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Executive Briefings: Part 1 – Navigating the New Presidential Administration

The C-Suite is a vast audience of leaders who all have a little extra insight into their industry and the current business world. I sit down with these leaders to give them the opportunity to share that insight and give a glimpse to their personal stories as a business leader. I recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. Michael Mandel.  Dr. Mandel is the chief economic strategist at the Progressive Policy Institute in Washington.

 

What is the Progressive Policy Institute? What do you do?

We are a Washington-based think tank research institute. We are pro-growth, pro-market, and pro-trade. There are exceedingly partisan views in Washington, however we believe most people want something in the center that is about growth and innovation and the future. That is what we focus on.

 

Business owners are concerned about innovation.  How does regulatory policy impact innovation?

Regulatory accumulation has actually had a negative effect on productivity and innovation over the last 10 or 15 years.  Democrats and Republicans have continued to layer on regulations without worrying about their impact on businesses.

As an example, manufacturing companies are hit by an enormous amount of regulations. Eventually, people develop a compliance mentality that makes it difficult for them to innovate.

Regulations get passed and they become outmoded, obsolete, and overlap new ones.  We are suggesting a regulatory improvement commission that would have that power to propose a package of regulations to eliminate or to improve upon existing regulations.

 

What do you see happening with the modification of the banking regulations that helped free this market up for small businesses to get out of this strangulation hold they’re in?

The first thing that needs to be done is to accelerate the rate at which the SEC approves the regulations which allow small businesses to raise money.

We, as pragmatic progressives who believe in growth and innovation in the market, see that this movement in regulation has not brought about what was expected. We want to be able to pare away and then improve the system, and do this in a way that enables small businesses to raise money and allows bigger businesses access to the capital they need without putting the economy at risk.

 

What are your thoughts relating to the long-term economic impact in the areas of tech?

I think that tech is moving into the internet of things and we are headed for another burst. Right now, tech in the U.S. has only transformed about 20 percent of the economy. It has not transformed manufacturing. It has not transformed health care yet. It has not transformed transportation and the physical industries.  Because of this, we may see the rise of new tech giants that are on the interface between tech and manufacturing, on the interface between tech and health care.

 

If industrial technology is the next wave, it will certainly reshape manufacturing. Will that be a positive thing? Will we see improvement in the manufacturing world?

It’s going to be a positive thing because as we will see gains in productivity, we’re actually seeing real gains in productivity, real drops in cost that will have the effect of helping people’s living standards and bringing jobs back, although they will be very different types of jobs than we are used to seeing in the manufacturing industry.

What has happened over the last few years is that productivity growth in manufacturing, what we call multi-factor productivity growth, has not been strong. It has been negative in a lot of industries. We have seen relative growth in prices for a lot of manufactured goods, especially ones that are made in the U.S. We need great amounts of investment in technology in the U.S.  We need a big leap forward in manufacturing.

Over the last 10 years the two biggest technological innovations were the smart phone and factory tech.  In 2006, nobody could have predicted this.

I believe we will see the same type of innovations… things will look very different than they do now.

See our article on Huffington Post.

“Ushering in the Future 500” – White Paper

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Greetings, C-Suite members.

Exciting news! Navalent, producer of inventive and gainful business, has collaborated with us and published a white paper for c-level leaders on helpful, groundbreaking research on leadership. The truly innovative logic behind the brand is revealed in this publication, entitled: Ushering in the Future 500: How Mid-cap Executives are helping their Organizations Build for Sustainable Growth and Win.

An exciting opportunity for growth is plentiful within mid-cap companies, but oftentimes leaders find themselves constricted by their work environments. The potential for balance within pattern shifts is revealed within Navelent’s publication. Organizational and strategic patterns are investigated and specifically assessed.

