Tag Archives: innovation

Crazy Business Ideas– Great Innovations Live On The Edge of Ridiculousness: To Win Big– It Helps To Be a Little Nutty…

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Crazy Business Ideas– Stumped for ideas for your ‘make-it-big’ business? Think Crazy… Crazy ideas in business can be a game plan for game changers… We are living through the age of disruption. You can’t do big things if you’re content with doing things a little better than everyone else, or a little different from how you did them before. In an era of hyper-competition and non-stop dislocation, the only way to stand out from the crowd is to stand for something ‘special’. Today, the most successful organizations don’t just out-compete their rivals– they redefine the terms of competition by embracing one-of-a-kind ideas in a world filled with me-too thinking… According to unknown Texas genius; he put it simply: if all you ever do is all you’ve ever done, then all you’ll ever get is all you ever got…

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Don’t use the long shadow of economic crisis and slow recovery as an excuse to downsize your dreams or stop taking chances. The challenge for leaders in every field is to emerge from turbulent times with closer connections to their customers, with more energy and creativity from their people, and with greater distance between them and their rivals… According to Bill Tayor; not every growth company is based in Silicon Valley or some other Internet hotspot. But the real lesson is more universal than that. The real story reminds all of us of the power of making big bets and staking out an ‘extreme’ position in the market… Company’s thrive because they carve out a truly one-of-a-kind presence in the market…

Have you ever thought about an idea for the business, but sidelined it because it sounded crazy? Maybe you should reconsider… According to Sidharth Thakur; walking the proven path by following conventional ideas and systematic procedures aren’t the only ways to build a successful business. The business world is full of examples where businesses have made it big by deviating from the usual and thinking afresh. There are many people who have come up with crazy business ideas and turned them into very successful business ventures: Who could have thought that a mere search engine (i.e., Google) would rule the world as advertising giant? Or, who would have thought of overnight shipping becoming a multi-million business for FedEx? There are thousands of businesses today that started off with some weird idea… According to Albert Einstein; problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them…

The lesson is simple– it’s not good enough anymore to be ‘pretty good’ at everything… The most successful companies know how to become ‘the most’ in their field– most elegant, most simple, most exclusive, most affordable, most seamless global, most intensely local… For decades, many organizations and their leaders were comfortable with strategies and practices that kept them in the ‘middle of the road’ and that’s what felt– safe, secure… But today, with much change, much pressure, and many new ways to do just about everything, the ‘middle of the road’ is the road to nowhere… If you want to win big, you must stand for something ‘special’ — whether that’s– the widest selection, or most comprehensive reach, or most focused offerings, or most memorable services… All it requires is commitment to originality, and a willingness to challenge convention, and break from standard operating procedures; unfortunately that remains all-too-rare in business today, precisely because it can look a little ‘nutty’…

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In the article Crazy But True: Simple Ideas Turned Into Big Business by Staff PM writes: Many people patronize– Apple and Samsung– the high-profile, world-famous electronics business companies, but few people are aware that behind these skyrocketing, very highly innovative companies there lies– truly crazy ideas… Although there’s no clear connection between these companies, one thing is common and that’s purely a business sense: They both transformed themselves from simple beginnings and desperate earning ideas to major international companies… Their crazy and yet witty ideas have left trademarks in history. Think about it:

  • Apple’s first product was an illegal phone box: Steve Jobs with Steve Wozniak started Apple Company in a sort-of illegal tone… According to Markus Ehrenfried, in the history of Apple says: In 1971 Steve ‘Woz’ Wozniak designed a device called the ‘Blue Box’. It allowed– of course illegal– phone calls free of charge by faking the signals used by the phone companies. His friend Steve Jobs instantly realized that there must be a huge market for something that useful. Woz built the boxes and Jobs sold them to his fellow students at the University of California, Berkeley… It’s crazy– a transformation from a phone box, Mac Computers to iPhone, iPad
  • Samsung’s first products were fish, fruits, and vegetables: According to Caroline Telford; Samsung started on March 1, 1938 when Byung-Chull Lee, the founding chairman of Samsung initiated a business in Korea with a capital of only 30,000 won. The primary products of what was then Samsung were– dried fish, fruits, vegetables… traded from Beijing, Manchuria… It’s crazy– a transformation from perishable goods to electronic products…

In the article Strange But Successful Business Ideas by Sidharth Thakur writes: You don’t need big money to build a big business! Instead, what you need is a big idea. And the more strange or creative the idea, the more earning potential it seems to have… For example; think of something as weird as ‘microwavable pillows’ or ‘poop-scooping'; can these be viable business options? Call them crazy, unusual, strange, use whatever adjective pleases you, but the fact remains that these and many other off-the-wall ideas have made some people very rich; just take a look at this short list of some strange business ideas that really took off… (Note: All of these achievers are just average people and most don’t have any business management qualifications… But who cares about– education or qualifications– they are successful businesses anyway)… So here, just to name a few of the weird and yet successful products: Doggles–Eyewear for Dogs: Dating Website for the Married: Dog Poop-Scooping: Sending Nagging Mails: Selling Antenna Balls: Pet Rocks… Being crazy or acting strange can actually mean a lot of money. The next time some weird business idea crosses your mind, don’t shake it away– just think it over as it may be your jackpot…

In the article Is Your Crazy Business Idea Home Run or Dud? by Jason writes: Needless to say, I come up with a lot of crazy ideas in some strange places: In the car, in the shower, heck, even in my sleep. All of them get written down somewhere and I revisit them at a later date when I’m not mobile, wet, unconscious… After taking a second glance at my list of ideas, about 95% of them are complete and total garbage. The other 5% have small shot at becoming something worth acting on… How do I know which is the ‘home run’ or ‘dud’? Ask yourself these five questions, and if the answer is yes to all five, well then, roll-up your  sleeves and make it happen!

  • Does the idea solve a problem, satisfy a desire? Necessity is the mother of invention. Ideas that are born out of need come complete with a built-in demand. It’s harder to sell someone, something they don’t need, desire…
  • Is the idea executable? Think through how this idea is going to work. Do you have the resources? Do you have the time, investment… to make it successful? Challenge yourself to ask the hard questions, get specific…
  • Is the idea marketable?  Best ideas are ones that market themselves. They either have the ‘wow’ factor or ‘why didn’t I think that’ or something that’s going to ‘turn heads’… If the idea has that surprising element or share factor built-in, it is much more likely to be successful…
  • Does the idea have a shelf life? Maybe it seems like a good idea today, but is it something that will be a good idea in six months or five years? Think hard about where the market is now and where you think it’s headed. Does the idea still solve a problem down the road or will it still be shareable?
  • Is the value of the idea worth the investment? Crazy ideas can be crazy smart– or a crazy waste of everyone’s time… Ask yourself if the outcome is going to be worth the input? Will the idea bring enough value to the customer, and can I make money?

A little madness can be the best business weapon– launching a new business, creating the improbable, making something out of nothing… these are leaps into unknown… According to Barry J. Moltz; if a person was perfectly sane and followed all the ‘safe’ rules, they probably won’t take such a leap... According to Valerie Young; next time you get a crazy business idea do two things: One, get a notebook and label it ‘crazy business ideas’… In one section, collect examples of crazy idea that have worked. In another, keep a running list of your own crazy money-making ideas… Next, seek out people who will support the idea… As the great actor Katherine Hepburn once said; life is to be lived, and if you have to support yourself, you bloody well better find some way that’s going to be interesting… Dumb ideas make money, so who knows; what is ridiculous to one person may actually fly with others… But, remember that not all such ideas ‘stick’, since more offbeat something is, less likely you may find a market for it– so some ideas take off, some flounder, some just crash…

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The point is: There is nothing wrong with a few crazy business ideas… According to Joe Wilcox: it’s not about goals, it’s about pushing the boundaries, discovering something… According to Brendan Boyle; big innovation is right on the edge of ridiculous ideas. You need an environment that isn’t quite so judgmental about a ridiculous idea. Sometimes those are the ones that are so close to being the brilliant ones… According to Nathaniel Nead; keep it real– crazy business ideas are crazy… there are limitless numbers of crazy business ideas, everywhere… but remember these words– ‘don’t go chasing waterfalls, just stick to the rivers and the lakes that you know’… According to Tom Kelley; don’t just tell people about the idea, show them that it’s possible… It’s always been the seemingly improbable, boundary-pushing ideas that have created the world around us– and none of that would have been possible if they listened to all the people who said– it will never work… we’d still be living in caves, if we relied on skeptics… According to David Worrell; crazy ideas move us in the direction of unique solutions… If the problem you’ve identify is real and resonates with the customer, watch out!  That’s a recipe for a very successful new business. So dig up all those crazy business ideas and imagine what you could do… Maybe they aren’t so crazy after all!

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Better Mousetrap–Myopia; Build It, They Will Come… Baloney! Business Reality– Better, Is Not Good Enough Anymore…

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A wise man once wrote: If a business builds a better mousetrap, the world will make a beaten path to their door… Well, that’s not exactly what Ralph Waldo Emerson said, but it’s close enough… ah, build a better mouse trap, yes; it’s a business goal to build a better mouse trap– and not just different mouse trap but a ‘better’ mouse trap… but, ‘better’ is relative: Better for whom? Better for what? Why should consumers care? According to Steve Denning; once upon a time, business could succeed by building a better mousetrap, but the world has changed– Building a better mousetrap is not good enough anymore and businesses that don’t recognize it will not survive– now, business success requires a synthesis between understanding markets, new technology, design, simplicity… Now, it’s the principles of ‘radical change’ management that matters– it’s different way of thinking, speaking, acting, interacting with the world… it’s a very different ballgame from the old-school of build a ‘better mousetrap’ management…

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According to Bob Ford; better mousetraps are built every day, but waiting for the world to line up at the door is just wishful thinking… Introducing step-change innovation is much more than just technology itself; it involves establishing a compelling vision that encourages people to get on board… and for many businesses the status quo prevails and innovation never gets a chance… The mousetrap way of thinking has at least two severely limiting assumptions: First, it assumes that the answer can only be found within just the technology… Second, it defines goals in terms of the solution (‘how’) rather than in terms of the consumer needs (‘what’).  This way of thinking is an obstacle to the development of newer, better, more effective… ways to meet consumers’ needs. In fact, it often doesn’t meet the consumer’s needs at all… innovation that starts with analysis of the consumer’s real-life needs (‘what’) can often allow innovators to devise more successful solutions than innovation that starts by assuming a better version of an existing technology (‘how’)…

