Author Archives: Braden Kelley

About Braden Kelley

Braden Kelley is a Human-Centered Experience, Innovation and Transformation consultant at HCL Technologies, a popular innovation speaker, workshop leader, and creator of the Human-Centered Change™ methodology. He is the author of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons and Charting Change from Palgrave Macmillan. Braden has been advising companies since 1996, while living and working in England, Germany, and the United States. Braden is a US Navy veteran and earned his MBA from top-rated London Business School. Follow him on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Importance of Measuring Your Organization’s Innovation Maturity

Importance of Measuring Your Organization’s Innovation Maturity

by Braden Kelley

Is our organization a productive place for creating innovation? How does our organization’s innovation capability compare to that of other organizations?

Almost every organization wants to know the answers to these two questions.

The only way to get better at innovation, is to first define what innovation means. Your organization must have a common language of innovation before you can measure a baseline of innovation maturity and begin elevating both your innovation capacity and capabilities.

My first book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire, was created to help organizations create a common language of innovation and to understand how to overcome the barriers to innovation.

The Innovation Maturity Assessment

One of the free tools I created for purchasers of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire, and for the global innovation community, was an innovation maturity assessment with available instant scoring at http://innovation.help.

My 50 question innovation audit measures each individual’s view of the organization’s innovation maturity across a number of different areas, including: culture, process, funding, collaboration, communications, etc.

When multiple individuals at the same organization complete the questionnaire, it is then possible to form an organizational view of the organization’s level of innovation maturity.

Each of the 50 questions is scored from 0-4 using this scale of question agreement:

  • 0 – None
  • 1 – A Little
  • 2 – Partially
  • 3 – Often
  • 4 – Fully

To generate an innovation maturity score that is translated to the innovation maturity model as follows:

  • 000-100 = Level 1 – Reactive
  • 101-130 = Level 2 – Structured
  • 131-150 = Level 3 – In Control
  • 151-180 = Level 4 – Internalized
  • 181-200 = Level 5 – Continuously Improving

Innovation Maturity Model

Image adapted from the book Innovation Tournaments by Christian Terwiesch and Karl Ulrich

Innovation Maturity is Organization-Specific

The best way to understand the innovation maturity of your organization is to have a cross-functional group of individuals across your organization fill out the assessment and then collate and analyze the submissions. This allows us to make sense of the responses and to make recommendations of how the organization could evolve itself for the better. I do offer this as a service at http://innovation.help.

What Do the Numbers Say About the Average Level of Innovation Maturity?

To date, the innovation maturity assessment web application at http://innovation.help has gathered about 400 seemingly valid responses across a range of industries, geographies, organizations and job roles.

The average innovation maturity score to date is 102.91.

This places the current mean innovation maturity score at the border between Level 1 (Reactive) and Level 2 (Structured). This is not surprising.
Looking across the fifty (50) questions, the five HIGHEST scoring questions/statements are:

  1. We are constantly looking to improve as an organization (3.12)
  2. I know how to submit an innovation idea (2.83)
  3. Innovation is part of my job (2.81)
  4. It is okay to fail once in a while (2.74)
  5. Innovation is one of our core values (2.71)

The scores indicate that the typical level of agreement with the statements is “often” but not “always.”

Looking across the fifty (50) questions, the five LOWEST scoring questions/statements are:

  1. Six sigma is well understood and widely distributed in our organization (1.74)
  2. We have a web site for submitting innovation ideas (1.77)
  3. There is more than one funding source available for innovation ideas (1.79)
  4. We have a process for killing innovation projects (1.82)
  5. We are considered the partner of first resort for innovation ideas (1.83)

The scores indicate that the typical level of agreement with the statements is “partially.”

What does this tell us about the state of innovation maturity in the average organization?

The numbers gathered so far indicate that the state of innovation maturity in the average organization is low, nearly falling into the lowest level. This means that on average, our organizations are focused on growth, but often innovate defensively, in response to external shocks. Many organizations rely on individual, heroic action, lacking formal processes and coordinated approaches to innovation. But, organizations are trending towards greater prioritization of innovation by senior management, an introduction of dedicated resources and a more formal approach.

