1. Dubai Health Authority reveals results of Happiness Prescribing Program’s pilot phase

    March 15, 2018 by ahmed


    One of the ambitious projects of Dubai We Learn initiative is Dubai Health Authority project “Prevention better than Cure”. The aim of the project is to develop and start implementing Dubai Diabetes prevention framework based on worldwide best practices to reduce the prevalence of Diabetes from 19.3% to 16.3% in 2021.The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) revealed the results of the trial phase for the Happiness Prescribing Program during its participation in the UAE Innovation Month 2018.

    The Happiness Prescribing Program was launched by the authority with the aim of identifying and implementing prevention programs among pre-diabetics and persons with high risk factors by not only prescribing medication, but also prescribing nutritional and physical programs.

    Dr Hanan Obaid, Consultant Family Physician and Head of Acute and Chronic Diseases said this program is a pioneering model of community health care for the prevention of diabetes in the Emirate of Dubai. She said that adopting a new approach that does not depend on prescriptions, but goes beyond that to be an integrated behavioral, social and psychological treatment in line with the vision of the UAE and the Dubai plan 2021 and the Dubai Health Authority strategy on Prevention & Healthy lifestyles, and participation in the Dubai Government Excellence Program “Dubai We Learn”.

    The six-month trail phase, which was implemented at Al Barsha and Nad Alhamar Health Centers with the participation of Dubai Ladies Club, Bel Remaitha Club for Men and Sharjah University was conducted on 43 participants of women 25 and men 18.

    Dr Obaid said the specialist doctor offered them a comprehensive health survey and conducted the necessary tests then followed by the nutrition and health education, in addition to the various sports classes and sessions, which were provided for the participants by Dubai Ladies Club, Bel Remaitha Club. Moreover, The University of Sharjah has reviewed and approved this new methodology for the prevention of diabetes.

    “The results found that participants achieved good rates of weight loss ranging from 7 to 11 kg during the past six months, in addition to the risk reduction of diabetes during the next 10 year as follow: 13% risk reduction from severe to intermediate risk & 7% risk reduction from intermediate to low risk in women group. It also has 7% risk reduction from high to moderate risk in men group adding that participants expressed their happiness and satisfaction with this program as diabetes has a negative impact on individuals and society as well as the health sector due to the increase in expenditure for treatment of the disease and its complications,” she said.

    The World International Diabetes Federation (IDF) found that the average expenditure on diabetics in the UAE is estimated at 9.8 billion dirhams annually, and the percentage of diabetic patients in UAE about 17.3% in 2017, which is considered a high percentage compared to other countries. In the Emirate of Dubai, the percentage of people with diabetes was about 15.2% and the percentage of people at risk was 15.8% according to the results of the 2017 Dubai Diabetes Household Survey.

    “The goal of this program is to reduce the incidence of new cases of diabetes in the society of Dubai among the high risk groups who have risk factors such as: overweight and obesity, lack of physical activity, unhealthy food, and family history of diabetes, stress and smoking,” she said.

    The happiness-prescribing program is now electronically connected with the DHA Hayati Application, which will include the evaluation of diabetes at risk and determine the possibility of exposure to diabetes during the next ten years. It will then link it to a new services called Lifestyle clinics, which will be an Innovative solution to prevent diabetes by having a network of a multidisciplinary team (including a doctor, dietitian, health education specialist, and sports clubs).

  2. The sixteen golden traits

    by ahmed

    16 golden traits

    By H. James Harrington

    Recently, I was searching for a specific quote from a past IBM president. In trying to find the quote, I pulled out The Quality/Profit Connection, a book I had written 30 years ago. It included a series of interviews with the CEOs and presidents of 3M, AT&T, Avon, Corning Glass, Ford, General Dynamics, General Motors, HP, IBM, Motorola, and North American Tool and Die. After reviewing these leaders’ comments, I summarized the traits of a successful company, which I called “The Sixteen Golden Traits.” Looking back on this list three decades later, it’s interesting how little has changed in the business world with regards to quality and performance improvement. It is important to remember: These conclusions describe the important trends which developed in companies that had been recognized as successfully implementing performance improvement approaches around the world in the 1980s.

