Author Archives: admin

About admin

Braden Kelley is a Human-Centered Experience, Innovation and Transformation consultant at HCL Technologies, a popular innovation speaker, and creator of the FutureHacking™ and Human-Centered Change™ methodologies. He is the author of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons and Charting Change from Palgrave Macmillan. Braden is a US Navy veteran and earned his MBA from top-rated London Business School. Follow him on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of November 2022

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of November 2022Drum roll please…

At the beginning of each month, we will profile the ten articles from the previous month that generated the most traffic to Human-Centered Change & Innovation. We also publish a weekly Top 5 as part of our FREE email newsletter. Did your favorite make the cut?

But enough delay, here are November’s ten most popular innovation posts:

  1. Human-Centered Design and Innovation — by Braden Kelley
  2. Four Ways to Overcome Resistance to Change — by Greg Satell
  3. What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do — by Mike Shipulski
  4. 5 Simple Steps for Launching Game-Changing New Products — by Teresa Spangler
  5. Why Small Teams Kick Ass — by Mike Shipulski
  6. Crabby Innovation Opportunity — by Braden Kelley
  7. Music Can Make You a More Effective Leader — by Shep Hyken
  8. Lobsters and the Wisdom of Ignoring Your Customers — by Robyn Bolton
  9. Asking the Wrong Questions Gets You the Wrong Answers — by Greg Satell
  10. Brewing a Better Customer Experience — by Braden Kelley

BONUS – Here are five more strong articles published in October that continue to resonate with people:

If you’re not familiar with Human-Centered Change & Innovation, we publish 4-7 new articles every week built around innovation and transformation insights from our roster of contributing authors and ad hoc submissions from community members. Get the articles right in your Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin feeds too!

Have something to contribute?

Human-Centered Change & Innovation is open to contributions from any and all innovation and transformation professionals out there (practitioners, professors, researchers, consultants, authors, etc.) who have valuable human-centered change and innovation insights to share with everyone for the greater good. If you’d like to contribute, please contact me.

P.S. Here are our Top 40 Innovation Bloggers lists from the last two years:

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Black Friday Cyber Deal on Charting Change

Black Friday Cyber Deal on Charting Change

Wow! Exciting news!

From now until November 30, 2022 you can get a 55% discount on my latest best-selling book Charting Change – plus FREE shipping!

You must go to SpringerLink for this Cyber Sale:

  • The offer is valid until November 30, 2022
  • Please use CYB22 at check-out to get your discount on books & eBooks*
  • Free shipping

Click here and enter the code CYB22 before checkout

*This offer is valid for English-language Springer & Palgrave books and eBooks and is redeemable on link.springer.com only. Titles affected by fixed book price laws, forthcoming titles and titles temporarily not available on link.springer.com are excluded from this promotion, as are reference works, handbooks, encyclopedias, subscriptions, or bulk purchases. The currency in which your order will be invoiced depends on the billing address associated with the payment method used, not necessarily your home currency. Regional VAT/tax may apply. Promotional prices may change due to exchange rates. This offer is valid for individual customers only. Booksellers, book distributors, and institutions such as libraries and corporations please visit springernature.com/contact-us. This promotion does not work in combination with other discounts or gift cards.

Innovation and Transformation Advisory and Connection Opportunity

Innovation and Transformation Advisory and Connection Opportunity

Braden Kelley has been focusing on human-centered change and innovation for more than twenty years, bringing in elements of design thinking, customer experience, employee experience and digital transformation as needed.

On November 18, 2022 our founder will be in New York City (Midtown Manhattan) and available to connect for any of the following purposes:

  • Private keynote or workshop for your organization
  • Certification session on the Change Planning Toolkit™ and/or FutureHacking™ sets of tools for your team
  • Featured keynote speaker or workshop for a sales event or conference
  • Advisory session to provide input on a specific innovation project or your overall innovation or transformation program
  • Audio or video podcast appearance
  • Grab a coffee or a meal — to connect or reconnect
  • Or, if you think Braden should interview you on camera to join the video interviews he’s done with luminaries like Dean Kamen, Seth Godin, Dan Pink, Roger Martin, Kevin Roberts, and most recently – PepsiCo’s Chief Design Officer Mauro Porcini – Braden will bring his video camera!

If you work in Manhattan or are willing to travel in from elsewhere in the greater New York City metropolitan area (or the world) and are looking to increase the innovation or transformation capabilities of your organization or to de-risk an innovation project by getting an outside perspective, or just to connect, contact Braden to book time on November 18, 2022.

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Human-Centered Design and Innovation

Human-Centered Design and Innovation

by Braden Kelley

Recently I had the opportunity to interview Mauro Porcini, author of the new book The Human Side of Innovation: The Power of People in Love with People.

Mauro Porcini is PepsiCo’s first ever Chief Design Officer. He joined the food & beverage corporation in 2012 and in said role he is infusing design thinking into PepsiCo’s culture and is leading a new approach to innovation by design that impacts the company’s product platforms and brands, which include Pepsi, Lay’s, Mountain Dew, Gatorade, Sodastream, Doritos, Lifewtr, Bubly, Aquafina, Cheetos, Quaker, 7Up, Mirinda, amongst many others. His focus extends from physical to virtual expressions of the brands, including product, packaging, events, advertising, fashion and art collaborations, retail activation, architecture, and digital media.

