Tag Archives: Innovation

Our strategy breakfast event on May 15th was presented by Rob Depinto, a Silicon Valley veteran.

 

The hashtag for the event was #WMNstrategy.

 

Strategy is essential in having a successful business, yet its definition can become blurred. I was really excited to attend this breakfast, but I didn’t know that much about the strategy and this was the perfect way to learn more.

The event kicks off with Rob DePinto, director of strategy at innovation consultancy, ikyo. He explains that there are three aspects to consider when creating a business strategy.

 

 

  1. Strategy
  2. Innovation
  3. Execution

 

DePinto says it’s important to not confuse the definition of strategy in business. Strategy is all about where the business needs to go and how to get there. He advises not to confuse strategy with sales forecasting or vision because if the definition isn’t correct, then the strategy won’t be successful. In addition, DePinto stresses that time is a huge factor to consider – so anchor yourself in reality when creating a strategy.

 

Strategy
DePinto breaks down strategy into three areas: objective, diagnosis and guiding policy.

 

Objectives are pretty self explanatory and DePinto offers tips on areas to look at, such as winning customer preference, creating sustainable competitive advantage and leaving money on the table for shareholders.

Diagnosis is all about analyzing problematic areas of the business and asking important questions, like what is really going on? What areas concern us? What will create advantage?

Lastly, the guiding policy is necessary to help the strategy reach its targets. It’s an approach to help overcome obstacles on the way and defines the principles of the strategy. DePinto explains it is a system of action with measurement – and emphasizes again that timeline is very important when creating a strategy – so your competitors don’t get ahead.

DePinto provides a Gucci case study. They had to understand where they were in order to see where they needed to go, so they conducted extensive research in the process. Gucci bought competitors’ handbags and pulled them apart to really see what they were up against. Then, they looked at what they could do with what they had. Ensuring that every department was involved in the strategy process was critical to success. DePinto explains Gucci’s system of advantage through involving and being willing to analyze all areas of the business, from marketing to stores, supply chains and HR, to customers.

 

 

Innovation
Innovation is extremely important for a business to be successful. Why? DePinto says that bringing a product that yields new value to market is critical to success. He offers tips when it comes to innovation and explain that the ‘product’ is the complete value proposition and not just a device. This includes how the customer feels when they buy the product and what makes them want to buy the product. He also advises focusing on serving a ‘market’, not customer by customer. He emphasizes that ‘value’ has to be created with your product – then you have to dominate the chosen market.

 

 

DePinto breaks down the innovation process, stating you have to precisely determine ‘value’ and what that is for your customer. Think about what problem you are solving and how you’re solving it. Who is the customer? Exactly what segment and sub-segment do they fit into? Any hypothesis created needs to be tested and the sales process needs to be repeated in order to accurately scale how successful the product can be. What follows is where everything links together. Strategy is where and how to get there; innovation is about bringing a new product to market – which then moves forward to diagnosis, guiding policy and finally, cohesive action (execution).

 

Execution
This is the system of getting things done and requires tough discipline. The ability to execute is vital, or the product fails. Another DePinto case study of Yellow Tail Wine shows an excellent example of execution. Their strategy involved bringing new wine drinkers into the market, instead of trying to target existing wine drinkers. They made it easy for their target market and excluded technical words surrounding wine. Yellow Tail even offered simple recommendations like which wine goes with which type of meat, which was ideal for their target market. They executed their strategy well and covered the innovation process. DePinto says that being different is much better than trying to be better than competitors.

 

 

When developing a strategy, DePinto highlights that covering all areas of the business when creating a strategy is also very important, including key performance, activities, value, resources, revenue, channels, customer relationships, customer segments and cost structure. He finishes with a few great examples of strategy, including the Yahoo! Weather App. Yahoo! isn’t the most popular search engine, but their new weather app has been very successful. It uses simple icons and is very useful with its maps feature. It’s a great example of innovation and execution, and was a boon for Yahoo!’s marketing as it showed they were moving forward and changing for the better.

After attending the WMN breakfast, I felt very inspired because DePinto gave great advice and case studies on strategy in business. I learned that being realistic with timeline, as well as executing for all areas are an important part of strategy. I also learned that strategy is an essential part of reaching goals, whether it be in business or creating something new. I will definitely be implementing some of the advice offered by DePinto into my work.

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Our first event of the year is coming up as one of the WMN Breakfast series.

 

With the Year of the Black Snake associated with intelligence, power and ambition, we are pleased to have Sally Dellow from Rock the Boat. She will share winning strategies and techniques to transform challenges and setbacks into opportunities for the year ahead and has promised an exciting event with lots of audience participation.
The event will provide the opportunity to meet like-minded media professionals from a range of backgrounds and sectors, and to gain helpful insights into cultivating valuable personal development and leadership strategies.

