Currently viewing the tag: "Nilofer Merchant"

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Improving Your Idea Generating Skills… by  Paul Williams

A hunch is your creativity trying to tell you something” – Unknown

So where do you find yourself and what are you doing when you get a great idea…or any idea?

I’ll bet that you said something close to one of these:

Cultivating Innovation When The Future Is Unknowable by Joe Brewer via Ralph-Ohr

Sometimes what we think we know is more consequential than what we actually know.  As we nestled into our beds on the night of September 10th, 2001 most of us did not know that we would awaken to a terrorist attack that would unleash a decade of global unrest.

Before You Decide Vision Is Passé: 8 Reasons Why Vision Matters by Jesse Lyn Stoner

Have you ever been part of a team that magically came together? -where everyone thoroughly enjoyed being part of the team, worked together in synchronicity, and where you were really proud of what you accomplished?

The Rise of Shared Value by Arie Goldshlager

The JWT’s trendspotters recently included The Rise of Shared Value in their Top Ten trends for 2012:

Large Organizations and the Business Model Canvas by Paul Hobcraft

Recently I was having a ‘conversation’ with Alexander Osterwalder concerning the limited adoption of the Business Model Canvas within large organizations. I was asking him if he agreed and if he had any thoughts on this.

                                                                                                                                                 How permission to innovate leads to accidental innovation by Jorge Barba

Two weeks ago I wrote about the four signs that show that you have a culture of innovation. Well here’s another one:

A good sign that you’re innovating is when employees don’t ask for permission to do so. They just do it.

Use Your Value Proposition to Avoid Fatal Business Models by Tim Kastelle

What do you think of when you think of Swiss Watches?

You probably think of high-end brands, that have been making well-crafted watches for many years. Brands like Rolex, or Patek Philippe, or George Clooney and his Omega:

2012 – The Year of the Interface by Greg Satell

Besides his impressive array of trysts, Captain Kirk had very little on today’s average Joe. Personal communicators are now old hat, tricorders are right around the corner and even teleportation no longer seems completely out of reach.

Reinventing Collaboratively by Deborah Mills-Scofield

After co-creating on Business Model Generation with author Alex Osterwalder, I received an invitation from Steve Denning to review a book he was writing on transforming management (The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management).

Are You Standing Out Today? By Nilofer Merchant

People buy two categories of things.

The distinct. And the generic.

The distinct items are the things that have a limited commodity, that are artisan in nature, that are worth paying a premium for. They stand out for some reason. The generic items are, well, the things you find on Amazon.

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Status Quophiles and Quophobes by Deborah Mills Scofield

Ever know anyone who will explicitly say he/she doesn’t think innovation is important? No! So listen carefully for the magic word – “but”.   Some of you know how much I love to challenge the status quo so here’s my theory: Status Quophiles see the glass as half empty and want to make sure it doesn’t become totally empty.  Status Quophobes are Innovators – they see the half empty glass as half full, waiting to be filled up!

Life’s What You Make It by Tim Kastelle

Well, we’re all getting older. What do you make of it? I ran across an interesting post by Ben Casnocha, which referenced an article by Benjamin Schwarz which includes this comment on John Updike:

The Pitfalls of Prediction by Greg Satell

Prognostication is a multi-billion dollar industry.  We have weathermen, Wall Street Analysts, political pundits and futurologists.  They all claim some expertise.


Hang Your Work in a Tree Tonight by Jesse Lyn Stoner

If you do what you love for a living, you’ll never work a day in your life. ~anonymous

An appealing thought, if it means living an integrated life.
However…there’s a big difference between living an integrated life and being consumed by work.

Creativity And Innovation In Small And Medium Size Firms by Idris Mootee

I am in Egypt this week and trying to finish three big Power Point decks, writing 6 documents and finished reading 63 documents with a slow Internet connection. And trying to finalize the editorial content for March 2012 issue of my magazine. It is not easy.

Collaboration Revs Results by Robyn McMaster

Bantering ideas back and forth triggered new insights for me and four other leaders around around the table.  Innovative possibilities spoken helped us see past familiar approaches to consider the experimental.  At times ideas were spoken so quickly it was hard to keep up!

Change will happen whether you like it or not by Jorge Barba

Companies are still scrambling with the rise of social networks like Twitter. If people think you suck they’ll gladly express themselves and let everyone else who listens to them. Oh and by the way, this happens in real-time.

