Nasty Debate– Disruptive Innovation: Flawed or Misunderstood? Process or Formula for Success?

Share

‘Disruptive innovation’ is a theory which took the world by storm, seemingly explaining the evolution of companies and providing evidence to pro-innovation advocates that all companies must change or die… It also went fairly unchallenged over the past decades, until Jill Lepore and other pundits.. declared that the theory had no solid foundation and was built on shaky evidence… According to Jill Lepore; it’s a theory of history founded on a profound anxiety about financial collapse, an apocalyptic fear of global devastation, and shaky evidence… Irrespective of this commentary– it’s always good to remember that– not all that disrupts is good and not all that is good disrupts… The term is now the rallying cry of every entrepreneur, venture capitalist, executive, consultant, government agency… promising to change things; disrupt or be disrupted…

disrupt thHXB37QJ0

In fact disruptive innovation has become so embedded in the national psyche, such as; business, politics, social causes– as to be counter-productive… The concept of disruption has lost all meaning… This label gets slapped-on pretty much anything– new technology, new venture, new business model– that has revolutionary aspirations… But the real problem is more insidious; that’s because disruptiveness is not an inherent quality of a technology, or business model, or idea… it’s an outcome. It’s an observable and significant change to an industry’s; technological, organization, economic structure…

Moreover, some critics of the theory debunks the very idea of disruptive innovation– it’s become a buzzword taking on so many meanings that it’s essentially meaningless… According to Clayton Christensen, who originated theory of disruption innovation; the word has become ‘almost random’… used to justify whatever anybody wants to do. According to Kevin Roose; we all should just stop using the word– when everything is disruptive, then nothing is…

In the article What Is Disruptive Innovation? by Clayton M. Christensen, Michael E. Raynor, Rory McDonald write: For over 20 years, the theory of ‘disruptive innovation’ has been enormously influential in business. But unfortunately the theory is widely misunderstood and its basic tenets frequently misapplied, with a ‘disruptive’ label applied too liberally. Common mistakes include; failure to view disruption as a gradual process, which can lead market incumbents to ignore significant threats, or blindly accepting the mantra– ‘disrupt or be disrupted’… and incumbents can jeopardize their core business by making radical changes, in order to defend against a presumed disruptive challenger…

Admittedly the theory does have limitations, but it also has proven to be a powerful way of thinking about innovation-driven growth… Since inception of the core concept there have been many refinements made to in the theory, but for the most part these have been overshadowed due to the popularity of the initial formulation. As a result the theory is sometimes criticized for shortcomings that have already been addressed… Further, many researchers, writers, consultants invoke concept of ‘disruptive innovation’ in support of whatever it is they wish to do– its become an important buzzword to attract attention. Also a key point of misunderstanding is that the theory does not apply– to every company, in every industry, in every shifting market… and whether it’s incremental improvement or sustaining innovation or disruptive innovation… all depends on dynamics of the market…

disrupt thU6J5ZCFG

In the article How Useful Is Theory Of Disruptive Innovation? by Steve Denning writes: Few academic management theories have had as much influence in the business world as theory of disruptive innovation… Disruption is real; it’s a perfect storm of technological innovation, e.g.; combining smartphones and other mobile devices, ubiquitous cameras and sensors, social media, cloud, ‘big data’ analytical tools… It means that more than $36 trillion of stock-market value is up for what some venture capitalists are calling– ‘re-imagination’ in the near future… Many industries are vulnerable to change over the next few years, e.g.; financials, consumer staples, information technology, energy, consumer goods, health care, industrials, materials, telecom, utilities… Incumbent companies will either do the– re-imagining and lay claim to the markets of the future, or they’ll be re-imagined out of existence…

There are many factors at play– shifting economies of scale, first-mover advantage, legacy costs, and so on… According to some pundits; main usefulness of the disruptive theory is to serve as ‘warning’– it’s a useful warning about managerial ‘myopia’, e.g.; managers who might overlook or misunderstood the importance of an emerging threat… it’s a useful reminder of the importance of– testing assumptions, seeking outside information, and other means of reducing myopic thinking…

Disruption theory is not a replacement for careful analysis and difficult choices… It’s not a replacement for asking the tough questions, such as: Should a company stay in a market and fight for market share, or should it exit the market and see revenues elsewhere? Should a company invest in profitable but declining business, or should it turn away? Is the best course to maximize returns by letting the business slowly die? These and many others issues, are heart-wrenching choices… but, they do not include a commitment to boldly innovate to establish a better, or different competitiveness…

A less heart-wrenching and more effective, choice is to stop running the company with defensive, inwardly-focused, hierarchical bureaucracy and commit to relevant customer-focused innovation… Once customer-focused innovation becomes the ‘raison d’etre’ of the organization, then ‘deciding to die’ becomes a less-obvious option. Disruption is real, whether or not it plays out exactly according to Christensen’s theory may be problematic. But surviving, thriving does not come by chance; it only comes by heeding ‘warnings’ or embracing ‘opportunities’… and engaging a different kind of strategy…

disrupt2 th

In the article Disruption Debate– What’s Missing? by John Hagel writes: I’m mystified by the attacks on the theory of disruptive innovation… Not only does it have a meanness that isn’t warranted, but it leaves the reader with an unanswered question; if the theory is not helpful, how do you explain the cascading disruptions that are playing out in markets and industries around the world? Let’s step back and use this controversy to underscore some key points… First, while there might be issues with the concept of disruptive innovation, there is also an unwilling to acknowledge one basic fact of life; ‘disruption’ is occurring with increasing frequency in the business world… As Joseph Schumpeter observed; markets are a powerful engine for ‘creative destruction’ they invite competitors with a better/different idea or approach to challenge incumbents. It happens all the time, and the trend towards increasing disruption that are playing out on a global scale is a result of the convergence of two powerful forces:

First, the advent of digital technology as a disruptive force… Yes, there are major technology disruptions in the past– think of the steam engine, electricity, telephone… But digital technology is different, it’s one of the few technologies that has demonstrated sustained exponential improvement in price/performance over an extended period of time… But there’s more; this exponentially improving digital technology is spilling over into adjacent technologies, catalyzing similar waves of disruption in diverse arenas, such as; 3D printing of physical objects, biosynthesis of living tissue, robotics, health care, the environment, transportation… just to name a few…

Second, at work is a long-term shift in public policy on global basis towards freedom movement of– people, goods, money, ideas… across geographic, industry boundaries… These two forces– exponentially improving technology and economic liberalization— are combining to create environments that are increasingly vulnerable to disruption. In economic terms, they are doing two things: First, they are systematically and substantially reducing barriers to entry and barriers to movement on a global scale… Second, they are offering untapped capabilities that can be catalyst to fundamentally re-think business models, institutional arrangements…

These forces provide more opportunities for players to adopt new/different approaches that can be highly disruptive… Hence leadership must plan beyond the next quarter or next year and challenge, on a sustained basis, their key assumptions, which are often unstated– but the foundation for their business growth, sustainability… And perhaps most basic of all, leadership must acknowledge that ‘disruption’ is a growing force and resist the temptation to dismiss or deny that it exists…

disrupt th2YVRGCT7

Executives around the world are redesigning processes, restructuring their firms to meet the challenges of operating in a more dynamic, hyper-competitive world, but many are ill-equipped to make the necessary changes… Successful business take new ideas (even old ideas) and turn them into opportunity by creating sustainable economic value for all stakeholders… Successful business search for opportunities that ‘unfreeze’ a stable industry that have grown stale and inject different value propositions. They recognize that they must listen to customers but also educate the marketplace to– different solutions… And as for the debate: There is no debate– Yes, ‘disruptive innovation’ is a very useful concept for thinking about change… Yes, ‘disruptive innovation’ has become buzzword that can mean just about anything…

Share

Free Speech– Collision in Workplace, Social Media: Boundaries of Freedom of Expression…

Share

Free speech is dead in the workplace– but, it’s never really been alive… It’s a common misconception among employees that the First Amendment rights of free speech carry over to the private workplace… The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution applies only to employees of the government in certain situations and all citizens when they are confronted by the government… According to Mark Trapp; freedom to speak your mind doesn’t really exist in work spaces… you would like to think that your rights are carved in granite, but instead it turns out they’re carved in sand… The Constitution operates as a restriction on government, not private employers… Employees would do well to keep this in mind before shooting off their mouth at the workplace…

free 24f4698a-fead-0b41-8f91-512ff2b6c5ab_1

However, there are valid reasons when an employer would restrict speech– beyond assuring a productive work site or suppressing opinions contrary to management, and among them are, e.g.; fear of lawsuits alleging that an employer permitted a hostile work environment… According to Brian Wassom; in most U.S. states employment is ‘at-will’, and if an employer finds an employee’s speech to run counter to the company’s values and image, there’s nothing preventing them from terminating the employee… In fact, employees should think twice about what they– speak, email, post… during work hours…

