Leadership and Inspirational Quotes (From My Tweetsland)

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“Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.” —Jim Rohn

“Lifestyle is the art of discovering ways to live uniquely.” – #choice #leadesrhip #success

“Let others cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their #future in someone else’s hands, but not you. Let others lead small lives, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you.” – #leadership #lifestyle

“Failure is the inevitable result of an accumulation of poor #thinking and poor #choices.” – #leadesrhip #success

“In a moment of #decision the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“Necessity is the mother of taking chances. “-Mark Twain, author

“#Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition there are still untapped #possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born.-Dale E. Turner

“We are what we imagine. Our very existence consists in our imagination of ourselves. The greatest tragedy that can befall us is to go unimagined.”-N. Scott Momaday

“Try not to become a (person) of success but rather try to become a (person) of value.” — Albert Einstein

“DO SOMETHING! Make a difference, create something, build something useful, fight for something important. – #action #leadership

“It is action time, time is going and no need to look back in 3 years time and thought, had I know.” – #action

“Just do it….”

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Global Innovation Index

Size does not matter

There is a myth that innovative economies are those with the biggest economic muscle. The reality is that in an innovation economy, size does not matter. In fact, some of the most innovative economies are the world’s smallest countries.

The 2011 Global Innovation Index report just released ranked Switzerland as the world’s innovation hotspot, dominating the top 10. In Asia, Hong Kong and Singapore were the only ones who made the Top 10, while in Sub-Saharan Africa, Mauritius at 53rd position led the pack followed by South Africa, 59th and Nigeria being in the 96th position in the global innovation ranking.

Top 10 Rank Country Score
 1 Switzerland 63.82
 2 Sweden 62.12
 3 Singapore 59.64
 4 Hong Kong (SAR), China 58.8
 5 Finland 57.5
 6 Denmark 56.96
 7 United States of America 56.57
 8 Canada 56.33
 9 Netherlands 56.31
 10 United Kingdom 55.96

Numbers don’t lie

In Sub-Saharan Africa, these numbers show an obvious disconnect between intention and output.

Numbers tell a story, and the story they tell is that our education system – despite all the huge output in terms of graduates – does not produce the high quality human capital comparable with the most innovative economies.

Numbers provide important benchmarks and predictors – and these tell us that we are falling behind at a time when we can ill-afford it.

Innovation economies are talent-driven, creativity and content driven. Politics and parochial interests aside, the needs of the nation and the future of the country must take precedence and concerted efforts should be geared towards the pillars of the GII frameworks as shown below (The Global Innovation Index 2011 (GII) relies on two sub-indices, the Innovation Input Sub-Index and the Innovation Output Sub-Index, each built around pillars like institutions, human capital and research, infrastructure, market and business sophistication, scientific and creative outputs):

The Global Innovation Index Framework

The GII framework is evolving into a valuable benchmarking tool to facilitate public-private dialogue, whereby policymakers, business leaders and other stakeholders can evaluate progress on a continual basis as innovation in this knowledge century has become the main driver of economic growth and prosperity.

References: http://www.globalinnovationindex.org, Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr Lim Kok Wing

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Innovation In Eight Words – Innovat8

In the business world, particularly in innovation, companies try to find easy means of establishing what to do, when and how. Most companies, especially start-ups, are faced with the problem of not knowing what to do with their innovative ideas.

Well, not anymore. Paul Hobcraft, the proprietor of Agility Innovation has summarized the power of innovation into eight words. These are; Adapt, Investigate, Agility, Speed, Scale, Impact, Experiment and Execute.

Hobcrafts’ company, Agility Innovation is an advisory business that aims at making the practice of innovation better and easier for all companies. Let us look at these eight words that have become the new essentials for businesses. Worth noting is the fact that these words do not need to be utilized at the same time. However, a continual application of the same in everyday activities is vital for their optimal use.

  • Adapt

The business world today is at an all time volatility level. Companies need to adapt to changes that are happening even before they can happen. Adaptation to change is a guaranteed way of maintaining industry competitiveness, which is vital for the success of the company.

