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Meet Gen Y: Five videos, ten minutes and a lot of insight

Meet Gen Y: Five videos, ten minutes and a lot of insight

Raymond de Villiers is TomorrowToday’s Gen Y guru. He works hard to understand today’s young people, and then make sense of them for you and me and our businesses. He’s packaged some of his insights into short “thought bullet” videos that I am sure will be valuable to you. Here are a few of my favourites (if you can’t see the videos embedded, just click the titles for a link to YouTube):

Meet Gen Y, and the two key forces that have shaped their world, and them:

Here’s a slightly longer extract of an hour long talk Raymond did recently on generations, in which he introduced Gen Y:

My favourite label for this generation actually helps to make sense of them: Digital Natives:

… Continue Reading

Insights on Beer, Vinegar and Customer Experience

beerI have come to believe that we are all spinning our wheels in our efforts to change until we learn to understand and embrace our irrationality.  I watched anotherDan Ariely talk this weekend and he shared an analogy that really helps illustrate why we are so irrational about understanding our irrationality.  Humans by nature are irrational beings, so how can we become rational about our irrationality?  He speaks about a study where they provide two types of beer and ask the participants for their preference.   One group is told they are tasting one beer with vinegar added and another beer without; in this case the participants all prefer the one without.  Then they offer the same two beers to a second group only this time they don’t share that one has vinegar in it; and in this case the participants prefer the one with vinegar.  Turns out that vinegar enhances the taste of beer but our preconceived notions of what vinegar would do to beer trump how we experience it.  In other words, our preconceptions shape our experiences and trump reality.  Which highlights that we don’t even have a clue when we are being irrational.

So how can companies design products and services that account for what we are unaware of?  And how can we advocate change when we are neurologically wired by our preconceptions that inhibit us from embracing what we really would otherwise prefer.

I think it is fair to say that most companies are finally focusing on Customer Experience as a key imperative.  But they are doing this with little to no regard for how we human beings actually experience products and services.  These days data and rational strategies are typically the drivers behind most Customer Experience initiatives, with high rewards.  But with this approach we are only scratching the surface of the opportunity to maximize the value and returns of our efforts.  If we layer in mechanisms to interrupt or disguise our preconceptions that block us from a positive experience than I believe we can exponentially impact outcomes both for our customers and financial stakeholders.

Ariely gives a powerful example of this in context of social conflict.  An example I see time and again in business is when companies deliver a new message, or create a new product or service that they are certain is of great value for their customer.  Yet it gets received with reluctance, caution or even rejection.  Typically the response to this is to either push harder, re-engineer, or to abandon the change altogether.  When really what is needed is to better understand the preconceived beliefs that are in our way.  To complicate this challenge further, our own personal preconceived beliefs about what our customers needs are may be in our way too.  Bottom line is that we need to invest in a sophisticated understanding of human behaviour.  This awareness needs to begin academically, and once we begin to understand the nuances of it we will see, hear, and experience everything differently.  Only then can we really begin to expand on the rewards of designing meaningful experiences for our customers.

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Recent media mentions

Recent media mentions

Graeme Codrington has appeared in the media a few times in recent weeks. Here is a sampling of his contributions:

Speaking on Gen Y at the British Hospitality Association annual convention, Graeme focused attention on the impact that a younger generation is having on an industry that needs to employ significant numbers of young people to succeed. His presentation and contribution to a panel discussion was captured in the June/July 2014 edition of Hospitality Today (page 24-25): read it online here.

Graeme spoke at an Extended Knowledge Conference for Baloise Insurance Group in Germany recently. Here is a summary of the session.

Graeme was recently interviewed on CapeTalk 567 radio, on how to future-proof our children. Listen to the 15 minute interview on SoundCloud here.

A number of the TomorrowToday team have been featured on yourBusinessChannel’s Inside Finance TV channel. See their briefings videos here. We especially like the video on “Blowing Industries Apart”.

… Continue Reading

The Mindfulness Circle

Mindfulness CircleConceptually understanding the Cycle of Self is key to maximizing our potential.  It explains our “why”. Why we believe what we believe, why we think what we think, and why we do what we do.  We can leverage Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle to help illustrate the “why”, “how” and “what” of mindfulness.  Simply put, Sinek’s Golden Circle is based on the principle that great leaders take an inside out approach.  Starting with the “why”, then the “how”, before getting to the “what”. More commonly leaders focus on the “what”, which does not motivate or inspire us to act.  The “what” informs people with rational, logical information but it is the “why” that ignites purpose, emotion and instincts that motivate us to act.