In the article Where Free Speech Goes to Die: Workplace by Michael Dolgow writes: In the U.S. people can say pretty much whatever they want… unless they are at work. Simply put, there is no First Amendment right to ‘free speech’ in the workplace… Bosses and those who work under them are ‘not’ equal when it comes to free-speech… Employers have the right to take action against any employee who engages in speech, emails, posts… that company leaders find offensive. With a few narrow exceptions federal laws only protect a person’s right to expression from government interference, not from restrictions a private employer may impose… In fact, many employers take position that ‘freedom of speech’ is something you do after work, on your own time… Whereas, employers are not similarly restricted in expressing their views in– speech, emails, posts…

In the article Free Speech in the Workplace by Bruce Barry writes: An erosion of free expression in the workplace is weakening the very fabric of civic discourse… There are excessive and needless restrictions on employees… like much regulation that  involves workplace free expression often turn on interpretations of vague and shifting standards, and balancing tests designed to weigh competing interests that are inherently subjective, and the ever-changing stance of a court’s ideological composition at a given time… and since the First Amendment has little application in private settings, the conventional wisdom and accepted managerial practice gives business the ability to shut down speech that in their option is on the margins… 

free thRVB260WL

Hence, employers can then argue– that the ‘speech or expression’ is not related to the business; so do it on your own time… Of course employers need not tolerate abusive or harsh or insulting speech, but the problem is that often employment lawyers advise business to go– too far in restricting speech, in order to avoid risk of lawsuits… hence they restrict any speech that could be construed as– harassment, hostile, racial… potentially this creates collisions between laws that seek to avoid hostile environments and free speech… It’s a tough balance and some argue that on advice of lawyers many employers tolerate– too little freedom of speech…

In the article Social Media Free Speech Rights For Workers by Kirsti Marohn writes: Do employees have the right of free speech to publicly criticize their– organization, boss, workplace… especially when venting on social media age has replaced traditional complaining around the water cooler? Experts say it’s a complex and gray area of the law. There are protections in the law for employees to speak out on matters of public concern or the conditions of the workplace, but they are not absolute… In the wake of constantly changing technology and federal regulations, many organizations are scrambling to write or rewrite their social media policies…

According to Dorraine Larison; the question of employee rights and social media is a hot topic, and employers should have a policy that governs how employees use social media in their workplace… the policy should be specific enough to protect the employer and employees from any potential litigation, but also general enough to allow open and productive communication… It’s a good idea for employers to advise employees to refrain from sending, posting information, comments that they would not want their– bosses, or other employees, customers, partners, stakeholders… to see on social media or elsewhere…

free imagesHOJXOZ1T

In the article Free Speech and Social Media by Sara Hawkins writes: You heard it said, and you have probably read it– someone saying; they can say whatever they want, or post whatever they want, or email whatever they want… and no-one can do anything about it… As if the First Amendment is their sword and shield… The three words, ‘freedom of speechgets thrown around and written about so often that its meaning is more about misinformation than truth… The First Amendment to U.S. Constitution is very specific and says: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of people peaceably to assemble, and petition Government for a redress of grievances…

Also in 1996, in the landmark case ‘Reno v. ACLU’, a unanimous Supreme Court specifically extended the First Amendment to include; written, visual, and spoken expression posted on the Internet… Of course, the First Amendment doesn’t give the right to say– whatever you want, or whenever you want, or to whomever you want– but,  that doesn’t stop people from thinking otherwise… In addition, in this era of digital technology, speech is more than written or spoken words, it also includes; different types of expression, visual interpretations, as well as; artistic forms of speech… Also, it covers– symbolic speech and  symbols that have meaning (e.g.; swastika or peace sign)– is covered by what is often refer to as freedom of speech… It’s nearly impossible to create a list of what types of speech are protected because there are many caveats… and of course, ‘free speech’ does not mean ‘free’ to say whatever comes to mind…

In the article Free Speech at Work by Heather Bussing writes: You know you can probably get fired for telling your boss to their face– ‘go to hell’… since free speech only applies when the government is trying to restrict it, but even then it’s not absolute… Hence, employers are generally free to restrict employee speech at least while in the workplace… However, some restrictions on speech are required by other laws, e.g.; laws prohibiting discrimination, sexual harassment, laws protecting confidential medical and financial information prohibit employees from saying all sorts of things at work…

Most workplaces openly endorse the concept of free speech, but often the rhetoric is not consistent in practice… Research suggests that although there may be much talk about free speech in the workplace, the talk does not matched the reality… Business must place a greater value on employees, and create a more open workplace environment that encourages all employees to freely express themselves… Free speech is very messy and sometimes violent– free speech to one person may not be acceptable to another person– and the motto; ‘free speech for me but not for thee’…

free 7-Tips-to-keep-Your-Workplace-More-Energizing-4

Free speech is hated by the powerful and the powerless, and those who would suppress what is said in order to retain power, and those who would change what is said in order to alter the relations of power… Most employers allow free speech, but it’s important to realize that it’s a privilege that they can revoke at any time (each workplace, either; stated or implied have rules of what they consider to be– free or not free)… According to Deborah Marcuse; commitment to free speech is very important in the workplace, but there is a delicate and important balance that comes into play when the rights of one individual may impinge on rights of other individuals… hence seeking balance– where reasonable people can freely engage in discussion and share– ideas, concepts, opinions… without hurting each other, or the business…

Share

Squash the Demons that Destroy Organizations– Obstacles, Roadblocks… They Cripple Business…

Share

Obstacles, hurdles, roadblocks… are inevitable and they occur in every phase of a business, regardless of planning, preparation, strategy… These foreseen, or more often unforeseen demons can cripple or even destroy organizations if not managed properly. The word demon may sound a bit extreme, but when considering the amount of torment they inflict, they have a devilish overtone… Every organization runs into obstacles, roadblocks… and the list can seem endless but the key is not that they occur; its how an organization deal with them and what it does to overcome them… When confronted with an obstacle, worst thing you can do is to deny that it exists; it must be acknowledged, accepted, engaged…

obs1 images

Creative and critical thinking is built on the foundations of obstacles and organizations have dealt with them throughout the course of human history. In fact, without obstacles there would be no need for creative or critical thought… At times you find it difficult to overcome certain obstacles because you are simply unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices that would successfully overcome the issue… Sometimes it’s not what you do, but rather what you ‘let go of’ that can have the greatest impact on the organization… Often obstacles are a necessary part of achieving a vision and every vision ultimately encounters opposition… when it does not, it probably means the vision isn’t big enough. The lesson learned is simple; the greatest opportunities are always interlocked with the most difficult– struggles, obstacles, roadblocks….

In the article Leadership Behavior Is Obstacle to Innovation, Creativity by Michelle M. Smith writes: The free flow of ideas is essential for keeping an organization competitive, and it’s at the heart of building employee buy-in and getting them to take ownership of both their own work and company’s purpose… More often than not– of all obstacles that can thwart innovation and creativity in the workplace– the main culprit is leadership… While leaders may not intentionally mean to squash innovation restrictive behavior at times, may prevent employees from feeling free to act imaginatively, or to openly express ideas… According to Pamela McClinton; foundation of leadership rests on anticipation; anticipating risks, anticipating rewards, anticipation obstacles… For sure there will be unforeseen circumstances that pop-up out of nowhere… But real measure of leadership is how leaders overcome– obstacles, roadblocks…

obs1 persistence-overcomes-obstacles-during-change

In the article Overcoming Obstacles in Business by Ed McCulloch writes: One difference between people who succeed in the pursuit of dreams and the ones who fail is– how well they overcome obstacles… Everybody in life is confronted with obstacles and no one is immune to it… Sometimes obstacles are small and sometimes they are huge but the main fact is that they exist and most can be overcome… In this sense, business is no different from life: When you are confronted with a– big wall, or mountain, or endless sea… you must find a way– around it, or over it, or even through it– there’s always a way, even though it may not seem like it at the time…

An example: James Dyson had an idea to redesign and reinvent the vacuum. His idea of a bag-less vacuum was something that had never been done before… James took his idea to the Hoover company and they just laughed, scoffed at him… So James started his own company and now Dyson vacuum is the number one selling brand in Europe, holds 20% market share over vacuums in the U.S., and 92% of Dyson owners would recommend the Dyson vacuum to a friend… There are many examples of all sorts of organizations that would not be denied, and they overcame all types of obstacles through; commitment, discipline, resilience, patience…

In the article Overcome Challenges in Business by Matt Lloyd writes: No matter what you do in life, whether it’s trying to reach a fitness goal or building a successful business, you will always be faced with challenges… And as you achieve success the obstacles will only get bigger… But the resiliency that you gain from battling and overcoming the many obstacles, hurdles, roadblocks… prepares you to combat them much easier in the future… Accept the fact that you will always face obstacles in business and that makes it easier to face them as they arise… And although challenges arise when you least expect them– even when you are going through good times, always be prepared with ‘what if’ scenarios for when things don’t go as planned… Always know that most obstacles can result in something positive; obstacles are part of growth

obs thOTUTLTVM

In the article Overcome Common Business Obstacles by Gayle Lantz writes: The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but that’s not how you go about growing a business… The path is never straight; sometimes it’s curvy, sometimes it’s blocked… Sometimes the obstacle is clear, sometimes it’s unforeseen… Sometimes obstacles are challenges, sometimes they are opportunities… It very much depends on the situation and the people involved… However one thing is clear, to proceed you must focus on what you can control, and usually you have more power and control than you think…

