Diversity Teetering on Insanity– Diversity Needs a Refresh: Diversity Alone Is Bad for Business– Its ‘Inclusion’ That Matters…

Every organization is full of people who look different, talk different, think different, act different from one another, at least at some level… Hence, the primary challenge for business is not just to become more diverse but more important to become more inclusive… consider people’s commonalities– consider people’s sameness… consider people’s sharing common purpose, experience, goals…

This may seem counter-intuitive but it suggests that for business (society as a whole) to be successful must have a substantial foundation of commonality, which encourages inclusiveness in order for diversity to flourish… The misinterpretations of what diversity and inclusiveness mean and what they truly represents have limited their ability to have a real impact and influence in business…

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An organization needs– controllers, thinkers, dreamers, doers, organizers, team builders… to reach the strategic goals and outcomes that define the character of a successful organization… an organization is not sustainable with people– fighting, mistrusting… each other because of their differences… Diversity is ubiquitous and it includes; black and white, female and male, gay and straight, all religions, young and old… the diversity of every individual, slow learner and fast learner, introvert and extrovert, controlling type and people type, scholar and sports-person, liberal and conservative…

According to R. Roosevelt Thomas; long-term success of any business calls for a diverse body of talent that can bring fresh ideas, perspectives and views, understand dynamics and mindset and values of a globalized world… but most important, diversity without inclusion will fail…

In the article Why Diversity Can Be Bad For Business– Its Inclusion Stupid by Sebastian Bailey writes: Research suggests that higher market growth is driven by more innovation and better quality decision made within diverse and inclusive teams… and that diversity ‘alone'(without inclusion) is damaging for individuals, organizations…

Research suggests that ‘differences alone’ lowers– revenue, performance, employee morale and well-being, along with slower decision-making, increased conflict, absenteeism, missed opportunities and more (expensive) discrimination cases… But when coupled with an inclusive culture, diversity delivers higher performance, less absenteeism, more customer satisfaction and greater innovation…

Unfortunately many well-meaning diversity initiatives fail because organizations behave defensively… they only put in place minimum policies so as to avoid lawsuits… and very little effort to develop a mindset of inclusion…

Few organizations even distinguish between diversity and inclusion, let alone measure or target them individually. While diversity can be addressed as a compliance issue and tracked fairly easily, the range of individual behaviors which make-up inclusion mean that it’s trickier to pin-down… Inclusiveness happens when very different individuals feel free to embrace their uniqueness and are accepted as full members of the team. Enforced participation efforts don’t work–

A recent study showed that up to 61% of individuals in a workplace feel like they are covering-up something of themselves in order to– fit in at work. Faking it to fit in; not a recipe for engagement or performance…

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In the article Downside of Diversity by Michael Jonas writes: It’s increasingly popular to speak of racial and ethnic diversity as a business strength. From multicultural festivals to pronouncements from political leaders, the message is the same; our differences make us stronger…

According to Robert Putnam; diversity makes most people uncomfortable… but discomfort isn’t always a bad thing. Unease with differences helps explain why teams of workers from different cultures may be ideally suited to solve vexing problems… Culture clashes can produce a dynamic give-and-take, generating a solution that may have eluded a group of people with more similar backgrounds and approaches…

However, there is a growing body of research indicating that more diverse populations seem to extend themselves less on behalf of a group’s collective needs and goals, i.e.; higher diversity can mean lower social capital…

Putnam writes; those in more diverse communities tend to– distrust their neighbors, regardless of the color of their skin, to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and leaders, to volunteer less, to give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less, to agitate for social reform more but have less faith that they can actually make a difference… And if all of this is true– then how can one explain the great melting-pot cities that drive the world’s creative and financial economies?

According to Scott Page; notion that civic lassitude drag down diverse communities is at odds with the vigor often associated with urban centers, where ethnic diversity is greatest… And if diversity is a liability for connectedness, there is a parallel line of research that suggests it can also be a big asset for driving productivity, innovation… The different ways of thinking among people from different cultures can be a boon– diverse teams tend to be more productive…

In the article Diversity Policies Rarely Make Companies Fairer by Tessa L. Dover, Brenda Major, Cheryl R. Kaiser write: Companies spend millions of dollars annually on diversity programs and policies. Mission statements and recruitment materials touting companies’ commitment to diversity are ubiquitous… Many managers are tasked with the complex goal of ‘managing diversity’– which can mean anything from ensuring equal employment opportunity compliance, to instituting cultural sensitivity training programs, to focusing on the recruitment and retention of minorities, women…

However, most programs are not very effective and produce very few if any tangible benefits to companies or targeted individuals… A study of over 700 companies found that implementing these programs have little positive effect and may even decrease diverse representation…

Most people assume that diversity policies make companies fairer… though the data suggest otherwise… Research suggests that diversity initiatives seem to do little to convince minorities that companies will treat them more fairly… Participants from ethnic minorities viewed a pro-diversity company as no more inclusive, no better to work for, and no less likely to discriminate against minorities than a company without a pro-diversity stance…

The implications of this study are troubling for the ways we currently attempt to manage diversity and foster inclusion in organizations. Groups, e.g., white men… that typically occupy positions of power may feel alienated and vulnerable when their company claims to value diversity. This may be one explanation for the lackluster success of most diversity management attempts; when people feel threatened they may resist efforts to make the workplace more inclusive…

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In the article Is There Such A Thing As Too Much Diversity? by Koyel Bandyopadhyay writes: The chief argument against diversity appears to be that some business skills are concentrated in certain places, certain groups of people, certain cultures… Hence, narrowness can be a source of strength and cohesion, not a sign of weakness.

Diversity is a technique, not an end in itself. It needs to be balanced against other considerations, such as; clustering of skills… and companies need not necessarily be ‘representative’ of the population as a whole… business needs much more diversity of thought on the subject of ‘diversity’.

