Posts Tagged ‘Business’

The IT Dilemma!

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

The IT “dilemma!”
By Roger La Salle
www.innovationtraining.com.au
www.matrixthinking.com

I was recently at a conference at RMIT where a young lady, Ms. Juliana Proserpio, gave a great presentation on the Four Degrees of Design. I must say I sat there prepared to be bored but it was really engaging and well-presented, with an interesting end point.

The first degree is design by nature, where nature does all the work and the scenery is our gift.

The second is where nature does the work modified by man, this it typically a farm.

The third is where man does the design and man does the build, for example, a toaster.

The fourth is where the man made machine, an intelligent robot, does the design of yet another robot machine. Man and nature are eliminated.

Fascinating stuff, but this leads into a classic paradox, as the IT dilemma.

Suppose a robot designs the software for a new autonomous vehicle such as a car. The software is intelligent and can make decisions for itself as it manages the car.

Consider now this car driving down a road making all the decisions for itself. It detects a problem ahead with a crash inevitable.

The car detects a young lady with a baby in a pram. Separately it also detects a group of perhaps a dozen old age pensioners standing by the road side ready to cross; as well as it detects a solid brick was supporting a bridge structure ahead.

In this situation the “driver”, actually the robot controlling the car, has to make a decision.

Shall I drive into the brick wall and spare everybody, but kill the car occupant? Shall I drive into the group of old age pensioners, no doubt killing them all, albeit at the twilight of life? Or shall I run over the young lady with a child in a pram, killing them both.

This is the classic paradox that IT designers need to face as they design intelligent machines able to make “reasoned” decisions and ultimately build machines that themselves build machines.

No doubt intelligent machines are the thing of the future, but as machines begin to design machines, who can forecast the end game? One wonders if Isaac Asimov forecast this many years ago when he postulated the design rules for robots?

**** ENDS ****

Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and Business Development, is the author of four books, and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies, both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panelist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast

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Big outcomes from simple Changes!

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

Big outcomes from simple changes!

By Roger La Salle
www.innovationtraining.com.au
www.matrixthinking.com
A game changer on a “dime”
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, “You don’t have to put a man on the moon to be a great and successful innovator!”

Too many people try too hard to make innovation seem difficult when in fact it’s not that hard if you have the right approach and the right tools. Really, you do have to wonder what benefit people see in making the simple seem complex.

The perfect example and it’s so obvious
A company with whom we work has develop a breathtakingly simple solution to a problem nobody even thought existed and they’ve changed the game. The inspiration of course is founded on the “Opportunity Matrix” – the notion not of asking people what they want, since they seldom know, but simply watching what they do and observing.

Posting a poster!
When a paper poster or certificate is to be sent by post or courier of course it needs to be protected, so of course we put it inside one of these round hard cardboard tubes with the nice little plastic end caps. That’s how we’ve done it for years.

But watch and learn the problems:
• Stacking them is impossible
• They roll everywhere in vans and crates
• They are next to impossible to reliably position for bar code readers
• They do not “nest”.

In fact if you pack four cylindrical tubes together for shipping a full 25 percent of the shipping volume is fresh air, air that you pay to ship. (I cannot recall how many times we have pointed this out to food and wet wipe tissue companies that insist on using round containers.)

Well finally the problem has been addressed by a Melbourne based company, Kebet Packaging. They have developed and are now shipping triangular shaped tubes, much like the famous “Toblerone” chocolate packaging.

Not only does this work but the customers love it with hugely reduced shipping volumes, much easier handling and packages that actually sit in on the spot as they are conveyed past bar code counting stations.

See the difference? It’s obvious. But as we always say “The obvious once made obvious is always obvious”

What’s the message?
• Embrace the art of “Opportunity Capture”
• Learn the art of observation
• It’s not rocket science but it sure leads to innovation.

**** ENDS ****

Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and Business Development, is the author of four books, and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies, both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panelist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast

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It’s happened again!

