Showing posts from July 19, 2009

Silos: the other side of the equation

Try running a silo. Or don't bother -- just say that silos can be good. You risk being branded as unfit for leadership/management. Reason: for the leadership community, silo means a team perceived as "isolated" and therefore the word silo has huge negative connotations.

Are silos always bad? Like good cholesterol, might there be good silos, too?

McKinsey alumni Katzenbach and Vlak and leadership expert Cohn say in their December 2008 HBR article "Silos are not all bad. In fact, they often provide the insulation needed to build world-class pockets of highly specialized know-how that have deep operational expertise, consumer insight, industry experience, and so forth."

Case in point: The group that I founded and led at my former employer was perceived by some as a silo. The group, which was started in the late 90s as a humble user interface COE, changed the practice from user-centric to business process centric. Then, the group went on to innovate a business process…

How to groom the next Steve Jobs?

In the previous post, we talked about how Apple's market cap skyrocketed. Apple's board is now faced with a major challenge: how to ready a Steve Jobs' successor. To keep Apple's thriving business thriving, the board has to groom another breakthrough innovator like Steve.

Apple is not alone. December 2008 Harvard Business Review article Finding and Grooming Breakthrough Innovators says that all growth-oriented companies need to FIND and GROOM breakthrough innovators. The necessity is reflected in the fact that boardroom discussions at leading global companies often center on these questions:
How can we sustain innovation?Do we have a plan for developing future leaders who can facilitate this goal?Typically, innovators:
Propose new ideasHome in on the most critical components out of enormous amounts of informationSee connectionsDiscern how to bridge different partsWork hard to recombine these pieces and cultivate internal buy-in.iPod was developed in that fashion. My own m…

Business model innovation

Apple's market capitalization rocketed from around $1 billion in early 2003 to over $150 billion by late 2007. Apple did something much smarter than what its competitors did. "... the company built a groundbreaking business model that combined hardware, software, and services," say authors of December 2008 Harvard Business Review article, "Reinventing Your Business Model."

Business model innovations have "shaped entire industries and redistributed billions of dollars of value." But, add the authors: "... there's really no point in instituting a new business model unless it's not only new to the company but in some way new or game-changing to the industry or market."

Is it time for business model innovation in your organization so you can maintain your thriving business?