Category Archives: Design

Are You Building Trust or Destroying It?

Are You Building Trust or Destroying It?

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

When someone tells you their truth, what do you do? Do you ask them to defend? Do you tell them what you think? Do you dismiss them? Do you listen? Do you believe them?

When someone has the courage to tell you their truth, they demonstrate they trust you. If you want to destroy their trust, ask them to defend their truth. Sooner or later, or then and there, they’ll stop trusting you. And like falling off a cliff, it’s almost impossible for things to be the same.

When someone confesses their truth, they demonstrate they trust you enough to share a difficult issue with you. If you want them to feel small and block them from sharing their truth in the future, tell them why their truth isn’t right. That will be the last time they speak candidly with you. Ever.

When someone reluctantly shares their truth, they demonstrate they’re willing to push through their discomfort due to the significance and their trust in you. If you want them to get angry, explain how they see things incorrectly or tell them what they don’t understand. Either one will cause them to move to a purely transactional relationship with you. And there’s no coming back from that.

When someone confides in you and shares their truth, you ask them to defend it, and, despite your unskillful response they share it again, believe them. And if you don’t, you’ll damn yourself twice.

When someone shares their truth and you listen without judging, you build trust.

When someone sends you a heartfelt email describing a dilemma and your response is to set up a meeting to gain a fuller understanding, you build trust.

When someone demonstrates the courage to share a truth that they know contradicts the mission, believe them. You’ll build trust.

When someone shares their truth, you have an opportunity to build trust or break it. Which will you choose?

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How to Solve Transparent Problems

How to Solve Transparent Problems

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

One of the best problems to solve for your customers is the problem they don’t know they have. If you can pull it off, you will create an entirely new value proposition for them and enable them to do things they cannot do today. But the problem is they can’t ask you to solve it because they don’t know they have it.

To identify problems customs can’t see, you’ve got to watch them go about their business. You’ve got to watch all aspects of their work and understand what they do and why they do it that way. And it’s their why that helps you find the transparent problems. When they tell you their why, they tell you the things they think cannot change and the things they consider fundamental constraints. Their whys tell you what they think is unchangeable. And from their perspective, they’re right. These things are unchangeable because they don’t know what’s possible with new technologies.

Once you know their unchangeable constraints, choose one to work on and turn it into a tight problem statement. Then use your best tools and methods to solve it. Once solved, you’ve got to make a functional prototype and show them in person. Without going back to them with a demonstration of a functional prototype, they won’t believe you. Remember, you did something they didn’t think was possible and changed the unchangeable.

When demonstrating the prototype to the customer, just show it in action. Don’t describe it, just show them and let them ask questions. Listen to their questions so you can see the prototype through their eyes. And to avoid leading the witness, limit yourself to questions that help you understand why they see the prototype as they do. The way they see the prototype will be different than your expectations, and that difference is called learning. And if you find yourself disagreeing with them, you’re doing it wrong.

This first prototype won’t hit the mark exactly, but it will impress the customer and it will build trust with them. And because they watched the prototype in action, they will be able to tell you how to improve it. Or better yet, with their newfound understanding of what’s possible, they might be able to see a more meaningful transparent problem that, once solved, could revolutionize their industry.

Customers know their work and you know what’s possible. And prototypes are a great way to create the future together.

Transparent” by Rene Mensen is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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Leveraging Free Resources for Innovation

Leveraging Free Resources for Innovation

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

Since resources are expensive, it can be helpful to see the environment around your product as a source of inexpensive resources that can be modified to perform useful functions. Here are some examples.

Gravity is a force you can use to do your bidding. Since gravity is always oriented toward the center of the earth, if you change the orientation of an object, you change the direction gravity exerts itself relative to the object. If you flip the object upside down, gravity will push instead of pull.

And it’s the same for buoyancy but in reverse. If you submerge an object of interest in water and add air (bubbles) from below, the bubbles will rise and push in areas where the bubbles collect. If you flip over the object, the bubbles will collect in different areas and push in the opposite direction relative to the object.

And if you have water and bubbles, you have a delivery system. Add a special substance to the air which will collect at the interface between the water and air and the bubbles will deliver it northward.

If you have motion, you also have wind resistance or drag force (but not in deep space). To create more force, increase speed or increase the area that interacts with the moving air. To change the direction of the force relative to the object, change the orientation of the object relative to the direction of motion.

