Tag Archives: Finance

The Wonderful World of Downsizing

Stikkee Situations - Downsizing Cartoon

In Stikkee Situations we’ll try to take a humorous look at a lot of different serious business topics.

In this episode we poke fun at the wonderful world of downsizing.

Employees hate workforce reductions (aka downsizing), but some CEOs (even in profitable companies) seem to love these traumatic events as a tool to save their job and to drive short-term movements in the price of a company’s stock price, often coming on the heels of a company missing their earnings estimates.

But the positive short term stock price effects of an across the board workforce reduction come with heavy consequences, several of which greatly affect the innovation capacity of the organization, including:

  1. Destruction of trust within the organization
  2. Reduction in collaboration in the organization
  3. Loss of forward momentum on project work
  4. Loss of some of your best talent as they proactively find themselves jobs elsewhere
  5. Reduction in passion, creativity, and engagement among those who remain
  6. Elimination or reduction in the organization’s commitment to innovation

Now of course sometimes workforce reductions are necessary to avoid bankruptcy or for strategic realignment (removing human resources from business areas you are exiting), and they can be potentially healthy for the organization.

But, when downsizing is done purely to please wall street and in an untargeted way, in the long run I would assert that the organization suffers more than it benefits because any reduction in forward innovation momentum is an invitation to competitors and startups to speed past you.

So, keep innovating!

Please note the following licensing terms for Stikkee Situations cartoons:

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Apple iPhone 6 Killer App Revealed

Apple iPhone 6 Killer App RevealedWhile most people are focused on what the new Apple iPhone 6 hardware might look like and what new gizmos it might have, the real killer app for Apple’s latest refresh of their flagship mobile device will be an App and a little tiny NFC chipset.

Rumored for the iPhone 5 (rumors which were heightened by Apple’s acquisition and subsequent inclusion of fingerprint sensor technology), mobile payments may finally be a built-in feature of the Apple’s newest handset, the iPhone 6.

Apple has been reportedly out talking to the likes of Visa, American Express, Nordstrom and others, and if that is all true then expect part of Apple’s Tuesday September 9th announcement to be focused on the new mobile payment capabilities of the iPhone 6.

I was one of those who thought that mobile payments might launch as part of the iPhone 5’s capabilities, but obviously the technology, or more likely the relationships and contracts, were not ready for prime time a year ago.

Will mobile payments authenticated by your fingerprint finally appear in the iPhone 6?

If so, soon we will finally be able to stop carrying around wallets and switch to money clips and mobile phones, as such a feature will not only replace credit cards, but loyalty cards, insurance cards, and more.

Yes, Samsung may have done it first with the Galaxy S5, but you know Apple will do it bigger (and better).

I guess we’ll find out next week.

Image credit: Ricardo Del Toro

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Charitable Innovation – Disrupting for Good

Charitable Innovation - Disrupting for GoodThe operational model for charities in this country is an ideal candidate for disruptive innovation. It strikes me as odd that charities, the organizations that really have the least to spend on marketing, spend such inordinate amounts of money and time on marketing to raise money. Does spending lots of money on fundraising actually work?

Let’s stop for a moment and look at how AIP defines acceptable charity performance:

  • Spending 60% or more of a charity’s budget on programs, and spending $35 or less to raise $100 in public support

Groups included on AIP’s Top-Rated list generally spend 75% or more of their budgets on programs, and spend $25 or less to raise $100 in public support.

Unfortunately, many charities don’t even meet the acceptable charity performance definition:

  • “It is sad that cancer charities, one of the most serious and popular giving categories, perform so poorly – half of the cancer charities that AIP rates in this Charity Rating Guide receive a D or F grade and only 37% receive an A or B.”

If we look across charity organizations as a whole, it is not a stretch to imagine that the aggregate reality is probably somewhere around spending 50% or less of their budgets on programs, and spending $50 or more to raise $100 in public support.

What greater positive benefit could we have on society as business innovators than to help create a disruptive business model for charities? What if we could stand the traditional, and hugely inefficient, model of list rental, telemarketing, direct mail, and list saturation on its head and instead imagine something different?

There has to be a better business model that we could collectively create as a gift to society that would increase the percentage of charitable revenue that actually goes towards the charities’ intended missions. If we created a new best practice that could be adopted across the industry, think about the impact we could have (equivalent of up to a doubling of monies raised).

I think we can distill the disruptive possibilities down to the following five key principles:

  1. Give consumers a way to offset negative side effects with a positive action
  2. Link fundraising efforts more closely to the benefit delivered
  3. Reduce fundraising friction
  4. Maximize existing communication channels to highlight benefits that others provide
  5. Improve Efficiency

Please download and read the white paper to look at the disruptive possibilities and charitable innovation opportunities each one presents.

And, if you would like to help evolve the ideas in the white paper, please post a comment with your thoughts, additions, or refinements, or join our Innovation Excellence group on LinkedIn and contribute to the discussion there.

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Don’t Believe the Innovation Hype

Don't Believe the Innovation HypeThere are some strange rumors circulating out there that I’ve written a book. Before these rumors spin out of control, I thought I should address you, the loyal and valued readers of Blogging Innovation, and set the record straight.

I have not written a novel, an autobiography, or a tell-all book. Let us be clear. Despite what some people might be saying, I have not written a book about how to fix the sorry state of the global economy, or anything that might even in a small part include tips about how to find the perfect job. I also do not, nor have I ever pretended to be able to give you a new look or make you fashionable, either by writing about fashion or by speaking any magic or even mildly interesting words about the subject.

But I must admit, that yes, I have written a book about innovation. Get your rotten tomatoes ready.

Now, some of you might be wondering, why on earth would I do this?

And, some of you might be wondering why I haven’t addressed these rumors before now.

Well, in regards to the timing, it didn’t feel right to say anything before now. It just felt too premature.

Stoking Your Innovation BonfireAnd, in regards to why I would write a book? Well, it’s not to become the next Julia Child or John Grisham. I’m not very good at cooking, and I couldn’t stomach being a lawyer. But, I can finally come clean and say that, yes, I am passionate about innovation. There, I’ve said it, and if you want to know what I think about the subject, you can now read the sordid details in the pages of this book.

Instead of fashion or fine cuisine, I’ve chosen to write about identifying and removing barriers to innovation. The full title of the book is Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire – A Roadmap to a Sustainable Culture of Ingenuity and Purpose and it is available for pre-order wherever fine business books are sold. The book is being published by John Wiley & Sons, officially launches in October 2010, and features a foreword by Rowan Gibson.

With this all out in the open, I promise that my blogging game won’t go to hell in a hand basket, and I hope I won’t be missing the Postrank cut anytime soon. If you want to get the inside scoop and read more information about the book, please visit http://innovationbonfire.com.

Now that I am publicly humiliated and exposed as the author that I am, I might as well offer you the opportunity to be one of the first to preview the sample chapter from my new book. All you have to do is join our mailing list by August 31, 2010 and you will receive an electronic copy of the chapter on ‘Sustainable Innovation’ from Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire on September 1, 2010. If you’re already receiving our monthly Innovation Insights newsletter, then you will automatically receive the free sample chapter.

I promise you won’t have to wait in any silly lines (queues for the Brits and Aussies among you) and I guarantee that you will still be able to read it no matter how you choose to hold your device. Finally, please don’t tell too many about this, I’m not sure I’m ready to face Maria Bartiromo quite yet.

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