The interview dives into multiple aspects of innovation and design, including risk management, incremental versus disruptive innovation, the importance of language, meaning, and more.

Without further ado, here is the video recording:

Thanks to you Mauro for sharing your insights with our global human-centered change and innovation community!

To learn more about Mauro’s views on the importance of our humanity to design and innovation, grab yourself a copy of his new book The Human Side of Innovation: The Power of People in Love with People.

PepsiCo Design Leader Mauro Porcini

If you are more of a reader, then WITH FAIR WARNING, below you will find the questions I asked Mauro and a RAW TRANSCRIPT pulled directly out of YouTube without punctuation, etc. for the brave of heart.

I’m sorry, but it’s the best I can do right now. Here is the RAW, UNPUNCTUATED TRANSCRIPT of our interview:

1. Why is there no innovation without risk?

First of all thanks for having me it’s a pleasure to be here with you today why there is no innovation with our risk because the moment you change the status quo the moment you take anything it could be a product a brand

And experience a service anything and you modify uh its nature you modify that thing to take you to another status by definition you don’t know exactly uh what is going to happen you cannot control all the variables even just the fact that by modifying uh the solution people will react to it in a variety of different ways there is a wonderful um author and philosopher from Italy that inspired me since I was a child his name

Is pirandel and he wrote a book that in Italian was called Uno nesuno centonida I do remember exactly how they translated the title in English is available in many different languages but literally it means one nobody one hundred thousand and it talks about how we are one person but then eventually we are seen by the people surrounding Us in so many

Different ways and so we are 100 000 different people for all the people looking at us and interacting with us and seeing something different in us and then it goes on saying well because of this you know if you’re not yourself anymore and you are all those hundreds of thousands of interpretation uh you become nobody now we don’t need to think about this third iteration and this idea of nobody but that inspired me since I was very young because this is true for

Us as people but this is true also for anything we do as designers innovators entrepreneurs brand leaders we create something but we have no idea how that something is going to be interpreted by the people out there how they’re gonna use it they could spin it in One Direction in the other direction and so by definition when we create something we need to try to understand as much as possible the people in front of us their needs their wants their dreams and then

We need to really Buffet we need to do a proposal Ernesto juice Monday the founder of the lighting company are telling me that is Iconic you know premium luxury lighting firm used to say I don’t create solutions for people I create proposals and we’ll see how they will go obviously you know I try to manage the risk of The Proposal I try to control all the variables but we need to understand that we are Innovative and we’re really innovating we are need to

Be ready to take risk and we need to manage the risk with all the tools that we can with data we research with our knowledge but at the end of the day we need to be ready to take the risk and we also need to be ready therefore to manage the risk I used to work in 3M and the famous iconic CEO of 3M for many many years William McKnight used to say that once again there is not Innovation with our risk he was saying essentially the same thing and therefore we need to

Manage risk in the culture of the common we need to be okay with missteps with mistakes with failures or as I like to call them with experiments we need to be ready to embed the idea of failure slash experiment in our financial algorithms and we need to make sure that if somebody make an experiment that doesn’t go in the right direction by the way an experiment that by definition is all about testing and ideas so in any direction it goes is probably the right

Direction but you understand what I’m talking about when somebody makes an experiment proceed eventually by people as a failure or a mistake we don’t crucify the person we actually celebrate eventually the learning coming out of the misstep and we need to put in place also and ecosystem our processes and tools to extract as much learning out of that misstep and share the learn with the rest of the organization

Yeah I think I think it’s very important that that last Point especially that you just made around learning is the the key thing that you’re trying to achieve with any experiment and you can learn uh from success and failure and you know most of the time we we focus on trying to eliminate risk but I think you’re right that it’s key to not only manage it but manage the acceptance of the risk so so building upon that

2. You say innovation should start from our personal lives, but we also frequently say in design thinking that ‘you are not the customer’. How do you reconcile the two?

I love this question and nobody asked me this question yet I love it for a reason in the American culture of design that is the cultural design that essentially took to fame the idea of this I think you know and celebrated the idea of the same thinking I think there is somehow

And misunderstanding about what design thinking really is because we’ve been celebrating so much the processes the tools the ways of working uh that we think that is enough to bring in a consultant do a workshop on this and thinking all of a sudden now everybody knows the methodology we can do design think we can solve the problems of the world with that we think that we can bring in a design leader in these organizations and somehow

Introduce the idea of the same thinking and once again we’ll solve everything and the reality is that design thinking is not just a tool it’s not just about the tool eventually if you want to identify the same thinking as a methodology it’s not just about that there is the design thinker behind that and so there is all this conversations about the fact that you need to somehow detach yourself from uh the product the brand experience you

Need to focus everything on your end user or your customer or your consumer on the people you serve I like to call them people human beings and and so a lot of people think that you need to remove the sensitivity of the design The Poetry of the design the ability of the designer to understand those insights to observe people and translate that into poetry

Translate that into something that is unique that is different you know you can observe a reality in a neutral way as much as you want but at the end of the day if you put 20 people observing the same reality in the same way these 20 people we create solutions that are 20 times different on the base of their sensitivity and this is great we need to say that we need to preserve that is so important to understand that the touch of the design

Interpretation of the designer you know how the designer translates something that is objective that is neutral that is read about understanding the people you have in front of you but then add color nuances poetry as I called it earlier to make it magic to make it unique and this is the reason why you cannot replace designers with artificial intelligence at least until artificial intelligence

