June 24, 2013

Anyone who has begun to think, places some portion of the world in jeopardy.”

— John Dewey,
American philosopher, psychologist and education reformer

Coors beer

June 24, 2013

By  via Innovate on Purpose Blog   Article

The logical limits of product innovation

“Innovation appears stalled in many industries because the product or service has reached its point of diminishing marginal returns for innovation. … We’ve perfected the brewing of beer.  We’ve created thousands of types of beer – lager, stout, porter, hefeweizen (my favorite), bock, etc.   Have we reached the point of diminishing returns for beer innovation?  I think the signals are flashing “yes”.  Here’s why.

Coors recently ran an ad that highlighted the beer can.  The can had three significant attributes they wanted to call to attention.  First, the mountains on the can change color when the beer is cold.  Second, the can has a liner to keep the beer cold.  Third, the can has a new pop-top to improve airflow and drinkability.  All of these things may be labelled “innovation”, but they are innovation in packaging, in marketing and in information signalling, not beer innovation. …

Note that some of these “innovations” are a bit perverse.  Many beer drinkers will tell you that beer shouldn’t be too cold, otherwise you lose the flavor.  And does anyone need a more technical pop-top?  Were there unacceptable incidents of beer spillage or individuals who failed to get the beer from can to mouth previously?

When product manufacturers start innovating the packaging, the information about the product, the channel or the business model, it’s a good signal that they’ve reached a diminishing return on innovation in the product itself, and only a significant disruption will spark new product innovation in the sector.

Innovation itself isn’t stalled, it’s simply on hold for the next disruptive evolutionary cycle.  Innovation isn’t a smooth, continuous process but a spiky discontinuous process made up of long period of incremental innovation punctuated by short bursts of disruptive innovation.”

Mind-numbing sedative

June 24, 2013

By Shane Parrish via   Article

The Buffett Formula — How To Get Smarter

“The best thing a human being can do is to help another human being know more.” — Charlie Munger

“Go to bed smarter than when you woke up.” — Charlie Munger

“Most people go though life not really getting any smarter. Why? They simply won’t do the work required. It’s easy to come home, sit on the couch, watch TV and zone out until bed time rolls around. But that’s not really going to help you get smarter.

Sure you can go into the office the next day and discuss the details of last night’s episode of Mad Men or Game of Thrones. Sure you know what happened on Survivor. But that’s not knowledge accumulation, it’s a mind-numbing sedative.

You can acquire knowledge if you want it. In fact there is a simple formula, which if followed is almost certain to make you smarter over time. Simple but not easy. It involves a lot of hard work.

We’ll call it the Buffett formula, named after Warren Buffett and his longtime business partner at Berkshire Hathaway, Charlie Munger. These two are an extraordinary combination of minds. They are also learning machines. …

We can learn a lot from them. They didn’t get smart because they are both billionaires. No, in fact they became billionaires, in part, because they are smart. More importantly, they keep getting smarter. And it turns out that they have a lot to say on the subject.

How to get smarter ….”

“Touchy feely” or “tough“

June 24, 2013

By Terry Starbucker via   Article

The Full Spectrum of Leadership (and The Danger of the Comfortable Middle)

“‘Touchy Feelyness’. … doling out praise, encouragement, and ultimately compensation – providing a LOT of it to the people who really were outperforming their peers and over delivering on all their promises. …

Full Accountability’. … see and acknowledge that someone is under performing their responsibilities, and taking appropriate and decisive action to either change that behavior or let that person go altogether. …

‘Comfortable Middle’ – … nobody gets overpraised or overcompensated, or conversely, “written up” … or let go. … nobody gets jealous or envious because some individuals are singled out with extravagant praise or a fantastic raise or bonus, and nobody works with much anxiety because its rare when somebody gets coached or let go, or doesn’t get a raise. …

What really happens when we live only in the comfortable middle is a bunch of resentment – resentment by those who excel for a lack of real and tangible recognition, and resentment by those who do their job well every day for those who don’t, and … get the same raises they do.