If you have water, you can also have ice. If you need a solid substance look to the water. Flow water over the surface of interest and pull out heat (cool) where you want the ice to form. With this method, you can create a protective coating that can regrow as it gets worn off.

If you have water, you can make ice to create force. Drill a blind hole in a piece of a brittle material (granite), fill the hole with water, and freeze the water by cooling the granite (or leave it outside in the winter). When the water freezes it will expand, push on the granite and break it.

These are some contrived examples, but I hope they help you see a whole new set of free resources you can use to make your magic.

Thank you, VF.

Image credit: Pixabay

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Now is the Time to Design Cost Out of Our Products

Now is the Time to Design Cost Out of Our Products

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

With inflation on the rise and sales on the decline, the time to reduce costs is now.

But before you can design out the cost you’ve got to know where it is. And the best way to do that is to create a Pareto chart that defines product cost for each subassembly, with the highest cost subassemblies on the left and the lowest cost on the right. Here’s a pro tip – Ignore the subassemblies on the right.

Use your costed Bill of Materials (BOMs) to create the Paretos. You’ll be told that the BOMs are wrong (and they are), but they are right enough to learn where the cost is.

For each of the highest-cost subassemblies, create a lower-level Pareto chat that sorts the cost of each piece-part from highest to lowest. The pro tip applies here, too – Ignore the parts on the right.

Because the design community designed in the cost, they are the ones who must design it out. And to help them prioritize the work, they should be the ones who create the Pareto charts from the BOMs. They won’t like this idea, but tell them they are the only ones who can secure the company’s future profits and buy them lots of pizza.

And when someone demands you reduce labor costs, don’t fall for it. Labor cost is about 5% of the product cost, so reducing it by half doesn’t get you much. Instead, make a Pareto chart of part count by subassembly. Focus the design effort on reducing the part count of subassemblies on the left. Pro tip – Ignore the subassemblies on the right. The labor time to assemble parts that you design out is zero, so when demand returns, you’ll be able to pump out more products without growing the footprint of the factory. But, more importantly, the cost of the parts you design out is also zero. Designing out the parts is the best way to reduce product costs.

Pro tip – Set a cost reduction goal of 35%. And when they complain, increase it to 40%.

In parallel to the design work to reduce part count and costs, design the test fixtures and test protocols you’ll use to make sure the new, lower-cost design outperforms the existing design. Certainly, with fewer parts, the new one will be more reliable. Pro tip – As soon as you can, test the existing design using the new protocols because the only way to know if the new one is better is to measure it against the test results of the old one.

And here’s the last pro tip – Start now.

Image credit — aisletwentytwo

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Leading a Culture of Innovation from Any Seat

3 Ways to Leverage Human-Centered Design at Your Organization

Leading a Culture of Innovation from Any Seat

GUEST POST from Patricia Salamone

In a world where business challenges are increasingly complex, identifying your objective and framing your problem correctly is an integral way to demonstrate leadership and ensure teams don’t inadvertently solve the wrong problem. This is where a Human-Centered Design (HCD) mindset comes in—providing a groundbreaking way to define and ensure teams are focused on the right objective.

First, consider the challenge and objectives.

Not all business challenges need to be completely reimagined. Before jumping back to the drawing board, ask yourself, is there an obvious answer? Is there a clear approach to finding a solution? Can the team define what isn’t right? If you can’t say yes to these questions, then your business can benefit from the application of HCD principles. While teams understand they need to align and reframe challenges, having the proper tools in place is where many teams can fall short.

Move past traditional methods and be inspired to see challenges by taking a step back to reframe the problem:

  • Align the team. Often, internal teams will have differing viewpoints on a business problem. Rather than seeing this as a barrier, cross-functional alignment can open the door for creativity and new ideas.
  • Keep the focus on the issue. It’s often tempting to jump from “we have a problem” to, “here’s what we should do.” Instead, keep digging deeper. For every apparent problem definition, ask, “why does that matter?” multiple times, enabling yourself to get to the root cause and ensure you’re focusing on the “problem” rather than a “symptom of the problem.”
  • Use different words to reframe. Next time your team states a problem, challenge everyone to restate it using different words. Each iteration can reveal new facets of the problem, bringing clarity to the challenge at hand.
  • Zoom out. Rather than using a microscope to see details that aren’t immediately visible, approach the problem from a broader, more abstract perspective. Look at the customer’s “job to be done,” rather than what they may say their challenge is. This enables a more holistic and pragmatic view.

