The enemy is already within. The flood gates are open. Can GE recover?

Managing cash, balancing this out with your liabilities and obligations, knowing your market dynamics, and equally, having a good understanding of where the future growth lies, are all essential for managing any healthy business.

It is then by utilizing robust research and development projects, combined with an acquisition strategy that augments growth, management creates sustainable and evolving business model.

These are the hallmarks of effective leadership. through managing your future development, mostly through research and development, that when combined with a sound acquisition strategy, that you believe will augment your present internal growth, so as to look to sustain the business, longer-term, becomes your contribution as a leader.  These are the bedrock of good corporate management. It seems within GE, all of these have been forgotten or collapsed. Why, I mean how can that have happened?

For a company reputed to have a good management discipline and focus, yet this year, 2017, for GE, it seems all of these are lying in tatters, or some parts will lose out as a consequence, into the future. What has gone wrong at GE?

The last few months have been some of the most shocking ones in GE’s history. GE has been around since 1892 and was one of the corporate titans of the 20th Century. Since the crisis of 2008, GE has been struggling to fully regain its position but all its actions were regarded very highly as “making good progress” as it maintained a relentless momentum of shedding and acquiring operations, as well as pursuing a buying back of its shares, and paying out the beloved GE dividend. This certainly provided a highly dynamic environment for managing the business. There has been a consistent muttering that this was not fast enough or clear enough. Well, GE faces a very different set of realities today.

Today, GE is in a very dark place at this moment. It is managing a full-blown set of crisis, that has investors highly spooked and demanding answers. Its share price is hovering around $17 per share, whereas, in February of this year, it was ranging in the $31- 32 price. Its market valuation, once over $400bn, is now closer to $150bn.

This is a long read, as the story itself is only just emerging and is a complex one. I simply have to step outside my own innovation comfort box to try to get to grips with the breaking GE story. It has shaken me.  I assume you already have some awareness of what is happening in a company that has been held up over so many years, as a model of good management. Continue reading

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Platform models are the new order of our innovating business need

Part of my shifting my own innovation advisory work was to build out a greater understanding of the power of ecosystems platforms and customer experience collaborations. This site here https://ecosystems4innovating.wordpress.com/about/   explains why there is this dedicated approach in my focus. Also oulining the reasons I chose to shift part of my business over to developing a “certain” knowledge expertise on ecosystems and platforms last year so to help others and equip myself for a growing part of the future of innovation.

Increasingly we are looking constantly for better value. We are increasingly restless and explorative. The big question for many companies that simply sell products is can they benefit from making changes in these platform models. How do they go about it to capitalize on this restlessness and constant need of new experiences? Is the stand-alone product model breaking down? Do the more traditional approaches to customers, those that are more supply sided, still serve their needs today? The answer is no, platforms are building very different connected experience for customers, they are voting with their digital clicks to move their business to these offerings. Are you building platform businesses? You should.

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Are you coming to the Innovation Virtual Summit?

So there is an innovation virtual summit about to happen between 28th November 2017 and 8th December 2017. Each day you can watch for free the different video sessions, with new video sessions released on a daily basis. The final schedule will be sent by email after your registration.

For some weeks this has been in preparation and as I am lucky enough to be one of the curators and hosts, I had the chance to chat with SIX terrific and highly knowledgeable people around different  subject that are dear to all our hearts, overcoming barriers and resolving many tough issues surrounding innovation.

So What Is Your #1 Question or Challenge in the next 6 to 18 months?

There is a very good chance there is an answer or a trigger into getting you closer to resolving your questions and challenges by tuning into and listening to some 28+ Innovation Experts Sharing Their Strategies and Tactics That Work.

The organizers crowdsourced the questions from their global community of 29,000+ corporate innovators, and they never imagined they would get such a huge response. The point is “Whatever challenge you’re trying to tackle right now, someone else already has figured it out. So by asking these 28 innovation experts to answer them, we clustered the questions into broader themes and then explored these in exchanges that had different depth and breadth to them that can give real value to many of the ‘burning’ questions we, as innovators, have to face.

It’s free, and you can attend on any device, from anywhere you have an internet connection. The interview talks will be available online to watch at your own convenience – there’s no strict schedule to follow.

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Innovation System Thinking on a Sunday! What, no roast or glass of wine? Later.

We all spend our Sundays in different ways. Some spend it recovering from the Saturday night, other spend large chunks of the day traveling to meet up with friends or family. Others go off to the gym, jog, take a run, or simply enjoy a day of pursuing something differently from their working week. We do different things. Mine is usually a mix of exploring and researching around innovation in the morning, a couple of hours at the gym, a walk to finish off and then a mixture of enjoying a nice home-cooked meal and a relaxing evening.

