Tag Archives: consulting

Teaming Up to Drive Customer Experience, Change and Innovation Success

Teaming Up to Drive Customer Experience, Change and Innovation Success

I have exciting news to share and I can finally reveal all the details.

I am teaming up with the HCL Digital Consulting practice to help clients design compelling experiences, organizational agility, and innovation capabilities at the front end of their digital transformations.

HCL’s Digital Consulting practice brings together decades of deep technology expertise with best in class consulting services that are global, outcome based, and people-focused. Our mission is to drive both transformation and continuous improvement, and to do it all at scale. We work as a partner alongside our clients to align technology needs with business goals — from strategy to execution — to deliver solutions that are:

  1. Visionary — find what’s possible with strategic future focus
  2. Pragmatic — actionable solutions right-sized
  3. Empathetic — human-centered and business-minded approach
  4. Enabling — trusted advisors who work with you

If you’re looking to beat the 84% Digital Transformation failure rate then we should definitely talk – wherever you might be in the world.

Contact me here if you’d like to start a conversation about customer experience (CX), organizational change, innovation or digital transformation!

In the meantime be sure and download my free success guide on "Riding the Data Wave to Digital Disruption."

Riding the Data Wave to Digital Disruption

In our digital age, all companies must change how they think, how they interact with customers, partners, and suppliers, and how their business works on the inside. Customer, partner, and supplier expectations have changed, and a gap is opening between what they expect from their interaction with companies and what those companies are currently able to deliver. Companies must immediately work to close this expectation gap, or their entire business is at risk.

This success guide provides questions and frameworks for companies to use to plan and execute successful a Digital Transformation.

Click for free access to the "Riding the Data Wave to Digital Disruption" success guide


Accelerate your change and transformation success

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What is the best way to create successful change? – EPISODE FOUR – Ask the Consultant

Live from the Innovation Studio comes EPISODE FOUR of a new ‘Ask the Consultant’ series of short form videos. EPISODE FOUR tackles a question I’m asked so frequently that I wrote a book to answer it:

“What is the best way to create successful change?”

Hint: It starts with getting a copy of Charting Change because I introduce in the book several key frameworks that lay the groundwork for successful change that are built upon in the Change Planning Toolkit™.

The pace of change is accelerating and organizations need to become more agile and more capable of continuous change. This presents a huge challenge for most organizations.

Together in this episode we’ll explore some of the core building blocks to creating successful change in your organization, and a discuss what else is in Charting Change and the Change Planning Toolkit™, and how this particular book can make a great course book for change management courses at universities, executive education, and corporate training programs.

Many of the tools in the optional Change Planning Toolkit™ will look familiar to change management professionals because they have been informed by the ACMP’s Standard for Change Management and the PMI’s PMBOK.

Five Keys to Successful Change 550

“Does the change you’re proposing inspire fear or curiosity? Fear steals energy from change; curiosity fuels it.”— Braden Kelley

Grab your copy of Charting Change on Amazon while they last!

What question should I tackle in the next video episode of “Ask the Consultant” live from my innovation studio?

Contact me with your question

}} Click here to watch the video {{

Below are the previous episodes of ‘Ask the Consultant’:

  1. EPISODE ONE – What is innovation?
  2. EPISODE TWO – How do I create continuous innovation in my organization?
  3. EPISODE THREE – What is digital transformation?
  4. All other episodes of Ask the Consultant


Accelerate your change and transformation success

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What is digital transformation? – EPISODE THREE – Ask the Consultant

Live from the Innovation Studio comes EPISODE THREE of a new ‘Ask the Consultant’ series of short form videos. EPISODE THREE aims to answer a question that many people struggle to answer or accurately discuss:

“What is digital transformation?”

Digital transformation is a complicated topic for people to speak intelligently about and to explore in depth because there is so much misinformation and confusion about what a digital transformation actually is – a lot of it espoused by technology vendors.

Together in this episode we’ll explore what digital transformation is by looking at two definitions that show what digital transformation is not.

1. Wikipedia’s bad definition of Digital Transformation

“Digital Transformation (DT or DX) is the adoption of digital technology to transform services or businesses, through replacing non-digital or manual processes with digital processes or replacing older digital technology with newer digital technology. Digital solutions may enable – in addition to efficiency via automation – new types of innovation and creativity, rather than simply enhancing and supporting traditional methods.”

— Wikipedia

2. This Definition of Digital Transformation Gets Closer But Still Isn’t Right

“Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers. It’s also a cultural change that requires organizations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment, and get comfortable with failure.”

