Tag Archives: innovation

De Bono Six Thinking Hats Method Summary


See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

Quote from the book: “Six Thinking Hat can help you think better, make right decisions, explore new ideas. De Bono Unscrambles the thinking process”

Anne Egros‘s insight:

Excellent Method For Managing Brainstorming Group Sessions

See on www.slideshare.net

Are Sociability And Klout Scores Related To Innovation ?


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In the past decade, the word “friend” became a verb, the word “like” became a noun, and “tweet” became more than a birdsong.

In the original article “Do You Hire For IQ Or Klout Score? I have extracted the following interesting questions related to the shift FROM a knowledge economy TO a social economy

-How do you currently evaluate and place prospective employees?

-Do you consider the social influence of new talent in your recruiting process?

-Do you have a process for evaluating which types of projects should be managed collaboratively (socially) versus individually?

-Where appropriate, how do you encourage and foster social networking across your organization?

-How do you encourage and foster external collaboration outside of your company and across sectors of industry?

-What incentives and performance management systems do you have in place to encourage “creative teaming” vs. “functional innovation”?

-What are you doing to help your leaders understand their role in transitioning from a knowledge economy to a social economy

Here my comments:

I think we should start by evaluating the skills and personality types needed for each function and working environment.

Being social is just one skill that alone can’t make someone  or an organization creative or foster innovation.

I think good analytical thinking and judgement is very much-needed in a social economy as we are totally overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge we can get for free from the internet.

Too often people forget the facts and favor sensationalism or sentimentalism, even journalists don’t check their sources they find on YouTube or other social networks.

This article does not convince me that we have enough proofs to conclude that being social and having a high Klout score is linked with creativity and innovation.

Are you ?

See more on www.fastcompany.com

Management Tips From Red Hat’s Crazy Culture Every Company Should Steal


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Red Hat is a meritocracy and the CEO says all companies should follow its lead.

Top 11 best management and leadership practices from Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst:

1- Replace the word “boss” with the word “cheerleader.” The more senior people don’t necessarily have the best ideas,”

2-Include anyone in the decision process, not everyone. In a meritocracy, the people choose their areas of interests and participate.

3-It’s not democracy. It’s transparency. Employees don’t get to vote decisions but managers have to explain and articulate the reasons for the decisions they are responsible for.

4-Collaboration tools can be a stupid idea Collaboration is a culture, not a set of tools

5-People will call you an idiot. Let them. The real problem is getting people who are genuinely nice to say something that might be harsh

6-Passionate employees will clobber each other. Let them

7-Guide employees to self police. As people grow comfortable expressing opinions, the obnoxious opinions will naturally be shouted down.

8-The boss isn’t your mommy.

9-Employees who deserve free time get it, 100% of the time. At Red Hat, engineers who earn the respect of their peers get to spend “100% of the time to do what they want and everyone else gets zero.

10-Decisions take longer but execution is nearly flawless. Listening to employees means it takes a lot of time for every decision. That can be painful for managers. But it’s worth it.

11-Managers need to personally answer every employee message.

Principles of Open Source Collaboration

(Reference: Dancing, Open Source Collaboration, and Community Building-April 24, 2012 )

1. Users are contributors (leaders lower the barriers for users to contribute)

2. People are free to contribute how they choose (leaders motivate and coordinate volunteers across modular opportunities)

3. Governance is by a do-ocracy, not democracy

4. Community is a vital asset to any open source project.

5. Well-defined communication and systems are vital

6. Contribution process is rigorously defined.

Slideshare Presentation by www.ifpeople.net :An Open Source Approach to Collaboration”

Your Turn : What is your experience of Open Source Collaboration ?


See on www.businessinsider.com

Related article : The Open Source CEO: Jim Whitehurst (techcrunch.com)

Beyond Motivation: How to Engage Employees To Boost The Economy


English: Steve Jobs shows off the white iPhone...

