Business901 Book Specials from other authors on Amazon

Friday, September 30, 2011

In love with your products more than your customers?

Only the customer can determine value. Your product or service has zero value in it. You cannot build value or even create it through clever marketing. Value is only created when a customer puts it into use. This is Service Dominant Logic Thinking (Vargo and Lusch (2006).

If you take this they approach and view your product or service as enabler of customer value a different world opens up for you. Companies like John Deer, P & G, Crayola and Mar’s M & M’s have re-invented themselves by understanding value in use. Each of these companies has taken it a step further and included their customers in the co-creation of products.

When we think about co-creation, we have a tendency to think only in the terms of innovation. Most of us are not ready for that step. In fact, it is a rather large one. However, Janet R. McColl-Kennedy Professor of Marketing UQ Business School, University of Queensland, Australia recently published a paper where she discussed the 7Cs of Co-Creation:

  1. Co-operate (compliance)
  2. Collate (sorting, assorting, synthesizing)
  3. Combine complementary skills, knowledge, expertise
  4. Connect eg with family, friends, service providers, support groups
  5. Co-learning
  6. Co-produce (self-service, co-design, new service development)
  7. Cerebral activities (eg positive thinking, reframing, emotional regulation)

These as not earth shattering revelations but better yet they allow you to start working with customers in the co-creation space. Something as simple as a checklist designed around these 7 Cs could enable you to review sales and marketing material or presentations. If you start asking questions like:Bridal

  • Does this comply 100% with what the customer requested?
  • Can we sort our information to make it more meaningful?
  • Can we group our material differently for the different customer departments?
  • What complementary skill does the customer have that will facilitate the problem solving?
  • Who do we need to connect with internally or externally (downstream or upstream)?
  • What can we learn together that will assist to move forward?
  • What changes may be required to our product/service that provides better use?
  • Is the customer using our product/service differently than intended?
  • Does the customer modify our product/service?
  • How could we reframe our proposal/offer to allow our customer to change it?

Changing our mental model and making that great leap to co-creation is mind boggling for most. Starting simply by starting to ask the right questions around are existing procedures and content, the perspective begins to change. It’s a lot like dating. Start slow; ask the right questions, listen and the next thing you know, you just might be walking down the aisle.

Related Information:
The Service-dominant Logic of Marketing: Dialog, Debate, And Directions
If all of us need to be marketers, what’s the framework?
7 Principles of Universal Design & Beyond
The Common Thread of Design Thinking, Service Design and Lean Marketing
Janet R. McColl-Kennedy: Co-creation of Value and S-D logic

Is Orlicky’s MRP relevant today? Think DDMRP

Is Demand Driven Material Requirements Planning the blueprint for the future and revitalization of formal planning in the 21st Century? Some people think so as Carol Ptak and Chad Smith were asked to co-author the new Orlicky's Material Requirements Planning 3/E. But more impressive are the full houses of practitioners that Carol and Chad are talking too. The one simple reason for that is that they understand the problem. DDI

Carol and Chad both were on previous podcasts with me, In a Supply Chain, Where is more important than How Much! and Can MRP be a Demand – Driven Tool?. These podcasts were my most quotable ones this past year. For example Carol Ptak, said in her podcast said:

A lot of people have focused on the fact that the Economic times right now are really bad. What a lot of people are missing is the fact that the world around us has fundamentally changed.

A we see now across the world is that we have excess capacity when you add to that the Internet where we get on the Internet we expect to have an experience like Amazon, or order it is going to tell me instantly when I’m going to get it. If you don’t provide it at the price I want to pay and the time I want to pay then I can just go someplace else. Why can I do that? That’s because I have all this excess capacity out there.

So what companies are seeing today is volatility like they never had to manage before and at the same time they no longer have the reliability of understanding what the customers are going to demand and when they’re going to demand, because customers are increasingly fickle.

So what we’ve got is the perfect storm that has come together of excess capacity and incredible product variety.

The two of them did not disappoint me. These two people are have rewritten the book on MRP and if you don’t think MRP or even your Lean Supply Chain could not learn from this podcast, think again.

Download Podcast: Click and choose options: Think DDMRP or go to the Business901 iTunes Store.