Saturday, June 9th, 2018

Don’t be fooled!
By Roger La Salle
www.innovationtraining.com.au
www.matrixthinking.com
The changing landscape
The world of business is changing at an alarming rate and we need to move with the times.

Many of us are now open for business 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are mobile connected, you just never know who may be calling you. A missed call may be a missed opportunity.

In marketing, social media seems to be all the go these days so much so that television advertising is now extremely cheap, except for the few top rating shows. Of course many print publications that relied entirely on advertising are now downsizing, closing or moving to the e-space as they struggle to find relevance for paying customers.

Is it that simple?
All good, but don’t be fooled. Blasting the social media space does have its downsides including the cost, over exposure and money wasted on inappropriate channels.

For example, whilst is may be appropriate to promote and have others wholly endorse a new fitness craze on Facebook, Instagram and some of the other more casual social media sites, the same would not likely apply to a new surgical scalpel, or blood sampling syringe.

The fact is, we need to look at where the market we are targeting clusters. What is appropriate for one is not necessarily the case for the other.

It’s obvious
Many experts would say the main purpose of social media in business is to drive people to your web site.

For some products and services this may be so, in which case a lot of work needs to be done to ensure your site is easy and fast to open and grabs the reader’s attention at a glance. SEO of you web site in this case is essential, but properly thought through, this can often be done at for next to no cost.

Many use AdWords to be near the top of Google and BING but this can be very expensive. Further, in many cases people ignore AdWords as it may send the message that you on top, screaming for attention, not because you are good, but because you‘re paying. Beware, the downside of AdWords.

Ideally, if you can identify the most common search term for your business activity and register a URL including that term you are well down the path of being number one without ever paying.

In some cases a web site is not so important or even necessary if the sales process can be made directly from the social media channel. Again, we must ask, where does our market reside and what is the most cost effective interact?

Engaging Social Media?
Whilst some engage social media experts who blast the e-space at a monthly cost, which may be far less than a full time hire, make sure that you are properly targeting your market. You are the experts, so focus your social media people.

For example, we all complain about the traffic these days, but let’s look at the upside. People with long commutes listen to the radio, now more than ever. Use this to advantage, but again, think of your audience. A millennial may listen to a rock station whereas a senior executive, CEO or Board Chairman will be listening to an entirely different station.

Use an Opportunity Matrix to find how your customers behave. The rest will come naturally but don’t be fooled into thinking that blasting on social media is necessarily money well spent.

**** ENDS ****

Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and Business Development, is the author of four books, and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies, both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panelist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast

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Tesla – Let history be the judge!

Monday, March 26th, 2018

Tesla – let history be the judge!
By Roger La Salle
www.innovationtraining.com.au
www.matrixthinking.com
We must be ahead of the curve?
There can be no doubt that being first to market with a new initiative may demonstrate great leadership, but just how important is that, or perhaps more importantly, how risky is it?

Innovation Defined
Our definition of innovation, “Change that Adds Value”, that we first coined in the late 1990’s was derived for a special reason. It’s all about mitigating market risk, without doubt the single biggest risk with new products.

This definition suggests that instead of being first, it’s a lot less risky to find something that is a big success in the marketplace and then to innovate it. Change it in some way to make it better and go to market with an improvement on what you know people are already buying.

Amazing examples
None of the following success stories were first to market.
• Boeing 707 passenger jet
• I-Phone
• VISA and MasterCard
• Facebook
• Google
• PayPal
• NOKIA Cell phone

The British COMET aircraft was the first passenger jet but it had some technical difficulties that enabled BOEING to learn and develop the BOEING 707, an aircraft that took the world market by storm.

DINERS Card was the first true credit card, but its followers VISA and MasterCard were the real winners.

Motorola virtually created the cell phone but NOKIA took the world market with the best phones only then to be displaced by Apple with the first tablet phones. Samsung are now challenging APPLE with similar featured phones at a much reduced price.