The downloadable white paper is available to our C-Level leaders. Please find the offer through this unique link: Download Here

From Buzzwords to Implementation: Keeping your Marketing Relevant

by Jeff Tomlin

Every marketer says that telling the story is the way to go. It’s become such a generic piece of advice that, although relevant, now seems almost as commonplace as “the medium is the message.” But here’s another marketer here to tell you it’s true. According to an online survey of 1,000 US marketers, 76 percent of us believe that marketing has changed more in the last two years than in the past fifty. What is true for marketers is true for companies—the marketing landscape has changed dramatically and companies need to find the new path to follow, or better yet, lead.

So what’s changed? The medium and the tools, yes, but much more than just that. Your customers have changed. How you allocate your budget has changed. Who you hire has changed. Who sets your brand’s message has changed. In short, nearly everything is different. Here are three things you need to do to stay relevant in the digital marketing landscape.

Broaden expertise in the marketing department. Long gone are the days when marketers need only know how to write slogans and design billboards (if that were ever the case). Companies need content creators, data analysts, influencers and learners. Most of all, marketers need to be well versed with technology. They need to know how to manage brands online, how to get people talking and sharing content, how to dig into analytics, how to source relevant data—the skillset attributed to marketers is undergoing a rapid evolution, and will continue to change as long as technology is driving business.

Produce engaging content. Inbound and content marketing aren’t just buzzwords—they are an absolute necessity. If your company is still cold calling and emailing people who have never heard of you, you’ve got some catching-up to do. People need to see you as industry leading and relevant. Businesses need to see you as a trusted source of information, providing something of value to them. Then, when they’re ready to buy, you will already have proven yourself as the trusted agency, and the natural choice will be to come to you.

Embrace innovation. This could not be truer than it is today. As your customers evolve, you must evolve, too. Your message and information should be available where your customers are—whether that’s a new industry site, directory, social media platform or news site. If your customers want to offer retargeting, you should be able to, at least, be a source of truth for them, providing knowledge and advice.

As marketing and the way companies communicate with the world continues to evolve, the most important thing to remember is to be flexible. Those resistant to change, will be left behind.


Jeff Tomlin is the co-founder and CMO of Vendasta Technologies, a company that builds white label reputation management, social media marketing and listings management software for some of the most successful media companies in the world. In working with channel partners to help their business clients to grow revenue with digital media solutions, strengthen traditional media assets and develop digital sales strategies, Jeff is known to many of America’s top media companies. Prior to co-founding Vendasta, Jeff was the VP of strategy and business development at Point2, where he helped grow a real estate platform from the ground to power over 185,000 agents in 84 countries. Follow him on Twitter @jtomlin.

How Newly Available Technology for Private Wireless Networks Aids Humanity’s Desire for Kinesis

By Robert Schena

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Mobility has been a part of humanity’s desires across cultures for millennia.  The ability to chart one’s own destiny – unencumbered – is part of the canon of great ideas upon which democracy and freedom were established in the Western world.

Today, a new type of mobility has emerged with reckless abandon.  It’s the type of mobility that – again – is changing the world as we know it.

Consider this:

  • Nine-billion mobile connections by 2020 will greatly increase mobile broadband traffic, according to EET India, a UBM publication
  • Cisco predicts 15.9 terabytes of mobile data traffic will traverse networks by 2016 – a 10x increase over 2014
  • Gartner says with the move toward computing everywhere, more and more sensors will generate even more data, creating new challenges for IT

With all that broadband traffic, the private wireless network, at least for business, has emerged as a key infrastructure for accommodating this seemingly unquenchable thirst for bandwidth.

The wireless world is extremely dynamic.  And lots of things can interfere with wireless communication – trucks driving by, people moving, etc.  Traditionally, the way wireless networks function has resulted in varying degrees of performance.

Kinetic Mesh Networks and Their Origins in 9/11

Wireless mesh networks, a type of wireless network, are well established.  They create large-scale local wireless networks capable of multiple concurrent connections with a lot of redundancy.  But there’s a new type of wireless mesh network – kinetic mesh – that has been achieving momentum and has demonstrated greater adaptability to network changes on-the-fly versus other types of networking.

