Outsource. Subcontract your new product development challenge to a design company, a University, a start-up or a crowdsourcing site like ive or NineSigma.
  17. Use open innovation. Big consumer products companies like Proctor and Gamble or Reckitt Benckiser encourage developers to bring novel products to them. They are flexible on IP protection and give a clear focus on what they are looking for. A large proportion of their new products now start life outside the company.
  18. Adapt a product to a new use. Find an entirely different application for an existing product. De Beers produced industrial diamonds but found a new use for diamonds when they introduced the concept of engagement rings. It opened up a large new market for them.
  19. Try Triz. Triz is a systematic method for solving problems. It can be applied in many fields but is particularly useful in engineering and product design. Triz gives you a toolbox of methods to solve contradictions e.g. how can we make this product run faster but with less power?
  20. Go back in time. Look back at methods and services that were used in your sector years ago but have now fallen out of use. Can you bring one back in a new updated form? It has been said that Speed Dating is really a relaunch of a Victorian dance format where ladies had cards marked with appointments.
  21. Use social networks. Follow trends and ask questions on groups like Twitter or Facebook. Ask what people want to see in future products or what the big new idea will be. Many early adopters are active on social network groups and will happily respond with suggestions.

Soure: http://www.innovationmanagement.se/imtool-articles/21-great-ways-to-innovate/

Long-Term Success Lessons From Tech’s Most Innovative Companies

Innovation is everything in our ever-changing business world. If you want your business to remain on top, you have to keep up with the latest and greatest trends.

However, there’s also something to be said for “tried and true” business tactics. According to members of Forbes Technology Council, the most innovative companies of the last 20 years had some common keys to their long-term success, and today’s tech leaders can follow in their footsteps. Here’s how you can implement some of the lessons imparted by these technology giants.

1. Be The Best At Something

Searching the Web existed before Google, iPhones were not the first touchscreen phones, Amazon didn’t invent e-commerce and social media companies existed before Facebook. What all these giants did was to make the product better than anyone else. They focused on what their users wanted. They tested every pixel obsessively. They made things better and became the best in their fields. – Vikram Joshipulsd

2. Be Customer-Obsessed

Amazon has created raving buyers because the company culture is focused primarily on customer obsession. They start with what customers desire most and work backward from there. It requires a bold, innovative and creative approach to building products and services, and clearly, it works very well. – Mike PfeifferCloudSkills.io

3. Keep Iterating

The most innovative companies have leveraged modern tech to move quickly and expand through iteration. Examples include Amazon’s use of the internet for e-commerce, Google’s search engine, Tesla’s electric cars or Uber’s use of GPS-enabled smartphones to connect passengers with a ride. Tech leaders would do well to emulate the speed, obsessive customer focus and agility of these innovators. – Alexandre BilgerSinequa

4. Support Your Technology With Backend Infrastructure

Apple’s iPod transformed how people navigate, organize and listen to music; iTunes transformed the procurement of music and more; and the omnipresent iPhone drove Apple’s revival into the brand it is today. However, Apple also demonstrates enviable mastery in its contracts and licensing negotiations, backend infrastructure, and so on to support an unparalleled user experience (UX). – Anand JanefalkarUJET

5. Reinvent Rather Than Revise

Companies like Apple, Amazon and Uber gave us new ways of living, not by modifying what already existed, but by reimagining what should exist. The most impactful innovations are those that people haven’t even thought of yet. My advice: Forget what you think you know about an industry, start from scratch based on solid first principles and develop something entirely different. – Ron CogburnExela Technologies

6. Learn And Improve

I think the most successful companies start with something great, but then learn from and improve that concept over time. Look at Netflix, for example. They started with a DVD mailing service, which was game-changing; evolved to streaming video; and then began developing original content. Now they are improving personalization using machine learning—Netflix is always learning and improving. – Amy CzuchlewskiBottle Rocket

7. Be A Flat Organization

Shifting companies to fewer layers of management has been key to driving business and market agility, better communication, more innovation and, especially, creativity. Business innovates best when employees can voice their ideas and concerns and have them heard. Flat organizations help innovative ideas and evolution happen better and faster, and you need to be quick to compete and win. – Artem PetrovReinvently

8. Create A Culture Of Innovation

Innovation only happens if the company culture is such that it breeds innovative thinking. One way that companies can create this innovative culture is through rewarding innovation. Nothing works as well as rewards in getting employees to think of new, innovative ways to solve problems or improve the efficiency of products, services and processes. – Michael HoytLife Cycle Engineering, Inc.