The list of first to market failures is extensive. Of course this is not to say that being first is taboo, simply that being first carries a lot more risk.

History will be the judge!
The most current example of this may be the TESLA all electric vehicles. Certainly TESLA have in essence created a paradigm shift with their marvellous first to market products, but in doing so they have in effect, “poked the hornets’ nest”.

The big auto makers like FORD, GM, Hyundai, TOYOTA, NISSEN and the like have now been stirred into action. By now these giants would have reverse engineered every TESLA model, learned some “new “tricks” and will soon be flooding the market with even better versions of electric cars, most likely at an even lower price.

It will be interesting to see is how TESLA will fare in the face of relentless competitors that will have learned so much from the pioneering work of TESLA.
**** ENDS ****

Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and Business Development, is the author of four books, and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies, both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panelist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast

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It’s Booming

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

It’s Booming
By Roger La Salle
www.innovationtraining.com.au

In Australia in particular, low interest rates together with huge population growth (mostly from immigration) is fueling a housing boom. Coupled with unrestrained State and Federal Government infrastructure spending, it seem the “music may never stop”.

If your business is not in boom times then it’s time to look closely at your business strategy, your marketing and how you are applying innovation to cash in on this boom.

Old but true
There is an old saying in business:

“Nothing happens until you sell something”

Though this may be obvious, it’s so often overlooked by companies inspired by the concept of innovation. They move into new and innovated products with great enthusiasm only to find at the end of the day, there is little market interest.

This all “flies in the face” of another saying so often used to inspire innovation:

“Built it and they will come”

Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.

What’s the Secret?
There are two principles that we apply to innovation, principles that have never failed us:

• Sell it before you make it
• Innovate, don’t invent. We need to understand the difference between these terms so often wrongly used interchangeably.

Apply the principles of innovation and success is assured.

Will it even end?
The short answer is no and this brings us to the fundamental that inspires the product development we do, in hardware, software and marketing.

“Everything we do or use today will eventually be rendered obsolete by either a better way or the march of Technology. Nothing is free from the opportunity for innovation”

Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and Business Development, is the author of four books, and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies, both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panelist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast

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Innovation Man – Not!

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

Innovation Man – Not?
By Roger La Salle
www.innovationtraining.com.au

A New Year is upon us. Perhaps this may be the ideal time to take a breath and look at your strategy for growth!

Check this out
If innovation is one of your strategic pillars then remember that it’s outcomes that matter, not inputs. Indeed there is an old but must see IBM video that speaks a lot to innovation endeavors. The link is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjKh11jpqfc

Note, the intent is brilliant but unfortunately the outcomes are still a work in progress – will it ever be done?

The fact is, innovation does not happen even with deeply inspired people sitting in a darkened room singing the “What if I”….” hymn. “What if I … what……”? We may well ask?

Have a process
There is nowhere to go with such an open ended question. The secret to having outcomes is to finish the sentence with a full body of stimulus words each of which demands a specific answer. In fact properly done there are over 100 stimulus words that can finish the “What if I…” sentence. If you use these you can guarantee innovations will flow, literally as a river of opportunity.

So too in exploring your customer. The key to success in innovation is to understand what your customer wants. One approach is to simply ask. But this is not without its issues, including the one we so often encounter where in many cases customers seldom really know what they really want.

The secret to satisfying your customers’ needs lies in observation, what we refer to as “opportunity capture” with more than 40 ways to observe your customer. But it should not stop there, you also may need to be exploring your customer’s customer to get to the real source of true opportunity.

Finding new opportunities with which to explore and grow your business is the easy part. The real skill comes in evaluating these opportunities underpinned by the simple “technology diffusion model” – a numerical score card for new initiatives to be used as a precursor to your commercialization strategy.

None of this is difficult but your endeavors must be backed by sound judgement and proper risk management. This needs to be coupled with the clear understanding of the single biggest reason for failed innovations, the customer or perhaps better said, Market Risk.

