What Innovation Coach Do to Help You?

The old way of describing innovation is a closed one. Innovation used to be reserved only for the techies, engineers, R&D officers and bosses. What’s the new way? Innovation is open for everyone and anyone who wishes to create new value in the societies. Inspiring? 

Now, the way I understand innovation is about solving problems. The way I understand coaching is about developing others potentials. Therefore as an innovation coach I professionally help leaders develop their potentials to create new value by solving problems particularly in organizations and businesses. 

Although innovation today is attributed mostly about technology and digital, I am one of the handful coaches with little technical background yet able to appreciate the function of both in today’s brouhaha of technology and digital transformation in organizations. 

Humanizing technology is not easy. In many “tech” presentation you will be blown away by how simple the dashboard looks, how beautiful the visuals, how seamless is the experience from one point to another, how smart the data analytics and so on. Just a click, right? 

No. Ask any techies that working behind those, it is not that simple. Don’t be fooled. Those work require deep expertise, endless nights of toils, large work streams and of course huge amount of investment. In an organization, the real challenge is when you need to put this in front of customers. To do that, the tech must be discussed over with other people such as the management, sales, marketing, finance, engineering, product, strategy and so many others. Issues ensued. 

In the early days of Google, there was no manager. Engineers report directly to another engineer who is doing the work. It was a no-brainer to have an engineer to report to a project manager. What does a project manager knows about tech? Until the work becomes complex and large, they realized they need managers to work with the multiple streams. 

Eventually, Google has managers. Additionally, they brought in coaches to help the project managers and top leaders lead. “Your title make you a manager, your people make you a leader.”

As an innovation coach, my focus has always be on pushing the limits of both leadeers and technology so they can co-exist and complementing each other. Here’s the three of the Cs as my focus of an innovation coach:

COLLABORATION

Very hard to do although a resounding yes when asked. Because there’s little appreciation of technology by other than the tech department, often collaboration suffered great defeat in many innovation projects. Coaching in this area nudged leaders to include working with multi disciplinary teams or reassigning some great minds to great project to make it work. 

Innovation coaching helps leader to see the best minds as game changer, make time for empathic listening from stakeholders, find ways to develop faster prototype using low fidelity method and welcome nasty feedbacks that will definitely tear the project apart in some situation. Fail early, fail often as some says.

CROSS POLLINATION

Do you realized that previously the digital world learn a lot from the physical world? Now it is overtaking the physical world to become “the” prime industry. Cross pollination coaching helps leader to experiment other successes in other industries and bring it to their own. 

A simple exercise is to raise the awareness of engineers by asking them to attend human resources conferences and vice versa. Most of us tend to frequent our own kind, try attend a new conference from other industry and see what you will gain. PM me your learnings!

CONFIDENCE 

Seamless and connected digital services that many organizations trying to do today are dreams yet to come true. Possibly wild ideas and potentially radically different approach to their business models. Because of that, instilling confidence is crucial to leaders and their team members to try anyway – you either make it or learn.

However, a lot of questions about risks and rewards about their career come into the discussion. What if they fail? Will they still keep their jobs? How about personal reputation? Can they recoup their investment? What if they lose it all?

As an innovation coach, my work is also involve in instilling confidence with the top leaders to be change-ready. Just as the new language of transformation is experimentation, developing good enough products and services to be change-ready require mindset and culture shift in the organization.

Finally, to leaders, “repeating what you do everywhere is never a winning formula for innovation success. We thrive by trying new things”. With the right tools, good support and a sound method from innovation coach, we’ll get there together. Go coaching!

Advertisements

How Marketing Department Lost It’s Gusto?

There’s little we hear today about Marketing Department (or Division) these days? Don’t we? What we hear about Marketing today is about launching events after events. The department role has become launching organizers. They are very good at dealing with event coordinators, medias and gifts companies. Is that what Marketing department supposed to do?

Well, at least that’s one of it, we called it marketing communication. Ideally, what is marketing? What is the main function of marketing department? How should we measure marketing success? Why marketing matters? Let me.

“What Is Marketing? “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. (Approved July 2013 by American Marketing Association – AMA)”

Source: https://www.ama.org/the-definition-of-marketing/

According to Peter Drucker, “The two basic functions of a business enterprise are Marketing & Innovation. All the rest are costs. Marketing & Innovation produce results. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”

Source: Peter Drucker, What Is A Business?

If the purpose of business is to create customer through innovation (Drucker), the purpose of marketing is to help the organization sees the satisfaction desired by the customers in terms of values and needs. This is where, in my opinion, the beginning of marketing department downfall, lately.

The marketing department as we know it, no longer help the organization sees the customers values and needs, neither, make effort to understand the customers values and needs. Yes, the customers are changing, fickleminded and indecisive. We know these customers behaviours for very long already, nothing new.

Marketing Activities

There are at least four main marketing activities. The 4Ps (Product, Price, Place and Promotion) . The marketing department through its marketing activities, need to drive the decisions in these areas.