The highest scoring questions tell us that our organizations are still in the process of embedding a continuous improvement mindset. We also see signs that many people view innovation as a part of their job, regardless of whether they fill an innovation role. Often, people know how to submit an innovation idea. And, we can infer that an increasing number of organizations are becoming more comfortable with the notion of productive failure, and communicating the importance of innovation across the organization.

Finally, the lowest scoring questions show us that process improvement methodologies like six sigma haven’t penetrated as many organizations as one might think. This means that many organizations lack the experience of having already spread a shared improvement methodology across the organization, making the spread of an innovation language and methodologies a little more difficult. We also see an interesting disconnect around idea submission in the high and low scoring questions that seems to indicate that many organizations are using off-line idea submission. Zombie projects appear to be a problem for the average organization, along with getting innovation ideas funded as they emerge. And, many organizations struggle to engage partners across their value and supply chains in their innovation efforts.

Conclusion

While it is interesting to look at how your organization might compare to a broader average, it is often less actionable than creating that deeper understanding and analysis of the situation within your unique organization.

But no matter where your organization might lie now on the continuum of innovation maturity, it is important to see how many variables must be managed and influenced to build enhanced innovation capabilities. It is also important to understand the areas where your organization faces unique challenges compared to others – even in comparing different sites and/or functions within the same organization.

Creating a baseline and taking periodic measurements is crucial if you are serious about making progress in your level of innovation maturity. Make your own measurement and learn how to measure your organization’s innovation maturity more deeply at http://innovation.help.

No matter what level of innovation maturity your organization possesses today, by building a common language of innovation and by consciously working to improve across your greatest areas of opportunity, you can always increase your ability to achieve your innovation vision, strategy and goals.

Keep innovating!

This article originally appeared on the Edison365 Blog

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Is Percy an Innovation or Another Attack on America’s Poor?

Is Percy an Innovation or Another Attack on America's Poor?

Are you one of the nearly four million cashiers in the United States?

If so, outsourcing, artificial intelligence and robots are coming for your job.

Freshii‘s founder Matthew Corrin left the quick-serve restaurant chain two months ago to focus on Percy, a technology that uses video calling to replace cashiers. Percy has more than a dozen clients in North America and employs nearly 100 workers in Pakistan, Bolivia and Nicaragua for around $3.75 per hour.

With an increasing number of voters supporting the living wage movement, and with many cities boosting their minimum wage to $15 per hour, the economic incentive is clear.

But is using video calling technology to put some of your neighbors out of work a smart move ethically, or from a branding perspective?

This first video shows what the technology looks like:

This second video explores whether this labor arbitrage is legal, and whether or not it is ethical:

The video also mentions that Jack in the Box is piloting the use of offshore resources to facilitate drive thru order taking at some of its restaurants. Further research uncovered that Jack in the Box began this pilot back in 2008. I could not find any information indicating whether the pilot was discontinued or rolled out to more locations outside the Charlotte, NC area.

But Jack in the Box isn’t the only chain experimenting with Drive Thru hacks.

Taco Bell Futuristic Drive Thru

Check out this Taco Bell concept being built out with an elevated restaurant and multiple Drive Thru lanes at street level to increase throughput. If you didn’t know, many fast-food restaurants do 2/3 or more of their business through the Drive Thru. Taco Bell’s concept does not mention using any outsourced labor, but the possibility is obviously there.

Using a speech-recognizing Artificial Intelligence (AI) is of course a real possibility in the Drive Thru use case in the very near future, potentially putting even outsourced labor out of a job.

So, what do you think? Innovation or not?

Pay By Face

p.s. One thing that doesn’t appear to be part of the Percy video virtual cashier product, but would be easy to add because the camera is already there, is ‘pay by face’ technology. That extra convenience could push this concept over the top. Although, I’m still not sold that would be a good thing, especially for the millions of cashiers in the United States.

Image credit: Toronto Star, Taco Bell, ExxaPay

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Four Reasons the Big Quit Exists

Four Reasons the Big Quit Exists

Turns out the pandemic prompted mass numbers of employees finally say, “take this job and shove it” to employers and careers they don’t like. Life is too short to be miserable at work.

