Conjunction Junction in Albania

Countless hours of my life have been spent trying to communicate a message I really want people to remember, but I doubt I will ever match the effectiveness of this clip.

A close second in the musical learning category is this song from Cheers. Coach is helping Sam study with his personal method… I laughed at the time, but I still remember that Albania is bordered by the Adriatic.

bh

2013-03-05

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What to Look for in 2012

I’ve become a raving fan of Matthew May’s work. He is a lean thinker without apology and without pretense. His messages are cogent, concise, and adaptable. I’ve been happy to share his work with others in the course of my day to day kaizen in AT&T’s vast IT landscape. In his blog post, “6 Important Marketing Trends To Watch In 2012” Matt gives us some insight on the coming months. I really enjoyed the post, (re-posted below) and I hope you will find it useful as well.
Bob H
03 Jan 2012

6 Important Marketing Trends To Watch In 2012

Every year around this time, we shift our focus from “the year in review” to “the year ahead.” Trend reports abound, and with a bit of searching you can usually find one targeted to whatever your specific business niche might be. Too often, though, these trend reports get delivered in overwhelming PowerPoint decks crammed with head-spinning data, charts and graphs.

The renowned brand strategy consultancy Landor saves us that migraine in their look ahead with an eminently digestible article that looks at a host of different marketing areas–naming, demographics, image sharing, China, mobile technology, on-demand media, design, innovation, change, and the notion of trends itself–and answers three simple questions: What can we expect in 20102? What is the impact on brands? What brands stand out?

Here are the most relevant trends for entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses for 2012, in the context of marketing and branding.

1. Abstract is the new concrete. Names–for products, for companies–will get more abstract. “Finding a name that is unique, memorable, and–very important–ownable, has become increasingly challenging,” states Jason Bice of Landor. “Names that are coined, abstract, or arbitrary stand the greatest chance of clearing the multiple hurdles involved in the naming process.”

The implication is that you need to become a better storyteller. “Coined names come with zero baggage,” continues Bice. “Unfortunately, they also come without a built-in meaning. Couple that with brands being increasingly accountable to a very vocal and socially networked public, and story becomes a crucial part of what a name needs to deliver.”

2. Boomers–they’re baaack! The 47-65-year-old demographic, aka Baby Boomers, is an afterthought for most marketers. That means the estimated 77 million boomers in the United States are undermessaged and underserved.

“They control over 50 percent of discretionary spending and enjoy 80 percent of all leisure travel,” writes Landor’s Susan Nelson. “They represent about 40 percent of regular Facebookers. But the percentage of marketers targeting the boomers? Neglible.”

That sounds like opportunity calling. A few smart brands are catching on and catching up, but “so many consumer packaged goods and media brands seem stuck in the fallacy that early adopters are all young and cool,” Nelson states. “They don’t get that there are a lot of boomers with plenty of money to spend.”

3. Trending is trending. Hockey great Wayne Gretsky was once quoted as saying “I don’t skate to where the puck is; I skate to where the puck will be.” It’s become a bit of a cliche, but customer and market trends are changing at the speed of a hockey puck on ice. One of the things that’s changing is trending itself.

“The emergence of ‘what’s trending’ is itself an upcoming trend impacting what we see (Charlie Sheen’s #winning), what we don’t see (#occupywallstreet trending blocked by Twitter), and ultimately how we interact with content online,” advises Karl Isaac, Landor’s Executive Director of Digital Branding. “Facebook’s change to feeds organized by top stories sent a clear signal that trending is an increasingly significant influencer of user interaction.”

Easy ways to hunt for trends via Twitter include Trendsmap, Topsy, and Trendistic.

4. The photo’s the thing. It’s true: a picture’s worth a thousand words. Over 90 billion images have been uploaded to Facebook. The ultra simple app Instagram is experiencing exponential growth, and even behemoth GE used it to post “behind the scenes” photos of manufacturing plants and distribution channels to foster a sense of consumer intimacy and authenticity.

According to Russ Meyer of Landor, “Brands that can harness these emerging social behaviors to their advantage, much the way American Express did when it partnered with Foursquare to offer special deals, will see breakthroughs in their relations with the public. To be successful in 2012 and beyond, brands will have to follow the trail blazed by consumers in regularly sharing relevant images online.”