In the article Myth: Just Build a Better Mousetrap by Steve Denning writes: This isn’t a new style of management– ‘build a better mousetrap’ is indeed old-school. It’s quite different from the ‘radical change management’ being practiced now by truly innovative businesses, for example:

  • First: Building a better mousetrap embodies an inside-out mindset; it means thinking about producing a product from within the firm, rather than thinking outside-in, which is thinking about the people who are going to use the product and what would delight them. The inside-out perspective characterizes the 20th Century thinking, whereas the outside-in represents the shift in power from buyer to seller, which characterizes the new business reality… According to Professor Ranjay Gulati; firms with an inside-out mindset are much less resilient than those that adopted an outside-in mindset, basing everything on understanding customers’ problems, wants, needs…
  • Second: When the goal is producing a product, the management approach tends to be old-school– top-down control management. A product is an output, i.e. a thing. You can set up reliable systems to produce outputs… By contrast, ‘delighting the customer’ is an outcome, not an output… It’s not something that top-down control management is capable of accomplishing. Top-down control management was designed to deliver products efficiently. To generate the outcome of ‘delighted customers’, you need self-organizing teams focused on the customer’s experience…
  • Third: Delighting customers can only be approached by trial and error– work has to be organized in short cycles through dynamic functional linking, rather than through traditional hierarchical bureaucracy, which is used to produce the ‘better mousetrap’, utilizing efficiencies of scale…
  • Fourth: Organizational values have to change. If the goal is simply to build a better mousetrap, the task of management becomes simply that of building it as efficiently as possible… It’s a focus on continuous improvement– In effect, the mousetrap must keep getting better for customers to be delighted… By contrast, ‘delighting’ by focusing on the customer’s needs, experience…
  • Fifth: Communications must change. You can’t delight customers by communicating in top-down commands, which is also dispiriting for employees… You need horizontal adult-to-adult communications.
  • Sixth: Businesses need to be systematically measuring whether customers are, or are not, being delighted and adjusting their actions accordingly.

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In the article If You Build It, Will They Come? by David Power writes: Many growth companies make the mistake of launching new offers before they understand the market… They believe the value of their new offer will be so obvious to customers that all they need is a great engineering team and a predatory sales force and they can race their idea to market. This build it and they will come approach to product development is also known as technology in search of a market. It’s the business equivalent of oil well wildcatting — the high stakes search for oil in unchartered territory. As a business model, it’s terribly capital inefficient… Businesses often confuse new technologies with new markets… The notion of technology in search of a market is an expensive risk that businesses can avoid by answering two simple but enlightening questions: 1) Who is the customer? 2) What business problem do we solve? If a company cannot answer these questions, it may have a technology but not a market. There are two arguments for building a product before validating a market…

  • First-mover advantage: If we don’t launch it now, someone else will emerge as the category leader… This worked for Facebook but not for ESPN’s Mobile Phone, HP ‘s tablet computer, Solyndra’s solar panels, and countless other half-baked new offers… Furthermore, being the first mover guarantee– does not guarantee success…
  • Customers don’t know: Steve Jobs made clear; We don’t do market research. Our goal is to design, develop, and bring to market good products… and we trust, as a consequence that people will like them… Similarly, Henry Ford once said; If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have said ‘a faster horse’… Every century we get a genius or two like Ford, Jobs… Unfortunately, most innovators are not as gifted, and there are many more examples of technology in search of a market that fail…

In the article Build a Better Mousetrap by Claude Whitacre writes: Of course, ‘mousetrap’ is a metaphor for a new product, service… I just picked mousetraps because it was catchy… Great marketing is fundamental – imperative for finding out what people want (i.e., what problems they want to solve), analyzing the size of the market (i.e., understanding demand for the solution), understanding competitive forces (i.e., seeing what else is trying to solve the same problems)… Whereas, biggest issue with build a better mousetrap approach are the assumptions, e.g.; there is a market for your better mousetrap, and all the keys are aligned– right market size, competition, timing, price, performance… However, the basic assumptions are counter to a highly innovative and competitive market environment… it’s everything in business, but in reverse order… Some points to watch:

  • Do people really want a better mousetrap? Is there something about the mousetraps sold now that people don’t like? For example, do people get their fingers snapped by the tripping mechanism? Do they hate the idea of picking up a dead mouse to dispose of it? Is it the sight of the dead mouse? The smell? Just the idea of mangling a perfectly innocent mouse?
  • Is the market growing, or shrinking? Are there more people buying mousetraps than last year? If so, you have an opportunity to ride the wave with a slightly cheaper version of the current mousetrap. If number of mousetraps sold every year is sharply declining, is it because there is something better out there? If not, building a better mousetrap, with dwindling demand, is a sure way to failure…
  • Do people really want to kill mice? Would a more accepted product be one that repels mice? How about something that repels mice, and gets rid of the smell (assuming that dead mice smell) at the same time? Is that something people want? How about a way to treat the wood or insulation so that mice hate the taste, and won’t come in at all?

In the article Building a Better Mousetrap by A. Blanton Godfrey writes: Companies that fail to create a competitive advantage definitely face a survival struggle. Just trying to do exactly the same things as the competition, but only a little bit better, is a tough strategy with which to succeed… According to Jack Welch; Innovate or die– In these challenging times, the statement has more relevance than ever… However, we often misunderstand innovation. Far too many people think only product innovation matters, and they forget that we can also be incredibly innovative in production, distribution, marketing, service… Many times I’ve heard people state emphatically: If we don’t come up with new products, we’ll be out of business– What nonsense… Many of the most successful new companies during the past decades haven’t really created new products– just new ways of producing, distributing… those that already exist. Innovation isn’t just about breakthrough thinking and new products– often, it’s simply understanding better ways to produce something, distribute something or make it easier for the customer to use the product… Innovation comes in many forms, but it’s often innovation that drives long-term success…

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Myth of the mousetrap is perhaps the most damaging myth about business: It gives the impression that building a good product or even just a better product than the competition is the majority of what it takes to build a business… According to John Seiffer; that’s just not true; yet the comfort of believing it forces countless businesses to endure the pain of failure despite having a good, great, or superior product… According to David Burkus; the ‘mousetrap myth’ is perhaps, of all the myths of innovation, the most stifling to innovation because it doesn’t concern generating ideas, rather it affects how ideas are implemented. It’s not enough for an organization to have creative people; it must develop a culture that doesn’t reject great ideas. It’s not enough for people to learn how to be more creative; they also need to be persistent through the rejection they might face…

Creative ideas, by definition, are novel and useful but it’s hard to see the usefulness in new ideas when you’re judging them with an old mindset… As leaders, it’s especially important to remember our inherent bias against creativity and make sure when we judge creative ideas, we aren’t using their novelty as an excuse to dismiss their usefulnessAccording to Joseph L. Driscoll; there is so much happening ‘on the inside’ of a business that we forget about what’s happening ‘on the outside’… Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door: In business, nothing could be further from the truth… So, go ahead; build a better mousetrap if you are so inclined, but to build a ‘better business’ remember, Jack Welch’s comment: Innovate or die…

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Power of Unabated Innovative Freedom– Innovation Without Boundaries– Permissionless Innovation: Genius or Foolish?

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Permissionless Innovation is the ability to create and deliver innovative services and products on the Internet without receiving prior permission… According to Tom Termini; permissionless innovation means the Internet serves as global platform on which anyone can experiment with new, unorthodox ideas without need to secure authorization from anyone… According to Adam Thierer; permissionless innovation means the tinkering and continuous exploration that takes place at multiple levels—from professional designers to amateur coders; from big content creators to dorm-room bloggers; from nationwide communications and broadband infrastructure pro­viders to small community network-builders. Permissionless innovation is about the creativity of the human mind to run wild in its inherent curiosity, inventiveness… In a word, permission­less innovation is about  ‘freedom’... Freedom to build a new mousetraps, or the next Google, Facebook, Amazon… whether better or not, it’s critical for continued success of the Internet… The next great digital revolution will only happen if we preserve the fundamental value that has thus far powered the information age revolution– permissionless innovation– the free­dom to experiment and learn through ongoing trial-and-error experimentation… and, without the need for permission…

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Unfortunately, while many Internet pundits and advocates often extol the permissionless innovation model for the infor­mation sector, they ignore its applicability outside that context… That’s unfortunate, because we can and should expand the permissionless innovation model into the physical world, too. We need the same revolutionary innovative approach to new technologies for all economic sectors, whether based on soft–information economies or hard–industrial economies… The so-called ‘Internet of Things’ is a prime example– it’s emerging and promises to usher in profound changes that will rival the first wave of Internet innovation… The Internet of Things (IOT) is viewed as being synonymous with ‘smart’ systems, such as– smart homes, smart build­ings, smart health, smart grids, smart mobility… According to Steve Lohr; ‘Internet of Things’ will be the billions of digital devices, from smartphones to sensors in homes, cars and machines of all kinds, that will communicate with each other to automate tasks and make life better…

According to Cisco; 37 billion intelligent things will be connected and communi­cating by 2020. Thus, we are rapidly approaching the point where everyone and everything will be connected to the network… According to ABI Research; estimates that there are more than 10 billion wirelessly connected devices in the market today and more than 30 billion devices expected by 2020… The benefits associated with these developments will be enormous… According to McKinsey Global Institute; estimates the potential economic impact of the IOT to be $2.7 trillion to $6.2 trillion per year by 2025… According to IDC estimates; this market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.9% between now and 2020, to reach $8.9 trillion… The biggest impacts will be in health care, energy, transportation, retail… However, the next mega-wave of innovation will only take place because of the default posi­tion– ‘innovation allowed’ or ‘permissionless innovation‘… In other words, no one should have to ask permission from anyone for the right to develop new technologies, platforms…

In the article Permissionless Innovation: Comprehensive Technological Freedom by Adam Theirer writes: The central fault line in most modern technology policy debates revolves around the question of ‘permission’, which is framed as: Must the creators of new technologies seek the blessing of public officials or others before they develop and deploy their innovations? How that question is answered depends on the disposition one adopts toward new inventions, and there are two conflicting attitudes: One disposition is known as the ‘precautionary principle’, which generally refers to the belief that new innovations should be curtailed or disallowed until their developers can prove that they will not cause any harms to individuals, groups, specific entities, cultural norms, or various existing laws, norms, or traditions… The other vision-attitude can be labeled ‘permissionless innovation’ and it refers to the notion that experimentation with new technologies, business models… should generally be permitted by default and unabated, and if problems develop they can be addressed later… This is a grand clash between these two mindsets in almost all major technology policy discussions…