8 Dangers of Collaboration by Nilofer Merchant

Most of what is written about collaboration is positive. Even hip. Collaboration is championed enthusiastically by the Enterprise 2.0 experts, as well as leading thinkers like Don Tapscott as the crucial approach for the 21st century.

Do Nice Guys Finish Last?  By Jonah Lehrer via Ralph-Ohr

In 1948, the legendary baseball manager Leo Durocher declared that “nice guys finish last.” Although Durocher would later deny the quote, his pithy line summarizes a popular and pessimistic take on human nature. When it comes to success, we assume that making it to the top requires ethical compromises.

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What’s Your Platform for Value Co-Creation? By  Graham Hill

A couple of years back I wrote a speculative blog post at CustomerThink entitled How Customer Co-Creation is the Future of Business. In many ways my prediction was right, Customer Co-Creation IS the future of business, but not exactly in the way I had imagined.


Two Footed Questions Fuse Arts and Science by Ellen Weber

Two-footed questions drive curiosity and they can convert even ordinary minds, into expert problem solvers?

Marketing, Science and Pseudoscience by Greg Satell

“Science” is a word that gets thrown around a lot.  We hear that “scientists say” so and so and then hear later that other scientists say something totally different.


More Mental Oomph though Others! By Robyn McMaster

Just go down diagonally…


Come On Over by Nilofer Merchant

First, I would spend a month or two in a frenzy of painting, and buying new furnishings that I wanted to arrive immediately, hanging art up in just the perfect spot, updating floorboards, changing out light fixtures and, well, obsessing to make the place “homey”.


Why Creative People Are Rarely Seen as Leaders by Susan Cain via Ralph Ohr

We are in love with the word “Eureka,” and for good reason.  Creativity is magic: the ability to create something out of nothing, to make connections that others don’t see.


Strategic Innovation And The Quest For Breakthrough Ideas by Idris Mootee

Innovation is now a very hot topic at the C-Suites. I have speaking a lot on the subject the last 5 years. The funny part is I am talking about Strategic Innovation and many still talk about Technology Innovation as if it was the sole source of innovation.


A step backward by Tim Brown
The UK has long had an impressive track record of producing successful designers and engineers. Many credit that success to a focus on design within the education system. Significant investments were made in the second half of the 20th Century on design and engineering programs at the University level but more importantly for the last 20 years design and technology has been mandated as part of the core curriculum in high schools.

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Diversity, complexity, chaos and working smarter by Harold Jarche via Ralp-Ohr

Here are some of the things I learned via Twitter this past week.

What Diversity Really Means by Alicia Arenas

There was a pretty fantastic Twitter conversation happening last week on #TChat; it was about diversity. Be sure to check out the preview on MonsterThinking and the #TChat recap.


SOMETHING NEW: MEASURING TEAM IQ by Karsten Jonsen via Arie Goldshlager

Teams have intelligence just like individual people do. But the intelligence factor of human groups is not simply the average of its members, in fact that has only little to do with it.

This Space Intentionally Left White by Sabina Nawaz

Looking for an edge over your competition? Searching for an untapped market? Try slowing down to see more, two hours at a time.



Value Co-Creation Canvas by Wim Rampen


6 Ways to Spot Liars and Fools by Greg Sattel

Some people are dishonest, some are just plain stupid and lots write articles and provide commentary.  Inevitably there’s going to be some intersection between the three sets.

Random Thoughts On Muggles, Magic And Design Thinking by Idris Mootee

For those of you who are not familiar with Muggles, they are people who are incapable of magic, and who are usually unaware of the wizarding world. Design Thinking is sort of like wizardries, it takes certain type of people with the certain type of training, Hogwarts or Harvard.

Laughter sets your mind free by Jorge Barba

A few days ago I was part of a brainstorming session for a client who recently opened a new restaurant in Mexico. The goal of the brainstorming session was to come up with ideas on how to create an experience that would make customers talk about it to their friends.

Picking the Big Idea by Nilofer Merchant

Most of us make things happen, get results, and deliver. But ask us if we’re focused on building our vision, on our big goals or if we even know what our big goal is, and what will likely follow is some combination of this: a big pause, or a look down at the carpeted floor, or talk of corporate handcuffs, or a nervous laugh, or a sudden change of subject.