    The Sixteen Golden Traits

    1. Close customer relationships.
    Successful organizations maintain close personal contact with their customers to ensure a full understanding of the customers’ changing needs and expectations. When problems arise, they react quickly, pouring oil over troubled waters.

    2. Concern for the individual employee.
    These organizations respect the individual’s rights and dignity, realizing that the company succeeds only to the degree that the individual succeeds. They respect the individual’s thoughts and ideas, realizing that he or she has more to contribute to the company than just physical labor. They not only encourage the participation of the employee, they require it. They look at the individual as part of the solution to their problem, not as the problem.

    3. Top management leadership of the quality process.
    Members of the organization’s top management have accepted their role in leading the quality activities of the company. Support groups such as qualityassurance offer advice, research problems, and provide data. But the company president sets the direction and establishes the standards. These presidents realize that their company is an image of themselves, and they understand that they must set the personal quality example.

    4. High standards.
    These organizations set extremely high standards for their products, services, and people. They strive to set the standard for their industry and are dissatisfied if they are not No. 1.

    5. Understanding the importance of the team.
    Successful organizations use teams to unite the company, improve working relationships, and improve morale. They understand that only management can solve 85 percent of the problems and that the employee teams are needed to address the other 15 percent.

    6. Effort to meet and exceed customer expectations.
    They are not satisfied with state of the art, and are always trying to provide better products and services to their customers and at lower cost. They understand their customers’ needs and go beyond them, realizing that simply fulfilling the customers’ needs will not capture future sales. They want their output to be valued by their customers.

    7. Belief that quality is the first priority.
    When a compromise between quality, cost, or schedule must be made, quality is never compromised. Successful organizations realize that poor quality causes most of their cost and schedule problems, and if they focus their attention on the quality problems, their cost and schedule problems will take care of themselves. They also realize that the quality personality of the company is extremely fragile, particularly during the change period, and that even the smallest compromise in quality can set back progress many years.

    8. View of business for the long term.
    Top management realizes that the important objectives are directed at the long-term survival and prosperity of the company. They give priority to long-range plans that will build a product and customer base, paying secondary attention to quarterly and yearly reports. They measure their success by their company’s long-term growth, not by short-term fluctuations, over which they often have little or no control.

    9. Sharing of prosperity with the employees.
    Successful organizations view employees as partners and establish programs that directly relate the success of the company to the employees’ earnings and their contributions. Programs like gain sharing, suggestion, and pay for performance are key parts of the employee benefit package.

    10. Management and employee education.
    They realize that education is not expensive; it is ignorance that is costly. These organizations realize that everyone is responsible for quality and that everyone needs education related to the quality tools if they are to meet this responsibility. As a result, heavy focus on quality education has been directed at the management team and key professionals. At the employee level, education has been directed at problem-solving methods and job training.

    11. Management leadership rather than supervision.
    They know that management must be leaders of the employees, rather than dictators. It is much easier to pull a string in the desired direction than to push it. For management to assume the leadership role has not been easy, and many of the companies are still working on this change in their company personality. After all, for the past 40 years we have trained our managers to be attack dogs, and now we want them to be purring kittens.

    12. Investment in the future.
    Research and development means investing in the future of the company. It ensures a steady flow of products and ideas needed to meet the expectations of the future market. Along with the need for research, a parallel need is providing employees with equipment that pushes the state of the art and allows them to perform at their very best. Companies that realize this have prospered. Those that have not, have failed or will eventually fail.

    13. Focus on the business system.
    They realize that the only way to prevent errors from occurring is by correcting the business system that controls the company activities. Employees work in the business system, while managers must work on the system.

    14. Recognition systems.
    Successful organizations realize that recognition takes many forms: financial, personal, and public. They have established a recognition system with many options to ensure that it meets the total needs of employees and management. A pat on the back is good, but sometimes a pat on the wallet is more appropriate. On other occasions, a personal letter sent to the employee is the best action.