  • Investigate

In order to give the market what it needs, companies need to investigate. Usually, this is done by taking an innovation idea to the market and gauging on the feedback customers give on it, the company is able to decide if the idea is workable or not.

  • Agility

Agility is the ability to adapt to changes quickly. This is an important trait for companies as it gives them the ability also to anticipate major industrial changes. Most technological changes in the world occur unexpectedly and if a company is not agile enough, these changes can lead to its collapse.

  • Speed

Competitive companies know that the faster they respond to changes around them, the better. This is one of the main reasons that saw Steve Jobs make Apple what it is today. Though not an engineer by profession, Jobs’ major strength was his ability to detect what changes to make to devices and quickly implementing them.

  • Scale

Scaling the heights of organizational success is the only sure way of creating sustainable organizations. Companies today have the advantage of having a lot of technology at their disposal to help achieve this. However, the task is still taunting for most companies who lack the right personnel and financial ability to achieve this.

  • Impact

All organizational activities must have the impact they are intended to have. For instance, if the advertisement of a new product does not draw attention from the targeted market, that product is likely to fail. The impact that is drawn from advertising, product designs, and sales is a way of giving a company voice amongst many competing voices.

  • Experiment

New innovative ideas need to undergo experimentation to ascertain that they can be invested in. the same applies to speculative products, theories or research. Before capitalizing in any of these, tests must be done to either prove or disprove.

  • Execute

According to Chris Trimble and Vijay Govindarajans’ book ‘The other side of innovation’, companies must show they have the ability to execute ideas. Many challenges arise in the execution phase of innovation. But if a company can overcome these challenges, it is bound for success. A companies’ industrial success is mostly based on the results it gets after executing an innovative idea.  Execution therefore demands high skills and dedication of those involved.

These eight words, with a careful consideration for each can help companies, and not just start-ups, attain levels of success they initially dreamt of! Know of any other words?

The world is waiting for you to share.

Credit: Mary -InQiud

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Ten-year-old whiz kid writes iPhone app

While most children his age sketch on paper with crayons, 10-year-old Lim Ding Wen from Singapore, has a very different canvas–his iPhone.

Lim, who is in fourth grade, writes applications for Apple’s popular iPhone. His latest, a painting program called Doodle Kids, has been downloaded over 4,000 times from Apple’s iTunes store in two weeks, the New Paper reported on Thursday.

The program lets iPhone users draw with their fingers by touching the iPhone’s touch screen and then clear the screen by shaking the phone.

“I wrote the program for my younger sisters, who like to draw,” Lim said. His sisters are aged 3 and 5.

Lim, who is fluent in six programming languages, started using the computer at the age of 2. He has since completed about 20 programming projects.

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How to Blog Almost Every Day

Blog 1I put up a blog post (almost) every day, and sometimes, I put up more than one a day. On top of this, I write for clients, write for other projects, work on books, and other things. Some of you don’t have all these other writing commitments, but still want some ideas on getting more writing out the door. Here are some thoughts into my process that I hope will give you a framework for writing a blog post (almost) every day.

How to Blog Almost Every Day

  1. Read something new every day. Need a starting point? Try Alltop. (Hint: read something outside your particular circle to get new thoughts).
  2. Talk with people every day. I get many of my topic ideas from questions people pose to me, or through conversations.
  3. Write down titles and topic ideas in a notepad file. ( I’ve given you 100 blog topics and another 20 blog topics just to get started.)
  4. Maintain a healthy bookmarking and revisiting habit. I use Delicious.com
  5. Find 20-40 minutes in every day to sit still and type.
  6. Follow an easy framework. Here are 27 blogging secrets to start you on what I mean.
  7. Get the post up fast, not perfect. You can edit if you have to, later. Perfectionism kills good habits.
  8. Dissect other people’s posts to understand what makes them tick. The more you understand of HOW they write, the more you can take the best parts of it into how you write. (hint, my 27 blogging secrets post gives you my patterns.)
  9. Find useful and interesting pictures. I use Flickr photos licensed under Creative commons for most of my photos. This helps me sometimes get a great photo for a post I already have in mind, but it also gives me post material sometimes.
  10. Think about what your customers and prospects need. I write from the perspective of the communities I serve. Every post is aimed at something I believe will be helpful to my community in some form or another. This focus takes some weight off my worries about what I should write about or not. I write about what my community needs.
  11. Mix things up by sometimes blogging on paper first.
  12. Mix things up by writing guest posts for sites that aren’t like yours. This gives your mind new formats to think about. I did this recently as part of a project and I loved it.
  13. Mix things up by changing the lengths of your posts: some long, some brief. Learn what makes an impact how.
  14. Never worry about throwing up the occasional “best of” post, once you get enough material. Example: here’s My best advice about blogging.