In Product – marketing department through its customers research, it will generate new products (or services) ideas and solutions. They will also look at the existing products, are they making profit? Or they are just product line up that is making losses year after year? The marketing team should have enough data on this. Do they have this data? The marketing department can only see what is in the pipeline but can they create new? Does the marketing team knows USP – unique selling proposition of the products (and services)?

In Price – marketing department will help set the pricing policies looking at the varying customer segments in their midst. They will know how much margin or mark up or profit or volume they need to generate for the business to grow. Are they making the decisions today? Or is it done by the finance group? How does marketing team influence this decision?

In Place – marketing department look at the distribution channel of the products. In today’s business, there are online and offline distribution channels. Does the marketing department has the people to do online marketing? Do they know the customers experiences in these two areas are different? How does the marketing team use the data collected? How does the marketing team work with the offline retailers, distributors and wholesellers? Do they have these strategies? Or is currently these being done by customer experience department? Or big data unit that is reporting to IT department?

In Promotion – marketing department set the promotional strategies including sales team deployment. Setting sales strategies, incentives and ammunitions. Is the marketing department still doing this? Or has this been delegated to sales department? Ohh yeah, this is also where marketing runs events to promote and advertise the “solutions” valued and needed by the customers. They do it through communication with the medias and PR companies. In promotion, marketing department also continually asssessing the brand value as seen by the customers.

After looking at all above, it turns out the marketing function as it was, has been broken down to myriad other units that are more specifics, more objective and relatable to the customers worldview as needed by the organization. Because of that, the marketing department is it was, without breaking it into many other units, will become too big, too slow and bureaucratic. That’s how marketing lost it’s gusto.

Wither Marketing Budget?

As a result, marketing department budget now filled with events budget and it become less strategic. In my humble opinon, marketing department too, has to be blamed. The people inside marketing team already out of touch with the customers realities. They department relies too too too heavily from the agencies, vendors and suppliers to give them reams of reports about the customers.

Marketing department rarely goes down to the “market” to talk to the customers. They refused to listen to the customers feedbacks and listen to their stories. Marketing department people prefer to man events at big and posh hotels while drinking coffee and smoke cigars – to them, the hotel is the prestige defined as “great branding” and “credibility” by the customers.

Marketing department create products in their office. They look at the quantitative data without an iota believe that they need qualitative data too – customers insights and pain points stories. Marketing department people do not go down to meet the engineers at the manufacturing plant to see the product development themselves. All they ask for are photos to make brochures and marketing kits. That too, the marketing department ask the agencies to go and get them.

Direction-less Heads

The marketing department also busy attending high flying and international conferences in the name of “benchmarking”, “new strategies” and “power networking”. Funnily, the one that usually get to go to these kind of pampered and full board events are the bosses of marketing department and above.

They go and come back – then nothing happened. The bosses snap loads of pictures of the slides and whatsapp them to the team. Instructing the team to do this and that – ASAP. The next year, the same bosses go again and again and again. It became the viscisous cycle that everybody knew – except the bosses. That’s how marketing department lost it’s gusto. With all the happenings in the marketing deparment, the top management should follow the advise of David Packard (Hewlett Packard), “Marketing is too important to be left to the Marketing Department.”

The marketing department also detest any other department that take away their budget in the next financial year. Now the next upcoming department that, if not careful, will fall just like the marketing department, it is the IT department.

Brickbats please send to donkhairul@gmail.com

What If You Can Trap CO2?

I was waiting  for my laptop to boot, somehow it takes longer today than any other day. I then turn and flip some magazines  – found a company called Climeworks. They were listed as one of the innovators in climate action business. Pretty cool! Actually their climate solution is focusing on decarbon the air. They call it “Active Air Capture”.

Basically the solution works by blowing air through reusable filters that chemically trap CO2 (Carbon Dioxide). Then heating the saturated filters to release the gas then inject it underground to bind with basaltic rock, which can hold it indefinitely. Wohauu!!

I headed on to their website and found this. Climeworks work with three main sectors namely Food & Beverage, Greenhouses and Energy, Fuels & Materials. What I found interesting was in Food & Beverage – where CO2 is needed to make carbonated drinks, here they want CO2! See below – from Climeworks website

Screenshot 2019-05-18 at 12.17.50 AM

Source: http://www.climeworks.com/our-customers/food-beverage/

Apparently in F&B business, they need CO2 to do this activities such as packing fresh meat & vegetables, gas for draft beers and softdrinks and dry ice for freezing & chilling food.

It is interesting because of the cyclical model of CO2. As it explains in the picture above. The CO2 release will be captured back and used back in carbonating the drinks! Violaa!

As for farmers in greenhouses, raising CO2 level could increase yield as much as 20%! The best part this CO2 is renewable. Check out their table below:

Screenshot 2019-05-18 at 12.22.21 AM

Source: http://www.climeworks.com/our-customers/greenhouses/

Personally I feel this technology works best in certain environment, as Climeworks based  in Iceland. I am not sure whether this method works in other place. The model looks convincing, nonetheless.

Some other considerations is the capacity of capturing the CO2 and release it back as renewable energy into sectors that use CO2. Wondering whether there’s such a thing called CO2 trading online using blockchain technology.

You can get more information here www.climeworks.com

Brickbats please send to donkhairul@gmail.com