Posts Tagged ‘FRUSTRATION’

Get Connected

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Get Connected!
By Roger La Salle

The most valuable companies
In the world today, courtesy of the internet and the communications revolution some of the most valuable companies in the world are Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like and in reality what these companies do it little more than connect people.

What’s in a brand?
There has been some dialogue recently in one of the chat forums about the big brand consultancies and prominent academic institutions. Is it their brand or their capability that sets them apart? This is a wonderful question indeed?

Some Examples
It was announced on the weekend that the former head of the largest industrial union in Australia has joined one of the big four consulting firms as a Director. Some writers are indeed querying just what special skills he brings to that business. Has he ever worked in consulting, or in fact ever run a business?

In recent years a former Premier of Queensland retired as the Chairman of another of Australia’s big four consultancies, but from his vast political background, what special insights did he bring to the consulting game – little one may argue.

In past years some of our major telecommunications equipment manufacturers have “head hunted’ people from the large telecom companies, again one may ask, what special insights do these people have in the manufacturing business – the answer is probable none at all.

In all of the above cases it’s the contacts and connections of these people that matters.

Just as the top internet connectors are the most valuable in the world, so too are the most well connected people.

What’s the message?
I now have many thousands of people on my database and over the years have developed first class personal relationships with people and businesses in more than 28 countries. These connection have proved invaluable!

Folks – build your network and get connected.

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Roger La Salle, is the creator of the “Matrix Thinking”™ technique and is widely sought after as an international speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development. He is the author of four books, Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australian 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. Matrix Thinking is now used in more than 26 countries and licensed to Deloitte, one of the world’s largest consulting firms. www.matrixthinking.com

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The Time is Now!

Monday, July 7th, 2014

The time is now!
By Roger La Salle

Years end – or Years start?
For many businesses the year has ended flat, to say the least. The stock market is flat and confidence is low. Now is the time to be different, time to take advantage of those that view the glass half empty, it’s time to seize the opportunities that many are overlooking as they struggle to rise from the doldrums.

“Opportunity Capture” is the new wave. Opportunity precedes innovation and innovation is what powers business.

This is powerful stuff
The opportunity matrix asks us to look at the big picture by observing human and business activities. There are only five activities we need to observe, these are called the Seeds of Opportunity.

Observation is the key and for this reason we define opportunity as “An observed fortunate set of circumstances”. If you use the Seeds identified as the search methodology you will see opportunity abound.

Some stunning insights and solutions
A quick scan using the opportunity matrix has revealed:

• Worldwide there are approximately 6 million megawatt hours of power used annually to charge mobile phones (Energy consumption we did not even consider some 15 years ago)
o Solution – provide everybody with a $2.00 solar cell with a new phone

• We all love out text messages, (most of which are frivolous) and yet whilst many worry about green initiatives there are close to 100 MWatt hours of power used annually in sending these texts
o Limit texts to what is needed, not what is fun – Twitter may be one answer, but by no means the best!

• In Istanbul alone (just one major world city) approximately 200 MWatt hours of electricity are used every morning just on car stop lights. Double that to add the afternoon peak.
o Use LEDS to reduce this by a factor of 10, flashing the lights at a 50% duty cycle halves it again.

• In Australia alone we use approximately 440 tonnes of staples annually just to staple credit card invoices to receipts and 730,000 km of paper just to print the receipts.
o Put it all in the cloud as an e-receipt

• In Australia alone close to 36,000 tonnes of CO2 is realised annually from Coca Cola
o Drink low fizz drinks or use the “Fizz Straw” to aerate the drink as you drink it

• There are approximately 500,000 dinner parties in Melbourne every week
o Use this knowledge to access the complementary products market

• There are approximately 80 million toothbrushes sold annually in Australia
o Make the package easier to open and steal your competitors market

• A bank has millions of customers, their “channel” – but they never leverage it?
o Fulfil a common need of your “tribe”

What Now
The above are just some of the stunning insights that Opportunity Capture can reveal, and it takes just seconds.

