1. Get inspiration from 4 genius collaboration examples

    August 26, 2015 by ahmed

     

    Originally posted on LinkedIn by Roisin King

    I am always asked “what do you mean exactly” when talking about collaboration. We know what it means but put it into the context of growing your business and thinking outside your box!

    Example ! Example ! Example ! When you can’t afford to learn by doing, the next best option is to look at others’ experience to figure out whether something is beneficial and relevant enough for you to take on. This is exactly what I am planning to do in this blog – to paint a clearer picture of what collaboration is all about and to better yet demonstrate its practical application to the business world through specific examples

    From the little guys

    1. Lewis Road Creamery x Whittaker

    inspire01On October, 2014, a 5-employee boutique New Zealand dairy company decided to add a twist to their fresh milk product by introducing a chocolate drink in partnership with a local renowned confectioner, Whittaker. Little did they know at the time that they was creating one of the most sought after drink in the country – “the Kiwi equivalent of the Cronut”. Before this unanticipated success, Lewis Road Creamery’s most well-known product was its butter. From the initial 1,000 litres per week, within weeks, they were making 40 times that volume in order to meet market demand for that little ‘heaven in a bottle’- chocolate milk.

     

    2. Tile x Blunt

    inspire02I never thought I would get excited about laying my hands on a new umbrella, but I did (and I had good reasons for that). The Blunt umbrella is no ordinary one. It is an ‘indestructible’ product with a locating device allowing me to find it instantly with just a push of button. Brilliant isn’t it?

    In a market that already very saturated, who would have thought a company that sells umbrellas at $125+ could survive let alone be so successful? But Blunt – an Auckland based company, has done exactly just that.

    Most of us knows the struggle of being unable to find the umbrella when it’s raining hard outside and ends up buying a new one only to find the other one sitting in the back of the car. Putting themselves in customers’ shoes, the team at Blunt in partnering with Tile, introduces the world’s first traceable umbrella. Not only does the product possess the outstanding aerodynamic robust canopy structure powered by Blunt but it also inherits Tile’s brilliant world-class tracking technology. Never worried about losing your umbrella again!

    To the bigger ones

    3. Biotherm x Renault

    What do automobile and skincare have in common

    It’s very hard to connect the dots. The brilliant team at Renault and Biotherm ( L’Oreal’s Luxury Product Division ) has taken collaboration to a whole new level where they bring together Renault’s expertise on car design and Biotherm’s knowledge on cellular mechanisms and aromatherapy to introduce a Spa Car – Zoe. This 100% electric car is aimed to provide drivers the absolute travel comfort and even positive enhancement to passengers’ health, particularly their skin. Indeed, Zoe’s smart air-conditioning systems can automatically adjust temperature, provide aromatherapy that fit drivers’ needs and eliminate skin dehydrating effects as well as filtering out toxic particles inside the car.

    And the story of bringing Kiwi brands to the East.

    4. New Zealand Post’s TMall

    inspire03China is where everyone wants to be. While New Zealand brand image is very positively perceived over there, our physical remoteness often presents a significant barrier for Kiwi firms contemplating to enter this market. NZPost’s TMall project was born to address this. With the ambition to bring New Zealand’s brands closer to the Chinese customers and further strengthened the premium quality image of our product, NZPost along with Weta Workshop, Natural health product business Xtend Life and Hauora Honey, are currently selling their products directly to the Chinese consumers through their new storefront on Alibaba Groups’ TMall Global internet shopping website.

    For a long time, the couriers and local delivery services has suffered a stagnant period of minimal growth and declining sales. Hence, by doing this, NZPost is able to drive sales for parcels and e-commerce. At the same time, their partners are able to “dip the toes in the water for very minimal risk”.


  2. Collaboration, a Twin Peaks Revival

    July 9, 2015 by ahmed

     

    Originally posted on SA Partners by Kevin Eyre

    Put your lean know-how to the test in this continuous improvement dilemma.