What’s the message?
Now’s the time to review your business strategy and don’t be fooled into thinking that innovation is reserved for the gifted. We are all users of products and services. Engineers, scientist, accountants, lawyers, children, indeed everybody and anybody may be your customer. Use the right tools and outcomes are guaranteed.

****ENDS****

Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and Business Development, is the author of four books, and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies, both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panelist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast

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Co-working spaces – Real or a nice little earner?

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

The “co-working space” – real or a “nice little earner?

By Roger La Salle
www.innovationtraining.com.au
The new wave
Innovation has been on everybody’s lips for at least the past decade.

With that in mind we now see governments, councils, universities and many public and private companies offering co-working spaces, sometime at huge cost running into the millions of dollars.

What’s the plan?
It’s hard to criticise the endeavours of those who provide these spaces. However it’s worth asking the question, just what is their plan and how is the cost benefit of these facilities measured?

Certainly there is value in networking and meeting new people all hopefully having innovation at front of mind. Perhaps with the right mix of people sparks will fly and the next Facebook will emerge! This is always a possibility but are these relying on good luck as much as good management? What are the metrics and how are the costs of these funky new spaces that are popping up like mushroom justified?

Metrics are important. If you can’t measure something you can’t manage it, nor can you make changes knowing you are heading in the right direction.

One major bank that has invested heavily in these co-working spaces has clear metrics, as you would expect from a profit driven enterprise. Their major metric being – “The Number of new accounts that have resulted”. From what we have learned, they are delivering on this.

A new real estate model
Perhaps the co-working spaces in many cases are actually a “real estate play” with a new name of co-working spaces and the funky décor simply used to give them panache. Are they simply serviced desks instead of serviced offices with the landlords being the real beneficiaries?

There are some clear messages here
Innovation is not luck, we don’t invest in innovation to be lucky. If you address innovation and opportunity capture with a structured approach, you can almost guarantee outcomes in hours.

Finally, have a plan. Measure what you do.

****ENDS****

Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and Business Development, is the author of four books, and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies, both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panellist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast.

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It’s not just products

Monday, September 25th, 2017

It’s not just products!
By Roger La Salle
www.innovationtraining.com.au
Building a business
Research conducted by the Chief Scientist of Australia and no doubt by many other showed that companies that replace their products at the greatest rate, the most innovative if you like, are the ones the grow the fastest with the greatest profit.

Of course there are many competitions in Australia and elsewhere that promote the so called, most innovative companies. Indeed some actually charge a fee to enter such a competition which possibly “smacks a little like google Awards in paying to be noticed.

None the less, it doesn’t take a competition to see who are the most innovation operators in Australia. McDonalds would be my No1, a company that brings out some new product or a menu change or highlight on almost a weekly basis. Of course Apple, a company with no product in its stable much more than 12 months old are also at the top of the tree.

What else?
However, apart from innovating your products there are many other ways to achieve sustained growth, but many of these are overlooked or simple not on the RADAR of business executives clambering to stay ahead of the game.

Some of these include, complementing you offering, which is in effect selling something that captures the mind set of your customer.

Yet another is to accessorise you products or indeed accessorise the products of any successful business. The company Belkin comes to mind as a company one may well argue may not even exit but for the accessories it has developed for Apple and like products.

A further means for growth is to enhance the channel though which you communicate and reach your customer. For instance insurance companies and banks are perfectly places to achieve this but to date have been very poor in implementing this powerful growth strategy, possibly because they are too focused on their banking business and have failed to properly look outside the square.

Finally, there are new markets.
The world is a very small place these days with communication and transport now so fast, cheap and reliable.

An important way to grow your business is to grow your geographical foot print, but too often, again the pressure of survival in an ever a more aggressive environments restricts many companies, especially the smaller ones from properly addressing the search for new markers.

What now?
Perhaps the rate of product churn is powerful growth mechanism but new products can be a risky, costly and time consuming business.