The challenge is how do you deal with the obstacle, e.g.; remove it, go through it, around it, over it… in some situation it may be obvious and in other not so much… Many obstacles occur when an organization has not developed a clear path to follow… They are stuck doing the ‘same old thing’ because that’s the way it’s always been done… Essentially, the same old path is now the wrong path… Hence, it’s time to forge a new path, which will have new obstacles but again your level of success will depend on how you overcome these obstacles…

In the article Obstacles and How to Overcome Them by Henri Junttila writes: The best way to move forward is to understand, before hand, the potential obstacles that you might encounter and plan in advance for them (‘what ifs’)… Most organizations are filled with challenges, obstacles, roadblocks… and it’s during these disruptions that it’s the best and worst of times; the worst because you get discouraged and feel like the journey is not really worth it… and, the best because during these frustrating times you are often on the verge of a breakthrough… Business is cyclic with obstructions that come and go; it’s the ebb and flow of business…

A key business management practice is ‘management by goals’… and most people are reward for achieving their ‘goals’… Yes, having goals is fantastic and essential, but when business become overly attached to specific goals, then sometimes bad things can happen… Too much attachment sometimes engenders angry, frustration… and too much attachment ‘to goals’ muddles clarity– when goals are inflexible the organization can get lost in the journey… Yes, it feels great to hit a milestone but if you do not replace that goal with another one, you will soon end-up in a dead-end… Hence, it’s no so much the goal, it’s the journey… and more important it’s the ‘obstacles’ along the journey that you learn, grow, become better… the goals are just stops along the way…

obs5 images

So what are the major obstacles that impacts– success, sustainability of an organization? Clearly that depends on the organization and many other factors; but if you wanted to start a list you might consider things, such as; leadership, or vision, or culture, or talent, or resources, or competition, or technology, or change, or adaptability, or  innovation… (it’s a long list)… But truth be told the ‘biggest’ obstacle in any organization is simply– fear; fear-to-move-beyond-fear: fear of failure, fear of success, fear of competition, fear of technology, fear of change… and the parade of fears marches on, each one distinct, yet all dancing to the beat of the same drummer… It’s important to remember that fear is not the enemy; fear is actually a friend; it keeps you safe… humans are hardwired for fear, because it’s necessary for survival… The real enemy isn’t fear; it’s ‘misplaced’ fear that has the potential to cause damage… By consistently facing fears, it breaks the fear avoidance cycle that causes paralysis, which is the root of most obstacles in business…

Share

‘Do-Nothing’ Style of Management– Manage on the Fringe, Minimalism: Virtues of Inaction, Focus on Purpose…

Share

Great leaders ‘do-nothing’– except when they; create the vision, act strategic, define the organization’s road-map, steer the organization to successful outcomes… Great leaders-managers achieve great outcomes when they spend their time ‘doing-nothing’, but preparing for the future– choose right strategy, recruit most effective management team, empower others to do ‘things right’… According to Leo Babauta; clear away the noise and you can concentrate on creative thinking, and clear away the distractions and you can create something incredible… Leaders-managers must understand– ‘why’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘how much’… they do what they do. They must ‘do-things’ that really matter for the organization’s sustainability, and give ‘meaning’ to the ‘purpose’ of the organization… and everything else is to ‘do-nothing’…

do thQEJU2N3P

Although sometimes ‘doing something’ is good, but sometimes ‘doing-nothing’ is better… According to David Worrell; sometimes the right-thing is to ‘do-something’; sometimes the right thing is to ‘do-nothing’… However, there are less effective leaders-managers who cannot do any-thing, and they just ‘do-nothing’… Sadly not enough leaders-mangers ask themselves one important question: Do I make a decision to ‘do-nothing’, or do I just ‘do-nothing’? According to Theodore Roosevelt; in any decision the best thing leaders-managers can do is the ‘right thing’, and the worst thing is ‘do-nothing’…

In the book Do-Nothing– Stop Over-Managing and Become Great Leader’ by J. Keith Murnighan writes: Great leaders-managers don’t work they– facilitate, orchestrate… They take a comprehensive view of business environments, then they conceptualize, strategize, empower others… while they prepare for the next future… In other words, great leaders- managers ‘do-nothing’ except provide the vision, road-map, support for employees to do things-right… and when things don’t go quite right, they are they change agents that makes things-right… In sharp contrast, many leaders-managers are too busy doing other people’s things and the organization suffers as a result…

Contrary to popular opinion, leadership-management turns out to be– as much about what you ‘don’t do’, as what you ‘do’… As an analogy, great leaders-managers are more like basketball coaches than great players; they sit on the side-lines and let the great players run with the ball… Do-nothing leaders-managers doesn’t mean that you can play golf every day, it means doing less of other people’s tasks, so you can focus on things that really matter… Thus, ‘do-nothing’ leaders-managers don’t really ‘do-nothing’ in a literal sense, they do things that great leaders-managers must do– they steer the business and plan for the future…

do3 untitled

In the article Management is Better Off If They Do Less, Think More by The Economist: There is never-ending supply of organizational gurus telling– leaders-managers that they must do more… Yet the biggest problem in the business world is not– doing too little, but doing too much… there are too many distractions, interruptions… there are too many things done for the sake of correctness… and altogether too much ‘busy-ness’. It’s high time that leaders-managers try different business behavior, i.e.; ‘lean-back’ and do not ‘lean-in’… In fact, there is a distinguished history of leadership thinking in the– ‘lean-back’ tradition, e.g.; let’s ‘wait and see’, or ‘it can wait until tomorrow’, or ‘you need more data’…

The most obvious beneficiaries of ‘lean-back’ are creative workers– the people who are supposed to be at the very heart of modern organizations, e.g.; leaders-managers who, sit at the top of the food chain, thinking about strategy rather than day-to-day operations, and about whether the company is doing the ‘right things’ rather doing ‘things right’, e.g.; Jack Welch used to spend an hour a day in what he called ‘looking out of the window time’ Bill Gates used to take two ‘think weeks’ a year when he would lock himself in an isolated cottage… Jim Collins advises all bosses to keep a ‘stop-doing list’

According to Keith Murnighan; best leaders-managers focus attention on establishing the right rules, recruiting the right people, establishing right incentives… then, they get out-of-the-way… However, ‘doing nothing’ may be going too far; some leaders-managers do play important roles in– coordinating key activities, disciplining worst slackers… as well as, managing some creative people who would never finish anything, when left to their own devices… But in balance, the ‘lean-in’ approach has distorted the concept of doing ‘right things’ and doing ‘things right’… hence it’s time to try far more radical approach of ‘lean-back’…

do2 untitled

In the article Do-Nothing Bosses by Stephany Schings writes: Most employees can see the benefits of an effective boss, and a great deal of research has focused on the benefits of effective bosses in organizations… but what about bosses who take a more passive stance in managing the business? According to Brian C. Holtz; research shows that ‘do-nothing’, or ‘do-little’, or bosses that fail to provide effective leadership can have serious negative effects on organizations… Passive leaders who avoid engaging with managers, employees, stakeholders… who fail to make decisions… are generally ineffective… Research suggest that work place incivility often flourishes under passive (hands-off) leaders-managers…

However, even well-intentioned leaders-managers can mistakenly perceive that their passivity (i.e., hands-off) is an effective management style– these leaders-managers  are concerned that they might be perceived as ‘micro-managing’… As a result  they empowers employees with much more autonomy than might be prudent… Their hopes are that this freedom fosters greater– motivation, productivity… So what works better– ‘hands-on’ or ‘hands-off’? That is a difficult issue and really depends on many factors, including; type of organization, management style of the leaders-managers, individual abilities of the employees… for some organizations ‘hands-off’ works well, and others might need more ‘hands-on’ management… However in most organizations, it need not be one or the other– ‘hands-off’ or ‘hands-on’ management are not mutually exclusive– great leaders-managers are smart enough to establish a balance between the two…

do4 untitled

In the article True Goal of Leadership by Geoffrey James writes: Many people believe that ‘leadership’ means telling people– what to do, how to do it, when to do it… Nothing could be further from the truth. The true goal of leadership is to make the leader ‘unnecessary’… According to Mitchell Kerztman; I have finally risen to my level of competence, which is– ‘I don’t do anything very well’, but ‘I do-nothing’ extremely well… The idea that the true goal of leadership is the ability to do-nothing is encapsulated by the Taoist term– ‘wu wei’ which has two meanings: ‘action without action’ and ‘action that does not require struggle or excessive effort’… In the classic ‘The Art of War’ the author Sun Tzu expresses ‘wu wei’ by pointing out that– great generals are reserved, calm, detached… rather than hot-heads, busy-bodies…

