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Three ways to deal with failure, by Seth Godin

April 10, 2014 Graeme Codrington Change, Innovation, Leadership, Personal Development No Comments
Three ways to deal with failure, by Seth Godin

Seth Godin is one of my favourite authors and business thinkers. I find his daily blog inspirational and insightful.

Here’s one from a while ago that has really stuck with me. I think Seth is spot on with this insight, and it could really help you to deal with failure and think about your corporate culture.

Accuracy, resilience and denial


… three ways to deal with the future.

Accuracy is the most rewarding way to deal with what will happen tomorrow–if you predict correctly. Accuracy rewards those that put all their bets on one possible outcome. The thing is, accuracy requires either a significant investment of time and money, or inside information (or luck, but that’s a different game entirely). Without a reason to believe that you’ve got better information than everyone else, it’s hard to see how you can be confident that this is a smart bet.

Resilience is the best strategy for those realistic enough to admit that they can’t predict the future with more accuracy than others. Resilience isn’t a bet on one outcome, instead, it’s an investment across a range of possible outcomes, a way to ensure that regardless of what actually occurs (within the range), you’ll do fine.

And denial, of course, is the strategy of assuming that the future will be just like today.

… Continue Reading

Apple just entered your market (Healthcare, I’m talking to you)

Apple just entered your market (Healthcare, I’m talking to you)

For the last few years, our team has enjoyed asking our clients a hypothetical question: “What would the impact be if Apple/Google/Facebook announced today that it was entering your market?”. To be honest, I think it should be a thought that strikes fear into all existing players in any industry. And it could be ANY industry.

A few industries have started to feel the reality of this hypothetical question. The car industry has Google’s driverless cars. The telecomms industry has Facebook’s internet connectivity drones (and Google’s blimps). The investment industry has Google’s free stock analysis. The robotics industry has literally been bought up by Google in the past twelve months. Elon Musk of Tesla is getting into transportation, space travel and free wifi for Africa.

And now Apple is making a move into healthcare.

This makes a lot of sense to us. In the world of the Internet of Things, the smart home is probably the first place we’ll see innovation and practical applications (the Nest thermostat system is just the start). But next on the list of clever things to do with a world filled with sensors, big data analysis and real-time information that will actually make a difference in our personal lives is healthcare.

the more we measure what goes into our bodies, what comes out of them, what we do to our bodies and how they respond, the better we will be able to improve our bodies’ functionality. This will improve our health and directly improve our standard of living. It’s a no-brainer. And Apple are spending significant money to start the process of owning this space.

It will start with some simple apps that get us into the habit of monitoring and managing our health. It will soon extend to monitors that are inside our bodies (there are already external wearables like fitbits, and GPS enabled apps like Nike’s Running and others). And that will all connect to a personal healthcare cloud that will provide real-time updates on what’s happening in our bodies. You can read more about what Apple is planning here. And here is another excellent analysis of the hardware they’ll probably be using to make this happen.

I think we’ll also see smart toilets quite soon. Amongst the most important health information we own is what comes out of our bodies. We literally flush this valuable information away a few times a day. Imagine a toilet that could analyse that waste before flushing it, and provide instant, valuable feedback. You’d know you need more liquids, or less protein at your next meal, or that you’re missing vital vitamins at the moment. It’s going to happen. And maybe it will just be an iToilet that does it.

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Happy birthday World Wide Web

March 12, 2014 Graeme Codrington Disruptive Forces, Innovation, Technology No Comments
Happy birthday World Wide Web

It was on 12 March 1989 that a young British scientist, Tim Berners Lee, working at CERN in Switzerland sent a memo to his boss entitled “Information Management: A Proposal”. In it he proposed to develop a way to share information over a computer network. “A ‘web’ of notes with links (like references) between them is far more useful than a fixed hierarchical system”, he wrote. Read the memo here.

“Vague, but exciting”, wrote Mr Berners-Lee’s supervisor at the top of his CERN memo.