Will be able to replace human beings but then you know replacing designers or innovators will be the last of the problems or Humanity because artificial intelligence will think that you don’t need Humanity at all because we are totally in efficient in this plan I think we are destroying you know our society and our planet but before we get there hopefully we will never get there this sensitivity of the person the human being is something

We want to save and we need to stop talking about design thinking and Innovation processes as processes that need to be just objective and neutral without realizing the importance of having human beings with their emotions and their interpretations in these processes this is so clear when you are in a startup when you are a star designer to design a chair or a piece of light they make the difference as the

Entrepreneur make the difference in a subtop and then we work in corporations we work a scale and we forget the importance of the human being with a unique approach and sensitivity that can transform a cold data an observation that is available to anybody out there in Magic The Magic that make your company grow the magic that add shoulder value to your stock the magic the set you apart from competition yeah very very great points I think that

Too often people get lost in the idea of design thinking as a process when it’s more about a mindset and like you said the magic that that comes from identifying that key human insight and then doing something interesting with it

3. Why is incremental innovation no longer enough?

Human Side of InnovationIncremental Innovation is safer and is a stable way to keep your company going to keep it up to speed and to progress towards something bigger and

Better so we need that is not enough because we live in a world that is continuously disrupted by new things in the world of business that means that we have so many new companies new brands new products coming in in their business reality competing with our products and brands in our life it means that there are so many things changing all the time and we live in total uncertainty and therefore

The ability to change and to flex and eventually to these wraps is part of this new ecosystem we live in is becoming many situations for you know many people uh in many companies even a condition for survival you know if you’re a person you lose your job or you’re attacked by a virus or something happen imagine you’re like you need to be able to disrupt and and and and this is creating so much anxiety in this Society is so much an

Exciting in companies as well but let’s go back to you know the context of business in companies we live in a world where today anybody can come up with an idea get easy access to funding through their proliferation of investment funds and all platforms like kickstarter.com where you can crowdfund your idea the Custom Manufacturing is going down driven by globalization and new technologies you can go straight to the people you serve what I like to call

People and other person called consumers through the e-commerce platforms to sell them stuff and through social media to promote your ideas and products in all these areas the companies of the past were building their huge barriers to entry middle scale of production distribution and communication it was so difficult to go compete with a big brand with a big company for the man and the woman on the street today they can and so the big and the small are left with

Just one solution they need to focus on the needs and wants of people and create something extraordinary for them the way we are trying to do that at PepsiCo is to think of a future uh where you know understand what is the future understand the societal diffusion understand the freedom marriage category of the future and understand what kind of Road PepsiCo could play in in the future and then understand what kind of product portfolio we need

To have to be ready to the Future so already that thinking is somehow disruptive or generates idea that are disruptive then you need to figure out how to use them this kind of ideas inform our Innovation strategy in turn developing things in-house it informs our partnership and you venture strategy it informs our acquisition strategy so you need to find ways to be disruptive in a strategic way

To be ready to a war that is Shifting and changing in the speed of light and the normal cycle of innovation based on incremental linear innovation don’t work as well as they used to work because of the speed of change it doesn’t mean you need to develop everything from within it means that you need to develop an innovation strategy that then can find different kind of outputs you can do everything by

Yourself you can do it with Partners out there or you can eventually make Acquisitions as well if you are a company I can afford it and this is by the way interesting because in the startup kind of world we live in the acquisition strategy is what many of these are Tabs are looking for so it’s a health ecosystem where you have entrepreneurs eventually build up new things new ideas and you have corporations at a certain point are

Alive and work with them so is is a very interesting new scenario but both the beginners model need to understand how to combine incremental Innovation with more disruptive innovation and thinking definitely definitely and that that’s uh that’s a very important point that without companies seeking to acquire startups then fewer startups would it would exist because they wouldn’t see that as an exit um very cool so uh let’s go back to

Something that you spoke about there just recently there which is …

4. What is the harm in calling people consumers?

Look I studied design in school we would never call the people we designed for consumers it would be so weird and we’re calling them eventually users most of the time people human being we were talking already back then 30 years ago about human centricity but not as a nobody thing it was just the way we were doing things and so if you

Call People’s consumers you’re gonna face that you’re gonna focus on the idea of selling them stuff obviously I mean you look at them as entity buying your product and you want to make money on by the way on top of it you’re gonna categorize people and reduce people to the area of consuming but you know what me you my wife my daughter my friends we do so much more in life than just consuming you know we do so many more things and I

Don’t want companies and Brands to look at me as a consuming being I want to have companies and Brands looking at me as a human being for who I am if you call them users at least you’re gonna focus on the use of the product you’re offering them and so you’re gonna try to satisfy the needs that they have and create products that are functionally relevant and desirable but if you look at them as people as

Human beings you’re gonna go above and beyond you’re going to think about them holistically you’re gonna think about them as people you care about people you love you know the subtitle of the book is people in love with people and when you love somebody could be your kids your wife your husband your significant other your parents and your friends what do you do well you try to do more you try to really make these people happy to do

Magic and expect that you want to make sure that you are serving them at 360 degrees and this is you know the mindset and the culture you build in your company if you stop calling them consumers or even users I used to have to call them for who they are people human beings it changed completely words are powerful and and a word can help you shaping the culture of an organization call them people and you will have armies of other people in love with

