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For the past 20 years, consumer brand companies have invested in a tremendous ability for their manufacturing and supply chain operations to support agile development and to produce variety.
But in so doing, they’ve accidentally created a bottleneck — their own marketing departments, whose overworked and stressed-out managers are barely able to keep up with the flood of new SKUs.
Fortunately, some senior management teams are waking up and smelling the burn-out.
These enlightened firms are optimizing tools and automation with the goal of increasing marketing’s ability to meet demand without linearly increasing marketing’s cost.
What do consumers want? In a word, more.
More products. More varieties. More formats. More channels. And they want more of everything NOW.
Between multiplying product versions, increasing product line extensions, more varied retail formats and your need to competitively innovate, the number of SKUs you have to support is getting out of control.
And now you suddenly require more branding assets, more creative development and more packaging. Then there’s the need to create brand stories for new specialty markets, such as healthy eating trends (farm-to-table, anyone?), socially responsible business practices and sustainable production in nearly all CPG segments.
Combine the increasing SKUs, the brand story creation — oh, and let’s not forget a changing regulatory environment related to product information transparency — and it’s a hot mess. Don’t even get me started on local market adaptation…
By Rod Collins
Morning Star is not your usual company. That’s because the 400-person California-based agribusiness has no supervisors. Rather than relying on the intelligence of an elite few, Morning Star is a highly successful self-managing peer-to-peer network that has skillfully leveraged the “power of many” to sustain its position as the world’s largest tomato processor.
By Rod Collins
One of Peter Drucker’s most popular and enduring business quotes is, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” This advice has never been truer than it is today as the technologies of digital transformation are changing all the rules for how the world works by displacing top-down hierarchies that amplify the “power of one” with more powerful peer-to-peer networks that enable the “power of many.”
by Rod Collins
In 2006, Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams described in their book Wikinomics how a new phenomenon they called mass collaboration was going to change everything. They recognized that this unprecedented capacity for self-organization would give rise to powerful new models of production based on distributed peer-to-peer networks rather than centralized top-down hierarchies. Tapscott and Williams envisioned a world where this new way of organizing would eventually displace traditional corporate structures as the economy’s dominant engine for wealth creation. At the time, many critics dismissed the two authors as being carried away by breathless hype and overstating the impact of the digital revolution. While these critics acknowledged the obvious reality of fast-paced technological innovation, they scoffed at the notion that new technologies would radically change the fundamental dynamics for how our social structures work.
The science fiction writer William Gibson once astutely observed, “The future has already arrived; it’s just not evenly distributed.” As described in last month’s blog, our future is a digitally transformed world that will usher in an entirely new human epoch where the dominant top-down hierarchical structures of the first 10,000 years of human civilization will rapidly give way to the far more powerful peer-to-peer network architecture that is now possible, practical, and increasingly more pervasive thanks to the proliferation of digital technology. However, despite the increasing evidence of the ascendance of hyper-connectivity, our rapid transformation to a fully networked world remains hidden in plain sight. Although we use our connected iPhones to do Google searches as we step into an Uber car on our way to close a deal we made on eBay, we are in many ways oblivious as to just how radically the world is changing around us.
In his recently published book, The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune, and Survival in the Age of Networks, Joshua Cooper Ramo relates the story of one the most closely guarded secrets during the early years of the Cold War: If the Soviet Union had engaged in a nuclear first strike, it was highly likely the United States would have been unable to respond. That’s because the American field officers and their commanders in Washington would have had no way to communicate with each other. Consistent with the technology at the time, the American radio and telephone systems were highly centralized, which made them also highly vulnerable. One of the key structural problems of centralized systems is that each regional center has the potential to become a single point of failure that can disrupt the entire system, as often happens when air traffic across a nation is snarled because of unexpected weather at a major hub.
By Rod Collins
One of the deepest beliefs of command-and-control management is the assumption that the smartest organization is the one with the smartest individuals. This belief is as old as scientific management itself. According to this way of thinking, just as there is a right way to perform every activity, there are right individuals who are essential for defining what are the right things and for making sure that things are done right. Thus, traditional organizations have long held that the key to the successful achievement of the corporation’s two basic accountabilities of strategy and execution is to hire the smartest individual managers and the brightest functional experts.
By Rod Collins
The recent outrage over the violent removal of a boarded paying customer to make room for a commuting employee clearly caught United Airlines by surprise. As the facts of this troubling situation unfolded, it appears that the airline’s customer service representatives and its executives were initially convinced that the only real problem that happened during the boarding process of Flight 3411 was a passenger’s refusal to accept the airline’s re-accommodation policy. Within 24 hours of the incident, United’s CEO praised his employees in an internal memo for their adherence to company policy, reinforcing his commitment to stand behind them in their proper handling of a “belligerent” customer who refused to give up his seat in deference to corporate wishes. It appears from the memo that the CEO was certain the airline did everything right and that the passenger did everything wrong.
By Emily Quan
For a lot of DAM managers, the phase right after the rollout of a new or improved DAM system can be a bit nebulous. How do you measure user adoption? How do you ensure user adoption?
There’s a high chance that the DAM is competing for your users’ attention alongside other systems that have a bigger impact on the bottom line. Balancing competing priorities and adapting to new technologies can be confusing or simply frustrating for individuals, posing significant risks to user adoption. A comprehensive and analytics-driven view of asset use and value, user activity trends, and user experience (UX) improvement opportunities will be key to the program’s success. This blog outlines approaches to applying asset metadata audits and dashboard reporting, to encourage user adoption, and appropriately assess and demonstrate DAM ROI.