The rest is history.

He created the World Wide Web, and the HyperText Transfer Protocol that governs it.

25 years old today, then: Happy birthday, World Wide Web!

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3D printing rapidly approaching tipping point

February 7, 2014 Dean van Leeuwen Disruptive Forces, Future Trends, Innovation, Strategy, Technology 1 Comment
3D printing rapidly approaching tipping point
We’ve been watching and tracking the implications of 3D printers and a disruptive force and innovation for over five years now. We’ve observed many exciting developments from the work of Behrokh Khoshnevis, a professor of Industrial & Systems Engineering at the University of Southern California, who created a 3D printer that prints houses in 20 hours, using a process called contour crafting; to the use of 3D printers to print human tissues, spinal columns, jawbones . NASA has taken a 3D printer into space  and; Nestle (one of TomorrowToday’s clients) is experimenting with the printing of chocolate and pizzas. It seems that the innovations and uses for 3D printers are limited only by our imagination.
The rapid development and adoption of 3D printers, (Amazon now has a dedicated portal for 3d printing fanatics, London has iMakr - the world’s largest 3D printing store, and colleague and TomorrowToday co-founder Graeme Codrington bought a 3D printer for his family – making him the coolest dad for his 3 Gen Y daughters!); is leading to an explosion in the types of printers, materials used (from Titanium to human cartilage) and the costs are rapidly reducing. McKinsey, a leading management consultancy, believe that 3D printing or additive manufacturing has now reached the tipping point and senior leaders need to be observing 5 disruptions that will accompany this trend. You can read their article on 3D printing takes shape below or at their website.  Two thing are for sure, 3D printing is set to reshape the world of manufacturing (if not the world at large) and we are a tad proud to say TomorrowToday’s futurists got it right again.

The $27,500 rifle that never misses

The $27,500 rifle that never misses

TrackingPoint makes s $27,500 smart rifle that doesn’t miss it’s target even at a 1000 yards. The Texas based business is backed by $35 million in funding from founder John McHale, his buddies and Austin Ventures. The rifle’s smart system is so clever that any novice can pick up the gun, point it at a target a thousand yards away and hit it dead-centre first time (or at least that is the promise). Peer down the smartscope and line up a white dot (the centre of the crosshairs), push a red button to lock the gun’s guidance system on the target and pull the trigger… nothing happens, you’ve duffed it… shaken too much. The rifle’s system takes over calculating the perfect alignment sensing your breathing rhythms and countering your moving hands. Without warning at the precise perfect moment the rifle fires itself hitting the target.

Wouldn’t life be great if your company had a super-gun, aim at your target audience, your perfect employee prospect, hit the red button and at the precise moment of alignment your message is fired off to hit the target spot on. Thing is companies seeking smart systems, smart data, smart everything forget there’s more to business than just smart systems and smart mechanics. Where is the art, where is the skill, where is the adventure when any dummy can punt your offering? Because it’s doesn’t matter who fires your message when the system fires for them, removing the element of ‘human error’.  But if anyone can do it aided by a computer, a robot, a machine… where is the competitive advantage? …gone!
Here’s the catch: This is the world we are hurtling towards, a world where any dumb company can point and the system will shoot. Whatever. The human error gives your company heart and soul, the human error helps you learn. TrackingPoint is in trouble because the perfect gun doesn’t always hit the target, seems there are external factors when the smart system doesn’t alwaywork, it’s too hot, it’s too cold. TrackingPoint is making a loss, bleeding over $7 million a year even though their youtube videos go viral with millions of views.
In this world of smart, it’s still the operator, the retail assistant, the leader, the person that matters most because when everyone is hitting the dead-centre it’s the personal touch that hits the sweets pot.
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Apple isn’t going away just yet

Apple isn’t going away just yet

The predictions of Apple’s demise have, it seems, been all too premature.