People trying to create something extraordinary for them is the product is the brand is the service you’re not going to be happy just with something that is good enough because it’s profitable and people are buying it you’re gonna try always to create something that is extraordinary because you want first of all to make people happy now this was a luxury in the past eventually for companies today is a need and is a must because of the

Competitive landscape we live in with barriers to entry crumbling down under the Winds of globalization new technologies and digital media and therefore the need of this company is already creating something extraordinary in all the different dimensions because if you have one of few areas or weakness that in the past you could protect your barriers to entry today are exactly the entry point for your competitors to come and erode your market share your mind

Share your love share with your with the people you serve well I think I think those are all uh very important points that you have to bring it away from the ACT to consumption and back to the the whole person if you really want to connect with the people that you’re looking to to serve and to bring value and meaning to uh speaking of meaning what does it take my dog that is crying usually stays on the desk with me one of the two and now it’s not but it cannot come out by itself

5. What does it take to make a design meaningful?

Every time we create a product um or any solution in general somehow we are touching the life of these people in a variety of different

Ways and we can add um convenience safety Beauty style and a variety of other values to the life of these people or on the opposite direction we can make the life of these people and I’m we can create complications to their lives we can make it challenging and difficult therefore when we create something we should always be driven by this idea of creating something that is relevant to them

And relevant to the company you know I I and and so I Define this relevance through a series of principles of meaningful design that I talk about in the book there are two foundational principles that are one the idea of creating something that is functional that is emotional and is semiotic so it fulfilled a specific functional need it creates uh engagement and emotional level between you and the product in the

Quran and then somehow it represents you as a semiotic value it tells a story about you to the rest of the world and then the other foundational principle is that the the solution should be essentially and I synthetizing in a way you know but new unique different uh from anything out there then there are a series of other principles that somehow take you the level down and give you a direction on how to design these products the product should be

Sustainable from aesthetic standpoint from a functional standpoint from an equal ecological standpoint from a social standpoint respectful of people um from a emotional stem points from a financial statement there are a series of um values and I call it sustainable meaning that you need to think about your portfolio of products and Solutions in time it needs to be it needs to add all these different layers of value over

Time uh it’s not just about fulfilling a solution I need in the short term but really thinking about how the solution is sustainable over time and now you need to be ready to change over time to create something extraordinary for them Then There are a series of other clarifying principles but I invite you to have a look at the book it will be a longer story but he told you know those principles are really about the sensitivity of the designer and some of

The things we discussed earlier in this conversation uh about the fact that design is not just about the cold solution to a problem to a product but it’s a story that is the sensitivity of of uh the the the designer or the entrepreneur or anybody coming up with a lady and creating the solution behind that very good that that story is definitely challenging to create I’m sure

6. Why do we work so hard as human beings to get the right answers to the wrong questions? How can we do better?

Well often we live our lives personal lives as well as our professional lives answering to expectations that come from order and so here you are and they tell you

Well you need to do this and to do that you need to you know have certain steps in your life and you’re like okay this is what they’re asking me to do I comply I go to high school I go to university I get married eventually I do certain things that Society expect me to do you go to a job and they tell you this is your job description I hire you because of this and then later on they tell you well this is your project this is the brief

And what most of the people do is answering the brief working within the boundaries of the job description living within the boundaries of those expectations of society there are some people though and usually this is the mindset of the innovator the challenge the convention the challenge the question the challenge the brief not for the sake of challenging but just because they want to understand better they want to understand if what

They ask to do is the right thing to do for them but also for the people asking the people being your boss the company or even Society do we live in the right Society should we challenge the conventions of this Society is my job description great for my company or I could do more than that to really help the company in ways that the company doesn’t even realize is the question in the brief the right one

Or actually they should ask me something else because if I just answer the question I’m gonna generate a series of answers that are great that are right but the question is wrong and therefore by definition also those right answers will be wrong won’t have value as an example is an example I make in the book as well imagine they ask you to design a bridge and many people would be like okay they asked me to design a bridge so I’m going

To design a bridge and I’m going to design a bridge to these beautiful that is functionally unbelievable and and I I’m gonna generate you know a series of bridges and they will be incredible designers and Engineers that we generate beautiful and super functional bridges that we all admire and they’re very iconic but the real innovator and by the way the philosopher the child will ask why

Here I am with another dog just a second she’s well uh the real innovator as well as the philosopher and a child they all ask why is typical of the philosopher to ask why and then again why again why is a technique to arrive to their root cause to the primary cause of everything the children do the same for other reasons and so once when you start to apply you will figure out in the case of the bridge that first of all

Yes you need to move from A to B why do I need a bridge of course you need to move from one side of the river to the other side of the river but then you ask again why why do I need to move on the other side of the river and they will tell you what because in the other side of the river there is the hospital and therefore the people of this town they need to take a bridge to arrive in a convenient way to the hospital if you stop there

Immediately you will think well maybe the bridge is the solution but maybe I can invent something else maybe I’m going to invent a sort of drone that you can write that can make each person real time super quick much faster than taking a car and going on a bridge arriving to the other side of the river so already that is an innovation instead of Designing a bridge you’re designing a machine that can fly it can take you to the hospital