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12 Sparks for Heads-Up Creativity by Robyn McMaster

Do you find your creativity at a lull and needing a jolt at times?  For extra spark, gain insights from leaders and designers to jump-start your creativity.  Consider the following:


Three Steps for Inventing the Future by Tim Kastelle

That’s the idea that framed yesterday’s post – Where’s My Flying Car? I argued that as innovators, our job is to invent the future – and that in doing so, instead of trying to come up with something that has never existed before, like a flying car, we’re better off trying to figure out how things that already exist can be redesigned so that they mean something completely new.


Why I’m Glad I Got Fired by Nilofer Merchant via @timkastelle and @ralph_ohr

I came to be an expert on collaboration because Carol Bartz both hired me and fired me — within 18 months. Here’s what happened.


Creativity – Risk or Regret? By Ellen Weber

If you agree with Sir Ken Robinson that creativity gets clobbered at school, you’ll likely also agree it takes risk to create and lead a finer future.


Making creative connections: What matters is that you make them by Jorge Barba

While there are a lot of organizations that aggregate trends (see Trend Hunter and Trend Watching to name a few), people often ask me how believable those trends are and if they should be arriving at the same conclusions while doing their own trend hunting.


Game Mechanics and Landscape Design for Customer Value Creation by  Riitta Raesmaa

I recently met a marketing professional who had seen the “social light”, or should I say Social Business Light. He was stressed about the fact that most of his colleagues and the management “don’t understand the value of social media and what is happening within marketing communication”. Very familiar set up!


The Power of Observing and Talking to Real Humans by Bob Sutton

Although Good Boss, Bad Boss focuses more squarely on the relationship between bosses and their immediate charges, one of the main themes of the book — following a design-thinking view of the world — is that the best bosses go to great lengths to develop empathy for both the people they lead and the customers served by their teams and organizations. 


“Build to Fail” And “Fail To Build” Can Have Different Meanings. To Fail Is Part Of To Build. To Fail Is To Hep To Build To Last. I Hope I’m Not Confusing You. By Idris Mootee

In London this week, fully packed with meetings. Staying at St. Marins Lane and it is one of my favourite hotels in London. Both for style and location even I am not the saturday night crowd that hangs out in the cocktail lounge. I am getting a lot of work done writing and editing for the next issue of M/I/S/C. Deadline is a few days away.


Innovation – Matching Needs and Solutions by Ralph Ohr

While revisiting some collected innovation readings, I recognized that it might be important to briefly emphasize again one “fundamental”: the distinction between needs and solutions.

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 (Texto em Português depois deste)

Two logics and another

The two dominant forms of logic, reasoning deductive and inductive, were the ones that we learn to use more often. These two modes based on the scientific tradition, allow a person to declare at the end of a process of reasoning, if a statement is true or false.

Advances in statistical methods provide us increasingly powerful tools for inductive reasoning, and few people gathered in a room, making decisions, abdicates of deduction and induction to create an argument and prove a case.

But today the acquisition of knowledge is not an abstract exercise, purely conceptual, but an exercise that involves interaction and research on the world around us.

Understand things does not mean progress towards an absolute truth, but rather an interaction evolving with the environment or ecosystem.

At one point Peirce argued that no new idea can be proven deductively or inductively using past data.

I think today the objective is to put the question of what might be true.

“Even today in our industry, if you go to a trade, if you walk around and you’ll find a lot of technology for which there is no problem.” – Dell

This statement from Dell that indeed corresponds easily to our observation, leads us to find a new way that is through design thinking.

Tradition tells us that analytical thinking leads to reliability, consistency. On the other hand we have the intuitive thinking that is focused on the validity.

It is perhaps what we see when we look at Nokia and Apple.

What it seems that happen is that, Apple uses analytical thinking to reduce the risk of warehouse management or manufacturing, and, use and use intuitive thinking to design and build new products.

Merchant Nilofer says leaders were trained to see the world through an analytical framework which is fine for planning and resource allocation for existing businesses and terrible for the creation of new enterprises .

This observation can only be countered when leaders are able to ask and answer:

“What could we build to meet potential or latent requirements? Who is being under-served and how? Who on our team could be assembled to learn and think intuitively on that? (Because great ideas don’t have to come from the top; they can come from anywhere in the business.)