You too can do this and be first to see the opportunities that others are simply missing, it’s fast, simple and rigorous.

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Roger La Salle, is the creator of the “Matrix Thinking”™ technique and is widely sought after as an international speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development. He is the author of four books, Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australian 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. Matrix Thinking is now used in more than 26 countries and licensed to Deloitte, one of the world’s largest consulting firms. www.matrixthinking.com

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Business Insight – Determined to fail

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Determined to fail!
By Roger La Salle

Follow your dreams – well maybe?
Delighted though we may be to read of successful entrepreneurs, inventors and overnight millionaires there is a need to moderate these success stories with a touch of reality.

Unfortunately too many commentators are urging people to follow their dreams and advising persistence at all costs. We are told that success is hard won but persistence always pays in the end.

I can even relate to a story of a long time friend who took this message so serious that he actually thought that in some way is was axiomatic that if you go through really tough times then the good times would necessarily follow. Unfortunately today this man is far from wealthy, though I am pleased to say sanguine about his past exploits, notwithstanding continued failures.

What are the odds?
The real fact is that for each success story we read about there are 10,000 that have tried and failed and when it comes to IT and Smartphone Apps etc, the numbers are even more horrifying. Virtually every IT geek in the universe is working to find the next killer App, occasionally of course there is a success story and naturally that is trumpeted far and wide and this message inspires us to keep trying, as we should but beware the pitfalls.

Trying to make your fortune with the next big thing whether it is a product, service or an App probably has odds somewhat akin to a big win in the lottery. Perhaps the only difference is that in the case of entrepreneurial endeavours we like to think we have some input and can thus influence the outcome. In an ideal world this may be the case but the problem is, once we fall in love with our idea, as most entrepreneurs do, objectivity often disappears with decisions being emotionally driven and persistence and passion the ingredients of endeavour.

Too often costly disasters follow, disasters that we never hear of. Unsurprisingly we are only told of the success stories and it’s these that of course inspire and fuel our efforts.

Are large Corporates somewhat “slothful”?
An interesting comparison can be drawn between inspired entrepreneurs and executives in large companies. Too often we hear stories of entrepreneurs frustrated with what they consider to be breathtaking ideas ignored or discredited by big business executives. Oh how they pour scorn on these seemingly unmotivated “fat-cats”. Notwithstanding that, I too have suffered at the hands of such executives, however, in their defence we need to realise that in most cases it is the decision making skills of these people that won them their position in the first place. These people are close to their business and “know the ropes”, the risks and the costs and difficulty in embracing breathtaking new ideas. Not only can brave new ideas be a risk to their business but also in some cases being a champion of a new idea can be a risk to a career. The trouble is, we are seldom privy to all the decision drivers.

What’s the message?
The message is simple. No amount of persistence will turn a dog into a star. There comes a time when it is best to discard an idea and move on to the next, there are millions of new ideas and opportunities out there and if you remain skilfully vigilant you just may find one.

Perhaps the following best sums up this thinking:

Persistence is an important element of success
Persistence is an essential element of failure.

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Roger La Salle, is the creator of the “Matrix Thinking”™ technique and is widely sought after as an international speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development. He is the author of four books, Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australian 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. Matrix Thinking is now used in more than 26 countries and licensed to Deloitte, one of the world’s largest consulting firms. www.matrixthinking.com

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Business Insight 6 degrees of separation?

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Six Degrees of separation? – Maybe two?
By Roger La Salle

The six degrees concept essentially says that if we know six people and they all know six people and the chain continues we will in effect be connected to every person in the world.

True this may be, but in fact it is far simpler.

Keep it simple!

Indeed if you know just two people and each of them knows just two new people and each of them the same and so on, in effect this chain, much like a chain letter, will connect you with every person in the world. Just two people is all we need to know!