But if you keep asking why maybe you arrive to realize that actually you don’t need the hospital on the other side you know the hospital is there but you can build an Hospital on this side of the river and so instead of Designing yet another Bridge you’re gonna design an hospital that is by far better Solutions because these people can have right much faster to the hospital when they did it than taking a bridge and going to the other side of the river

This is a very banal example very simplistic example to show how often we keep creating solutions for problems that are not the right ones to solve and if we will question the challenge the brief who arrive to something very different I did this all my life because of a man that with these behaviors and the way he was conducting business somehow taught me the kind of mindset it was my partner in the agency I created many years ago his name is Claudio a

Famous shoe business producer imagine like meeting Jay-Z here in the United States when you’re 24 and creating a company with this person so that’s what happened to me and I learned by observing him how he would challenge everything and every time thinking how can I do something different from uh what I did you know even himself before or from what everybody else did before and he was using this technique of always trying to understand the root

Causes and how you could really create something relevant for people in a different way and so with that kind of mindset I joined 3M I joined PepsiCo and I started with challenging my own job description creating something different in the way I was interpreting my job they were asking me to design products mostly the aesthetic side of a product a 3M I created the chief design officer position over time doing much more than what they were asking me and I thought

I’d be in so much more value for the company than if I was just designing the style of those two products they asked me to design when I was 27.

 

Image credits: Pixabay, Mauro Porcini

 

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Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of October 2022

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of October 2022Drum roll please…

At the beginning of each month, we will profile the ten articles from the previous month that generated the most traffic to Human-Centered Change & Innovation. We also publish a weekly Top 5 as part of our FREE email newsletter. Did your favorite make the cut?

But enough delay, here are October’s ten most popular innovation posts:

  1. Bridging the Gap Between Strategy and Reality — by Braden Kelley
  2. How Do You Judge Innovation: Guilty or Innocent? — by Robyn Bolton
  3. Scaling New Heights – Building Resilience — by Teresa Spangler
  4. What Great Transformational Leaders Learn from Their Failures — by Greg Satell
  5. Your Brand Isn’t the Problem — by Mike Shipulski
  6. What’s Next – Through the Looking Glass — by Braden Kelley
  7. Don’t Blame Quiet Quitting for a Broken Business Strategy — by Soren Kaplan
  8. The Ways Inflection Points Define Our Future — by Greg Satell
  9. How to Use TikTok for Marketing Your Business — by Shep Hyken
  10. Making Innovation the Way We Do Business (easy as ABC) — by Robyn Bolton

BONUS – Here are five more strong articles published in September that continue to resonate with people:

If you’re not familiar with Human-Centered Change & Innovation, we publish 4-7 new articles every week built around innovation and transformation insights from our roster of contributing authors and ad hoc submissions from community members. Get the articles right in your Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin feeds too!

Have something to contribute?

Human-Centered Change & Innovation is open to contributions from any and all innovation and transformation professionals out there (practitioners, professors, researchers, consultants, authors, etc.) who have valuable human-centered change and innovation insights to share with everyone for the greater good. If you’d like to contribute, please contact me.

P.S. Here are our Top 40 Innovation Bloggers lists from the last two years:

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Meet me in Manhattan – Innovation and Change Advisory

Meet me in Manhattan - Innovation and Change Advisory

As the title of the site says, I focus on human-centered change and innovation, bringing in elements of design thinking, customer experience, employee experience and digital transformation as needed.

On November 18, 2022 I will be in New York City (Midtown Manhattan) and available to connect for any of the following purposes:

  • Private keynote or workshop for your organization
  • Certification session on the Change Planning Toolkit™ and/or FutureHacking™ sets of tools for your team
  • Featured keynote speaker or workshop for a sales event or conference
  • Advisory session to provide input on your innovation or transformation program, or a specific innovation project
  • Audio or video podcast appearance
  • Grab a coffee or a meal — to connect or reconnect

If you work in Manhattan or are willing to travel in from elsewhere in the greater New York City metropolitan area (or the world) and are looking to increase the innovation or transformation capabilities of your organization or to de-risk an innovation project by getting an outside perspective, please contact me.

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Bridging the Gap Between Strategy and Reality

Bridging the Gap Between Strategy and Reality

by Braden Kelley

Recently I had the opportunity to interview Whynde Kuehn, author of the new book Strategy to Reality.

Whynde Kuehn is the Founder and Managing Director of S2E Transformation. Whynde is a recognized global thought leader and a long-time pioneer, practitioner and educator in digital transformation, strategy execution and business architecture, a foundational discipline for enabling end-to-end transformation and organizational agility. She regularly speaks, writes and chairs/co-chairs events with a mission to advance best practices and facilitate community and advocacy across the globe. Whynde is Co-Founder, Vice President, and Academic Committee Chair of the Business Architecture Guild®, a not-for-profit organization focused on the advancement of the business architecture discipline.

The interview dives into how to move big ideas into action, along with exploring several business architecture, strategy and digital transformation topics.

Without further ado, here is the transcript of that interview:

1. What is the difference between an enterprise architect and a business architect?

We can generally think of enterprise architects as professionals who facilitate the development and usage of enterprise architecture to enable effective strategy execution, decision-making, and macro-level design for their organization and the ecosystem in which it operates.
For reference, the Federation of Enterprise Architecture Professional Organizations (FEAPO) characterizes enterprise architecture as “a well-defined practice for conducting enterprise analysis, design, planning, and implementation, using a holistic approach at all times, for the successful development and execution of strategy. Enterprise architecture applies architecture principles and practices to guide organizations through the business, information, process, and technology changes necessary to execute their strategies. These practices utilize the various aspects of an enterprise to identify, motivate, and achieve these changes.”