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Many argue that policymakers must unapologetically embrace, defend– permissionless innovation— not just for the Internet but for all new classes of technologies, platforms… e.g., ‘Internet of Things’ (IOT), wearable technologies, smart cars, autonomous vehicles, commercial drones… Many believe that ‘precautionary principle’ thinking is increasingly creeping into policy discussions for disruptive type technologies and the urge to regulate them, preemptively… which is driven by concerns for– safety, security, privacy… Most agree that many of these concerns are valid and deserve serious consideration, however, many also argue that if precautionary-minded regulatory solutions are adopted as control, in a preemptive attempt to head-off these concerns, the consequences will be profoundly deleterious for innovation… More important, a central consequence becomes: Living in constant fear of hypothetical worst-case scenarios– and premising public policy upon them– means that best-case scenarios will never come about… When public policy is shaped by ‘precautionary principle’ reasoning, it poses a serious threat to technological progress, economic entrepreneurialism, social adaptation, long-run prosperity…

In the article Permissionless Innovation Is Potentially Dangerous by Greg Scoblete writes: Permissionless innovation refers to the notion that experimentation with new technologies, business models… should generally be permitted unabated… and if problems develop they can be addressed later… In other words, it’s better for– innovation, economy, quality of living… if business interests are privileged over the individual’s interests in matters of privacy or security against potential threats, unless threats are ‘compelling’… There’s certainly a compelling case to be made for this kind of freewheeling approach across many technological categories, and some experts specifically singles out the emergence of connected devices, i.e., ‘Internet of Things’ (IOT)… as an area where permissionless innovation should be allowed to flourish unabated… But, here the issue isn’t simply consumer privacy, but security… and there are rising calls for preemptive regulatory controls on IOT technologies based on various safety, security, and especially privacy rationales… If the ‘precautionary principle’ mentality wins out and trumps the permissionless innovation ethos, which has already powered the first wave of the digital revolution, it will have profound ramifications…

Preserving and extending the permissionless innovation ethos to the ‘Internet of Things’ is not about– corporate profits, or assisting any particular technology, industry sector, or set of innovators… Rather, it’s about ensuring that people continue to enjoy the myriad benefits that accompany– an open, innovative information ecosystem… However, is this enough when we’re talking about the inherent vulnerabilities posed by IOT? In this instance, we’re not talking simply about the selling of — intimate personal data, but about the fundamental security of devices that are used to protect, regulate… homes, business… According to the ‘Trusted Computing Group'; IOT systems typically are designed without much, if any, security, yet they function much the same as the equally vulnerable mobile devices, PCs… However, IOT technologies continues to be developed without regard to serious protection for security, safety, privacy… It’s difficult balancing act– permissionless vs. precautionary principle… and for now, judging by the brisk pace of IOT development, it seems that the balance of power favors permissionless innovation

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Most Internet applications are the results of grass-roots innovation, start-ups, research labs… No permit had to be applied, no new network had to be built, and no commercial negotiation with other parties was needed… The easier the creation of innovation is free of coordination and permission-asking, the faster the new businesses are created… According to David Young; given today’s technological dynamism, the ability to innovate without having to seek permission from regulators at every step along the way is critical to the continued success of the Internet and must be preserved… According to Leslie Diagle; permissionless innovation is not about fomenting disruption outside the bounds of good behavior; permissionless is a guideline for fostering innovation by removing barriers to entry… This makes permissionless innovation an inseparable part of the Internet… Of course, all this freedom should not be seen isolated from our societal structures: It’s freedom that operates within the boundaries of civil behavior, rule of law… According to Leslie Daigle; the phrase ‘permission-free innovation’ is used to describe how the Internet differs from, e.g., closed telecommunications networks, where only local operators can  build, deploy, offer new services… within a stringent regulatory (permission-requiring) regime… Permission-free innovation is not just about technology, or fomenting disruption outside the bounds of appropriate behavior; permissionless is a guideline for fostering innovation by removing barriers to entry… The ability to innovate, create… is the heart of human-kind, and the catalyst for global business growth, prosperity… and unprecedented social interaction… a direct result of permissionless innovation

 

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Global Innovation Barometer–2013: Unconventional Strategy Unlocks New Drivers for Innovation– Pushing Comfort Zones

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Innovation rules are changing, globally, and companies must reinvent their strategy in order to stay competitive, drive growth and contribute meaningfully to the economy… For innovation to flourish, you must embrace a new innovation paradigm that promotes collaboration between all players– big, small, public, and private– fosters creativity, and emphasizes solutions that meet local needs…

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One-in-three business leaders are concerned over their ability to maintain a competitive edge in a faster paced, more global and resource-constrained environment. There is increasing anxiety over– what, how, when… to innovate as competition accelerates… Business executives continue to value innovation as a strategic priority; An emerging ‘innovation vertigo’– an uneasiness with the changing dynamics of today’s business landscape and uncertainty over the best path forward– is challenging leaders to think differently about how they can achieve growth. Many executives, however, seem to be embracing this complexity by exploring new and sometimes unexpected opportunities to innovate… According to Beth Comstock, General Electric (GE); business change has become constant and leaders are responding by betting big on more unconventional approaches to innovation to unlock growth… exploring different markets, partnership structures and business models – all in the pursuit of uncovering new ways to better serve customers… The key points in the ‘Global Innovation Barometer Report, 2013’ are:

  • Protectionist Policies.
  • Business Model Innovation.
  • Collaborative Innovation.
  • Government Policies.
  • Workforce Preparedness.

The Global Innovation Barometer Report, 2013: Now in its third year, the survey is commissioned by General Electric (GE) and conducted by StrategyOne. It includes interviews with more than 3,000 executives in 25 countries and explored the issues of how business leaders around the world view innovation and how those perceptions are influencing business strategies in an increasingly complex and global environment… It examines what factors business believe to be drivers and deterrents of innovation and analyzes specific approaches and policies that enable innovation and drive growth. A top line summary:

  • Protectionist Policies: Many  executives appear torn about how to best respond to the changing business environment. In efforts to mitigate perceived risks to their business and local economies, many are responding by adopting protectionist tendencies; 71% of executives reported that their government should prioritize promotion of domestic innovation rather than imported, while 71% reported that their governments should actually open markets further and promote imported innovation and investment. Paradoxically, there was a 53% overlap between these two opposing views. Executives in Mexico (80%), India (56%) and Brazil (50%) were most likely to advocate both open and closed market policies as a means to better innovation. 
  • Business Model Innovation: While incremental and product innovation have, historically, been main drivers of growth for companies; business model innovation is gaining momentum as a route to success. Innovation of a new business model may offer business a less risky and resource-intense path to better understand and reach customers over traditional methods…
  • Collaboration Innovation: Collaboration between businesses is emerging as a means to surpass competitors and generate revenue, particularly in emerging markets. However, despite the global acknowledgement of the power of partnerships; the lack of effective IP protection, trust, talent poaching– pose important barriers to action…
  • Government Policies: Global business leaders are concerned with policies affecting innovation and calling policymakers to create more stable, supportive policies to help enable better innovation in markets and across borders. Business executives perceive safeguarding the business interests– knowledge, IP, talent, removing policy barriers, over-regulation… as key to allowing innovation to flourish…
  • Workforce Preparation: Talent is consistently identified as a critical concern for innovation leaders across the globe; as the creativity and technical prowess of workforce is seen as key to unlocking innovation potential. Concerns about workforce preparedness (i.e., education…) and access to talent (i.e., cross-border mobility, retention, poaching…) abound, as companies are seeking to match the right job with the right people and line up the right skill sets to meet tomorrow’s economic needs, today…

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In the article Innovation Barometer: How Collaboration Breeds Advantage by Ideas Lab Staff writes: The smaller the world becomes; the greater are the possibilities for growth and collaboration… Those most experienced at partnership are among the most successful: Germany, China, Brazil and Sweden. Where 87% of the more than 3,000 executives, in the survey, were confident that their firms could be more innovative and successful if they collaborated or partnered with other businesses… The reasons to collaborate are clear: accessing new technologies and new markets: Executives in China (41%), South Africa (38%) and Mexico (37%) expect to report revenue and profit from their partnerships and continued growth… The biggest dissuaders are lack of confidentiality-intellectual property (IP) (64%), trust (47%) and a fear of having their talent poached (45%)… Talent has been consistently identified as a critical concern for innovation leaders and fears of having trained, skillful and successfully innovative staff leave are a serious deterrent for more innovation and collaboration. At the same time, 41% of the business leaders surveyed said they believe restrictions on access to foreign talent are increasing and those restrictions negatively impact businesses’ ability to innovate…

In the article Barriers To Innovation, And How To Break Through by Janie Curtis writes: One of the interesting statistics of this study was that over 50% of U.S. executives believe that new innovation models or processes are needed in order to accelerate the rate of introduction of market-changing ideas. However, I would make the observation that innovation processes in many Fortune 500 companies are thorough, but perhaps not exactly inspiring. When it comes to steps within the process and checks and balances that are in place to make sure that sub-standard ideas don’t move forward, there is a great deal of rigor. However, there is often a lack of rigor around the need to engender a level of inspiration and creativity that would enable members of the innovation team to launch new products, which are more than tweaked facsimiles on what is already on the market. Frequently, the idea-generation part of the process doesn’t go beyond getting a group of smart people in the room with a pad and starting to put ideas up on the wall. This can work very well for generating those marginal adjustments on the existing category reality, but often does not provide enough fodder for real leaps of imagination. Still another interesting barrier to innovation can be the– oh so popular ‘consumer insight’…I don’t think that the person who first invented bottled water, went to the consumer and asked whether they would like their tap water in plastic bottles so that they could pay a dollar or two for the privilege… Marketers-innovators in medium-to-large companies have come to a point where they don’t dare to trust their own instincts anymore; if the research doesn’t say it is a good idea, it isn’t a good idea. However, experience would indicate that in order to keep the door-open to paradigm changing innovation ideas, you must marry the need of process rigor with the ability to make the occasional leap of faith. The third barrier to significant innovation can be a weak brand or positioning strategy. We have all heard how difficult it is these days to come up with an insight that leads to the ownership of a consumer benefit that is truly different from the competition. This seems to have become the case; whether benefits are very direct and rational (e.g., better performance…), or more on the emotional end of the spectrum (e.g., improving quality of people’s lives…). It has undoubtedly become harder, but luckily– not impossible: If the strategy behind brand represents real market differentiation, and consumer inspiration and relevance… then, the chances of the innovation ideas that emanate from it; will be revolutionary, and increase dramatically…

