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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Business-led Innovation

Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
2:01 pm


This morning I watched an interesting webcast where Bob Evans, Oracle’s Senior Vice President, Communications spoke with Jean-Marc Frangos Managing Director, External Innovation, BT Technology Service and Operations, on the subject of innovation to provide outstanding customer experience.  I was impressed with a statement Frangos made:

“Innovation is not something a special team does—it is something that must be ingrained in the mindsets and behaviors of everyone, and for which, ideally, there should be no special process.”

I learned that last year, Oracle sponsored a study on this subject by the Economist Intelligence Unit, “Cultivating Business-Led Innovation:”

The study, including results from a survey of 226 global respondents, also features customer, author, and expert interviews on strategies for fostering innovation, along with information about technologies that support innovation and lead to competitive advantage.

The study concluded six recommendations for improving the process of business-driven innovation:

Culture comes from the top: it’s up to the leadership to set a tone that makes workers feel empowered to innovate—and allowed to fail.

Success in innovation is also about failure: redeploying members of teams involved in failed innovations can help to increase the prospect of success elsewhere by ensuring that learnings are disseminated.

Pushing down authority is an enabler: empowering smaller teams to build their own tools to solve business problems helps to give rise to wider innovations.

Encourage small iterative projects: These set up an environment in which repeated experimentation and learning refine winning ideas.

Disruptive technology trends are empowering: executive respondents to our survey feel that the IT department should play a key role in educating business leaders about new technology trends. Knowledge is of course critical to using new technologies appropriately and effectively.

Get everyone involved: look for opportunities to increase the cross-fertilisation of ideas between as many business units as possible. Encourage customer participation and customer data comparisons in innovation initiatives.

Innovation is tough, especially for big companies with competing priorities.  It is always enjoyable to be involved with intelligent, motivated people who believe in innovation and create outstanding results.

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Learn to be Simple … Find Joy in Work

Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
7:41 pm

Jay Deragon’s post today was entitled, “Reframing the Meaning of Work.”  The final phrase in the post was “learn to be simple.”

The proposed simplicity?

work with a purpose creates joy …

work that creates joy creates happy customers …

happy customers are loyal and more profitable.

How does this affect employees?

What happens when someone wants to pay you to do what you love to do? The meaning of work then changes to an extension of your natural talents and instead of labor there is joy. 

How about entrepreneurs?

The reason entrepreneurs love to work and usually don’t consider how much time they spend working is because they intrinsically understand the purpose of their work and it satisfies their heart and mind.

How does this affect you?  What is your purpose in work? Does it bring you joy?

Henry Ford

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Powerful Lesson in Leadership from the Mongolian Steppe

Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
3:26 am

Commenting on the lifestyle of the traditional Mongolian herdsman, Mongolian President Elbegdorj stated,

Many people call this primitive, but this is not primitive, it is close to nature, it is a good life.

While my son Eric served a church mission to Mongolia, we grew to love the Mongolian people and their way of life.  In this brief CNN video about the boy herdsman turned President of Mongolia, we find a great leadership lesson about humility, vision and remaining close to our roots. This is a powerful lesson we in the more industrialized world should take to heart.

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Word of the Day: “Frenemies”

Cloud Computing
Author: Mark Dixon
Saturday, May 14, 2011
9:45 pm

The new word I added to my vocabulary today is “Frenemies,” proposed in an interesting TechCrunch article, “Competing In The Cloud—Let’s Be Frenemies,” authored by Prasad Thammineni, CEO and Co-Founder of OfficeDrop, a scanner software and digital filing system. Prasad sets the stage by saying:

Competition between software companies used to mean safeguarding your code and suing anyone that came close to it. Today, many larger technology companies are adopting a different strategy of actually bringing new users to companies they would have tried to squash a decade ago. The cloud is changing the old-school software mentality that a customer’s data needs to be locked down—giving rise to a new ecosystem where everything interoperates. So companies that in the past would have been bitter enemies are now working together as pseudo-friends—“frenemies, ” if you will.

Proprietary, closed systems are being replaced with interconnected services that let the user’s data flow. Earlier this year, the Washington Post pointed to a new era of collaboration amongst software giants like Google and Microsoft, and cited the revolving door of talent in the Valley as a key driver in this cooperation.