Wednesday 20 Feb, 2013
8:00am – Registration and networking; 8:30am – Talk begins

9:30am – Wrap

California Vintage
Shop 110, Brim 28
28 Harbour Road
Wan Chai

Cost: Free for members, $100 for non-members. Breakfast available to purchase.

To sign up, please click here.

 

Twitter
The event hashtag will be #wmntransform.
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The Firebrand Blog shared their best ten blogs from over the year. Among them was this one. With such a headline, how could I resist reading it? Especially when Disruption is a topic so close to the heart of WMN.

Here’s the re-post:

If you want your company to beat the competition and be the place the best clients and people want to be in – then make sure you’re hiring black sheep. And sometimes be a black sheep yourself. Here’s why.

Too often we hire clones — worthy clones: hard working, ambitious, disciplined, compliant, well educated, often trained and proven in a competitive firm, appropriately groomed, etc. You know the story. Just look around you. Look at yourself perhaps.

To really succeed in a fast changing world where rules of old are being broken every day — as a business or as an executive striving for the most vibrant of career — we have to resist the usual and be brave.

 

Read the rest here.



On November 1st, 2012, Bloomberg kindly hosted the Women Media Networks Media Disruptors lunch event, Changing the Rules of the Game.

With Moderator Mia Saini, News Presenter for Bloombergand panelists Emma Reynolds (Co-founder & CEO of e3-Reloaded), Joanne Ooi (Plukka.com) and Mariko Sanchanta (news presenter, Wall St Journal (WSJ)), we were set for an exciting discussion.

From the start, Saini disrupted the audience by taking a question and answer approach, creating audience interaction throughout. Saini’s wit and humour kept the conversation focused, fast-moving and entertaining.

 

 


 

“To engineer a disruption, the consumers will take time to catch up – be dynamic enough to roll with it, have back-up plans, re-iterate with your consumer,” advises Ooi near the beginning of the discussion.

 

 

“To keep innovating is to go back to the core of the disruptive mindset. Look at all areas, sales, engineering, consumer needs, etc. It’s an art, you cultivate it on a daily basis,” adds Reynolds.

 

 

“Yes, you have to throw your ego out of the window - you might have to throw great ideas away in being realistic, to keep a healthy directions,” adds Oi.

 

 

Coming from WSJ, Sanchanta has other comments. “Now we understand what our readers look at on our site, we’ve added a tool on the page to show how many people are reading which pieces. It’s push and pull, on whether it’s a core story that we’re promoting there or whether we want to up our reader numbers. The WSJ Asia team is quite autonomous, so we do try things out and when they don’t work out, we move on.” She describes an ego and agenda-free scenario.

 

 

We all know that in large companies, it takes a long time for new ideas to get to the top management - and by then, the world moves on. So what do you do? “You have to think like a small company,” says Reynolds.

 

 

Highlighting that is the fact that some of the best online or mobile payment companies are not headed by the main credit card companies, as you’d expect. Moreover, those payment companies cut out the middleman and have great interfaces, Reynolds observes. Her favourite example is https://squareup.com/, which allows mobile phones to take credit card payment.

 

 

As an executive, or someone less up-to-date with modern advances, what do you do when you’re left behind? Consultant Reynolds finds that sometimes her clients are those executives that have been left behind by disruption. “We can’t afford to wait around so we work out which companies we deal with well.”

 

 

Ooi reminds us of the danger of egos, getting in the way. “We have to be strong enough to walk away and move on. I don’t mean that some clients understand disruption immediately, but we can see if they’re open to it. Then we move forward and identify the problems. That helps the clients to open up and want to change. We focus on problems first not solutions, that keeps their interest. Things are different now, the power is with the masses, not the few at the top,” she observes.

 

 

Quantifiable statistics, defining working culture, looking at more realistic and regular performance reviews and crowd-sourcing ideas within the workplace are the kinds of activities that Reynolds works around.

 

“At WSJ, we’re always teaching our readers how to do things – many don’t know how to Tweet and so on,” explains Sanchanta. In Reynolds’ experience, men in their fifties are often strong ambassadors of learning new techniques and embracing modern technology and social media.

 

 

Disruption doesn’t come from the bottom, says Ooi. It comes from strong individuals – the power of the individual is vital. “If you can’t get that in your organisation, you hire people like Emma!” she quips.

 

 

Sanchanta says that as a woman in a male dominated industry, she is more of a disruptor, because she stands out at the meeting table.