The best objective indicator of how much a company lives in the comfortable middle is to look at the range of the annual raises … I need to get out of the middle when all the raises are bunched together, without much deviation from the highest to the lowest.

we must really practice “Full Spectrum” management to truly be effective. Which means a manager must have the ability to be both ‘touchy feely’ and ‘tough’.”

Dumbest comments

June 24, 2013

By  via   Article

10 Dumbest Salary Review Comments

“… real-life comments made during real-life salary reviews:

10. ‘Yes, I know you are my best employee and you train all our new employees.  However, I don’t see how that qualifies you for a raise.’

9. ‘That’s right, no raise this year. Maybe next year when you come off that high horse, you’ll get my coffee when I ask you to.’

8. ‘No, I’m not going to send your staff off for training. Those idiots have no idea what they’re doing!’

7. ‘No, we don’t promote family members first. It’s just coincidence.’

6. ‘I’ve got great news. You managed to avoid a salary decrease.’

5. ‘Before you came to my department, you were such a shining star–full of new ideas and enthusiasm. What happened to you?’

4. ‘I don’t care if you worked nights and weekends to meet an impossible deadline.  Around here, hard work doesn’t count, only results.’

3. ‘I don’t know why you are complaining about the small raise. Your wife is working and I know that with both of your salaries, you guys make more than me.’

2. ‘I’m very disappointed in your communication skills. Not once during the year did you ask me to review your shortcomings. Now I’m forced to rate you poorly in all those categories.’

1. ‘This is a salary review. Let’s not focus on the money.'”

Decelerating education

June 24, 2013

By Drake Baer via   Article

Hone “Strategic Patience,” Watch Your Creativity Spike

“Deep patience. Close attention. … the skills for finding the ‘details, relationships, and orders that take time to see’ can be introduced.

[Harvard art history professor Jennifer L. Roberts] calls it ‘decelerating education’ … she prompted her pupils to plop down in front of a painting forthree hours … details began to reveal themselves, like about the shape of the boy’s ear or the squirrel’s ruff, the way the boy’s hand was in proportion to the glass of water, how the folds of the curtain fell, how the eye was depicted, and what these varied symbols may mean. …

Smart people have told us about how acute, focused observation births creativity. And we’ve discussed, innovation often begins with observation before moving to addition or subtraction. …

When P&G wanted to make new a product for people’s homes, they studied they way we cleaned. After hours of fieldwork, they realized that people were spending as much time cleaning their mops as they used the mops themselves. …

In the same way that a gourmet can savor the flavors of a dish and reverse-engineer its preparation, the patience-practicing, insight-seeking observer becomes familiar with the subject of her study, whether canvases or customers–and in so doing, can begin to know their needs.”

Let’s go for a walk

June 24, 2013

By James Gree via   Article

What Steve Jobs Taught Me After I said “No” to Him

“If he felt it was going to be a particularly difficult conversation, he’d take me out for a walk. It was never, ever, a good sign when Steve dropped by and said Hi James, ‘let’s go for a walk.’ …

So what did I learn from Steve Jobs?

I learned that you must pay incredible attention to what someone wants to do when you hire them. If what they want isn’t exactly what the company needs, you shouldn’t hire them, no matter how smart, driven, or successful they are. … If someone isn’t working out in the position you hired him or her for, it rarely turns around. If the fit is wrong, as a leader you should end it quickly, but not aggressively, and don’t make it about the person. I remember when I walked out the door he said, “Life is long and I’m sure our paths will cross again.” And sure enough, Steve and I stayed in touch. …

Building relationships first and doing business second is another lesson I learned from working with Steve. When you are going into a new situation, build relationships with people before anything else. Make sure everyone is on board before you make decisions or you will alienate people (sometimes your best ones) in the process.”