In a recent NICE Webinar, we discussed how job quit rates have hit a historic high—even while the economy is still recovering from two years of furloughs and layoffs. This is often referred to as The Great Resignation.

Enlightening research from Gallup gathered in March of 2021 found that 48% of the working population in the United States is actively job-hunting or seeking out new opportunities.[1]

NICE Employee Churn word cloud

So, while we watch the labor market churn with no signs of settling, how can businesses avoid the costs of high turnover rates?

“How to Reduce the Risk of Employee Churn Amid the Big Quit”
(click to continue reading this article on the NICE blog)

Image credits: NICE

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Reducing Employee Churn During the Great Resignation

Reducing Employee Churn During the Great Resignation

For those of you struggling with your staffing levels or with finding talent during these exceedingly challenging times, I have exciting news to share!

My latest commissioned webinar is now available ON DEMAND:

Stop the Madness! How to reduce the risk of employee churn amid the Great Resignation

Synopsis from NICE CXone page:

It’s being called The Great Resignation: Millions of employees leaving their jobs every month! While the trend affects every industry, nowhere else is it felt more acutely than in contact centers. How do you keep agent churn from derailing your contact center?

Smart organizations know that it’s about more than salaries. Agents want work-life balance, and on the job, great tools and support to help them do their jobs well.

In this On-Demand webinar I explore what’s driving the Great Resignation and how to keep your agents engaged and satisfied.

Learn important strategies for keeping your agents from walking out the door:

  1. How giving agents purpose creates job satisfaction.
  2. How to create flexibility for agents to improve work-life balance.
  3. How to keep hybrid workforces connected and engaged.

Click here to access the webinar

I hope you enjoy it!

Please post any questions below in the comments.

There will be an accompanying white paper available soon.


NOTE: Commissioned thought leadership (articles, white papers, webinars, etc.) to accelerate a company’s sales and marketing efforts (including lead generation) is one of the services I provide in addition to the speeches and workshops I deliver as an innovation speaker.


Image credit: Pixabay

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Harnessing the Dragons of your Imagination for Innovation

Harnessing the Dragons of your Imagination for Innovation

The harder I try not to think of myself as an artist, the stronger I’m pulled back to the idea that even if my art is a little different than traditional drawing, painting, photography, music, dance and other traditional arts, that it is still art.

Today’s article was inspired by a Lex Fridman podcast interview with the lead singer of Imagine Dragons – Dan Reynolds.

Dan is a Mormon, a musician, one of nine children, a father, and a surprisingly humble and astute person. All of these things are relevant because who we are as a person is the result of every facet of ourselves today, and in our upbringing. Our art comes from our experience and our empathetic connections to the experiences of others. While Dan is a musician, he is also an artist, and artists can and should learn from all different types of artists.

At the heart of every kind of art is truth, but more about that later.

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” — Aldous Huxley

In this article I will highlight what I took away from the interview and some of the great music they Lex and Dan discussed, but feel free to jump in and watch the conversation at any point:

The most important takeaways from the interview are these:

  1. People have really good bullshit detectors
  2. You must authentically feel something, and your audience must feel it too
  3. Having a source of honest feedback is critical to progressing your art

Let’s now look at each of these and relate them from music to innovation:

1. People have really good bullshit detectors

In the interview Dan contrasts their success with two different records “Bet My Life” and “Believer” – which both did well – but “Believer” out-streamed “Bet My Life” by 10x.

Here is “Bet My Life” from YouTube with its 160 Million views on YouTube:

And “Believer” with its 2.2 Billion views on YouTube:

Okay, maybe that’s a bit more than 10x, but Dan when asked about what went wrong with “Bet My Life” he admitted that they produced the song themselves and that they took what was originally a stripped-down song and over-produced it – costing the song some of its authenticity in the process.

If we cross over to innovation on this topic, in the past I’ve written that Veracity is Required for Innovation Success.

Yes, innovation is an art.

Here are some key thoughts from this article on the importance of truth to innovation:

“Fail to identify a solution with real innovation veracity and you are likely to miss potential elements of optimal value creation, you will likely struggle to make its value accessible, and there is a greater likelihood that you will fail to properly translate the value of the solution for your customers.