The technology is not new; it’s been used in some of the most rugged environments to date, specifically in military and mining applications.  It can handle movements onto the network or off the network, as well as interference crossing multiple channels – much more adeptly than other networking technologies.  It helps keep a network running reliably despite all the variables that wireless networks generally confront.

Wireless mesh networks, under which kinetic mesh is classified, are expected to attain growth of $177.2-million in 2017, an almost 16 percent compound annual growth rate, according to IMS Research.

Kinetic mesh technology emerged as a result of 9/11 and the tragic results that ensued, including the failure of the communications infrastructure that fateful day. Kinetic mesh enables people and organizations to deploy networks into places where communications infrastructure has been destroyed or damaged, or to quickly move networks into places where they never existed.  In other words, real-time mobility across the network is achieved.

Since 9/11, kinetic mesh networks have been called upon to support efforts following crippling events.

In 2004, they were used in Thailand after the tsunami that devastated that and other nations.  A kinetic mesh network was deployed in relief efforts in Phuket and for digital body identification.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the region; a kinetic mesh network supported relief efforts in Mississippi.

In disaster scenarios, as well as in other types of environments, any communications infrastructure needs to deliver throughput and scalability.  The way communications are routed plays an important part in achieving these goals.

Routing and Administrative Issues Resolved

Traditional ways of network routing work just fine in a stable environment.  But in rugged, dynamic environments, kinetic mesh is increasingly effective where infrastructure devices are constantly on the move.

That’s because a kinetic mesh’s wireless router has extra processing power and solid state memory, which allow it to do edge-processing.  This edge-processing can store video and other data, “groom” the data, and enable the data to be consumed directly from the router.

The ability of a kinetic mesh platform to handle changes and process things at the edge give people access to their applications much more quickly.

For example, municipal buses capture video on their routes each day.  At the end of a shift, the drivers hand-deliver video hard drives to their bus depot colleagues.  With kinetic mesh’s capabilities, the enormous video files can be uploaded wirelessly without human intervention.  The application is automated through edge-processing.

This type of edge-processing also can be used to help bus drivers and railroad engineers in other ways.  Nodes embedded into sensors at rail crossings and other places can relay data, including videos to officials several miles from potential hazards, reducing risks of accidents.

In mesh networks, the administrative overhead and traffic to keep the infrastructure up and running grows on a curve as new nodes are added.  In other words, as devices join the network, the administration necessary to keep things running consumes available bandwidth.  Apps stop working because the overhead is gorging itself on the bandwidth.

A kinetic mesh network keeps overhead low and constant – in spite of the number of nodes added.  The different approach in how the network is set up and managed has, in effect, eliminated the problem of curvilinear growth of overhead.

Another important development in the kinetic mesh infrastructure is the ability to automate the wireless network so that non-technical people can easily deploy it.  The administration behind the network has become the de facto computer expert.

And once the problem of making networks relatively easy to set up is solved, then the prime issue of mobility has to be addressed.  The kinetic mesh network is in one place, but it needs to be moved to another.  Elements of the network have to be in motion.  And the network has to be scalable, too.

In the broadband world, mobility is an expression of the ability to change.  Nodes come into range and join the network; other nodes fall out of range and depart the network.  Change is a constant in these types of networks.

Think of it this way:  It’s unlikely that an organization would allow its computer closet to be opened for just anyone to put things in or take things out.  A lot of planning goes into the computers and technology that make their way into that closet.

With kinetic mesh networking, nodes – essentially wireless computers – automatically enter and depart a proverbial moving computer closet.  In essence, that computer closet lives in a world outside of a single office – a “Living Network” of sorts.  Think about those nodes on trucks, on people, on aircraft.

Kinetic mesh networks have simplified and automated the ability of those vehicles now connected by those nodes to join the network – and within milliseconds.

