Improvements in products, process, and culture can reinforce each other over time. Great products can have a revitilizing effect on a company’s culture. But companies with poor cultures have trouble making great products. Developing great products relies on an effective process. Cultures that acknowledge the need for process will make better products. But we’re not [...]
Since I’ve been working on how to structure teams to do innovation work, I thought it would be a good time to revisit the basics in the form of The Wisdom of Teams by Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith. One point they make is to differentiate between “performing teams” structured in a mindful way and [...]
I just discovered Howard Rheingold’s Tools for Thought is online. It’s usefulness should be obvious from his introduction… Tools for Thought is an exercise in retrospective futurism; that is, I wrote it in the early 1980s, attempting to look at what the mid 1990s would be like. My odyssey started when I discovered Xerox PARC [...]
Joel Spolsky’s Fog Creek Software created a documentary DVD of the summer interns’ experience creating an actual software product. Notice how they cook and share a meal together. I’m a big fan of establishing a relationship over home-cooked meals. Last winter I met the guys from Zago Design for the first time in one of [...]
I watched State and Main recently. It’s a movie about making a movie, and hints at how that industry must blend the pure creativity of writing stories, the pure business of running a studio, and the combined creative/business endeavor of bringing together stories and studio to create a movie. I started to wonder if the [...]
“There’s a simple doctrine. Outside of a person’s love the most sacred thing they can give is their labor. Labor is a very precious thing you have and any time you can combine labor and love you’ve really made a match.” — James Carville
…No one can really beat us on the low end. It’s just what you need, and nothing you don’t. You’re always going to have more people on the low end who just need a few things.” I love that Jason Fried quote, he’s proving out the worse if better argument. One benefit he didn’t cite [...]
Malcolm Gladwell’s The Bakeoff is now online, in which the food R&D firm Mattson tries to create the perfect cookie. Project Delta created three teams: one traditional in-house team, an “XP” (extreme programming) team of two people, and an “open source” dream team of the industry’s best working remotely. For anyone thinking about how to [...]
The mysteriously authored MITD blog is harvesting a lot of interesting business+design links.
Kim Severson’s article on organic milk production and sales answered a few questions I had, namely It’s the low supply, not the production costs, that are keeping the price high. I bet some qualitative research could influence this growth curve. For example, suppose it’s more educated parents who buy organic milk for their kids. Increase [...]
For Sarah McLachlan’s World On Fire video, they spent almost the whole production budget solving the problems she’s writing about rather than producing the video. When Boots pharmacy customers weren’t taking advantage of a service that transfers prescriptions directly from the doctor, Marketing firm Naked Communications stepped in: “Boots discontinued its TV spots and had [...]
I live in one of the art centers of the world — the West Chelsea section of Manhattan — and my opinion of today’s art can be summed up in one word: boring. Rarely do contemporary artists teach us anything, or even make us feel anything. The best art only manages commentary, as with Banksy’s [...]
For the problem is simply how can warm passion and a cool sense of proportion be forged together in one and the same soul? Politics is made with the head, not with other parts of the body or soul. And yet devotion to politics, if it is not to be frivolous intellectual play but rather [...]
My business partner Christina just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Congratulations to the new parents! You’re bound to have the smartest, geekiest, toughest kid on the block.
In this latest HBSWK piece, Bain’s talking customer experience. Not long ago, BCG was talking about open source-style collaboration. Naturally, we talk about the vital importance of strategic delivery too, having lived it. I clearly see many ways in which the no-collar working style — natural collaboration, little hierarchy, relationships built on trust, smooth flow [...]