Human beings are social beings and the way they bond with other humans is chiefly through– real or imagined– similarity, which is known as homophily (where people tend to bond with people that they think are similar to themselves)…

According to Robert D. Putnam; there are two human social tendencies; one is bonding connections– to be forged among like-minded individuals… and the other is bridging connections— to be formed between heterogeneous groups… In today’s globalization, individual identities are  becoming increasingly dynamic and the cultural discourse is often finding overlap, which is good news for mitigating some of the distrust and prejudice against diverse groups, and in forming those bridging connections…

The long-term success of any business calls for a diverse body of talent that can bring fresh– ideas, perspectives and views to their work… According to Harris Sussman; diversity is about– relatedness, connectedness, interactions… where the lines cross. Diversity is many things, e.g.; bridge between organizational life and the reality of people’s lives, building corporate capability, framework for interrelationships between people, learning exchange, strategic lens on the world…

According to David Goodhart; in the rhetoric of the modern liberal state, the glue of ethnicity (i.e., people who look and talk alike) has been replaced with the glue of values (i.e., people who think and behave alike)… According to Jane Jimenez; every age faces the human struggle to ‘get along’… but today, at least, we are supposed to be a kinder and gentler age… Years ago, even as mere children, we knew there were many different kinds of people… different languages, cultures, skin colors…and we knew we needed to work to get along… Maybe back then, we knew it, but today we have codified it… 

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We are no longer simply different; we are ‘diverse’… and for business to succeed it require a level of ‘inclusion’– whereby individuals must alter some of their innate beliefs and behaviors– which is why it’s more difficult to realize, but yet so very powerful when it happens… and organizations must address ‘inclusion’ as a cultural issue.

Hence, starting point is a few key shifts in attitude; from diversity alone (delivered at corporate level) to diversity and inclusion (delivered by individuals); from demographics to diversity of thinking; and from diversity as an issue of compliance to an essential facet of business success…

Stuck in Mediocrity– Business Paradox– ‘Slow Down to Speed Up’: New Normal– Slow Pace Fast Change…

On the surface– Slow Down to Speed– does not seem to make much sense but with a business gone awry how much time is spent in damage control (i.e.; apologizing, blame-games, corrective actions…) to determine the fate of the business…

According to Ken Stewart; tenets of ‘slow down to speed up’ are following a few simple rules:

No More, No Less: Take sufficient amount of time to find new path forward…

Devil in Details: Observe the necessary details and omit what’s not necessary…

Pace and Purpose: Do not allow the pace to overshadow the purpose…

Urgent or Important: Guard against others’ false urgency and don’t fight unnecessary battles…

According to Petrini; going ‘slow’ means you control rhythms of the business; you decide the appropriate speed of the business– if today is fast, go fast… if tomorrow is slow, go slow…

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The critical issue is to determine the correct ‘tempo’ of the business at any point in time… According to a Harvard Business Review study; there are two types of companies; those that quickly embrace new initiatives and– go, go, go… to try and gain an edge but they often falter… and those that ‘pause’ and think through new initiatives at key critical moments to ensure that they are on the right track…

The study suggests; firms that ‘slowed down to speed up’ improve their top and bottom lines and average 40% higher sales and 52% higher operating profits over a three-year period… It’s all about reframing the idea of slow; taking the time to find the right path to build a sustainable business…

In the article Slow Down to Speed Up by John B. McGuire, Vance Tang write: Complexity is in cahoots with speed and uncertainty… Put together all three– speed, uncertainly, complexity– and the toughest business can falter… Complexity is the No. 1 issue facing chief executives today… according to an IBM study of 1,500 chief executives; the problem is that we’ve bought into the complexity conspiracy: We match complexity with greater complexity, and speed with greater speed.. When feeling out of control, we seek more control…

Instead of the clarity we crave, we get ambiguity and more uncertainty. There is a way to break the stranglehold of complexity: Slow down to power up… That’s right: Slow down now and you will be in a better position to move faster, further with greater purpose later– even when, or especially when, you are staring down the triple threat of– complexity, speed, uncertainty… When leaders ‘slow down to power up’ they can better overcome pressures– complexity, uncertainty– and meet the challenges of a changing world…

In the article Need Speed? Slow Down by Jocelyn R. Davis, Tom Atkinson write: There is a speed gap in business: It’s the difference between the importance of  speed as conceived in a firm’s competitive strategy, and their operational speed with which a firm can actually move…

Organizations that are fearful of losing their competitive advantage spend much time and resources looking for ways to pick up the pace whereas instead, paradoxically, they should actually slow down… Firms sometimes confuse operational speed (moving quickly) with strategic speed (time to deliver value)– in fact, the two concepts are quite different…

Many businesses simply try to increase the pace of execution as one way to try to close the speed gap… But that often can lead to decrease in the customer experience, lower-quality products, and overall loss of value… Likewise, when firms do not take the time to identify and verify a true competitive value proposition but still proceed to market anyway, they usually have a bad outcome…

Firms that ‘slow down’ and make alignment of strategic speed and operational speed a priority are more successful. These firms think through their strategy and are more open to– ideas, discussion, encouraged innovative thinking and allowed time to– reflect, learn… By contrast, firms that moved too fast, focused too much on maximizing efficiency, do not foster employee collaboration and are not overly concerned about alignment, they typically falter…

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In the article Slow Is New Fast; Slow Down to Speed Up by Michael Baer writes: The business world seems to get faster every day– no matter how fast we move, we seem to be constantly in need of catch-up. But in today’s highly competitive business environment,  it’s very important just to slow down: That’s right; slow down… The need-for-speed has taken over business, e.g.; management often– shoot first and asks questions later, they react, respond, and do-do-do… without understanding markets, they take action without thinking, they develop processes that are designed to work on their own (like robotic speed-freaks)…

However, sometimes management must just slow down and press ‘pause’ button… They must think slower in order to work smarter. According to Daniel Kahneman; there are two distinct systems that dictate how people think and make decisions: One is fast, intuitive, reactive… while the other is slow, deliberate, methodical, rational… There are many situations where business must force itself to ‘think slow’… According to an article; business is getting more complex, uncertain, ambiguous… hence, they must become more deliberative in thinking through critical business decisions…

This need-for-speed has many people working alone behind laptops, smartphones… and making knee-jerk decisions… But, many activities demand more deliberate, in-person collaboration with other humans in a room working on the same project at the same time… Since we are constantly responding to situations and reacting to stimuli, we often develop patterns of response that are enabled without thinking. We are run by– rote, not mind… Hence, don’t let a process run the process; don’t let decisions happen mindlessly simply because a process stipulates it to occur…

Empower people to stop the proverbial assembly line when it does not serve the purpose. Don’t let a process drive the speed of the business when the outcome is not satisfactory. Slow it down, make adjustments… then speed it back up again… Sometimes it’s a move that you ‘don’t’ make… and sometimes the best decision is to do nothing… Hence, despite the demanding pace, emotions, passions… sometimes it’s important to slow down and not rush to judgment, or react impetuously, or impulsively… Control emotions in heat of the moment, slow down and deliberate before taking action…

