1. Bold or Bluffing?

    February 2, 2016 by ahmed

    Originally posted on smith+co

    We know that when it comes to being bold, there comes a time where you’ll need to take a risk. So let’s ask ourselves, how bold are we really? For instance, do you really put your customers at the heart of your business? Most brands, when push comes to shove, are not that bold; not brave enough to let customers hack their products or own the customer service. But for some brands, like Lego and giffgaff, they have proven the SAS motto of ‘Who dares wins’ to be true in defining a customer experience.
    Putting your customer at the heart of your customer experience may sound common sense, but it’s often neglected. It’s easy to assume we know the intentions and the desires of our customers, but this assumption has led many brands away from engagement. Lego, a brand that actively looks to engage with its most loyal customers, were once reminded about the power of customer engagement on an epic scale.After launching ‘Mindstorms’, Lego bricks with software designed for young people to programme robotics, Lego noticed that 100,000 people hacked into the software itself and began reprogramming it. Lego naturally feared the hackers were malicious before realising it was actually their fans with software programming skills collaborating to improve the experience for all users. By listening intently Lego collaborated with these 100,000 computer programmers to build a better a product.

    Lego’s customers took the initiative and felt they didn’t need prompting or scripting to engage with the much loved brand. Those leading Lego’s customer experience had to exercise a level of trust during this process. Do you trust your customers enough to influence the brand itself?

    giffgaff too are leading the way in this level of trust, letting their customers control pricing, marketing and customer service…but more about them next month.

  2. What drives someone to spend most of their adult life inventing a jetpack?

    November 3, 2015 by ahmed


    Originally posted on idealog by Henry Oliver

    What drives someone to spend most of their adult life inventing a jetpack?

    “Why not a jetpack?” says Glenn Martin, inventor and founder of Martin Jetpack, and the man who has made his childhood dreams a reality.

    “Doesn’t everybody want one? I’ve wanted one from the age of five.”

    After spending 34 years inventing his jetpack, Martin has recently exited Martin Jetpack, which next year will release the first commercially-available jetpack. The company says the craft can fly at up to 1000 metres for more than 30 minutes, and users need minimal instruction.

    Martin set out to make jetpacks for recreational use, but ever since his invention was revealed at a US airshow in 2008, Martin Jetpack has been approached by a broad range of potential customers from the CIA to search and rescue.


    So how did Martin do it when the largest aerospace companies in the world, with huge staffs and billions of dollars of R&D resources at their disposal, couldn’t? Is Martin a genius, or is he just more tenacious than his corporate competitors?

    “I believe that innovation is a process, and there’s a methodology,” says Martin.

    “They say the Wright Brothers were successful because they were geniuses, or Peter Beck managed to put a rocket into space because he’s a genius. The Wright Brothers weren’t geniuses. And Peter Beck is an incredibly intelligent guy, but I don’t think he’d call himself a genius.

    “People throw that label genius on things as if people are freaks and it’s not attainable by everybody. The truth is it’s no different to learning to run a marathon – there are some skills you need and some methodologies you need to follow.”

  3. Launch of the International Institute of Inspiration Economy

    September 1, 2015 by ahmed


    BPIR.com is supporting the launch of the International Institute of Inspiration Economy. We encourage those interested in this new venture to attend the Learning & Inspiring Week – by IIIE, Slovenia – September 22nd till 26th, 2015.

    The 5 days is full of workshops, deep dialogue cafés, best practice visits and interesting visits and reflections on world attractions in and around Slovenia.

    Participants are expected from different countries of the world and especially those interested in inspiration, innovation, entrepreneurship, youth development, education, art, positive psychology and issues of socio-economy.

    The week will help you to re-focus on your role in a turbulent world and how to contribute during crisis.

    For further information on this new venture please read the brochure or contact Dr. Mohamed Buheji, buhejim@gmail.com.

  4. 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”.

  5. Do You Want to Hire Innovators?

    July 7, 2015 by ahmed


    Originally posted on LinkedIn by Jim Gilchrist

    This post addresses the topic hiring innovative and talented people. The BPIR website contains many case studies and expert opinion articles covering similar subjects. BPIR membership will provide you with unlimited access to these valuable resources. All topics are conveniently summarized into concise snippets that are linked to the original and printable article.

    As we experience economic evolution, and the emergence of the “new economy”, we need to understand that our business attitudes and approaches must evolve accordingly. Many of us already accept that achieving profitability and organizational growth will be a challenge in this increasingly competitive global economy. But the all-important question remains; “what are you going to do about it”? Those organizations that ignore the new realities of the evolution, and who return to past “old economy” thinking, will fall behind. Those who adapt to the changes, reluctantly or otherwise, will keep pace. But those organizations that embrace and facilitate change will take the lead in the new economy.

    The opportunities that will arise in the new economy will mostly be captured by innovative organizations that are staffed by innovative people. Performance-oriented and typically dissatisfied with the status quo, innovators will be excited about the challenges of the new economy and passionate about finding real solutions to real problems. Determined to make a difference in both their organizations and their industries, these select people will have the most “impact” when employed in the right roles in the right organizations. But when employed in organizations that operate contrary to their innovative nature, by continually utilizing antiquated business and management approaches that no longer work, they will readily seek a more suitable employment match.