So, taken another way, the search for innovation success is a search for truth. You must therefore unlock the inner truths of your intended customers (think unmet needs or jobs-to-be-done), you must search in areas that your intended customers will feel are true for your brand, and areas that feel true to employees given the company’s mission and values. When your pursuit of innovation centers around truth and when you commit to a focused effort to increase your innovation capability – and to pursue Innovation Excellence – then and only then do you have your best chance at innovation success.”

2. You must authentically feel something, and your audience must feel it too

In innovation we often talk about how it takes 100+ ideas to find 10 projects worth investing time and money in, and from those 10 projects – if you’re lucky – you might have one show promise as a potential innovation.

In the Lex Fridman interview Dan Reynolds revealed that he writes about 100 songs a year and from those perhaps 10 might get recorded. Dan started as a drummer, and while voice is often as seen as the melody of a song, his vocals are in part driven by a percussion mindset. For innovation we like to speak about bringing different mindsets and perspectives to increase the chances of finding something meaningful.

Speaking of feeling and authenticity, Dan tells a story in the interview about how they were working on an album with famous record producer Rick Rubin and listened to a song that Dan believed in, but after hearing it he told Dan “I don’t believe you.”

The path to adoption is through belief…

Some of the songs they listened to in regard to ‘feeling it’, included Harry Nilsson’s “Without You”:

Cat Stevens’ “Father and Son”:

And Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle”:

Identifying whether you are transmitting authentic feelings or not is very difficult. We’ve already spoken about the importance of veracity, and if we build on that using something I wrote about in my article That’s Innovation with Two V’s, leveraging information from the movie A Good American, about how the following three components can help you identify signals and drive the transformation of DATA into INTELLIGENCE (or innovation veracity in our context):

  1. Volume – in order to derive meaningful conclusions you need a lot of data inputs, in this case, lots of idea fragments (ideas come later)
  2. Variety – multiple perspectives are necessary to avoid blind spots and increase the potential for connecting idea fragments
  3. Velocity – volume by itself is not enough, momentum is important too. You have to keep Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire

3. Having a source of honest feedback is critical to progressing your art

Making art that resonates with others is incredibly different. It is easy to get lost in our own perspective.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb

It is incredibly important as an artist, as an innovator, that you find a group of trusted voices to allow you to accelerate the development of your art – or your innovation. Science experienced an incredible acceleration in the private clubs of London in the 1600’s, impressionist art experienced an amazing acceleration in the south of France in the 1800’s – because of the rapid exchange of ideas and feedback.

For Dan Reynolds, one of those trusted voices is his father, he also has one of his brothers as the band’s manager, another brother as their lawyer, and brings in external voices to help with the production of their records – people like Rick Rubin.

Listening to your trusted external voices can help you see where you’re falling short. There is a great quote in the interview above regarding Dan’s realization around the sometimes-uncomfortable role of a famous person in society.

“By not saying anything, I was saying everything.” – Dan Reynolds
(re: LGBTQ issues at the time)

It is only from being open to receiving feedback that we can learn anything. And when it comes to art, when it comes to Optimizing Innovation Resonance:

To achieve and maintain innovation resonance, you must nurture a commitment to learning fast, both during the innovation development process and after the launch of a potential innovation. You must maintain a laser focus on how you are creating value, helping people access that value, and translating that value for people so they can understand how your potential innovation may fit into their lives. So, do you have processes in place as part of your innovation methodology for measuring and evolving solutions in place to help you get to innovation resonance?

And to help reduce the tyranny of the innovation hero and to encourage innovation collaboration, I created the Nine Innovation Roles:

  1. Revolutionary
  2. Conscript
  3. Connector
  4. Artist
  5. Customer Champion
  6. Troubleshooter
  7. Judge
  8. Magic Maker
  9. Evangelist

… to make a place for everyone in innovation.

Conclusion

There is a reason this blog is called Human-Centered Change & Innovation. The reason is that when it comes to change, innovation and transformation, the people side of all three is everything.

To be successful, you must consider “the other.”

You must engage with “the other.”

You must understand “the other.”

This requires empathy, this requires veracity, and when you bring empathy and veracity together, you have a chance at achieving resonance.

