Draft or Final

Posted Posted in Articles, Problem Solving, Strategy, Transformation

Some organisations have a different approach to how they handle the status of a document. The approach belies a more fundamental culture of how work is commissioned and reviewed and how staff are viewed. Background One of my clients exhibited odd behaviour regarding commissioning work and approving it. Due to the nature of the engagement, decisions were made by me and then relayed to the client. That, almost unilateral, form of decision-making has not be the norm for my engagements. Instead, I’d have preferred to have reviewed the actions while I was working on those actions (rather than after the fact). It was all a bit backwards compared to any other client engagement, where we would address scope questions early on and progress from that more detailed, joint understanding. Even though I was assessing business capability maturity, it felt contractual. […]

Gibson Guitar

Gibson, where is the strategy?

Posted Posted in Articles, Innovation, Strategy

As news increases of looming bankruptcy for Gibson, the guitar manufacture, I’m left to wonder what happened. How did such an iconic brand end up in such a situation. Gibson is iconic. Ask anyone to name a brand of guitar and it’ll be the answer roughly 50% of the time. I’m reminded of Harley Davidson (quick quiz: can you name another brand whose customers tattoo the brand name on their body?). Maybe Gibson fits more closely with Jack Daniels. Both represent a way of life, on the edge of 50s/60s rebellion, now more refined. So what did happen? Quality I think of Rover, the once British car manufacturer, primarily based at its Longbridge plant, Birmingham. At one point, it was close to leading the world alongside other main brands, such as GM, Ford, Fiat. But over time, a lack of […]


Patents, MVA or GDP: None of them indicate innovation

Posted Posted in Articles, Innovation, Strategy

In “When is it innovation?“, I introduced the idea of a sector’s familiarity with an concept. I’ve just read Bloomberg’s Innovation Index and I find a few of the variables used to be old-school to say the least. It made me wonder what the index should actually include to be relevant to innovation.  Issue 1: Patents The first item I noticed was the grading of countries based on the number of patents. I think of patents as being the enemy of innovation, especially when we consider the role of patent trolls in the marketplace. If someone can create an idea, patent it, but have no intention of delivering it. But only holds onto it in order to prevent the person who does actually figure out how to build it, isn’t that stifling innovation? To some extent, I’m just shouting against […]

Fax Machine

The Parallels Between RPA and Fax Automation

Posted Posted in Articles, Innovation, Service Redesign, Strategy, Transformation

There are times when the cheap and nasty solution is so economically efficient that it can preclude doing it properly later on. Background – The Fax Just under a decade ago, I was working with a local authority client and their NHS hospital partner. The interpretation of the law at that time was that email was considered a non-secure channel. Fax was at the time the chosen channel since it was considered to be secure. So documents were sent from the hospital, via the fax machine to the fax machine in the social care offices. Continuing Health Care panels met to decide on whether the NHS or the local authority paid for the care, based on whether the primary need was a health need or a social care need. That’s simplifying the logic behind the process and the decision but it’s […]

A Fabricated Example of Using OKRs with Archimate

Using Archimate to model OKRs for Business Motivation

Posted Posted in Articles, Methodology, Service Redesign, Strategy, Transformation

Following the theme of moulding different modelling languages, methodologies and toolsets together, I want to take a look at how to model OKRs in Archimate. Once again, I’m using Archi (or ArchimateTool) with the Archimate modelling language. OKRs do not cascade Just because the diagram depicts a hierarchy, doesn’t mean that the objectives cascade down the organisational hierarchy. Following the logic in OKRs don’t cascade, I’ve taken the approach of the depicting the hierarchy, rather than how that hierarchy is achieved. In the article, Felipe mentions that objectives should not be cascaded down the organisation. Instead, objectives and key results should be discussed and agreed at each level. The resulting picture is the same either way, but the content of the objectives and key results may be different depending on the route. Contributing Goals Depending on the level of the organisation, […]

Mint tea

Collaboration or Contract: A Decision of Flow

Posted Posted in Articles, Methodology, Transformation

Ask anyone who’s been involved in any significant implementation and they’ll have come across the waterfall approach. It typically leads to a contractual relationship between one team who are working on artefacts that are then handed over to a subsequent team. While the flaws of waterfall have been well-documented, this concept of contract versus collaboration extends to many areas of work. Example Let’s use a brief story as an analogy for the concepts of contract and collaboration. It’s an incredibly simple story, but even with the simplicity, we can see the complications that can arise from a contractual relationship. My wife and I walked into a coffee shop. I was left to order the drinks at the counter. So I’d asked what drink did she want. “Mint tea please” She orders a lot more hot drinks than I do, so […]

Any car

Surrendering Market Space

Posted Posted in Articles, Strategy

There was a radio commercial the other day with the following line: “We’ll beat your quote from a well known car buyer” So that’s one company referring to a second company but without mentioning to that second company by  name.  At what point did they realise that the other brand was so strong, they didn’t actually have to name it, since it would be obvious through context to anyone listening which company they were referring to? It implies that, for the intended audience, it’s the unnamed brand that is the strongest in that market sector for that product/service, not the company that’s chosen to advertise. So did the company who commissioned that spot realise that they’ve surrendered market space to another brand? Was this an attempt to gain market share by encroachment through undercutting (“we do the same job for you […]

Direction of Travel for Gym Business Models

New Year, New Gym, New Business Model

Posted Posted in Articles, Strategy, Transformation

The business of gyms is an odd one. It’s full of business principles from the 1970s with a thin veneer of customer service from the 1990s. What’s the modern approach? Let’s look at the typical issues with modern gym memberships. If you search on a few review sites or social media, you’ll commonly see a number of prospects who turned their back on transitioning to customers mixed with disgruntled customers. From a cursory glance, there are significantly more unhappy customers than happy customers and the gap between is wider than in any other industry that I can think of. So what’s the reason behind this? I think it could be due to gym managers and owners applying the wrong business model. The Continuum From a very simplistic viewpoint, we can fit products onto a continuum from commodities, feature-based through to […]


Look at the Evidence – the Spike and Delay Pattern in Social Care

Posted Posted in Articles, Methodology, Problem Solving, Service Redesign, Transformation

A number of years ago, I was transforming a city’s social care directorate and, as part of that transformation, we aimed to reduce the time it took to do anything when interacting with the service. The transformation was based on a more fundamental need to free up workers to be able to do the work they were meant to do rather than having to fight the fires caused by delays and resulting failure demand. I instigated a methodical approach for identifying which cycles to focus on first. As the team progressed through the cycles, I noticed a pattern; it’s the spike of activity followed by a lengthy delay as discussed in a previous article. As we looked in particular at a few cycles of spike followed by a delay, I routinely advised the team to question the need for that common […]


The Delay Following the Spike – Issues with Cycle Time in Service Industries

Posted Posted in Articles, Problem Solving, Service Redesign, Transformation

How long does it take you to do what your customers want? Not just the first part, but the whole of it? 1. The Pattern I see this pattern commonly replicated across service industries. It involves a very short spike of activity (e.g. 5-20 minutes) followed by a lengthy delay where something is sent to the customer and the organisation waits for the return. This is followed by a 2nd spike of activity which in turn is followed by another lengthy delay. Depending on the bureaucracy involved, this process may involve several rounds of spike and delay, each adding to the overall delay in service for the customer and, most likely, increasing failure demand on the organisation. 2. Some Samples Let’s have a look at a few industries and see how this pattern plays out: 2a. Retail Industry Take for […]