According to the latest Gallup survey on American employee’s productivity conducted in 201,  only 29% of employees were engaged or involved and enthusiastic about their job. In contrast 71 % of full-time workers, were “not engaged” including 20% miserable or actively disengaged. These findings are really shocking  and very disheartening. Miserable employees are simply ignored, they are disconnected from the company’s goals, often scared to lose their job, taking sometimes additional workload from a colleague who has been laid-off.

Can sustainable organizations ignore employee’ s morale ?  Cutting costs has direct impact on the bottom line but not necessarily in the desired way:

“miserable employees create miserable customers” 

For the most part the recovery of the American economy is dependent on the innovation capacity of America Inc.  If employees are not intrinsically motivated chances are very high that they are not creative as well. and won’t work hard enough as passionate people do according to  Steve Jobs in a video about the rules for success.  I cannot agree more and I have observed the power of passion in people at any level and any function of organizations and across cultures.

Passion is putting you in a state of “flow” where you ignore fatigue or hunger because you are so engaged by what you do that you ignore the time you spend on a particular activity, you are intrinsically rewarded by what you do and truly happy. The concept of “flow” has been introduced by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi a psychologist making connections between satisfaction and daily activities in his book: ” Flow: The Psychology of the Optimal Experience“.

Being passionate is coming from the inside-out. You can break somebody’s motivation  very easily but it is very hard for leaders to inspire people to give happily the best of what they have to offer if they don’t want to and don’t have trust in the management.

High performance organizations know that engaged employees drive customer value and business performance. Good examples of such companies are Google or Zappos with its CEO’s vision of putting his people first.

HOW TO BOOST EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT ?

Gallup measures employees’ engagement by collecting the answers of the following 12 survey items listed bellow.

If you want to engage people you need to provide what it takes for them to say YES to a maximum of the questions:

  • Q01. I know what is expected of me at work.
  • Q02. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
  • Q03. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
  • Q04. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
  • Q05. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
  • Q06. There is someone at work who encourages my development.
  • Q07. At work, my opinions seem to count.
  • Q08. The mission or purpose of my organization makes me feel my job is important.
  • Q09. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
  • Q10. I have a best friend at work.
  • Q11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
  • Q12. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

The Three ‘E’s of Engagement: Engage, Empower, Enable:

  • Engage: leaders must provide a clear view of the company’s future, connect the company values with the individual life purpose,  identify individual contribution to a higher level than self .  Employees who feel good about themselves and think they belong to a team get the intrinsic motivation  to deliver performance.
  • Empower: Let people decide how to set goals, how to  get the expected results.  Increase their personal power in making decisions at all level of the organizations. The leaders’ role  is  to coach and mentor individuals and teams to remove self-limiting beliefs, provide immediate feedbacks and develop strengths while minimizing the impact of weaknesses
  • EnableProvide highly personalized support and enough resources.  Lead  teams based on matching  personal communication, behavior and management styles of each team member. Provide talent development programs.

How Do You Measure Employee’s Engagement and Creativity ?

What Is You Recipe To Stimulate Creativity and Innovation In Your Company ?

Related Articles:


The Future Of Machine Translation


Google Phone docomo HT-03A

Image via Wikipedia

In the second part of his look at the US military and language learning, The World\’s writer Alex Gallafent, reports on efforts to develop automated translation devices for US soldiers to use in the field instead of human interpreters.

In this article, there are interesting developments in the field of automated translation integrating, body language, slangs or dialect. Toshiba is developing a Voice Translation Software and Google just released the Google Voice Translator app for smartphones.

Beside the military use, In today’s global competitive market, it is very important to be able to communicate with the right language conveying more information than just words such as business etiquette, gestures or facial expressions. If a human translator is still required in most business negotiations, being able to translate simple sentences and body language correctly through voice translation is a great step toward making our world an even more global village. I also think it is a great way to learn and practice a language.

Read full story: Machine translation for the military.

Praise and Incentives: Are Carrots Worse Than Sticks?


How many times do you say  “good job” or  “I am proud of you” to your kids ? Do you give them money or buy them candies if they behave well or get good marks at school?