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In the article Art of Slowing Down by Grace Marshall writes: In a business world that strives for high productivity we often talk about getting things done– faster, smarter, easier… But what about slower? Here are several areas where slowing down could in fact improve productivity:

  • Decisions: Fastest decisions are not always best decisions… There are times when you made a quick ‘that will do’ decision that’s ended up costing more to fix, or change, then if you just slow down and think it through…
  • Planning: Activity does not always equal productivity, and busy-ness does not equal business. But there’s still something incredibly seductive about being busy; busy feels productive… It’s only when you slow down and think, that you notice the difference between getting things done, and getting things done right…
  • Communication: They say never send an email when you’re angry or in a rush. It’s so much easier to make a mistake, send the wrong thing to the wrong person, or say something you’ll regret… Slow down and give your brain a chance to catch up with your emotions…
  • Creativity: We are human beings, not robots. Our productivity doesn’t just depend on speed and efficiency. It also depends on creativity, intuition, innovation… and these things need space to flourish. Nothing shuts down inspiration faster than forcing it, so just slow down and take the pressure off and it can be just the thing to get your creativity flowing…

When you do Internet search on the terms– ‘slow and business’, all you get are nothing but words that describe– misery, pain, frustration… and most people associate ‘slow’ with failure, inefficiency, and perhaps worse, laziness… According to Christopher Richards; we love speed; we have speed dating, speed networking, fast food… Microsoft tells us to ‘do more, faster’… And who wants to argue? After all competition is fierce; we’d better be efficient, get there first– be a winner… We are taught to forge ahead,  speed up; the less time we have, more we try to cram… after all time is a non-renewable resource…

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Being fast can be a business’ biggest strength, but it also can be its biggest weakness… Manically rushing from one thing to another is not good for health or productivity. Yes, a certain level of adrenaline can be useful to beat inertia and fire-up motivation, but when stress levels get too high– people make mistakes, make poor decisions, misjudge and misread situations, and are far more likely to get caught up in reactive fire-fighting rather than productively moving forward on what really matters.

Next time your business seems to be losing competitive edge– do something different; slow down and switch gears… Walk slower; Talk slower; Take slower deeper breaths… and notice the return of clarity of thought…

Tragedy of Nice– Nice Dudes Finish Last, Danger of Too Nice In Business: Fine Line Between– Nice, Too Nice, Jerk…

Business is highly-competitive, ruthless, cut-throat, take-no-prisoners… According to Bryant Urstadt; most executives are advised to be warriors and fight battles for their business… and study the winning secrets of Jack Welch… use tactics from ‘Art of War’, ninja techniques in ‘48 Laws of Power’It seem like the word ‘nice’ has disappeared from dictionary of business terms? It’s almost as if ‘nice’ has become synonymous for weak or indecisive.

So what is the value of nice in business? Is there a ‘return on nice’?According to Kim Garst; opinions differ on the value of being nice in business… and although there are many ways to define success, e.g.; revenue, profit, cash flow, performance, quality… there are also subjective measures of success, e.g; employee engagement, customer satisfaction, positive workplace environment…

All of which can lead to benefits, such as; recruiting top talent (people often choose a company because it’s a ‘nice’ place to work), increased productivity (when a worker is placed in a ‘nice’ environment they are much more engaged)… and positive public image (what employees, fans, and followers say about you on the Internet can make or break a business)… Social media bolsters brand value in a big way and it pays to be known as a ‘nice’ company…

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Many people think that being nice in business works… Not necessarily; too often ‘nice’ and competent people get passed up for promotions, instead the plum job goes to the prima donna or the person who plays politics... What nice people may not realize is that they are too nice, and that when things are too nice that can be bad…

According to Russ Edelman; the people in business who suffer from the ‘nice guy/gal syndrome’ are not achieving their true potential– nice people are often perceived as doormats and taken advantage of, they are too concerned about pleasing others, not making waves, they don’t stand up for themselves… the nice guy/gal is forever putting the oxygen mask on someone else before putting it on themselves…

In the article Nice Finish Last at the Office by Eve Tahmincioglu writes: When it comes to being a leader in a highly competitive situation or during tough times, ‘nice’ can be perceived as a sign of weakness, while being selfish and aggressive shows strength… According to Robert Livingston; being selfish makes a person seem more dominant and being dominant makes them seem more attractive as leader, especially when there is competition…

Researchers found that individuals who were selfless, kind– gained prestige, admiration… but, those who exhibited dominant personalities, i.e.; being self-interested, aggressive, manipulative… were viewed as having alpha status; they were ‘top dog’… As humans we are wired to respond to dominance in terms of who we perceive as leadership worthy, and on subconscious level people perceive– niceness as weakness…

Despite this most people seem to want to work with and for people who are nice… But when business becomes challenging, people look for individuals who are perceived to be– no nonsense, action oriented… whereas ‘nice’ individuals are perceived to be not tough enough to get the job done…

In the article Benefits of Being Nice in Business by Darren Dahl writes: It’s easy to think of the workplace as something like a battleground– place where only tough workers survive. But the truth is that no one wants to work in a tough, harsh, hostile work environment…

When people enjoy where they work and feel trusted and appreciated, they become more engaged and productive in their work… That in turn, leads to better results and better interactions with everyone from co-workers to customers… Also it’s easier to recruit great talent while keeping existing stars on board, through lower turnover…

According to Paul Spiegelman; business is about building relationships and treating people with kindness and respect… And the best way to build relationships is to be ‘kind’ and to show interest in, and compassion for the people you work and interact with. Ultimately that’s how you build trust and ‘trust’ is the single most important factor in business…

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In the article Danger of Being Too Nice in Business by Meridith Levinson writes: Being too nice is not just a problem for individuals; it’s also a problem for business… Employees who are too nice cost business time and money… In a survey of 50 CEOs, asked about the impact of ‘being too nice’ in their business; CEOs responded by saying that being too nice cost them eight percent of their gross revenues. In other words, if their company had been more aggressive, CEOs believed they could have earned more money…

Often managers who are too nice are reluctant to make decisions; they fear hurting people’s feelings if they don’t ask for feedback, so they include everyone in decision-making… that wastes time and can lead to missed opportunities… According to Edelman; people need to find a balance between staying true to their ‘nice’ nature, while also being assertive and protecting their interests– they don’t need to be jerks or SOBs to be successful … The challenge, then, for nice people is to redefine what it means to be nice and to understand that being nice does not have to mean being a doormat; you can be nice, assertive… and still manage confrontation, set boundaries…

In the article Do Nice People Succeed In Business? It Depends by David Sloan Wilson writes: The business world is often depicted as a gladiatorial contest where only selfish survive… According to Adam Grant; think of people you work with; some are probably total sweeties, while others are– jerks, SOBs, only out for themselves… And if you think of ‘nice’ and ‘nasty’ as alternative social strategies that compete against each other, it turns out that either one can win depending upon circumstances.