Efficiency versus Innovation: According to Rowan Gibson; when the economic barometer is pointing upward, all the talk in company boardrooms is about growth, innovation and value creation. When the global economy lingers in the doldrums, corporate strategy shifts inexorably back to the safe haven of operational efficiency. Now you might argue that this reaction is both inevitable and understandable, and I would accept that at some level. But remember this: something far deeper and more significant than these periodic upswings and downswings is the fact that we are now in a new kind of economic era. An era in which fanatical cost-cutting, downsizing, lean Six-Sigma, mergers-acquisitions, supply chain management, off shoring or outsourcing are no longer the basis for competitive advantage. Companies all over the world are becoming increasingly worried about their ability to innovate and compete in the fast-changing technology world… However, one person’s alarm can be another one’s opportunity. Many executives seem to be embracing the new complexity by exploring new and sometimes unexpected ways to innovate. For example, a growing number of respondents, 52%, believe that development of new business models will contribute the most to their company’s future performance. Some 87% were confident that their firm could be more successful at innovating through partnership and collaboration, and 68% of respondents report already having developed or improved a product in partnership with others. Other companies are moving beyond product and incremental innovation to developing innovative business plans that offer a less risky and resource-intense way to open new markets… It seems that business leaders, globally, are being pushed outside their comfort zones with an uneasiness about the pace of change and confusion over best path forward… The feel of ‘vertigo’ can go beyond the usual symptoms of light-headedness and dizziness and is possibly far more than a chronic lack of solutions, which begins to creep into their psyche as their worlds are spinning out of their control… the whole economic system is still out of balance, and according to the survey; having ‘innovation vertigo’ may be part of a bigger malaise…

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Disruptive Innovation… Displace-Replace-Create: Transforms What Exists–Invents What Doesn’t–Obsoletes Marginal Value…

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Disruptive Innovation: Disruptivators that we admire– the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Disruptive innovation creates new markets, displaces-replaces existing markets, drives new growth, creates new opportunities, forms new companies… Few industries today are safe from the threat of potentially wrenching competitive and technological change… The term disruptive technologies was coined by Clayton M. Christensen and introduced in his article ‘Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave’, which he co-wrote with Joseph Bower and further describes the term in the book ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’. The central theory of Christensen’s work is the dichotomy of sustaining and disruptive innovation. Sustaining innovation hardly results in the downfall of established companies because it improves the performance of existing products along the dimensions that mainstream customer value. Disruptive innovation, on the other hand, will often have characteristics that traditional customer segments may not want, at least initially. Such innovations will appear as cheaper, simpler and even with inferior quality if compared to existing products, but some marginal or new segment will value it… According to Geoff Vuleta; disruptive Innovation as a core incompetence is as much a pro-company idea as it is a blunt reality check for many. Companies are not geared for disruptive change in large part because they have never had to be. Disruptive innovation provides an example of when common business-world advice to ‘focus on customer’ (stay close to customer, listen to customer…) can sometimes be strategically counterproductive. While disruptive innovation is seen and understood in retrospect, it’s debatable whether it’s transferable into a formal, repeatable process. In today’s turbulent environment, leading disruptive innovation is more about best principles than best practices, and requires a disruptive approach to management itself. Whether going after disruptive innovations that leapfrog competitors and customer expectations, or focusing on ‘blue oceans’ that represent white-space opportunities to create entirely new markets, the leadership issues are similar. Leaders must embrace ambiguity, live with uncertainty for long periods of time, and confront the critiques of naysayer both inside and outside of their organizations. According to Jeff Bezos; any time you do something big, that’s disruptive, there will be critics…

In the article Leading Disruptive Innovation by Soren Kaplan writes: In today’s complex, dynamic world, having a disruptive innovation capability is mandatory, both for growing a business and protecting existing markets. But leading disruptive innovation requires new mindsets and behaviors, for leaders themselves and for the organizations that develop them. Disruptive innovation that transforms or creates new markets has become the Holy Grail for many companies. Leaders today, however, face a big challenge when it comes to disruptive innovation. Many executives rise through the ranks of management, where predictability-control are valued and rewarded. Unlike operations management, disruptive innovation– whether creating or responding– involves uncertainty. Unexpected events, inevitable failures, and a fundamental lack of control are inherent to the process. But few leaders are formally prepared to deal with realities of leading or responding to disruption. Perhaps the most defining characteristic of disruptive innovation is the great uncertainty that it creates for leaders, organizations, and entire industries. While most organizations possess a general awareness of the importance and necessity of disruptive innovation and change in general, there is a gap when it comes to understanding the deeper leadership qualities necessary for driving them. For example, many leaders rely on research and data for decision-making to manage daily operations, but during times of disruption, waiting for hard data to make decisions can quickly result in failure. Leaders must be comfortable using whatever information they have on hand, integrating inputs from diverse sources around them, and then using their intuition to round out the decision-making process. The challenge for any business is that the competencies necessary for leading disruptive innovation are not formulaic or quantifiable. According to Gary Hamel; new problems demand new principles. Put bluntly, there’s simply no way to build tomorrow’s essential organizational capabilities– resilience, innovation and employee engagement– atop the scaffolding of 20th century management principles. In an age of wrenching change and hyper-competition, the most valuable human capabilities are precisely those that are least manageable. Few business schools, let alone companies, prepare their leaders to live with being misunderstood or criticized, especially for extended periods of time. When it comes to leading for disruption, recognizing that ‘the soft stuff is the hard stuff’ can make the difference between success and failure. Five strategies that begin to address inherent uncertainty of disruptive innovation and cataclysmic change are:

  • Listen–Start with yourself, not the market: Contrary to conventional wisdom, disruptive leadership is not about analyzing customer needs, creating specifications to meet each need, and building great products and services to meet them.
  • Explore– Go outside to stretch the inside: Leading through disruption requires an agile mind that appreciates ambiguity. Disruptive innovators know uncertainty contains as much opportunity as it does risk.
  • Act– Take small simple steps, again, again..: Disruptive leadership involves putting a flexible stake in the ground around a specific opportunity, and then taking a series of actions to intentionally challenge assumptions and rapidly change direction as many times as necessary.
  • Persist– Take the surprise out of failure: Leading for disruptive innovation involves creating ‘optimistic persistence’ in order to combat fear, pessimism and the tendency to retrench back into the safety of the existing business model.
  • Seize– Make the journey part of the (surprise) destination: Leading disruptive      innovation is a process fundamentally laden with surprise, the core essence of uncertainty.

In the article Disrupt Yourself by Whitney Johnson writes: If it feels scary and lonely, you’re probably on the right track. The term ‘disruptive innovation’ has become an industry buzzword. We all want to start a disruptive company or invest in disruptive ventures, but in reality an innovation that takes place at the low-end of the market or where there is no market (yet) is just not that sexy. It’s a similar story when you contemplate disrupting yourself mid-career. There is the possible loss of stature and influence and the very practical loss of financial stability… Since disruptive innovations are in search of a yet-to-be-defined market, we can’t know the opportunity at the outset. According to Christensen; markets for disruptive innovations are unpredictable, and therefore your initial strategy for entering a market will be wrong… Likewise on the personal level, the checklist of conventional planning doesn’t work either; disruption requires discovery-driven planning and it’s an unnerving and unpredictable path… According to Amar V. Bhide; in 90% of all successful new businesses, the strategy the founders initially pursued didn’t lead to business’ success... Likewise on the personal level, nearly everyone hits a point in their life where they examine their trajectory and consider a pivot. We typically label this mid-life crisis, but isn’t it more often a re-thinking as to which performance attributes matter? Perhaps earlier in your career the metric was money or fame, but now you want more autonomy, flexibility, authority, or to make a positive dent in the world… Firms seeking growth via new markets are 6x more likely to succeed than firms seeking growth by entering established markets, and the revenue opportunity is 20x greater. It’s counterintuitive, isn’t it? When we start in a place where no one else wants to play, where the scope of the opportunity appears limited, the odds of success actually improve. Likewise on the personal level, perhaps you too are ready to disrupt yourself. Maybe your hand is forced by downsizing or new technologies are automating you right out of relevance. However, if you are really looking to move the world forward, begin by innovating on the inside and disrupt yourself…

Disruptive innovation, by its nature, destroys entire industries or segments of industries by making them obsolete. If you simply measure the economic impact on the fact that some industries are no longer present, or that those products are no longer being sold, you could argue that there’s a negative impact on the economy. But the nature of innovation is that we make things obsolete by making other things better and more powerful and changing the way we do things. The end result is, generally speaking (and, yes, there are exceptions), better for everyone, enabling them to do more with less and do so more productively. Progress has an amazing way of destroying old ways of doing business, and we shouldn’t fear or worry about that, we should celebrate it. More and more leaders and companies recognize that they must proactively disrupt or risk being disrupted. But business-as-usual leadership, where big visions are followed by detailed roadmaps and action plans do more than stifle disruptive innovation: They represent liabilities to success. Leading disruptive innovation involves adopting principles that fall outside the traditional training of managers and leaders. New leadership competencies are required to navigate disruption. This means uncovering one’s deeper motivations to drive meaningful opportunities for others; pushing personal boundaries to challenge one’s assumptions; taking steps into the unknown with the view that failure isn’t failure at all but rather a stepping stone to learning and progress; and tuning into surprises as a kind of portal for gaining new insights and uncovering opportunities. To lead disruptive innovation successfully requires that we disrupt the most fundamental mindsets and behaviors that have led us to our current success. For example, six-sigma and Kaizen and all other pearls of corporate wisdom that were, traditionally, foundation for business success, but are now minor players in the rapidly moving and highly competitive digital age. An estimated 65-75% of all new products that established companies introduce into their markets fail. Business history is littered with wounded and extinct companies that failed to pursue disruptive innovation. Since companies innovate faster than customers’ lives change, most organizations end-up producing products that are– too good, expensive, inconvenient for many customers. By only pursuing ‘sustaining innovations’ that perpetuate what has, historically, helped them succeed, and companies unwittingly open the door to ‘disruptive innovations’– simpler, more-convenient, and lower-cost products… Although disruption is the key to new growth, companies must never ignore their core offerings and continue to pursue ‘sustaining innovation’ to maintain growth, as well…