What about your employees ?  Do you give them extra money if they exceed their goals ?

The way you encourage and praise kids and adults  is very cultural.  For example in France, Japan or China praise is rare.  Those cultures think that too much praise will spoil the children and prevent them from making efforts to get results. On the other hand, in America, it is almost considered as a crime if you don’t praise your kids for anything and everything they do. Most teachers and parents think that praising children is good for their self-esteem.

Our basic strategy for raising children, teaching students, and managing workers can be summarized in six words: Do this and you’ll get that. We dangle goodies (from candy bars to sales commissions) in front of people in much the same way that we train the family pet.

In the famous book, “Punished by Rewards”, Alfie Kohn shows that while manipulating people with incentives seems to work in the short run, it is a strategy that ultimately fails and even does lasting harm.

On a short-term basis, praise do increase the motivation in children and adults for boosting  the performance at school or at work. However many evidence-based studies show that in the long run the motivation is actually decreasing. Those studies also demonstrated that  both in children and adults praise kills risk-taking attitude and creativity.

In one experiment, two groups of children in 5th grade  were asked to make an easy puzzle for everyone. In one group the children have been told that they were very intelligent and the other group that they worked hard. Then the same groups of students got the option to choose between doing another easy puzzle or a more difficult and challenging one. In the group who was told they were very intelligent, the majority selected the easy one  while in the other group more children choose to take the challenge of making a more difficult task.

Kids praised for being smart want to keep looking good, therefore they avoid taking risks or more challenges due to fear of failure preventing them to learn new things. They have also a tendency to be competitive and benchmarking themselves with other kids. On the contrary, the children who have been told they worked hard learned that by working harder they can learn more and preferred the challenging task.

In this article “effect of praise” there are  good tips on how to praise kids the right way.

In business, financial incentives like sales commissions and bonuses  are the most common ways used to motivate people and reward performance despite the fact that most economic and behavioral scientific studies demonstrate that  it doesn’t work. Companies like Google, Apple or Zappos  use different approaches based on intrinsic motivation rather than external rewards and get better results on how workers are engaged and creative.

The If-Then-Rewards model destroys creativity

In this video:  TED talk, Dan Pink demonstrates that financial incentives don’t work on productivity and motivation for most people working in jobs that require more than just following simple tasks. What works on a long run is employee’s autonomy, engagement, mastery and purpose

Dan Ariely and co-workers also demonstrated in experiments published in the “Large Stakes and Big Mistakes article,  that big financial incentive backfire:

Many institutions provide very large incentives for tasks that require creativity, problem solving, and memory. Our results challenge the assumption that increases in motivation would necessarily lead to improvements in performance. Across multiple tasks (with one important exception), higher monetary incentives led to worse performance.  the largest the financial incentives the poorest the performance were .

In thisvideo, Freaknomics‘s author Steve Levitt  found also lot of evidence that  giving financial incentive don’t work.

In conclusion, While most people think intuitively that too much punishment may not be an effective way to improve performance on cognitive tasks such as learning or being creative,  the negative impact of over-praising or offering large incentives is ignored by most parents, teachers and companies. Anything that stimulates intrinsic motivation such as autonomy and independence, overcoming personal challenges or problem solving is the way both schools and companies should base their incentive programs.

Related  links:
http://www.parentingscience.com/theory-of-intelligence.html
http://www.rotman.utoronto.ca/newthinking/largestakes.pdf

What To Learn From A Brand That Is Trusted Globally?


Starbucks logo

Image via Wikipedia

Why Paying a coffee at Starbucks 3$ while you could get a good coffee at your local Deli or coffee shop for 99 cts?

This is not only the taste, price does not matter because you don’t drink coffee,  it is the “Starbucks Experience: Everywhere in the world Starbucks use the same design with subtle adjustments to local cultures but the offer is basically the same everywhere:  lounge-music, sandwiches and cakes, mugs with the city name and other accessories. The beverage pricing is “fixed” in local currency, 3$ for a “Tall” coffee in Atlanta or New York and 3 Euros in Paris. This means in Paris it is about 30% overvalued against the dollar.

