Archive for February, 2017

Seize the Digital Advantage

February 23, 2017

Help join up social business peopleAs a tech professional and leader in the know, your ears perk up when you hear about seizing that digital advantage. And we do nothing, until we again hear talk of how this or that leader or company leveraged that digital advantage. Here are some specific and tangible things you can do every day to realize a digital advantage.
Information Management
1. Being digital means easily uploading, downloading, updating and managing content which is easily sorted, filtered and categorized.
2. Being digital means providing access to the specific, relevant and real-time information of interest to them.
3. When leveraged well, access to volumes of relevant information helps companies be more responsive and better attuned to the current and anticipated needs of the customer.

Connecting and Communicating across people, technologies and platforms.
4. Being digital means providing the technology, networks and infrastructure necessary so that people can better connect to each other.
5. Being digital means ensuring ease of access, ease of use, as well as security and scalability of solution.
6. Being digital means connecting with people on any device from mobile to web to billboards to kiosks to automobile displays.

Engagement and Interaction
7. Being digital means you can better describe and communicate your own needs and better understand the needs of others.
6. Being digital means providing interactive and immersive experiences which are memorable, purposeful and engaging.
9. Being digital, connected and engaged leads to better collaboration between teams, between companies, between partners.

The bottom line is:
10. Being digital separates the haves and the have nots, be they individuals, teams, companies or industries.
Don’t get left behind. Seize the Digital Advantage.

Influence

February 13, 2017

febcollageFountainBlue’s February 10 When She Speaks meeting was on the topic of Expanding Your Circle of Excellence.  Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have such influential, well-spoken and diverse leaders on our panel, representing a wide range of companies, roles, backgrounds and cultures. But they shared many thoughts about the power of influence.

  • Influence is essential for getting things done at work and at home. Most of the time, we don’t have that direct authority to mandate that someone does something in a certain way by a certain time. And even if we did have that authority, it’s not a great way to lead, to empower, to build trust and loyalty.
  • Everybody can have a valid perspective, idea, approach or opinion. But not everybody will voice it so that it gets heard and considered. A leader ensures that a wide range of perspectives are heard, which increases the likelihood of project success and bottom-line results.
  • We would all benefit if everyone had the confidence and ability to influence decisions and outcome.
  • The first step to having more influence is to choose to do so.
  • Listen to the inspiring and practical stories of influential people around you, for it will also help you become more influential and feel more empowered. 

Their collective advice for expanding your circle of influence is summarized below.

  1. Know and accept your talents and weaknesses. Leverage your strengths and work on your shortcomings so that you can become more influential. 
  2. Everybody has their own style of influencing others. 
  3. Build deep and trusted relationships at all levels, whether or not you need something done right away.
  4. Understand the motivations and perspectives of those with whom you work. It’s much easier to find that common ground when you’ve done this first.
  5. Make everyone around you look good, feel good for the role they played in each project. 
  6. Be open to the perspectives of other people, especially when she/he don’t think like you.
  7. Communicate in a way that the other party can understand.
  8. Create a common ground, a common understanding, a shared goal, a shared future . . . something where you and other parties can collaborate in influencing an outcome.
  9. Point to the data, the measured results which back up a perspective or strategy. This helps keep conversations around the plans and strategy, rather than on politics and games.
  10. Welcome the gift of feedback, especially when it makes you feel uncomfortable. The best feedback helps you overcome the obstacles you’re putting in front of yourself. Choosing to overcome these obstacles will help you raise the bar for yourself.
  11. Be a role model for courageously stepping up, out of your comfort zone. Seek a role model who would help you to do the same. 
  12. The fear-of-the-no and the fear-of-failure stop many from even asking and trying.
  13. The lack-of-an-expressed-wish means many don’t “cash-out” on the goodwill and positive intent due to them.
  14. Create and support an ecosystem of support within and outside your companies, and enlist that sponsorship and commitment from the top.
  15. Be patient and resilient. Take a ‘no’ as a ‘not-now’, a failure as a learning opportunity, a building block for success.
  16. Facilitate a culture of empowerment, a place where people are encouraged to speak up and contribute, to embrace diversity approaches and mind-sets, with alignment in thoughts, words and actions.
  17. There’s a difference between diversity (when you’re invited to the party) and inclusion (when you’re invited to dance). Move beyond thoughts and words and into actions and projects, to truly integrate diverse people and perspectives into outcomes.
  18. Connect with people who can help you influence outcomes. Executive sponsors, mentors, champions, advocates, partners, etc., are all part of ecosystems of stakeholders you can create and manage.