How could we learn more about that? What could be pilots we could run? How could we make learning about it important to our business?

How could we measure success (because it won’t be about units) so it gives us more insights of what next to pilot? How do we make sure we don’t put the same burden onto new businesses as we do our existing, proven ones?”
For design thinkers becomes necessary to speak the two languages, that of reliability and the validity and transform concepts unfamiliar in familiar concepts.

Those who seek validity cannot prove that their ideas work , but the future brings also good things.

As Roger Martin said: “The bad news is that within a year from now is the future and, from a proof standpoint, what happens then is irrelevant. The good news is that a year from now, that year is the past ”

The design thinkers choose to adopt a form of logic that does not generate the evidence and operates in the realm of what could be!


Transformar o futuro no passado

Duas lógicas e mais outra

As duas formas dominantes de lógica, raciocínio dedutivo e indutivo, foram as que aprendemos a usar com mais frequência. Estes dois modos, com base na tradição científica, permitem que uma pessoa declare no final de um processo de raciocínio se uma declaração é verdadeira ou falsa.

Os avanços em métodos estatísticos fornecem-nos, cada vez mais, poderosas ferramentas para o raciocínio indutivo, e pouca gente reunida numa sala, para tomar decisões, abdica da dedução e da indução para criar um argumento e provar um caso.

Mas hoje a aquisição de conhecimentos não é um exercício abstracto, puramente conceptual, mas um exercício que envolve interacção e investigação sobre o mundo à nossa volta.

Entender as coisas não implica progresso em direcção a uma verdade absoluta, mas sim uma interacção que evolui com o ambiente ou ecossistema.

Em determinada altura Pierce argumentou que nenhuma nova ideia pode ser comprovada dedutivamente ou indutivamente usando dados do passado.

Hoje o objectivo passa por colocar a questão sobre o que poderia ser verdade.

“Ainda hoje na nossa indústria, se você vai a uma feira de negócios, se você andar por aí e vai encontrar um monte de tecnologia para a qual não há nenhum problema que existe ” – Dell

Esta afirmação de Dell que aliás corresponde sem dificuldade à nossa observação e leva-nos à procura de um novo caminho que passa pelo pensar design.

A tradição diz-nos que o pensamento analítico leva ao confiável, à consistência. Do outro lado temos o pensamento intuitivo que é focada sobre a validade, isto é, devemos construir.

É talvez o que podemos observar quando olhamos para a Nokia e para a Apple.  

O que poderá acontecer é que a Apple usa o pensamento analítico para reduzir o risco de gestão de armazém ou fabrico e usa e usa o pensamento intuitivo para desenhar e construir novos produtos.

Merchant Nilofer diz que líderes foram treinados para ver o mundo através de um quadro analítico que é bonito para o planeamento e alocação de recursos para as empresas existentes e terrível para a criação de empresas novas.

Esta observação só pode ser contrariada quando os líderes forem capazes de perguntar e responder:

“O que poderíamos construir para atender aos requisitos potenciais ou latentes? Quem está sendo mal atendido e como? Quem na nossa equipa poderia ser indicado para aprender e pensar intuitivamente sobre isso? (Porque as grandes ideias não precisam vir de cima, pois podem vir de qualquer lugar do negócio.)

Como poderíamos aprender mais sobre isso? O que poderiam ser os pilotos com que poderíamos correr? Como podemos fazer a aprendizagem sobre o que é importante para o nosso negócio?

Como poderíamos medir o sucesso (porque não será acerca de unidades) para que nos dê leituras do que está próximo do piloto? Como podemos ter certeza de que não colocamos o mesmo peso para novos negócios, como fazemos com os existentes, já comprovados?”

Para os pensadores design torna-se necessário falar as duas linguagens, a do confiável e a do válido e transformar conceitos não familiares em conceitos familiares.

Os que procuram a validade não podem provar que as suas ideias funcionam, mas o futuro traz também coisas boas.

Como diz Roger Martin: “As más notícias é que daqui a um ano, a partir de agora é futuro e, do ponto de vista da prova, o que acontece nessa altura é irrelevante. As boas notícias é que daqui a um ano, este ano é passado”

Os pensadores design optam por adoptar uma forma de lógica que não gera a prova e opera no reino do que poderia ser!