Enterprise architecture is comprised of multiple architecture domains, which we can think of as business architecture + IT architecture, where IT architecture includes application architecture, data architecture, and technical architecture. In practice, some organizations structure with architects practicing within each architecture domain specialty who collaborate with each other (with no overall enterprise architect role) while other organizations have both an overall enterprise architect role in addition to the specialized architect roles. In the latter case, while an enterprise architect focuses across all architecture domains, they often tend to be T-shaped or V-shaped where they are deeper in one specialty over another.

So, what is the difference between an enterprise architect and a business architect? The answer is somewhat dependent on the context of an organization’s structure and practice, but generally speaking, an enterprise architect practices across all architecture domains, where a business architect focuses just on the business architecture domain (and partners with other architects). Additionally, here are a few important things to keep in mind:

  • All architects should share a base set of competencies as well as those specific to their area of specialization
  • All architects should be fluent in their organization’s business architecture
  • Close partnership and integration across all architecture domains and architect roles is critical for success, this includes cohesiveness of the architecture knowledgebase as well as how architects work together (and with other roles) to deliver value to the organization
  • To maximize value, the business architect role should be business-focused and strategically positioned
  • Business architects can focus on different scopes, from the full enterprise to a set of capabilities to a specific business domain; they always consider the bigger picture though regardless of scope

2. Why do organizations need business architects?

We know that organizations are going through a time of tremendous transformation, and that change and disruption are part of our new normal. A business architecture is most useful in the context of change, which is why we have seen an increase in adoption of the discipline worldwide. Business architects help organizations to create a clear and shared macro level understanding of where the organization is today, where it is going in the future, and how it will get there.

Business architects play a unique (and often missing) role to help inform and translate strategy into the cohesive set of changes needed across people, process, and technology to make that direction real (using value streams and capabilities as a key means to organize changes). They also help to ensure alignment across an organization. This includes both ensuring that the initiatives and solutions delivered meet the original business and architectural direction as well as ensuring that investments in capabilities (implemented through people, process, and technology) are appropriately harmonized across business units, products, and geographies.

Beyond their unique role in helping to inform, translate, and align strategy to execution, business architects also help to steward their organization’s business architecture knowledgebase. A business architecture is like a blueprint that provides a shared language and mental model for an entire organization, and it is owned by the business. A business architecture can and should be used by anyone in an organization for decision-making and an important part of the business architect role is to support others in doing so.

The diagram below reflects the contemporary practice of business architecture as context for questions 1 and 2. Business architecture lives in two worlds, first as part of the enterprise architecture umbrella (right) but also as a key contributor in a strategic management context (left).

Whynde Kuehn Business Architecture Diagram

3. What does it take to be a good business architect?

There are a few characteristics that encapsulate how good business architects think and act. For example, they are value-driven and focus on business value, outcomes, and results for their organization and its customers or constituents. Business architects are business-minded with a strong command of how business works, how to evolve business models and formulate strategies to win, and how to design an organization for effectiveness and agility (this includes having a command of technology and how to leverage it strategically). They are enterprise advocates, always bringing people together across organizational silos and back to the bigger picture of the enterprise. Business architects are bridge builders, knowing that it takes an ecosystem of teams to translate strategy into action and run an organization successfully. While business architects perform unique responsibilities, they also build close partnerships with others because they realize their own success – and the success of the organization – depends on making other people successful. Business architects are also visualizers and storytellers to create clarity and common understanding and they serve as change agents for new ideas. Business architects help to simplify, visualize, and explain complex concepts and show new connections.

Beyond these characteristics, a great business architect needs a depth of knowledge and experience including building a business architecture baseline (capabilities, information concepts, and value streams) at the enterprise level architecting change initiatives, and working across the life cycle from strategy to execution.

Becoming a great business architect is a journey that takes time, but a very rewarding one along the way. A truly successful business architect majors in business architecture, but minors in other disciplines and frameworks. The most adept business architects think strategically and architecturally to facilitate strategy execution and solve complex problems, leveraging business architecture as the foundation, blended seamlessly with many other approaches and abilities. This means that great business architects continually develop and leverage a wide range of knowledge and experiences – much of it beyond the realm of business architecture.

4. What are the key components of a business architecture?

Whynde KuehnThe foundation of a business architecture is comprised of capabilities (i.e., the reusable building blocks that describe what an organization does to deliver its products and services and support its operations), value streams (i.e., the high-level flows that deliver value to an external or internal stakeholder), and a cross-mapping between them (to depict where reusable capabilities are leveraged to deliver business value). In addition, a set of information concepts underpin the capabilities and value streams – and the entire business and IT architecture – and give people a truly shared definition of key terms such as customers, partners, products, assets, and so forth.

In addition to these three fundamental business architecture domains, there are seven additional business domains that are represented through an organization’s business architecture including business units (internal business units and external partners), products (the goods and/or services an organization offers to its customers/constituents), policies (external regulations and internal polices), stakeholders, strategies, metrics, and initiatives.

In addition, business architecture connects to the domains within other disciplines as well such as to journeys from the customer experience discipline, processes from the business process management discipline, requirements from the business analysis discipline, and applications and software services in the application architecture.