By Rod Collins
Early in my career, I discovered I was a borderline extravert when I completed the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) as part of a management training class. The tool measures psychological preferences among four sets of dichotomies: extraversion/introversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, and judging/perceiving. While my results showed that I had very dominant preferences in three of the categories, I had only a slight preference for extraversion. I was not surprised to learn that I go back and forth when it comes to being an extravert or an introvert.
By Rod Collins
For more than a century, Kodak was one of America’s top-rated brands. Founded in 1890, the pioneering technology company became one of the great innovators of its time, transforming the photography industry from the purview of an elite few professionals and hobbyists into a market for the masses. Through a product progression of easy-to-use, affordable cameras, Kodak made taking pictures as effortless as the push of a button. Employing a simple and effective strategy—sell inexpensive cameras and make large margins on film and film processing—the photography innovator became a consistently profitable American icon. By 1976, Kodak had corralled a remarkable 90 percent of film sales and 85 percent of camera sales.
By Rod Collins
While the technology revolution continues to transform daily living at a remarkable clip, we are suddenly becoming aware of possibilities that few of us could have imagined even a few years ago. Driverless cars, 3D printers, sophisticated robotics, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality are all early stage applications that seem destined to alter the world of work as we have known it. There are some futurists who portend that the current arc of technology is highly likely to rapidly eliminate many, if not most, jobs far more rapidly than any of us are prepared for. For example, as the founders of Google continue to make progress in developing driverless cars, we can envision a world where bus and taxi drivers will become as anachronistic as the long-gone elevator operators.
By Rod Collins
There is a common problem that imbues every one of our social institutions: We underestimate the full extent of how much and how rapidly the world around us is changing. Whether you are in business or politics or education or the arts, your world has changed dramatically—if not radically—just within the past two decades. Despite the fact that most of us cognitively acknowledge that we live in a time of accelerating change, we nevertheless emotionally latch onto a familiar mindset to interpret unprecedented and unfamiliar realities. This explains why many traditional leaders believe that we are transitioning from a “Third Industrial Revolution,”—sometimes referred to as the Digital Revolution—to a “Fourth Industrial Revolution” that will be defined by the Internet of Things, robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and 3D printers.
by Dimitrios Gontzes
Becoming a Smart Hospital is not a utopic state. In my previous blog, I described what a Smart Hospital is and how tangible its defining assets are. In fact, hospitals are inevitably moving in this direction – they adopt new technologies and systems to enable them to respond to the increasing customer demands, achieve greater efficiencies and better react to regulatory standards and disruptive risks. Hospitals are also expected to experience great benefits from using an interconnected network of systems and devices – increased healthcare reach (through tele-health, tele-monitoring), cost and time savings, and enhanced quality of care. Furthermore, Smart Hospitals are likely to bring improvements in the areas of patient safety, medical and surgical abilities, and customer experience.
Smart Hospitals, however, seem to carry an inherent danger – the cyber security risk.
by Dimitrios Gontzes
The term “smart hospital” might sound like another buzzword that businesses use, but the idea behind it is solid and, given the digital technology advances, very tangible. The introduction of Internet of Things, the development of sophisticated software and the need for more personalised care are pushing “traditional” hospitals to transform in terms of interoperability and legacy systems. The Smart mantra can be summarised in a simple question: “How do we leverage real time information to achieve clinical excellence and enhanced patient experience?” That’s essentially what Smart Hospitals are trying to answer.
In this two part blog I will first lay out what a Smart Hospital is and define the assets that form the starting point for implementation. The second part will focus on the benefits to the healthcare system, the inherit security and data protection dangers and the ways to protect organisations from them.
By Rod Collins
In a recent global survey of more than 1,700 chief executive officers, researchers at IBM found that the CEOs identified empowering employees through values as an essential driver of high performance. When we think of values, what usually comes to mind are virtues, such as integrity, honesty, fairness, and trust. These virtues are the attributes that are generally reflected in well-meaning corporate mission statements. Unfortunately, in far too many instances, these values are more “talk” than “walk.” Despite management’s best intentions, corporate mission statements rarely become corporate behavior templates. Why, if values are so important to performance, do so many organizations have trouble walking the talk? Perhaps it’s because managers are focused on the wrong values.
One of the biggest challenges in any sector is turning strategy into action and impact, knowing where to focus effort and in what order. Specialist commissioning in England is trying to reposition itself in the context of exponential development and innovation in precision medicine, health technology and novel therapies for rare diseases, the main focus of specialised commissioning as well as a system shift to population health risk management. Providers of specialist services are starting to respond to this challenge by designing new models of integrated care. One example is the Accountable Cancer Network involving The Christie, the Royal Marsden and University College London Hospitals. Earlier detection is a key aim of such models but even these innovators recognise the current provider networks need to be expanded, potentially beyond the health system, to do this really effectively.
One of the biggest challenges in any sector is turning strategy into action and impact, knowing where to focus effort and in what order. Specialist commissioning in England is trying to reposition itself in the context of exponential development and innovation in precision medicine, health technology and novel therapies for rare diseases, the main focus of specialised commissioning as well as a system shift to population health risk management.
The strategy and a number of the policies currently being consulted on call for a different way of operating to be more responsive to health technology innovation. The agile specialist commissioner is the future.
by Rod Collins
We live in a new world with a radically different set of rules. This is not hyperbole. It’s a reality, albeit a reality that very few of the leadership elite want to recognize. That’s because this new reality is unpalatable to those who hang onto the traditional reigns of power, even as they find themselves increasingly powerless to hold back the acceleration of a technological Cambrian-style event that is rapidly rendering old ways obsolete.