That part of the day spent on innovation, researching and reading, tends to partly stimulate my week ahead in different ways, as I try to reinforce what I’ve learned by applying this to the work gathered around me at that point in time. I am looking to see how it does help shape and influence it, it ‘fuels’ the coming-in week in some part. Of course, this greatly depends on what I am working on, for others and, for myself. Some weeks I just don’t find the opportunity to apply it, so that “Sunday thinking” sits there for another day or week, or even months before I revisit it or connect it back up. Continue reading

Putting some dynamic tension back into the innovation system

I have been having some writers block recently and I was not sure how to unlock some random thoughts I was having in the past weeks, then in a great conversation I had today, with a fellow innovation colleague, it started to “reveal itself” in where I needed to go to give a new sense of repurpose.

A collaboration is being mooted between us but until there is a point of common understanding much stays under partial wraps until we both get to a more comfortable point, where we feel it can go for us but it certainly triggered this post as a starter.

The thinking hinges around the state of innovation today, how it is fragmenting in  a myraid of parts, all seemingly contributing; yet it seems learning has been replaced by personalized experience and the chase for individual knowledge. Mostly this does not get embedded back in the company, the ones who are paying for this exposure.

I was wondering if there was a decent ‘return on investment’ being made by the company or was it just being front-loaded on the individual, so they gain and then can take that understanding elsewhere, or simply set up their own shop of ‘innovation expertise’. The ROI and the Return on Learning seemed to be mostly heading out of the door, leaving the organization that made the investment, devoid of a return.

My feeling is this should change and we firstly establish a “System of Record” for innovation that brings the individual learning into a collective one, a “system of collective engagement” that enables all within the system to gain from and design innovation solutions, from a more ‘whole’ system thinking perspective, that gives innovation sustaining power connecting the individual to the organizations needs. Continue reading

Choosing your direction of travel

In the past week or so, I have been looking a little harder at the Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industry relating to innovation, it left me a little frustrated.

I felt that warm and fuzzy feeling, as I read all too often those comforting words or platitudes of how “innovation is vital to us” and one of the “highest areas of focus.” Yet as you then listen to the voices of the very leaders within these industries in interviews, or read on blogs, or in discussing what are the challenges they face, it does seem somewhat hollow.

You know they are nowhere at the point of really understanding the potential of the changes that could take place within adopting a broader view on all aspects of innovation.

Nearly all in these current companies making up the Chemical and Pharmaceuticals sectors are well past their prolific era, the discovery part is bogged down in slow growth, expensive development costs and regulatory conditions. Blockbusters seem a thing of the past but perhaps they don’t need to be with a very different innovative approach.

You do get tired of hearing “we are looking to become a value-creating solution provider”, yet the willingness to really create collaborative networks is still stuck in the “us and them” mentality. The thinking through on the contribution around innovation needs to be changed.

The two industries are struggling in finding new operating models to adapt to a different, changing world. They are not yet tuned into those more integrated systems of collaboration, where platforms and ecosystems are critical to making improved progress, advanced by multiple contributions to the discovery and exploration stages, where there is a new potential force of collaborative breakthroughs. So from what I can see so far, change is highly constrained:

Evolution is slow, revolution is seemingly non-existent due to narrow vested interests.
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The limitations, criticisms and new pathways for Design Thinking – Part two

This is part two of my thoughts that came out of investigating and researching design thinking in the past couple of weeks. Part one is here.

Within these two posts, I want to provide my thoughts, bridging the present and pointing towards a better design thinking future, one that in my opinion, is urgently needed.

These two posts are not intended as a mapping of the present DT landscape, they are reflective posts coming from what I researched.

The ‘product of my work’ itself is presently being worked through to be available as an e-book in the coming weeks. It has not been easy and often I found a level of confusion that kept forcing me to dig some more and I’m still not sure I have the answers, perhaps just lots of open questions. I think design thinking seems presently fairly messy and I feel is in need of a complete reset.

The intent of the e-book is to offer a practical, direct takeaway of design thinking, more of the present practices and then where it is possibly heading. I tried to go linear, gone circular, gone holistic and at times ballistic and sought out tactical and strategic design, recognizing how its orientation has moved through product, service, experience, business model and is lifting design into new ways of orientation at tactical and strategic levels.

As I found out from my research, there is an awful amount of “noise” and “hype to work through to find the past, present and future positions of design thinking. In summary, I think design thinking is undergoing a revolution, a certain maturing but it is littered with a very messy, highly competitive present. Continue reading