Carol has written several books on MRP, ERP, Lean and Theory of Constraints.  She is the Past President of APICS International and former Vice President and global industry executive for manufacturing and distribution industries at PeopleSoft.  Chad co-founded Constraints Management Group in 1997 after working under the tutelage of Dr. Eli Goldratt for several years.  Constraints Management Group specializes in demand driven supply chain and manufacturing solutions for a variety of industries.  Clients have included Boeing, Unilever, IBM, LeTourneau Technologies and Roseburg Forest Products.

What is Demand Driven Material Requirements Planning (DDMRP)?
Demand Driven Material Requirements Planning is an innovative multi-echelon pull methodology to plan inventories and materials. It enables a company to build more closely to actual market requirements and promotes better and quicker decisions and actions at the planning and execution level.

Related Information:
The Perfect Storm has come together of Excess Capacity and Product Variety
Will Product Managers embrace Open Innovation?
Implementing the TOC Supply Chain Solution
Transforming your Supply Chain to a Lean Fulfillment Stream eBook
Lean Six Sigma applied to Supply Chain
Application of Lean Six Sigma to the Supply Chain

Systemizing the transfer of knowledge at the execution level

This is part of my blog series on using the principles of Demand Drive MRP and its five primary components. I would recommend reading the blog posts in order for better understanding:

  1. Is Orlicky’s MRP relevant today? Think DDMRP
  2. What Sales and Marketing can learn from Demand Driven Manufacturing
  3. Positioning your organization to learn from your customers
  4. Profiling the customer by knowledge gaps
  5. Dynamic Buffer: Think Self-organized Teams

This particular blog focuses around Demand-Driven Planning or in the marketing sense, systemizing the transfer of knowledge at the execution level.

As discussed earlier in this book, the world of push and promote is dead. The holdovers of that era, both rules and tools, must be stripped away, greatly changed or enhanced, or completely reconstructed. Instead of making things too complex or too simple, it is time to define a planning suite of rules that meet at least two requirements. First is to take advantage of the sheer computational power of today's hardware and software. Second is to take advantage of the new demand-driven approaches. When these two elements are combined, then there is the best of both worlds: relevant approaches and tools for the way the world works today and system that promotes better and quicker decision- and actions at the planning and execution levels

The above is from the Orlicky’s Material Requirements Planning 3/E. written by my recent podcast (Is Orlicky’s MRP relevant today? Think DDMRP) guest Carol Ptak and Chad Smith of the Demand Driven Institute.

Even in the marketing sense the two requirements outline by the authors make a great deal of sense. The new set of rules computational power have given us metric after metric to analyze, distribute and even sense the marketplace. What we have not done very well is understand how to use them in a productive manner. We have even created demand-driven approaches, (outlined in the previous blogs in this series) that allow the empowerment of teams at the execution level. How do you create a plan around this? It seems on one hand that we have metrics but on the other we empower teams to do whatever they want. executioner 1

In traditional planning, we do little except set targets for where we want to go and then create the plans around them. We may go ask sales and even customers some projections but the planning exercise typically turns into something like we want to increase revenue by 10% and how are we going to do that. In addition most sales cycle’s evaluations are built around either how quickly we can accelerate the process through the funnel or how we can increase prospects by stuffing more into it.

Using the ideas created through Demand Drive planning, we could start with a more definable solution based on our knowledge gaps and the high, medium, low touch points that a customer requires (Ref: Profiling the customer by knowledge gaps) in our prime markets. Planning then takes on real meaning as no longer are we taking an arbitrary set of numbers but instead real action on how we can improve in our buyer relationships.

Our planning though must be customer centric versus prospect based. Your core customer may need high or low touches and you may not have a relationship where you are striving for anything except best price. It is where you are, not where you want to be. But what you have just done is defined a performance gap in sales and marketing performance that you can develop a plan around. As you review it, you will look to other similar and dissimilar customers to combine or create their own lanes and supporting processes.

Our data selection should be defined in a micro and macro level. I would encourage that the micro level data be set up to rather autonomous, simple and very easily understood by the team. However, the most important data would be contained in the visual task or Kanban board. At the macro level this information can be mollified and monitored but it takes a strict discipline to allow the team to continue to work autonomously. Should that information be shared outside of scheduled meetings? I would if it is tactical in nature but only through the team coordinator. Adding data to the routine either at the micro or macro level should be decided upon at the monthly strategic session and that discussion should be centered around what we are not using as much as what we want to add. The addition of more metrics or data collection should always be subordinated to whether it increases your organizations ability to share and create knowledge with your customer.