It’s not easy, but once you develop the habits, they stick with you. I’m writing quite regularly now, but it took me several years to get my groove down to a science. Some days, it’s still thrown off. Busy schedules can get the best of us, no matter what. That said, try to keep some content “in the can,” so that you’re rarely at a loss to keep your audience happy.

What do you think? Any other ideas to add?

Credit: Chris Brogan

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Designing Your Innovation Identity

Outplay the Pack

Taking the long view on innovation management, one can draw some organization archetypes most commonly implemented. None can be applied as it is to your organization: there is no such thing as “one size fits all” in innovation management. You have to make your selection of best practices, and assess which are appropriate, considering your company status.

You have to build your own innovation identity.
From the academic and case study reviews included in rapid innovation thesis I completed last year, 2 main innovation models seem to emerge:

1. Thriving innovation model means the innovation culture is at the cornerstone of the corporate company; the company develops interactions both across internal departments and with external resources to complete its innovations. 3M, P&G, Cisco, Sanofi, Renault, the Open source way of working are championing this model.

2. Dedicated entity model involves the creation of an autonomous unit pursuing new and uncertain activity lines. Lockheed with its skunk works, Saturn the GM subsidiary, marketed as a “different kind of car company”, Ideo, EDF Business Innovation are concrete tracks of this model.

3M is a typical case of thriving innovation model, involving a culture of intrapreneurship with some specific rules refined over time: innovation has sustained 3M continuous growth from the beginning to the end of the 20th century. Some of 3M rules are as follows:
• Small autonomous units
• Commitment to R&D
• Technology propagation
• “Lab to market” channel
• Project management
• Reward adapted to innovation
• “Bootleg rule” : 15% free time to personal innovation
• Recruitment focus
• Innovation, a “game of numbers”
• A solution to solve a problem (the post-it story)
• Learning from the past

Going another way, Ideo embody in a modern dedicated entity model the skunk works approach created by Lockheed in the 50′s. At Ideo, they say “We’re not good at innovating because of our flawless intellects, but because we’ve done 2000 products, and we’ve been mindful”. What are the rules of these innovation experts? Very few actually:
• Culture is driven by creativity : recruiting, stimulating
• Small entities, flat hierarchy
• Cross-functionality as creativity catalysis
• Fast prototyping and iteration : try it, fix it, try it again
• Innovation framework constantly improved

Taking advantage of both models was the intention beyond Rapid innovation model, the best of both worlds! There are many companies “in-between” which illustrating a blended approach: Oticon, Decathlon, Gore, players in the video game industry, Google, and Apple.

At Google for instance, innovation is in the core DNA, which links them to the first model; reversely, as they enable small teams to investigate disruptive innovation in a flexible framework, they are close to 2nd model with dedicated entity.

At Decathlon, they have central R&D, fully interacting with external resources and skills, and they have local R&D supporting brands developments. They manage ambidextruous organization with 2 DNAs.

Gore is one of my favourite innovation style, an amazing example of hybrid innovation champion. Here are some of their new rules of business detailed in The Fabric of Creativity, by Alan Deutschman, which shows that their “culture is as imaginative as their products”:
• The power of small teams
• No ranks, no titles, no bosses
• Take the long view
• Make time for face time
• Lead by leading
• Celebrate failure

There is no universal Mendeleev classification for innovation models. In the innovation toolbox, we’ve talked about Jaruzelski and Dehoff classifying innovators in need seekers, market readers, and technology drivers, with big, consistent winners in all camps. Gary Hamel also distinguished innovators archetypes in the following taxonomy: tyros, nobel laureates, artistes, cyborgs, born again.