At TomorrowToday, we’re big Apple fans. Personally, I am certified Apple cult member, with a completely Apple-infested house (with everything from iPads and iPods to Apple TV and Airports). I don’t claim to be objective on this issue.

We also steer clear of short-term market trend forecasting, precisely because it is so difficult. And unless you’re the marketing and sales director of a company in that industry, it’s not really that important. Keeping “score” by trying to predict how many Apple handsets will be sold on the third Saturday after the next full moon doesn’t make much sense to me anyway. The health of companies must surely be more related to longer term trends than short term triggers?

Yesterday, however, an article on AppleInsider.com caught my eye. A year or so ago, technology analysts were falling over themselves to predict the demise of Apple. Linked, of course, to the death of Steve Jobs, they made all sorts of predictions about how Apple would lose market share, not be innovative and generally lose their way. As a vocal supporter of Apple, I disputed each of these points. There appears to be a culture at Apple that I was hoping would outlast a single person.

Some things have not been brilliant at Apple in the last year. The biggest issue for us at TomorrowToday is that the latest version of Keynote (in Mavericks OS) is a massive leap backwards for professional presenters. Key things that we need have just been taken away – the most significant is the ability to customise the presenter view screen on your laptop. Inexplicable, frustrating, and Apple are doing nothing to restore this functionality or respond to user demands. I am sure they will in time. The logic, by the way, is that they are moving all of their software to focus more on iPad functionality – but that’s a dumbing down power users can’t abide. They apparently did the same a few years ago with Final Cut Pro, and eventually rolled back all their changes after power users demanded it.

But this is a minor issue (for the company; a major one for me – I have stuck with the old version of Keynote).

As we review 2013 and the performance of the main technology companies, it appears that it is not Apple who were in danger of slipping sales, slowing innovation and sliding standards. As the article I saw says: “Google, Samsung and Microsoft were the companies in 2013 with sales problems and a lack of innovation, while Apple continued to remain the most profitable and successful in executing its strategies and the company everyone else in the industry looked to for ideas and leadership.”

Read it in full here if you’re interested. There’s important information about the fight between NFC and BLE (Apple’s choice is BLE and it’s winning); on the sizing of phones (seriously, is it the 80s all over again with the size of some Android screens being sold as phones these days?); and Google versus other search entry points.

We are not too concerned about the exact features of the 2014 smartphones or whether Apple or Samsung end this coming with a higher market cap. But we are very interested in where the innovations of the technology world are heading. Enjoy the article and the in depth analysis of who is doing what, and where it’s likely to go.

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The real place – where the work is done

The real place – where the work is done

Do you go to the real place to understand the changing trends affecting how people live, work and play? The Japanese have a term called “genba” which refers to the real place or where the work is done. For some the real place is the factory floor, for others it’s the checkout point and then most importantly it’s where customers use your product or service, that’s the real place.

Observing how people use your products and services in their real place can give insights into new areas of innovation and disruption. When Deborah Adler saw her grandmother mistakenly take pills from the wrong perscription bottle, the then design student recognised an opportunity to improve the decades-old drug packaging. She designed a new label system called ClearRX that has been adopted by Target, Johnson & Johnson, Medline Industries and others. For Deborah the “real place” was her grandma’s medicine cabinet.

Where is your real place, your businesses real place and your customers real place? Are you spending too much time and energy on things that are in the wrong place?

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Designer Deborah Adler shows some examples of her ClearRx prescription packaging

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Game changing innovations: Desalinating ocean water

January 7, 2014 Graeme Codrington Disruptive Forces, Innovation, Technology No Comments
Game changing innovations: Desalinating ocean water

In our TIDES of Change presentation, we’ve been saying for a few years now that the company that finds a cheap and easy way to desalinate sea water will make more money than they will know what to do with. Access to usable water is one of the key issues the world faces. If you are not aware of just how little usable (fresh) water we have (it’s less than 3% of all water, and if it was gathered up into a big ball of water, its base would only just cover Manhattan; in fact, even all the ocean water is not as much as you think – the oceans are not really that deep (see the picture attached to this post).