A business architecture is essentially an interconnected and multidimensional set of views, stored in a reusable knowledgebase, that can be used to inform many different business scenarios.

5. Who are the key stakeholders for a business architecture?

While the overall value proposition for business architecture is to enable effective strategy execution, business architecture is a bit like a Swiss army knife in that it can be used for a broad range of business usage scenarios and decision-making.

As a result, each organization needs to define its goals for leveraging the discipline for value. For example, while many organizations leverage business architecture for informing, translating, and aligning strategies and transformations, other organizations focus on leveraging the discipline for macro level simplification and effectiveness, business and IT alignment, or even a repeatable way to approach acquisitions.

As a result, the key stakeholders for business architecture within an organization can vary based on how the discipline is being used. However, some of the most common stakeholders for business architecture include strategy and transformation leaders and their teams along with portfolio managers, strategic planners, and technology leaders from CIOs and CTOs and down. Other key stakeholders include C-level business leaders, business unit leaders, product leaders, innovation leaders, risk managers, compliance managers, program and project managers, data management leaders, human-centered designers, organization designers, organizational change managers, business process professionals, business relationship managers, business analysts, IT architects, and many more.

6. How does one “use” a business architecture?

Generally, there are three categories of usage for a business architecture: to (1) facilitate effective strategy execution as mentioned earlier, to (2) help organizations design or redesign for effectiveness and agility, and to (3) inform a wide variety of business and technology decision-making scenarios.

For organization design and redesign, consider that we can assemble capabilities in different ways to deliver new value, products, and services. We can also design our organizations with increased efficiency, for example, by reducing the number of systems needed to automate the same capability.
For decision-making, consider that a business architecture knowledgebase is the go-to place for information about an organization at a macro level. As a result, we can get holistic answers framed in a shared business context to support decision-making around strategic alignment, customer experience, product management, investments, cost, risk, compliance, outsourcing, business and IT alignment, application portfolio management, technical debt, cloud strategy and migration, sustainability, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, and more.

7. Why is it so challenging for organizations to move big ideas into action?

Organizations may formulate excellent strategies, but the challenge often occurs in the translation of those ideas across a large organization with many business units, products, and regions. I believe there are a few foundational challenges that contribute to this.

First, organizations do not always have a formalized, cohesive approach to strategy execution that knits together all the teams from end-to-end to develop strategies, architect changes, plan initiatives, execute solutions, and measure success. We may do this for parts of the process, but we do not necessarily look at the whole of strategy execution with the same criticality and accountability as we do with other functions such as sales, marketing, or finance.

Second, large organizations are still siloed in many ways, which shapes the behavior, thinking, and priorities of individuals. For example, when it comes to investments or problem solving, we may default to what is best for our business area versus thinking about what is best for the customer and the enterprise – especially when organizational structures, motivation mechanisms, and inertia enforce the status quo.

Finally, I believe that both of these challenges are also underpinned by a need to enhance business education to teach a more comprehensive approach from strategy to execution, and normalize the idea of business and IT architecture to supplement strategic thinking and decision making.

8. Digital transformation has become an overused phrase. What is a true digital transformation?

Strategy to RealityA true digital transformation is strategic and customer-driven, leveraging technology to establish business models and ecosystems that unlock new value for organizations to thrive in the digital economy. In other words, automation alone does not constitute a digital transformation. The Institute for Digital Transformation gives us clear guidance in the Digital Transformation Manifesto – that it should “lead to metamorphic change among an organization’s products, services, systems, operations, and culture – amplified by technology.”

I believe that collectively many organizations are now coming to terms with what digital transformation really means and are starting to move beyond the hype. I also think we are reaching the point where digital business is now just regular business – where digital is no longer something separate, but just part of how an organization delivers value, strategizes, and operates.

9. Where does a successful transformation begin?

A successful transformation starts with why. What does the business want to achieve and how will we know when we have achieved it? Clear business direction and outcomes provide the critical starting point so that people across an organization can accurately determine the change that is needed, both to people, processes, technology, assets, and locations – as well as the human side of change. Clear business direction also helps to inspire people to action on a collective vision that is greater than themselves.

10. Why do so many organizations fail to succeed at both strategy and execution?

Organizations can be challenged in formulating strategy, in ultimately executing upon a strategy, or both as suggested here. From a strategy formulation perspective, much has been written by strategy experts, but from my perspective, I see organizations challenged in a few key ways. For example, some organizations lack rigor in the definition of strategy itself, where the strategy does not reflect specific choices or specifies broad (and non-strategic) goals such as to improve operational effectiveness. I also see challenges with articulating strategy where different parts of an organization describe and decompose the strategy in different ways, making goals, objectives, and courses of action difficult to understand and reconcile from an enterprise perspective. Additionally, I see challenges with communicating strategy as it filters through the layers of an organization and becomes diffused – especially without a shared understanding of the courses of action and collective changes that help people relate to the direction and what it means for them.

From a strategy execution perspective, as shared in question #7, the challenges with execution (e.g., building solutions that do not meet business needs or are duplicative) often begin upstream without a well-defined translation through a common blueprint like an organization’s business architecture. This does not mean that improvements are not necessary to execution (and many shifts are happening worldwide today such as around agile delivery), but an organization should assess each major activity from strategy to execution both individually and together as a cohesive end-to-end process.