People who employ ‘nasty’ strategies succeed by preying upon people who employ ‘nice’ strategies… People who employ ‘nice’ strategies succeed by banding together to share their beneficence and avoiding people who employ ‘nasty’ strategies. It’s that simple… In scientific literature, ‘niceness’ is called pro-sociality– any attitude, behavior, or social institution oriented toward the welfare of others or society as a whole…

People raised in highly pro-social environments develop multiple assets, thriving as individuals in addition to helping others. People raised in absence of pro-sociality develop multiple deficits, including; antisocial behavior, substance abuse, risky sexual behavior, depression…

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In the article Are Successful People Nice in Business? by Art Markman writes: Being nice in business may have social benefits, but does it pay? Using earnings data, researchers found that men who rank high in ‘agreeableness’ (niceness) make substantially less than men who are ‘less agreeable’ (nastiness)… Conversely women’s earnings were less affected. There was small difference between women high and low in ‘agreeableness’…

So, why do these results differ for men and women? There is a stereotype that when men lead, they make decisions without concern for what people think… whereas, women are more sensitive to people’s thoughts… Hence, the theory is that career advancement requires a willingness to ruffle feathers from time to time. Good leaders need to be able to tell people things they do not want to hear… And putting oneself forward for promotion means putting yourself before others; of course, this is not license to be a jerk at work…

In the article Why Being Nice in Business is a Strength by Kathryn Kerns writes: Many people associate being nice with being weak or accommodating, but niceness is actually a powerful tool for achieving business goals… Most people want to work with nice people… Now more than ever ‘cultural fit’ is key factor in many organizations’ hiring decisions…

Nice workers get along with team members, take the time to mentor junior employees, promote positive attitudes in the workplace… The ability to work well within a team is critical for success in workplace and diversity is highly-valued within the workforce. But to harness the competitive advantage of diverse viewpoints and backgrounds team members must feel comfortable sharing strengths and opinions; and a level of niceness helps the team to function efficiently and accomplish more…

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Nice people genuinely care about others, they listen to their needs and instinctively want to meet those needs, which in turn forms the foundation of trust for successful business relationships… Perhaps you’ve heard the popular saying; people don’t leave companies, people leave their managers… As it turns out, nicer managers have more engaged employees, nice managers care about their team and acknowledge their contributions, nice managers recruit better talent…

Hence, ‘nice’ companies are; more productive, more profitable, higher customer ratings, lower rates of turnover… However, niceness does not need to mean weakness, or incompatible with toughness, or unable to manage difficult boundaries… Nice people can voice opinions, stand up for beliefs and even disagree… but ‘nice’ people do so with kindness, grace, respect…

Encryption– Government Nightmare– Quest for Unrestricted Internet Access: Golden Key, Back Door… It’s Insane, Stupid, Dangerous…

Government unrestricted access to all Internet content, communication through the use of encryption ‘by-passes’ is security nightmare… it allows government (and others, by default) to have complete access to all encrypted data, information… and security experts say; it’s just crazy, nuts, insane…

Strong encryption is cornerstone of the modern information economy’s security… Whether you call them– front door, back door, golden key, what ever… introducing intentional vulnerabilities into secure websites will make them less secure… Without encryption Internet traffic might as well be written on postcards.

According to Declan McCullagh; its government attempt to get encryption ‘master keys’ Internet companies use to shield millions of users’ private content and communications from eavesdropping…

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Visualize a security ‘by-pass’ as a ‘door key’ under the doormat of  a private residence, which a clever thief can easily access– it’s equivalent to making an encrypted systems with deliberate weaknesses, it’s fundamentally in conflict with basic security principles, and just plain stupid…

Encryption has long terrified government… and so-called ‘crypto-wars’ began in 1970s, when government attempted to classify encryption as munition… in the 1990s, government tried to get industry to adopt the ‘Clipper’ chip– an encryption chip for which government had a back door, also government tried to introduce a ‘key escrow’, a policy that all encryption systems should leave a spare key with a ‘trusted’ third party…

All these ‘by-passes’ don’t make any more sense now, than they did in 1990s? Certainly the threat from terrorism is greater now, and few people would argue that if you are in danger and a police officer turns-up at your door– you let them-in. But, the analogy implies that someone has control over who ‘opens the door’ and of course, in software sense that is impossible… Anyone including criminals can discover the ‘by-pass’ and exploit it… The technology industry tends to have a knee-jerk reaction to attempts from government to interfere in its processes, saying; don’t mess in things that you don’t understand…

In the article Time to End ‘Debate’ on Encryption Back Doors by Kevin Bankston writes: Government is concerned the growing adoption of strong encryption technology will frustrate its ability to conduct investigations… it’s what government calls– ‘going dark’ problem… The gist of government position is: They recognize encryption is important for security and privacy, but it’s also in conflict with government ability to investigate and monitor potential criminal activity… hence, it’s government position that a broad public debate, that considers costs and benefits of widespread encryption, is critical to national security…

But many experts in technology say; this is not a new debate… in 1990s and for many of same reasons the idea of encryption ‘back doors’ was rejected; and now the arguments against ‘back doors’ is even stronger… Furthermore even with proliferation of encryption, government has much more access to data, information than ever before, e.g.; access to cell phone location information about where we are and where we’ve been, metadata about who we communicate with and when, and vast databases of emails and pictures, and more in the ‘cloud’… Hence, we have already had this debate and it’s time to move on…

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In the article Encryption, Back Door, Magic Keys, Government Fallacies by crystalattice writes: For those who do not pay attention; certain government agencies are advocating a so-called ‘magic key’ that allows them, when necessary, to ‘by-pass’ encryption and decrypt private data with a special key… Government claims they need this to prevent from ‘going dark’ (i.e., being unable to perform work because they are unable to access sensitive data…). However there is an analogy for those who may be confused as to why encryption ‘back door’ is a bad thing, e.g.; physical door locks use physical keys and just like encryption keys, when you don’t have the correct key then you cannot unlock the door and get access to content…