— EnterprisersProject

So, let’s dig into what Digital Transformation really is …

A digital transformation is the journey between a company’s current business operations to a reimagined version of itself from the perspective of how a digital native would build the same business operations leveraging the latest technology and scientific understandings of management science, leadership, decision science, business and process architecture, design, customer experience, etc.

A digital transformation can only be successfully achieved if you put customers and employees at the center to create a human-centered data model and explore the intersection between what’s needed and what’s possible to simplify processes, reduce complexity, and to design elegant experiences.

The key thing to remember is that technology comes at the end, not the beginning, starts by making strategic choices, and focuses on identifying and building the needed capabilities to execute the new strategy.

Here is a quick review list of ten things to keep in mind for a successful digital transformation:

  1. Reimagine your business from a digital native perspective
  2. A Human-Centered Data Model (customers & employees)
  3. Put your customers and employees at the center
  4. Identify intersection of what’s needed & what’s possible
  5. Simplify processes
  6. Reduce complexity
  7. Design elegant experiences
  8. Technology comes at the END – not the beginning
  9. Start by making strategic choices
  10. Build capabilities needed to achieve your transformation

}} Click here to watch the video {{

Help Shape the Next ‘Ask the Consultant’ Episode

  1. Grab a great deal on Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire on Amazon while they last!
  2. Get a copy of my latest book Charting Change on Amazon
  3. Contact me with your question for the next video episode of “Ask the Consultant” live from my innovation studio

Below are the previous episodes of ‘Ask the Consultant’:

  1. EPISODE ONE – What is innovation?
  2. EPISODE TWO – How do I create continuous innovation in my organization?
  3. All other episodes of Ask the Consultant


Accelerate your change and transformation success

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

How can I create continuous innovation in my organization? – EPISODE TWO – Ask the Consultant

Live from the Innovation Studio comes EPISODE TWO of a new ‘Ask the Consultant’ series of short form videos. EPISODE TWO tackles the second most commonly asked question of me:

“How can I create continuous innovation in my organization?”

Hint: It starts with getting a copy of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire because I detail in the book how to overcome the key barriers to innovation.

Together in this episode we’ll explore how to create continuous innovation in your organization, why I wrote Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire, and how it can make a great course book for innovation courses at universities, executive education, and corporate training programs.

“Innovation is never easy — and not always welcome. This book is dedicated to the men and women who dedicate their lives to pushing our organizations to make more efficient use of our human capital and natural resources and to make the world a better place.”

Grab a great deal on Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire on Amazon while they last!

What question should I tackle in the next video episode of “Ask the Consultant” live from my innovation studio?

Contact me with your question

}} Click here to watch the video {{

Below are the previous episodes of ‘Ask the Consultant’:

  1. EPISODE ONE – What is innovation?
  2. All other episodes of Ask the Consultant


Accelerate your change and transformation success

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

What is innovation? – EPISODE ONE – Ask the Consultant

Live from the Innovation Studio comes EPISODE ONE of a new ‘Ask the Consultant’ series of short form videos. EPISODE ONE tackles the question people ask me more than any other:

“What is innovation?”

If you’d like to see additional potential definitions of innovation you can find 60+ additional innovation definitions here (sorry, link expired).

My definition of innovation, refined over the years, is the following:

“Innovation transforms the useful seeds of invention into widely adopted solutions valued above every existing solution.” – Braden Kelley

The video above covers why I have defined innovation in this way, and why it is so important for every organization to have a clear definition of innovation that they disseminate WIDELY across the organization.

What question should I tackle in the next video episode of “Ask the Consultant” live from my innovation studio?

Contact me with your question

}} Click here to watch the video {{

Click to access the other episodes of Ask the Consultant


Accelerate your change and transformation success

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Ten Reasons You Might Suck at Innovation

Ten Reasons You Might Suck at InnovationIn a popular previous article we looked at the Top 10 Reasons Not to Innovate. In this article we will look at Ten Reasons You Might Suck at Innovation as we explore the following question:

Do you need an innovation intervention?

Unless you feel that your innovation program is a runaway success and exceeding your expectations, the answer might very well be…

yes.

