Death To Hard Drives

If you manufacture hard drives the end is in sight. I do not say this because I lost my third drive in six months yesterday. (Ok, I admit it. Maybe there is a connection. I might be a tad irritated. Death to hard drive manufacturers!) The traditional hard drive is under siege. Gadgets are transitioning away fast and cutting edge laptops are giving up on them entirely. A previous disruption in the hard drive industry came with the transition from ‘large’ drive technology to ‘small’ portable drive technology. Brands collapsed. Companies changed hands.  (Famously discussed in Clayton Christensen’s book The Innovator’s Dilemma) Enter the solid state drive (SSD). They’re pricey. They’re small. They’re fast. They consume less power. They’re solid state. (SO THEY DON’T BREAK. Again. Not that I’m mad. I am a fanatic backer-upper. I just dislike the mojo that times breakdowns with important deadlines. Used to have this … Continue reading

Scenario Planning As A Spur To Entreprenurial Thinking

War games, contingency planning, thought experiments all provide potential glimpses into the future that can help distribute knowledge, test reactions and improve flexible thinking. I’m a fan. So it was with some interest I noticed Business Horizons’ recent issue on entrepreneurship included a paper that strongly argues scenario planning not only prepares a corporation for external disruptive events, but it can improve an organization’s overall entrepreneurial capacity. Scenario planning has long been used to prepare for emergency events. Since the 9/11 terror attacks corporate use of scenario and contingency planning increased from 38% to over 70% of executives surveyed, again primarily as a means of preparing for external disruptive (exogenous) shocks. In the article, Beyond risk mitigation: Enhancing corporate innovation with scenario planning, William J. Worthington, Jamie D. Collins and Michael A. Hitt, show that “advanced use of scenario planning can help firms go beyond innovative responses to more complex … Continue reading

The Power Of “What Can I Do?” and Puppies Behind Bars

“Puppies Behind Bars started dog tags when I, just as a private citizen, would read the paper every day and just hear about the number of our men and women who were getting wounded. And I said, what can I do? I’m sitting here in my comfort of New York and they’re in Iraq and Afghanistan, what can I do?” -Gloria Gilbert Stoga on Fresh Air August 12, 2009 Innovation starts and stops on the personal level. There are many things society, organizations, friends, strangers, business, and random acts of kindness can do to encourage innovation. But in the end it takes individuals who want to make a difference. What Can I Do? Is such a powerful statement. It has to rival the power of Why? In the lexicon of innovation that happens. Puppies Behind Bars has been in the news a lot lately, and it’s been a growing organization … Continue reading

Tackling the Uncertainty Paradox – An Introduction

Uncertainty can drive opportunity. Uncertainty can also drive you mad and destroy your company. Bummer. Bill Welter (Adaptive Strategies), Kay Plantes (Plantes Company) and I have been discussing how the uncertainty caused by stronger, less predictable and more frequent disruptions can be as large a source of opportunity as it is a threat. We’ve been considering why such uncertainty tends to freeze some and free others. And we’ve been thinking about where companies and individuals can find solid traction for progress even when they feel trapped by uncertainty. The three of us have worked with a wide range of organizations from the very large Fortune 500 to the very small entrepreneurial start-up and we tend to agree that standing still is about the only option NOT open to you today. You are either planning your moves or circumstance will do the moving. Sound scary? It should, but maybe in more … Continue reading