By applying the same inside out approach to ourselves we can mindfully design our life experiences.  Starting with our “self”, then tuning into our “awareness”, before trying to “change” ourselves.  Most of us set goals to change or add habits without understanding why our habits exist.  Few of us examine what false beliefs we have that are keeping us stuck.  Trying to change ourselves without understanding our motivations assumes we are rational and logical, but the fact of the matter is we are not.  We are human first.  That is why most New Years resolutions fail, along with all the other attempts we make to start or stop our habits.

My last post examined “self”.  But how do we move beyond conceptually understanding the significant of self?  We do this through “awareness”.  Awareness is tricky business.  It has cyclical complexities similar to the Self Cycle.  It takes discipline to become and remain aware and it takes kindness to ourselves to own ourselves with empathy and without judgement.  And we need to accept ourselves as we are, unconditionally, with the discipline to pay attention to when we act on our false beliefs.  And when we do, we must be kind to ourselves.  Meditation, yoga, golf, walking; essentially any activity that brings us closer to nature and our spirit will help us mindfully navigate through awareness.

Then as we become aware of the parts of self that do not serve us, the parts that get in the way of what we want, we can begin to explore how to create meaningful change in our life.  Our “self” + “awareness” will inspire our intent.  And our intent will take lots of practice.  Quite frankly we will fail (many times) before we succeed.  Which is why we need to reward ourselves each every time we succeed.  This will reinforce the value of our new habit(s). We must keep reminding ourselves or our intent, with discipline, kindness and acceptance, trusting our beliefs and thoughts will design the experiences we desire.

This journey will feel a lot like taming a wild horse.  We need to have patience with the parts of ourselves that like to run free, fast and wild.  But we will also need focus and concentration to  have the discipline to resist distractions that are not aligned with our beliefs and intentions.  This is a life long journey, not a destination.

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More quests needed – Celebrating 45 years since the moon Landing

More quests needed – Celebrating 45 years since the moon Landing

Exactly 45 years ago today, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon achieving one of humankind’s greatest quests. With his words “One small leap for man, one giant leap for mankind” Armstrong captured the essence of a quest – endeavours taken by an individual or group of individuals to enhance and further the lives of others.

The world is in need of a many bold new quests. We need to recapture the spirit and adventure. If individuals and organisations do not step up the 21st century has the potential to be our last. By 2030 an individual using a bio-pathogen will have the capability to end it all. There are deep pressing issues that need organisational and leadership refocus.

Regulators in the US have imposed fines of over $35 billion this year and there is more fines to come. $7 billion of this was a fine imposed on Citigroup for knowingly selling toxic mortgage-backed securities. Bad business does not pay. Quests do. Geoff Immelt, the CEO of GE is on a quest to improve the world by 1%. IBM is on a quest to create a smarter planet. ITER, a global organisation with the backing of 35 countries, is on a quest to create an energy source that uses an element in seawater called deuterium to power our planet for the next 100,000 years. Deuterium has a natural abundance in the Earth’s oceans, one cubic kilometre of the ocean is vested with more potential fusion energy—hot or cold—than that of all known oil reserves in the world.  The process will produce zero pollutants and not contribute to global warming.

ITER’s funding is $14 billion, politicians argue this cost is too high. What is their quest? The US approved funding of Lockheed Martin’s new F35 fighter jet is $400 billion. Fighter jet versus the quest to power the planet – with an abundant, eco-friendly energy, why is there even a debate?

The dream to go to the moon is one of our greatest quests, it inspired a nation to achieve the unthinkable within a decade. The challenges facing our world are graver than the cold war that inspired the space race. It is also full of countless opportunities – Never before have we stood at such a golden era of change, unprecedented change. The world needs leaders who refocus their mindset (and key stakeholders) on what matters most for communities and society. Embrace a new era of exploring the uncharted – Leaders have been told: “the world is flat!” and “there be dragons here” Be brave sail over the edge. Discover a new world of riches.

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The Self Cycle

July 16, 2014 dawna Change, Leadership, Strategy No Comments

self cycleI like taking notice of the patterns of my thoughts.  It’s not coincidence that my thoughts draw me towards experiences that reflect my thoughts.  Which also means that what I think about , both consciously and subconsciously, shape my experiences.  So why then would I ever entertain thoughts of fear and insecurity knowing that I would be manifesting experiences to reflect my worries? To answer this we need to first explore what shapes our thoughts.  Our thoughts are a  reflection of our beliefs and each and every one of us have numerous false beliefs that can sabotage our mindset.  Our false beliefs usually reveal themselves through our biases and irrational choices.   And our beliefs are mostly shaped by our life stories which in turn develop from the beliefs we form from our previous experiences… which are formed by our thoughts, which are formed by our beliefs.  The cyclical nature of this is what forms our patterns of thought. It’s a challenging cycle to deconstruct and change.  If we focus on awareness of our beliefs and ensuring they are aligned with truth and our core values then we can begin to re-architect our thoughts, including our thoughts about our past experiences.