Ten Reasons You Might Suck at Innovation

  1. Nobody can articulate your definition of innovation (or you don’t have one)
  2. Nobody can articulate your innovation vision/strategy/goals (or you don’t have them)
  3. People struggle to tell the story of one or more innovations launched to wide adoption by the organization
  4. Most of what passes as innovation inside the organization would actually be classified as improvements (not innovation) by people outside the organization
  5. The organization no longer makes external innovation perspectives available to a wide audience
  6. Nobody takes the time to participate in our innovation efforts anymore
  7. Your organization is unable to accept insights and ideas from outside the organization and develop them into concepts that can be scaled to wide adoption
  8. Innovation program leadership has difficulty getting time on the CEO’s calendar any more
  9. Your innovation team is trying to do all of the innovating instead of helping to accelerate the innovation efforts of others
  10. Your pace of innovation is slower than the organizations you compete with for market share, donations, votes, etc.

What is an innovation intervention?

An innovation intervention is a professionally directed, education process resulting in a face to face meeting of consultants, leaders and/or managers with the organization in trouble with innovation. People who struggle with innovation are often in denial about their situation and unwilling to seek treatment. They may not recognize the negative effects their behavior has on themselves and others. Intervention helps the person make the connection between their use of innovation and the problems in their organization. The goal of intervention is to present the innovation user with a structured opportunity to accept help and to make changes before things get even worse.

This may be a somewhat tongue in cheek adaptation of a definition from the substance abuse context*, but it’s almost scary how much I didn’t have to change in the switching of contexts. To make it easier for people to accept help, I came up with the Ten Reasons You Might Suck at Innovation above, and a service offering to hopefully fit within your purchasing authority and your budget (especially if you split it up into two installments of $4,999.99).

Purchasing an Innovation Intervention for $9,999.98 + expenses (or two payments of $4,999.99 + expenses) will get you a three day engagement including:

  • A cross-functional and/or cross-site innovation maturity study using my 50 question innovation audit, including analysis of the results, and presentation of the findings
  • One or two days on-site:
    • Seeing where and how your innovation happens
    • Conducting interviews to understand the structure of your innovation programs, processes, and other key elements of your innovation infrastructure
    • Walking through past innovation successes and failures
  • The balance of the three days will then be spent analyzing the on-site observations and creating a set of actionable recommendations
  • Up to five (5) copies of my book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire for you and your leadership team
  • Up to ten (10) sets of my Nine Innovation Roles cards for you and your leadership team
  • Up to five (5) copies of my book Charting Change for you and your leadership team
  • A 10% discount on any future keynote speeches or innovation training sessions for your organization
  • A 10% discount on any Change Planning Toolkit™ site license purchases for your organization
  • A 10% discount on any Disruptive Innovation Toolkit™ site license purchases for your organization

Together we’ll get your innovation efforts back on track towards success and build a foundation capable of sustaining continuous innovation. Forward-thinking organizations that haven’t begun an innovation program or a focus on innovation and want to get off to a strong start will be able to leverage the Innovation Intervention service too.

Free Consultation with Braden Kelley

Image credit: calbaptist.edu

*Thanks to the NCADD (National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.) for the inspiration

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Are you an expert?

I came across this video recently thanks to my friends at BLT who recruit consultants for firms in London and beyond.

It pokes fun at the experience many internal and external consultants face with clients, whether we are working on an innovation project, technology project, or some other kind of project.

So, I encourage you to check out the video for a chuckle and to leave a comment below:

How does this reflect your experience of being called upon as an “expert” by a project team?

Or your experience working in the consulting industry and meeting with potential clients in a pre-sales situation as the subject matter expert there with the partner and/or sales guy?

Build a Common Language of Innovation

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Consulting Industry Faces Threat From Artificial Intelligence

Consulting Industry Faces Threat From Artificial Intelligence

Previously I explored the value of eminence and thought leadership to consulting firms, and how unfortunately the power of inbound content marketing has a dark side that forms part of a three-pronged attack on the consulting industry.

Meanwhile, the tireless invention and innovation efforts of research teams in companies around the world have helped to keep the pace of technological advancement in computer processing power at or above Moore’s Law for several decades. This has given technology companies the ability to put more computing power than the entire Apollo space program into the pockets of more than a billion people around the world.

It seems like everything has become digital, including music, books, and even movies. Increasingly intelligent digital technologies and mercurial customer expectations threaten both people and enterprise at every turn. With all of this technological change, the last few decades have been an amazing time for consultancies, full of revenue and opportunities. Clients desperate for solutions to help them cope with these challenging times helped management consulting firms grow in size and scale, expanding to cover multiple technology, and even marketing, specialties.