The same thing is true for great business leaders; great leaders recruit people who are both talented and don’t require much guidance, people who can handle problems and make decisions without requiring intervention, hand-holding… Great leaders ‘empower capable’ people who can– solve problems, make decisions, develop new initiatives… This allows great leaders to do-nothing, but steer the business… Once you are truly in position to do-nothing you can expand your influence and take on new responsibilities, then once again you strive to do-nothing– sign of a great leaders-managers is to always do-nothing. Or, if you continue to do the ‘some things’, or ‘many things’… then you become just another leader-manager– stuck at the same level, riding herd on the same people, until you are not longer needed…

The popular wisdom is when the leaders-managers ‘do-nothing’ then work stops and things come crashing down, and the business is in trouble… Or, possibly the ‘acts of doing’, ‘stokes of leadership’ that propel incredible achievement created by doing, can be very different and often in conflict with another, e.g.; in order to ‘do-nothing’ or ‘do-little’, you must ‘trust more’, which means that people are empowered to do-more, and for many leader this can be very– uncomfortable, unnerving, threating… and there lays the big difference; great leaders-managers accept the challenge to ‘do-nothing’, whereas all other leaders must always continue to ‘do-something’…

do saasu-minimalisminbusiness-42-638

According to Manfred Kets DeVries; in today’s networked society we all are at risk of becoming victims of information overload… we are losing the art of introspection and reflection. All we can think about is ‘just finish things’, or ‘find out things’… but working harder for ‘things’ is not necessarily working smart… In fact, just slack-off and set-aside regular periods of ‘doing nothing’ may be the best thing you can do… it’s mental time-off when you can induce a states of mind that nurture– imagination, creativity, and improve mental health… The most effective leaders-managers are those who can both; act and reflect… that means unplugging from compulsion to keep busy, and just ‘do-nothing’…

Share

Rise of a Global Services Economy: Dependency on ‘Services’ as The Nation’s Growth Engine– Is Rooted In Global Market Reality…

Share

What does it mean to create, or co-create– value? How, when, where… is value created? Are there differences between ascribing value to– ‘goods’ and to ‘services’? According to Douglas B. Cleveland; during the last hundred years the economy has transitioned from–agriculture to industrial to services… and now the services sector is the largest and fastest growing component of the economy. Fifty years ago, the services sector accounted for about 60% of output and employment. Today, the services sector share of the economy has risen to about 80%… But then the questions; does a ‘services economy’, over the long-term, create sufficient ‘value’ for a country to sustain itself… is it the ‘growth’ engine… does it create large numbers of ‘good jobs’… can it ‘compete’ effectively in global markets…

service5 images

According to Richard B. McKenzie; the emergence of services economy has given birth to the public policy worry that the U. S. is being reduced to a nation of– orderlies, fast-food workers, bus boys… The expansion of the services sector has been perceived as a symptom of economic malaise because it has coincided with surpluses of labor in the traditionally high-paying heavy industries and a long-term increase in the nation’s unemployment rate… In addition, the expansion of the services sector has been thought to mirror a decline in international competitiveness of U.S. due to its inability to adjust its structures in response to the accelerating changes of globalization…

Another perception of the nation’s shift from– industrial to services economy is frequently summarized by the claim that given emergence of the services economy, we may eventually end-up doing each other’s laundry… According to Felix Rohatyn; we cannot become a nation of– short-order cooks, salespeople, copy-machine operators, messengers… These jobs are weak basis for the economy… To let other countries make things while we concentrate on services is debilitating both in its substance and in its symbolism…

In the article Services Dominate the Economy by Johathan Peterson writes: Under-way for a century, the transition to services economy has reached the point where most employed persons are classified as working in the services sector… a potpourri of jobs that include; dishwashers, store clerks, nursing home attendants… but also; doctors, lawyers, bankers, computer programmers, even government bureaucrats… Essentially, everyone who is not working in– manufacturing, agriculture, construction or mining is a services worker… However the services economy phenomenon has hardly met with universal approval: Some economists and political leaders warn that the nation’s future will be in jeopardy if employment in the great manufacturing industries that helped make the nation rich is replaced by services jobs that are low on wages and low on dignity... Others, however, insist the services boom offers superb opportunities of its own…

Whatever the view, the trend toward a services economy appears complete even as manufacturing becomes more efficient and more sophisticated requiring fewer employees but ever more services… While the debate rages on, there are several points that can be made, e.g.; services and manufacturing will continue to rely on each other, and according to Stephen S. Cohen and John Zysman; services are complements– not substitutes or successors– to manufacturing… and education plays a critical role: Those with ‘good’ one can do better than ever before, and those with ‘poor’ one are likely to do worse…

One thing is clear: The services economy is not sheltered from foreign competition… In many cases, services workers are no more secure than factory workers, unless they have skills that justifies their positions… And, whatever the task in today’s competitive global economy, employers look harder than ever at– how, where… to accomplish tasks as cheaply as possible… According to William Johnston; workers who do not have basic technological skills and literacy to be competitive are going to find that the economy is less forgiving than ever: The haves and have-nots are going to be defined by their skills… It’s the technologically able, versus the technologically unable…

service images0KORZUCW

In the article Services Economy by Dustin Ensinger writes: High-paying manufacturing jobs have all but disappeared, only to be replaced by lower-paying and often menial services sector jobs that produce absolutely nothing of value… According to Labor Department’s Occupational Employment and Wages Report; retail sales, cashiers, general office clerks, food preparation, services workers, nurses… are the occupations with the highest levels of employment… In fact, nine of top 10 jobs in the survey pay such low wages that they put a worker supporting a family of four in near poverty… The findings are symptomatic of globalization and trade policy, which has allowed the nation’s manufacturing base to be gradually– off-shored to low-wage nations, leaving only low paying services sector jobs in their wake…

The rationalization is that with more open economy and trade policy, many manufactured ‘goods’ are produced overseas where labor is cheaper, and consumers benefit… According to ‘The Post Gazette’; comparing the same research to 10 years earlier the results were unsettling, i.e.; while millions of manufacturing jobs were disappearing– fast food workers increased by 43%, child care employment increased 68% over the decade as the number of one-income households dwindle due to the lack of jobs that pay well enough to support a family… At the same time, education promoted as the cure-all for the changing economy is not paying-off for many… The health care sector may be growing rapidly, but most of the jobs created are the lower paying jobs in the field…

service imagesVBT3S914

In the article Services Economy by Umair Haque writes: The services economy is creating ‘jobs’; yes, but only of the lowest kind– low-end, unskilled, dead-end, go-nowhere jobs … jobs  that don’t only– crush the soul, damage the psyche, break the spirit–  but waste people’s potential… The simple fact is the services economy is barely worth anything, because it doesn’t enhance human potential, it doesn’t create much ‘real’ value for people, let alone– society, future generations, communities…Services is a great and noble ideal; it implies a higher purpose, common goal, shared benefit, joint concern… but it’s a great tragedy, because instead of challenging people to create and invest in what is truly innovative, earth-shaking, groundbreaking… the ‘bullshit’ services economy settles for what is– easy, marginal, incremental…

And truth be told, it’s a titanic squandering of resources – money, time, effort, imagination – to spend so much on so little of ‘real’ value… The services economy is creating armies of servants that can– walk dogs, paint nails, drive cars…  instead of finding solutions to the very real, urgent problems of– education, healthcare, climate change, finance … Instead of solving the world’s glaring problems, you are simply finding more efficient ways to– crack the same old whips and tie the same old leashes… Unfortunately, much of the contemporary commentary on the rise of the services economy is a throwback to– Adam Smith, who asserted that– labor of manufacturing generally ‘adds to value’, whereas the labor of the menial servant (services providers), on the contrary– ‘adds to the value of nothing’… a person [or country] grows rich by employing multitude of manufacturers, and they grows poor by maintaining a multitude of menial servants (services providers)…

Smith differentiated between ‘productive’ workers (who generally seem to fit description of ‘goods’ workers) and ‘unproductive’ workers (who generally seem to fit description of ‘services’ workers)… he maintained that  services workers represented a net drain on a country’s productive capacity, and the expansion of the services sector was therefore, part and parcel to a ‘negative-sum’ game… According to some experts; Smith failed to recognize that ‘services’ are as valuable to consumers as the ‘goods’ they buy… services are often just as much ‘goods’ as ‘manufactured goods’, and services facilitate the production of both ‘goods’ and ‘other services’…

service thQECFIX7G

Some experts suggest that the growth of the services economy is a direct consequence of globalization and trade policy, i.e.; lower labor cost nations are better able to compete for manufacture economy… hence, nations are forced to specialize in what they do best and acquire things they have difficulty in producing. But in final analysis, government policy, programs that promote– entrepreneurship, innovation, technology, job creation… must be rooted in market reality… Building-on and sustaining economic momentum remains key means of responding to challenges of fostering growth in an increasingly competitive global economy… Question; Is an economy based primarily on ‘services’ sustainable, long-term?