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Knowledge Funnel– Drive Balanced Thinking for Creativity, Innovation, Value Creation: Fuel the Funnel

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As knowledge moves through the ‘knowledge funnel’, productivity grows and costs drops… The knowledge funnel balances the exploration of new knowledge (innovation) with the exploitation of current knowledge (efficiency) that facilitates value creation…

In today’s competitive business environment, organizations must remain nimble, relevant, and responsive. Constant change is inevitable– everything is dynamic. Business decision-makers are challenged with developing new ideas, just to survive and compete. According to Roger Martin; the knowledge funnel is process that’s followed by many leading business to innovate more consistently and successfully. The knowledge funnel has three different phases: mystery → heuristic → algorithm. Where, mystery stage comprises exploration of the problem, and then transitions to heuristic stage, where a ‘rule of thumb’ is generated to narrow work to a more manageable size. In the algorithm stage the general rule of thumb (heuristic) is converted to a fixed formula, and that takes the problem from complexity-to-simplicity. According to Martin; there are two forms of business thinking: 1. Analytical thinking– driven by quantitative process, standardizing to eliminate judgment, bias, and variation… 2. Intuitive thinking– focus more on instinct to drive creativity and innovation. Analytical thinking is more prevalent in organizations, because it’s more consistent, easier to measure, and can scale in size. Martin labels the difference between a bias for the two schools of thought as the distinction between ‘reliability‘ versus ‘validity‘. Organizations are much more likely to favor what is reliable because their structures tend to incentivize the advantages of analytical thinking. This means that organizations are often poor at achieving valid solutions because they do not fully take advantage of all three areas of the knowledge funnel, just the two latter stages (heuristics and algorithms). Martin argues that business is currently missing abductive reasoning. Abductive reasoning is the third form of logic (deductive logic and inductive logic are the other two)… Charles Sanders Peirce described the process of discovery as new ideas that arose when thinkers observed data that did not fit with the existing models. The first step of reasoning is not observation, but ‘wondering’.

In the article Knowledge Funnel: How Discovery Takes Shape by Roger Martin writes: The model for value creation requires a balance, or more accurately, the reconciliation between two prevailing points of view on business today. One school of thought, put forward by some of the world’s most respected theorist and consultants, holds that the path to value creation lies in driving out old-fashioned practices of ‘gut feeling and instinct’, replacing them with strategy based on rigorous, quantitative analysis. In this model, the basis of thought is analytical thinking, which harnesses two familiar forms of logic– deductive and inductive reasoning– to declare truths and certainties about the world. The goal of the model is mastery through rigorous, continuous repeated analytical processes– judgment, bias, and variation are the enemies. Then the theory goes, if these are vanquished, great decisions will be made and great value will be created. The opposing school of thought, which is in many ways a reaction to the rise of analytical management, is centered on the primacy of creativity and innovation. To this school, analysis has driven out creativity and doomed organizations to boring stultification. According to some  experts; no good product was ever created from quantitative market research. Great products spring from ‘heart and soul’ of great designers, unencumbered by committees, processes, or analyses. The proponents of this philosophy suggest the creative instinct and unanalyzed flash of insight is venerated as the source of true innovation. At the heart of this school is intuitive thinking– the art of knowing without reasoning– the world of originality and invention. These two models seem utterly incommensurable; organizations must choose to embrace either– analysis or intuition as their primary driver of value creation. The choice plays-out in structure and norms of the organization. Organizations dominated by analytical thinking are built to operate as they always have– they are structurally resistant to the idea of inventing-reinventing themselves and their business dynamically, over time. They are built to maintain the status quo. By sticking closely to the tried and true, organizations dominated by analytical thinking enjoy one very important advantage– they can build size and scale, relatively easy. In organizations dominated by intuitive thinking, on the other hand, innovation may come fast and furious, but growth and longevity represent tremendous challenges. Intuition-biased firms cannot and will not systematize what they do, so they wax and wane with individual intuitive leaders. Neither analysis nor intuition alone is enough. The most successful businesses in the years to come will balance analytical mastery and intuitive originality

In the article Creating Value Across Knowledge Funnel by D. Murali writes: Creating value across the knowledge funnel requires two very different activities. One, moving across the knowledge stages of the funnel from mystery-to-heuristic and heuristic-to-algorithm. Two, operating within each knowledge stage of the funnel by honing and refining an existing heuristic or algorithm… Successful companies balance exploration and exploitation by continuously looking back up the knowledge funnel to the next salient mystery (or back to the original mystery) and driving across the knowledge funnel, in a steadily cycling process. These relatively few organizations come to be defined by their balanced approach. Whereas, many organizations increasingly rely on algorithm-based, decision-making, decision-support, and get highly skilled at using algorithms to produce outcomes that are reliable; that is, consistent and predictable. Companies that devote all their resources to reliability lack the tools to pursue outcomes that are valid; that is, that produce a desired result. Indeed, many organizations see no value at all in valid outcomes. Little wonder, then, that those same organizations don’t know how to manage validity-seeking activities to generate lasting business value. Advances in knowledge emerges from the pursuit of valid results. Highly reliable processes lead to reduction-in-costs and rise-in-efficiency, by eliminating uncertainty. Whereas, organisations that defines themself as being primarily or exclusively in the business of running algorithms is taking a high risk, e.g., they increase the risk of cataclysmic events that occur when the future no longer resembles the past and the algorithm is no longer relevant or useful…

In the article Disruption, Knowledge Funnel, and Learning in New Product Development by admin writes: I recently read an interesting article in Fast Company magazine on a start-up airline called ‘Surf Air’, and its unique business model. Basically it’s the first all-you-can-fly airline: For a flat fee per month, you can fly anywhere they fly, which right now is just four regions in California… They utilize small, regional airports with no waits and no screening, since the FAA considers them a charter service. The story of this airline illustrates three important aspects of new product development that is worth reflecting: First, the concept of disruption; large carriers, the article claims, are ripe for disruption because of ‘low profits’ being earned from nickel-and-dime passengers, and suggesting that as airline profit goes up, passenger satisfaction goes down. However, consider the question– is the proposed Surf Air’s model really disruptive or will the airlines, as they have done in the past with upstart carriers, find a way to crush them? It’s possible that Surf Air may avoid that fate by their focus on small regional airports. Second concept can be described as moving up and down the knowledge funnel. All new products start as mysteries, then move to the heuristic stage, and finally companies are able to codify the model into an algorithm. That is certainly where the airline industry is, and what most companies strive for. Being able to turn a business model into an algorithm provides for reliability of results which is certainly what financial markets reward. Every business needs to balance– need for reliability while developing new mysteries to solve, otherwise competitors will. Of course, this is just what the concept of disruption is all about, and that’s what Surf Air is trying to do. They looked at a mystery associated with the airline industry, and that led to a new business model. Note: in this case, the mystery is not associated with technology, but with the business model and the market itself. I believe many companies that manufacture highly engineered industrial products, for instance, tend to ignore these types of opportunities, when trying to gain competitive advantage… Finally, this story illustrates the concept of– iterate and learn when faced with a high level of uncertainty in product development; e.g., Surf Air is starting with a small user base– limited deployment to assess passenger behavior, then they adjust the business model… Whether you are dealing with uncertainty in the business model, or in the technology associated with a new product; iterate and learn is a powerful way to manage the project…

Corporations and organizations must empower and build a culture of creativity and innovation to promote relevancy in today’s marketplace. With all this emphasis on the shift in the way we fundamentally approach business challenges– it’s interesting to note that the focus is placed on thinking about ideas and concepts that do not currently exist, as being the pendulum of scientific management. It’s in this vain that one might argue that the pendulum has surely swung. Some experts say the 20th century, in essence was all about ‘things that functioned’, whereas the 21st century will be more design focused and interested in making ‘elegant stuff more elegant’, which is ultimately how new ideas are born. Strategy in business is about where to play and how to win– be different and embrace creativity and innovation… According to Roger Martin; society often overplay the importance of efficiency, and he encourages; ‘logical leaps of the mind’. It’s knowing without reasoning that large corporations must value in an effort to make the 21st century a time of great progress; meaning and insight. However, without enlightened-committed leadership, no organization can realize the– structural, process, and cultural adjustments needed to become an enlightened. CEOs must think of themselves as the organization’s balancing force– the promoter of both– exploitation and exploration; and administration and invention… As Martin’s overriding thesis suggests, which for some may seem radical, is simply; to advance knowledge, we must turn away from our standard definitions of proof – and from the false certainty of the past – and instead stare into the mystery of what could be…

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Design Thinking– Strategic Framework for Innovation and Growth or Regurgitation of Old Concepts

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Design thinking runs far deeper than aesthetics…. If you are mapping out a sales strategy, or streamlining a manufacturing operation, or crafting a new system for innovating… you are engaged in the practice of design. ~Bill Breen

Some experts say that design thinking can enrich business and marketing innovation by combining the best of right and left brain thinking. It has the capacity to deliver better ideas, with more relevance… For example; focusing on individuals, moments and journeys in ethnography, insights become deeper; embracing chaos and play in brainstorms, creative teams can explore further; iterating and early prototyping, ideas become real and develop more rapidly… According to ‘Boston Consulting Group’ report– 7 out of 10 senior executives name innovation as their top priority for growth… However, according to Ben Wood and colleagues; too often the so-called innovation is just rearrangement of  existing offer (a renovation), or it fails altogether. According to Doblin Group; 96% of all new projects fail to meet or beat targets for ROI. Some experts say the answer to wasted investment may come from world of design thinking… Design thinking is a methodology for the practical, creative resolution of problems or issues…. it’s a form of solution-based or solution-focus thinking that starts with the goal or what is meant to be achieved, instead of starting with the problem. This differs from the scientific method, which starts with defining all parameters of problems in order to define the solutions. Wikipedia definition; design thinking is method and process for investigating ill-defined problems, acquiring data and information, analyzing knowledge, and positing solutions in the design and planning fields. Design thinking is a creative process based around the building up of ideas and encourages ‘outside the box’ thinking, which can often lead to creative solutions. According to Peter Merholz; not-so-secret truth about design thinking is that a big chunk is actually social science thinking. Design thinkers talk about being ‘human-centered and empathic’, which are methods from anthropology and sociology. Although, varied disciplinary backgrounds do, in fact, allow people to bring distinct perspectives to innovation, allowing for insights that wouldn’t be otherwise achieved. However, shifting focus entirely to design thinking means you are missing out on other countless possibility. On positive side according to John Miziolek; impact is undeniable when a company like Apple puts so much extra effort into making its products and marketing look ‘cool’, as well as, ensuring its ‘look’ is unified and communicates the level of innovation that an organization prides itself on. However, very few companies can put that kind of design thinking at top (or even near the top) of their corporate agendas, even though an overall organizational design implementation can provide incredible benefits….

