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Overcoming challenges in an innovation imperative world – 2nd edition

Just a few weeks ago I highlighted how important innovation was and yet how disinterested everyone was in it: Innovation has never been more problematic or needed – 3 things you can do. I went on to suggest 3 ways in which you could address this challenge. Not more than a week later, this post came out on the World Economic Forum (WEF) site: Companies need innovation more than ever. Here’s how to measure it. It makes similar points that cover challenges and solutions. In my previous post I shared an example of a company tackling things the right way. In this post I’ll talk briefly about the WEF post and share another great example of a company doing things right.

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The post pandemic organisation’s hierarchy of needs

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This is a long overdue follow-up to a piece I doodled and wrote about way back in 2016: The Modern Organisation’s Hierarchy of Needs.

For two main reasons its due an update. The clue to the first is in the original title. Anything that lays claim to being modern needs a revisit at least every 5 years.

The second is the more important one in that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on individuals and organisations since then and this requires the model to be revisited.

The pandemic has put pressure on organisations like never before and so it becomes even more important to hone your craft and perfect the way you actualise your business for continued survival. I would argue that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs continues to provide a sound basis for addressing the needs of an organisation (just as much as for an individual) and what to focus on for a healthy and successful business.

Some of the elements remain unchanged so I wont go into detail on those other than what you can read in the DanelDoodle – read the original post if you want to know more. Below is a little on what I think has changed in 5 or more years and since the pandemic hit us.

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Innovation has never been more problematic or needed – 3 things you can do

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Everyone wants innovation, no one wants to innovate. It’s similar to change. Therein may lie the rub. They are such broad terms, they may have lost their significance. But the problem goes beyond lack of interest, there is a lack of purpose or organisation/management, the pace of change, all and more contribute to this situation. Call it innovation fatigue if you will, in fact a book has got that covered already: Innovation for the fatigued – How to Build a Culture of Deep Creativity. And yet, the imperative is as high as ever.

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The backlash to video calling and the alternatives

Okay I wouldn’t call just one decision from the CEO of a major bank the indication of a backlash: Citigroup CEO ordains Zoom-free Fridays to ease ‘relentless’ pandemic workday. But come on, how many tales have you already heard of similar woes. Zoom fatigue has become a thing. And its not just about Zoom. Microsoft Teams (disclosure) has built features into their software to try and negate the ill effects of too much time spent on video calls. So what’s a business bod to do?

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A year of tech in charts – pandemic edition

All the charts (click on any to view enlarged) come from an article in the The Information from various different sources: 12 Charts That Show How Tech Took Off During a Year of Shutdowns. The full article requires a subscription but I can share access to The Information with 5 friends or colleagues completely free for 30 days – contact me if interested. It’s well worth it as they do a thorough breakdown of each chart and they are an excellent news source besides.

Here is my super slimmed down, sense-making take on all this, in a nutshell (enough of the superlatives already):

Saying that tech has benefitted from the pandemic sounds like a statement from the department of the bleedin’ obvious. Of course it has and for many obvious reasons. One of them is that technology aids remote work especially technology that is purpose built for it, like collaboration software that supports asynchronous work. Other times, its just that companies that have digitised processes really well stand to benefit – like ride hailing (which didn’t necessarily benefit from the pandemic but have prospered nevertheless) and food delivery (which did).

I’m surprised gaming was not included because that is another huge beneficiary. Other than home working, its probably the biggest reason for the spike in bandwidth.

The jobs dive and start-up formation are more than likely directly correlated. Indirectly too, the move to life online and emptier offices. The general investment, valuations and listings frenzy is probably all down to opportunists or investors wanting to cash in – who knows what happens when the real effects of the pandemic are felt 😬

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Tech trends of 2021 number 31

The title of this post is based on an article from Fast Company: Here are the top tech trends of 2021, according to 30 experts. I am adding to the 30. Note I excluded any reference to myself as an expert – I abhor the term. I wouldn’t call myself an expert but I have been known to dabble in trends, past reports here and new one being worked on here. Anyway, it seems a good time of the year to chime in on this topic so read on to see my prediction.

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Another shift the pandemic has accelerated – enterprise sales

B2B selling was already changing before COVID-19. I’ve written before about how I think customer success practices with their emphasis on product usage is changing sales to be more data and impact driven and more receptive to the user, not just the purchasing unit. This change is not unique to enterprise software sales – think about how you purchase cars these days, I did and it involved very few sales people or even physically seeing the car. VC Andreessen Horowitz looks to startups for inspiration and new research from McKinsey provides data points.

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The future of work needs better insights and the path is clear

The path with Microsoft that is, which is all I can talk about based on my experience (disclosure). I’m working with several customers to support adoption of Microsoft 365 technologies and a key part of this is what and how to measure the right impact of M365 on workplace productivity. At this time with COVID-19 and the move to remote work (which not everyone agrees to), this and inded the future of work is hugely in question and supporting and measuring it becomes imperative. I’m just sharing some of the work I am doing and approaches I’m taking – hopefully this is of use.

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Mindfulness in the enterprise – enlightenment attained

For good reason (escalated by the COVID-19 pandemic), enterprises realise they need to ensure employee’s mental wellbeing is taken care of. Also that employees are helped to better take care of themselves. It’s in the enterprise’s interest. Activities geared to supporting them are booming and IT and HR departments are driving them. Mindfulness practice is an important aspect but there is more.

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Crisis renewal and the future of work

Also a dabble with new publishing formats

A brief intro and some sense making on a recent article and book covering the topics in the title. And as the captions states, I continue to explore new ways of communicating or publishing – video mixed with content created on Canva. Experimentation coincidentally also a theme covered in the short video so n00b alert 🤓 The book is Humanocracy by Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini. The article in FT – Future of work: how managers are harnessing employees’ hidden skills.

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Hiking adventures to combat lockdown malaise

Some pics from a few days away in Cornwall on the South West Coast Path, one of the finest walks I have ever experienced (this was my third time I love it so much). Nothing like some gorgeous outdoors by the seaside to combat lockdown malaise, lift the spirits and make you feel alive. The Google Map plots the exact route, places to stay, eat and drink, etc.

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The reinvention of normal at work

There are key activities and those leading them at the heart of the changes happening at work as a result of the pandemic. Some are quick to adopt them and others not. Then there are those that will unfortunately not survive. Activities focus on events, remote work and learning.

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Necessity drives digital transformation but who are the innovators

I’ve always said its so much better to be changing and transforming as a result of innovation based activities rather than crisis based activities. To be changing ahead of the curve because you are innovating, not after the curve because of a crisis – if you’ll excuse the expression.

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