Archives for category: innovation

Sir Richard Branson shared with us how he see his approach in business, and he goes direct to the point.

 

The harder I practice, the luckier I get

– Gary Player

I sincerely believe might constitute one of the most powerful sentences a business leader can utter : “I not sure – what do you think ?”

 

in most cases 90% of life is just showing up

 

his top ten recommandation :

  1. Follow your dreams and just do it
  2. Make a positive difference and do some good
  3. Believe in your ideas and be the best
  4. Have fun and look after your team
  5. Don’t give up
  6. Listen, take lots of notes and keep setting new challenges
  7. Delegate and spend more time with your family
  8. Turn off that laptop and iphone and get your derrière out there
  9. Communicate, collaborate and communicate some more
  10. Do what you love and have a couch in the kitchen

 

 

Timothy Ferriss is an American author, entrepreneur, angel investor, and public speaker. In 2007, he published The 4-Hour Workweek.

A book full of ideas :

  • Contain tips to delegate your work (by email), how to delegate more, to be more productive
  • Discuss about the usage of virtual assistants or VA
  • Where/How to travel

Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life.

—JOHN F. KENNEDY”

I can’t give you a surefire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.

—HERBERT BAYARD SWOPE, American editor and journalist; first recipient of the Pulitzer Prize

 

Challenging the Status Quo vs. Being Stupid

 

The Timing Is Never Right.
I once asked my mom how she decided when to have her first child, little ol’ me. The answer was simple: “It was something we wanted, and we decided there was no point in putting it off. The timing is never right to have a baby.” And so it is.
For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks.

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where …” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

—LEWIS CARROLL, Alice in Wonderland”

 

Practice to ask phone number:

Excuse me. I know this is going to sound strange, but if I don’t ask you now, I’ll be kicking myself for the rest of the day. I’m running to meet a friend [i.e., I have friends and am not a stalker], but I think you’re really [extremely, drop-dead] cute [gorgeous, hot]. Could I have your phone number? I’m not a psycho—I promise. You can give me a fake one if you’re not interested.

 

Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.

—MALCOLM X, Malcolm X Speaks

It isn’t enough to think outside the box. Thinking is passive. Get used to acting outside the box.

 

But what if your concern isn’t so much losing your children but losing your mind because of your children?

 

 

People say that what we are seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think this is what we’re really seeking. I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive.

—JOSEPH CAMPBELL, The Power of Myth

 

If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not working on hard enough problems. And that’s a big mistake.

—FRANK WILCZEK, 2004 Nobel Prize winner in physics

 

Don’t postpone decisions just to avoid uncomfortable conversations

 

Note : look in the end the recommended books.

Written by Ben Horowitz in 2014.

“This the real world, homie, school finished
They done stole your dreams, you dunno who did it.”
—KANYE WEST, “GORGEOUS”

 

There’s no recipe for really complicated, dynamic situations.

 

as a way to break the tension, Marc would say, “Remember, Ben, things are always darkest before they go completely black.

 

“I move onward, the only direction
Can’t be scared to fail in search of perfection.”
—JAY Z, “ON TO THE NEXT ONE”

follow the first principle of the Bushido—the way of the warrior: keep death in mind at all times. If a warrior keeps death in mind at all times and lives as though each day might be his last, he will conduct himself properly in all his actions.

 

Remember that this is what separates the women from the girls. If you want to be great, this is the challenge. If you don’t want to be great, then you never should have started a company.

 

If this advice sounds too familiar. and you find yourself wondering why your honest employees are lying to you, the answer is they are not. They are lying to themselves.
And if you believe them, you are lying to yourself.

 

Then I read chapter 16 of Andy Grove’s management classic, High Output Management, titled “Why Training Is the Boss’s Job,” and it changed my career. Grove wrote, “Most managers seem to feel that training employees is a job that should be left to others. I, on the other hand, strongly believe that the manager should do it himself.”

 

Tony Robbins says, “If you don’t know what you want, the chances that you’ll get it are extremely low.”

For a complete explanation of the dangers of managers with the wrong kind of ambition, I strongly recommend Dr. Seuss’s management masterpiece Yertle the Turtle.
 

 

The first rule of an organisational design is that all organisational design are bad.

With this in mind, here are the basic steps to organisational design:

  1. Figure out what needs to be communicated.
  2. Figure out what needs to be decided.
  3. Prioritize the most important communication and decision paths.
  4. Decide who’s going to run each group.
  5. Identify the paths that you did not optimize.
  6. Build a plan for mitigating the issues identified in step 5.