By making problem-reframing a habit, you are opening your organization up to greater flexibility and new pathways for innovation. This method also has the added benefit of clarifying gaps in knowledge and revealing where additional customer insight is needed.

Make empathy a daily habit.

A core principle of HCD is that empathy must permeate every aspect of traditional research initiatives. Simply seeking customer feedback to develop strategies often leads to insular thinking. While a research project-driven mindset is very much the norm, empathy in an HCD context is much more than that, it must permeate every aspect of the work.

Similar to reframing challenges, it is imperative to listen and learn from customer stories and perspectives. Here are some ways to establish daily habits and build stronger relationships with your customers.

  • Advocate for the customer’s voice in team meetings. Always begin by asking questions like, “how would our customers feel about this?”
  • Socialize existing wisdom within an HCD team on a weekly basis. This could look like emails containing important insights or bringing in a small group of clients together for “speed dating” with stakeholders to gain a human understanding of your customers’ experiences, wishes, and pain points.
  • Obtain real-time feedback. Online research communities can enable on-demand responses to explore fuzzy, front-end ideas, rapidly iterate on new product concepts, or gather deep insights into how your customers use a product post-launch.

Apply an agile mindset.

One of the hallmarks of HCD is agility. But being agile isn’t just about being “fast,” it’s about delivering value as efficiently as possible. In practice, an agile mindset means thinking differently about how your work gets done and the ways in which a team can break through functional silos.

Not sure where to begin? Here are some tactics to get you started:

  • Break up the work of the team into two-week sprints. Define what can be done in those two weeks and create measurable goals to work toward them (even if those outcomes are only intermediate steps toward a bigger goal).
  • Commit to short and frequent stand-ups with your team to share commitments and highlight possible hurdles to accomplishing the goals of the current sprint.
  • Portion out deliverables. Rather than focusing on your next big presentation as your deliverable, think about how you can break your work down and deliver portions of that content to your stakeholders sooner in a more informal way.

While the above suggestions are purely jumping-off points, they serve as solid examples of practical ways you can begin to transition from understanding HCD as a concept to it becoming an enabler of rethinking both your own work, as well as becoming a catalyst to higher-performing teams.

At the end of the day, embracing the principles of HCD is a long-term journey. These proven steps will help you lead and inspire teams to begin developing new habits that quickly demonstrate the strong potential HCD has in creating a new way to see innovation through the eyes of your customers.

Image credit: Pixabay

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What You Must Know Before Leading a Design Thinking Workshop

What You Need to Know Before Leading a Design Thinking Workshop

GUEST POST from Douglas Ferguson

Leading a design thinking workshop can completely transform your company for the better. According to the 71% of brands that champion design thinking, making a shift to a design-centered mindset will dramatically improve productivity and work ethic amongst your staff.

Are you ready to take your team to the next level?

If you’re ready to take your team to the next level by leading a design thinking workshop, it’s essential to know the basics of design thinking first. Having a deeper understanding of this human-centered approach will make it easier to get your team on board with this process.

In this article we’ll cover the basics of design thinking and the best way to approach leading a workshop for your team with the following topics:

  • What is Design Thinking?
  • A History of Design Methodology
  • The Six Phases of Design Thinking
  • Leading a Design Thinking Workshop

Understanding Design Thinking

Design thinking is a creative problem-solving method that centers on the needs of the end-user, by considering them first when creating products or services. When you authentically understand the wants and needs of the consumer, you can develop successful products and services they value and use to improve their lives.

Ultimately, a design thinking approach helps you understand the experience of the end-user by adopting the end user’s mindset and creating your product or service from this perspective.

A History of Design Thinking

The human-centered design process is an extension of the design thinking methodology. Though scientists, creatives, scholars, analysts, and engineers have studied this methodology for the past several years, the idea to apply a design mindset to problem-solving as a business strategy didn’t exist until the cognitive scientist and Nobel Prize laureate Herbert A. Simon coined the term in 1969. Simon explained the modern idea of design as an applicable way of thinking about business in his book, The Sciences of the Artificial.