So, how do we compete in this new world? Prasad recommends three things:

  1. do something better than anyone else
  2. make it easy for others to add on services to your own and
  3. make it work with the platforms that your ideal customers are already using—even if what they’re using seems quasi-competitive to your own product

Good advice, I think, for all of us who are connected in cyberspace. I think I’d rather be friends with you than enemies, but I do like this new word, “Frenemies.”   It seems much more on-line and in the clouds than the old-school “coopetition” that has bounced around the business vernacular for years.

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Tumultuous Changes in The World’s Most Admired Companies

Author: Mark Dixon
Monday, March 7, 2011
4:42 am


CNNMoney.com/Fortune Magazine published an intriguing article by Geoff Colvin  last Thursday, entitled “The World’s Most Admired Companies.” I enjoyed how the article compared the recent financial upheavals to the time when 40-year old Ted Turner skippered his yacht to victory through a terrible storm.  Turner’s strategy?

"We kept going at full speed during the height of the storm," he told an interviewer. But wasn’t he afraid? After all, 15 people died. Yes, he said, "but I was more scared of losing than I was of dying."

Mr. Colvin observed that many businesses weathered the economic storms differently than others, making this year the most tumultuous in the thirteen year history of “The World’s Most Admired”:

Now that the skies are clearing after the worst economic storm in modern history — far more violent than the experts had predicted — we face a surprising new roster of winners and losers, as our 2011 ranking of the World’s Most Admired Companies makes clear. Stress in the recession and financial crisis brought out traits that may not have been noticed when the sailing was smooth. Upstarts became champions. Famed competitors fell behind; some didn’t make it through the storm.

Ranking the Most Admired Companies was done by assigning scores in the categories of Innovation, People Management, Use of Assets, Social Responsibility, Management Quality, Financial Soundness, Long Term Investment, Product Quality and Global Competitiveness.  An interactive page is provided to view the complete list and by several categories.

It was interesting to see my employer, Oracle, ranked number 2 in the Computer Software industry (after Adobe) and 48th overall. 

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Jared Dudley, You Inspire Me!

Leadership, Sports
Author: Mark Dixon
Thursday, August 12, 2010
6:07 am

image Jared Dudley, you inspire me!  You really do.

For my second sports blog of the day, I share with you three tweets that reveal why Jared Dudley succeeds.  Jared is a go-to bench player for the Phoenix Suns.  He has not been blessed with superlative talent.  In the high-flying, above-the-rim style of NBA basketball, he can barely dunk the basketball.  But the kid works, and works, and works … and his persistence pays off in games.  Time after time, his coming off the bench inspires the team to new levels of effort and performance.

A bit of his secret?

At 11pm on Tuesday night earlier this week, in the middle of the summer, Jared was watching film, trying to figure out how to improve his game.  He shares his thoughts with us:

Every night I been watching film on the top players I have to guard. Tonight is Kobe and the Lakers. It’s cuz of him I’m goin on this diet lol

I’m watching this WCF vs lakers, and Kobe can wear u down..Right when i thought I had some of his moves down he shows me something new

My thinking is I’m not getting any taller or a longer wing span.. So I better get in the best BBALL shape possible.. Back to the LAB

The best BBALL shape possible.  Yes, we can learn from that.  No matter where we are, or what we are doing in life, we can improve our performance, regardless of physical constraints that would hold us down.  We need to study, and work, and study and work some more.  Then, we can rise above our limitations and achieve greatness.

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Busticate the Behemoths in Your Life

Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
4:40 am

Busticate: to break into pieces

Behemoth: any creature or thing of monstrous size or power

Image14While I was in heads-down study mode for the CISSP exam last month, on two successive days, the Dictionary.com Word of the Day service sent out the words “Busticate” and “Behemoth” to my mobile phone.

I chuckled a  bit and tried to apply that advice to the exam: Break the broad spectrum of Information Security subject matter into manageable chunks and focus on each chunk in turn.  It seemed to help.  When I receive the results from my test (yes, I am anxious), I’ll have to attribute partial credit to Dictionary.com!

When confronted by seemingly insurmountable obstacles in our lives, we can benefit from this approach: Let’s break out our figurative big hammers and Busticate the Behemoths into manageable chunks that we can successfully manage.

At least for awhile, I think I’ll let this new addage replace the advice of “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, chew well.”

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