What is Demand Driven Material Requirements Planning (DDMRP)?
Demand Driven Material Requirements Planning is an innovative multi-echelon pull methodology to plan inventories and materials. It enables a company to build more closely to actual market requirements and promotes better and quicker decisions and actions at the planning and execution level.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Games are invading the real world

Games are invading the real world -- and the runaway popularity of Farmville and Guitar Hero is just the beginning, says Jesse Schell. At the DICE Summit, he makes a startling prediction: a future where 1-ups and experience points break "out of the box" and into every part of our daily lives.

Carnegie Mellon University Professor, Jesse Schell, dives into a world of game development which will emerge from the popular "Facebook Games" era.

Related Information:
Games maybe your only chance to attract the best and brightest talent
The Common Thread of Design Thinking, Service Design and Lean Marketing
Continuous Improvement Sales and Marketing Toolset
The Common Thread of Design Thinking, Service Design and Lean Marketing

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lean or Six Sigma which fork in the road do you take?

People will see my comments floating around the Internet on the subject of Lean Six Sigma. I am not an expert and probably take too much liberty in the application of them to even proceed but it was important to me to basically post my view.

There will always be a strong debate between Lean and Six Sigma people about using the 2 terms jointly. I am not positive of the lineage of it but I believe Michael George at the time of the George Group (later to be Accenture) coined the term. I assume he viewed the two methodologies as compatible and more effective in conjunction with each other versus separately. I am not even sure that many (Case in point being that many of today’s “Lean” consultants were trained as Lean Six Sigma Black Belts) disagreed at the time except for the very traditional Lean stalwarts.

Dr. Mikel Harry, credited as one of the founders of Six Sigma states that Six Sigma is not a culture and was developed as a quality tool to gain breakthrough performance for an organization. I adhere to that statement and think Six Sigma offers great opportunities for an organization and provides a very precise and workable structure in achieving this. I am not against the hierarchy of belts and the formalities of DMAIC, DFSS, etc. Many organizations need this type of structure to be successful. I am avid defender of Six Sigma in the Lean circles many times to the chagrin of others.

Lean was developed by the MIT group under Dr. James Womack from a study of automotive companies and more specifically the Toyota Production System. Its approach is based on continuous improvement with a direct correlation to PDCA and Dr. Deming’s philosophies. Lean made its first inroads in many companies and gains in popularities (IMHO) because of the ease of entry into the methodology. Removing waste and improving flow was Lean’s mantra in the 90’s and the tools of 5s and Value Stream Mapping soared in popularity. However, as Lean continued developing tools of A3, Hoshin and Standard Work became common place. But even more so, the culture of PDCA and the spirit of Kaizen started to take hold.

Six Sigma was the methodology of choice for many manufacturers as a result of the significant strides that GE and Motorola had made. Later, Lean seemed to gain and Six Sigma wane in popularity. Lean became the path to a customer as an enabler of some quick wins. You could then take the deep dive with Six Sigma when you wanted to get “serious”. As Lean continued to steamroll and Six Sigma still continued with somewhat lackluster performance many organizations and consultants dropped the attachment to Six Sigma and became “Lean”. Popularity does create a crowd. This may not be an entirely accurate description but it serves as a basis for my views and the following comments.

What makes Lean Six Sigma work? When you first start using any methodology, you are typically introduced through the tools. Using Lean initially versus Six Sigma makes perfect sense, it is an easier introduction. And why reduce variability on non-value activities? But sooner or later you get to the fork in the road. One path says Six Sigma and the other path is this thing they call culture (Lean). So do you want to take the deep dive with a breakthrough structured approach (still has a steep incline) or do you want to try and instill a culture of empowerment. There is not a right or wrong answer. You can take either. Where I disagree, is that you can take both.

Six Sigma has always been about structure and tools. It is very, very good and does an outstanding job when applied properly. In Six Sigma thinking, you can use Lean tools initially and get to 95%. To finish the job, you use Six Sigma. And as a result, Lean Six Sigma was developed. If your organization grew out of the Motorola and G.E. world it seems like a perfect fit.