In the article Design Thinking by Roger Martin writes: Design thinking is a balance between analytical thinking and intuitive thinking, which enables organizations to both exploit existing and create new knowledge. Design thinking organizations are capable of effectively advancing knowledge from mystery-to-heuristic-to-algorithm, gaining a cost advantage over its competitors along the way. With that cost advantage, it can redirect its design thinking capacity to solve the next important mystery, and advance still further ahead of its competitors. In this way, the design thinking organization is capable of achieving lasting and regenerating competitive advantage… Companies tend to be ruled by analytical thinking, however, by integrating the best of intuitive thinking into their thinking pattern– these are typically the thinking pattern of artists and designers– companies can improve their creative skills. Analytical thinkers tend to often see creative people as potentially useful, but also quite scary because they don’t understand how creative people think… Similarly, creative people tend to often see business people as closed to new and potentially powerful ways of looking at things. As consequence, neither side understands that they need each other’s unique capabilities… Design thinking helps bridge that gap with processes that facilitate communication and collaboration within the group…

In the article Design Thinking by Tim Brown writes: Historically, design has been treated as a downstream step in the development process– the point where designers, who have played no earlier role in the substantive work of innovation, come along and put a beautiful wrapper around the idea. However, things have changed; rather than asking designers to make an already developed idea more attractive to consumers, companies are asking them to create ideas that better meet consumers’ needs and desires. The former role is tactical and results in limited value creation; the latter is strategic and leads to dramatic new forms of value. Moreover, as economies in developed world shift from industrial manufacturing to knowledge work and service delivery, the innovation terrain is expanding. Its objectives are no longer just physical products; they are new sorts of processes, services, IT-powered interactions, entertainments, and ways of communicating and collaborating– exactly the kinds of human-centered activities in which design thinking can make a decisive difference… Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need to behave weirdly to be a design thinker. Nor are design thinkers necessarily created only by design schools, even though most professionals have had some kind of design training…The myth of creative genius is resilient: We have come to believe that great ideas pop fully formed out of brilliant minds, in feats of imagination well beyond the abilities of mere mortals. But in most cases, it’s neither sudden breakthrough nor lightning strike of genius; it’s result of hard work augmented by a creative human-centered discovery process and followed by iterative cycles of prototyping, testing, and refinement. The design process is best described, metaphorically, as a system of spaces rather than predefined series of orderly steps. Where the spaces demarcate different sorts of related activities that together form the continuum of innovation. Design thinking can feel chaotic to those experiencing it the first time but over life of a project– users come to see that the process actually achieves results even though its architecture differs from the linear, milestone based processes typical of other kinds of business activities… Many of the world’s most successful brands create breakthrough ideas that are inspired by a deep understanding of consumers’ lives and use the principles of design to innovate and build value. Also, sometimes innovation has to account for vast differences in cultural and socioeconomic conditions… design thinking can suggest creative alternatives to the assumptions made in developed societies…

In the article Design Thinking Is A Failed Experiment by Bruce Nussbaum writes: Design thinking has given the design profession and society at large all the benefits it has to offer and is beginning to ossify and actually do harm. Design thinking originally offered the world of big business– which is defined by a culture of process efficiency– a new process that promised to deliver creativity. By packaging creativity within a process format, designers were able to expand their engagement, impact, and sales inside the corporate world. Companies were comfortable and welcoming to design thinking because it was packaged as a process. There were many successes, but far too many more failures in this endeavor. Why? Companies absorbed process of design thinking all to well, turning it into a linear, gated, by-the-book methodology that delivered, at best, incremental change and innovation. Call it N+1 innovation. CEOs in particular, took to the process side of design thinking, implementing it like Six Sigma and other efficiency-based process. Design thinking made design system-conscious at a key moment in time. But it was creativity that design thinking was supposed to deliver, and it falls short…

Business must show healthy organic growth to survive-prosper, and design thinking, for some, can make that happen… According to Tom Post; design thinking is not about magic – it’s about generating practical, value-creating ideas and translating them into real market applications that drive growth. However, while design needn’t be magic, it’s exasperatingly messy in practice. In large organizations, we tend to value order and control above all else – and we structure our organization and processes to produce it. In business, ambiguity-uncertainty is uncomfortable; we crave predictability and order, but growth is about creating new value, and once we accept the messy reality that behavior is driven by more than economic logic, we have no choice but to accept the messiness that is, in fact, humanness. So design thinking is messy – there is no way around it. Part of this has to do with the kinds of problems that design is especially good at. These problems are often messy – or ‘wicked’ as ‘Hoerst Rittel’ labeled many problems of design. Wicked (as opposed to ‘tame’ problems) have multiple stakeholders involved – who usually can’t agree on definition of the problem, much less its solution… According to Glenn Fajardo, John Rehm, & Kal Joffres; design thinking theory is great, but getting to implementation is often difficult. It’s like learning to ride a bicycle, it’s experiential. You cannot learn it just by having someone explain it to you– you have to actually try it yourself to find your own balance. Also, you must practice it to get better, and increase your understanding by observing and interacting with more advanced practitioners– in this way, it’s social. You enhance your understanding by practicing with peers, sharing perspectives, and giving each other feedback. This learning combination of the experiential and the social means thinking of ‘design as craft’ rather than, design as a codified process or design as an outcome. According to venessa miemis; design thinking is about interaction between feasibility (what is functionally possible in foreseeable future); viability (what is likely to become part of a sustainable business model); and desirability (what makes sense to people and for people), with an emphasis on ‘the people’ for which the product or service is being designed. So whether you hope to employ design thinking to restructure the culture of an organization or innovating a new product or service, it’s important to remember that it’s more than a set of simple tactics that can be implemented overnight. It’s more like a new ecology of mind that takes time to grow, adapt, and evolve. It still requires adherence to sound business decision-making, but also commitment to challenge one’s own beliefs about ‘the way things work’ by focusing-on people’s unspoken and unmet needs…

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When Business or Life is Not Working– It’s Dead: Get Off the Proverbial Dead Horse– Stop Dragging It Around

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When a horse is dead– it’s a dead horse, get off– there’s no sense in kicking or beating it– it’s a lost cause.

If the horse you’re riding is dead…Get Off! If you’re not getting anywhere in your business, life… if you keep doing the same old things day-in and day-out with the same old tiring and dismal results, then you’re riding a dead horse. For example, if you are salespeople and the customer is unwilling or unable to make a reasonable commitment to move the sales process forward, then the salesperson must be willing to say– this isn’t working and consider the possibility of walking away from this sale opportunity. If you are not willing to turn down business when things go sour, you’re going to be doing the equivalent of riding a dead horse. According to the tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from generation to generation; when you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. In contrast, many people in today’s business environment are in denial when they find out their ‘horse’ is dying or dead; they say things like– ‘This is the way we always have ridden the horse’ or ‘Appoint a committee to study the horse’ or ‘Buy stronger whip’ or  ‘Change riders’ or ‘Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position’… The analogies to business are readily apparent, and too often we focus on everything but the dead horse, and forget what it takes to win the race…

In the article Riding a Dead Horse by Peter Vajda writes: Dead horses are all ‘shoulds’ and ‘shouldn’ts’ that drive our lives. Often completely unaware of them. These dead horses take the form of self-images that we think we need to live up to, beliefs, habits, routines… that run our lives; they show up as relentless demands and expectations we make on ourselves. These dead horses are forever showing up in our jobs, life styles, relationships, friends, co-workers, spouses, partners… Yet, for no apparent reason, we continually find ourselves in states of; regret, agitation, irritation, frustration, resentment… as we continue to try to ride our dead horses. Perhaps right here and right now, you are spending precious time and energy trying to resuscitate your dead horses, painfully and frustratingly dragging them along into today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year… We make ourselves believe if we just try harder that these dead horses will come to life, better than ever. Or, we tell ourselves if less demanding and more accepting these dead horses will generate renewed energy and live to ride again. Or perhaps, we wish, we hope, and we pray that a miracle will happen and our dead horses will suddenly become healthy so we can ride off into the sunset. Just like TV’s fantasies and fairy tales. Maybe we’re rationalizing that our horse really isn’t dead; that all it needs is some good old R&R. So we reject reality and distract ourselves from the truth of our situation. After days, months… of resisting, rejecting, and distracting ourselves, we’re still waiting for the dead horse to show some life, and so we wait, and wait, hope and pray…to no avail. Then, there are those of us who try to convince ourselves that life will be grand if we just– carry the horse: it will come out of its coma at some point. So, we just haul it around until life comes back… We think that if we nurture it, support it, help it… it will resurrect: Denial, Delusion…

In the article When Riding a Dead Horse, Dismount by Bill Carney writes: Most successful sales reps control the things which are under their power, at any given moment. They also can mitigate factors that are out of their control, which disrupt the flow of their process. One common flow disruption is– falling in the dead zone. For example; some sales reps will dismount without checking to see if the customer is actually dead, when the customer may not be responding; even though it might still be alive. Also, imagine that you’ve just met an ideal customer that fits your high probability profile. You’ve had first meeting, completed all your commitments… but, you hear nothing from the customer– no calls answered, no responded emails, no pulse… There are many statistics floating around that  indicate it’s harder than ever to get a productive engagements with customers. You may have a routine that work for customers, but now you may have come across a dead zone. While it’s ok to stick with routine content that’s effective for some customers– you should strive to keep from being routine; all customers are different. Make sure that engagements are relevant; also, it pays to initiate quick checks, from time-to-time, to see if customer is still alive. If you don’t get a committed reaction it might be time to dismount, or pass them onto a marketing nurture campaign. If you do get a good response; it’s time to giddy-up…