Starbucks has a global blog with access to many countries’ pages translated in local languages.

For sure Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone De Beauvoir and all the ” Parisian Rive-Gauche”  intellectual  elite would be horrified to know that the “Quartier Latin”,  where the French cultural revolution took place in 1968,  has already three lounges from the American coffee company around “Place Saint-Michel” . There are 50 Starbucks in Paris:  http://www.starbucks.com/blog/ah-paris! . Read more about Starbucks in France from an American Expat in France.

The customers look more or less the same in big cities: You will see in New-York or Paris, moms with babies in strollers who socialize for the whole afternoon, students writing their essays on their laptops or workers indulging in high Kcal cakes with a “Non-fat Grande Latte” or a double-shot espresso posting some pictures on Facebook or tweeting while checking their emails at lunch break. All Starbucks have a WIFI connection.

Starbucks Coffee Company has 15,000 coffee lounges in North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Asia and the Pacific Rim all of them offering the same concept. For some travelers, finding a Starbucks in Qatar or Tokyo is a way to be in a known territory, feel connected with both the other clients and  the “partners” (staff) even if they are 3,000 kilometers away from their home.

Starbucks’ mission statements is almost the same everywhere slightly localized to local customers’ values but not much as you can see from he missions statements I translated from Starbucks’ blog’s country pages:

In France : We are committed to providing the best coffee in the world and the best tasting experience to our customers while managing our business in order to contribute to changing social, economic and ecological communities where we operate.

In the US: Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time. Starbucks is committed to a role of environmental leadership in all facets of our business.

In Brazil: The mission of Starbucks is more than words on a piece of paper. It is the philosophy that guides the way we do business in our day-to-day. To establish Starbucks as the premier provider of the finest coffees in the world, without ever compromising their principles throughout our growth process.

Here the six main principles and values that drive Starbucks’ business globally:

#1 Provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and dignity.

#2 Embrace diversity as an essential component of the way we do business.

#3 Apply the highest standards of excellence to the purchasing, roasting, preparation and delivery of our coffee.

#4 Generate enthusiastically satisfied customers all the time.

#5 Contribute positively to our communities and our environment.

#6 Recognize that profitability is essential to our future success.

What can we learn from Starbucks to set up a personal global brand ?

1-Same principles apply for  Starbucks and your global personal brand: be yourself everywhere with the minimum of cultural adjustments in your communication strategy:  use your target audience’s  language and key words but your value offer  remains the same globally.

2-Define your global target audience your target customers’ profile  might slightly differ from one country to another but you should feel “connected”  through their values and principles otherwise your concept or unique selling point cannot work globally.

3-Values shape actions: yours and those of your stakeholders: clients, partners, employees, employers, subordinates, etc. Craft your value proposition based on who you are and what your are best at doing ?  Be aware of your perceived image in different countries: choose your target carefully. Write your personal mission statement that identify what you do that is unique for a company or a client to hire you: Combine your unique attributes+ benefits for your target audience:  Here is mine (not perfect but the key elements are there) :

“I am a professional coach with 20 years of international business management in Fortune 500 global companies in the US, Europe, Asia-Pacific, inspiring global executives to reach their full potential by leveraging difference for excellence while inventing their futures”

4-Communicate with cultural sensitivity your global offer :  Be aware of local customs and your competitors’ offer locally but if your concept has a true global value, then competition does not matter, at least if you are the first on the market. In France be formal, always use Mrs. or Mrs for first contact, in US you can use first name even if you don’t know the person. If you apply for a local job in Japan, use Japanese only if you are fluent,  in most cases International Japanese or foreign-owned companies are looking for a specific expertise and English fluency. If you have the time to learn and become fluent do, but if you can only learn “survival Japanese” to break the ice that is fine as in business settings a translator will probably be used even if your partner is fluent in English.

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