If you adopt the Lean mentality and the spirit of Kaizen (continuous improvement is not an event) you become immersed in the culture of Lean, as Dr. Balle wonderfully described in the Zen Story about the mountain. Summed up in the blog post: Lean Tools and Culture as it Relates to Zen

Have you ever played yourself in a game? On a basketball court or even a simple game of checkers, sooner or later you have to pick a side to win. It is inevitable. This is the ultimate wedge between the two methodologies and can simply be stated. Six Sigma is a structured methodology and Lean is a cultural driven learn by doing approach. That is not to say that Six Sigma does not have its prototyping options and that Lean is not without statistical control (it did evolve from Deming). But it is saying that they are both on two completely different paths that you must choose between.

If you take the path of and see Lean as Lean, Six Sigma does not make sense and is not a compatible technology. There is a significant culture difference and approach. If you take the path of Six Sigma, you view Lean as only a set of tools nothing more and why not, Lean has a great toolbox. If you take the path of Lean you still can be just as efficient and just as effective as Six Sigma, you just do it differently.

I make no qualms about stating that I believe and follow a Lean philosophy. Lean works in my world much better. PDCA which is basically form a hypothesis, test it and adjust is what sales and marketing is all about.

I support the idea of Lean Six Sigma without hesitation. What I have trouble understanding is how you can be philosophically aligned in Lean thinking and practice Six Sigma. So I believe you must ask yourself; Which fork in the road do you take?

Related Information:
Profound knowledge for Lean Marketing
Lean Sales and Marketing Cycles are Knowledge Building Tactics
Lean is not a revolution, Lean is solve one thing and prove one thing!
Continuous Improvement Sales and Marketing Toolset

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lean Marketing Board Game Introduction

Following The Lean Startup Principles of Build, Measure, Learn, I am introducing a MVP version of the Lean Marketing Board Game which surprisingly is not based on the Lean Startup but instead my book the Lean Marketing House.  I really don’t teach Build, Measure, Lean and the Pivot, I just stick to the old PDCA cycle. Now granted my Plan–Do-Check–Act (Adapt maybe) do resemble the Build, Measure, Learn – Validate theories of Eric Ries but even though we beat to same drum, we go about it slightly different.

The main difference being is my adaption of viewing Lean as a knowledge building platform and using Service Design or Design Thinking Principles that put the customer at the forefront versus the product or service. My thinking is also firmly rooted in the Service Dominant Logic theories that your product/service has little or no value without the customer. The value comes in the use of your product/service by the customer. Your marketing should be centered on that side of the fence versus internally.

I have put a presentation of the initial steps of the Lean Marketing Board Game in place. My Minimum Viable product, I hope you enjoy.

Lean Marketing Game
View more presentations from Business901

The game will be included in my upcoming Lean Marketing House 28-day Program.

Related Information:
Scaling the Customer Decision Making Process
Gaming can make a better world
Can the customer be front stage in your organization?
Scaling the Customer Decision Making Process

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Will Lean always internalize the customer?

I was in a recent LinkedIn discussion that referred to Sales and Marketing customer as being the internal organization and their role was to optimize the throughput of the observation. The sales and marketing role was further explained in the terms of takt time based on optimal production of the organization. The goal of sales is to keep the factory optimized?

I respectfully disagreed based on this reasoning.

You can (maybe) do that if you have excess demand. You can then try to improve efficiencies. However, most of us live in a world that supply exceeds demand. It is not about getting rid of waste. We have excess capacity. Tell me a company that won't accept more prospects into their sales funnel or are refusing orders. In sales and marketing you have to drive revenue. I believe that the role of continuous improvement and Lean lies in this area versus the area of waste.

I have a problem understanding applying takt time in relation to sales and marketing. Theoretically, it sounds great but in actuality how does it apply with Takt Time= Net Available Time per Day / Customer Demand per Day. Who determines the acceptable and projected Takt Time for sales and marketing? Is customer demand determined by the capacity of the operations? Or is it by market share? Man ladder

How can you have takt time without customer demand? Can an internal measurement be relevant to sales? If it is the measurement that we force sales to use, it is not a Lean process. We are pushing in lieu of pulling. Pull comes from the marketplace and is one of the principles of Lean. Holding sales and marketing to an internal measurement that has little if any meaning to the marketplace or the customer confuses me. The fundamental question could be what the marketplace demand is and what our percentage of that market is. That leads into the questions of retention and acquisition. Setting targets in those areas would drive the process of sales and marketing, innovation and hold operations accountable to a realistic level.