Of course this is the principle on which multi-level marketing is founded and in many cases has been so successful. But alas, some of our biggest companies are not taking advantage of this simple statistical fact. An advantage that can be developed with a small investment to complement and use to better effect the often vast advertising spend of large companies.

The secret here is to develop a valuable word of mouth (WoM) message so that your interface with a customer will leave them so delighted and pleased that they will inevitably tell another person and more than likely more than one.

It is often said that good service will win you three new customers whereas bad service will lose you one for certain and possible many more as the word spreads.

The perfect model

There could be a no more dramatic example of the power of word of mouth than with the stock market. The slightest positive whisper about a soon to boom stock will see the price soar within days if not hours as the word spreads. Conversely, a bad report will see a stock tumble in minutes in an almost exponential downward spiral.

The stock market is the perfect model for companies that wish to understand the power of word of mouth. Unfortunately, too few work to make this happen, possibly because they are too steeped in
tradition, reluctant to change and maybe a little risk averse! Why “rock the boat” you may well ask if business is OK and doing something a little radical may cause problems or have unforeseen results, an effect that I refer to as “Consequential Change”

Use the principle of “Opportunity Capture”
The opportunity matrix asks us to “Track” people and observe behaviour, Using this approach can reveal the secret to developing the right WoM message, which is easy to implement, can be accurately costed and moreover the effect easily measured.

There is an old saying, the stock market is the word of the people, it never lies. Use this as a model and build your business by WoM.

Roger La Salle, is the creator of the “Matrix Thinking”™ technique and is widely sought after as an international speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development. He is the author of four books, Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australian 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. Matrix Thinking is now used in more than 26 countries and licensed to Deloitte, one of the world’s largest consulting firms. www.matrixthinking.com

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Management Reporting

Monday, March 31st, 2014

THE PRINCIPLE OF CONTRADICTORY REPORTING©
© Roger La Salle

A Chief Executive or a senior manager in a business organisation usually has a wide span of control with a number of departments reporting directly to him. In a technology based manufacturing business for example the company structure under the CEO at the first level may be somewhat similar that shown below.

Considering one department, such as manufacturing, this may be further broken down –
As the company structure expands in a tree like fashion from the CEO down through the subordinate staff to the shop floor the question must be asked; how can the CEO know exactly what is going on within the organisation? How can he know who are the good managers, and moreover, how can he be sure that what he is being told is accurate and not distorted by some aberration or failure of the reporting system. The CEO has the ultimate responsibility and it is unacceptable for him to use ignorance as an excuse. The CEO must know exactly what is happening at all times, and he must have the foresight to see trends which may turn to problems in good time to take corrective action.

For each staff manager the position is exactly the same. Information from subordinates which gives incorrect or distorted information is no excuse for failure and a method of reporting which highlights both good and bad managers and ensures accurate reporting must be in place for the business to prosper.

Before considering this principle however it is useful to first look at a business system which has either no reporting or an inaccurate system of reporting in place.

A good analogy is that of a ball rolling down a chute or tube. In this case as the ball rolls it bumps from side to side, and perhaps up and down, but with each movement off course it hits a side and is redirected back to the centre. Thus the motion could be seen as that of a corrected zig-zag down the tube. As the ball emerges from the tube it holds its course for a short distance and then begins to wander off the original line. It wanders slowly at first, and then as no correction or feedback is applied, the wandering increases until the trajectory of the ball bears no relationship at all to the original direction.

So it is with a business. It starts out with a direction or “mission” and reporting points are used to observe its trajectory. At some point when a manager may observe that a reporting point is at the limit of what is deemed acceptable corrective action is taken to redirect that area of the business to bring it back on course. Obviously, without accurate reporting and feedback the business direction would be quite arbitrary.

The importance of reporting is thus obvious. By using the principles outlined in this paper a structured reporting system can be developed which is both accurate and informative and also serves to keep managers alert at all times.

In short, the principle involves the very careful selection of perhaps five reporting parameters for each manager. The key to success is however, the choice of just what parameters to report as each parameter should be chosen so as to exclude or contradict the other parameters.