    We think we have a collaborative culture at our business. Ours is a professional environment in which people behave constructively towards one another. We pride ourselves on encouraging a positive workplace atmosphere in which new ideas are welcomed and considered seriously without fear or favour. Of course, no business has a complete absence of ‘politics’, but I would say that ours comes pretty close.

    We’ve had real success with much of our business improvement activity, but we do notice a variation in success when it comes to cross-functional working which, unsurprisingly, is an area of increasing importance to us.

    In fact, we’ve tried to understand what it is that makes the difference between crossfunctional projects that work really well and the others that don’t. The results of our survey into this area have proved inconclusive. All of our projects are well structured, with good terms of reference and clear accountabilities which are well specified.

    Project leaders receive good and effective training in project management and we invest in helping team members to respect each others’ differing contributions as they result from differences in personal style or psychology. The one theme which does emerge as something that requires more attention, however, is communication. We’ve spoken to the teams that most cited communication as
    needing a bit more attention, but, ironically, they find it difficult to be terribly specific about what the problem is.

    It just seems that some teams find communication to be more open and more purposeful, but we’re not quite sure what people mean by this or how to ‘copy and paste’ it into other areas of the business. There may not be what could be described as ‘a failure to communicate’, but is there something that we’re missing?

    Kevin Eyre of SA Partners gives the expert view.

    It’s doubtful that you are missing anything obvious, but it may be that there are some hidden subtleties in the way that communication impacts on collaboration. Let me try to make you aware of them. Cross-functional working requires highly sophisticated types of interaction – a range of styles to deal with the different perspectives that different people have, excellent listening skills to master those differences and an appreciation that when it comes to communication, there is often a difference between what we intend and the impact that we actually have.

    This is, in fact, very common. Many managers intend to ask lots of questions of their people and believe that they do so. Ask most subordinates however, how inquiring their managers are and they will often tell you, “not very”.

    So, collaboration; the first point is this; that collaboration results from the interaction of two types of talk, or voices – inquiry and articulation. In complex situations I really need to understand what’s going on and so asking lots of (especially open) questions provides me with a rich perspective on the context of what’s happening. (This is a bit similar to the problem
    identification phase in classic ‘problem solving’ – the broader my investigation, the more possible ideas I capture.)

    It also leads others to conclude that I’m interested in them and that I’m listening to what they’re saying. Combining that inquiry with a voice that summarises what’s been said while simultaneously inviting others to comment, the voice of articulation, engenders confidence because it keeps the discussion open. Iterating between inquiry and articulation before decisions are taken builds collaboration. It shows respect and builds confidence. Is this what your project leaders are doing?

    Here’s a check. Many people believe that their communication creates collaboration, but rather than shifting between the ‘twin peaks’ of inquiry and articulation, they narrow the gauge and strike a more directional tone. There may be questions, but they will be more solutioncentred; “don’t you think we should go for option B?” There may be an attempt at summarising, but it will sound more like:” I’ve heard that option B is the one to go for”.

    This is a ‘twin crevice’. It offers lots of communication, but only if others are confident enough to counter-argue.

    At a narrower level still (and this might be regarded as a ‘twin base camp’), the voice is more judging and more challenging; “There’s really only one worthy option and that’s B” while the open nature of articulation gives way to the encouragement to shoot for something grand; “ Option B would be tough, but we need to stretch ourselves”. Most of these styles are performed as habits rather than as consciously shaped conversations. Performing them as the latter is possible and takes practice.


  3. Are we seeing the rise of a disruptive new business model?

    May 1, 2015 by ahmed

    Originally posted on Management Focus by Professor David Grayson

    “Another industrial revolution is coming and it’s circular,” declared Jeremy Warner, one of Britain’s leading business and economics commentators and assistant editor of The Daily Telegraph.”

    Warner explains: “The circular economy (CE) is basically about making finite resources go further in an era of ever increasing consumer demand.” Instead of the ‘take-makeuse and throw-away’ linear model which the world has been used to, CE is all about sustainable raw materials; renewability; reusing; repairing; upgrading; refurbishing; sharing and dematerialisation.