On Christmas Day last year, it was reported that chemists from the University of Texas and the University of Marburg have devised a method of using a small electrical field that will remove the salt from seawater. The technique requires little more than a store-bought battery.

Read the report and watch the short video here.

If this is true and workable, it is a radical game changer for the world. Watch this space.

… Continue Reading

Changing cycling forever

December 12, 2013 Graeme Codrington Case Studies and Stories, Future Trends, Innovation No Comments
Changing cycling forever

I don’t enjoy cycling, but my UK colleagues do. Dean van Leeuwen, James Dunne and Wendy Mauchline all regularly hit the roads and cycle tracks of the world in a serious way. So, when I saw this neat little video about a new invention, the Copenhagen wheel, I immediately thought of them and whether this could indeed change the world. I think it can.

It’s a snap on component for the back wheel that stores energy when you’re cycling normally, and then allows you to use this energy to help propel the bike when you need it (like when you’re going uphill). It will make cycling easier. This is not necessarily what fitness fanatics or pro cyclists need, but it could make cycling accessible to a lot more of us.

What I love about this invention is that it is simple and elegant, makes a real difference and cuts to the heart of a big issue: energy usage. We have plenty of energy in the world, but we don’t use it nearly well enough and waste a lot of it. This innovation does exactly the right thing with energy. What excites me most is the mindset behind this: how to utilise a resource we’re currently wasting, and making our lives easier and better at the same time.

I hope it succeeds.

Here’s the video:

And here’s a link to the website where I found this information.

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Today’sTransformers: Hointer & Nadia Shouraboura

Today’sTransformers: Hointer & Nadia Shouraboura

“We write code, play with robots, experiment with tensioned tubes and cables and drink lots of Red Bull,” says Nadia Shouraboura CEO of new start up Hointer a retail store that combines technology and with traditional shopping. It’s the ultimate in high-tech, modern shopping experience – fast and efficient as buying online, but with the added advantage of allowing shoppers to try on and touch the clothing.

Shouraboura used to be Amazon’s VP of global supply chain and technology so she knows a thing or two about what works in today’s instant gratification world of shopping and she is rapidly expanding her new business model and shopping experience having invested $5 million of her own money and another $5 million from friends and family. “We are zooming,” says Shouraboura — with plans to open new stores in Bellevue, San Francisco, Tokyo and Shanghai this is one business model that has the ability to radically transform retail shopping.

Hointer understand that people like to engage in the real world – see, feel, touch, hear and smell the product they want to buy. But they also enjoy the speed and efficiency of the web. Hoinster’s business model is designed to offer the best of both worlds and shows how an innovative business model can merge the digital world with the physical world.

The Hointer Experience

Enter a small but spacious store with only one item of each individual product for sale being displayed. Using your mobile device and Hointer App scan the bar code to view style guides, social media and customer reviews. Once you’ve chosen what you want to try on, a single tap of a button on your smart device has the items of clothing delivered to you in a changing room within 30 seconds via a tension tube. If the item is too big or too small or not the right colour, no worries, toss the unwanted item into a chute and request the new item and again within 30 seconds you are ready to try on the new garment. Find the item you want, just swipe your credit card and walk out – no lines, no waiting.

Watch the video to see how this innovative business operates.

 

Today’sTransformers is a TomorrowToday Strategic Insights initiative that brings you insights on innovative and pioneering people, organisations and companies that are using disruptive forces to transform the world and make it a better place to live, work and play. Use them as case studies and inspirational stories for your team and help them think differently about the unique challenges you face.