For example, consider the position of Production Manager in a manufacturing organisation, what report parameters would be selected?

The first parameter chosen should attempt to monitor the primary job function, which in this case is, how many goods were made?

Following the contradictory reporting principle other reporting parameters must now be selected which monitor factors which are a subset of the primary reporting parameter. The aim is to ensure that the production output goal is not achieved at the expense of some other highly important and potentially costly other goal.

The Production Manager may give excellent reports on output but he may be achieving these by use of extra headcount or by working excessive overtime. Perhaps then both overtime and headcount should also be reported. Similarly, high output level, even within headcount and overtime constraints may be achieved at the expense of quality, hence some measure of quality must be instituted. Finally, all of the above reporting points may be able to be achieved by excessive pressure on production workers such that output is good, overtime is low and quality is good but the turnover of staff or headcount is excessive indicating that people are unhappy working with the company.

Thus it can be seen that for the Production Manager the reporting points may be:

(a) Output
(b) Headcount
(c) Overtime
(d) Quality
(e) Staff turnover

For each of these reporting points goals should be set and timely reports presented to show performance against these goals. By creating such a set of contradictory reporting points the manager is essentially forced to operate within a framework where all variables relate to all other variables. Such a framework when used with difficult but achievable goals creates a stimulating working environment which guarantees accurate measurement of the managers overall performance.

When establishing the reporting parameters it is also valuable to have at least two of those parameters also reported within another department as an additional check.

In the case of the Production Manager for example, the Personnel Department would also be likely to have staff turnover as a reporting point and perhaps would also report direct wage costs; which of course monitors both overtime and headcount.

Another example of contradictory reporting may be with the Sales Department. In this case the primary job function would be the number or value of orders written and some appropriate subset reporting parameters may be:

• number of sales staff employed
• expenditure on advertising and promotion
• total discounts allowed
• number or value of bad debts

In the case of discounts allowed and number and value of bad debts, the Accounts Department could also be made to report on these points.

When implementing a system of management reporting it is essential that the presentation of reports is made extremely simple. So simple indeed that the information presented can be taken in at a glance and any excursions outside the performance boundary must be highlighted. If reports are allowed to become too complex in nature and presentation they soon become overlooked and the vital information they intend to provide is lost.

The keys to effective management reporting therefore embrace the following points:

• select a primary job function for each department
• select a subset of contradictory reports for each department
• cross monitor some reports with other department
• keep management report presentations simple
• for every report highlight any excursion outside the allowable performance window.

Roger La Salle, is the creator of the “Matrix Thinking”™ technique and is widely sought after as an international speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development. He is the author of four books, Director and former CEO of the Innovation Center of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australian 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. Matrix Thinking is now used in more than 26 countries and licensed to Deloitte, one of the world’s largest consulting firms. www.matrixthinking.com

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Who’s in Control?

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Who’s in Control!
By Roger La Salle

The announced demise of the auto industry in Australia really came as no surprise, Alcoa have followed and there will be more, but the question to be explored as business owners and entrepreneurs is just what type of business you are in, or perhaps may wish to be in?

Which is your category?

In short there are typically two types of businesses, ones that we can refer to as “Dependant”, the others as “Independent”.

With the closure of car manufacturing we will see a devastating knock on effect of other industry closures, we refer to these as consequential effects and those industries as dependant industries. These industries by and large only exist as component suppliers to the people that produce the final product that goes to the ultimate purchaser, usually the consumer.

Motor cars are sold direct to users, thus one may suggest that the car makers are independent industries, the parts suppers are of course dependant.

Other examples of independent industries are the likes of coco cola whose product is sold direct to the user, but the suppliers of their bottles, labels and ingredients such as sugar and flavours are of course dependant. They rely on the fact that coco cola will continue to source from them, and thus they really are at their mercy of coco cola. Perhaps coco cola could choose another local supplier, or use competitive tension to drive prices down, or even decide to source your product off shore, all of course to the betterment of their profit – and why not?