All types of art and innovation require empathy, veracity, and resonance for success.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the interview, the music, and the conversation.

I hope all of this will help you slay your dragons, imagine a future where you are connecting more fully with your audience, and creating something amazing.

Keep innovating!

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Good Design Makes Technology Disappear

Good Design Makes Technology Disappear

The late Clayton Christensen wrote a little book called The Innovator’s Dilemma that many of you I’m sure have read. Many people think of it as a book about disruptive innovation, but it can be much more than that if you shift your perspective.

The Classic Disruptive Innovation Example

One of the case study examples is that of mini-mills disrupting the rolled steel producers in the steel industry by starting at the bottom of the food chain with the production of low margin re-bar and then moving upwards into higher margin steel products. This is seen as the blueprint for how you disrupt an industry. You go first where the incumbents are least likely to be concerned about new entrants – low margin products – a market that incumbents might actually be happy to lose, because their average margins will actually increase and wall street will potentially reward them in the short-term with higher stock prices.

But if you shift your perspective on this case study and apply it to emerging technology, something new emerges.

Learning and Adoption Require a Compelling Use Case BEFORE They Can Occur

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts while I work lately. Podcasts with leading scientists from around the world. One of the core themes that continuously emerges is that innovation is really hard and takes a long time. I was really struck by iRobot co-Founder Rodney Allen Brooks speaking about how they had a target of launching the Roomba at $200 and this meant that he had FIFTY CENTS per unit to spend on a piece of silicon to power their invention. He told the story of running around Taiwan looking for a chip that was cheap enough and was handicapped in ways that wouldn’t matter for their particular application – as ALL chips in that price range are going to have severe limitations. This is a great story for highlighting some of the unexpected challenges in turning an invention into an innovation.

Another interesting innovation case study – on the failure side – is that of Google Glass. The smart glasses arrived as an overhyped and underwhelming product and died on the vine in a very short period of time. One of the key reasons for their failure was the lack of a compelling use case, and another was that technology was too front and center – so much so that Google Glass seemed like a creepy invention.

“Making access to information just instant and intuitive. By doing that, technology fades into the background, and we’re more connected with the people and things around us.”

This quote is pulled directly from the video below about Google’s reboot of their smart glasses initiative:

Google’s Live Translation Glasses arrive this time without a product page, without a formal product name and promising much less.

One of the things that really struck me in this short video is that while it is super easy to anchor on the value of the translation piece – displaying Mandarin on screen from an English voice for example – they have several other powerful uses cases, including:

  • People who have single-sided deafness
  • People who don’t want to wear hearing aids, or for whom hearing aids don’t work
  • People who are fully deaf
  • People who are trying to learn a new language

Do One Thing Really Well and Build From There

Google’s Live Translation Glasses remind me of another pair of smart glasses launched a little while back in the glow of the Google Glass failure – Amazon’s Echo Frames.

Amazon’s Echo Frames build themselves around the compelling use case of hands-free searching and calling. They have speakers and a microphone, connect to your iOS or Android smartphone, and can even be fitted with prescription lenses.

Amazon Echo Frames

Don’t Strip the Gears on Your Innovation Machine

Our ability to imagine usually outpaces our ability to execute and it can be a challenge to rein in our imagination to match our ability to not just execute, but to do so profitably and at a pace that our customers can see their way to adopt it.

When we look at my Innovation is All About Value methodology, we can also see that companies fail less often at value creation, and more frequently at value access and value translation.

When your start small and build around a compelling use case it is easier to get the value translation right and it is easier to build the key value access components to support your value creation.

Timing matters…

Price matters…

Compelling use cases matter…

What’s yours?

Keeping the end in mind and the future in sight – is important – but it is more valuable to identify where to start and add value as you go.

Don’t strip the gears on your innovation machine and keep innovating!

Image credit: The Verge, Amazon

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Creating Innovation with Hardcore Soft Skills

Creating Innovation with Hardcore Soft Skills

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Yadira Caro on the Hardcore Soft Skills Podcast.

In the episode I define what innovation really is, how people, process and technology come together to create innovation and where people go wrong.

The conversation includes a discussion of how to craft successful innovation teams because it’s such a crucial factor for successful innovation.