The secret formula for being an innovation champion is still very very secret!
Innovation management is a strategy each company has to develop, not embracing a theoretical model with its “eyes wide shut”, but rather leveraging on reference models to build its own way, taking advantage pragmatically of all situation potentials:
• What are your strengths, what is your story, where do you come from?
• How are the market environment, competition /new entrants, customers portfolio, suppliers, regulation evolving?
• What is your level of expectation, the portfolio balance you have in mind, your tangible innovation objectives?
• What reference models and innovation practices attract you? What will not work in your organization?
In the way to define our innovation mantra and strategy, a look at the 10 facets defined by Jeffrey Philipps can also help, positioning where you want to be on the graduation:
• open vs closed innovation:
• skunk works vs broadly participative;
• suggestive vs directed, incremental vs disruptive (also stretching innovation vs “all included” innovation vs disruptive innovation);
• centralized vs decentralized;
• product / service / operations / business model, funding, wisdom of crowd vs defined criteria and experts.
You have to “become the innovator you are”. The only failure you can make would be to complete a biaised analysis. And to forget to adapt your strategy over time…
Building your innovation strategy is a primordial essence of your identity, it’s like your “Tao”: the road where it goes and you feel like going, where it’s viable and you think you will harness innovation opportunities. Only you can make this path.

Credit: Nicholas Bry

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Apple’s Secret Weapon

By David Aaker
Apple has arguably created or refined and revitalized at least five new categories in a single decade — the iPod, iTunes, the Apple Store, the iPad, and the iPhone; an incredible achievement. There are many drivers of the success — a flare for cool design, the encouragement of surrounding apps, the perfecting of the user experience, the credibility and visibility of Steve Jobs, the passionate customer base, the brand, and more. However, one key ingredient that is usually overlooked is the ability of Jobs to get the timing right. Some observations:

In October 2001 Apple brought to market the iPod which would sell something over 220 million units over the next eight years. However, as I noted in an earlier blog post, Sony actually launched not one but two iPod-like products fully two years before the iPod was introduced: the Memory Stick Walkman and the VAIO Music Clip. The technology was not ready: each had 64 megabytes of memory that stored only twenty or so songs and was priced too high. Further, the firm was not ready. Sony Music, concerned with avoiding piracy, forced a cumbersome uploading procedure that was inconvenient and resulted in slow transfers.

The iPad and iPhone had similar stories.

The iPad introduced in March of 2010 was preceded a decade earlier by other similar products. In particular, the Microsoft “Tablet PC” was introduced at the 2000 Comdex by Bill Gates himself. All these efforts failed because the technology was not ready and, relatedly, because they lacked any hint of coolness.

The iPhone introduced in January 2007 also had its predecessors. Holman Jenkins writing in the WSJ (“How Apple Foot-Dragged to Victory,” January 26, 2011, p. A7) noted that in the 1990s Jean-Marie Messier had a vision of delivering media content wirelessly, regardless of platform. His company, Vivendi Universal, became a vehicle to realize his vision. In part because of him and others, the mobile industry in Europe invested $500 billion in 3G so that they could deliver against that vision. It turned out that the vision was correct but five years or more premature, and Messier went to jail for overhyping his company. The iPhone arrived at exactly the right time.

Apple, too, had a disastrous premature product: the Newton, a personal digital assistant introduced in 1993 when John Scully was CEO. It was designed to manage schedules and a name list, support note taking using a human writing recognition system, and a variety of other tasks. Despite terrific introductory marketing, the product failed. The Newton was priced high, was both unreliable and sluggish, and had a hard-to-read screen. If the product had waited only two years for the technology to improve and the design to be made more reliable, there might have been a different outcome. In 1996 Palm, with more advanced technology and a less ambitious product vision, came out with the PalmPilot which was a big success.

For an offering to successfully create a new category or subcategory, the technology, the firm, and the market all have to be ready. Having one of these missing usually explains a disappointing innovation initiative. Jobs should be given credit for being a genius at timing.

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