    Doughty Centre visiting professor and sustainability guru John Elkington remarks: “The circular economy has been promoted for years with concepts such as industrial symbiosis, industrial ecology and cradle-to-cradle, but got a new shot of adrenaline with the work of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Green Alliance, the European Commission and the World Economic Forum.”

    CE is becoming increasingly important for business. The 2013 UN Global Compact/Accenture CEOs triennial sustainability survey found that although the CE was almost entirely absent from their conversations in 2010, the concept had quickly taken hold among CEOs focused on innovation and the potential of new business models. Already, a third of CEOs in the 2013 survey report that they are actively seeking to employ CE models.

    The circular economy was a major topic at the 2015 Davos World Economic Forum with at least four major sessions, as well as the announcement of the winners of the first ever ‘Circulars’ (Oscars for the CE) and the launch of a new e-book (Waste to Wealth: creating advantage in a circular economy) by Doughty Centre advisory council member Peter Lacy, a managing director of Accenture.

    McKinsey & Co has also produced a series of influential reports on the economics of CE, concluding that it could save businesses over $1 trillion on a global scale by 2025. Stefan Heck and Matt Rogers (current and former McKinsey consultants) have also written a powerful book Resource Revolution: how to capture the biggest business opportunity in a century, which encourages adoption of the CE. They argue that rather than settling for historic resource-productivity improvement rates of one to two per cent a year, leaders must deliver productivity gains of 50% or so every few years.

    As Warner writes: “With the traditional take, make, dispose’ model, elements such as gold, silver, indium, iridium, tungsten and many others vital for industry could be depleted within five to 50 years.”

    This linear model relies on large quantities of easily accessible resources and energy, and as such is increasingly unfit for the reality in which it operates. Working towards efficiency – a reduction of resources and fossil energy will not alter the finite nature of their stocks but can only delay the inevitable. A change of the entire operating system seems necessary. So the idea is to make all devices, or rather the parts that make them up, recyclable so that the same resource can be repeatedly used.

    According to research by McKinsey and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the cost of a mobile phone could be reduced by 50% by applying these principles. Similarly, the cost to the consumer of a high-end washing machine could be reduced by a third if they were leased rather than sold, and their parts recycled into new machines.

    Cranfield is developing a panUniversity focus on CE and is one of the first three university partners of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and active in CE100, an international network of companies committed to learn from each other about how to implement the circular economy.

    Cranfield’s unique focus on technology and management makes us the perfect partner to explore the potential and inform the practice of the CE. Managers and companies need to understand both the science and the technology of CE – but also how to manage what is transformational, organisational change. Cranfield experts are already investigating the scientific and technological aspects of CE: how to replace unsustainable raw materials with those which can be recycled and reused and how to modify manufacturing processes in line with CE principles.

    As the circular economy moves higher and higher up the political and business agenda, managers and leaders are being called upon to embed CE thinking throughout their organisations and in doing so they are beginning to see the potential bottom line gains to domestic economies and businesses are huge. In the UK, it has been estimated that a more circular approach to the economy could boost GDP by £3bn, while
    generating 50,000 new jobs.

    Every aspect of management will be impacted by the CE including; engaging with suppliers so that they are prepared to identify the components they source and are willing to switch where necessary to sustainable ones; managing the internal and outsourced innovation needed; marketing CE and potentially learning reselling techniques; servitization; reverse logistics; motivating and reskilling employees; and embedding strategy so that the transformation is real and not superficial, leaving the organisation open to charges of greenwashing.

    Managing the CE will require additional skills to understand the basic science relevant to your industry; to learn how to collaborate and partner (sometimes with unusual and unexpected partners such as NGOs, development agencies or academic institutions); and how to enthuse employees that CE is a positive business transformation which they want to contribute to, and not just the latest management fad.