I also speak about the peril of idea fragments and the importance of respecting your employees by putting funding and execution capabilities in place BEFORE you ask your employees for even a single idea.

We talk about top-down innovation…

We talk about bottom-up or middle-out innovation…

And, we also speak about many different innovation misconceptions.

So, I encourage you to check out the episode!

You can listen to the embedded podcast above or click this link to go to the podcast page.

Image credit: Pixabay

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Building a Learn It All Culture

Don’t Be a Know It All

Building a Learn It All Culture

Trying to be a “know-it-all” is a flawed goal.

It is impossible to know everything.

This is by design.

This is by intention.

In much the same way that programming languages have garbage collection built in, the human brain is built to prune. The human brain is built to forget more than it remembers. Instead of trying to override our natural tendencies, we must embrace them and see instead see how they empower us to be continuous learners.

“Garbage collection is the process in which programs try to free up memory space that is no longer used by objects.” — FreeCodeCamp

Where Insights Come From by Braden Kelley

And while knowledge is important, it is perishable, it is transitory, and it is not the highest aspiration.

  1. An understanding of data allows the creation of information
  2. The consumption of information allows the creation of knowledge
  3. The exploration of knowledge allows the creation of insight
  4. The connections between insights allow the creation of wisdom

Curiosity fuels the transformation of data and information into insights and wisdom, while knowledge funnel progression is driven by a quest for efficiency.

Knowledge Funnel

Knowledge FunnelThe knowledge funnel is a useful concept learned from Roger Martin in the Design of Business. The concept highlights how any new area creating information (and hopefully knowledge) starts very much as a mystery, but as our understanding of the topic area increases, we begin to identify heuristics and make sense of it. For me, this is where we begin to move from data and information to knowledge, and then as our knowledge increases we are able to codify this knowledge into algorithms.

Importance of Curiosity to a Learn It All Culture

If you want to build a learn-it-all culture, it all starts with curiosity. Curiosity leads to inquiry, and inquiry leads to learning. The achievement of insights is the ideal outcome for learning pursuits, and insights power innovation.

I’ve been writing about the importance of curiosity and its role in innovation since 2011 or before.

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” – Albert Einstein

At an event I attended in New York City in 2011, Peter Diamandis of the XPRIZE Foundation talked about how for him the link between curiosity and innovation is the following:

“What should be possible that doesn’t yet exist?”

In my article Key to Innovation Success Revealed!, on the topic of curiosity I wrote:

The reason that curiosity is the secret to innovation success is that the absence of curiosity leads to acceptance and comfort in the status quo. The absence of curiosity leads to complacency (one of the enemies of innovation) and when organizations (or societies) become complacent or comfortable, they usually get run over from behind. When organizations or societies lack curiosity, they struggle to innovate. Curiosity causes people to ask ‘Why’ questions and ‘What if’ questions. Curiosity leads to inspiration. Inspiration leads to insight. Insights lead to ideas. And in a company or society where invention, collaboration and entrepreneurship knowledge, skills, abilities and practice are encouraged, ideas lead to action.

Five Keys to Building a Learn It All Culture

Change is the one constant, and it is continuous. If it wasn’t, all of us would still be hunting animals and collecting berries. Embracing continuous change and transformation allows us to accelerate our understanding of the universe and how our organizations can serve their missions more effectively and efficiently. Continuous change requires continuous learning. To prepare our people and our organization to succeed at continuous learning we need to do these five things:

1. Develop Good Learning Hygiene

Learning is a skill. To build an organization of continuous or lifelong learners, we must first help people learn how to learn. Two of the most important learning skills that we are not taught how to do in school, but that are crucial for success at innovation and other modern pursuits are the following:

  • Deep Thinking — Few of us are good at deep thinking and as a result, deep learning. Getting people to put all of their devices away is the initial challenge. Feeling comfortable not knowing the answer and sitting at a table with nothing more than a blank piece of paper is really hard. Teaching people how to meditate beforehand can be quite helpful. The goal of course is to get people into the state of mind that allows them to think deeply and capture their idea fragments, nuggets of inquiry and micro-inspirations. This will provide the fuel for collaboration and co-creation and the next key learning skill.
  • Augmented Learning — We live during amazing times, where if we don’t know something we can Google it or ask Siri, Cortana or Alexa. All of the assistants and search engines available to us, serve to quickly augment our human knowledge, skills and abilities. Knowing how to build good search queries is an incredibly powerful life skill. Teach it.