“I tell my kids, what is the difference between a hero and a coward? What is the difference between being yellow and being brave? No difference. Only what you do. They both feel the same. They both fear dying and getting hurt. The man who is yellow refuses to face up to what he’s got to face. The hero is more disciplined and he fights those feelings off and he does what he has to do. But they both feel the same, the hero and the coward. People who watch you judge you on what you do, not how you feel.”

—CUS D’AMATO, LEGENDARY BOXING TRAINER

 

Wartime / peacetime CEO, funniest quote :

Peacetime CEO sets big, hairy, audacious goals. Wartime CEO is too busy fighting the enemy to read management books written by consultants who have never managed a fruit stand.

(… the consultants describe the  companies’ process during peacetime)

 

 

— CHAPTER 8 —
FIRST RULE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP: THERE ARE NO RULES
 

 

So, I invite you to join me on an intellectual adventure to discover what it takes to turn good into great.

 

The good-to-great companies did not focus principally on what to do to become great; they focused e-q-ually on whatnot to do and what to stop doing.

Culture of discipline:

When you have disciplined people, you don’t need hierarchy. When you have disci- plined thought, you don’t need bureaucracy. When you have disciplined action, you don’t need excessive controls. When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great performance.

rigorous / ruthless:

To let people languish in uncertainty for months or years, stealing precious time in their lives that they could use to move on to something else, when in the end they aren’t going to make it anyway- that would be ruthless. To deal with it right up front and let people get on with their lives- that is rigorous

 

FACTS ARE BETTER THAN DREAMS

 

How do you create a climate where the truth is heard?  best-practices:

  1. Lead with questions, not answers.
  2. Engage in dialogue and debate, not coercion.

  3. Conduct autopsies, without blame.

  4. Build “red flag” mechanisms.

When Alan Wurtzel started the long traverse from near bankruptcy to these stellar results, he began with a remarkable answer to the question of where to take the company: I don’t know.

 

hedgehog / fox paradigm:

- they were all hedgehogs. They took a complex world and simplified it

 

“They stick with what they understand and let their abilities, not their egos, determine what they attempt.”" So wrote Warren Buffett about his $290 million investment in Wells Fargo despite his serious reservations about the banking industry.

 

Finding the good KPI during the pivotal transition years. 

 

books references:

 In his book, I’m a Lucky Guy, Joe Cullman dedicates five pages to dissecting the 7UP disaster.

In preparation, I read In Love and War, the book Stockdale and his wife had written in alter- nating chapters, chronicling their experiences during those eight years.

 

 

 

The Power of Habit, published in 2012, related different non-fiction stories to illustrate how habits are formed, sustain or are changed.

The book is written by Charles Duhigg, a reporter for The New York Times.

 

This process—in which the brain converts a sequence of actions into an automatic routine—is known as “chunking,” and it’s at the root of how habits form.

 

This explains why habits are so powerful: They create neurological cravings.

 

Rather, to change a habit, you must keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine.

 

THE GOLDEN RULE OF HABIT CHANGE
You Can’t Extinguish a Bad Habit, You Can Only Change It.
HOW IT WORKS: USE THE SAME CUE. PROVIDE THE SAME REWARD. CHANGE THE ROUTINE.

 

Habits could be used in emotional situation to handle calmly the crisis.

Are we responsible of our habits ?

“to modify a habit, you must decide to change it.

Habit Reversal Therapy:

THE FRAMEWORK:
• Identify the routine
• Experiment with rewards
• Isolate the cue
• Have a plan

 

 

 

 

Purple Cow is a book about marketing written by Seth Godin and published in 2004.

According to the author, the five’s P of marketing miss one thing : to be remarkable. And remarkable starts with a R, so the Purple Cow is being remarkable :-) .
“This book is about the why, the what, and the how of remarkable. ”
“Stop advertising and start innovating. ”

 

 

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.”

- Charles H. Duell, 1899, U.S. Commissioner of Patents

 

The old rules don’t work so well any more. Marketing is dead. Long live marketing.

 

We mistakenly believe that criticism leads to failure

 

Being safe is risky.

Hey, if it was easy to become a rock star, everyone would do it!

 

Boring is always the most risky strategy.  

 

 

Published in 2014, Reinventing Organizations is in the top #5 Amazon best seller in the Management Science category.