Since Simon began the conversation about the design thinking methodology, many academic elites and experts have adopted this concept and expanded upon it. Yet one thing remains the same: the user should be at the core of any design process. The human-centered process is an exploration of how to accurately and innovatively create a product or service that satisfies consumers’ wants and needs.

“We must design for the way people behave, not for how we would wish them to behave.” –Donald A. Norman, Living with Complexity

Women with Laptop Pexels

The Six Phases of Design Thinking

Let’s take a look at the six phases of the human-centered design process to learn how to create with purpose as you prepare for leading a design thinking workshop.

1. Observe & Understand Users’ Behavior

The first phase of the design thinking process is to observe and understand the end user’s behavior to learn as much as possible about their needs. This allows you to better understand the people you are designing for as you approach problem-solving from their perspective. Doing so will allow you to deeply empathize with them and identify opportunities to better cater to and address these issues.

By identifying the end user’s behavioral patterns you’ll have a clearer understanding of what your customers enjoy and what they are dissatisfied with. This phase allows for greater innovation as you build trust and connect to your consumers.

Women Collaboration Pexels

2. Ideation

The ideation phase focuses on brainstorming new solutions based on what you learned by observing the end-user. Remember to stay focused on a human-centered design process while generating ideas. The use of divergent thinking is critical in this stage to foster creativity and generate as many ideas as possible.

In the ideation phase, everything is fair game. For example, instead of worrying about the details of how your potential ideas will work, focus on “why not?”

There are no right or wrong answers, only potential creative solutions to the problems you’ve identified. When you prioritize the needs and desires of the people you are creating for, you’ll arrive at the most successful solutions that you’ll continue to refine through the rest of the design thinking process.

3. Prototype

Now that you have potential solutions, it’s time to bring your best ideas to life with rapid prototypes. In this phase, you’ll test your ideas in real-time with real people to get their feedback. Rapid prototypes are quick and easy versions of the ideas you want to create. Their role is to ensure that your vision is on target and it allows you space to make amendments based on feedback before you make the final product.

This experimental phase isn’t about perfection. The goal is to create a quick, tangible prototype so that you can test it.

Group of People Whiteboarding Pexels

4. Feedback

In the feedback phase of the design process, you’ll test your prototype. This is perhaps the most vital part of the human-centered design process as it will determine whether or not your idea works for the people you are designing for.

Get your prototype in the hands of your target consumer and ask them: how and why does this product/service achieve or fail to reach your needs and desires? During this stage, you’ll want to collect as many details as possible from testers as you’ll use this feedback to finalize your solution.

5. Integration

The integration phase of the design thinking process helps you to identify the usefulness of the proposed solution. Consider the feedback you receive and how you can implement it into your design to make it better. This is a fluid process: integrate, test, and repeat until you reach the best version of your idea. Once your solution is fully-fledged and replicable, it’s time to share it.

6. Application

It’s time to send your idea out into the world! During this last stage of the design thinking process, make the final prototype and share it. It’s important to keep an eye on changes in your target audience and their needs and desires as time progresses so that you can make adaptations to your design as necessary.

With each new update, return to phase one and repeat the process for best results. Remember that the user’s needs change over time, so it is important to anticipate future alterations to best serve consumers’ changing needs.

Leading a Design Thinking Workshop

When we approach innovation with a human-centered design process, we are able to empathize with and therefore better understand the end-user and what they truly desire. Everything we create is an extension from t

When we approach innovation with a human-centered design process, we can empathize with and therefore better understand the end-user and what they truly desire. By leading a design thinking workshop, you’ll encourage your team to innovate in this human-centered way. As you create everything from this level of self-awareness, you’ll ultimately develop better products and services as you improve your company and team as well.

Once you have a clear understanding of the design thinking process, you’ll be able to lead your design thinking workshop with your team. Whether your design sprint is a few days or a few hours, a well-executed design thinking workshop will help you keep your customers’ needs top of mind.

Hiring a professional facilitator is one of the best ways to lead a design thinking workshop at your company. At Voltage Control, our team of facilitators is happy to assist you in your design thinking needs. With a clear understanding of this methodology and an effort to lead your team with the same mentality, you’re sure to see the benefits of adopting a design thinking approach.