Patterns of thoughts are reaffirming which then strengthens their hold on us.  This reoccurrence becomes our comfort zone, even if it is a negative pattern, the familiarity of it feels comfortable.  This is the nature of being human.  The challenge is to both embrace being human and to develop the self awareness to grow beyond the limitations of our patterns.  A big part of this is becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable by challenging and mindfully choosing our beliefs.  I would like to propose that there is nothing more important than developing our self awareness.  The fact of the matter is that the only thing in the way of what we want in life is ourselves.

The affects of this are pervasive.  The most challenging pattern I see with every company and leader I work with is the lack of recognition that the biggest thing in their way is themselves.  Companies are made up of humans and it is our collective beliefs, thoughts and experiences that shape our ability to prosper.  Smart leaders recognize this and invest in self awareness for themselves and their associates.  There is no more powerful competitive advantage than self awareness.  I dream of a world where kids are explicitly taught about self awareness both at home and at school.  A world where companies explicitly invest in developing the self awareness of their leaders and associates.  And my dream is more attainable that you might think.  You do not need to be a leader to be a part of making this happen, you just need to begin to invest in your own self awareness and encourage others to do the same, it really is that simple.

“Be the change you want to see in the world” Gandhi

 

 

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Peugeot unveils a new car that runs on air.

Peugeot unveils a new car that runs on air.

We are living during a era of great technological innovation. At TomorrowToday we love technology that has the ability to disrupt not only products but entire industries, even countries. Peugeot Citroën  appears to be doing just that . The car manufacturer has unveiled a new hybrid drivetrain that uses compressed air instead of electricity to provide a secondary source of propulsion. They call this innovation Hybrid Air and it’s a technology they claim will be available in their compact models (Citroën C3 or a Peugeot 208) by 2016 for a price of £16,000. The company claims that the car using a hybrid system emits as little as 69g/km of CO2 i.e. 2.9l / 100km. Peugeot aims to reduce this to 2l/100km by 2020 

 An innovative full-hybrid gasoline solution. An important step towards the 2l/100 km car by 2020 

The car travels on compressed air propelling it to speeds of 43mph where after the petrol or diesel system kicks in. 60-80% of journeys can therefore be completed, in an urban city environment, using just air!

A car that runs on compressed air has the potential to not only disrupt the motor industry, but the massive oil industry too. This is great news for environmentalist, but not for those who invest in the future of fossil fuel. Understanding the impact of this disruption needs to be a boardroom topic for energy companies. TomorrowToday is partnering with London Business School and our facilitators are working on a leadership programme for Kuwait Petroleum Company. We’ve learnt that 80% of the Kuwaiti economy is depedent on the oil industry. What happens when an abundant, cheap and pollution free source of propulsion replaces or reduces significantly the demand for their liquid gold? It’s a question we will put to them at the next session with KPC senior leaders in Spetember. The answers should be interesting.

 

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Cut away view of the hybrid air compression propulsion system

 

Ray Massey became the first UK journalist to test drive the new car in Paris. Here is an excerpt on his driving experience:

Driving feels a little different to a conventional automatic car. It’s nimble. A visual display on the dashboard screen tells you when you are in zero pollution or petrol mode. It chugs happily along in town running only on air. It certainly didn’t run out of puff and giving the accelerator a quick burst — vital on Parisian roads to keep you out of trouble — meant the combined force of the 82bhp petrol engine and the 40bhp air motor kicked in together to put wind in its sails.

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Ray Massey test driving Hybrid Air

You can read his full review of the car at the Daily Mail

 

 

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What can Executive Leadership learn from Luxury?

What makes for good leadership?

There are as many books as there are opinions on this topic. One way to look at this question is to look at industries and areas that are doing something right. So why look at Luxury as a proxy? Firstly, let’s establish that luxury as whole is an industry that is doing tremendously well in a still flaky economic environment. A favorite chart of mine is the S&P Global Luxury (blue line) Index compared to S&P 500: Five years of growth and ‘outperformance’ …

S&P Global Luxury Index

… and if you were to look a few years further back in time you would find another astonishing fact: yes Luxury took a dip too after the fall of Lehman Bros and the tail spin the world economy went into. But it got hit a lot less hard. And more importantly: it recovered much faster and stronger than any other sector.

There reasons for this phenomenon? Economics of course (think the accelerated growth of wealth in Asia; with China leading the pack) and the continued globalization and the increased ability of firms to take advantage of this (think scale, luxury conglomerates). However, there is one more: the deeper meaning inherent in the intangibles that come with buying into luxury.

… Continue Reading

The 10 Most Important Work Skills in 2020

Last week I was sent a link to an interesting infographic on the ten most important work skills in 2020. It is a graphic respresentation of research done by the University of Phoenix and the Institute for the Future (see their PDF report here). What I like about this is that the team that put it together has looked at the significant drivers of change in society and then worked out what work skills will be required to address these.