Share

Co-opetition– Explore, Exploit, Collaborate, Co-create: Sleeping with the Enemy Works– It Means ‘Think’ Differently…

Share

Co-opetition; when you can’t beat ’em, join ’emfar from being just buzzwords– collaboration, co-creation, co-working… revolutionize traditional business models… And still another hot ‘co’ trend is co-opetition (combination of ‘cooperative’ and ‘competition’)– it’s a complimentary business strategy that drives competition and innovation… The ultimate aim of co-opetition is pooling aspects of rival organizations’ knowledge and skills in order to co-innovate and create value…The traditional concept of business as ‘winner take all’ contest is giving way to a realization that in a networked economy (i.e., economic environment arising from digitization of fast-growing, multi-layered, highly-interactive, real-time connection with– people, devices, business…) companies must both co-operate and compete…

co2 th

The term ‘co-opetition’ requires companies to create business strategies that capitalize on relationships in order to create maximum value in the marketplace… Internet and mobile technologies have made it even more necessary for companies to both cooperate and compete, by enabling relationships through information sharing, as well as, integrating and streamlining processes… In today’s networked economy, co-opetition is a powerful means of identifying new market opportunities and for developing business strategy that will result in mutual gain… The world is driven by co-opetition relationships and networks that embrace them… According to an African proverb; if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together…

In the article Co-opetition is Smarter than Competition by tibbr admin writes: Some business try to build everything by themselves, while other businesses partner with each other… Some experts say: in a growing market ‘co-opetition’ makes more sense than competition… Co-opetition is cooperating with other businesses (or, even within the same organization) to create value in an effort to gain a competitive edge… It’s all about engaging in much larger business game, e.g.; when it comes to integrating other products with enterprise social networking, it’s about giving business the opportunity to rethink their approach, so they can be– more collaborative, more inventive… ‘Parallelism’ runs deep in the heart of social networking and it’s the foundation of co-opetition, i.e.; share to make things work– better, different… The significance of co-opetition lays in a way of ‘thinking’; thinking value, thinking experience, thinking future…

In the article Embrace Co-opetition for Rapid Growth by Martin Zwilling writes: Before you start negotiating any co-opetition deal, spend time thinking about– where and how you will be ‘competing’ and how you will be ‘cooperating’… While the natural instinct may be to defeat competitors, or fight for ‘win-lose’, deals that are not ‘win-win’ won’t work and may indeed, jeopardize the future of a company… In addition, two key issues for any cooperative agreement are; don’t violate the spirit of local laws or customs, and protect your intellectual property (IP) with proper two-way non-disclosure agreements… before you start… According to Adam Brandenburger and Barry Nalebuff; there is duality in all relationships with respect to ‘win-win’ and ‘win-lose’ interactions– the success of most business is dependent on the success of ‘others’, yet they must also compete to capture the value created and protect their own interests… The co-opetition model provides a framework to identify and explain the underlying mechanisms in a firm’s environment and how these mechanisms can be changed to the firm’s advantage– think outside the box

co1 th

In the article Co-opetition not Competition by Karolina Maziliauskaite writes: Many might think that collaborating with competitors is an odd thing to do, but real experiences has demonstrated that it can bring a number of significant advantages, e.g.; co-opetition helps companies– reduce costs, share research and development (R&D), open new markets… According to Bernheim and Peleg; co-opetition is only possible when all parties decide that it’s in their ‘mutual’ best interests… co-opetition is sub-form of competition and both terms are closely connected… Also, it’s essential not to forget that there are many possible risks that come with co-opetition…

Hence, a clear line must be drawn between co-opetition and competition, defining the extent of collaboration, as well as, the areas where competition begins again… It’s important that each partner be clear about their intentions and expectations, and agree before signing a final agreement. According to Marquis Cabrera; traditional collaboration fail because– deep down, stakeholders assume their success must come at the parties’ expense, which is clearly a ‘zero-sum’ game… The way forward with co-opetition is when companies act with what they recognize as a ‘congruence of interests’– that means in a traditional collaboration, companies’ relationships is defined by; 1+1=2… whereas in forming co-opetitions, companies’ relationships and expectations is defined by 1+1=3…

In the article Murky World of Co-opetition by Taran March writes: Co-opetition creates value for the companies involved by leveraging cooperative relationships, such as; shared research and development, create a product/service, entering a new market… According to Charles Green; mistrust is what keeps companies from collaborating with others and instead, they rely on external forces– contracts, external guarantors, surveillance… all of which will ensure a specific result… But when trusted relationships are at hand, then not only are fewer external forces needed but parties feel freer to exchange–  information, ideas… and take more prudent risks. This is intimate form of collaborations and it creates opportunities to engage and leverage each others strengths for their mutual benefit… Thereby creating value rather than just simply splitting differences… Co-opetitive is all about– maximizing ‘net value’ for each company through integration of some aspects of each company’s individual ‘parts’…

co thNV4EJXBL

In the article Changing Rules of the Game by Haydee Hernandez, Rick Murtha, Micah Peng, Yuhong Xiong write: In deciding how to conduct business in an increasingly complex world, many business tend to over-simplify their analyses to just– ‘win-lose’ competitive scenarios… Their reliance on competitive analyses implies the existence of a purely adversarial relationships between each player in their market/ industry… However in reality, there may be co-opetitions within an industry without resorting to unfair or non-competitive monopolistic practices. In fact, co-opetition and competition can often co-exist concurrently between the same players, where the individual companies create their own competitive strategy for engaging markets…

This is based on the premise that business is not necessarily a ‘zero-sum’ game where each situation is ‘win-lose’. There can actually be scenarios in which ‘win-win’ is achieved by cooperation, and others in which ‘lose-lose’ occurs without it. In fact without co-opetition often times there exists a ‘lose-lose-lose’ situation, because not only do the competitors end-up losing out on a potential market, but the market gets under-served because consumers lose out on a potentially useful product or service… In highly segmented industries with strong networking effects, such as; the information technology industry, co-opetition and competition may be the only way to conduct business…

However, co-opetition is double-edged sword, e.g.; it can give organizations a larger market share, and even a larger market, or it can lead to legal disputes, or it can create stronger competitors… Hence, great care must be taken in selecting– when and how to use co-opetition as a strategy for an organization’s advantage… The unfortunate aspect of co-opetition is that it can be perceived by government or other competitors as– tacit collusion… In the process of co-opetition, organizations may find themselves in a worse predicament than when they started, e.g.; co-opetition can actually lead to unintended consequences, such as; stronger competitors, or new entrants in the market… According to Gary Hamel; even though practice of competitive collaboration (co-opetiton) is on the rise, long-term effects may compromise a company’s ability to compete in the future…

co3 th

This points to one key lesson: Today’s co-opetitions are tomorrow’s competitors, or even today’s… Hence control the transfer of information whether through security, or having one central gatekeeper for information sharing… and always try to learn as much as possible from the co-opetition… in other words; trust but verify… According to Stuart Richardson; co-opetition is a critical business strategy, and it promotes the notion that even with all of your– skills, strengths, talent… you still cannot do it alone…

Business relationships must be formed around a clearly articulated set of principles, which are used to measure progress and the relative success of the co-opetition… Hence, the players must have a system of metrics that tracks the performance of the arrangement, and if it’s not working; then they must make necessary adjustment or discontinue the relationship, quickly… Also, under no circumstances should you continue with a flawed arrangement… Most important, understand how to protect your own interests while  co-opetiting to maximize value…

Share

Winds Of Disruption or Bust– FinTech Vs. Big Banks: Create Financial Services Business Model for 21st Century…

Share

Winds of change in financial services is gaining in strength as financial technology companies (FinTech) strive to alter the industry with digital technology, smartphones, apps… their purpose is to make financial services– more efficient, easier access, more cost-effective… and they are currently targeting specific sectors, such as; payments, loans, wealth management, currency exchange… Some suggest; it’s not an exaggeration that within next 10 years the banking industry will become almost unrecognizable due to emergence of FinTech… FinTech is in midst of golden age of investment, innovation… but some see it as both– boom or bust opportunity… According to Saikat Chaudhuri; FinTech,  for most part, is nothing new– they apply new digital technology to existing financial applications; this is not a new revolution in financial services, but it’s a recognition that financial services needs a new business model…

fintech thE4BQF3L5

Globally, the FinTech cycle is still developing and it’s highly anticipated that a shakeout of both the technologies and companies are inevitable… According to Mr. Flowers; most prolific area currently for FinTech is in unsecured consumer loans (also, payments, currency exchange)– these are areas of lesser importance to most banks– but literally hundreds of FinTech companies are chasing these apps, and that means that (sooner rather than later) a ‘shake-up’ is probably brewing… According to Citigroup; about 1% of North American consumer banking revenue has shifted to new digital business models, and it forecasts that figure will rise to 10% by 2020 and 17% by 2023… Whereas in China, 96% of all online sales are conducted without a bank, and the shift is already well underway where the top FinTech companies in China have as many, or more clients than biggest banks…