    15. Employee involvement.
    They go out of their way to make all the employees feel that they are part of the business and that their contributions are important. They take time to involve the employees in their long-term plans and report progress back to them periodically. They make them part of the company by providing such things as a stock-purchase plan or gain sharing. They provide the employees with opportunities to meet and understand customers, the ones who receive their output. Sometimes a customer is outside the company, but more often it is another company employee. It’s not easy to care about customers when you never see or hear from them, but if the customer is the person who sits behind you or in the next office, the concept of customer satisfaction becomes a much more personal issue.

    16. Decreased bureaucracy.
    Management continually works at making all decisions at the lowest level. Maximum authority is given to each level of management. Checks and balances are used, but only when absolutely necessary. Management realizes that bureaucracy tends to work its way into the business systems, and they are continuously vigilant to minimize its impact.

    In summary
    We talk a lot about how things have changed, but the basic things that make for a successful organization have not changed. Fundamental tenets, such as respect for the individual, doing our best all the time, understanding our customer, investing in our employees, being honest, and finding win-win solutions, are as important today as they were in the 1980s—and perhaps even more important today.

    Yes, things may move faster. We may have more competition, but we also have more opportunities. We can’t let the rush of today set aside these very important basic values or we all will fail.

    Extensive research indicates that improved perceived product quality and reliability are the most effective ways to increase profits and the most important factors in the long-term profitability of a company. We need to ask ourselves if approaches like total quality management, Six Sigma, lean, ISO 9000, benchmarking, and business process improvement are the ways to accomplish our objective when the basic problems have not changed in the last 30 years promoting them. I agree it is a long road to excellence but shouldn’t we have accomplished more in the last 30 years? It’s time for some new, innovative thinking to accomplish much more in the next 30 years than we have in the last 30 years.

    In the early 1980s, IBM was rated as the most admired company in the world by Fortune magazine. Fortune’s February 2, 2018 issue listed the world’s most admired companies today. Apple took the top spot, directly followed by Amazon. IBM was rated 35 out of the top 50 companies. IBM was ranked 24 th last year—a drop of nine positions in just 12 months.

    We need to ask ourselves: What are Apple and Amazon doing that IBM is not doing? Maybe we need to ask the question turned around: “What is IBM doing that Apple and Amazon are not doing?”

    Creative, innovative systems will provide your company with the competitive edge to put it ahead of the pack. We cannot hope to succeed by taking the same old technology, renaming it, and thinking we are doing something new and innovative. Don’t be left at the starting gate. The only way we can do it is by working together and never being satisfied with how good we are. The race is not over yet. Remember, you can’t win today’s race with last week’s press clippings.

  3. Key employee engagement strategies for 2018

    February 27, 2018 by ahmed


    Originally posted on Floship

    For any business to be successful, it must have three things: a robust overall strategy, exceptional leaders, and engaged employees. This society has moved from an economy driven by the agricultural and manufacturing industries to a service oriented, personally connected economy.

    One hundred years ago, employees were tasked with manual labor and had no vested interest in the business that employed them.

    In 2018, with high paying jobs hard to come by, it is essential for employers and leaders to engage their employees and make them feel as if they are an integral part of the business.

    How can they do that? In this article, we’re going to lay out the what, why, and how of employee engagement.


    Employee Engagement Most Recent Data

    In 2017, Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report revealed that only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs – meaning that they are emotionally invested in committing their time, talent, and energy to adding value to their team and advancing the organization’s initiatives.

    This means that the majority of employees show low overall engagement. Workplace productivity was low and employees and organizations are not keeping up with workplace demands fast enough.

    More Gallup research shows that employee disengagement costs the United States upwards of $550 billion a year in lost productivity. As employee engagement strategies become more commonplace, there is an amazing opportunity for companies that learn to master the art of engagement.

    Jacob Shriar, in a piece on OfficeVibe, tells us that

      • Disengaged employees cost organizations between $450 and $550 billion annually.
      • Highly engaged business units result in 21% greater profitability.
      • Highly engaged business units realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity.
      • Highly engaged business units achieve a 10% increase in customer ratings and a 20% increase in sales.
      • Companies with engaged employees outperform those without by 202%.
      • Customer retention rates are 18% higher on average when employees are highly engaged.

    These statistics are just the beginning of why employee engagement is so important.

    Why Is Employee Engagement So Important?


    The term “engagement” has been used so often and in so many different situations that it’s become hard to define. Many people think it means happiness or satisfaction, but it’s much more than that.

    According to Gallup, who has been collecting and measuring employee engagement data for nearly 20 years: “Though there have been some slight ebbs and flows, less than one-third of U.S. employees have been engaged in their jobs and workplaces.”

    Imagine if every employee was passionate about seeing the company and its customers succeed. The only true way to ensure that your customers are well taken care of is by taking care of your employees. This is known as the service-profit chain, a concept first introduced by Harvard Business Review in 1998. It’s still as relevant today as it was then.

    Profit and growth are stimulated primarily by customer loyalty. Loyalty is a direct result of customer satisfaction. Satisfaction is largely influenced by the value of services provided to customers. Value is created by satisfied, loyal, and productive employees. Employee satisfaction, in turn, results primarily from high-quality support services and policies that enable employees to deliver results to customers.

    The service-profit chain is the flow from the culture you create to the profits you generate and every step in between. The key is to start internally. When you create an environment where employees are happy, productive, autonomous, and passionate about what they do, they’ll provide better service to your customers.

    That amazing service will create many loyal customers, leading to sustainable growth and profits. That’s why it’s important for every leader in an organization to understand the service-profit chain and how each step impacts the other.

    Key Employee Engagement Strategies


    Organizations need to pay attention to specific priorities to engage employees. Employees are more likely to become truly engaged and involved in their work if your workplace provides these factors.

    Employee engagement must be a business strategy that focuses on finding engaged employees, then keeping the employee engaged throughout the whole employment relationship. Employee engagement must focus on business results. Employees are most engaged when they are accountable, and can see and measure the outcomes of their performance.

    Employee engagement occurs when the goals of the business are aligned with the employee’s goals and how the employee spends his or her time.

    The glue that holds the strategic objectives of the employee and the business together is frequent, effective communication that reaches and informs the employee at the level and practice of his or her job.

    Engaged employees have the information that they need to understand exactly and precisely how what they do at work every day affects the company’s business goals and priorities. (These goals and measurements relate to the Human Resources department, but every department should have a set of metrics.)

    Employee engagement exists when organizations are committed to management and leadership development in performance development plans that are performance-driven and provide clear succession plans.

    When businesses actively pursue employee engagement through these factors, employee engagement soars to a ratio of 9:1 employees from 2:1 employees with concurrent improvements in the business success.

    Employee Engagement Examples

    There are of course many ways to show your employees they are valued, and to keep them focused and engaged on company success. According to Forbes, there are certain items in the benefit package that will help in creating employee engagement:

        • Health Insurance
        • Company Parties (social engagement)
        • Gifts (new babies, appreciation luncheons)

    Employees go home to different roles–parent, caregiver to a loved one, a church or civic leader, spouse, bandmate, freelancer, artist, neighbor–and the people they are closest to impact their lives and perspectives about work in meaningful ways. Acknowledging those relationships and showing they are a priority will increase employee engagement.

    How to Improve Employee Engagement


    In a recent article in Forbes, Brent Gleeson, a former navy seal and successful businessman, gives solid advice on ways to improve employee engagement.

    When managers are engaged, their team members can confidently state the following:

        • I know what is expected of me and my work quality.
        • I have the resources and training to thrive in my role.
        • I have the opportunity to do what I do best – every day.
        • I frequently receive recognition, praise and constructive criticism.
        • I trust my manager and believe they have my best interests in mind.
        • My voice is heard and valued.
        • I clearly understand the mission and purpose and how I contribute to each.
        • I have opportunities to learn and grow both personally and professionally.

    The steps for improving engagement aren’t complex, they simply must be prioritized. This means engagement must be a core function of the manager’s role. The following steps can help the manager to accomplish this.

    Step 1 – Put Everyone in the Right Role
    Again, get the right people on the bus and make sure they are in the right roles. This means that all talent acquisition and retention strategies have to be aligned with meeting company goals.

    Step 2 – Give them the Training
    No manager or leader can expect to build a culture of trust and accountability — and much less improve engagement —without setting the team up for success. This means providing the proper training and development while removing obstacles.

    Step 3 – Task Meaningful Work
    Engaged employees are doing meaningful work and have a clear understanding of how they contribute to the company’s mission, purpose and strategic objectives. Again, this is why they first have to be placed in the right role. I’ve made the mistake of hiring great talent just to get them in the door – but didn’t have a clear career path or role for them. If you don’t sort those details out quickly, they will leave.

    Step 4 – Check in Often
    The days of simply relying on mid-year reviews for providing feedback are long gone. Today’s workforce craves regular feedback — which of course leads to faster course correction and reduces waste. Use both formal and informal check-in strategies — and use them every week.

    Step 5 – Frequently Discuss Engagement
    Successful managers are transparent in their approach to improving engagement — they talk about it with their teams all the time. They hold “state of engagement” meetings and “engage” everyone in the discussion — and solutions.

    Again, these principles are not complex, but must be prioritized. Companies that get this right will drive greater financial returns, surpass their competitors, and easily climb to the top of “the best places to work” lists.

    Are Your Employees Engaged?
    Employee engagement is critical to the success of any business. When a business has engaged and invested employees, it is in their best interest to protect the productivity and profitability of the business, and the image the business has in the community. Engagement also results in employee retention, which saves the business money in turnover and training. There is no downside to getting your employees engaged and invested in your business.

  4. Dubai We Learn book launch – 13 benchmarking success stories

    December 26, 2017 by ahmed

    DWL Book

    On Sunday 17 December 2017, the Dubai Government Excellence Programme (DGEP) and the Centre for Organisational Research (COER) celebrated the publication of their book titled “Achieving performance excellence through benchmarking and organisational learning”. The book describes Dubai We Learn’s Excellence Makers Program and showcases 13 successful benchmarking projects undertaken by Dubai government entities from 2015 to 2016. The benchmarking projects focussed on a broad range of issues including innovation, employee happiness, smart government, purchasing, knowledge management and building employee competencies and skills.
    The book summarises how the projects were undertaken, results achieved, lessons learnt and key success factors. Dr Robin Mann, Founder of COER, explained at the launch that, “The purpose of the book is to show how benchmarking can be used to instigate change and produce major breakthroughs in performance. It aims to encourage more Dubai government entities to start their own benchmarking projects and conduct them in a structured way utilising the TRADE best practice benchmarking methodology. In addition, the book shares some fantastic best practices that can immediately be learnt from“.


    All projects used the TRADE Best Practice Benchmarking methodology to manage their projects and identify and implement best practices. On average projects identified between 30 to 99 potential actions to implement with savings and benefits for the Dubai government and citizens in the millions of dollars. Four of the projects achieved 7 star status for their role model application of the TRADE methodology.

    TRADE stages

    Dr. Ahmed Nuseirat, General Coordinator of DGEP, closed the book launch by saying, “The benchmarking projects are helping Dubai government entities to become world-leaders in public service. Due to the success of the Dubai We Learn initiative we are already looking forward to a 2nd volume of the book in 2018“.

    The book can be downloaded from here.

    Presentation video clips from each benchmarking project are available in the www.bpir.com’s Award winner reports section. Join BPIR to access the reports and many other features.

    Sign-up up to COER’s newsletter to receive future updates on COER’s work.