But the same technologies that have led to the growth of consulting companies over the last couple of decades, will begin to lead to a shrinking of those same consulting firms. The increasing diversification of the large global consultancies into other specialties is the first step to what is an inevitable shrinkage forced upon the industry by the three factors I detailed in my last article titled Consulting Industry Caught in the Crossfire.

The same forces that are causing a feeling of disequilibrium for the firms that consultancies serve are also causing the same unease, trepidation and challenge for the consulting firms themselves as they find themselves attacked on three sides from:

1. Increasingly Available Intellectual Property
2. Internal Consultants
3. Artificial Intelligence

In my previous article on the Consulting Industry Attacked on Three Sides I looked at each attack in turn, but in this article I would like to dig a bit deeper into the final threat.

Artificial Intelligence

Roboadvisors, chatbots, and other implementations of artificial intelligence have captured people’s imaginations and led to both an increase in the number of articles written about artificial intelligence, but also in the practical implementations of artificial intelligence. People are becoming increasing comfortable with artificial intelligence thanks to the recommendation engines on Amazon and Netflix and IBM Watson’s appearance on the game show Jeopardy and battles against chess grandmasters.

But what does consulting have to fear from artificial intelligence?

Perhaps viewing this short video might give you a glimpse:

In the short run, maybe consultants don’t have as much to fear from artificial intelligence as workers in transportation, retail, or manufacturing. But, in the grander scheme of things, over time enterprising technology vendors will inevitably build upon publicly available artificial intelligence frameworks made publicly available by companies like Microsoft and Google (who are seeking to increase the sale of cloud services) to automate some of the tasks that recently minted undergraduate analysts or Indians perform now for the large consulting firms.

What we are starting to see is exactly what Roger Martin described in his landmark book The Design of Business, from which I would like to highlight one of the key concepts called The Knowledge Funnel highlighted in the image from the book below.

Knowledge Funnel v2
Source: The Design of Business by Roger Martin

The key point here is that as we understand our business and our interactions with our customers well enough, what was once a mystery we start to identify patterns inside of (heuristics), which then eventually allows us to create algorithms that can be captured in Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) and then eventually in code. The power of artificial intelligence is the ability to move the role of the machine to the left in The Knowledge Funnel, away from pure manual coding by a human, to computer programs that write themselves and eventually to heuristic identification and algorithm creation at some point in the near future. This is what crowd computing, machine learning and deep learning ultimately make possible, and which I explored in a previous article titled Welcome to the Crowd Computing Revolution in more detail. The fact remains that as computer programmers and the artificial minds they create become more adept at watching the work that consultants do and recognizing the patterns in their recommendations, the pressure on consultancies will build.

Conclusion

These are challenging times for large consultancies and small independent consultants as consultancies are forced respond to these attacks from three sides. Part of that three-pronged attack will come from a growing legion of automation engineers taking to cubicles around the world to design people out of jobs. In the same way that mechanical engineers build robots to replace our human muscles with machine muscles, automation engineers are computer programmers tasked with creating inexpensive machine minds with sufficient artificial intelligence to replace our more expensive human minds. Professions like that of the automation engineer will attract increasing numbers from workforces around the world, but not nearly enough to offset the losses in job opportunities that these individuals are tasked with eliminating. Only time will tell how quickly and how broadly artificial intelligence (AI) threatens the core business of consultancies.

If you are in the consulting industry, what is your strategy for responding to this threat?

Because, make no mistake, the threat is real. The only question is how quickly it will materially impact your bottom line.

BONUS:

You might enjoy this interview with David Cope, the creator of Emi (Emily Howell) the algorithmic composer, whom he later killed:

Charting-Change-Article-Banner

Consulting Industry Being Attacked on Three Sides

Consulting Industry Being Attacked on Three Sides

The worlds of employment and business are becoming increasingly turbulent as the stability of the enterprise grows ever shorter, the loyalty of the enterprise to its people faces extinction, and the wealthy countries of the world stand at a precipice of overhanging debt. Increasingly intelligent digital technologies and mercurial customer expectations threaten both people and enterprise at every turn.

One would suppose that this would be an amazing time for consultancies, full of promise and opportunities. One would imagine that clients desperate for solutions that help them cope with these challenging times would be banging down the doors of consulting firms outbidding each other to the firm’s next client.

But that is not the reality…

Because, the same forces that are causing a feeling of disequilibrium for the firms that consultancies serve are also causing the same unease, trepidation and challenge for the consulting firms themselves.