In the article Is FinTech Here to Stay? by Serguei Netessine writes: 2015 was the best year for ‘venture’ investment in U.S. FinTech start-ups since 2000, with $21.6 billion invested, but the number of deals fell for first time since 2009… There are more than 5000 FinTech start-ups in the world… and many unicorns are emerging among them. There are now about 50 FinTech-unicorns (firms valued at more than $1 billion) on the loose… This staggering growth is a reflection of the hype around FinTech, where a plethora of start-ups are using digital technology to compete against or collaborate with established financial services players. The result is dramatic increase in valuations of start-ups as investors look to get in on the ground floor of the ‘next’ big thing…

These start-ups are engaged in an array of financial services– from payments, to lending, to wealth management… aiming to grab a slice of revenues that Goldman Sachs estimates is worth $4.7 trillion… According to a report by McKinsey & Co.; whether FinTech makes a significant dent in global finance, or not will depend what happens in 2016 and 2017, which are pivotal years for the future of the sector… Over the next 12 to 18 months, many of these start-ups will probably fail, and a clearer picture will begin to evolve on the viability and sustainability of the sector… Nevertheless– investors, analysts, banks… still see digital technology innovation as the future of financial services… Many big banks are well aware that they must reinvent their business models, or other players will do it for them…

fintech fintech-visual-map

In the article FinTech And Big Banks by Andrew Ross Sorkin writes: The real threat to banks is not from Washington D.C. or Brussels, but from start-ups all over the world that are chipping away at parts of their financial services industry… According to a Citigroup report; FinTech may be on the cusp of an ‘Uber’ moment– changing foundation of an industry… but the down-side is that some 800,000 people could loss jobs at financial services companies due to the new technologies… Roughly 60 to 70% of retail banking employees are doing manual-processing-driven jobs, and if (or, is it ‘when’) all the current manual processing are replaced by automation these jobs will disappear… In addition, ripple effects are enormous, e.g.; consider not just employees but impact on commercial real estate– when banks close thousands of branch locations throughout the nation, and the world– the economic fallout is huge…

In contrast there are others who are less convinced, and they say the FinTech movement is simply ‘hype’ that defies common sense… and instead of displaced employees and closed banks there will be hundred of failed FinTech companies… And still another view of the FinTech phenomenon, which in fact may have the highest likelihood of coming true is the following: Big banks become so paranoid about the possibility of being disrupted, by FinTech these up-starts that they either; buy the most innovative of these firms, or at least hire the most innovate people from these firms– so that they themselves become disruptors of their own industry… 

In the article FinTechs Are Over-Rated by blogjoh writes: There is nothing disruptive about FinTech! They use digital technology to serve niche markets, but ‘functionally’ there is nothing new or disruptive about their offering, which is not or cannot be provided by banks. However, there is one component that these start-ups provide which can justify all the hype; it’s the ‘outstanding user experience’ of their products (which means design and usability). FinTechs are not revolutionizing banking, but they are revolutionizing the way consumers experience banking… FinTechs are challenging the established banks by delivering better experience, i.e.; by making it simpler and easy to use financial services through; easy to use apps, smooth navigation, simple pricing models…

FinTech is not ‘Uber or AirBnB’ moment (i.e.; attacking the infrastructure of an industry) instead these companies use– existing framework to offer better/different services… Nevertheless, these players are important– they are showing the banking establishment that they must be more innovative, more modern, and provide better user experience… However, there is a natural synergy for partnerships between banks and FinTechs; where banks provide the infrastructure and FinTechs provide the digital technology… and when the execution is done properly all three are winners; customers, banks, FinTechs… it’s all about reinventing banking for the 21st century…

fintech CdMdPawUkAEnExe

But banks must act quickly to position themselves as the future of the financial services industry or become irrelevant… they must embrace digital technology, smartphones, apps… and reinvent their business models… According to most experts; the ‘era of FinTech’ is here and banks must develop a clear plan in order to adapt and benefit from FinTech-fuelled changes. While the banking industry is traditionally more ‘conservative’ to change– and certainly when change is fast-moving– any hesitation or ambivalence could be very costly, particularly as new technology introduces; not just new solutions but also potential new contenders to banking establishment…

According to ‘FinTech Adoption Report’ by Ernst & Young: Traditional financial services firms can learn from how FinTechs ‘think’ about the customer proposition and how they are harnessing technology to deliver value, convenience… Early FinTech adopters tend to be customers who are– younger, higher-income, and concentrated in urban areas, such as; New York, Hong Kong, London… These are some of banking most valuable customer, hence traditional banking services must; understand and personalize services for the new demographics, as well as, educating traditional customers in the ways of digital financial services… This requires evaluating traditional banking services and delivery strategies, as well as, exploring partnerships with FinTech providers…

Banks and financial services companies must learn the lessons of FinTech… According to a survey on FinTech usage– respondents cited the following; overwhelmingly the top reason for using FinTech was its relative ease in setting-up an account… also, more attractive rates, access to different products and services, and better online experience were also very popular responses… but, ‘simplicity’ was the primary factor driving adoption… While many traditional banks are grappling with how to replace– cumbersome and time-consuming account set-up– FinTechs are enabling customers accounts with as little as ‘one’ click.

fintech9 th

It’s clear that a digital revolution in financial services is under way, but the impact on current banking players is not fully understood… FinTech has the potential to shrink the role and relevance of today’s banks, and simultaneously help them create– better, faster, cheaper… services that make them an even more essential part of everyday life for institutions and individuals… And to their credit, banks are acknowledging that they need to shake themselves out of institutional complacency and recognize that merely navigating waves of regulation and waiting for interest rates to rise won’t protect them from obsolescence… Banks are beginning to embrace the lessons of FinTech with a sense of commitment and purpose to re-imagine their business models… But the future of FinTech companies, as disruptors of financial services, all depends on the banks themselves and how they react to the FinTech challenge… Banks, it’s your move!

Share

U.S. is More UnEducated, UnderEducated, Illiterate: It’s Crisis that Threatens– Security, Democracy…

Share

Being educated in the U.S. is the very foundation of the nation’s existence, but it’s being eroded by rising tide of uneducated mediocrity, which threatens– security, democracy, economy… If an unfriendly nation had the power to impose on the U.S. the mediocre educational performance that exists today, it might well be viewed as an act of war… The U.S. in effect, is committing acts of– irresponsible, suicidal, unilateral… educational disarmament… Its time to engage the uneducated and insist on ‘more’; more schooling, more basics, more science, more math, more art, more humanities, more social studies, more creativity, more everything… It’s ironic that the U.S.– known as the great land of opportunity, world’s largest economy, world’s biggest military power… is becoming a nation of dummies in the 21st Century…

educate thAHTPMJQ9

According to U.S. Department of Education and National Institute of Literacy; 42 million U.S. adults cannot read, that’s about 14%; 21% of adults read below 5th grade level; 19% of high school graduates cannot read; 1 in 4 children grow up without learning how to read… 75% of Americans who receive food stamps perform at the lowest 2 levels of literacy… 90% of high school drop-outs are on welfare… Teenage girls between the ages of 16 to 19 who live at or below poverty have below average literacy skills and are 6 times more likely to have children out-of-wedlock… Reports show that the rate of low literacy in the U. S. directly costs the healthcare industry over $70 million every year… The basic subsistence of citizens in U.S. society is dependent on the ability to– read, write, simple math… According to John Wayne; life is tough, but it’s even tougher if you are dumb…

In the article Decline of U.S. Educated Puts Nation Security At Risk by Jack Cafferty writes: When you think about some of the greatest dangers facing U.S. national security, you might think about, e.g.; ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Taliban, North Korea, Iran… But a threat that might not come to mind is being educated; and that poses grave danger to security of the country… According to a Council on Foreign Relations Report; the uneducated in the U.S. are national security risk; they pose a threat to the nation’s economic growth, competitiveness…

The Report highlights a Defense Department statistic that 75% of U.S. youth don’t qualify for armed forces because of a lack of a high school diploma, obesity, criminal records… Among those who do qualify, 30% don’t pass the military’s aptitude test. If ‘all’ people in the U.S. are not adequately educated the country is doomed… Not everyone agrees with this Report including some members of the task force… But it’s no secret that the number of people in U.S. who are– uneducated, undereducated, illiterates… represent a grave threat to the country’s sustainability…

educate thASB9Z6JE

In the article Blissfully Uneducated by Victor Davis Hanson writes: Americans increasingly are becoming blissfully uneducated; since they are not required to study basic knowledge of– science, math, language, literature, philosophy, history… This is not new; in 1960s– perhaps due to frustration over the Vietnam War, perhaps as a manifestation of the cultural transformations of the age– universities jettisoned ‘classical’ approach [to education] and adopted the ‘therapeutic’… This is, the youths for a generation have been fed a– ‘Studies’ curriculum, and you fill in the blank, e.g.; ‘Women Studies’, ‘Gay Studies’, ‘Black Studies’, ‘Peace Studies’, ‘Chicano Studies’, ‘Film Studies’, and so on… The ‘studies’ aim to indoctrinate students about perceived pathologies in contemporary U.S. culture, specifically; oppressions of race, class, gender…

