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Archive for May 2010

Making Innovation an Expectation & Celebrating Failure as Learning

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Try this at your company…

At the end of every meeting the chairperson should set aside 15 minutes for anyone who is exploring a new idea.  If no one has anything to say they are told that they are not doing their job.  This process, followed consistently, produces a stream of new ideas and creative thinking.

Jack Welch, former CEO of GE,  used to insist that every meeting include an exchange of new ideas or new techniques.

A “forgive and remember” learning culture…

We celebrated mistakes at a management gathering with 1,000 people in the room. A manager would get up and say why the environmentally sensitive light bulb or whatever it was…had failed…Then we’d give them $1,000 or a TV or something, depending on the scale of the thing. The point was to share the learning and get smarter as an organization. – Jack Welch

An early experience…

Kirsty Wark: “I understand one of the first things you did at GE was blow up the plant you were working in and that it had a profound effect on you. Can you explain?”

Jack Welch: “I did accidentally blow up the plant, yes. I was about 25 and had been experimenting with a different mixture. There was an explosion. I was scared stiff when I went to the manager. But, he was mainly curious as to why I had done what I had done and what I had learnt from it. ‘Would the process I was trying have worked,’ is what interested him!

That real encouragement to get it right rather than a punishment did have a profound effect on me, yes.”

The Innovation Machine at Google

Given the strategy to let a thousand flowers bloom, many products are bound to fail. However, Google executives appear to be undeterred by failure. In fact, Schmidt encourages it: “Please fail very quickly—so that you can try again” is how he described his outlook to the Economist. Similarly, Page told Fortune that he had praised an executive who made a several-million-dollar blunder: “‘I’m so glad you made this mistake. Because I want to run a company where we are moving too quickly and doing too much, not being too cautious and doing too little. If we don’t have any of these mistakes, we’re just not taking enough risk.’” Needless to say, that level of risk tolerance is rare in corporations, despite the widespread belief that error and innovation go hand in hand.
Reverse Engineering Google’s Innovation Machine, Harvard Business Review April 2008

Written by frrl

May 11, 2010 at 4:05 am

National Public Radio (NPR) does Lady Gaga

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Certainly it is a sign of Cultural Icon status when a staid organization like  National Public Radio does one of your hit songs.  Such is the status of Lady Gaga’s hit song “Telephone”.  This evening, Monday, Bill O’Reilly admitted that he is also a Gaga fan while a day before on CBS 60 Minutes Andy Rooney admitted he didn’t know who she was.  O’Reilly’s message for Andy was, “No, Perry Como is no longer in the top 40”.   This exchange suggested to me the inevitable “hand-off’ of the generations.  Why does being as old an Andy Rooney necessarily mean that you have to be out of touch with the popular culture?  Must it be so?

Here is the staff of National Public Radio doing “Telephone” by Lady Gaga.  Good for her; good for them!
Nina Totenberg?  Heaven help us!

Lady Gaga has become the first artist to have her music videos watched over one billion times online.  It seems the Fame Monster, as she calls herself on her album, has become an unstoppable beast.  Her outrageous, often obscene style and her synthetic dancefloor pop has gripped the attention of the music world since her debut single LoveGame in 2008. 

But it is her videos that really allow her to express her vision of herself as an in-your-face, other-worldly star. Her success has been helped by savvy marketing such as the Facebook organised National Gaga Day. 

She also advertises products in her videos and has taken a post as a creative director at Polaroid.

Written by frrl

May 11, 2010 at 3:14 am

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On taking a lightning strike and the EMP(Electro Magnetic Pulse)

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Or, don’t mess with Mother Nature

About  a decade ago at home, during a thunderstorm, I was using a computer with a CRT monitor.  All of sudden there was a huge loud cracking sound.  In an instant, my CRT monitor was a rainbow of colors. 

Long ago, having experimented with a magnet and a television set, I know that placing a magnet close to a television (CRT) and turning the magnet can produce this same rainbow of colors. 

Some CRTs had a degaussing feature that would remove any significant magnetism from a CRT.  There used to be degaussing loops used to accomplish the same for televisions.  These are also used to erase magnetic tapes.

During that crack of lightning, in addition to creating a rainbow of colors on my computer CRT monitor, I found that a VCR was fried as was my C Crane radio.  The computer continued to work as normal even though it was on during the event.

After this event, not wanting to mess with Mother Nature, I purchased surge protectors, and a UPS for some of my equipment.

However, this was not enough to protect my equipment from a second attempt by Mother Nature to destroy my electronic equipment

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by frrl

May 9, 2010 at 5:28 am

Welcome to the Revolution

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Stats from Video and Social Media Thought Leaders

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Written by frrl

May 8, 2010 at 4:21 am

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Population Control and The Tragedy of the Commons

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I came across an article from Science that was published back in 1960′s.  It was worth another read. 

One of the themes in this article is that there is a class of problems that have no technical solution.  To continue to try to create ever more complex technical solutions to problems that are not solved by technology is misguided and futile.  They key is to recognize the nature of the problem and the class of solution that is appropriate.

There are many “uncomfortable problems” that society needs to confront and provide a long term solution.  One such problem  is population control in a world of limited resources.  Population control is just one of a class of problems that can be categorized under the heading of  ”The Tragedy of the Commons”.

Simply stated, the Tragedy of the Commons is that the natural tendency for each individual to maximize their own benefit and utility in a world of limited resources and this behavior brings ruin to all.

From the perspective of the Tragedy of the Commons one can see that the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights may be misguided: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by frrl

May 2, 2010 at 3:20 pm

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There is no such thing as a Dysfunctional Organization

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The theory is that there is no such thing as a dysfunctional organization.  That is, every organization is the way it is because the people in that system want it that way.  Organizations are already perfectly aligned to achieve the results they get.

Why do organizational change efforts often fail?  One reason could be that organizational change does not go deep enough.  Executives need to realize that they are not solving traditional problems, that  they “own” the organization they created, and that, they themselves, might be the problems.  Darwin is alive in the 21′st century global business environment.  Adapt or perish.

Read some interesting insights from Ronald Heifetz on adaptive change, the difference between authority and leadership, and what it takes for companies to thrive and compete in the context of uncertainty and complexity in the current economic environment. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by frrl

May 1, 2010 at 3:21 pm

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