Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Creativity needed to create start-ups.

From the quote below, it is very clear that we urgently much create new jobs.

Despite strenuous government efforts, the jobs crisis continues unabated, with one in three workers worldwide – or an estimated 1.1 billion people – either unemployed or living in poverty”, said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia. “What is needed is that job creation in the real economy must become our number one priority”.

And it is also highly unlikely that large companies will create these new jobs. Census Bureau data show that most of the net employment gains in the United States between 1980 and 2005 came from firms younger than five years old.

This means that the focus must be on creating start-ups, helping people to set up their own businesses. However, our upbringing and education are not geared towards this. We are taught to be obedient employees and not initiating entrepreneurs. So , there is quite some learning needed in this area.
It would also be good if many of these start-ups have a goal to improve the social good. Social innovation is still very much needed in large parts of the world. Many people lack energy, electricity, clean water, sanitation, and/or food.

I would like to call upon all entrepreneurs, government and education institutions to bundle the forces and to use their combined creativity to help these people to earn a decent living for themselves and their families.

How are you planning to contribute?


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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Let 2012 be sparkling for you and others

Currently we are bombarded with messages, research and predictions that 2012 will be a tough year.
While that may be the case, there is always another side. Or like our most famous footballer Johan Cruijff says “Every disadvantage has and advantage in it”.

There is so much complaining going on about the level of service which companies and government provide. So, why don't you make sure that your organization provides excellent (and engaging) customer service, all the time? Customers are even willing to pay more for great service!

There is nothing which can beat helping others. These others can be your neighbors, your parents, your friends. If there are more burglaries in your street, then get to know who live on your street. So, then you know who doesn't belong there.
Recently I did help a blind person to cross the street. That was so gratifying to do... and easy.

There are more and more families who have so much debt that they have no money to buy food regularly. So, why don't you bring them a warm cup of soup.

There are so many young people unemployed, so why don't you help them by being a mentor. You can help them with all your life experiences. Even more important, just listen to them, open-minded.

If there is rubbish on the street, pick it up instead of complaining about the lack of public service.

Service always starts with yourself. If you have a serving attitude then others will easily follow your example.

What are you doing to shine in 2012?


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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Managers have to change as well

It is nothing new that a lot is happening in the world and that changes are rapidly having an impact.

There are many publications about the need for employees to change. Also is a lot is being written about how organizations in itself should change their culture, structure and approach to technology.

Mostly managers are telling their employees that they have to change and do things differently. The common denominator is that managers expect employees to work harder and produce more. The favorite game of managers seems to be changing the organization chart. Of course there are also challenging tasks like cost cutting and laying off people.
Managers are not so good in looking at the mirror and checking how they can adopt (new practices) and adapt. Here are some examples:
  • managers are lagging behind in using social media
  • managers are still keeping certain information only for themselves
  • managers report (to their bosses) without consulting their people
  • managers rarely interact with customers
  • managers rarely socialize with frontline employees
  • managers focus on the short term only

The role of a manager is not easy and it is very challenging to keep 'all the plates spinning'. This is an argument to open up and show your vulnerability. It is a sign of strength to admit that you don't know certain things and that you have the courage to ask. It is also a sign of strength to be open and transparent, to share information with your team. It helps your employees to show them that you also have difficulties in keeping up to date. And that you are also struggling to have enough (quality) time for your friends and family.

The role of the manager should shift from 'command and control' to 'facilitating and energizing'.
Are you changing as well?


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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Job rotation for innovators

It is very attractive to let always the same people be involved on your innovation projects. These are the people who are experienced in the innovation tasks and you know what you get. This leads to two potential hick ups.

  1. The innovation people can become complacent themselves, as the innovation activities become routine itself. Continuously following the same steps and processes to do these projects might make you blind for newness itself.
  2. The people who are not involved in innovation are more and more settled into their comfort zone. This it becomes harder and harder to get them out of that zone. The longer you do something, the stronger the attachment!

As this situation continues (as in most companies) the gap between the innovators and the 'BAU-people (business as usual) becomes larger and larger. And the implementation of innovation becomes more difficult and consumes much more time.
Obviously this isn't what you want. You are looking for agility instead of rigidity. Therefor it is crucial to rotate people in the respective teams. In this way, the BAU-people become more innovative and the innovation people have a better understanding of the operational challenges.

How do you rotate with respect to innovation?


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