The fact is that the consulting industry is being attacked on three sides:

  1. Increasingly Available Intellectual Property
  2. Internal Consultants
  3. Artificial Intelligence

Let’s look at each threat in turn:

1. Increasingly Available Intellectual Property

In my last article, “Thought Leadership Builds Firm Value”, I wrote about the importance of thought leadership in today’s digital age and its role in helping to drive inbound sales leads.

Hiring a consultancy, even for a small project, is a big expenditure for most companies, something that requires several levels of approval before the project can begin. Given that, company employees take to the Internet to build their consideration set and to do their research into how each company thinks and who seems to be the leader in the space where they need help. For help with building an innovation or digital transformation strategy or process, often they find me.

The way that company employees find the companies they will include in their consideration set, and the individual (or firm) they will ultimately hire, is by finding and evaluating thought leadership created by consultants like myself who are good at creating frameworks and other tools aimed at simplifying complex concepts (referred to as eminence by some firms).

Because the discovery and evaluation of thought leadership by potential customers is a key way that independent consultants and advisory firms attract new business, and because it is easier than ever to create and share thought leadership while simultaneously becoming an increasingly important factor in the buying process, independent consultants and advisory firms are creating more pieces of thought leadership and eminence than ever before.

On the plus side, thought leadership and eminence help independent consultants and advisory firms to win business. The down side however is that in much the same way that kids in Hawaii have learned how to become professional surfers by watching YouTube videos, as advisory firms create more thought leadership and make it publicly available to win new business, they also stand to lose an accelerating amount of new business as well. The reason is that the proliferation of eminence and thought leadership will inevitably lead to:

  1. Increasing numbers of line managers feeling that they know enough to tackle the challenge themselves that they might have otherwise outsourced to a consulting firm
  2. Increasing numbers of senior leaders deciding that someone inside their company could spin up and lead an internal consulting group

2. Internal Consultants

Let’s face it, whether we like it or not, an increasing number of senior leaders are becoming fed up with spending $500/hr on newly minted MBA’s from McKinsey, Bain, BCG, etc. when they could hire them on full-time for $75-100/hr by taking one of their promising senior leaders and having them spin up an internal consulting group.

Many companies have already created internal consulting groups to handle the bulk of their strategic project work in order to either:

  1. Save money
  2. Increase responsiveness
  3. Increase speed to market
  4. Keep the knowledge gained from such projects readily accessible
  5. Create and retain a competitive advantage

For me, reason number five is potentially the most compelling reason because it is impossible to expect any large consulting firm to unlearn the insights they acquire on one consulting project and not leverage them on a subsequent project with a competitor somewhere down the line. Doing projects with your competitors is how a great deal of industry expertise is gained by large consultancies, and this expertise is one of the primary reasons that managers hire a consulting firm.

3. Artificial Intelligence

Roboadvisors, chatbots, and other implementations of artificial intelligence have captured people’s imaginations and led to both an increase in the number of articles written about artificial intelligence, but also in the practical implementations of artificial intelligence. People are becoming increasing comfortable with artificial intelligence thanks to the recommendation engines on Amazon and Netflix and IBM Watson’s appearance on the game show Jeopardy and battles against chess grandmasters.

But what does consulting have to fear from artificial intelligence?

In the short run, maybe not a lot. But, in the grander scheme of things, over time enterprising technology vendors will inevitably build upon publicly available artificial intelligence frameworks made publicly available by companies like Microsoft and Google (who are seeking to increase the sale of cloud services) to automate some of the tasks that recently minted undergraduate analysts or Indians perform now for the large consulting firms.

Conclusion

These are challenging times for independent consultants as they respond to these attacks from three sides. Only time will tell how quickly and how broadly artificial intelligence (AI) threatens the core business of consultancies. The internal consultancy threat is real and growing in scope and threat. What may have started in Project and Portfolio Management (PPM), Six Sigma, Lean and Agile practices in some organizations, is quickly expanding into other Operational Excellence areas and even into Innovation, Digital Transformation, and traditional Strategy. Increasingly available intellectual property poses a Catch-22 for consultancies as a refusal to participate in the creation of eminence and thought leadership will lead to less business in the short-term, but doing so will certainly over time lead to an overall reduction in the size of the market for consulting services. Some consultancies are responding by diversifying their service offerings, attempting to create consulting superstores. What will be your response to this attack from three sides?

Build a Common Language of Innovation

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