Tag Archives: Mexico

True innovators create and set new standards

Happy New Year! Last week I vacationed in Mexico City, where I ringed in the new year. It’s the first time I’ve spent considerable time there, it’s a huge city and covering it in a week is impossible. Good thing they have sightseeing buses, or turibus as they’re known there, that take you on different routes to show you “what you need to see” around the city. So, I took one!

Even as a tourist I still reflect about the experiences I have with products and services I interact with in my travels. Friends of mine also know that, so when I posted a selfie of my cousins and I on the turibus I was not surprised that I friend of mine who lives in the city quickly tweeted back that he wanted to know my thoughts about my turibus experience.

Late that night, I sent him an email with my thoughts; which could be summed up this way: it was good, but not great.

The turibus, is a convenience “get to know the city” service Mexico City offers tourists and residents. The key word is “convenience”, a time saver. And as such it’s not bad, but it didn’t blow my mind either; I believe it’s the same situation with sightseeing buses in other large cities. Thus, you have the same expectations about sightseeing buses in large cities.

To a true innovator, that smells like an opportunity to raise or redefine expectations. How?

First of all, ask yourself a fundamental question: what are people really trying to accomplish? An easy answer is people hire a turibus to get educated about the city and its culture.

Great! Next, ask yourself one question: how might I make this more interesting?

The point of asking yourself, “how might I make this more interesting?”, is to question your own assumptions, shift your perspective and not mindlessly follow the first thing that pops into your head.

In addition, I like to use other adjectives such as:

  • more memorable;
  • more exciting;
  • more fun;
  • more funny;
  • more high quality;
  • more surprising;
  • more novel;
  • more useful;
  • etc..

The last three being the criteria I use to determine whether or not an idea has the potential to be innovative: new, surprising and radically useful.

The point is you shouldn’t accept the current reality as a given. Remember, reality is malleable; don’t be afraid to set standards. True innovators aim to be the only ones, not the best or first ones. That intent comes from setting, meeting and exceeding their own standards; not everyone else’s. Thus making competition irrelevant.

With that said, though I won’t do a thorough exercise on how I would approach said challenge, below are some questions that you can re-purpose for other domains to help uncover assumptions as well as understand current expectations; I’ll use the sightseeing bus experience example:

  • What are the core components of the sightseeing bus experience?
  • What do people expect from a sightseeing bus?
  • What wouldn’t people expect from a sightseeing bus?
  • What would easily surprise them?
  • What do people value, and viceversa, and why?
  • What does everyone agree on?
  • What hasn’t changed about the sightseeing bus experience?
  • Why hasn’t anyone done anything new?

Next, ask yourself: how can we better the sightseeing bus experience by delivering an unexpected and radically useful solution?

Here are some thought provoking questions to get you warmed up:

  • How might we use _insert some emerging technology_ to enhance how people experience the sightseeing bus experience?
  • What if the sights come come alive in people’s phones/tablets?
  • If millennials started designing the sightseeing bus experience, what would they do differently and why?

Bottom line: products and services can quickly become dull and routine; even to tourists. Sometimes the fundamental goal people are trying to accomplish changes, other times it doesn’t. Our job as game-changing innovators is to constantly raise and/or redefine expectations by questioning assumptions, looking beyond the obvious, and understanding that oftentimes people can’t articulate what they really want. Let’s show them something they would never think off.

Q&A: Changing Mexico from cheap labor provider to a global engineering powerhouse

alfonso aramburoThe following interview is about Alfonso Arámburo, CEO of Brecher Mfg, a product design company in Tijuana, Mexico that specializes in engineering development and mechatronic prototyping.

Alfonso is an entrepreneur and engineer with 6 years of experience. Alfonso has Bachelors in Mechatronic Engineering, in addition a Masters in Business Administration. Alfonso has worked for companies such as Turbotec, a Caterpillar company, Rockwell Automation, TECO GmbH in the city of Munich, Germany leading projects for companies such as Continental, BMW, Renault, Land Rover and Chrysler.

You can contact Alfonso at a.aramburo@brechermfg.com or on LinkedIn

What needs to happen for there to be more innovation and startups in LatAm?

What needs to happen for there to be more innovation and startups in LatAm?

Yesterday I watched a panel of LatAm entrepreneurs, advocates and venture capitalists discuss “what needs to happen for there to be more innovation and startups in LATAM?” through Google Hangout. The panelists were:

It’s hard to get excited about incremental ideas

Most of what is called innovation is incremental in nature. Meaning, an improvement on something that already exists. This is innovating within a known box. Microsoft is company that is the poster boy for this type of behavior. It’s a shame because they invest a lot of money on R&D but not much of its inventions become innovations.

Except for the XBOX and Kinect, in the last decade or so, many of its products have been plain vanilla copies of other products that reached the market first. Why the XBOX? Because it was a product of intrapreneurship within Microsoft.

Right now intrapreneurship is a hot topic and a rich source of potential advantage for corporations. In a recent Innochat session we touched on some of the points about intrapreneurship: Being an intrapreneur.

Large consultancies have also taken notice, as recent study by Accenture about developing an entrepreneurial culture found that:

What World Cup winner Germany can teach us about developing a culture of excellence

brazil vs germany world cup 2014

Picture: EPA

The 2014 World Cup has ended! For me it was one of the most memorable, the first round alone is worth watching again. Anyway, the Germans won. And they have lots to teach us about developing a culture of excellence, no matter what people say about their “efficient” driven culture.

Here are a two takeaways:

To play to win, not to lose, requires a different mindset

Two weeks ago I watched as Mexico gave up a 1 goal lead to the Netherlands and eventually lose the game on a questionable penalty kick. As all of this was unraveling I wasn’t surprised. I had started watching the game at the 60 minute mark, but I could tell Netherlands was going to even things out, and maybe even win the game.

I knew because they were the aggressors. Mexico was sitting back, playing not to lose. But this isn’t an isolated incident, Mexico has a history of letting up. It doesn’t have anything to do with strategy and tactics, but with, I believe, psychological and cultural issue.

I believe that conformity is the enemy of greatness. There are other countries in this World Cup who are exemplary of how defeating conformity is less a matter of strategy and more about mindset.