2. Reinforce Growth Mindset Behaviors

There has been much chatter about the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. It’s not really a new concept, but instead modern packaging for the level of maturity shown by those successful professionals who are willing to say:

“I don’t know.” and “Let me find out.” and “Failure is an opportunity to learn.”

Two ways organizations can demonstrate their commitment to a growth mindset are to:

  • Celebrate Failure — Create events or other ways to share some of the most important failures of the month or quarter, and what was learned from each.
  • Fund Curiosity — If you’re hiring curious people with a growth mindset, then every employee will be curious about something. Find a way to fund their investigation and exploration of what they’re curious about – even if it is not work-related. This is a great way of demonstrating the importance of curiosity to innovation and your commitment to it.

3. Make Unlearning Socially Acceptable

We all want to be the expert, and we work hard to achieve mastery. Meaning, often we hold on too tightly as new solutions emerge. And, to adopt new ways of solving old problems, often we have to unlearn what we think we know before we can learn the new ways. Smart organizations constantly challenge what they think they know about their customers, potential partners, product-market-fit, and even where future competition might come from.

4. Flex Your Reskilling and Retraining Muscles

With the accelerating pace of change, the organizations and even the countries that invest in reskilling and retaining their employees (or citizens) are the organizations and economies that stand the best chance of continued success. As more organizations commit to being purpose-driven organizations, the costs of recruitment actually increase, making it even more important to keep the employees you attract and to reskill and retrain them as your needs change. Especially as the pace of automation also increases…

5. Create Portable Not Proprietary Knowledge

If you gave an employee ten hours to spend to either:

  • Earn a professional certification
  • Complete company-created employee training

Which do you think most employees would choose?

Sorry, but most employees view company-created trainings somewhat like the dentist. They do it because they have to.

Work with professional associations to influence certification curriculums towards the knowledge, skills and abilities you need.

Find more and better ways of encouraging mentorship.

Invest in internal internship and innovation programs that allow employees to explore the ideas and the other areas of the business they’re passionate about.

Conclusion

Transitioning from a know-it-all to a learn-it-all culture is no small feat and requires commitment and investment at a number of different levels inside the organization. I’ve highlighted the five keys to building a learn-it-all culture inside your organization, but only you can take the keys and unlock these capabilities inside your organization. Now is the time to invest in your learning transformation.

But smart countries will be thinking bigger. Smart countries will be thinking about how they can transform their educational systems to create a continuous learning mindset in their next generation, finance a move from STEM to STEAM, and commit to ongoing worker reskilling and retraining programs to support displaced workers.

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Keeping Pace with the Latest Trends in Social Media and Online Video

David Meerman ScottThe ways we communicate continue to evolve. Keeping pace with the latest trends in social media and online video, while preventing your product or service from getting lost in the digital clutter, is a daunting task. David Meerman Scott is a master at helping you speak directly to your audience, make a strong personal connection, and generate attention for your business.

In the eighth edition of The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Content Marketing, Podcasting, Social Media, AI, Live Video and Newsjacking to Reach Buyers Directly, David explores the latest approaches for highly effective public relations, marketing, and customer communications – while helping you avoid of the costs of traditional advertising!

New Rules of Marketing and PRI had the opportunity recently to interview David, a marketing strategist, entrepreneur, investor and advisor to emerging companies, and bestselling author of 12 books, including Fanocracy, about the new eighth edition of The New Rules of Marketing & PR.

Throughout his career he has been fascinated by seeing the future of how people and organizations work together, studied ‘what’s next’, and looked for patterns others don’t see.

Three times a year David (@dsmcott) is the lead marketing speaker at the legendary Tony Robbins Business Mastery events, delivering a two hour session on New Marketing Mastery.