9. Maintain A Core Vision

The most innovative companies provide customer-driven solutions that solve a real need and pain, sometimes even when it’s not widely recognized. Leaders must build and maintain a core vision that is backed by everyone in the organization and a culture that drives engagement, alignment and a passion for customer success. – Chen AmitTipalti Ltd.

10. Don’t Be Afraid To Disrupt Your Own Business Model

The most innovative companies aren’t afraid to disrupt legacy industries, disrupt their own business models and jump into new opportunities long before competitors can even dream. Their leaders are able to think 10 steps ahead. They can identify a global problem and quickly form teams to create new business models. The strategy is to innovate fast and get the product to market so it can scale. – Marc FischerDogtown Media LLC

11. Labor For Simplicity

A lot of the most innovative companies labor for simplicity with their products. Apple makes their products so simple to use that toddlers are able to use them. If you own a website or software company, make your site easy to use by focusing on creating an intuitive UX design and making the checkout process seamless. – Thomas GriffinOptinMonster

12. Master Your Real-Time Data

Over the last 20 years, it has been impossible to ignore the outsized disruptive impact of the digital giants. The commonality? Absolute mastery of real-time data, without which they could not achieve what they do. And they are not slowing down. Leaders today must figure out how to gain command of their real-time data to drive their businesses in the same way. This is non-negotiable in any industry. – Billy BosworthDataStax

13. Focus On The Customer Experience

Customer experience is the key to the success of any business, and it applies to all the verticals and types of businesses. Digital solutions must be part of tech leaders’ strategy when it comes to increasing profits and providing an excellent customer experience. The true implementation of artificial intelligence, chatbots, robotic process automation, cloud and big data can bring significant transformation to any organization

 

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2019/02/01/long-term-success-lessons-from-techs-most-innovative-companies/#7bf167653163

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

A former international hostage negotiator for the FBI offers a new, field-tested approach to high-stakes negotiations—whether in the boardroom or at home.

After a stint policing the rough streets of Kansas City, Missouri, Chris Voss joined the FBI, where his career as a hostage negotiator brought him face-to-face with a range of criminals, including bank robbers and terrorists. Reaching the pinnacle of his profession, he became the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator. Never Split the Difference takes you inside the world of high-stakes negotiations and into Voss’s head, revealing the skills that helped him and his colleagues succeed where it mattered most: saving lives. In this practical guide, he shares the nine effective principles—counterintuitive tactics and strategies—you too can use to become more persuasive in both your professional and personal life.

Life is a series of negotiations you should be prepared for: buying a car, negotiating a salary, buying a home, renegotiating rent, deliberating with your partner. Taking emotional intelligence and intuition to the next level, Never Split the Difference gives you the competitive edge in any discussion.

 

Download the book here: Never Split the Difference_ Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It ( PDFDrive.com )

The Edge: R&BD, JA Bulgaria and United Bulgarian Bank started a new pre-acceleration program ”Challenge YOU”

Challenge YOU is a practical 12 week program that aims to support students to start their own startup. During the program, participants form teams, learn how to recognize opportunities, develop business plans and prototypes, and practice their presentation skills by pitching to a targeted audience of potential investors and supporters.

The program is open to Bulgarian students – bachelor, master and PhD level, from all majors and universities who have an idea to launch businesses in the following areas: virtual reality, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, fintech, healthcare, clean energy, agro innovation and others.

During the program, students participate in intensive workshops and trainings that combine theory with practice – design thinking course, mentoring afternoons, Demo Day, and final competition to select the best team. The prize for the winner includes mentoring and consultations with experienced professionals from UBB, JA Bulgaria and The Edge: R&BD (e.g. lawyer, financier, intellectual property specialist).

In addition, all teams will be invited to present at the Youth Business Forum „Rising Stars“ on 9 –10 June in Sofia. The event is organized by JA Bulgaria for the 12th consecutive year and provides students with the opportunity to compete for a number of awards including funding of 10,000 leva.

For more information you can visit https://jastartup.jabulgaria.org/