 

 

Let’s look more closely at media. “As a traditional print media, we don’t easily embrace new technologies and people are sceptical. But we decided to do online videos, because it was something different,” says Sanchanta. “At first, it was awful but we got better and it works because most people are willing to go on camera.” Meanwhile, companies like Goldman Sachs have embraced Twitter, something that surprises former employee, Saini.

 

 

China has its own disruptive mindset. Saini’s husband travels to China for work regularly, and often, finds that her feeds are cut – the screen goes black a millisecond after she appears. But WSJ is one publication that has managed to remain online in China. “We don’t let it affect our content but if we’re reporting on a government we always make contact and ask direct questions,” says Sanchanta.

 

 

Being an entrepreneur in the disruption world doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be rich. Perhaps embracing the failures is part of the process? Reynolds’ first company, in the UK, went bankrupt during the financial crisis. “I lost everything,” she says, without regret.

 

 

Industries that might not have yet been disrupted yet,include financial advice services. One audience member thinks this will change in the next 5-10 years, but other changes have to happen behind that. Australia has already moved toward full disclosure; the UK has also made some changes.

 

 

Another main industry that needs change and disruption is education. Adult learning and life-long learning are key words here. Freer, low-cost education that’s internationally available seems like a dream. But education is getting more expensive year-on-year and good teachers and professors are still vital and need paying well. One audience member suggests that you can disrupt the system and still pay well.

 

 

Final words of advise
“I never thought ten years ago I’d do online video and Tweet. Just keep adapting, leaning and stay on top of the trends. We’re all so busy but I always try to read, learn and talk to people.” – Sanchanta

 

“Use the 4C DNA: Collaboration, co-creation, controlling, connecting. If you don’t see those four things, it needs disrupting.” – Reynolds

 

“Our inputs are very Googlised – we need to supplement that. Sip from the fire hydrant every day – eventually you’ll have a disruptive thought.” – Ooi

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m looking forward to being a guest on the panel at the WMN CASBAA Lunch on 1st November. The topic is Disruptors – Women Who Re-Invent the Game.

 

Disruption is a topic close to my heart. I believe we are living in the most exciting of times. Industries are being disrupted on a daily basis. For the first time in human history, the power is no longer with the few, it is with the masses. Through grassroots innovation, individuals literally have the power to upheave organizations, products, industries – even countries. We have entered a social and business revolution. It truly isn’t business as usual. Understanding and mastering ‘disruption’ in the 21st century is one of the most important skills needed to thrive. Cultivating a ‘disruptive’ mindset is just as crucial for individuals as it is for organisations.

Economically, technologically, demographically, sociologically – change is now the status quo. KPMG recently predicted that at its current pace, the world will progress 20,000 years in the next 100 – or 2000 years in the next decade. Wow.

Almost everything we do in the 21st Century is up for review. Everything that you or your competition can think of is being re-designed, re-thought, re-engineered. But here’s the more interesting thought. Everything will ‘always’ be up for review, all the time, permanently, forever and in real-time.

Disruption breeds innovation. In the past decade alone we have experienced some of the greatest disruptive innovations. Think iTunes, Amazon, Square, MPESA…the list goes on. These innovations didn’t come from within industry.

What does the next few years hold?

Will your industry be disrupted?

Will your job even exist in 2015?

Take a moment to really stop and think about that. Will your job exist in 2015? Is your product, service, industry or company the next target for disruptive innovation? Or are you at the forefront pioneering the next disruptive innovation?

Think about wow you can cultivate a ‘disruptive’ mindset. Here are my top tips – and of course I’ll share more on the panel.

 

  1. Challenge everything. Everything. Ask ‘why’ a lot. ‘Why do we do it this way?’ ‘Why should my job even exist?’ ‘When was the last time we re-thought this?’Be fearless. If you are disabled by fear, you won’t question everything and you’ll get left behind.
  2. Be curious. Never ever stop learning, reading, asking questions, meeting new people, travelling and immersing yourself in new cultures and surroundings.
  3. Think like a designer. In every area of your life, think about how things could be better designed. Whether a physical product or an experience, think how it could be designed better, to improve the user-experience. Practice this until it becomes a habit.

 

 

Here’s a challenge for you. Before we meet at the event on November 1st, think about what you do every day and ask yourself five ‘whys’.

Until the panel, take care and keep questioning everything.

 

Learn more here.

 


About the author:
Emma Reynolds is the Co-founder & CEO of e3 Reloaded. Emma has lived and worked in Australia, Peru, United Kingdom and Hong Kong. Aged 23, she started her first consulting business; at 25 a research business and at 27 moved to Hong Kong to build her third business, e3 Reloaded.

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