It’s a thought provoking read for parents, educators and businesses alike. Whilst none of the skills listed are really new, the emphasis is on their growing importance. The timeline is only 6 years away anyway, and so the focus was not on new skills but on what is becoming vital for success right now in our workplaces. You can find the infographic here, and a summary of their points below.

… Continue Reading

The Future of theft…okay bye bye now.

The Future of theft…okay bye bye now.

According to the website Stolen Bike Statistics over 500,000 bikes were stolen in the UK over the past five years. This figure is also understated. According to John Moss who compiled these stat  “It is largely accepted that only 1 in 5 bike thefts are reported to the police, therefore the bike thefts figures can be considered 5 times higher than reported.” 

These numbers are about to plummet. Designers at Jawbone and Boeing have developed a solar powered bicycle lock, called Skylock, that works via Bluetooth connectivity to your phone – and the phones of friends you select. One hour of sunshine provides a weeks power and should your bike be noticably jarred Skylock will emmediately send you an alert to your smartphone. The lock uses military grade material giving you enough time to get to your bike before it’s nicked. And, as if that’s not enough should you get doored by a carelss driver or loose it on a rain-slicked road, Skylock will notify friends and family so they can come to your aid. The best thing of all is the price, at around £90 for a lock it compares very favourably with traditional high-end locks!

Two things for the future.

  1. Skylock is benefting from the fast growing shareconmy. Bikes are one of our most under-utilised assets, by allowing friends easy and secure access to your bike you can park it and let approved people share your ride. Skylock allows for instant ride sharing
  2. By linking your bike lock to the Internet of Things, bike theft fast become a thing of the past. We are entering a world were our assets will tell us when dubious people are tinkering with them. They will be able to alert authorities. In the future products like Skylock will make theft a pointless pastime!

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 11.22.13

 

 

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Just for fun: Why you really, really want a drone at home

June 20, 2014 Graeme Codrington Future Trends, Innovation, Technology No Comments

It’s Friday, and the weekend is here. So, for a bit of fun check out this wonderful use of a drone. Drones are now readily available. My brother, a video producer based in Atlanta USA (see his video channel here) has one of his own that he uses to create amazing camera shots.

These drones can be programmed to follow GPS co-ordinates, and one smart guy has programmed his drone to take his dog for a walk around the neighbourhood. Here’s the video:

Dogs and drones

What would you use a drone at home for?

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The power of storytelling

The power of storytelling

“A great lasting story is about everyone or it will not last. The strange and foreign is not interesting–only the deeply personal and familiar.”
― John Steinbeck

In the Connection Economy, the economy within which we now live, a good story is a must. Stories ignite the passion of the tribe. They will buy your product not because it is the best (there are a lot of similar products out there, and all are pretty good) but because your story connects at an emotional level.

Business is not about emotions though. Emotions are considered taboo, business is about hard cold facts, older generations felt that way. Today’s new customer wants to know what you stand for, what’s your story. It’s the same for today’s employee. If you are not connecting at an emotional level you will not be connecting at all.

Remove the corporate veneer, it no longer offers advantage. The corporate vaneer which companies hide behind are values like trust, integrity, teamwork, honesty. These are hygiene factors. No one will work for you or buy from you if you do not have them in abundance and social networks will show you up if you are not. We’ve never lived in such a transparent world.

Advantage now exists in more human values: friendship, caring, empathy, support, community etc.

Tell your story, reveal the passions and emotions of your business, even your flaws and fallibilities. Business is about people, make that human connection and storytelling is your starting point

Here are five ways to tell a good story: Keep it simple; Keep the audience in mind; Share something about yourself; Don’t take yourself too seriously and share sincerely felt emotions.

Read more here  … Continue Reading

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Primary Blog contributors

The main contributors to this blog are:

Dr Graeme Codrington, co-founder of TomorrowToday, author, speaker and expert on the changing world of work
Dean van Leeuwen, co-founder and CEO of TomorrowToday UK & Europe, speaker, consultant and Chief Intellectual Adventurer
Keith Coats, co-founder of TomorrowToday South Africa, leadership development guru, speaker and author
Professor Nick Barker, director of the Asia Pacific Leadership Program at the East-West Center in Hawaii, leadership development expert
Markus Kramer, marketing director for Aston Martin and brand building expert
Keith Holdt, Visionary Enabler of business growth and change, currently works for LDC as an investment executive.
Dil Sidhu, Chief External Officer, Manchester Business School; Executive education specialist.
Dawna MacLean, expert on fostering meaningful change and creating authentic experiences through transparent and trusted partnerships.

Click here for a full list of contributors


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