Also, physical locks have the ability to be keyed with a ‘master key’ and similarly, a ‘magic key’ for encryption has the same function as a master key for a physical lock… Hence, anyone with a magic key can access any encrypted data, content, communications… on a website or digital device whether they are authorized or not… When government has a ‘magic key’, they have the ability to intercept any data or content in a secure website, or transmitted via Internet… and potentially use it for any purpose. This is why it’s so scary…

In the article Rise of New Crypto War by Eric Geller writes: A technological ‘back door’ is a secret portal giving someone access to secure content, communications, e.g.; website, smartphone app, computer program… A pure software backdoor can provide direct access to secure systems, such as; Gmail, Facebook, Tweeter…

A more complex form of ‘back door’ access involves the use of special keys to decipher encrypted data, which is usually gathered through conventional interception… Back doors that rely on encryption keys can either involve a master key for all data flowing across a particular site, or keys for individual users that can be plugged into a system for wire-taping…

When a company sets up its system to generate keys for government it holds onto those keys until it’s compelled to produce them; this is a ‘key escrow’… In this configuration, there is no portal for direct access, instead– software code is written to create encryption designed to produce keys for government, or other entities…

Creating encryption keys is a normal part of designing a system with encryption. Users exchange those keys, many times without realizing it, anytime they communicate on a secure platform. But sending keys to ‘trusted stores’ where they remain ready for government use introduces a whole new set of problems…

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In the article Government Grapples Clash Between Privacy, Security by Ellen Nakashima, Barton Gellman write: Government is warning that the growing use of encryption could seriously hinder criminal and national security investigations, and are pushing for more use of encryption ‘by-passes’… Whereas many technology companies are pushing back saying there are limits with use of ‘by-passes’ beyond which security becomes seriously compromised.

The debate is highly polarized; with commercial encryption firms and government finding little common ground… and with government  seeing increasing peril as encryption technology is becoming more widespread… and academic and industry experts saying government is asking for the impossible…

It’s common knowledge that any means of encryption ‘by-pass’ is by definition weakness, such that; hackers, criminals, foreign spies… can easily exploit secure websites. According to Lance J. Hoffmann; a central issue in the policy debate is trust… it’s who do you trust with your data… Do you want to default to government? To company? Or, to individual? If you make hybrid, what is the trade-off? According to Donna Dodson;  it’s not possible to design a fully secure system that holds a master key for government but not adversaries without unintentional vulnerabilities…

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While government reasoning for creating a back door is sound, opening a door means that the same door is potentially open for others… According to Tina Stewart; far more users are being impacted by business not encrypting data, than they are by the government not having access to encrypted data. While a back door might help identify the run-of-the-mill perpetrator, it’s not going to stop truly dangerous people… In this incredibly risky cyber-security environment usage of encryption is one of smartest moves companies can make…

According to article by Washington Post editorial board; all freedoms come with limits and it seems only proper that the vast freedoms of the Internet should be subject to the same rule of government that we accept for the rest of society… According to Sarah Jeong; the problem noted by many experts is that a ‘by-pass’ to encryption, even if branded ‘back door’ or ‘golden key’ is by definition a vulnerability…

Building in ‘back doors’ threatens the integrity of consumer content and communications, and makes them vulnerable to criminals and hostile foreign governments alike… According to Bill Budington, Andrew Crocker; some suggest that there must be ‘balance’ between user security and public safety; but the basic principles of what makes encryption secure suggests that the only ‘balance’ that can satisfy government goals is ‘no balance’ at all…

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The proponents of ‘balanced’ solution to so-called government ‘going dark problem’ suggest that the geniuses in Silicon Valley should ‘figure out’ the balance… However, the problem is the proponents don’t listen to so-called geniuses… In fact, pushing back on other side of this debate is a unified coalition of technologists, mega technology firms, privacy advocates, Silicon Valley geniuses… with a remarkably consistent message; weakening encryption is a terrible idea…

According to Information Technology Industry Council, a tech trade association of the 62 largest global technology firms; encryption is a security tool, which is relied on everyday to preserve security, safety; the notion of weakening security with the aim of advancing security simply does not make sense…

Creating Strategy Without a Strategy– It’s Business Without a Plan: Choosing ‘Right’ Strategy is Biggest Challenge…

Business strategy is all about decision-making… If there are no decisions, there is no strategy; if there’s no strategic decision-making, there is no success. According to Roger Martin; business won’t survive without a strategy…

When a strategy succeeds, it seems a little like magic; unknowable, unexplainable… then it becomes obvious in retrospect… But actually, it’s not really– strategy is about making choices to win in the marketplace…

According to Tara Gentile; creating a business strategy that breaks through the noise is about declaring ‘yes’ to some things and ‘no’ to others. And as you might guess; ‘yes’ and ‘no’ are not about right and wrong…

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Making a decision to drive the business in a different direction is to make a choice, and the more intentional you are with decisions, the stronger the strategy… However not every strategy works, but to even have chance at success it must be based on– focus and intentional decision-making… Every intentional decision provides an opportunity to put the business in the best possible position for success…

When thinking about a strategy, most businesses tend to follow classical rules, e.g.; study the market and competitive situation, define goals and draw-up step-by-step tactics to get there… typically strategies sort into five categories– Be Big, Be Fast, Be First, Be Orchestrator, Be Viable… But in today’s business environment, which is characterized by; fast change and uncertainty… ‘one size’ does not fit all…

Getting a strategy ‘right’ depends on the critical components of a business environment, which includes;  predictability, malleability, harshness… A classical approach assumes that an industry environment is relatively; ‘predictable’, e.g.; the Oil Industry holds few surprises for strategists; its relatively predictable and changes very little, over time… whereas, the Internet Software Industry is highly volatile and very susceptible to disruptive change, over time…

Clearly, strategies that work in the Oil Industry are highly unlikely to work in a far less predictable and highly disruptive tendencies of the Internet Software Industry… Hence companies in dissimilar competitive environments must– plan, develop, deploy… strategies in very different ways… but, research shows that all too often, they do not…

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In the article Which Strategy When? by Christopher B. Bingham, Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, Nathan R. Furr write: Just when a business thinks it has settled on the right strategy… then markets change, competition shifts… and business is forced to rethink its strategy… By understanding the forces shaping a company’s competitiveness, business must choose the most appropriate strategic framework…

Hence, whatever business circumstances, managers must forever ask the same questions: Where do we go from here, and which strategy will get us there? Do we fortify our strategic position, or move into nearby markets, or branch out into radically new territory? To help guide through these decisions; business must– know, understand, explore… the smorgasbord of strategic frameworks and decide which one is the ‘right’ one, and when…