The metrics we have been traditional using are based on an economy with excess demand. Since we live an economy that has excess supply, fundamental beliefs must change. Sales and Marketing does need a process for improvement but it is one that must be created from the marketplace and I actually believe the principles of Lean are best suited for that journey.

Another wayward thought or the truth about Process Improvement in Marketing?

I came across a blog post by Brad Powers (a recent podcast guest) on the Harvard Business Review, How Marketing Can Lead Process Improvement. In reading the post the communication with customers seems to be orchestrated. As a result, the examples discussed seem archaic and more an extension of a command and control function than one of empowerment. It left me wondering if there are examples of sales and marketing teams that are being empowered.

Just calling something continuous improvement does not mean that it is. Continuous improvement is not a series of pilot tests and deployment. Rather it is empowering your workforce to practice it every day. In modern organizations it is the practice and the power of continuous improvement that is driving results. Factory workers, Software Programmers and Health Care professionals, to name just a few are being empowered as problem solvers and knowledge workers. I would think that the sales and marketing structure should be leading the way versus being the laggards.

There is not a more important function in sales and marketing than the ability to share and create knowledge with your customer. In the 3 examples given in Brad’s post, I see the key terms optimize, experiments, research versus words like cooperation, co-create, community and surprisingly “value”. I see that heads of marketing need to spend time with employees rather that interact with customers. What’s wrong with spending time directly with customers?

There are companies doing this. A good example is many of the gaming companies that interact regularly with their players. They are highly influenced by the top players and not only seek their opinions but join in and play with them. The players I have discussed this with are amazed at the access they have to top management. Other examples include SalesForce, BMW, Lego, Kraft and P & G.

A customer does not realize any value from your product/service till he uses it. When you view your product/service as an enabler of value creation versus the center of value than you can see how increasing knowledge flows between you and your customer is at the center of sales and marketing. Value is an input to your company not an output. There is only one person that determines the value of your organization and that is the customer. I think many continuous improvement methodologies have hijacked the term customer. It is not an internal person. The customer is the person that purchases and uses the product.

When viewing Lean and PDCA as a knowledge creation vehicle versus a waste reduction tool, Lean becomes applicable to sales and marketing. Without this understanding, I see little hope for Lean in the sales and marketing process.

Related Information:
In love with your products more than your customers?
The Service-dominant Logic of Marketing: Dialog, Debate, And Directions
If all of us need to be marketers, what’s the framework?
7 Principles of Universal Design & Beyond
The Common Thread of Design Thinking, Service Design and Lean Marketing

Monday, September 19, 2011

Using Design Thinking for Growth

Using Design Thinking for Growth is a transcription of a the Business901 podcast, Design Thinker exposed as Left Brain Dominant. I am not sure if it was the title or the timing of the podcast (it was released around the 4th of July) but this podcast did not reach the listenership that I had thought it would.

Great thoughts on how Design Thinking may be to Business Growth the way Lean and Six Sigma has been to quality.

Using Design Thinking for Growth

In a recent blog post, It’s not your Grandmother’s Lean anymore! I introduced a few thoughts from Tim Ogilvie, CEO of innovation strategy consultancy Peer Insight new book Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Toolkit for Managers. I would encourage you to visit that post before reading the transcription or listening to the podcast and leave the diagram up or print it out as the discussion takes place.

Recent Posts:
Podcast: Design Thinker exposed as Left Brain Dominant
How new is Service Dominant Logic and does it apply now?
Asking the right questions about Lean?
Service Design Thinking

Friday, September 16, 2011

Problem Solving before Lean

This mindmap predates my commitment to Lean Thinking and particular to the PDCA and A3 processes. This Problem Solving mindmap is still useful as an effective reminder of a few of the errors that we me make during the problem solving process. A good reminder even for a member or the facilitator of a problem solving team.