In traditional infrastructures, adding a PC to the network means telling the rest of the network that a new device with IP address is entering.  It may take a few minutes or a half hour to make the necessary changes and to inform all other computers on the network that a “new guy” has arrived, or left for that matter.

Kinetic mesh networks have taken the complex notion of adding an asset to the network, simplified the process for joining or leaving, and eliminated disruption to other nodes on that network.

What that Means for Industries like Oil and Gas

The oil and gas industry is ripe for kinetic mesh networks as a result of the increasing operational and regulatory pressures they face.  Companies in this market space are being exposed to more and more regulation at the state, federal and international levels.  As regulatory requirements increase, it becomes imperative to gather more information about the performance of pumps and valves, to have the knowledge of whether something is leaking into the ground or in the atmosphere, for example.

Such scenarios are driving the need for different types of real-time data analytics coupled with sensor technology, which can deliver voice, data and video for better security and equipment maintenance.  In turn, networks have access to sensor information in such a way that it keeps companies not only apprised of what’s going on, but also gives them time to react to what may transpire, be it turning off a valve, opening a valve, speeding up a pump, or reducing pressure.  All those actions become possible as a result of sensor information tied to a kinetic mesh network.

Across industries, businesses want to become more efficient in their operations; they want the latest data to make the most informed decisions.  However, they must weigh the cost of collecting such information versus the benefit of having it for decision-making.

Kinetic mesh networks are driving down the cost of gathering that information.  As such networks are installed, the cost of the next unit of information is declining; therefore, it becomes worthwhile to gather such information toward making better operational decisions.

And not only because the cost of allowing machine to machine communication is dropping but also because of the liability and human cost of misconnections in a network environment.

If connections fail or don’t take place as scheduled, motors and pumps get damaged, trains go barreling through intersections, planes overshoot runways.  Bad things can happen when network devices and people connect wrongly or fail to connect.

Ubiquitous connectivity is growing in importance for business.  The dependency on our communications infrastructure will grow exponentially and means a renewed focus on reliability and security.

Kinetic mesh networks – adaptable, smart, productive, and dynamic – deliver such reliability and security based on their proven success in rugged environments and their demonstrated abilities to connect people in their never-ending quest to be mobile.

 


Robert Schena – In 2002, Robert Schena co-founded Rajant Corporation, the pioneer of Kinetic Mesh Networks and a Finalist for PACT’s Emerging Technology Company of the Year. Rajant can be found on Twitter  @RajantCorp

Mr. Schena earned a BA in Business Administration from Temple University and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He has lectured extensively on broadband communications to professional and corporate organizations.

 

Flextronics CTO Erik Volkerink Uncovers the Simplicities and Complexities that Drive Disruption

by Sarah Richards

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What future will we create for ourselves? In the fast-paced world of technology, it’s the billion-dollar question. By understanding where we’re headed, and what we want to do when we get there, today’s most innovative companies create solutions that help make their vision of the future a reality.

Few have a clearer picture of what this future will look like than Dr. Erik Volkerink, chief technology officer at Flextronics, the world’s second-largest electronics manufacturing services company. During his tenure there, Dr. Volkerink has played a key role in bringing some of the world’s leading technology innovations to market – maybe even the mobile phone or laptop you’re using to read this post.

For the past 12 months, SMART Technologies has partnered with Flextronics to design and build SMART kapp, a product that redefines the dry erase board with its ability to capture notes in the cloud and share them in real time with remote participants. SMART CTO Warren Barkley and VP of Operations Nicholas Svensson worked closely with Dr. Volkerink to refine SMART kapp’s design while leveraging the latest innovations in wireless connectivity, sensor and camera technologies, and mobile device integration.

I met with Dr. Volkerink to talk about his take on the future of technology, the mechanics of innovation, and where SMART kapp fits in:

Sarah Richards: What’s the greatest advancement in collaboration technology you’ve seen in the past five years?