This article originally appeared on, you can find it HERE.

Do you want to learn more about human-centered design?

Voltage Control facilitates design thinking workshops, innovation sessions, and Design Sprints. Please reach out at for a consultation.

Image credits: Pexels, Unsplash

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Five Immutable Laws of Change

Five Immutable Laws of Change

GUEST POST from Greg Satell

When I first arrived in Poland in 1997, change was all around me. It was like watching a society transform itself through time-lapse photography. Everywhere you looked, the country was shaking off decades of post-communist rust and striving to make good on the promise of 1989’s historic Round Table Agreement.

Yet it wasn’t until the fall of 2004 that I truly understood the power of change. By then, I was living in Kyiv, Ukraine and the entire country erupted in protests now known as the Orange Revolution. While Warsaw in the 90s was like rebuilding after a tornado hit, Ukraine was like being in the eye of the storm itself.

That experience led to a 15-year long journey of discovery and my book Cascades. What I found was that throughout history many have sought to create change and most have failed, but a few succeeded brilliantly. Starting out with very different challenges, philosophies and personalities, they eventually all arrived at the same principles that allowed them to prevail.

Law #1: The Status Quo Has Inertia On Its Side And Never Yields Gracefully

We tend to overvalue ideas. We think that if we have a good idea, people will immediately see its worth. Yet that’s hardly ever the case. As computer pioneer Howard Aiken put it, “Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.”

Consider the case of Ignaz Semmelweis, who first came up with the idea that medical staff in hospitals should wash their hands before operating on patients. You would think that would be an obviously good idea. Nevertheless, he was ostracized for it and ended up dying in an insane asylum, ironically from an infection he contracted under care.

Semmelweis’s plight was tragic, but is also so amazingly common that the tendency for the establishment to reject ideas is referred to as the Semmelweis effect. In fact, while researching my book Mapping Innovation I interviewed dozens of successful innovators and I found that every single one had to overcome stiff resistance to transform their idea into something useful.

The fact that you will face opposition when protesting an authoritarian regime is obvious, but an organizational environment can be just as cutthroat. Make no mistake. If your idea is important and has real potential for impact, there will be some who will hate it and they will work to undermine it in ways that are dishonest, underhanded and deceptive.

That must be your primary design constraint.

Law #2: Small Groups, Loosely Connected, But United By Shared Purpose Drive Transformational Change

For decades, change consultants have been telling us that if we want to drive transformation, we should “start with a bang” and create a “sense of urgency” through a big communication campaign. The results have been atrocious. In fact, McKinsey has found that nearly three quarters of organizational transformations do not succeed.

It’s not hard to understand why. If there are people who are determined to see your change fail—and every significant change encounters resistance—than a “rally the troops” type of approach will only serve to alert those who oppose change that they better get started undermining it or it might actually happen.

Fortunately, science points to another way. The truth is that small groups, loosely connected, but united by a shared purpose drive transformational change. So instead of trying to convince everybody at once, identify those who are already enthusiastic about your idea, who want it to work as much as you do. Those are people you can empower to succeed and can help bring in others, who can bring in others still.

Yet identifying advocates is only part of the battle. You also need to find imbue the effort with purpose and give it meaning. Unfortunately, all too often the quest for purpose is treated as a communication exercise. It isn’t. For change to be meaningful it has to actually solve a problem that people care about.

Law #3: Revolutions Begin With a Cause, Not A Slogan

Every change effort starts with a grievance. There’s something that people don’t like and they want it to be different. In a social or political movement that may be a corrupt leader or a glaring injustice. In an organizational context it’s usually something like falling sales, unhappy customers, low employee morale or technological disruption.

Whatever the case may be, the first step toward bringing change about is understanding that getting mired in grievance won’t get you anywhere. You can’t just complain about things you don’t like, but must come up with an affirmative vision for how you would want things to be.

The best place to start is by asking yourself, “if I had the power to change anything, what would it look like?” Martin Luther King Jr.s vision for the civil rights movement was for a Beloved Community. Bill Gates’s vision for Microsoft was for a “computer on every desk and in every home.” A good vision should be aspirational, but not completely out of reach.

One of the things I found in my research is that successful change leaders don’t try to move from grievance to vision in one step, but rather identify a Keystone Change, which focuses on a clear and tangible goal, includes multiple stakeholders and paves the way for future change, to bridge the gap.