Problem Solving

Related Information:
Pair Problem Solving in the Workplace
Lean Sales and Marketing Cycles are Knowledge Building Tactics
Why use A3 in Marketing
Marketing with A3

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Core Concepts of Gamification

Outstanding presentation from Amy Jo Kim, an adjunct professor of Game Design at USC’s Digital Media school, recently named top US-based game design school. She’s also the author of Community Building on the Web (2000), a design handbook for digital communities that’s used worldwide at game studios & universities.[Email Amy]. This presentation was delivered at Casual Connect Seattle, July 2011.

A few of the highlights of the presentation and how they compare to sales and marketing:

  1. “What are your social engagement words?” As I reviewed the list, I started to think how I (we maybe) use the words in the acting stage versus the interacting stage. Look at the content that you create to include letters, marketing materials, emails, even your phone calls and your presentations. Decide where the words you use fit in the matrix. Are you spending your time in expressing and competing blocks or in exploration and collaboration?
  2. When you review your customers’ lifecycle are you keeping them engaged at the level that is currently required?
  3. Within the lifecycle is your engagement loop building positive emotions?
  4. Does your sales and marketing efforts (mechanics) create the emotions that drive action and engagement?
  5. Does the customer see his progression of the knowledge he has gained or the knowledge transfer that has occurred?
  6. Are you lighting the way for your customer to learn and master your product or service?
  7. Are you allowing them to dig deeper challenging your knowledge and product or service?

My mind map from the presentation:


Feel comfortable that Gamification will not turn the world upside down. It only provides us a structure to develop customers’ experiences around. Many of us may already be doing it. Most of us probably have a long way to go. So are you a Newbie, Regular or an Enthusiast at Gamification?

Related Information:
In love with your products more than your customers?
Is every Boardroom discussing Gamification? Is yours?
Games maybe your only chance to attract the best and brightest talent
In love with your products more than your customers?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Mindmap of the Five Dysfunctions of a Team

This is a five part afternoon series depicting the mindmaps that I have created on the books of Patrick Lencioni. His website and company, The Table Group offers additional information on these subjects.

This Mindmap was constructed during the listening of the book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable (J-B Lencioni Series). From an Amazon reviewer:

This book is helpful to anyone who serves on a team and specifically helpful for team leaders. You will see yourself and your team in this book. More than that, you will find specific steps you can take to make your team better. Through a real life fable, Pat leads you through the steps you need to take to move a team from dysfunction to health. You will find a clear model as well as examples that are as relevant as your last meeting.

As I read this book I discovered:

1. A vocabulary I can use with my team to discuss dysfunction.
2. A self-analysis that will get the discussion started.
3. A clear model for implementation.

As a team leader, this book challenged me to:

1) Lead selflessly
2) Take risks
3) Encourage conflict
4) Embrace the power of meetings
4) Direct my team around a common theme

This book is simple, practical and filled with wisdom. Highly recommended.

5 Dysfunctions of a team

Related Information:
Teamwork and Collaboration thru the eyes of Cisco
PDCA from the Outside-in
What is a great Team?
SALES PDCA Framework for Lean Sales and Marketing

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mindmap on the 4 Obsessions of Extraordinary Executive

This is a five part afternoon series depicting the mindmaps that I have created on the books of Patrick Lencioni. His website and company, The Table Group offers additional information on these subjects.

This Mindmap was constructed during the listening of the book, The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable where the author explains how healthy companies can make themselves smarter, but unhealthy organizations squander intellectual advantage through infighting and cross-purposes.

4 Obssesions of an Extraordinary Executive

Related Information:
Virtual Organizations will change the Org chart
Allowing Individual Kaizen is Essentially Respect for People.
Continuous Improvement Sales and Marketing Toolset
Best way to prototype your Value Proposition

Will we handle privacy and recycling?

Following publication of his book "Shaping Things (Mediaworks Pamphlets) ", American Science Fiction author Bruce Sterling share his views and visions at LIFT France 09 about the future of Design, the broad concept of an "Internet of Things", and reflects on two important issues: Privacy and Recycling. Bruce has been a regular speaker at LIFT events.


Interesting concepts and Bruce shows a real passion for his subject. His book was written six years ago and it is amazing how many of the ideas are still prevalent today.