Dr. Erik Volkerink: It’s interesting, because collaboration solutions are very much a generational thing. Even something as simple as texting represents a significant advancement in collaboration technology when you think about it. The breakthrough from phone, to email, to texting, is an interplay between creating intimacy and documenting information.

I think SMART kapp is a great example of this. SMART is essentially looking at how whiteboards were used 20 years ago and then applying the latest technologies to create a new, innovative product. Several of today’s most interesting products take something that has existed for decades and integrates the latest technologies in order to cause a disruption. Think about Nest: they integrated the latest human-machine interfacing, wireless connectivity, and battery technology into a product that has existed for years, and caused a complete breakthrough. There are a lot of segments where a similar trend is happening, and I think SMART is really at the forefront.

Once product management has a clear and crisp understanding of the latest technologies, and what they can represent from a product functionality perspective, frequently the next generation killer product becomes readily visible. Once engineering teams digest these technologies in true product building blocks from design-to-manufacturing and execute according the right engineering methodology, productivity, product velocity, and innovation velocity, grow out of the roof. Product innovation almost becomes like playing with Lego. Flextronics is driving this new innovation methodology.

How does collaboration accelerate innovation in today’s leading companies?

At Flextronics, we’re creating a collaborative innovation platform, because the rapid proliferation and increasing complexity of new technologies can pose a challenge – especially when innovators operate in isolation. We’ve developed a portfolio of innovation building blocks that allows sharing across segments. So if there’s a great new technology being used in medical, then within a week you can leverage the same technology in automotive, aerospace and defense, or any other market segment.

We created what we call an Open Innovation Platform, which is really a combination of all these different building blocks, in order to create a culture of collaboration across industries. In Silicon Valley, we have groups of people come into what we call our Innovation Cafe. It’s a collaborative setup where on one side, we have the newest qualified technologies, and on the other we have example applications across segments and in the middle a big whiteboard where we write down ideas and collaborate around the table. We get subject-matter experts and market experts in the room in order to really help our customers understand what their next generation products could look like, leveraging the latest technologies we see globally in the various innovation hubs. It will be great to have a SMART kapp in the Innovation Café to take this collaboration to the next level.

Tell us a little bit about the process of designing and building SMART kapp.  

It all started with a lunch with Warren and Nicholas, almost a year ago. I’ve always loved SMART products which I knew from my time at Stanford, and I was excited to show what Flextronics could bring to the relationship. When we started working on SMART kapp, we added value by sharing our expertise in enabling and scaling new, innovative products. There was one point where our Snapdragon building block and experience made a critical difference to the design. As we moved through the learning curve integrating with each other optimally, we had an extremely collaborative, positive experience partnering with SMART.

How does SMART kapp stand out in comparison to other projects at Flextronics?

I think SMART really understands what next-generation products could and should look like. If I look at what’s happening in all the different segments, there is a common theme, and that’s around next-generation human-machine interfacing, next-gen battery/low-power technologies, next-gen sensors and activators, next-gen wireless and connectivity, next-gen wireless connectivity, etc. And what you see in SMART kapp is a simple and elegant combination of deploying these technologies to cause a disruption in an existing market.

It’s funny… 10 years ago my ideal car stereo interface would have had 5, 6, maybe 20 different buttons to control and equalize the sound. Five years ago my ideal interface is was only an AUX plug so I could plug in my mobile. Today my ideal user interface for a car stereo is really nothing; it’s just Bluetooth connected to my mobile. And so the evolution of human-machine interfacing is going through a significant disruption in some applications trading off interfacing cost with merely wireless connectivity.

So given that evolution toward simplicity, and the merging of old and new technologies, how does SMART kapp fit into those trends?

I think the SMART product and technology portfolio is at the forefront of these trends. Whiteboards are fundamental in every collaboration environment. In a previous career, I used SMART products, so I knew the brand well before I had the opportunity of working with Warren and Nicholas, and I always loved the products. I think SMART has made some of the most influential contributions to true collaboration solutions in recent years.