For King, the Keystone Change was voting rights. For Gates it was an easy-to-use operating system. For your vision, it will undoubtedly be something different. The salient point here is that every successful transformation I found started out with a Keystone Change, so that’s where you will want to start as well.

Law #4: Design Tactics That Mobilize People to Influence Institutions

Organizational change consultants often recommend that changemakers prepare a stakeholder map. This isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but it is somewhat inadequate because it fails to distinguish between different kinds of stakeholders. Some stakeholders are targets for mobilization and others are targets for influence.

For example, both parents and school boards are important stakeholders in education, but for very different reasons. School boards wield institutional power that can effect change, parents do not, so we mobilize parents to influence school boards, not the other way around. We need to approach constituencies and institutions in very different ways.

One of the things we’ve consistently found in our work helping organizations to drive transformational change is that leaders construe stakeholders far too narrowly. Fortunately, decades of non-violent activism have given us powerful tools for both: the Spectrum of Allies for constituencies and the Pillars of Support for institutions.

A crucial point to remember is that you can’t dictate change by mandate. You can’t overpower but must instead attract people and empower them so that they can take ownership of the cause and make it their own. You need to accept that people will do things for their own reasons, not for yours.

Most of all, remember that every action has to have a clear purpose and be directed at influencing specific institutions. So before taking any action, ask two questions: Who are we mobilizing and to influence what?

Law #5: Every Revolution Inspires Its Own Counter-Revolution

In the aftermath of the Orange Revolution we thought we had won. After all, we had stood up to the injustice of a falsified election and prevailed. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way. Five years later, Viktor Yanukovych, the same man who we had taken to the streets to prevent from office, rose to power in an election that international observers deemed free and fair. His corrupt and incompetent rule would trigger a second Ukrainian Revolution.

We find a similar pattern with many of the executives we work with. They work for months—and sometimes years—to get a project off the ground. Yet just when they think they’re turning the corner, when they’ve won executive sponsorship, signed up key partners and procured enough financing to have a realistic budget, all the sudden things seem to get mired down.

That’s no accident. Just because you’ve won a few early battles doesn’t mean opposition to your idea has melted away. On the contrary, faced with the fact that change may actually succeed, those who oppose it have probably just begun to redouble their efforts to undermine it. These efforts are often not overt, but they are there and can easily derail an initiative.

That’s why every change effort must learn how to survive victory. The truth is that change is always a journey, never a particular destination, which is why lasting change is always built on common ground. That doesn’t mean that you need to win over your fiercest critics, but it does mean you need to try to empathize with their perspective.

There is a reason why some change leaders succeed while others fail. At some point everybody needs to decide whether they would rather make a point or make a difference and, in the end, those that prevail choose the latter.

— Article courtesy of the Digital Tonto blog
— Image credit: Pexels

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Is Now the Time to Finally End Our Culture of Disposability?

Is Now the Time to Finally End Our Culture of Disposability?Quality used to mean something to companies.

A century ago, when people parted with their hard-earned money to buy something, they expected it to last one or more lifetimes.

Durability was a key design criteria.

But, as the stock market became more central to the American psyche and to executive compensation, the quality of available products and services began to decline in the name of profits above all else.


Ford Quality is job oneThere was a temporary consumer revolt decades ago that resulted in companies pretending that quality was more important than profits, but it didn’t last long. In the end, Americans accepted the decline in quality as outsourcing and globalization led to declining prices (and of course higher profits) and fewer goods carrying the “Made in the USA” label, quickly replaced by Japan, China, Mexico, Vietnam, Bangladesh and the rest.

An Inconvenient TruthAround the turn of the century we had the birth of the Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) movement followed a few years later by Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. Perhaps people were beginning to wake up to the fact that our planet’s resources are not infinite and our culture of disposability was catching up to us.

But these movements failed to maintain their momentum and the tidal wave of stores stocking disposable goods continued unabated – dollar stores and party stores spread across the country like a virus. States like New York began shipping their garbage across borders as their landfills reached capacity. Unsold goods began being dumped on the African continent and elsewhere (think about all those t-shirts printed up for the team that didn’t end up winning the Super Bowl).