The bottom line is that influencing is about partnerships and collaboration, about working together toward a common goal, about creating a win-win which benefits all.

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fountain-blue-asml-panel

Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at ASML and our panelists!
Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO FountainBlue, CMO SignKloud
Panelist Tonie Hansen, Senior Director, Corporate Responsibility, NVIDIA
Panelist Vijaya Kaza, SVP Engineering, FireEye
Panelist Ishita Majumdar, Senior Director of Products, eBay
Panelist Birte Schwarzenfeld, VP, Head of Corporate Strategy, Flex
Panelist Eileen Sullivan, Vice President Project Management Governance, UXC Eclipse

A Convergence of Technologies

February 3, 2017

Convergence.png

FountainBlue’s February 3 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘The Convergence of Technologies and Solutions’. Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at TI and our executives in attendance.

This month’s roundtable executives represented a wide range of industries, roles, functions and company sizes. Below is a compilation of their ideas on the opportunities ahead, as technologies convergence across function and across industry.

Convergence may mean different things for different companies, but at its heart is the idea that we have the infrastructure to support the transference of technologies and solutions across solutions, across industries, across customers. Foundational to the convergence theme is the required infrastructure necessary to support it. This means everything must be in order: from the hardware and software needed to process information and create solutions, to the network needed to connect and communicate, to the policies and processes needed to support commerce, to the systems and solutions to support the delivery of services, and most importantly, the ability of the customer to pay for solutions, and companies to deliver to them what they need.

Each of our represented leaders and companies have solved aspects of these challenges and continue to push the envelope, not just for technology development, but also for the business processes and business model evolutions which would support the growth of the company. (See blog on ‘An Innovation Conversation‘.) There’s general agreement that convergence is happening across industries, across technologies, across companies, so our execs provided the collective advice below.

  • Encourage the transition of technologies across multiple use cases, as driven by the needs of the customer. 
  • Create a collaboration between technologists and sales engineers to partner with customers to design new solutions.
  • Create modules and solutions which make it easy for customers to leverage technologies and knowledge, and an easy way for them to communicate with staff and with each other as they design customized solutions.
  • Not all customers are created equal. Create self-service solutions which make it efficient and easy for most of your customers to help themselves, while providing additional and separate support for larger accounts.
  • Continue to focus on quality as you scale.
  • Invite the use of open source solutions and collaborations with trusted partners, creating an ecosystem that’s mutually beneficial.
  • Don’t let the management tool distract you from what needs to be done to best serve the customer.
  • Leverage modular open source solutions where it is practical. 

Below are some hot areas to watch.

  • Look for ways to bring the digital to the physical, cost-effectively bringing custom-fit solutions to eagerly awaiting customers who are well positioned to pay well for them.
  • Find ways to apply B-to-C businesses models and create B-to-B opportunities.
  • Balancing privacy, security and access will continue to be a challenge, find out how it’s also the opportunity.
  • Imagine how custom molds, CAD design, 3D printers, and small-scale manufacturing could create a growth opportunity.
  • Look at the diagnostic and screening opportunities both for disease management and optimal health. Consider also privacy issues around these solutions.
  • Consider moving from a traditional sales model to a SaaS model for standard businesses, much like what Michelin is doing with tire sales – selling by the mile rather than straight sale.
  • Robotics and drones and voice activation will be hot in most solutions created.
  • IoT will be everywhere. What needs to happen in order to standardize IoT solutions to meet privacy, security and access requirements? Who will lead the charge and what are the business opportunities as this will inevitably happen?
  • Blockchain and its ability to provide that audit trail will provide many business and entrepreneurial opportunities.

The bottom line is that convergence is already happening, and it opens up many opportunities ahead for those willing to embrace them.