Archive for October 2010

My newest hobby: hacking management


My first blog post went up today on the Management Innovation Exchange (MIX).

The MIX is the brainchild of Gary Hamel, author of one of my favorite management books of the last 10 years, The Future of Management, and the guy who the Wall Street Journal ranked as the most influential business thinker in the world.

The thesis of the MIX is that management itself has been a fantastic innovation— the “technology of human accomplishment” to use Hamel’s words. Yet for all management has done to improve the world we live in, it is technology invented over 100 years ago, and old skool management practices are becoming increasingly outdated in the modern world (Gary Hamel explains this all better than I do, watch his short introduction to the MIX below).

The MIX is an open, collaborative effort to reinvent management built around 25 management “moonshots” (see the full list here). In addition to Hamel, there are some amazing folks contributing to the site, including famous visionaries like Terri Kelly of W.L. Gore & Associates and John Mackey of Whole Foods.

But perhaps the most exciting part of the site for me has been to see that it is built as a meritocracy of ideas, where anyone can add a story, a hack, or a barrier. And many do. I’ve seen some amazing ideas as I’ve begun to participate in the MIX over the last few months and can’t wait to point some of them out in my role as a Moonshot Guide.

In particular, I’ll be tackling the moonshot “Enable communities of passion” building on my experiences at Red Hat and here at New Kind as we continue to build a company around the concept of being community catalysts.

So if you have ideas for things you think I should cover, drop me a line, I’d love to hear them.

Apple, Google, and the open vs. closed positioning war


Over the last few months, the battle to define the meaning of the word “open” has intensified into one of the more interesting brand positioning exercises I’ve seen in the technology industry (if you aren’t familiar with brand positioning and would like to learn more, consider starting here).

I thought I’d do a quick report from the front lines, diving in specifically to examine the battle for smartphone leadership, and looking at things from a brand positioning strategy perspective.

Google Goes on Offense

Think back to 2009 and the state of the smartphone industry. The iPhone had completely redefined the entire market, while Google was just beginning to see traction with Android and looking at a long struggle to catch up with Apple.

While most other smartphone makers were attempting to catch up playing by Apple’s rules in the market Apple defined (usually a losing strategy in the long term when the leader has a solid head start), Google took a different approach—they tried what now looks to me looks like a classic repositioning strategy.

[Read the rest of this post on opensource.com]

A community-building perspective on the Gap logo controversy


Over the last week, a handful of folks have reached out and asked me what I think about the events surrounding the launch, then crowdsourcing, then full repeal of the new Gap logo (if you haven’t already heard the story, catch up here).

Honestly, I’d been hesitant to comment at length, partially because so many articles were hitting the best angles already (take your pick of this one, this one, this one, this one, or this one for starters), and partly because somewhere inside I secretly wondered whether the geniuses behind the Gap brand are simply playing us as pawns in a New Coke-esque scheme of diabolical marketing genius (on that point, I still don’t think I know the answer).

While most articles have focused on the aesthetics of the logo itself or on issues surrounding crowdsourcing a logo effort (note to self: must… avoid… commenting… on… crowdsourcing… so… tempting), I’ve been wondering more about the strong reaction of the Gap community.

Specifically, why did the community of customers surrounding the Gap brand have such a visceral negative reaction to the logo change? Is it really that bad? The firm in charge of the redesign has a great reputation and deep understanding of the Gap brand. How did a project run by experienced brand professionals working with one of the largest consumer brands in the world go so wrong so quickly?

For me, the answer can be found in a quote I really love from outgoing Mozilla CEO John Lilly:

Surprise is the opposite of engagement.

[Read the rest of this post on opensource.com]

Five questions about open innovation, open source, and NASA with Molly Dix of RTI


A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet Molly Dix and Jeff Cope, who run the Open Innovation Advisory Services group at RTI. For those not familiar with RTI, it is one of the world’s preeminent research institutes, founded by a group of scientists in 1958 and now employing almost 3000 people helping businesses and governments in more than 40 countries around the world.

I thought it was pretty cool to learn that an organization of RTI’s size and position in the research world has a group dedicated to open innovation. I asked Molly if she’d be willing to let me ask her a few questions about the way she and RTI see open innovation.

My questions, and her answers, below.

CHRIS: Open innovation is one of those terms that everyone seems to see a bit differently. How would you define open innovation?

MOLLY: We see open innovation as a perspective whereby an organization is open to building on thinking, research, and intellectual property (IP) from outside their organization, as well as being open to partnerships with outside organizations related to their own research and IP.

Thus, open innovation is a 360-degree mindset that includes both technology pull and push as avenues to improve the speed and quality of research, development, and product launch.  Successful partnerships are at the core of successful open innovation.

[Read the rest of this interview on opensource.com]

Hey, I Wrote a Book!

The Ad-Free Brand: Secrets to Building Successful Brands in a Digital World

Available now in print and electronic versions.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 117 other followers

%d bloggers like this: