Saturday, March 29, 2008

Innovation …. Customer



The ISCORPIO Metaphor in M21C describes eight petals related to various aspects of a Business; this topic addresses two of the petals, Innovation and Customer. Looking at the ISCORPIO diagram the left pointing (West) facet represents Innovation and the right pointing facet (East) represents the Customer. These are fundamental to a successful business that builds competitive services and wares. As discussed in other entries of this blog, the Customer is the most important since they are the ones that pay money for the solutions of businesses. To stay competitive, Innovation becomes the primary focus.

The diagram shows degrees of freedom of innovation begin wide outward looking, then progressing to critical and then inward as the solution options become narrowly defined. This metaphor of the “Fish – Hook – Fry” was early metaphor thinking that illustrates this narrowing of the degrees of freedom in the innovation development process. Although this is a simple way of looking at the process it illustrates how innovation was part of the thinking phase for anyone wanting to eat. The goal is to eat with several ways of obtaining food such as fishing, hunting and gathering. In today’s society we scout out the grocery stores and choose items we want to have for a meal, purchase and then prepare the meal. You can see the many examples in grocery stores of companies building competitive service and wares. Some of these focus on packaging options to make their products more attractive for the consumer, such as portion sizes or preprocessed to save time in preparation.

On the lower curve we see the Discover, Understand and Focus process that is sometimes used in discussing the creative problem solving process. At the bottom of the diagram are shown the Research, Development, Production and Marketplace domains and the Innovative Team Hats of Scientist, Engineer, Technologist and Customer with the Business Hat managing the process. Try your hand at thinking through product development process where the above concepts are used. I hope this gives you some new ways of thinking inside and outside the box to build competitive services and wares.

Friday, March 21, 2008

SIN vs ACTS


Several years ago, I began thinking about SIN and what is the best way to understand it. After study and reflection, I wondered if there is a universal way of thinking about it in the Spiritual Paradigm as well as other paradigms such as Business, Nature and Personal Relations.

After much reflection and thought a metaphor evolved of two vectors. One pointing at a downward Southeast angle with SIN on it and another vector pointing at an upward Northeast angle with ACTS on it.

Where:
SIN = Selfish Insensitive Nature
ACTS = Acknowledge, Commit, Trust, Serve

Therefore as we look at the left side downward Southeast negative vector,
SIN excludes or ignores God, Nature, Customer or Others.

On right side we find an upward postive Northeast vector, ACTS which includes God, Nature, Customer or Others. The diagram shown dipicts the God case, but could be reflect Nature, Customer or Others.

First it is necessary to Acknowledge that there is a better way than SIN, once there is acknowledgement of a better way, then Commit and Trust to that way. At the point of the upward vector is Serve. Serving is the ultimate destination.


The behaviour of the SIN vector may be described as the author of Galations does:
"The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like…." Galations 5:19-21 NIV

The behaviour of the ACTS vector may be described as:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…." Galations 5:22-23 NIV

It appears to me that as we think of the Business Paradigm there are behaviours which would describe SIN and ACTS. If we exclude or ignore the Customer, Nature or Others in our thinking it seems this is the Selfish Insensitive Nature dominating. However, if we include the Customer, Nature or Others in our thinking then Service will dominate.

As I described this metaphor a few years ago in a group session, someone pointed out that the point where the vectors switch direction is the "crisis of decision." I feel that this also applies in the all paradigms as they shift directions. How this is managed can be critical to the way change is made.

With these thoughts of new ways of thinking inside and ourside the box, I believe we can place priority on the Service area which should result in building competitive services & wares of utmost quality.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

PET Factor ....

Services & Wares with the PET Factor can give a competitive edge. What is the PET Factor?

It is a method of thinking about Customer Solutions that provide:
Performance Enableing Technology
Performance Enhancing Technology
Performance Enabling Tools
Performance Enhancing Tools
Performance Enhanced Techniques
Performance Enableing Techniques
Performance Enhanced Thinking
Personal Entertainment Technology
Personal Enjoyment Toys
ETC ........

Note use of any combination of words with PET that will aid in building competitive Services & Wares. You may create your own combination that fits your Customer solution. It is just a technique for thinking outside the box when it comes to building competitive solutions.

With established Technology, Enhancing the Technology may be the prime way to get a competitive edge. The continous improvement cycle fits this well. When new Technology is available that is robust enough to incorporate into your product, then it becomes Performance Enableing Technology. In the case of new Technology there may be a need to educate the Customer to its benefits.

Think in terms of your competitor's PET Factor and your PET Factor to your Customer's needs and best solutions.

May you have Performance Enhanced Thinking by using the PET Factor in building competitive solutions for your Customer.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Civility …. Gracious Professionalism …. Quality

When I first ran across the term “Gracious Professionalism” in FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), it seemed a strange expression. Recently, I found Dr. Woodie Flowers, FIRST National Advisor indicating “Obviously it would not make sense to endorse ‘asinine professionalism’ or ‘gracious incompetence’…” In November 2007, Greensboro experienced the NC FIRST Lego League (FLL) competition at the Coliseum which promotes “Gracious Professionalism” in 9-14 age children. It promotes gracious attitudes and behaviors that are win-win. They learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. FIRST stresses, “in the long run, gracious professionalism is part of pursuing a meaningful life.”