We have so many meetings day in and day out, and the number of times people stand up and go to a whiteboard every day is unbelievable. It’s such an effective way of conveying a message; a picture says a lot more than 1,000 words. The concepts we draw on whiteboards are sometimes priceless. And yet, we’re using the same whiteboards as 20 years ago. The result? People are struggling, making notes, taking pictures of the boards, attaching the picture, which is barely legible, to an email… and there’s really no need for this anymore.

SMART kapp solves this problem. It’s this simple: anywhere in the world where there’s a whiteboard, there should be a SMART kapp. Whiteboarding is unbelievably important to the way people collaborate, and that’s a fundamental aspect of the human species. We’re social beings – we like to collaborate. And few companies enable true collaboration the way that SMART does.

*This post originally appeared on SmartTech.com


sarahSarah Richards is a Social Media Manager at SMART Technologies working from Vancouver. Follow her @EdTechSarah.

The Professional Skills Gap Narrows

by Warren Barkley

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2015 is shaping up to be a year of accelerated change in the ways we learn, communicate and collaborate; driven by necessity, changing demographics and new ways to use old technology. As a follow up to my earlier post on Millennials and their influence on the face of corporate IT, I’ll now lay out another emerging, major trend that dovetails with the first, and that will affect us all. This post and my next will look at the “Skills Gap,” and then at something we’ve dubbed “Device-olation.”

The professional thorn in our nation’s side — the fact that many grads enter the workforce without the real-world experience needed to succeed in business — will see a marked improvement as educators incorporate classroom technology and practices that help teach the soft skills needed for workforce preparedness.

In today’s connected world, all our information is readily available through our laptops, PCs, tablets and smartphones. At work, we spend hours in meetings or small groups coming up with better ways of doing things, learning from others and, ultimately, innovating. But when you look at schools today — at least most schools — we’re still educating our children based on a 200-year-old pedagogical system. We walk out of school with a degree in our hand, and yet we have done little to develop the skills that are most important in today’s workplace.

Why is that? In 2010, Dr. Sugata Mitra presented his findings on student-driven learning in a TED talk, and the results are astounding. Children learn much better when they are allowed to explore, share and collaborate than when they are sitting classroom-style and being lectured to. He shared this research four years ago, and yet many students are still being taught the “old-fashioned” way.

The good news is a number of organizations and schools are thinking outside the box, and we’re seeing student-driven and project-based learning gain momentum throughout North America and Europe. I’m fortunate to be personally involved with a number of these organizations, including TAF, which offers a program to address barriers to students of color in STEM fields.

TAF benefits not only the students in the program by teaching them real-world skills like needs identification, coding, and field research – it also benefits those whose lives are enriched by these students’ work. For example, Special Ed students in a nearby Tacoma school use software applications developed by TAF students. The stories are heartwarming — you can see the difference these software applications make in these students’ lives. You can watch a video about one of these students here.

In other schools, like Preston Middle School in Colorado, San Elijo Middle School in California, and Bishop Kearney High School in New York, we’re seeing great traction with collaborative classrooms that are designed with project-based, highly collaborative learning in mind. And it’s working. Kids are some of the biggest advocates of this approach.

Fortunately, there are many thought leaders who agree that this skills gap needs to be addressed, and they’re sharing their vision with others. We recently spoke to Innovative Educator blogger Lisa Nielsen about collaboration. She shared some great insights on how kids not only want to change the world; they are changing the world. And they can only do so when they have access to the tools we use in everyday life, and she also has the real-world examples that prove her theory.

I’m encouraged by the examples mentioned above (and countless other programs in place) that we’re moving the in the right direction. As a former teacher and as the CTO of a leading ed-tech company, I welcome this trend, and I look forward to the positive effects it will have on our children and in the business world as well.