It’s a continual process, including; jumble of strategic ideas, market analyses and hefty binders of information and data of; 5-forces analysis, 3-Cs analysis, review of core competencies, examination of profit and loss, competitive landscape, and so on… But inevitably the question is– Which strategy is most effective for business right now? Most managers recognize that not all strategies work equally well in every setting, but how do you choose the right one, at the right time…

An analysis can provide some insight: First, different strategic frameworks break into three models; strategies of position, strategies of leverage, strategies of opportunity… And the right strategy for a company depends on its– circumstances, available resources, and management ability to combine resources effectively… Second, many assumptions about competitive advantage simply don’t hold, e.g.; although some strategy gurus talk about strategically valuable resources, sometimes ordinary resources when assembled well can provide the required competitive advantage…

Or, sometimes it makes good sense to bypass the largest markets and focus instead on markets where resources fit best… Or, in other circumstances, it may be preferable to ignore existing resources and attack an emergent market… Or, in some situations basic rules of thumb work better than detailed plans Surprisingly often simple strategies can be more effective than complex ones…

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In the Your Strategy Needs a Strategy by Martin Reeves, Knut Haanaes, Janmejaya Sinha write: Most businesses lack a systematic way to match their strategy-making style to the particular circumstances of their– industry, markets, core competencies… According to BCG survey of 120 companies around the world in 10 major industry sectors; executives are well aware of the need to match the strategic processes to the specific demands of the competitive environments… However many executives still rely on a classical approach,  which assumes the business environment is– predictable, stable… even though their own environment is known to be highly volatile or mutable…

Fully three out of four executives understood that they need to employ different strategic styles in different circumstances. Yet judging by the practices that they actually adopted, the estimate was that the same percentage are using only two strategic styles and they were the Classic and Visionary– which are best suited for predictable environments… And that means only one in four are prepared, in practice, to adapt to– unforeseeable events, or to seize opportunity that could shape an industry to their company advantage…

Understanding how different the various approaches are and in which environment each best applies can go a long way toward correcting mismatches between strategic style and business environment…

Setting strategy is an art, and perhaps you could use a palette, i.e., a ‘strategic palette’ acting as a unifying framework of choice for strategic formulation, and it could provide various ways to approach strategy in this complicated, turbulent world… According to Martin Reeves; it’s not that we lack powerful ways to approach strategy; it’s that we lack a robust way to select the right one for the right circumstances… The ‘strategic palette’ can be applied to different parts of a business, it includes:

ClassicalI can predict it, but I can’t change it…

AdaptiveI can’t predict it, and I can’t change it…

VisionaryI can predict it, and I can change it…

ShapingI can’t predict it, but I can change it…

RenewalResources are severely constrained…

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In the article Have You Tested Your Strategy Lately? by Chris Bradley, Martin Hirt, Sven Smit writes: What’s the next new thing in strategy? According to Phil Rosenzweig; that’s the wrong question: Rather than looking for the next musing, it’s probably better to full understand what you already know is true, and make sure you do that well… Let’s face it: the basic principles that make for good strategy often get obscured… Sometimes the culprit is torrents of data, reams of analysis, piles of documents that can be more distracting than enlightening… but ultimately strategy is a way of thinking…

To stimulate that thinking and the dialogue that goes along with it, there should be a set of tests aimed at helping executives assess the strength of their strategies– testing the strategy itself (i.e., outcome of the strategic process), rather than just frameworks, tools, approaches that generate strategies… There are two issues; first, companies develop strategy in many different ways, often idiosyncratic to their organizations, people, markets… Second, many strategies emerge over time rather than from a process of deliberate formulation…

This may sound more complicated than validation using, e.g.; the 3-Cs (competitors, customers, company), or the 5-forces (barriers to entry, buyer power, supplier power, threat of substitutes, degree of rivalry)… But pressure-testing can help pinpoint more precisely where a strategy needs work, while generating a deeper, more fruitful strategic dialogue… The ability to pressure-test is especially timely in this highly competitive environment, where business only get one chance in the marketplace– testing can help expose– obsolesces, or reveal weaknesses, or force companies to confront choices and trade-offs that are delayed…

But than: What is the biggest mistake companies make with strategy? According to Henry Mintzberg; there is a very human bias towards perceiving business environments as more predictable and more controllable than they actually are… It’s very comforting to believe that one can control and predict the surroundings… Also, a big trap is to be stuck in one way of doing strategy; most often business implement the Classical approach, i.e., analyze, plan, execute… and it may very well be best the approach under ‘right’ circumstances, but it can also be the ‘wrong’ approach…

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In highly volatile markets, there are a couple of capabilities that companies need to have to succeed:

First, adaptive capability— ability to undertake disciplined experimentation…

Second, shaping capability— ability not just to participate in their environments– but actually to shape them to their advantage…

Third, capability of ambidexterity— ability to run different approaches to strategy in different parts of the organization…

Hence, it’s time to ‘kick the tires’ and possibly rethink your business strategy…

The Inevitable ‘Fork In The Road’ Decisions, Moment Of Truth: You Can’t Ride Two Horses, You Must Choose…

Every year a typical business faces over 10,000 ‘forks in the road’. Whether through conscious choice or automatic conditioning, each of those choices shapes the future. And each of those choices is a story waiting to be told… The ‘fork in the road’ metaphor represents the concept of a dilemma for choosing the right direction to go when facing two equal or similar options… it’s moment in business when choice of options is required.  

A quote from Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’: One day Alice came to a ‘fork in the road’ and saw a Cheshire Cat in a tree and Alice proceeded to asked the Cat: Would you tell me which way I ought to go from here? That depends a good deal on where you want to get, said the Cat. I really don’t care where, replied Alice. Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go, said the Cat…

According to Blair Kirchner; every business faces the proverbial ‘fork in the road’… it’s what they decide at these critical moments that determines if the business will achieve its vision, or not…

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Hence it’s very important, when you reach these forks that you step back and objectively evaluate all the options… and make the best decision using all the available information at that time… As Robert Frost wrote; when you come to a ‘fork in the road’; do you take the easy path that addresses only today’s supposed crisis, which can harm innovation in the long run? Or, do you take the harder path (fork) that strengthen– innovation, economic growth…

As Yogi Berra once said; when you come to a fork in the road, take it! Although this Yogi’s saying may sound odd, it makes more sense than you might realize. Many businesses come to forks in the road and they do nothing– hence, the business becomes stagnant, it does not grow, it does not shrink, it just sits there… Most of the times you need to do something– you must choose!