In the article Don’t Gamble on Low Probability Prospects by Jeb Blount writes:  In the chorus of Kenny Roger’s famous song, ‘The Gambler’, the old gambler urges the young man to, ‘know when to walk away, know when to run’. Packing up and walking away from a deal that is going nowhere is one of the hardest things to do for a salesperson. Even some of the best salespeople continue to work on accounts that, from any observer’s point of view it’s a complete waste of time, but these sales pros are wise enough to know that some deals are just dead horses; it’s time to get off and move on. Then there are legions of other salespeople that never seem to let go. They hold on until the final painful moments when prospects, that never had any intention of buying, finally break the truth to them. They make excuses and they angrily blame the buyer, market, or competitors. I hear the same sad stories again and again. For example; deals lost, time wasted on prospects that were not the decision makers, already under long-term contracts, just shopping for price to keep their current vendor honest, or who were not in the buying window. Each working day salespeople across the globe are surprised to find out– after investing blood, sweat, and tears, and promises to the boss– that the account they have been working on won’t close; riding the dead horse. And to make things worse, many of these salespeople were completely blind to all of the clues that were blinking like neon signs saying; this prospect will not close, move on! On the other hand, I know sales professionals who have a keen sense of the viability of a deal. For example; using solid questioning strategies, simple mental checklist, intuition… they can quickly extract themselves from a sales process once they believe that the prospect or customer is unprofitable or a waste of time. This ability serves them well because it allows them to focus their most valuable resource– time– on accounts that have a high probability of closing, even though sometimes it may be wrong. These are the sales pros that produce the most consistent results year in and year out… and, they quickly dismount the dead or dying horses…

Generations of just doing what we’ve been told have left far too many of us in a mind-numbing and habituated way of thinking and living. For far too long, we’ve allowed ourselves to just keep doing what we’ve always done–mindless and without consideration of  consequences… This is your wake-up call! Change Your World!  Tired of having the same old conversations in the same old way? Be the one to make the difference and lead the way… According to Harry K. Jones; organizations need to get serious about identifying stumbling blocks, sacred cows, dead horses… and not waste time; just eliminate them. The sooner it gets done; the sooner you can focus on more productive and profitable targets. Organizations no longer have the luxury to allow the dead horses to weigh them down in their journey to success… According to Peter Vajda; are you just telling yourself a story– having set out with good intentions, believing in what you thought was your vision or purpose, working hard and sacrificing along the way, becoming who you thought you should be, or perhaps even giving up what you wanted or who you wanted to be– that if you just ‘stick it out’; all will be well? But, are we in denial, with false hopes, as we keep egging-on our horses. We dig in our spurs, but move nowhere. Or, we’re stuck on a plastic horse on merry-go-round, moving, always engaged in doing, going around in circles, but in reality, going nowhere. People who ride dead horses every day know what they have to do, but they have no idea where they’re going… At end of day, the bottom line is simply: when the horse dies, get off!  A year from today, your life will be different. Guaranteed, it will be different! Whether it’s good different or bad different, is the choice. Much depends on whether the horses you’re riding are healthy or dead.  According to Anne Sadovsky; the way you did your job last week is questionable this week, and probably obsolete next week! We all know it– yet we still feel surprised and even resist it, while things change around us. In fact, some people dig in their heels, and declare it was okay the way we’ve always done it, only to be left behind. These are the folks trying to ride dead horses

 

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Management by Fuzzy: Decision-Making in Environments of Ambiguity, Uncertainty– Tough Decisions with Fuzzy Logic

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In the world of fuzzy logic, two statements can be both true– even though they contradict each other.

Humans have a remarkable capability to reason and make decisions in an environment of uncertainty, imprecision, incompleteness… of information. Fuzzy logic is a form of multi-valued logic or probabilistic logic; it deals with reasoning that is approximate, rather than fixed and exact. Fuzzy logic was developed by Lotfi A. Zadeh, in 1965, and it’s been applied to many fields, e.g.; control theory, artificial intelligence, decision-making… and, also to business management decision-making, which involves tough decisions with limited information that’s usually– vague, uncertain… There are many misconceptions about fuzzy logic: To begin; fuzzy logic is not fuzzy. In large measure, fuzzy logic is precise, and it’s much closer to the way the human brain actually works. To better understand fuzzy logic ideas let’s relate its principles to human reasoning, for example; the statement– ‘today is sunny’– in reality might be 100% true, if there are no clouds; 80% true, if there are a few clouds; 50% true, if it’s hazy; 0% true, if it’s raining…in the example, the fuzzy logic would actually represent these multiple conditions, whereas in traditional solutions, it’s either; true or false (i.e., its sunny or it’s not). It’s also used in some spell checkers for suggesting a list of probable words to replace a misspelled one, whereas in traditional solutions, it’s either; right or wrong (i.e., its spelled right or it’s not). Often knowledge used in discussing and making strategic decisions is expressed in terms of; rules of thumb, management principles, business rules ... Many experts suggest these types of rules are actually fuzzy rules that can be combined, using fuzzy logic, into a knowledge system that recognizes more than just simple; ‘true and false’ values. In the examples; fuzzy logic represented the multiple ‘degrees of a condition’, which in reality represents most management decision-making, and these are exactly the situations when a fuzzy logic based decision process can be most effective…

In the article To Get Better Decisions, Get a Little Fuzzy by Bob Frisch writes: It’s easy to equate– crisp, clear, black-and-white decisions with good decisions. I’ve seen this classic model of decision-making dominate companies in practically all industries and corporate cultures. But, as often as not, this drive toward clarity and closure — and the need for precision that accompanies it — leads senior management teams to waste time and make meaningless decisions. Often, it’s better to be fuzzy, to deliberately introduce imprecision into your team’s decision-making process. For example, an executive team charged with creating a high-level timeline for launching various strategic initiatives or determining whether a specific resource should be deployed would spend innumerable hours debating which ‘ones’ will be launched, immediately, and which ‘ones’ later this quarter, or which ‘ones’ two quarters from now versus next year, or even which in 60 versus 90 versus 120 days. The fact is; it doesn’t really much matter. Once reality of implementation intrudes on even the best-laid plans; decisions made by the senior management team often become more like suggestions anyway. A few years ago, one of the senior management groups I work with tried something different: Fuzzy logic.  It’s a branch of mathematics concerned with deliberately introducing imprecision into decision science. For example; washing machines, were being programmed to heat water to ‘warm’ without a specific temperature being assigned to that concept — ‘warm’ was simply the state of being hotter than cold and colder than hot. So, we decided to try a similar approach using fuzzy logic in management decisions. Rather than just putting initiatives into many specific time buckets, I asked the senior management team to make one decision, namely: Was their initiative something that would start ‘now’ (i.e., immediately — tomorrow morning 9 a.m.) or was it something that would start ‘later’ (simply defined as ‘not now’)? This made executives uncomfortable, so we introduced a third bucket, namely– ‘soon’ — defined as; ‘later than now but sooner than later’. Suddenly, the task of assigning initiatives to timeframes became dramatically simpler. The challenge of determining whether something was 30, 60, 90, or 120 days out was transformed into a much more manageable and meaningful discussion: Was their initiative something we are going to do ‘now or not’? If it’s not going to happen ‘now’, should it happen ‘soon’? That’s the discussion the CEO wanted to have, and the energy of the conversation was refocused into a much more productive channel. We soon extended this notion of fuzzy decisions not just to time, but to importance. Rather than rank each initiative in an ordered single list, as we had been doing for years, we began assigning the initiatives to priority buckets, e.g., ‘must do’, ‘should do’, and ‘nice to do’. The approach changed the task from judging the relative merits of each initiative against each other one to clustering projects with similar importance together. Since it eliminates both; problems of drawing artificially fine distinctions, on the one hand, and trying to compare apples to oranges, on the other. By using this simplified approach it enabled the team to have a truly meaningful conversation about the relative strategic urgency, rather than the relative merits, of the various initiatives. Of course when we began, few sponsors were willing to categorize their initiatives, as either; ‘later’ or ‘nice to do’. So, most projects were initially put in the ‘must do’ and ‘now’ buckets. But over the course of the conversation, a ‘high must-do’ cluster emerged that was clearly more important than the ‘low must-do’s’. As the ‘low must-do’ category devolved, predictably, into ‘high should-do’, the borders of the buckets were soon aligned into the appropriate clusters of initiatives. Assigning relative importance (e.g., ‘must do’, ‘should do’, ‘nice to do’) and relative time (e.g., ‘now’, ‘soon’, ‘later’) to a set of initiatives, and then stepping back to examine the clusters of activities– isn’t precise, isn’t black-and-white, and isn’t crisp, however, because it more closely matches the way companies are actually run, it’s a far more effective tool for aligning the various priorities of the management team.

In the article Dealing with the Early Phase of the Innovation Process Characterized by High Degree of Ambiguity by Vadim Kotelnikov writes: The early stage of an innovation process is ripe with opportunity, but it is also devoid of many definitive facts. Due to its high degree of ambiguity, the development phase has become known as ‘the fuzzy front end’. While the situations that fuzzy logic addresses are ambiguous; fuzzy logic itself is a very well-defined methodology. Business leaders use the managerial equivalent of fuzzy logic to address the ambiguity of ‘the fuzzy front end’. The core elements of the approach include:

  • No plan survives: Whatever plan you create will not be one you will ultimately implement.
  • Having a plan is better than not: Having a collective understanding of the business      and intentions enables the team to select and communicate alternate directions knowledgeably and quickly.
  • Make decisions at an early phase: You’ll never have all the data. Waiting for more      data can go indefinitely, and much of what is called data, such as market research, is more opinion than fact.
  • Be flexible: Ongoing thinking and action brings strategy to life. Scan constantly for new developments and be ready to retarget briskly when needed. Locking into any plan when the competitive context continues to change is a foolish approach.
  • Think of product families: One-off thinking yields one-off products.
  • Find a partner: Don’t do it alone. Focus internally on making a world-class contribution and then leverage others who can bring their complementary skills, resources and capabilities to the party.
  • Balance customer feedback with technology potential: Listen to your current customers, but don’t always believe them. Although customers can be overly conservative, technology by itself rarely wins.
  • Focus on opportunity, not financial returns: Money isn’t everything. Measuring return, risk, and investment solely in terms of dollars is a mistake.