But we’re not there yet. Dan Schawbel states that 50 percent of Generation Z learners are participating in internships before they graduate from high school — it’s not in others. Higher education needs to more fully embrace co-ops for Millennials and the generation on its heels as indicated in this Fortune article.

The good news is that the conversation is happening, and I think we’ll continue to see the skills gap narrow.

*This post originally appeared on WIRED.com

warrenWarren Barkley is the CTO of SMART Technologies with more than 17 years of technology experience and leadership, most recently serving as General Manager in the Microsoft Lync/Skype division. Barkley held several key positions in Microsoft over his tenure and was instrumental in the development of Microsoft Lync as the communication and collaboration software of choice for Fortune 500 companies. At Microsoft he played a central role in establishing WiFi as a worldwide standard, and building world class real time communications technologies used by hundreds of millions of users every day. Barkley holds over 35 worldwide patents in networking, wireless and communications.

How One Brand Uses Corporate Culture To Maximize Productivity

by Steve Olenski

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“Culture is infectious — it’s viral, and it’s central to accelerating your business. When you have a unified team that is rushing towards a common goal, you will create rocket ship trajectory. Every industry leader needs unbounded exponential growth to succeed in today’s world.”

The above is a quote from a gentleman named Wehuns Tan who happens to be the CEO of Wishabi — a Canadian technology company that could be the poster child for illustrating the importance of corporate culture in maximizing productivity in the workplace. Founded in 2007 by four ex-Microsoft engineers, including the aforementioned Tan, the company is a leading retail technology firm that has reinvented the digital circular experience through its dynamic circular platform.

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5 Big Questions on Innovation

C-Suite Network CEO Thomas White is featured as a Game Changer at BPI Network. He answers five questions on the most innovative technologies and what holds organizations back from creating new technologies, products and services that revolutionize society.

1. How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

Leadership must allow people to take risks without fear of being fired. Companies only innovate when they are willing to go outside the box. Out-of-the-box thinking allows organizations to see new opportunities and execute against those opportunities. Change happens when leaders realize they can no longer maintain their vision through status quo.

2. What are the biggest impediments to innovation in today’s enterprise?

Status quo. People hate getting out of their comfort zones unless their organizational culture challenges them to make improvements and strive for excellence. Status quo will kill innovation.

Read the full article at BPI Network

 

 

Leading Change and Disrupting Industries in the Process

by Neil Gaydon

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I was brought into SMART Technologies more than 18 months ago to provide a new direction to a company loved throughout the world of education. I had a global platform to work with as SMART is the largest supplier of interactive displays to educators. We invented the SMART Board 20 years ago, first brought technology en masse to the front of a classroom and changed the world of education with our software and SMART Boards.

However, high penetration rates and budgets being redirected into personal devices and infrastructure meant SMART’s world was changing. Understanding the significant headwinds we were experiencing highlighted the need to diversify into new industries. While this meant significant restructuring, the methodology was simple: Create two independent business units to handle very different industries and customers, establish a customer-centric culture and come up with new product ideas that could disrupt markets that had become tired.

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7 Telltale Signs Your Company is on a Path to Stagnation

by Bob Domenz

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“The most fatal illusion is the settled point of view. Since life is growth and motion, a fixed point of view kills anybody who has one.”
— Brooks Atkinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the New York Times

What is stagnation? Imagine a slow-growing toxic mold that eventually takes over your company, stifling your culture, development and progress, and retarding your ability to grow. In business, as in nature, stagnation breeds disaster. Lack of movement allows harmful antibodies to gather and breed. To avoid this, forward motion must be a constant, like a shark that has to continuously swim to stay alive.

All companies are at risk of becoming stagnant, and most every company has, or will, become so at one time or another. It’s a sneaky thing — often companies end up this way without even recognizing it until it’s too late. Even Apple, the most celebrated and referenced brand and business in history, stagnated for years before rejuvenating itself and transforming into the epic example the world admires today.

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