high-heeled-shoes

High-heels, guitars and cultural expectations

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Articles, Innovation, Strategy, Transformation

Expectations can run deeper than you may at first think, especially if those expectations are based on decades of cultural information/misinformation. This may affect attitudes towards quality or acceptance of new ideas, including industry innovations. If we’re aiming to make changes in an organisation, we should look out for the deep-rooted expectations of what’s acceptable. It’s about the form High-heels have been a feature of women’s attire for centuries, especially since the latter half of the last century. They’ve become a focus for discussing what’s acceptable in our society, to the extent of legislation in some countries banning companies from requiring its female workforce to wear heels. But also, from a moral perspective about whether wearing them can ever be required. Setting the moral and legal arguments aside, let’s take a quick look at what’s behind them. Morris conducted an […]

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How a Simple Change Can Bring Multiple Benefits

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I’m often designing change programmes for large organisations. I’m an external consultant, an outsider coming into the organisation that already exists. There are already governance boards in place, whether for operational, financial or change governance. These boards happen on a regular basis, often on a set day of the month. As an outsider, I’m not going to be able to change those days. At most, I can influence the shifting of one or two on ad-hoc and in very rare occasions, the executive sponsor is senior enough to be able to change the day because it suits her as well. But remember that a lot of other activity is set around these events and most organisations will resist changing the day. So why do we need to change the day? If you think of a typical design sprint, then it’s […]

Stakeholder Analysis

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This is just a brief introduction to a classic method for performing stakeholder analysis. It’s a simple concept and I’m including it since it’s another good example of a 4-box model. To misquote Helmuth von Moltke the Elder: No project survives contact with the customer Background Every change activity has to deal with people. Whatever you’re planning, you’ll affect some people more than others and some of those people you affect will have a greater opportunity to influence your progress.

When is it Innovation?

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Articles, Innovation, Methodology, Service Redesign, Startups

The terms innovation and invention are thrown around with abandon. This is rife in the startup domain where the innovation is often relating to a business model and in ageing corporations where innovation is being used to revitalise the organisation. But when is it innovation? Or could we actually be thinking of invention, improvement or creation instead?

Rethink the Carrot and Stick

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I remember one of my clients being confused when I mentioned the carrot and stick as we discussed motivation for change. Since then I’ve found it an interesting test to see how people think motivation works in their immediate team. There are two versions of the carrot and stick story. Both versions include a donkey. The first version is that the carrot is attached to string at the end of the stick. With the donkey-rider holding the carrot in front of the donkey. The carrot is the motivation but can never be reached. The donkey never wakes up to the fact that it can’t get the reward. The second version is that the carrot is offered as motivation to the donkey for moving forwards. The stick is used to tap (or beat) the donkey for not moving forwards. In this […]

The Wrong Quick Wins

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A few thoughts from me on quick wins and why we go for the wrong type. Hands up if you’ve ever had a project sponsor say they needed quick wins? Usually, it’s about showing that you’re doing something to the company board so your project isn’t cancelled or it’s about showing you can make savings. Both of those indicate an immature organisation that’s ready to cancel change activities before they’re due to return results. Some changes take time, some can be done more quickly. The same change activity isn’t necessarily the right type of activity to achieve short and long-term changes. So if you’re on a long-term change project and you’re asked for quick wins, start to head off the question with looking at the original plan for when you’re due to complete your first phase. A better idea is to […]

Rodents Don’t Scuba Dive – Innovation In The Real World

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I’ve always liked the concept about innovation being the introduction of something that’s already done in one industry sector into another sector where it’s not (yet) done. Incomplete Definition Unfortunately, it doesn’t stand-up as a complete definition of innovation. For instance, it falls short by not recognising innovation from within. By that, I’m not referring to new types of products (e.g. the internal combustion engine) since those would be better classed as inventions. Many new products are existing concepts with new features, so would be better described as improvements. But taking a product and using it for a different purpose, e.g. using an internal combustion engine to power a unicycle could be an innovation. What I like about the simple concept is that it immediately makes people think about what they

When is the Right Time to Change Your Mind?

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When is the Right Time to Change Your Mind? You have many opportunities in life and business to change your mind. Each of us has many opportunities, but we don’t always take those opportunities. We may be conforming to social constraints and expectations or don’t want to risk appearing inconsistent by changing too often. Let’s look at a non-serious example and extract nuggets we can apply in a business context. 1) The Background I’m in a situation right now where I’m having to re-evaluate my aims. Fortunately it’s not a serious situation and there are a few parallels to my professional life. I play guitar and I own a few guitar amplifiers. Each guitar and amp has its own tonal identity and quirks. I pick the right tools for the job; playing in a 60s Motown/soul band requires different guitars and […]

Lean Service Improvement Book

Service Improvement Book – In Progress

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After a year or so working with a large, complex client and some time before that working on a startup, I’m back to writing the book I started a couple of years ago. Three good things have come from this break: Both of the experiences have confirmed that the book needs to be written. What I have seen in the last two years has proven to me that there is a gap and this book will fill that gap Both of the experiences have provided more evidence about which tools and techniques work well From a personal perspective, the break has given me more motivation to complete the book I expect to be publishing in 2016.

Applying Lean Startup in the Public Sector

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Yesterday, I presented at #Leanconf 2013 in Manchester. It was the first Lean Conference covering Lean Startup in Europe. There was a great energy to the 2-day event with a variety of planned and unplanned talks plus lots of opportunity to network without the usual tradeshow conference feeling of being stalked by sales managers. I don’t think I’ve seen a community spirit like that in a long time; every attendees helped someone else no matter how far along their own ideas were. In the spirit of the energy that I encountered at the conference, I’ve placed the slides on slideshare. If you download the presentation, you can read the notes which will help you make more sense of the slides. Hopefully the video will be online as well soon. When it is available, I’ll update and post a link to […]