Many educators and policy-makers believed that U.S. is hopelessly corrupt, incorrigible… And that– church, government, schools, family… stifles the individual and perpetuates a capitalist, male hierarchy… that warps society. So if colleges, universities, others… could educate students to counter these sinister forces, the nation itself could be changed for the better… Colleges could serve as counterweight to the insidious prejudices embedded in the core of U.S… It’s a case of hypocrisy running rampant: many academic who assure students that U.S. is hopelessly oppressive are doing greater harm and perpetuating a nation of– uneducated, undereducated, illiterate… people who are unprepared to deal with the real challenges of a global world…

In the article U.S. Obsession with STEM Education is Dangerous by Fareed Zakaria writes: Every month it seems, we hear about children’s bad test scores in math, science… and about new initiatives from companies, universities, foundations… to expand STEM courses (science, technology, engineering, math) and deemphasize the humanities… This new logic says; a liberal education is irrelevant and technical training is the best path forward… and they say; it’s the only way to ensure that U.S. can survive in an age defined by technology and shaped by global competition… However, this dismissal of broad-based learning, which include the humanities… is a fundamental misreading of the facts and puts U.S. on a dangerously narrow path for the future…

For decades, the U. S. has led the world in– economics, innovations, entrepreneurship… thanks to exactly the kind of teaching we are now told to defenestrate. In fact, a broad general education helps foster critical thinking and creativity… and this exposure to a wide range of disciplines produces greater synergy and cross-fertilization of ideas… Yes, science and technology are crucial components, but so are– English, philosophy, art… Technology alone is not enough; it’s when technology is married with liberal arts, and married with humanities… that yields the greatest results…

educate th14LNMQSX

In the article Educated Population Is Essential to a Nation’s Prosperity by Neil H. Buchanan writes: One of the bedrock areas of agreement in U.S., for at least last century, is that education is a core commitment of society. We might disagree about exactly what subject matter should be taught in schools, or which government (federal, state, local) should finance education, but we have rarely wavered in recognition that universal education is a right, and that higher education is a priority, for the sake of the country’s well-being…

This broad agreement has been based in part on civic ideals, on the recognition of the role of education in creating citizens who understand how democracy works. It has also been based on the recognition that education improves the economy and educated citizens are more productive workers… Some economic concepts are so fundamental that there is very little room for debate. One among that very small set of concepts is the tenet that an educated , population is an essential prerequisite for national prosperity… But these ideals and, more important, their execution have somehow gone awry…

In the article What Does it Mean to Be Educated? by Jon Spayde writes: What does it mean– or more important; what should it mean to be educated? This is a surprisingly tricky and two-sided question: Masquerading as simple problem-solving, it raises a whole laundry list of philosophical conundrums: What topics should be taught? How should they be taught? Talking about the meaning of education inevitably leads to the question of what is the national priority: Yikes! No wonder answers don’t come easily in a multiethnic, corporation-heavy democracy that dominates the globe without having much of a sense of its own soul…

For many policy-makers education equals– ‘training for competitiveness’ (which often boils down to the mantra of– more science, more math, more technology… whereas for ‘multi-culturalists’, education is a battle line where they must duke it out regularly with incensed ‘neo-traditionalists’ for– what it means to be educated… Given all these pushes and pulls, it’s no wonder that many people feel that they are not being educated in preparation for the world of today… But; What does being educated really mean?

educated thWQXD76LF

Does it mean having  diploma from a college/university which shows that you graduated? Or does it mean something entirely different? What about the bushmen of the Kalahari? Surely, their education helps them– survive, hunt, gather, sustain themselves… Hence it’s probably fair to say that they too are educated– even if they don’t have college degree. Others might say a person is– ‘educated in the ways of’; you pick the area, e.g.; farming construction, food preparation… even though they don’t have college degree… And still others might say that being educated is about learning ‘special’ skills in order to make a deceit living, and the list goes-on… It seem like for every person asked, each person has a different definition of– ‘what it means to being educated’… So, what do you think: What does being educated mean to you?

Share

Patents– Great for Big Business, Trolls… But For All Others– Its Worthless, Stifles Innovation, Not Enforced, Waste of Time.

Share

Patents litigation costs companies millions of dollars in time and lawyer fees; but just how effective is a ‘patent’ anyway? According to Florian Mueller; analyzed 222 smart-phone patent assertions– with Android being major target of many of them– only to find that 90% of those cases have gone absolutely nowhere… about half (49%) of assertions have failed thus far, while 42% of assertions were dropped without a comprehensive settlement or ‘comparably negative fate’… As it turns out, only 20 or the 222 patent assertions (9%) were able to establish liability, but only 10 of those 20 cases resulted in ‘lasting injunctive relief’… In other words based on patent litigation by; Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Nokia, Motorola, and host of others litigation– more often than not, it’s a serious waste of time and money for all parties involved…

patent imagesANTILMT0

According to Erik Heels; filing for a patent is ‘a waste of time and energy’, not to mention money… Indeed most startups think they need a patent– often claiming that VCs won’t invest without it… but as many smart VCs point out, having a patent in a startup is near worthless without well conceived strategy with products that provide value and relevancy to target markets, and rarely is a patent a significant difference maker… According to Gil Silberman; a fake gun is just as good as a real one if you don’t have to fire it; similarly, a worthless patent can still be useful for raising money on perceived value, or as ‘threat’, in defending against competitors… however, the value of a patent is often unknown until litigation, which usually costs more money than most companies can afford…

In the article Most Small Companies Patents Are Worthless by Todd Hixon writes: A widespread meme in the tech community holds that patents are a path to riches: An entrepreneur who solves a key technical problem and receives a patent can build a business on the technology and ride to glory… However in reality, most patents are just about worthless… Many entrepreneurs misunderstand the real value patents create and how difficult they are to enforce… A patent is a sword, not a shield; it gives you the right to attack a competitor who makes commercial use of (or ‘infringes’) patented technology… But enforcing patents in courts is a nightmare, e.g.; plan on 3-5 years and $3-$5 million to get to a judgment and then there are appeals…

Patent litigation is the true sport of kings; it costs $20k-$30k to file a final (‘utility’) patent. Some companies make dozens of filings, spending a good fraction of a million dollars,and there are no guarantee that these investments will pay off… However, there are situations where patents do pay off, e.g.; patents for drugs are indeed a lynchpin of value, or patents for information technology has been shown to be effective… But, usually these patents are in the hands of big companies that have the resources to defend them. Whereas in smaller companies the value of ‘patents’ is questionable, hence a few tips for smaller companies:

  • Don’t base a business strategy on patents and don’t try to raise money primarily on the basis of patents…
  • Pay close attention to patents that others hold which might enable competitors to block you– ‘freedom to operate’ is more important when evaluating a business plan than patent ownership…
  • Non-patent intellectual property (IP) strategies can hold-off copycats more effective, e.g.;  trade secrets, knowledge of customers, series of connected innovations…
  • Build the business on real competitive advantages, e.g.; value, relationships, rapid innovation… don’t count on patents to defend from competitors…

patent thZUMQSZI8

In the article Are Patents Useful, Useless, Necessary Evil? by David Allsebrook writes: Decisions about how and whether to patent protect innovations are hard, e.g.: start-ups have it worse, since usually they have little cash and the cost of patent applications are very expensive, plus 75% of venture capitalists say they will only invest in companies with patents… According to Don Lancaster; patents are useless and makes no sense for most  small business… patents guarantees only the right to fight to protect the ideas, and fighting takes a large amount of resources, e.g.; lots of time, negotiating assets, lawyer fees, emotional stamina… whereas often same results can be had without patents by– moving fast, staying nimble, leveraging ideas… Patents is big business, there corporate games… and should be avoided by anyone trying to work outside of that framework…

In the article Relax: Let Your Guard Down by David H. Freedman writes: Companies continue to treat intellectual property (IP) as an asset to be kept out of the hands of others at all costs, but there are compelling reasons that such aggressive IP protectiveness is not only unnecessary but also counter-productive… Some $5.5 trillion worth of IP is said to be rattling around computers and file drawers of U.S. companies accounting for significant percentage of the nation’s GDP… About twice as many patent-related lawsuits were filed last year as were 20 years ago, suggesting that companies are more determined than ever to keep others off their good ideas… And yet simple truth is that most companies ‘rarely succeed’ when protecting patents, or ‘rarely fail’ because they do not– there are other strategic factors that determine success or failure…