In the article When You Don’t Know Where You Are– You Can’t Get To Where You Want to Go by Jamie Sussel Turner writes: Have you ever attended a fancy dinner and faced many ‘forks’ at your place setting, wondering which was the proper fork for the salad? Life and business choices can feel a lot like that. So how do you choose the right fork? You might try by asking; What’s most important here? The answer to this question might weed out the ‘forks’ that go in the wrong direction…

Every fork in the road is either; opportunity, adversity, status quoThe scary part is often you just don’t know, which one is which. However, by having clear vision about what you want, who you want to be, direction that you want to take, then fork-in-the-road decisions  become easier to make, and inevitable bumps in the road become less stressful…

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In the article Fork in the Road Business Questions by Daniel Newman writes: There’s an age-old saying in business: What got you ‘here’, won’t get you ‘there’… It relates to the continued search for how to take your business, yourself and your ideas to the next level…When running a business it’s normal to find yourself continuously inundated with the daily grind… However if you do want to end up ‘there’… it’s important that you not only do the right things day in and day out, but that you also ask the right questions; of yourself, your customers, employees, everyone else in the value chain… Begin by asking questions, such as:

  • What are you best at? It’s surprising how many companies don’t truly know their core competency, or haven’t reflected on how it has changed over the past several years. This is critical to your business model and success…
  • Who is the competition? Beyond just the obvious, are you aware of who competitors are?
  • How is the competitive landscape changing? Are the competitors only those from your industry? What has changed your competitive position in the market?
  • What truly makes your organization different? ‘Equal’ doesn’t cut it anymore. What is your differentiator?
  • What change is shifting your industry? What changes will have biggest impact on the organization?
  • What happens next? What are the forks in the road? Where do you go from here?

In the article Which Fork to Take? by Dylan Madden writes: There are times in business when you reach a point where you have to decide which fork (path) to take… But often you are unsure which is the right path, e.g.; consider the dilemma of a ‘deer’; what options does a deer have in head-light? 1.) It can decide to stay where it is, which only pro-longs its journey across the road… 2.) It can run to center of the road with doubt on what to do next, procrastinating in making a decision… 3.) It can carefully run across the road and reach its destination…

Every business has the same options: 1.) stay where you are… 2.) doubt yourselves and do nothing, which leads to destruction… 3.) make the decisions and ‘move’ forward… Which do you choose? The short answer is that you ‘must’ make a decision and choose a direction… But first, you must have a clear purpose and goal in mind… second, you must fully understand the options and consequences… third, you must understand the probable outcome and collateral impact of your decision… Most important– you must make a decision and don’t prolong the journey…

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In the article Reaching a Fork in the Road by Gary and Joy Lundberg write: One of the often quoted sayings by Yogi Berra, famed baseball player and manager; When you get to the fork in the road, take it… This quote brings much laughter because most people think of the normal outcome, which is each fork leads in to different direction.

However when you know the origin of the quote, you understand it in a different light: Yogi was giving directions to a friend’s house, which is accessible from both roads at ‘fork in the road’ since they eventually merge to the same location… Yogi’s message is simple and clear; when at a fork you must make a firm decision… More important– make sure it feels right, learn from the decisions, don’t second-guess yourself … Things to consider when making a decision at the ‘fork in the road’:

  • Evaluate the options and know how they affect your principles and values… If one option compromises your values, no matter how lucrative it may be, it’s not worth the risk…
  • Does the decision feel right deep inside? There are a number of people who have reflected after picking a fork in their road, saying; it just did not feel right, but I did it anyway… when a decision does not feel right, you cannot force it to be right…
  • Get input from others who have traveled a similar road. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, learn from others so you can make better and wise decisions…
  • Make a firm decision and go forward; Focus decisions on building success but also understand that business is ever-changing and full of forks in the road…

In the article Which Road Should I Take by self-development writes: My brother called me the one day and asked me for advice?  He was trying to decide between two job offers: Job-1 and Job-2… and he asked me which job should he take… I told him, it depends… just like the fairy tale, the ‘Cat’ was telling ‘Alice‘ that the road you take depends on where you want to end-up...

So I advised my brother to begin with the end in mind, i.e.; what is your life’s purpose? He said his purpose in life was to ‘teach’ but he wants to make a lot of money, first… I told him to forget about the money and advised him to focus on his ‘purpose’… I then asked him which job best supports his end goal of ‘teaching’.

He said ‘Job-1’ and quickly added that ‘Job-2’ pays more money; his thinking was first to make lots of money and then go into teaching which is a very rational approach to the dilemma. But I again advised him to ‘focus on purpose’, not money... I cautioned him to think through his decision carefully because things– don’t end wrong they begin wrong!

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Business is all about ‘forks in the road’– making decisions… At every fork in the road, you make a decision and those decisions shape the business… Hence, whenever you are at a ‘fork in the road’ make a decision that best supports the overall– purpose, mission, goal… of the business… and if possible; ‘take the road less traveled’, or ‘do things a different way from the way they are usually done’, because that makes the difference in the journey… these phrases are from the poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ by Robert Frost...

However, despite the obvious advantages of taking the ‘road less traveled’, there are certain times when taking this path is not always the best choice, and it might be better just to stick with the ‘road more often traveled’… Making the decision on which road to take can be very difficult, but managing a business is all about choices…

According to Bobby Albert; it’s important for leaders to– pause, reflect, plan… so that when they are at a ‘fork in the road’ they know which fork (path) will get them to their destination…

Obsession with the Next Big Thing, Game Changer, New Wave Value… How Business Leaps Beyond Ordinary to Xtraordinary

Next Big Thing — it’s the new rage, latest fad, exciting trend, serious disruption… that changes everything… According to Tom McClintock; as great as it may sound– finding the Next Big Thing is a challenging effort and the obsession to create it usually ends in failure… hence whole process is counter productive, waste of time, and many creativity resources are stifled with no tangible outcome…

According to Dr. Carl Ledbetter; venture capital firms and other investors, receive proposals daily from entrepreneurs, business claiming to have the Next Big Thing… and most get it wrong… so, as soon as the would be innovators say; they are next Microsoft, or next Google, or next Facebook… the meeting is over: There is nothing more to discuss– there is never a ‘copy-cat’ success: The Next Big Thing is never like the Old Big Thing…