As I have thought about this it ties in nicely with “Quality comes from Ownership with Integrity and appropriate Resources in a healthy Paradigm”, a view which I feel is the essence of quality. Even if we have ownership with integrity and appropriate resources, we will fall short in quality if we are operating in an unhealthy paradigm. The Gracious Professionalism addresses the issue of promoting a healthy paradigm. Civility also plays an important part in promoting a healthy paradigm. We all have a responsibility for striving for a healthy paradigm.

If we had more dashes of “Civility, Gracious Professionalism and Quality” described above, maybe we wouldn’t be experiencing many of the problems we have in our community and world. Just a thought!

Post Script:
In the September 19, 2009 Greensboro News & Record, the article "Tone down the rudeness, Americans urged" caught my eye. Reading it made me think of this blog written over a year ago. I liked what I saw especially "Civility is about protecting all of us.... You don't have to be wrong to be right." This fits into what I discussed above regarding promoting a healthy paradigm. The Civility Project is a step toward this end. You can sign a pledge if that fits your desires.
Post Script:
While reading Sarah Osborne's article in December 2010 SELifeStyle, I discovered another website OperationRespect.org.  Their Mission "To assure each child and youth a respectful, safe and compassionate climate of learning where their academic, social and emotional development can take place free of bullying, ridicule and violence."  I add it to this since it promotes a Healthy Paradigm.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

... Product of Process

You are the Product of the Process!

While teaching at NCA&T, the issue of testing was always of high interest to students. What type test, what will you put on the test, why do you use essay questions?

I tried to get the students to thinking outside the box, by words similar to the following: "You are Customers, because you or someone is paying for this education, so I must think of you as Very Important Customers. You are also Partners in the learning Process, since you contribute to the learning process and environment. But most important is you are the Product of the Process and your investment is dependent on your Ownership of the Product. So if you concern yourself with the Product you shouldn't have to worry about the tests." Each class would get a variation of this.

No matter what process we find ourselves part of we are partners in the process and contribute to the Product of the process; this may be Services or Wares for a Customer Solution to his needs. By being a partner in the process we at the same time are developing our own product, ourselves. This is why it is so important to think on a higher plane and see development of the product by thinking inside and outside the box.


I would hope that this type of thinking will improve Services & Wares for the the Customer and in the process will enhance your product, yourself.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Building Competitive .....

Building Competitive Services & Wares can be improved by using Metaphors for the 21st Century (M21). M21C is the umbrella term for including various metaphors into a global framework of new ways of thinking inside and outside the box.

Customers that will pay for Services or Wares from a Business is the basic premise of an economy. The Business must have Resources managed in way that provide Services or Wares that meet a desire or need of the Customer. This also requires Sources that provide materials or services for the Business to produce the the service or ware that Customer will pay money for. Another element that must always be considered is the Competition. The Customer makes the choice to use your services or wares or those of the Competition. Therefore it is essential to keep the Competition in mind for what they now provide as well as what they may provide in the future.

Important to having Competitive Services and Wares is having an Innovative Engine which can Research, Develop, Produce and Market solutions that meet the needs of Customers. You can find information and examples of metaphors that aid in new ways of thinking inside and outside the box at www.bcswonline.com. It is our premise that the tools of M21C will provide a competitive edge when used apporpriately.

Quality comes from ....

"Quality comes from Ownership with Integrity and appropriate Resources in a healthy Paradigm - lhb"

An "O" and an "I" make a "Q". Ownership, Integrity and appropriate Resources are like a three legged stool, lack of any one will result in the stool toppling over. These three were my beginning thoughts on Quality; for a couple of years, they seemed to be the essence of Quality. However, it dawned on me in the 1990's that you could have all three, but still not achieve Quality. Whenever you have an unhealthy paradigm, where the various facets are at odds with one another, Quality suffers. It doesn't take a lot of smarts to recognize an unhealthy paradigm, where the various agents and resources are not in sync working toward the common objective. This insight revised my view to what it is now; where it has remained as a solid and robust metaphor over two decades.

In terms of math this can be represented as Q = Function(O,I,R,P)
where:
Q = Quality,
O = Ownership,
I = Integrity,
R = appropriate Resources
P = healthy Paradigm

I have shared this view of Quality with many people inside and outside the US over the past couple of decades; they have confirmed the above is the essential ingredients of Quality. It doesn't replace the many approaches to Quality, but it complements them and allows it to be thought of in the simplest terms.

It is interesting to observe how a high Quality paradigm is operating in a well oilled manner can almost suddenly become unheathly by the deteriation of Ownership, Integrity or appropriate Resources. To return it to a healthy Paradigm takes considerable effort and time. During the time my Dad spent several years in long term care facilities, I observed a very Quality operation deteriate into an unhealthy paradigm. Usually it was because of deficients in the Ownership, Integrity or appropriate Resources. To get it back on track took considerable efforts and time.