Even Independent industries have been hijacked

Primary produces such as fruit and vegetable providers in theory are independent industries because they are not parts suppliers, their product is directly used by the end user without modification, but there is a catch.

The supermarkets, who are by far the major route to market for such commodities have now inserted themselves into the value chain to such an extent that to all intents the supermarket, and not the consumer, are the real customers. When viewed in this light we see the commodity suppliers have in effect become dependent suppliers at the mercy of their intermediate supermarket customer. Of course once the supermarkets have won this dominant role they can now squeeze the margins of their dependant suppliers to almost breaking point.

The major hardware chains of course have now also managed to squeeze out many of the small independent hardware shops and thus have in essence become the only effective route to market for hardware manufacturers or importers. Again these suppliers have become dependent industries at the mercy of the middleman.

Can we win back control?

This brings us back to the question, what type of industry are you in and moreover, what measures can you take to break from the clutches of the middlemen that have wrested from you, total control of your route to market?

The internet has provided one means of by passing the retail outlets dominated by so few. Many internet savvy consumers are saving huge amounts by direct purchases that avoid the mark-ups of 40% and more from retail outlets. (These mark-up are clearly possible, that’s why outlets can afford “50% off” sales).

What now needs to be done is to reinvent or innovate the internet sales model to allow all manner of items, including perishables and low value purchases to be sold via the internet.

The mechanism is there all it needs is some co-operation and collaboration between relevant industries and associations and perhaps this new paradigm can be realised. The tools are there it now just needs to intent.

Where to now!

Let’s make a plan!

Roger La Salle, is the creator of the “Matrix Thinking”™ technique and is widely sought after as an international speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development. He is the author of four books, Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australian 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. Matrix Thinking is now used in more than 26 countries and licensed to Deloitte, one of the world’s largest consulting firms. www.matrixthinking.com

**** ENDS ****

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Unemployment – Services are not the answer!

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Unemployment – Services are not the answer!
By Roger La Salle

The demise of Australia

The last of the auto makers has now decided to exit Australia, that’s not a surprise. How can anybody hope to compete on the world stage with labour prices in Australia amongst the very highest in the world and with such a relatively small population to service?

Few people seem to understand!

I am reminded of a speech Julia Gillard gave to the United Nations where she stated that the downturn in the mining sector was not a real issue for unemployment in Australia because these people would be relocated to the services sector in particular education, nursing and aged care etc.

The lady simple does not get it.

So too a caller to a radio station today suggesting that those displaced from the auto sector could go into the logistics business because now we will be importing even more and will thus need extra logistics companies, delivery drivers and stores people etc.

Does anybody get it?

The Rise of commerce

Commerce or indeed even money was created for one reason, to facilitate the transfer of goods.

With no goods to transfer there would be no need for commerce, banks, accountants, consultants, trucks or anything of the like.

The only way to actually create wealth is to actually create something. Something that somebody wants and will purchase.

Things that fall into this category are of course commodities like rice, wheat, iron ore and coal etc. The creation of music, entertainment, films, songs, poetry and even dance fall into this category.

To create wealth you need to create something.

The services sector simply moves the stuff around that somebody first created. Accountants, lawyers and banks and the like simply assist people in moving or managing wealth. They don’t create wealth.

Inbound tourism creates wealth, so too the export of education that actually brings new money into the country. But services, stand alone do not create anything, they only exist because somebody else has created some tangible item to transact.

Where to now?

This is the question, because with the present state of play in the labour markets we have little hope of ever making anything tangible that creates wealth.

The exceptions

Products and good that can be protected with intellectual property rights are possibly the only way to actually make things in this country that create wealth, or of course the export of precious commodity resources that Australia is so fortunately rich in.

But then again, if you have invented a great new widget or a work of literature to be published, why on earth would you make or publish it in Australia.