  5. Automobiles, Blind Spots, and Organizational Strategy

    December 8, 2017 by ahmed


    Originally posted on Blogrige by Harry Hertz

    Fall 2017
    How does an organization identify its potential blind spots? This is one of the most common questions I hear from people conducting strategic planning processes.

    To begin answering the question, I have a simple analogy that can be used as a springboard to organizational strategy. That is, today’s cars are equipped with three rearview mirrors and often a backup camera. The mirrors and camera let you visualize what is behind you, a place you have already been. They identify “competitors” from within your clear line of sight, but they do not tell you much about them. They are your “in-industry” competitors. Some cars have an embedded blind spot mirror in the outside mirrors. The blind spot mirrors allow a view of those close to you, potentially ready to overtake you. This is an important piece of trend data that puts you on the alert and identifies competitors from within your industry who might be ready to speed ahead and overtake your leadership position. However, what you really want to know is what lies ahead!You can look out your front windshield and see the road immediately ahead or use GPS to see the road a few miles or even hours ahead (the short-term horizon). This is all helpful information, but you really want to be able to look a year or two ahead and know what road you should be on and what the traffic (competition) will look like. Will you be on the same old roads or a new road (new products and services)? As a driver today, you want to know if you will be driving a car or using another mode of transportation entirely (deriving from new industry competitors or new travel modes within your industry). Will your competition be driverless cars or a hyperloop? Can you predict those new competitors today and plan accordingly? Can you even identify those non-industry competitors? These are the real blind spots you want to know as part of strategic planning, not the extrapolated data from a “rearview mirror.”At each stage of this blind spot analogy, you were broadening your view, eventually redefining your industry from personally driven automobiles to people moving. This could lead your organization to a major shift in “product line” and services, if you want to sustain the organization and its competitive position.

    The 2017-2018 Baldrige Excellence Framework describes blind spots as arising from incorrect, incomplete, obsolete, or biased assumptions or conclusions that cause gaps, vulnerabilities, risks, or weaknesses in your understanding of the competitive environment and strategic challenges your organization faces. Blind spots may arise from new or replacement offerings or business models coming from inside or outside your industry (as you currently define it). To conclude the analogy, competition could come from driverless cars or driverless car services that take you from chosen point to point (a new business model) or from outside your industry (significant changes in mass transport or hyperloops, for example).

    Where do we find the wisdom to recognize that our industry is people moving, not automobile manufacturing? How do we find what Donald Rumsfeld, the former Secretary of Defense, called the “unknown unknowns”? Kodak invented the digital camera but believed it was in the film industry/printing business, not the business to create memories that could best be shared online, digitally. It even realized that a “Kodak moment” was worth sharing but did not see far enough ahead to predict the business model for future sharing.

    In the remainder of this column, I will explore common traps that lead to blind spots, then explore some don’t do’s, and finally, how to look for blind spots.

    Blind Spot Traps
    I have identified seven common traps that lead to blind spots. Many of the traps arise from the work of Professor Bettina Büchel at IMD.

    1. Seeing what we expect to see: This is the theory of incongruence. We don’t see what is incongruent with our current beliefs and frame of reference. I remember seeing a video in which we were asked to count the number of times a basketball was passed; none of us noticed that a gorilla was walking among the players because we were so focused on basketball. We pay selective attention to our area of focus.
    2. Misjudging industry boundaries: We narrowly define our industry based on our current products or services and how they are used today.
    3. Failing to identify emerging competition: We don’t see emerging competition because they do not do things exactly as we do. They are tackling a different problem from our “blinders-on” perspective.
    4. Falling out of touch with customers: We think we know what our customers need and want. We have been serving them for many years and believe in their loyalty. We do not seek their input on changing needs or unmet desires.
    5. Overemphasizing competitors’ visible competence: We focus on our competitors’ current offerings and assume they will continue unchanged. We do not think about the research and development they may be doing on a disruptive product, service, or business model.
    6. Allowing organizational taboos or prohibitions to limit our thoughts: Our practices or policies can limit our thinking. We fail to question practices and policies that may be outdated or incongruent with current technology or regulation.
    7. Relying on history: This is the way we have always done things. We let our historical patterns guide our future.

