Like organizations and the innovations they produce, the workforce has undergone significant change over the last 15 years. It shows every sign of continuing to evolve at this accelerated pace. Emerging developments are shifting stakeholder expectations, leaving industry leaders struggling to steer their organizations. Power is shifting from traditional executive positions to the workforce and customers with a proliferation of new ways to gather and disseminate information and collaborate on strategic tasks. As that shift happens, the gap between operations, workforce desires, customer expectations, and governing policies is widening.
Posted by Dave Baber
March 15, 2017 at 8:15 AM
America moved from the Agrarian Age to the Industrial Age in the mid-19th Century. At that point in our history, farmers made up 64% of the population. Today, they comprise only 2% of the U.S. population. As we settle firmly in the Knowledge Age (The Third Wave), will Educators be the next great profession to lose employment to machines?
Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.
– Ludwig van Beethoven
Music moves us, recalls memories, and holds a distinct feeling for each one of us. Live or recorded well, it has the power to change people. Over the course of the last century, we have advanced music in many ways like architectural acoustics and new kinds of instruments. Yet one innovation brings up a question about the tradeoff between quality and mobility.
For decades, music was recorded on vinyl or tape. These formats offered a very high level of quality. Albums and cassettes were harder to attain, harder to store, and relatively fragile. So in the late 1990s, recordings moved from tape to digital. This was an innovation that completely altered how we experience music in everyday settings. It democratized music by putting it in an efficient, inexpensive format that could be accessed and shared via countless devices. It also lowered the quality of the music – yet it has continued to gain adoption. Incremental innovations like on-demand streaming music have more than doubled in adoption year over year, while albums and cassettes are embraced primarily by ‘retro’ listeners and aficionados.
Posted by Dave Baber
August 24, 2016 at 9:30 AM
Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.
~ Leonardo da Vinci
While it may seem counterintuitive in our era of rapid technological advancement, many of our most successful current innovation case studies involve simplification. In these cases, an existing marketplace was disrupted by a group of people who reconsidered what a product or service should do, and then systematically pared it back to its most fundamental value.
This process of stripping away requires the courage to ask questions and consider alternatives to currently accepted ‘norms.’ Armed with that foundation, teams can be strategic with a creative process that is optimistic, human focused, iterative, and broadly impactful.
A Billion Dollar Case for Simplifying
Pretty much everywhere you read, look, or listen, stories of advancement are met with reasons to think the sky is falling. Internet security is full of holes, our financial infrastructure is prone to all kinds of data breaches, AI could be “summoning the demon” – the list is long and full of worry. Rather than adding to the dystopian sandwich board messages and fear mongering, we’d like to propose an alternative.
Posted by Dave Baber
April 27, 2016 at 9:18 AM
Within their walls, most organizations house the talent, offerings, and resources capable of delivering a high value customer experience. They have access to intelligence about what each customer needs, wants or loves most, and the capacity to deliver. They have core values, an origin story, shared dedication to a goal, and pride in the impact they’ve made on the world.
Innovation is what the New York Times would call a Double Duty word – it’s a noun and a verb, depending on context and use. It’s part of what makes the concept so powerful. As a noun, it’s the products or processes that arise from collaborative ideation. Actively, it’s the process of arriving at new ideas, processes, or solutions that generate value.
Particularly when it is done well, innovation works like a pebble that sets off a ripple in a pond. It is the inflection point for something exponentially new and useful. Effectiveness requires keeping a focus on the greater purpose of the effort, rather than on the process required to produce the outcome.