    Organizational innovation starts at the top. It is essential that upper management has an innovative long-term vision, and that they build an innovative culture via leadership that is manifested through innovative policies and procedures. This goes so much farther than simply technological innovation. To build a truly innovative organization, it is essential that upper management embraces innovative business best practices, and that they integrate these concepts throughout all operational activities at all levels. To be successful, it becomes crucial to that we hire organizational leaders who have a track record of making quantum improvements, and in helping their organizations to break free from the status quo. To successfully build innovative organizations, we need to realize that innovative people are attracted to innovative managers, and they are repelled by the mediocre.

    Innovation is Personality Based

    To capture innovation, many organizations target passionate people who love their work. But passion by itself does not always breed the necessary discontent for things that are no longer working as they should. Individuals who are professionally innovative are often not only passionate, but they also possess a relentless drive to innovate around practices and approaches that no longer accomplish what the organization needs done. Consistently, innovators they have a track record of surpassing everyone else when it comes to successfully overcoming resistance to change and the barriers to innovative execution.

    “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; un-rewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination are omnipotent”.

    Calvin Coolidge, US President

    We know that superior performance is always dependent on an appropriate match between a person’s work personality characteristics and the specific requirements of the respective position, the departmental team, the immediate manager and the organizational culture as a whole. But we can make some generalizations that are typical of innovative people. For the most part they are:

    • Exceptional problem solvers relative to the demands their position in the organizational hierarchy
    • Self-motivated and typically over-achievers
    • Able to maintain focus and concentration on the right things at the right time
    • Not easily distracted, and able to maintain their focus over time
    • Intellectually competitive and driven to surpass the competition
    • Open to new ideas and they welcome logical change
    • Highly expressive of their opinions and ideas
    • Able to absorb and utilize vast amount of information and to multi-task
    • Able to overcome resistance to change by creating interpersonal relationships with others
    • Willing to take risks, and accept mistakes
    • Capable of making logical decisions quickly
    • Able to learn from their mistakes and grow
    • Energetic and fast learners
    • Self confident, and
    • Highly ethical and devoted

    Innovative People Will Respond to Innovative Hiring Practices

    You cannot say one thing then do another. If you position your organization as being innovative, you will not be successful in attracting and hiring innovative people by using outdated, non-innovative recruitment and selection practices. In the new, internationally competitive, economy there will be significant demand for high-impact, innovative managers and staff. It is foolhardy, even in a high unemployment economy, to assume that innovative people will be readily available. Most innovators will be retained by their employers because they understand their current and future value. And SHOULD an innovator be temporarily unemployed, it would be unwise to assume that they are going to find, and select, your organization instead of all of their other options. This is “old economy” thinking, which did not really work then, and certainly will fail in the new economy. Innovative people are not attracted to web postings, job fairs, newspaper ads or corporate website posted opportunities. They are different than the “run of the mill”, they are in demand, and they know it. If you want to compete for high-demand innovative people, you would be wise to proactively find them and recruit them, rather than hope that they find you.

    Since the key to future business success will be in developing processes that drive continuous innovation throughout every aspect of the organization, it’s important to realize the significant impact of the recruiting function to organizational competitiveness. In line with the new demands of the new economy, the appropriate re-alignment of such functions as candidate sourcing, recruitment and assessment is essential to hiring more innovative individuals. In other words, we need to develop a recruitment process that is consistent with the organization’s innovation objectives. Here are some suggestions:

    • Define innovation relative to the organization, department, team and position to be filled
    • Make the hiring of innovators a primary goal
    • Develop a hiring plan based on your definition
    • Prioritize filling innovative positions and remove any possible barriers to hiring them
    • Know and promote the elements of your organization that would attract innovators
    • Encourage external hiring when you cannot identify internal innovators
    • Recognize and assess for key innovative personality traits
    • Be different than your competition by defining innovation without using the word “innovation”
    • Redefine how to identify and engage innovation in an interview
    • Utilize appropriate and valid assessments to identify innovation as per your definition
    • Adjust the candidate experience to verify that your organization is innovative (ie: no “cattle calls”)
    • Realize that your current hiring system probably restricts the hiring of innovators, so review;
    • how position requirements are defined,
    • methods of candidate attraction,
    • interviewing approaches,
    • internal assessment capability, and
    • adjust them specific to your hiring objectives rather than use a “one approach fits all” approach
    • Follow through with an innovative orientation and retention programs
    • Track success based on the initial innovation related goals

    Too often, organizational leaders mistakenly under-value the importance of organization-wide innovation, or they misinterpret how truly innovative their respective organizations actually are. And even when there is recognition of the need to develop more innovative business practices, and to hire more innovative personnel, many often postpone taking action to due to other priorities. But as the economic system quickly changes, our adaptive response needs to be just as fast. We need to understand the cumulative effects of the global recession, the shift in domestic sector strength, the shift in regional market strength, the growing economic clout of Asia and the subsequent competition to attract talent to that region, the increasing drain of experience through the retirement of the baby-boomer demographic, the lack of experience and preparation of new graduates, the lack of available prepared internal “successors”, the increasing pressure for higher productivity to be achieved with fewer resources, the upcoming personnel retention challenges that will occur as the recession lifts…. and so on, and so on…. Not to mention the global competition for talented innovative managers and staff.

    Anyone who thinks that it will be “business as usual” in the new economy is due for a serious “wake up call”.

    Jim Gilchrist B.E.S.
    CEO, CAES Career Advancement Employment Services