Related Information:
Design Thinker exposed as Left Brain Dominant
Will Product Managers embrace Open Innovation?
Accomplished Innovator creates an Open Innovation Incubator

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The New Names of Marketing are still PDCA

There is a changing emphasis on customer interaction and the importance of embracing uncertainty in your organization. In an interview in the MIT Sloan Management Review with Michael Schrage on Value-Creation, Experiments and Why IT does Matter, he stated:

The cost of experimentation is now the same or less than the cost of analysis. You can get more value for time, more value for dollar, more value for Euro, by doing a quick experiment than from doing a sophisticated analysis. In fact, your quick experiment can make your sophisticated analysis better.”

Later in the interview, in answer to the question, "Can you summarize the three things you think companies need to get good at?" Michael Schrage also stated:

The most important thing I would urge companies to do would be to experiment, by crafting good business hypotheses. I can now look executives in the eye and say, "The cost of experimentation is now the same or less than the cost of analysis. You can get more value for time, more value for dollar, more value for euro, by doing a quick experiment than from doing a sophisticated analysis. In fact, your quick experiment can make your sophisticated analysis better

The second is to promote greater collaboration, interaction, and diversity—not politically-correct diversity, but diversity of skills and points of view.

And the third is to think more clearly about innovation. It’s no longer about creating new features and functionality. We have to move away from the notion of innovation being about greater creation of choice. Instead, it’s about greater value from use.

To paraphrase from an outstanding book, Everything Is Obvious: *Once You Know the Answer:

Most of us (marketers) have more data than we know what to do with. The real problem that exists is what we are doing causing increased sales or what we are measuring is the correlation between the two.

Differentiation between correlation and causation can be extremely difficult. The authors recommend running an experiment. Without an experiment they conclude that it’s actually close to impossible to ascertain cause and effect, and as a result measure real return.

They view experiments not as a one-time exercise that either yields the answer or doesn’t, but rather as part of an ongoing learning process that is built into the process.

Iterative Cycles seems to be the buzz word these days: Just look at the new books: 

All of them focusing on iterations but they are fundamentally just PDCA (Plan–Do–Check–Act). Test a hypothesis, improve on it and test it again. Marketing is about moving along the cycles of EDCA = Explore, PDCA = Plan, and SDCA = Standardize. Sometimes you may not uneven use a full cycle but rather use more of a game environment half-cycle version of Inspect and Adapt (IA). These iterative process are responding to the ever increasing world of uncertainty that we live in.

Iterative cycles are best handled through team interactions. Decisions made in isolation seldom have a chance of success. And isolation means your organization, not an individual. You have to gather outside influencers from the markets you serve. To do this, the team must be empowered and schooled with the new toolset. You can find these new sets of tools by researching subjects like: Design Thinking, Cynefin, Value Networks, Open Innovation, Co-creation, Lean Startup, Service-Dominant Logic, Q-Storming, Game Storming, and Kanban.

The tools used in sales and marketing are certainly changing. Gone are the days of being trained in cold-calling and the art of closing and in are the days of iteration, open innovation, co-creation and collaboration. Funny, I did not even mention social media?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

How to give great service mind map

Entrepreneurial phenomenon Ari Weinzweig, co-founder of the much-loved Zingerman's Deli, shares the secrets to providing world-class customer service. Zingerman's in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a beloved deli with some of the most loyal clientele around. It has been praised for its products and service in media outlets far and wide, including the New York Times, Men's Journal, Inc. Magazine, Esquire, Atlantic Monthly, USA Today, and Fast Company. And what started out as a small deli has grown to a flourishing restaurant, catering service, bakery, mail-order operation, creamery, and training business. – says Amazon of the Book

These 2 mind maps were created from the audio version of Zingerman's Guide to Giving Great Service. I think this book or audio should be part of any employee introduction and would recommend a trip to one of their Deli’s to see if they really walk the walk (Hint: they do). Zimmermann's also offer one of the best mail order catalogs on the planet.

Zingerman Good Service A

Zingerman Good Service B

Related Information:
In love with your products more than your customers?
Collection of Mind Maps
The Service-dominant Logic of Marketing: Dialog, Debate, And Directions
The Common Thread of Design Thinking, Service Design and Lean Marketing