This book is talking about leading companies with an bottom-top approach instead of the classic top-bottom approach. If we caricature the concept, the goal is to use freely all the brains of the company instead only the CEO’s brain. Therefore becoming more efficient.

This kind of company are called by Frédéric Laloux teal company. A color is associated for different management methods. The color of the last step is teal, the same color as the two pretty butterflies on the book’s cover.

 

Raw notes & quotes copied from the books

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

- Richard Buckminster Fuller

Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

- Peter Drucker

 

  • Evolutionnary teal:

Taming the fears of the ego
- Inner rightness as compass
Life as a journey of unfolding  // creating our own person
- Building on strengths  “ 
Psychologists talk about a shift from a deficit to a strength-based paradigm ”
- Dealing gracefully with adversity
Striving for wholeness 

 

The question is not how you can make better rules, but how you can support teams in finding the best solution. How can you strengthen the possibilities of the team members so that they need the least amount of direction-setting from above

- Jos de Blok 

 

 

  • Buurtzorg’s culture :

- It’s okay to struggle, from struggle comes learning.
- The coach’s role is to let teams make their own choices, even if she believes she knows a better solution.
- The coach supports the team mostly by asking insightful questions and mirroring
- The starting point is always to look for enthusiasm, strengths, and existing capabilities within the team.

Bureaucracies are built by and for people who busy themselves proving they are necessary, especially when they suspect they aren’t

- Ricardo Semler

 

reverse delegation

 

Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.

- Albert Einstein

As you’ve found out by now, you were not hired to fill a specific job description. You were hired to constantly be looking around for the most valuable work you could be doing.

- Valve handbook for employees

 

  •  Misconceptions of teal Organization:

Misperception 1: There is no structure, no management, no leadership
- Misperception 2: Everyone is equal
Misperception 3: It’s about empowerment
- Misperception 4: It’s still experimental 

 

“You can process your tensions. If you’re choosing to be a victim, that is your choice, and perhaps a choice because you don’t know how to do something else, but it’s not because somebody else is persecuting you. It is your choice to stay in that pattern if you so choose.”

 

Whatever you do or dream you can do—begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The only thing we know about the future is that it will be different. Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window. The best way to predict the future is to create it.

- Peter Drucker

My favorite article of this review is written in 1987 by Arthur Rock. His ideas seems to me timeless.

Arthur Rock (born August 19, 1926) is an American businessman and investor. Based out of Silicon Valley, California, he was an early investor in major firms including Intel, Apple Computer, Scientific Data Systems and Teledyne.

 

  • The Questions Every Entrepreneur Must Answer – Amar Bhide, first published in 1996
  • How to Write a Great Business Plan – William A. Sahlman, 1997

Indeed, judging by all the hoopla surrounding business plans, you would think that the only things standing between a would-be entrepreneur and spectacular success are glossy five-colors charts, a bundle of meticulous-looking spreadsheets , and a decade of month-by-month financial projection

  • How Entrepreneurs Craft Strategies That Work – Amar Bhide, 1994
  • How Much Money Does Your New Venture Need ? – James McNeill Stancill, 1986
  • Milestones for Successful Venture Planning – Zenas Block and Ian C. Macmillan, 1985
  • Strategy Vs. Tactics from a Venture Capitalist – Arthur Rock (VC), 1987  ✭
To put it another way, strategy is easy, but tactics – the day-to-day and month-to-month decisions required to manage a business – are hard.
  • Bootstrap Finance - Amar Bhide, 1986
  • Commercializing Technology – Nevens, Summe and Utal, 1990

 

 

Robert I. Sutton is a professor of Management science at the Stanford Engineering School.

This book was published in 2002.

 

 

If you want to eliminate mistakes, avoid dead ends, and succeed most of the time, you will drive out innovation.

 

The best management is sometimes no management

 

I like this kind of book about how to keep a company innovative and how to create a creative framework to keep finding new stuff that will help the company to growth in the next years.

One of the point of the book is that creativity is a function of output. That if you want to be creative, you create more. Therefore you don’t have an rate of error inferior of a less “creative” person. You try more, so you make more error and also make more success.

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.

- Thomas Edison

 If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.

- Thomas Watson Sr., founder and former CEO of IBM

 This book was a very good surprise to read. Full of quotes and stories to illustrate the author s’ concepts.

If you are worried about the title, you will like the first sentence of the book.

Jugaaad means in Hindi an improvised solution born from ingenuity and resourcefulness. The book was published in 2012.