Below is the text of the interview:

1. What is the biggest change in either PR or Marketing that today’s companies face?

I wrote this for the first edition of The New Rules of Marketing & PR back in 2007: “There used to be only three ways to get noticed: Buy expensive advertising, beg the mainstream media to tell your story for you, or hire a huge sales staff to bug people individually about your products. Now we have a better option: publishing interesting content on the web, content that your buyers want to consume.” The same is true today upon the publication of the 8th edition!

The tools of the marketing and PR trade have changed. The skills that worked offline to help you buy or beg or bug your way into opportunity are the skills of interruption and coercion. Online success comes from thinking like a journalist and publishing amazing content that will brand you as an organization or person it would be a pleasure to do business with. You are in charge of your own success.

2. Must companies re-think their approach to PR in the digital age?

Many people steeped in the tradition of product promotion naturally feel drawn to prattle on and on about their products and services. But I have news for you. Nobody cares about your products and services. Yes, you read that right.

What people do care about are themselves and how you can solve their problems. People also like to be entertained and to share in something remarkable. In order to have people talk about you and your ideas, you must resist the urge to hype your products and services. Instead, create something interesting that will be talked about online. When you get people talking on the Web, people will line up to learn more and to buy what you have to offer.

Sadly, marketers continue to hype products and services instead of understanding buyers and creating interesting content to reach them.

3. Do press releases still have value?

Yes, press releases have value but way less than most PR professionals believe. There is so much more that can be done.

Somehow along the way PR professionals have lost sight of what ‘true’ PR is and have set their focus on the media. What quick steps can PR pros take to get back to the public relations roots of creating mutually beneficial relationships with all of their publics (shareholders, stakeholders, communities, employees, etc.)?

To paraphrase the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), definition: “Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.”

Nowhere does this description mention the media!

Somewhere along the line “public relations” became the same as “media relations.” What people need to realize is that these are different activities. Media relations, or working through journalists, is fine. Hey, who doesn’t want to be quoted in an important outlet?

But there are so many other ways to hear attention.

PR is about reaching your audience. There are many more ways to do that than just via the media: YouTube videos, blog posts, eBooks, charts, graphs, photos, a Twitter feed, a presence on Instagram, TikTok and so much more.

4. What role should LinkedIn play in companies’ marketing strategies? Any difference in your answer for B2B vs. B2C companies?

There are many social networks out there and LinkedIn is one of them. Marketers should understand their buyers and be active on the social networks that are most important to them. For many B2B businesses, LinkedIn is super important, so for them yes, LinkedIn is valuable. However many people use LinkedIn as another way to send unwanted sales messages. To be effective people should use LinkedIn to publish content and to engage with other people’s content.

Continue reading the rest of our conversation on CustomerThink

SIX more questions and answers!

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Chance to Help Make Futurism and Foresight Accessible

I’ve been hard at work building all kinds of tools to help innovation, change, transformation and design thinking practitioners be more successful in their jobs.

The number of human-centered tools in the Change Planning Toolkit v13 from the initial fifty (50) to more than SEVENTY.

I also introduced lots of inexpensive tools like the:

  1. $9.99 – Problem Finding Canvas
  2. FREE – Innovation Maturity Assessment
  3. FREE – Visual Project Charter™
  4. FREE – Experiment Canvas™
  5. FREE – ACMP Standard for Change Management® Visualization

And the core of the forthcoming Human-Centered Innovation Toolkit is well underway.

But I’ve also been exploring the very obtuse realm of futurism and foresight and pondering how to make it more accessible to us ordinary humans, and I think I’ve done it!

Chance to Help Make Futurism Accessible

I’ve created a set of TEN (10) simple but powerful foresight and futurism tools to power my FutureHacking™ methodology.

To spread them farther and faster I’m looking to partner with a forward-thinking organization to bring them to market.

  • Does your organization view itself as leading its customers into the future?
  • Are you looking for an amazing marketing opportunity?
  • One that would empower thousands of innovation and strategy professionals to do their own foresight and futurism work?

If so, then contact me here and we’ll build a launch plan together that connects your brand to a powerful new FutureHacking™ movement!

Benefits to you will include, but will not be limited to:

  1. Joint promotion of your brand via my site, social media, email newsletters, etc.
  2. Presence of your logo as a sponsor on the tools and educational assets
  3. Access to the tools for your employees
  4. Other ideas you suggest!

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