Instead make it in low cost overseas countries for a fraction of the cost than thus maximise your profits. Even if the item is made overseas, it still returns new wealth to the creator, the resident of the country of invention and people are employed managing the item in the home country. So this has some prospects.

Where to now?

The government talks endlessly about innovation and has many excellent programs that hope to inspire innovation, but almost all programs without exception require the creator to take great financial risk to turn a new idea into money. Even then there is a sting in the tail.

If almost by some miracle you do succeed in successfully commercialising a new idea and turn that into wealth, the government wacks you with income tax! So why bother to take the huge financial gamble in the first place?

The answer to all this is simple!

Give entrepreneurs and potential wealth creators nothing in advance but a tax break for maybe five years if they do succeed. This is in fact cost positive for government because the creation of new items employs people that do pay taxes in managing these items. Further, after the tax holiday has expired a new tax paying industry is now in place.

With such a tax incentive, money for new ideas and well-funded entrepreneurs would flood into the country.

It is not hard to create new IP, the methods are well known, but the incentive to use these is low.
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**** ENDS ****

Roger La Salle, is the creator of the “Matrix Thinking”™ technique and is widely sought after as an international speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development. He is the author of four books, Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australian 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. Matrix Thinking is now used in more than 26 countries and licensed to Deloitte, one of the world’s largest consulting firms. www.matrixthinking.com

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Manufacturing – is this service innovation?

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Why Service innovation for manufacturers?
By Roger La Salle

What is a service?
A good definition, detailed in my latest book, “Innovate or Perish” is as follows:

“The provision of labour, information, facilities or products to meet a need.”

This covers all service as follows:
• Labour, like a hairdresser or Gardener
• Information, such as ABS or perhaps google
• Facilities, such as venues and hotels
• Products such as supermarkets. These people don’t actually make products they simply provide a venue for purchase.

What about Manufacturers?
Manufacturers generally “turn off” when we speak of service innovation. Service is something that for some reason seems not to be on the innovation agenda. It would seem too many that innovation really only applies to real tangible products.

However, if we look at almost any manufacturing operation the task of actually bolting things together to make a product in fact represents possibly just 10% or less of their business activities. Indeed the other 90% is service.

Is this really the case?
The customer interface and the sales effort is in fact a service. The person who answers the phone is delivering a service, so too the stores clerk, the person who packs the goods and those who deliver them are all services. For this reason service innovation should be just as high the agenda as the innovation of the tangible products we make.

Poor Service can be a shop stopper!
I am sure we have all had bad experiences in dealing with businesses that are making things we wish to purchase. Experiences such as rude sales people, delayed delivery, off-hand treatment, sales people talking phone calls whilst you are waiting at a counter or maybe even overcharging for items not specified, such as packaging and postage etc.

All of these components form a part of your overall offering and to fail in just one can spell the death of your business.

Can Services be “Innovated”?
The intangibles of service are no different from the tangibles of physical products. In fact services can be mapped and measured just like process. Indeed service efficiency can also be measures by the following equation:

Service Efficiency = Service Level*/Costs

*Service Level Metrics: The key to innovating services is to develop some metrics around what you are delivering as a service for a particular part of the business and assign a dollar value to the importance of this. Changes can then be made to improve service level and the costs associated with that delivery.

In this way, service level can not only be innovated, but much like process innovation, mathematically tracked.

What now?
It is suggested you pay attention to the service aspects of your business and work with your management team to develop some service level metrics with associated costs. Once such metrics are in place, not only do you then have a means to measure and track service delivery, you also have quantifiable ways to measure the effects of implementing innovative change.

**** ENDS ****

Roger La Salle, is the creator of the “Matrix Thinking”™ technique and is widely sought after as an international speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development. He is the author of four books, Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australian 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. Matrix Thinking is now used in more than 26 countries and licensed to Deloitte, one of the world’s largest consulting firms. www.matrixthinking.com

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Innovation or Creativity – that’s the question?