Is now the time for the winds to shift yet again in favor of quality and sustainability after decades of disposability?

Will more companies better embrace sustainability like Patagonia is attempting to do?

People have been complaining for years about the high cost to repair Apple products and the increasing difficulty of executing these repairs oneself. Recently Apple was FORCED by shareholder activists to allow people to repair their iPhones. Here is their press release that tries to put a positive spin on what they were pressured into doing.

This is the moment for shareholder activists and governments around the world to force companies to design for repairability, reuse and a true accounting of the costs of their products and services inflict upon the populace and the planet. The European Union and Mexico are working together towards this not just because the planet needs this, but because The Circular Economy Creates New Business Opportunities.

Meanwhile, Toyota recently announced that starting this year (2022) in Japan that they will retrofit late-model cars with new technology if the customer desires it. The company aims to let motorists benefit from new technology without having to buy a new car. The LoraxToyota calls this “uppgrading” and defines it as retrofitting safety and convenience functions, like blind spot monitoring, emergency braking assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and the addition of a hands-free tailgate or trunk lid. Remodeling will also be an option and will include replacing worn or damaged parts inside and out, such as the upholstery, the seat cushions, and the steering wheel.

Are these two companies voluntary and involuntary actions the beginning of a trend – finally?

Or will the culture of disposability continue unabated until our natural resources are exhausted?

Do we truly live in the land of the Lorax?

Image credits: Wikimedia Commons, OldHouseOnline

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600 Free Innovation, Transformation and Design Quote Slides

600 Innovation, Transformation and Design Quote Slides on Innovation, Change and Design

Free Downloads for Keynote Speeches, Presentations and Workshops

Looking for a compelling quote for a keynote speech, workshop or presentation on any of these topics?

  • Innovation
  • Digital Transformation
  • Design
  • Change
  • Creativity
  • Leadership
  • Design Thinking

I’m flattered that people have been quoting my keynote speeches and my first two books Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire and Charting Change.

So, I’m making some of my favorite quotes available from myself and other thought leaders in a fun, visual, easily shareable format.

I’ve been publishing them on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

But now you can download twelve (12) volumes of fifty (50) quote posters, for a total of 600, for FREE from my store:

You can add them all to your shopping cart at once and download them for FREE.

Print them, share them on social media, or use them in your presentations, keynote speeches or workshops.

They are all Adobe PDF’s and the best way to add them to your presentation is to:

  1. Put the PDF into FULL SCREEN MODE
  2. Take a screenshot
  3. Paste it into your presentation
  4. Crop it and adjust the size to your liking
  5. Change the background color of the slide to a suitable color (if necessary)

Contact me with your favorite innovation, design thinking, change, transformation, or design quotes and I’ll consider adding them to my library of future downloads.

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The Education Business Model Canvas

Mission Model Canvas

GUEST POST from Arlen Meyers

The business model canvas is one of many useful tools to design, evolve and test products and services business models. While the original model was proposed to help founders create a viable and scaleable business model, it has also helped non-profit executives, as the mission driven business model, and those looking to make a career change, using a personal business model as the Business Model You.

Personal Business Model Canvas

The construct is also useful if you are an edupreneur, trying to create and launch new educational products and services, including new courses, certificates, programs or degree offerings.

Edupreneurship rests on several foundational principles:

  1. Having an entrepreneurial mindset
  2. Intra- and entrepreneurial knowledge, skills, abilities and competencies
  3. Design thinking focused on creating stakeholder and beneficiary defined outcomes
  4. A systems engineering approach to solving wicked problems, like how to fix outcomes disparities and their social determinants
  5. A different business model
  6. More respect for and attention to edupreneurial champions
  7. Better teacher education and training
  8. An incentive and reward system for not just tweaking a failed system , but rather, making it obsolete given the basic structural changes in the US economy
  9. Eliminating unnecessary and burdensome bureaucracy, credentialing that does not add value and administrivia
  10. Paying more attention to and measuring student defined outcomes
  11. Better public-private integration
  12. K-20 integration and alignment

13. Teaching students what they need to win the 4th industrial revolution

14. Embracing cradle to career integration

15. Creating a competent diverse and equitable talent pipeline

We has seen several recent advances in edupreneurship.

Here is the boomer’s guide to teaching millenials.