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Thinking about the Next Big Thing is very tempting; it’s an unbeatable addiction to imagine a magic pill or silver bullet– everyone loves big ideas; they are flashy and they grab attention… According to Laya Maheshwari; creators of Next Big Things become celebrities and they gets– headlines, funding grants, TEDTalks, much more… maybe even a Nobel Prize. The task of changing the world, i.e.; creating the Next Big Thing is one of high stakes, requiring massive ambition, but it also offers large rewards. Hence, many companies actively encourage workers to dream big and look for the Next Big Thing…

However consider a different scenario, which operates on the premise that if a ‘big idea’ or ‘big thing’ sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. The odd thing about the Next Big Thing is that the media are dedicated to the assumption that most people are dying to find out about the Next Big Thing… After all most people like ‘things’ and especially ‘big things’… But why? In this age of too little time and too many distractions, it seems odd that so many  people care so much about the Next Big Thing…

In the article Best Way to Look for Next Big Thing by Jeff DeGraff Ph.D. writes: The opportunity to innovate the Next Big Thing may be right in front of your eyes… but if you don’t turn around, or if you blink then you miss it… Seizing on a moment of opportunity is about having the right field of vision… Which means you must pay attention; look up, look down, look all around… Look for the things that other people don’t see. Chances are if you see an obvious opportunity to innovate other people see it too. So look for subtle patterns, small holes, tiny inconsistencies, minor inefficiencies… The opportunity to innovate may be something you see every day, but you will never see it if you don’t look close enough…

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That’s why it’s better to think smaller and look at what is already there. An innovation does not have to be ‘radical’ in order to be meaningful  and worthwhile… Instead of trying to find something no one has ever seen before, create extensions of current solutions. Take something that already exists and make it different with better value… Apply more an effective uses of– low-cost, high value… to transform old thing into a more efficient new thing… The key is not necessarily newer but– different, cheaper, faster… Here are three places to look for a better line of sight:

  • Find unmet needs and fill them: Examine key interactions between business and consumers and see where there are critical desires unfulfilled. Consider for example, the ways insurance companies have improved their old services by going directly to customers and determining what wasn’t getting done. When they discovered that homeowners insurance didn’t include earthquakes or that small business insurance plans didn’t include data breaches, they came up with new services accordingly… The key insight was to uncover a shortcoming or void and fill it…
  • Find inefficiencies and fix them: Observing when and where services are untimely is a great way to locate high-potential innovation initiatives. The relevant example is the recent series of simple but game-changing improvements made to travel… Now, there are tons of low-cost apps that track your flights and gates and allow you to reschedule on other airlines and manage those travel crises. At a more local level, apps for immediate car and parking services and hotel and restaurant reservations have shortened– in some cases, even totally wiped out– wait times for services you use on a daily basis… These innovations didn’t require a massive amount of capital– they were just opportunities to apply low-level technologies to existing inefficiency…
  • Find complexity and eliminate it: Identify process that is unnecessarily complicated or that rely too heavily on bureaucratic procedures and make it simpler. Getting rid of needless complexity is exactly the motivation behind innovations, e.g.; in college admissions, registration: A decade ago, getting in college was a deeply convoluted, ambiguous and stressful process. Now there are college selection ‘wizards’, where you can put in your information and receive back a list of the institutions that best match a person’s profile. Thanks to these type services, a person can submit one application for many schools… What is significant about these seemingly minor developments is their power to make a once-tortuous procedure turnkey…

In the article Next Big Things by Nina Cresswell writes: Imagine a world without Internet: Tricky, isn’t it? Then take away the mobile phone and all the handy gadgets that you use through the day… clearly you would be absolutely baffled… It’s would be terribly difficult to imagine a gadget-less universe… Hence there is an ever-increasing quest for the Next Big Thing– gadgets from sci-fi and fantasy are no longer just fiction… Also, science is forever changing the future of health care… media is widely accessible… and the world is delving deeper into full Internetification… Here are few brain-popping future prospects that are sure to become the Next Big Things:

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The ‘Internet Of Things’ is a concept which describes a kind of technological nervous system linking every human, animal, object in the world… Also, say hello to the miracle material; ‘Graphene’ and it’s going to change the future– it’s 200 times stronger than steel, more conductive than copper and 100 times more efficient than solar power. That combination of qualities alone paves the way for endless possibilities, e.g.; 70% lighter aircrafts, faster internet, longer-lasting batteries… and ability to physical bend the smartphones into a neat package…

Then there is the ‘driverless car’, which is sure to be life-changing; it’s similar to airplane on autopilot– these cars take full control– steering, accelarating, braking… all on its own…

In addition, imagine a world without wires– a ‘wireless world’… This would mean the smartphone can charge sitting in your pocket as you wander around… and no tangle of wires messing up your room… and electric cars would recharge without the use of heavy cables: Pretty nifty…Then there is the ultimate holiday bragging rights– ‘space flight’… spend a week floating weightlessly in low Earth orbit… A flight in low Earth orbit will cost about $100,000… but as technology advances prices will decrease… These are just a few of the many Next Big Things that will emerge in your lifetime…

In the article Management: Next ‘Next Big Thing by Stefan Stern writes:  Management is both science and art, and the trick of it lies in separating the good ideas from the bad, and knowing when to be scientific and when to be artful. At a time of rapid change in a highly competitive business environment, management must embrace the concept of the big idea or better yet the Next Big Thing… to think about. However, organization often think of big idea or the Next Big Thing as just ‘things’… whereas, innovation can also be relevant to people issues and human factors… Hence, increasingly many organizations are shifting priorities from a search for ‘things’ to the search for ‘human factors’…  

Suddenly it’s acceptable to embrace the importance of the human factor in business, and ‘niceness’ is back in vogue… at least for some of the time. People are talking about strategy not just in visionary terms but also in emotional ones. In era of globalization, ‘corporate social responsibility’ is maturing and growing into something more serious and substantial… Behind all this is the big ‘green’ question of sustainability that looms large… and makes the ‘human factor’ as the potential Next Big Thing…

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According to Tom Peters; good management is little more than series of closely observed Hawthorne Effects (i.e., by showing a genuine interest in workers you let them know that they real matter)… when workers know and understand that they matter they become the initiators and innovators of the Next Big Thing…

According to John Garnett; when you care about what workers care about, then workers care about what you care about… In that sense workplace conditions matter, e.g.; chairs, workspaces, lighting, break-out areas, refreshments, the way people are spoken to and involved…

These are not merely ‘hygiene factors’ (in words of the psychologist Frederick Herzberg), they are the keys to workers productivity… and commitment to success of the organization. Hence workers are more alert to the potential business opportunities and they become the ‘true creators’ of the Next Big Thing…