Ninety-five percent of patents end up being of absolutely no commercial value, even in high-tech where IP is king, the best rule of thumb for patent protection is: Don’t bother… According to Glen Whitman; the faster the pace of innovation, the less important are patents, or to put it another way; superb strategy and execution trumps a patent every time… That’s because it usually isn’t the individual big-bang idea– in and of itself– that makes or breaks a company; but rather it’s a ‘constant stream’ of smaller good ideas that drives the business… According to researchers; patent protection is of little or no benefit when it comes to an ongoing string of ideas… Which makes sense given the time it takes to get a patent into place and the relative perishability of any single idea… Business tend to have a greater chance of profiting when patents are relaxed and the door is opened to increased competition and imitation…

patent1 untitled

However, many big companies see it differently, after all, they have the resources to prevail in patent disputes… As a result when smaller companies trying to bring out new products, especially in high-tech, they often find themselves buried with administrative and financial requirements for license fees for processes, technologies… covered by patents… Of course, there are some situations in which patent aggressiveness may be reasonable and even essential, e.g.; the pharmaceutical industry is a clear example; it takes about 10 years and the better part of a billion dollars to identify the one molecule out of trillions that works against a disease and then drag it through the multi-staged testing process. Once the pill is out, it might take only a week to bring out an imitation that could be sold at cut-rate prices to take over the market…

Patents have become gold standard of national competitiveness, but academic studies have typically failed to find much of a connection between patents and innovation… But still the patents have created a ‘Scylla-and-Charybdis’ world where companies must navigate between– infringing on countless patents, or paying multitudes of stiff licensing fees… One study found that companies spend an amount equivalent to 14% of research and development budgets on patent litigation… According to Jordan Weissman; many companies spend billions on ‘defensive patents’, which are essentially worthless other than as protection against lawsuits… This is common practice when a business is forced to license a patent from a litigious ‘troll’… Also, untold dollars are spent on legal fees and unnecessary patent filings for ludicrously broad or impractical ideas…

Patent12

According to Gene Quinn; questions that all companies must  ask themselves are: Why do you want a patent? Is it an asset and foundation for building a business, or is it a wall ornament? For example; there are millions of smartphone/software ‘apps’, and many of them are developed by very smart people whose objective is to build a business (although for some there may be other motivations)… But since it costs on average $30,000 for a software patent– does the return on investment make good business sense? The world of business and technology is rapidly changing and companies must objectively think about: Why is a patent needed? What’s its purpose? How will it be defended? What are workarounds? Let’s face it, overwhelming percentage of patents have very little, if any real economic value, hence think hard, smart… about the practical realities before wasting time and resources filing a patent…

Share

Illusion of Control– Management in Control is an Illusion! It’s a Façade! Control Freaks Over-State Their Ability to Control Events…

Share

‘Control’ is a concept that necessitates completeness, it cannot exist in partial terms (you cannot ‘kind of’ or ‘pretty much’ control anything), you either have control or you don’t… but sometimes leaders have an illusion of control– control that in reality does not exist… Most leaders think they have it, management struggles to get it, workers want more of it– its power to decide, to exercise influence, to set boundaries… its power to influence, or direct people’s behavior, or dictate course of events… According to Patrick B. McGrath; control is an illusion– most leaders are not in ‘total’ control; they may have control of some things but total control is not achievable… control doesn’t exist; you think it exists, its only an outside appearance– a coincidence of sorts in which factors that were visible appear to come together… 

control imagesD24VT98B

According to studies; CEOs of Fortune 500 companies routinely over-estimate their capacity to control events surrounding their companies, employees, markets… and as a result they often take-on an air of egotistical  invincibility– and outcomes are usually devastating… A study in Psychological Science; suggested that power and perceived control can literally ‘go to one’s head’, causing individuals to think they have more control over outcomes than they really do… but illusion of control is adaptive and it can help power-holders make the seemingly impossible, possible… But also the notion of simply having some level of power can lead people to grossly over-estimating their abilities to control events…

In the article Illusion of Control by Pat Weaver writes: One of the key ways of dealing with risk is accepting the reality that there are things that you simply cannot control… Under-estimating uncertainty has very serious implications for risk and management must pay special attention to what can be predicted, and what cannot be predicted… In the book ‘Dance With Chance, Making Luck Work For You’ by Spyros Makridakis, Robin Hogarth, Anil Gaba; find that people tend to assume they can control much more than they actually can and as a consequence they under-estimate the role of chance… The authors pinpoint two kinds of risks: Subways and Coconuts– You can plan for subways but its difficult to plan for the coconuts, e.g.; on one hand, you can research and be relatively sure that the subway will be predictable most of the time (but never all of the time!)…

On other hand, you know that coconuts fall from trees, but you can’t predict when they will fall or where they will land… The authors argue that management must accept the reality that there are things they simply cannot predict, and as consequence the control of some things is simply an illusion… But management can also devise creative strategies to move forward; the authors call it ‘triple A’ strategy of— accept, assess, augment: First, ‘accept’ that there are things you cannot control… Second, ‘assess’ the uncertainties associated with things that you cannot control… Third, ‘augment’ your plans to ensure that the things you can control are managed effectively…

control4 images

In the article Illusion of Control by Seth Godin writes: It’s a very widespread belief; it motivates you; it frightens you; it drives consumer mania… It’s the idea that you are in control; that your work is so leveraged and important that through the force of ‘will’, you can ensure things will turn out as you choose… But in reality you are never really in control — everything you do is a matter of influence… and perhaps, sometimes, you can influence events and things can turn out in ways that you plan… However, in business, more often than not it does not work that way… more often you are shrugging your shoulders and say, ‘it’s out of my control’… and more often than not your boss is saying the same thing… When the ‘illusion of control’ collides with the ‘reality of influence’, it highlights the reality that the entire ‘illusion of control’ is based on the fact that– you are responsible for what you do, you are accountable… but often you don’t have authority or control over the outcome; it’s a reality– you cannot hide from it, so embrace it and deal with it…

In the article The Illusion Of Control by David Brock writes: Let me confess; I’m a control freak– it bothers me to think that ‘being in control’ is an illusion… In business– leaders, managers… are always trying to control something, or reluctant to do something unless they are in control, but in reality there is very little total control… However, despite the lack of control leaders are still accountable for producing results– no excuses! Leaders often blames their failure to achieve results on their lack of control, or factors ‘outside their control’… And then there are other leaders who quietly sort things out, and come-up with creative strategies to achieve for their business– they may not have total control but they still persevere and achieve; whether it’s exercising influence on people involved in the decision, or whether it’s finding ways to eliminate obstacles, or finding ways to reduce uncertainty… Control may be an illusion, but leaders are still accountable and they must find ways to achieve the desired outcomes…

control1 th

In the article Illusion of Control by Leo Babauta writes: When you think you control something you are probably wrong… It’s amazing how often you think you are in control of something when really you really are not– control is an illusion… You constantly make plans that never actually turn out the way you envisioned… You have been trained to set goals and then work on actions that achieve goals… But, how often have you tried to control a future that you cannot predict? Yet you continue to believe in the illusion of control– you face a chaotic and complex world and you seek to control it, in what ever way you can… So how do you move forward? Perhaps considering the travails of fish might help; yes fish! A fish swims in a chaotic environment, in which it cannot possibly control; much as you do…

However fish, unlike you, are under no illusion that it controls the sea or other fish in the sea. Fish do not even try to control where it ends up– it just swims, either going with the flow or dealing with the flow, as it comes. It eats, hides, mates without trying to control a thing… You are no better than that fish, yet your thinking creates need for an illusion– so let go of your illusionary thinking, and learn from the fish… Hence when you are in the midst of chaos let go of the need to control it; experience it, deal with it and go with the flow, but don’t try to control it– it’s a completely different way of thinking, once you let go of the illusion of control…

Being in control makes most people feel happy; it’s been proven in studies that having the feeling of being– ‘in control’ produces– optimism, high self-esteem… In contrast, studies have shown that the ‘absence of control’ produces– withdraw, depression… According to Iyanla VanZant; being in control is the number one human addiction… when you are in control you are on a high and things go your way… and you believe that if you continue to exert control that things will continue to go your way. As great as this may sound it’s a dangerous illusion, because the flip-side will inevitably circle back around…

control3 th

According to Daniel Kahneman; the comforting conviction that the world makes sense is based on your almost unlimited ability to ignore your ignorance… Life plays limitless hands of poker that you are even too busy to see… You know it and feel it intuitively; yet you carry the false belief that if you just– try harder, focus stronger, meet the right person, lose the extra pounds, close the elusive deal, win the mind-blowing lottery… then and only then will you gain some level of control… The ‘illusion of control’ may be comforting, but it’s only illusion; it’s a façade; it’s fantasy built-on sense of self-importance. Hence, control is not the answer; it’s your sense of self-worth, it’s confidence in your ability to achieve, it’s your determination to be relevant... that’s what really matters. So don’t try harder, try different!

Share