Behavioral Innovation

A fantastic talk by Umair Haque, Director of Havas Media Lab on Behavioral innovation and the Great Compression.

He gave this talk at the Brite (Brand Innovation and Technology) Conference.

Umair’s key message was that for business to survive they need to redefine how they treat  innovation. We have a global crisis where the economy underestimates costs and overstates benefits. A company wants to maximize profits by making consumers worse off. Consumers are being sold things they do not need. (e.g. mortgages)

He argues that the value businesses are creating today is inauthentic, brittle and unsustainable.  Many industries today are unable to survive the global crisis.

To get past this we must re-conceive value creation. Value creation is done through innovation.

Innovation is normally addressed with strategic output likes launching better products, shifting from products to services, redesigning value chain, managing resources more efficiently, profit centers etc…. all management innovation.

The problem with this is that it has companies acting strategically and strategic behavior does not spawn the type of innovation we need now. We need innovation that allows a company to reinvent itself yesterday for tomorrow’s challenges.

An example he provided was Google- they think beyond strategy and always have. He compared it to Microsoft where the strategy has made them very rich, but they are unable to grapple with challenge of re-invention required for today’s economy.

He suggests that we move away for strategic behavior (dominance, control, brand, differentiation) and use 5 paths of behavioral innovation to unlock new sources of advantage.

5 paths to Behavior Innovation

Stewardship

  • Is about not exploiting resources to point of depletion.
  • Think about advertising- it has been over done.  The cost to advertise got too high, there were too many ads and now consumers don’t want to see ads anymore. Now the media industry is struggling with reinvention.

Trusteeship

  • Is about the good, always playing on a level playing field.
  • Not manipulating people.

Guardianship

  • Is about the common good.
  • Nobody is looking for the common good when everyone behaving strategically.

Leadership

  • Is about challenge.
  • Having willingness to disrupt yourself.
  • Challenge the status quo in your company and industry.
  • Doing things in a different way.

Partnership

  • Is about outcomes.
  • Focuses on people’s outcomes.
  • Making people better off in some way. (e.g current food industry does not see people as partners- the obesity epidemic).

Definitely worth watching..

Umair Haque at BRITE ’09 conference from BRITE Conference on Vimeo.

We’re not a Family, we are a Pro Sports Team

Netflix’s reference guide to their business values and culture is fantastic.

One slide that resonated with me was slide 27  “We’re not a Family, we are a Pro Sports Team

Growing up I loved playing on sport teams. My favourite team was probably my middle school basketball team.

The school was made up of grade 8, 9 and 10.

Grade 8’s had their own team that almost everyone who wanted to play got to be on it. It was fun, not very competitive, and we were never any good. However, the school varsity team of grade 9s and 10s was a whole other story. They were good, really good and it was cut throat to be on it. You now had twice as many girls vying for the 15 positions and everyone wanted it.

I always knew I wanted to be on this team– it just meant so much to me and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, so I trained, I trained a lot. The summer before grade 9 I played basketball as much as I could. Luckily, I had a basketball hoop at the end of my driveway where I would play my dad or brothers any time they would. I normally lost, but losing was okay as long as I was practicing.

I also went to basketball camp where I spent a week training harder then I ever had before. When I wasn’t  putting band-aids on my blisters, I was running lines, working on on my free throws, learning to do left handed layups and playing game after game.

What kept me going when every bone in my body hurt was the all consuming feeling that I wanted to make the team in September.  I knew I was at a disadvantage because the team the year before had been made up of primarily girls in grade 9, who would probably just float back into their position. This meant there were only a few open spots from the grade 10 girls who had moved onto high school.

This was cut throat, we now had the entire grade 8 team +  the returning grade 9s + anyone else who had failed to make the teams all wanting to play- every tryout was going to count.

Every day after school for 2 weeks we’d meet the coach in the gym where we would be taken through numerous skills tests, pick up games, and 2km time trial runs.

You’d go home every night exhausted with a pit of nerves in your stomach and every morning you walk up to the gym door to see if your name was still on the list.

For a 14 year old this was stress, this was passion.

I made the team and I had never been so excited and proud. Not only was it a testament to hard work and determination, but having gone through such a difficult trial process had set a tone for the team. Everyone wanted to be there and everyone wanted to be successful.

This made the season an incredible experience. We trained hard, we practiced hard, we supported each other, and we loved playing together. There was no room for indifference, apathy, or slackers.

Now back to Netlfix- absolutely, I think a company with a true sports team culture would be incredible. A team made of people with the same passion, commitment, and drive that I experienced  with a group of 14 and 15 years playing basketball.

Netflix Presentation

Culture

View more presentations from reed2001.

New Theme, New Day

I have spent the weekend at Word Camp NZ. The event was the first of its kind in New Zealand and I wasn’t sure what to expect.

As it turned out the event was excellent, so much so that I am now feeling inspired enough to start writing on my blog again.

I particularly enjoyed listening to WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg’s keynote. I love learning about the history of  businesses and how they and their products have evolved.

You can check out Matt’s presentation here.

The first step in my rejuvenated passion for this blog has come in the selection of  a new theme. Fresh look for a fresh approach.

The second step was updating my version of WordPress from 2.2 to 2.8.1. As always WordPress makes it so incredibly easy. The ease of installations, upgrades, theme creations, plugins etc.. are all a real testament to WordPress’s commitment to making everything as simple as possible for their users.

The third step was this post as you just have to jump back into it.

I hope the energy and enthusiasm that so often comes from being in conferences will last as this weekend is now coming to an end.

Word Camp NZ 2009

Word Camp NZ 2009, Photo: Jeff Wegesin