For more insights please contact our Strategic Insights Team 

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TomorrowToday: Welcome to our world

Imagine a company with no written contracts between the business partners; no offices; no underpinning capital; as much – or little leave as you want; measured by outcomes; no HR policies or any policies really – just sensible agreements on how things should work; where everything is transparent, including take home pay; where home is where you work – unless you choose some coffee shop, park or beach; where learning is mandatory and sharing what you have, know and don’t know is as natural Hands holding worldas a mid-day movie, fetching your kids from school or taking time to think; a place where you work with smart people who also happen to be nice people; people who ‘have your back’ and with whom you would take into any battle, face any challenge or tackle any obstacle; where your clients span the planet and emanate from a variety of industries; a place where who you are matters more than what you know; a place where meaningful work and passion are more important than making a lot of money – as nice as that is; a place that is fun, flexible and challenging; where robust conversation never threatens relationship and feedback is prized more than recognition; a place where every day is different, an opportunity, a challenge; a place where you can make a difference; a place that prizes the journey over the destination.

That company, that place is TomorrowToday. Welcome to our world.

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“Minority Report” type marketing misses the point of the Connection Economy

“Minority Report” type marketing misses the point of the Connection Economy

Scanning cameras lock onto John Anderton’s face as he walks through a shopping mall. Using facial recognition technology advertisers clock his presence and begin an invasive barrage of “personalised” advertisements designed to entice, cajole and convince him to purchase the must have products on promotion. In this a scene from the 2002 movie Minority Report where Tom Cruise plays John Anderson, we are offered a vision of marketing in the future that is coming true today. Last week, Tesco, the UK largest supermarket, announced  that it is installing hundreds of hi-tech screens to scan the faces of shoppers as they queue to pay. Facial recognition technology will then determine age, identify if the person is male or female and how engaged they are with the advert on display. Sounds spookily big brother-ish!

The advertising system,  called the ‘OptimEyes’, can tailor content based on time and location, and will be rolled out into 450 Tesco petrol forecourts, reaching more than five million adult customers every week.  Simon Sugar (Son of Sir Alan Sugar) the CEO of Amscreen, the company behind OptimEyes is optimistic about the systems ability to provide data to enhance the understanding of consumer behaviours. Using face detection technology to “revolutionise” the advertising industry Simon Sugar promises a step-change in advertising stating that “brands deserve to know not just an estimation of how many eyeballs are viewing their adverts, but who they are too. Through our Face Detection technology, we want to optimise our advertisers campaigns, reduce wastage and in-turn deliver the type of insight that only online has previously been able to achieve.”

Simon Sugar and the Tesco marketers that support and promote this big brother push-marketing approach are missing the point of today’s connected technology and the Connection Economy. They are failing to recognise the shift where  old marketing methods are irrelevant. There is no doubt that the technology being used here is impressive and represents an important milestone but it’s application is woefully inadequate and being wrongly implemented. What is required is a mindset shift – the technology of the future has arrived but it is being implemented using old paradigms.

The world of connected things, the Internet of Things, combined with smart devices, wi-fi, broadband and massive storage in the cloud is enabling the step change. But this step change is not technology driven. The step change is a mindset shift around how technology is enabling consumers to interact, engage and form partnerships with companies. In the Connection Economy the consumer  calls the shots and it is the consumer who invites the best brands and most trusted companies into their lives. Astute companies are using technology to build relatiosnhips not to push products and determine who is looking at their adverts. Which is like so old school!

One of the big trends for 2014 will be the explosion of smart wearable computer devices. This is an important exciting trend offering perhaps the most powerful engagement platform companies have ever had for building trusted relationships with customers. Companies that are not thinking how they can leverage and benefit from the ecosystems and Apps being created in this space are fast falling behind the competitive curve. As an example of how it should be done let me introduce Nymi Wristband, a smart wearable computer devices that recognises, encrypts and shares biometric data of the wearer. Like a fingerprint every person has a unique heartbeat rhythm, Nymi reads and recognises this rhythm. By using biometric  information to validate a user’s identity the Nymi Wristband enables immediate and seamless recognition of who you are with other smart devices and connected objects. As Wired Magazine puts it:

… 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
Catherine Garland, head of the TomorrowToday Strategic Insights team and previous MD of GFK Research in the United Kingdom
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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