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Innovation or Creativity – What’s it to be?
By Roger La Salle

Research is risky business

There is a commonly used saying that “Research is about turning money into knowledge” and “Innovation is about turning knowledge into money”.

Governments generally define research as activities that entail technical risk. In other words, there is no guarantee of a useful outcome. Governments the world over provide research funding clear in the knowledge that there may be no commercial result, but none the less, developed nations place research high on their must do agendas. However, research is usually a long term activity, seldom embraced by Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) that need quick wins and short time to market.

Innovation entails little risk

Innovation on the other hand is an activity that if done properly can be done with very little risk at all.

Generally Governments provide handsome subsidies for businesses wishing to embrace innovation in terms of product development. Further, in Australia there are also handsome subsidies for companies that wish to have their staff learn and experience the tools of innovation and opportunity capture. These tools are of course aimed at inspiring innovation and commercialisation to bring innovated products to the market with little risk of failure.

Innovation or Creativity?

One of the barriers to innovation lies in the confusion between real innovation and opportunity capture and so called art of creativity. This latter term is somewhat abstract and perhaps may be better confined to the arts and entertainment rather than real hands on innovation.

Understanding the difference is paramount in developing an innovative culture. To embrace so called “creativity” may result in all sorts of “hair brained” activities that may be fun in the workplace but seldom produce real value added low risk innovation.

Take advantage of the offerings

The knowledge that the government provides assistance for both research and innovation activities is not all that widely known by may SME’s. I suggest companies get to know of these generous packages, take advantage of what is available and innovate, or perhaps tomorrow you may be extinct.

**** ENDS ****

Roger La Salle, is the creator of the “Matrix Thinking”™ technique and is widely sought after as an international speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development. He is the author of four books, Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australian 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. Matrix Thinking is now used in more than 26 countries and licensed to Deloitte, one of the world’s largest consulting firms. www.matrixthinking.com

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Catch 22 – Business Insight

Monday, November 25th, 2013

“Catch 22” – Especially for the big boys!
By Roger La Salle

The Pace of Business
Business are being challenged today like never before. The advent of IT and rapid communications has led to contract negotiations and time to market plummeting from months or years in days gone by to now a matter of weeks.

The need to do something different and better has never been so strong. But how do we shift the culture of people and managers that have for years been towing the company line and meeting all their KPI’s for the past, perhaps too many years?

If a manager is doing the job and enjoying the spoils and trapping of managerial success then whatever is the incentive that drives one to “rock the boat”? What is the driver that will change behaviour and have people do something different, perhaps to innovate or to actively search the horizon for new opportunities?

Unfortunately, and quite understandably, the incentive to take risks and engender change is virtually non existent.

The Catch 22

In the light of the foregoing there of course exists a “Catch 22”

Survival in business requires change to drive managers to embrace innovation and new opportunities, but why would you do that if life is good and we are not forced to change. Rather, maintain the status quo and keep doing what we have always been comfortable in doing?

Embarking on change means taking on more work, and most of all risk, perhaps even career risk. Consequently to change course, especially in large businesses is a bit like trying to turn the Titanic.

One Solution

In Singapore one enlightened CEO of a very large company put a mandate and KPI on all department heads that for each successive year, 10% of their revenue would come from new innovated products or new opportunities. Management salaries and bonuses were tightly tied to this mandate and to fail to achieve this was perhaps more a career risk than attempting change but failing in the endeavour. The success of this approach was outstanding.

The Bottom line!

The bottom line here is to recognise this Catch 22 in most businesses, especially large ones and to find ways to drive the change initiative. A failure to do so may lead to an outcome far worse than the risk of trying.

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Roger La Salle, is the creator of the “Matrix Thinking”™ technique and is widely sought after as an international speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development. He is the author of four books, Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australian 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. Matrix Thinking is now used in more than 26 countries and licensed to Deloitte, one of the world’s largest consulting firms. www.matrixthinking.com

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