The UGME steering committee recognizes that medical education programs are faced with the ubiquitous challenge of repeated calls for innovation and that, frequently, these calls do not adequately address the associated resource demands. As medical educators, we have become highly creative in identifying strategies to do more with less, but as we know, this is not a sustainable model of stewardship. In 2016 and 2017, the UGME section collaborated with the Group on Business Affairs (GBA) to explore evolving models to support and sustain UGME programming. A result of this work is the Business Model Canvas for Medical Educators. The original Business Model Canvas was proposed by Alexander Osterwalder in 2008 and has been modified over time to fit other needs. The Table of Contents will direct you to resources, including the Business Model Canvas for Medical Educators template and two examples submitted by institutions who have successfully used the template to secure funding from within their own institution.

Business Model Canvas for Medical Educators

The edupreneurship business model canvas has a few modifications to the traditional startup one:

Customer segments: The primary customer are students. However, there are many other education stakeholders, including admininstrators, alumni, donors, employers and parents. In addition, for any given subject, potential students will have different backgrounds and experience in the subject, will have different jobs they want done, and, therefore, will have different applications for what they learned, be it finding a job, getting a promotion, or adding value where they presently work.

Value proposition: For each customer segment , you have a specific value proposision. You typically describe it in the course syllabus, telling users about the intended audience, the goals of the course, the learning objectives, and the curriculum. For example, the value proposition for a course I teach to xMBA/HA students is :

This course will introduce graduate level students in healthcare administration and leadership to the principles and practice of healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship defined as the pursuit of opportunity under volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous conditions with the goal of creating stakeholder defined value through the deployment of innovation using a valid, automatic, scaleable and time sensitive (VAST) business model.

Following completion of this course, you should be able to:

1. identify gaps in your health entrepreneurship competencies and develop a personal and professional development plan to address them

2. create an organizational culture of innovation, lead innovators and overcome the barriers to healthcare innovation dissemination and implementation

3. identify the multiple clinical and non-clinical ways to practice healthcare entrepreneurship

4. Create a plan to solve a problem inside or outside of your organization that meets the goals of the quintuple aim (Quality, cost, access, experience, waste/business operations)

5. Identify the startup life cycle and challenges at each stage

Channels: This describes how you will deliver your course. Will it be face to face, online or some hybrid model with elements of both?

Customer relationships: This describes how you will get, keep and grow the numbers of students who will take the course, e.g. promoting in the course catalog, attending a career or course proposal day, creating awareness on social media or using word or mouth dissemination from previous students.

Revenue model: This describes how your employer or you will generate revenue from the products. Traditionally, universisty based courses use a “butts in the seats” model, but COVID and new eductional technologies have radically changes the revenue generating possibilities, inluding advertising, freemium models, subscription models and others.

Key resources: This describes the human, physical, intellectual property and financial resources you will need to build, execute and scale your initiative. For example, do you want to copyright your materials, or , do you want to make them an open educational resource using a Creative Commons license?

Key activities: This what you need to do to perform and deliver on your value proposition, like what you will do using a learning management system, like create videos, run office hours, moderate asynchronous virtual discussions and design and grade exams and quizzes

Key partnerships: This describes who can help you, be they guest faculty, educational technology partners, corporate sponsors, e.g. if you are using project based learning techniques or online tools and resouce producers, e.g cases from the Harvard Business School collection.

Costs: This describes the tangible and intangible costs to produce your product. In most instances, your time, opportunity costs and effort will overshadow the monetary costs.

COVID has accelerated the pace of change in higher education, forcing them to create entrepreneurial universities. Teaching faculty how to use the education business model canvas should be part of faculty development to mimimize projecdt and product failure.

Here is what I learned, using the business model canvas, teaching sickcare innovation and entrepreneurship to first year medical students at the University of Colorado.

In this post , Steve Blank offers a new definition of why startups exist: a startup is an organization formed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.

So is a new course or certificate. Use the education driven business model to make your product desireable, feasible, viable and adaptable and be sure to document your success when it comes time for your evaluation,promotion and tenure review. More likely, though, you will be including it in your failure resume, since, like the vast majority of new products, yours is likely to fail because 1) you offered a product students don’t want to buy or someone does not want to pay for, and 2) you do not have a VAST educational product business model.

Image credits: Strategyzer

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