Achieving a strategy requires clear intent translated into organized effort and the structured methods from strategy management frameworks as well as business architecture and other design disciplines can help. Hopefully the increasing awareness of the opportunity – and necessity – for effective end-to-end strategy execution will inspire and enable organizations to take further action to prepare for an increasingly disruptive and exciting business landscape for years to come.

Conclusion

Thanks to you Whynde for sharing your insights with our global human-centered change and innovation community!

To learn more about Whynde’s views on making your strategy a reality, grab yourself a copy of her new book Strategy to Reality.

Image credits: Whynde Kuehn, Unsplash

 

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Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of September 2022

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of September 2022Drum roll please…

At the beginning of each month we will profile the ten articles from the previous month that generated the most traffic to Human-Centered Change & Innovation. We also publish a weekly Top 5 as part of our FREE email newsletter. Did your favorite make the cut?

But enough delay, here are September’s ten most popular innovation posts:

  1. You Can’t Innovate Without This One Thing — by Robyn Bolton
  2. Importance of Measuring Your Organization’s Innovation Maturity — by Braden Kelley
  3. 3 Ways to Get Customer Insights without Talking to Customers
    — by Robyn Bolton
  4. Four Lessons Learned from the Digital Revolution — by Greg Satell
  5. Are You Hanging Your Chief Innovation Officer Out to Dry? — by Teresa Spangler
  6. Why Good Job Interviews Don’t Lead to Good Job Performance — by Arlen Meyers, M.D.
  7. Six Simple Growth Hacks for Startups — by Soren Kaplan
  8. Why Diversity and Inclusion Are Entrepreneurial Competencies
    — by Arlen Meyers, M.D.
  9. The Seven P’s of Raising Money from Investors — by Arlen Meyers, M.D.
  10. What’s Next – The Only Way Forward is Through — by Braden Kelley

BONUS – Here are five more strong articles published in August that continue to resonate with people:

If you’re not familiar with Human-Centered Change & Innovation, we publish 4-7 new articles every week built around innovation and transformation insights from our roster of contributing authors and ad hoc submissions from community members. Get the articles right in your Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin feeds too!

Have something to contribute?

Human-Centered Change & Innovation is open to contributions from any and all innovation and transformation professionals out there (practitioners, professors, researchers, consultants, authors, etc.) who have valuable human-centered change and innovation insights to share with everyone for the greater good. If you’d like to contribute, please contact me.

P.S. Here are our Top 40 Innovation Bloggers lists from the last two years:

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Reaching Beyond the Limits of Innovation and Transformation

Reaching Beyond the Limits of Innovation and TransformationRecently on Episode #873 of the Marketer of the Day podcast, I had the opportunity to sit down with Robert Plank, have a great conversation, and chat about a number of different topics. Here is a quick excerpt:

“When it comes to innovation, timing is a huge factor. Going in too soon or too late can both cost you lots of money. Innovation isn’t all about creativity and value-creation, it is also about the services that you provide around your new idea and helping people understand how your idea can be of value to their lives. But how can we know if our innovative ideas can really affect people’s lives?”


Click the play button to listen to the podcast right here, right now:

Here is Robert Plank in his own words describing what the Marketer of the Day podcast is all about:

The Marketer of the Day Podcast interviews entrepreneurs who have been through “the struggle.”

They’ve experienced the headaches of repeat failure, trial-and-error, scaling, delegating, course-correcting, and getting their online businesses to succeed beyond their wildest dreams… and want to help you get to where you need to go.

Or visit Robert’s site here for additional information and all of the ways to subscribe to his podcast:

https://www.robertplank.com/873-innovation-change-customer-braden-kelley/

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of August 2022

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of August 2022Drum roll please…

At the beginning of each month we will profile the ten articles from the previous month that generated the most traffic to Human-Centered Change & Innovation. We also publish a weekly Top 5 as part of our FREE email newsletter. Did your favorite make the cut?

But enough delay, here are August’s ten most popular innovation posts:

  1. Why Amazon Wants to Sell You Robots — by Shep Hyken
  2. Now is the Time to Design Cost Out of Our Products — by Mike Shipulski
  3. How Consensus Kills Innovation — by Greg Satell
  4. The Four Secrets of Innovation Implementation — by Shilpi Kumar
  5. Reset and Reconnect in a Chaotic World — by Janet Sernack
  6. This 9-Box Grid Can Help Grow Your Best Future Talent — by Soren Kaplan
  7. ‘Fail Fast’ is BS. Do This Instead — by Robyn Bolton
  8. The Power of Stopping — by Mike Shipulski
  9. The Battle Against the Half-Life of Learning — by Douglas Ferguson
  10. The Phoenix Checklist – Strategies for Innovation and Regeneration — by Teresa Spangler

BONUS – Here are five more strong articles published in July that continue to resonate with people:

If you’re not familiar with Human-Centered Change & Innovation, we publish 4-7 new articles every week built around innovation and transformation insights from our roster of contributing authors and ad hoc submissions from community members. Get the articles right in your Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin feeds too!

Have something to contribute?

Human-Centered Change & Innovation is open to contributions from any and all innovation and transformation professionals out there (practitioners, professors, researchers, consultants, authors, etc.) who have valuable human-centered change and innovation insights to share with everyone for the greater good. If you’d like to contribute, please contact me.

P.S. Here are our Top 40 Innovation Bloggers lists from the last two years:

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.