    In essence, we fall into rigidity traps, rather than questioning the status quo.

    Blind Spot “Don’t Do’s”
    Before discussing what you should do to identify blind spots, let’s look at some “don’t do’s” that organizations engage in.

    1. Don’t be a slave to strategy: In a world where technology, business models, economics, and global political environments are in a constant state of evolution, organizations need to be agile. Slavishly adhering to a strategy created several years ago can take an organization down a path toward obsolescence. An organization can devote years to an outdated strategy, achieve it, and fail as an organization. And if the organization does not fail, achieving an outdated strategy could lead to the conclusion that developing strategy is useless. Today, strategic plans need to be regularly reviewed and modified as conditions and opportunities warrant. The approach should be toward strategic thinking, not strategic planning as a periodic event.
    2. Don’t focus on fear: While a healthy respect for all sources of competition is important, fear should be turned into opportunity. Fear can stifle breakthrough thinking. Confront organizational challenges and seek to capitalize on them through disruptive ideas and new solutions, not extensions of old ideas. Explore new capabilities needed to pursue opportunities. As suggested by Clark in an HBR blog, war-game your potential failures. Perform a pre-mortem. Assume the idea will fail and look for options to avoid the failure.
    3. Don’t trust: Don’t rely on sources that we tend to give undue weight. Don’t trust the wisdom of the crowd. Group-think can lead to consensing on a safe path, rather than expressing bold ideas. Brainstorm with all opinions valued. Don’t trust instincts, seek data and careful analysis of implications. Perceptions can be clouded by personal biases. Don’t trust minimizers. It is easy to deny problems and assume things will get better. It is also easy to assume things are better than they appear. Don’t trust individual experts. Experts can get it wrong and different experts have different opinions and ideas. Seek the thoughts of multiple experts.

    Blind Spot Identification
    Finally, let’s explore the processes you should use to seek and identify potential blind spots.

    1. Explore upcoming technologies: Are any emerging technologies capable of being exploited for your next generation products or services? Are there emerging technologies that could create new industries that challenge yours? Are there new technologies that could generate add-ons to your existing offerings? If yes, would it be an intelligent risk for you to invest early and capitalize on your brand recognition to be a first entrant.
    2. Assess global trends: Investigate global changes in demographics, political environments, regulation, production and purchasing capabilities, and markets. Are there any major shifts likely that could impact your marketplace positively or negatively?
    3. Get out of your comfort zone: Break tradition. Shake up the norm. Try to identify and test your implicit assumptions. Take your leadership team to totally different surroundings. Get you news from a different source that has a different focus than your normal channel. Talk to people that you wouldn’t normally interact with. For example, if you are a physicist, talk to an economist or social scientist or industrial engineer. Ask probing questions. Try to talk to someone new on a regular basis.
    4. Seek employee input broadly: Discuss potential game-changing ideas with employees at all levels of the organization. Solicit and listen to their reactions. Solicit other ideas from them. Bring people together from different parts of the organization and different job functions to brainstorm together and to share what they are hearing or reading outside the confines of their workplace.
    5. Talk to your customers: Ask your customers about their unmet needs and desires. Talk to your customers’ customers to gain additional insight. Observe your customers in action to understand their behaviors and frustrations. Look for creative solutions.
    6. Broaden your field of view: Don’t assume companies or organizations will remain in current industry boundaries. Look at adjacent industries and benchmark what they are doing. Ask yourself what business are you really in (e.g. automobile manufacturing or people moving)? What is the ultimate goal or impact of your product or service for the user? Given global and technology trends is there a new business model you should pursue?

    Final Thoughts
    To find blind spots you need to look broadly and not be constrained by current biases and boundaries. You need to trust instincts less because they harbor your current biases. You need to seek new and different sources of information and synthesize what you learn. Verify your conclusions. Plan a specific course of action. Continue monitoring trends and your progress. Stay agile. Look not just straight ahead, but around corners.