It’s refreshing to read a book wrote by 3 professors / leaders / consultant with an indian perspective.
The authors made a trailer for the book :-) at this link.

 

Some raw notes from the books I liked:

 

“Money can’t buy innovation”

__

Carol Dweck, professor of psycology at Standford University says,  individuals typically have one of the two mindsets:

- A fixed mindset, they believe their qualities and other’s are carved in stoned.

- A growth mindset, that is, they believe that their basic qualities can bu nurtured and improved through effort.

__

Classic quote from Einstein, but always good to read and think about it:

 ”One cannot alter a condition with the same mindset that created it in the first place”

- Albert Einstein

Company culture are like country culture. Never try to change one. Try, instead, to work with what you’ve got

- Peter Drucker “the founder of modern management”

 

The highest and best form of efficiency is the spontaneous cooperation of free people

- Woodrow Wilson – 28th President of the United States

 

Invention is by its very nature a disorderly process. You can’t put a six sigma process into that area and say, well, I’m getting behind on innovation, so I’m going to schedule myself for three good ideas on wednesday and two on Friday. That’s not how creativity works.

- 3M CEO, Buckley, June 2007

 

I finished the 4 weeks class “Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects” On coursera.

And I would like to share 3 tactical concepts that I used now in my Chinese learning:

 

Overlearning

It’s apparently possible to spend too much time on something. So when I have the impression that I read the same thing over and over, I stop to read passively and try a different approach. For exemple, I try to see where the character is used in other places, try to make a sentence, see what are the synonym / opposite.

Value the process and not the results

It’s good to spend, for example, every day 45 minutes on learning. It’s okay if you don’t have a tangible and concrete result right away. We are frustrated to not finish a goal in 45 minutes, however the sum is important. And at the second study session / third session / 10th session, the results of will be more sustainable than if you study a straight 10 hours in one day. Cramming a subject doesn’t really work for a long run.

note : A todo list with goals on a 45 minutes study session is stressful and leads to frustration.

See / heard / smell the words

In the learning process, I would follow the advice of the course and connect with my different senses.
Draw a little picture, say out loud the words, write down with a pen, think about the color of the object, see the object, smell it. However I won’t eat my book or put it under my pillow.
By connecting the new word with yours different sensation, you create a maximum of links in your brain. It’s good for keeping the new stuff inside the long memory.

If you want to know more about this 4 weeks online class “Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects” , it’s for free on coursera. If you have to spend 49 dollars, you can have the real virtual PDF certificate from UCSD. If not, you will just earn a score from this 4 weeks experience.

 

The last 8 months I enjoyed the process of following, viewing and passed my 8th MOOCs classes on coursera.org.

Fit Your Passion:

My interest is innovation and technology. I’m passionate about the idea of increasing the quality of life with technology. I’m spending some time about discovering the IT industry and what we can do with software.

I was curious about to know a little bit more about economics and finance to see innovation from other perspectives other than just computer science. What is the cost of innovation, what are the frictions in change, how to invest in new ideas ?

And the funny part is that you understand more about the curiosities around. Like when you study computer science, you have more insight about what is going on about your laptop. In one of my liked movies, at a crucial moment, the best-friend of the hero (a rich guy who finance the good hero activity, obviously) said”I short sell .5 billions of your company stocks, I know that you are a bad guy and I know that you put dangerous drugs on the market”. The bad guy didn’t smile.

 

Motivate Your Curiosity:

I used to start watching online classes on youtube years back. At the time it was the class on Stanford on iPhone programming. The problem here is the absence of curation and the lack of framework. You have the videos of the class, but it is just a random march in the youtube universe. In Coursera (or a MOOC), in a online class with actually a Syllabus and objectives you are driven with a beginning and a finish. To ensure each step in the learning process, you can be sure to spend time on the weekly quizzes and the finals.

Enjoy The Journey:

One thing that amazes me more of all, is the experience delivered by outstanding professor. They spend a incredible amount of hours to have the optimal video of their teaching. It’s a performance. I’m thinking, at this time, about Brian J Bushee in “An Introduction to Financial Accounting“. He created some virtual students, and created the dynamic that awake you in a real classroom. I’m still laughing about the adventure of these virtual students.
You can experience some classes from the top universities in the world. Game Theory from Stanford, for instance, of which generally the teacher wrote the book in the reading list.
You can also follow a class of Yale University in financial market from Professor Shiller,  Nobel Price. Great idea isn’t it ? You can never be closer.