    As Lacy argues: “Continued dependence on scarce natural resources for growth exposes a company’s tangible and intangible value to serious risks.” Conversely, he says companies can initiate the transition to a new way of doing business that radically improves resource productivity, enhances differentiation, reduces costs and risks, creates robust new revenue streams, and enhances the customer value proposition. In the face of runaway resource scarcity and rising expectations for better, more sustainable products, there’s never been a better time to start.

    Business leaders can start by asking themselves, where are the opportunities for adopting CE approaches in our value chain and what can be done to shape our company’s journey? Corporate boards have a crucial role. New research by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), MIT Sloan Management Review and the UN Global Compact found that only a fifth of corporate boards provide substantial oversight, while 58% of boards are perceived to be not even moderately engaged in sustainability.

    As Professor Andrew Kakabadse and I have previously argued, boards need to appoint Non Executive Directors who understand CE and sustainability broadly and integrate it into the duties of the overall board and committees in order to create a mindset for sustainability across an organisation.


  4. Model for sustainable change

    January 21, 2015 by ahmed

    Stakeholders must have an understanding of the change and why it is important. They also need motivation to move in the direction of the change and to embrace the change as necessary for the future of the organization as well as their own future. Performance incentives must be in place, which reinforce the desired behavior required by the future state envisioned as part of the strategic plan. And, lastly, stakeholders must understand the risks and consequences associated with failure and the rewards associated with success.

    There is a need to make a shift in most organizations’ cultures. Too often change management consists of communication of the change at the start of the project and ends with training on the new process, tool or product, all with a hope for the best. To break with this pattern and embrace the model for sustainable change, organizational leaders, including project and program managers, must go beyond just communicating with and enrolling all stakeholders. They must actively engage their teams in designing, implementing and making ongoing improvements in strategic organizational changes.

    To implement viable change, project and program managers must encourage stakeholders to understand the need for change, as well as help them embrace the envisioned future state. This is a white paper by James H. Harrington, CEO of Harrington Associates and Frank Voehl, Strategy Associates. Enabling organizational change through strategic initiatives.


  5. Report: The Rising – and Falling – Stars of Global Manufacturing

    September 2, 2014 by nick.halley
    Originally posted on blogs.wsj.com by Timothy Aeppel

    It is no secret rising labor and other costs have hampered what was once China’s unstoppable drive to make every widget the world could ever use.

    But that is only one part of a larger reshuffling taking place in global manufacturing.According to a new report from the Boston Consulting Group—which for several years has tracked the competitiveness of global producers—the old assumptions of low cost versus high-cost regions is outdated. That view held large swaths of the globe, mainly in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, held an unbeatable cost advantage over richer, established economies. But no more, says BCG.

    “The new map increasingly resembles a quilt-work pattern of low-cost economies, high-cost economies, and many that fall in between, spanning all regions,” the report said.

    BCG analyzed the cost structure of 25 leading exporters, focusing on wages, productivity, the price of energy and exchange rates. The consulting group estimates these countries account for nearly 90% of global exports of manufactured goods.

    It found some economies long thought of as low-cost hubs are under pressure. For instance, Poland, the Czech Republic and Russia, all have seen erosion in their cost competitiveness over the past decade.

    The changes are creating new winners—and new losers—as well as a batch of countries simply holding their own.

    Mexico is now cheaper than China and the U.K. has emerged as a low-cost manufacturer relative to most of its European neighbors, according to the BCG calculations. Brazil, meanwhile, has become one of the world’s priciest places to make things; its cost structure is tied with those of Italy and Belgium in the BCG rankings.

    The study used the U.S. as a baseline and found Brazil’s average costs went from 3% lower than in the U.S. in 2004 to 23% higher today. BCG notes Brazilian factory wages more than doubled over the decade, while productivity growth faltered. The cost of buying electricity for factories in that South American country have doubled, while natural gas prices have leapt nearly 60%.

    The clear winners in this global scramble, according to BCG, are Mexico and the U.S. The two neighbors saw their competitiveness improve more than in any other country studied. “Because of low wage growth, sustained productivity gains, stable exchange rates, and a big energy-cost advantage, these two nations are the current rising stars of global manufacturing,” the report said.