Tag Archives: zappos

Hiring and managing for brilliance

Want game-changing ideas and execution? Hire misfits, weirdos, black sheep, difficult people who don’t fit into traditional roles because they are just brilliant. This isn’t a new idea, but when CEO’s say they want innovation, they don’t walk the talk by themselves; nor does human resources.

Corporations aren’t recruiting enough weirdos:

In organizations where trust exists, ideas trump hierarchy

One of the best articles I’ve read about culture and innovation is from HBR: First, fire all the managers. Written by Gary Hamel, it’s a very good and practical read, the idea of doing without managers shouldn’t surprise you if you’ve read his book The Future of Management. I won’t get into the specifics of the article (make sure you read it!) but I’ll just say that I also believe managers should not exist; but do believe that in some cases some management is necessary. More importantly, I believe organizations should be run by ideas, not titles.

Enthusiasm drives employee engagement…and innovation

As much talk and attention innovation gets, the topic of employee engagement isn’t far behind. And with good reason, the latest report from Gallup concluded that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work. Damn!

But Gallup also points out that companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%, so there’s something we can learn from organizations with highly engaged employees.

It’s important that we must make a distinction here, for an engaged employee is not a satisfied employee. The point being that just because companies post pictures and videos of their employees having fun doesn’t mean that they are also satisfied with their work.

With that said, the following thread on Quora caught my attention because the person responding indicated why she was both engaged and satisfied with her work: Why are so many people content with just earning a salary and working 9-6 their entire adult life?

Innovation begins in the heart

How diluted has the word innovation become that, on top of confusing it with anything new, we rationalize why we should innovate.

Here are a few:

  • Let’s innovate so we can grow our business, otherwise we won’t!;
  • Let’s innovate so we can eek out a little more revenue from existing products and services;
  • Let’s innovate so we can develop new revenue streams, new business, new products & services;
  • Let’s innovate so we can be competitive with the rest of the world;
  • etc..

I’m sure you’ve heard some version of these before, and there are more like these. The above rationalizations are correct, but does it get you fired up? I’m sure it doesn’t.

An indicator that all this rationalization it doesn’t work to spur action is how many people still ask themselves: what’s the point?

Why do you want to “innovate”? Seriously, think about it…

Is it because you’re embraced common rationalizations followed by everyone else who can’t think for themselves? If you are, it sounds to me like you are playing not to lose.

How are you denying yourself of adding more value to your customer?

So, anytime a new service pops up, I jump on to experiment. Enter Fiverr, where you can find gigs/help starting at $5. Being that I’m looking to create a multifunction widget for my blog, I saw it as an opportunity to go to Fiverr and find someone who could do what I need for $5.

On Fiverr, I saw a dude who “sells himself” as a WordPress Guru. So, I thought he should know. Turns out he doesn’t. But, if he’s a WordPress Guru, then he should know people who can do this specific job that I’m asking for. Right?


innovation on purpose

What is the purpose of innovation?

innovation on purpose

This question may be similar to the question “what is innovation?“, but it isn’t.

Why innovate?

Before answering, lets consider what innovation is. Two weeks ago I argued that because innovation means different things to different groups, that you should come up with your own definition of what innovation is.

For me, innovation is ideas transformed into value. I don’t get into whether it’s radical, incremental, disruptive or any other buzzword you can come up with because it makes it more complex for those who are not in the know.

Innovation Radar

How can a business differentiate without changing the product itself?

How can a business differentiate without changing the product itself?

Via Quora: What can you change in a business that is strong enough to differentiate the business from all competitors, but without touching the product itself?

For example,

  • GILT, changed PRICE but didn’t change product, and opened a niche for discounted designer clothes.
  • Phones International, changed the DISTRIBUTION MODEL of the mobile phone industry but it didn’t change the product (cell phones), and opened a niche for ‘single brand distribution.
  • The Book People, changed the TARGET CUSTOMERS, but didn’t change the product (books), and opened a niche selling books to corporate clients.
  • Adwords, changed the BUSINESS MODEL, but didn’t change the product (display ads), and opened a niche for ‘performance advertising’.

These are significant differences that not only differentiate the companies from all the others, but disrupted the market in some way.

What other variables can you change in a business in this way?

How are these variables called?

Where can I learn more about this?