Remember, new products are just one business growth strategy, ignore the others at your peril.
**** ENDS ****

Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and Business Development, is the author of four books, and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies, both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panellist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast.

**** ENDS ****

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Innovation on demand

Friday, August 25th, 2017

Innovation on demand – Yes it works
By Roger La Salle
www.innovationtraining.com.au
Invest but don’t waste
Getting a return on your innovation investment is something you must demand otherwise your innovation efforts may well spiral out of control with little to show in the end. Indeed many organizations have realized this and literally disbanded their innovation departments as a waste of money.

But does this apply to innovation?
In any properly run business pressure is applied to deliver outcomes often against demanding KPIs. Sales, production, finance and marketing all operate under such demands so why should an innovation department be any different?

You can’t think under pressure!
The old saying “necessity is the mother of invention” is absolutely true. With that in mind it may follow that outcomes in innovation can be demanded when pressure is properly applied. Think of your innovation department or indeed any of your innovation endeavours as simply a production department with a different product – in this case a product or process that is new or different from something you are already doing.

Of course many new to the game will be pushing back with the tried and true axiom that one cannot be creative under pressure. This is nonsense. History tells the story.

Wars prove it
Probably the greatest spurts in innovation and invention in history driven under extreme pressure and absolute necessity can be seen during any war or major conflict.

The Second World War is a good examples that spawned so many innovation it would be impossible to audit. From vastly improved aircraft, RADAR, proximity triggered cannon shells, communications, miniaturized radios, gun sights and directors. The list is endless and all delivered under enormous pressure. Indeed wars or times of crisis are clear proof that innovations can be delivered under pressure. A major Asian bank for example has come to this realization with a KPI mandated on each Department head that 10% of each successive year’s revenue shall come from new products. They demand this and achieve it, so too should you!

So what’s the message?
Have demanding KPI’s for innovation, just like sales and production. Measure your innovation ROI and be ruthless in demanding outcomes. If it’s not working, then clearly you have the wrong people, the wrong process; or both.
Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and Business Development, is the author of four books, and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies, both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panellist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast.

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Talk is cheap – Talk is Easy!

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

Talk is cheap – Talk is easy
By Roger La Salle
www.innovationtraining.com.au

For anyone seeking business advice and assistance whether in strategy, marketing, advertising, sales or innovation, there is one overriding metric that should underpin your purchase decision –
“will it add value?”

Client endorsements – hollow words?
Many web sites, brochures and promotional banners from consulting and training firms carry endorsements from previous clients. These can and should be a powerful aid in your decision making process but beware, if such words of endorsement do not carry the person’s title, name and organisation, they are simply hollow words that are best ignored.

In our business of innovation, opportunity capture, business strategy and culture change we indeed do have powerful endorsements, naturally all are backed by names and titles. However, when it comes to delivering innovation outcomes the real bottom line and a question you should be asking is “what innovations have resulted directly from your engagement?” This is the real question, in fact the only question. “Show me the products you have delivered, the patents lodged and products commercialised, show me the real “Value added”, then I will believe.

Read between the lines
Beware however of misleading endorsements and claims, not dishonest by design, but misleading by omission.

For example, a stunning patented breakthrough product we delivered and is now on display in an Australian Technology museum bears the tile of the “creator”. That title unwittingly misleads people to think these people were the inventors when in fact these people did nothing more than the industrial design. They simply made this amazing technology which we created, look pretty.

So too the industrial design company that is often credited with the creation of the computer mouse. In fact what they did was to turn an idea and a crude prototype conceived by others into an ergonomic saleable product, but so often we hear of them as the creators of the computer mouse. Of course this is not to detract from their design effort, but in exploring your innovation provider, make sure they are able to back their word with real tangible demonstrable outcomes and real innovators. Make sure you are dealing with doers, not talkers.

Remember the best measure we have in business is profit – plain and simple. Profit of course is the result of providing real value – the bottom line!

**** ENDS ****

Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development and is the author of four books and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panelist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast. www.innovationtraining.com.au

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