Fuzzy logic is designed to deal with imperfect information, which in one or more respects is imprecise, uncertain, incomplete, unreliable, vague or partially true. In the real world, such information is the norm rather than exception. Fuzzy logic is usually defined as an approach for decision-making based on ‘degrees of truth’ rather than the usual ‘true or false’. With today’s information overload, it has become increasingly difficult to analyze the huge amounts of data and to make appropriate management decisions. It’s important to extend traditional decision-making processes by adding intuitive reasoning, human subjectivity and imprecision. Most publications in management and marketing do not address the problems which arise when using just traditional, non-fuzzy, or crisp methods. According to Tomasz Korol; globalization has led to the emergence of a complex network of relationships in the business environment, which means increased complexity and uncertainty of factors affecting all businesses. For example; many phenomena in finance and economics are fuzzy, but are treated as if they were crisp… the vague and ambiguous concepts of fuzzy logic can define terms, such as; ‘high risk’ or ‘low risk’ and make them very much relevant… According to João Paulo Carvalho and José A. B. Tomé; management of uncertainty is an intrinsically important issue in the design of decision systems, because much of the information in the knowledge base is imprecise, incomplete… In the existing systems, uncertainty is dealt through a combination of; predicate logic and probability-based methods. A serious shortcoming of these methods is that they are not capable of coming to grips with the pervasive fuzziness of information and, as a result, are mostly ad hoc in nature. A feature of fuzzy logic, which is of particular importance to ‘management of uncertainty’ is that it provides a systematic framework for dealing with fuzzy quantifiers, for example, terms as; most, many, few, not very many, almost all, infrequently, about… Fuzzy logic makes it possible to deal with different types of uncertainty within a single conceptual framework… Fuzzy logic is all about the relative importance of precision: How important is it to be exactly right when a rough answer will do?

As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning and meaningful statements lose precision. ~Lotfi Zadeh

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The Ultimate Ubiquitous Internet– Any Place, Any Time, Any App, Any Device… Omnipresent: Web Stats, Facts, Myths…

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The ubiquitous Internet will be understood not as a screen of text and graphics but as a transport mechanism, the ether through which interactivity happens. It will appear on your computer screen; on your TV set; your car dashboard; your cell phone; hand-held game machines; maybe even your microwave oven. ~Darcy DiNucci

Next Big Thing: Ubiquitous Internet! Ubiquitous access is one of the main characteristics of the new Internet; it’s a key enabling technology for the evolving global information age. Recent data show that in the future years Internet users with mobile/wireless access will easily outnumber fixed-line connections. Moreover, the proliferation of mobile devices with large processing capacity is vanguard for a new era of ubiquitous communications,  where users will simultaneously engage different electronic platforms, enabling them to  access information from; anyone, anywhere, and anything… A new generation of smart wireless mobile devices and apps will be the gateways that will facilitate the ubiquitous Internet. These new devices will access most any information (e.g., video, multimedia, appliance…) while communicating globally, without restriction… However, not all experts agree; ‘Teresa Ritter, Alison Powell, and Catherine Middleton’ in a study asked: Should the Internet be everywhere? If the new Internet becomes ubiquitous, what will it look like? Their research suggests that a new ubiquitous Internet would not be in great demand by many current Internet users… the study explored the experienced Internet users’ opinion and attitude about the value of a ubiquitous Internet. Their findings showed– that despite its widely recognized benefits many people would embrace a new Internet, somewhat reluctantly. Apparently, there are more questions than answers, for example… other pundits say; the ubiquity of the Internet is evolving and will continue to evolve into a worldwide network with unlimited access to information and communication. But, a more important question: What is the mission of a ubiquitous Internet? Will it connect the world’s populations in ways that advance global prosperity, business productivity, social interaction, education, and good will among all people? Or, will it be something less?

In the article The Growth of the Ubiquitous Internet by irregulartimes writes: Ubiquitous: Something that’s ubiquitous is omnipresent, everywhere at the same time. This is pretty intense stuff… Also, it may even include things that don’t even exist. This is one of those words invented to describe religious concepts that have never been witnessed. The obvious example is God. God is supposed to be ubiquitous: everywhere at once and keeping track of everything. You may have noticed the Internet has begun to reach God-like proportions. Well, there are some who would have that become literally true. They want to create what they call the ubiquitous Internet. To me, this seems like the ultimate in marketing hype. Here’s what is being planned for the new Internet– it’s just in early stage at this point, but you know how fast the computer industry moves these days. They want to put the Internet into everything: It’ll be in your car, helping you find your way and giving you information about wherever that is, It’ll be in your house, turning lights on and off for you, operating all of your appliances. There won’t be any separate TV or computer anymore. It’ll be all around you, with displays in every room. It’ll be at your place of work, where you won’t need to sign in anymore, because the building itself will be able to sense when you enter and when you leave. The ubiquitous Internet will even be on or in your body as a medical implant or a badge that communicates with medical sensors that are nearby. Wow! Isn’t technology wonderful? It really is impressive that they’re soon going to be able to do this kind of stuff. I won’t deny that the ubiquitous Internet could do some really remarkable things. The question that remains unanswered is– why the ubiquitous Internet is needed at all? Do we really need a connection to some international communications network; to turn on a lamp in our living room, to heat a cup of coffee in a microwave, or play music on a stereo? What’s the advantage? Maybe we’re developing this ubiquitous Internet simply because it’s possible. We can have it, so we make it…

In the article What is the Future of the Internet? by Jonathan Strickland writes: Nicholas Carr wrote an article titled: Is Google making us stupid? In it Carr said; he noticed that as his reliance on the Internet for research and entertainment increased, other of his faculties seemed to atrophy. One was his concentration or focus. He hypothesized that because of the way we navigate the Internet, in general– and the World Wide Web, in particular– we are always leaping from one piece of information to another. So, does the Internet affect the way humans think? There does seem to be a correlation in the way we record and access information and the way we think. As we develop systems that allow us to save our knowledge for posterity, we unload that burden onto an inanimate object. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean we become less intelligent. However, not everyone agrees with Carr’s hypothesis. For example, Pew Research Center performs a survey each year about the future of the Internet. The research polls a group of experts and industry analysts on a series of questions. One of the questions they asked the respondents was; if they thought Carr was right about Google, and the Internet in general, making us stupid… Eighty-one percent of experts disagreed. The Internet is a tool that we use to help us learn– it doesn’t replace learning itself. Optimists hope that the new Internet will teach us about ourselves and others. For example, the new Internet will reach into countries and cultures that have been segregated from the rest of the world. Some hope this new Internet will provide the common ground that allows various people to learn and understand each other, possibly bringing about an era of peace and cooperation. Ultimately, the ubiquitous Internet could begin to erase traditional boundaries between cultures. But that sort of global change isn’t trivial. It will take decades before we see a noticeable difference in the way we think about one another. Some cynics think that even a tool as useful and pervasive as the Internet, it  won’t overcome the hurdles we face in becoming a united world…

In the article Ubiquitous Internet Approaching but Not Here Yet by Larry Magid writes: The era of ubiquitous Internet access is fast approaching and it can’t arrive soon enough. So even though the prospects for ubiquitous Internet are getting better, we still have a long way to go. While current 4G networks are fine for using a smartphone for e-mail, texting and limited Web access, they are not generally adequate for serious use of a computer or iPad-like device. Not only do we need more access, we need faster and more affordable access, in the form of a ubiquitous Internet. My hope is that as the carriers roll out their next-generation services, they will not only provision enough bandwidth to make them truly useful but also will price them within the budgets of most consumers and business users…

In the article How Many Web  Sites Are There? Julie Bort writes: There are 644 million active websites on the Internet, according to Netcraft. Netcraft’s March 2012 website survey discovered 644,275,754 active websites, to be precise. Half a billion is a lot, and the Internet is still growing by leaps and bounds. The March numbers were up by 31.4 million (5.1%) over the previous month. Other Web stats, facts… 2011:

  • 3.146 billion: Number of email accounts worldwide.
  • 95.5 million: Number of .com domain names.
  • 2.1 billion: Internet users worldwide,
  • 800+ million: Number of users on Facebook.
  • 5.9 billion: The estimated number of mobile subscriptions worldwide.
  • 1 trillion: The number of video playbacks on YouTube.
  • 100 billion: Estimated number of photos on Facebook.

Nielsen periodically releases data from its studies of consumer behavior online. Here are the latest findings regarding social networking, branding and world net usage. The average U.S. user spends more than 60 hours a month online. This is the equivalent of 30 straight days a year. Social networking accounts for 22% of the time, and 42% is spent viewing content. Other activities, such as; email, commerce and searching, accounts for 36%. Among people who use the Internet, each person visits 2,646 Web pages on 89 domains and logs in 57 times per month. The percentage of all online users that visit Google is 82%. The other top Internet brands include MSN/Bing (62%), Facebook (54%), Yahoo (53%), Microsoft (48%), YouTube (47%), Wikipedia (35%), AOL (27%), Ebay (26%) and Apple (26%). Among Internet users, 80% in Brazil use social network sites. Other countries with high percentages include Italy (73%), Spain (75%), Japan (70%), U. S. (67%), UK (69%), France (67%), Australia (59%), Germany (51%) and Switzerland (51%). The percentage of U.S. adults who use the Internet, at all, each day is 55%; 45% email, 40% search engine, 30% news, 18% bank online, 15% watch video, 15% use social networking , 10% read blogs, 5% buy product, and 5% play games online…

Mark Twain once said: It’s not the things you don’t know that will hurt you; it’s the things you think you know that isn’t so. The Internet explosion has spawned quite a few popular myths, for example: Business use is driving the growth of the Internet. According to Eric Raymond; don’t believe it. Business use of the Internet is important, sure, but the Internet has always been led and is still by social and expressive use. For every two corporate types soberly exchanging business data there are ten (10) swapping personal email and twenty (20) just hanging out in Usenet forums or IRC. The ratio of corporate to personal web pages is similarly lopsided. According to H. C. Covington; many people don’t realize that the standards that define the Internet, and a lot of the software that embodies those standards, are maintained by a cadre of long-term volunteers. These people, the Internet hacker cadre, have engineering-driven ideas  about where they want the Internet to go. While most are not hostile to the commercial use of the Internet per se, but they have no intention of letting corporations control its future. These realities have implications about the culture of the Internet. It’s not an unformed void waiting to be turned into a cyber-spatial shopping mall by eager entrepreneurs. The Internet already has a large native and transient population with their own agendas, habits, and history. That means– business  will find that it must adapt to a new ubiquitous Internet, and not the other way around…

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