5. Tablets, tablets everywhere. “The tablet is the first true crossover device for use both at home and out in the world,” writes David Keefe. “And brands are starting to understand the tablet’s relevance to retail: Their owners increasingly take them to grocery stores, pharmacies, and car dealerships.”

Keefe’s advice? “Start today. Migrate your audience. Think video. Understand how to integrate tablets into places that intersect with existing brand touchpoints. For example, many new cars will soon be equipped with tablet-like devices.”

6. Creativity takes center stage. According to Landor, the burning question for 2012 is this: How can companies rapidly and efficiently infuse innovation across their entire culture, capitalize on the new ideas they spawn, and create value for customers and equity in their brand?

“It’s no longer enough to move the line,” states Landor’s Allen Adamson. “Companies must reinvent it. For example, Uniqlo has taken the basic Gap formula and made it better, more fun, and more edgy. This trendy Japanese retailer, with its amazing new flagship store in New York, can make anyone look cool, and for a very cool price.”

The implication is that if your company’s DNA doesn’t carry the gene for nimble creativity, you may not make it to 2013.

You can read the full article here. What might the potential impact of these and other emerging trends be onyour business? How will you respond in 2012?


Reprinted from my OPEN Forum column.

About mm

Author, The Shibumi Strategy, In Pursuit of Elegance, and The Elegant Solution. Columnist, OPEN Forum Idea Hub.

THIS ENTRY WAS POSTED IN STRATEGY. BOOKMARK THE PERMALINK.

Re-posted from Matthew May’s website, matthewmay.com

Lean Lego Game

This post is from Martin Boersema‘s awesome “Lean Simulations blog“. I just found the site and I’m blown away with the amount of cool stuff Martin has collected.

Watch your senior management scramble to sort Lego against the clock in this Lean Lego Game, designed to illustrate how Lean and Agile techniques can make your process more efficient. This proven Lego game was designed by Danilo Sato and Francisco Trindade and presented at Agile 2008 and 2009.

The large pack of files includes clear instructions and professional presentation material. Everything you need to run your own version of the game is included, except the bricks.

Covering many Lean concepts including waste (the seven wastes), inventory buffers and kanban, kaizen and workcells, it’s perfect for facilitating your own Lego session, whether you’re implementing Lean in software development or on a manufacturing shop floor.

This game runs for 1.5 to 3 hours, depending on whether you want to run the long or short version. The long version includes an extra iteration of the game.

In short:  Professional.

Clear. Comprehensive. Adaptable.

Key Files:

  • Facilitator Guide
  • Slides (Long and Short Version)
  • Building Instructions
  • Team Instructions

The production quality of the game material is top notch. The facilitator’s guide is easy to follow and the slides are approaching Steve Jobs-like quality (i.e. excellent).

With the emphasis on software development, it will fit right into your Agile training session, while some minor massaging of the material will be necessary for a manufacturing or other Lean environment.

The Game:

The game is played with 4 teams of operators who work different stations.

  1. First team sorts the Lego bricks into colours
  2. Second team sorts the bricks into different sizes (keeping colours separated)
  3. Third team sorts the bricks into specific lots required to build a Lego house
  4. Fourth team takes specified bricks and builds a house according to the instructions

Round 1 – Push System

  • Teams sort and build as fast as possible. Inventory piles up. Chaos ensues. Debrief. Discuss waste, inventory, 7 wastes, push vs pull, kanban.
  • Make sure you motivate your team with the included posters!

Round 2 – Pull system

Install buffer limits between stations and only build when buffers empty. Debrief. Discuss solving unleveled process and the concept of a work cell.

Round 3 – Work Cell

Simultaneous house construction in work cells. Debrief. Discuss concept of kaizen.

Round 4 – Kaizen

Kaizen. Teams allowed to change what they want to improve process. Conclusion and final debrief.

Here’s a video of the Lean Lego game in action:

Conclusion:

Overall, this is a very well presented game. It has clear instructions and appears to be easy to teach people due to the simplicity. I love the push vs. pull approach between rounds 1 and 2. It clearly illustrates the benefits of Lean and reducing WIP.

In Round 3, the work cell concept is discussed and demonstrated clearly. I would have liked to see a break-up of the building of the house to level the process, rather than building 4 identical structures at the same time. Perhaps a 2 person work cell for building, each doing half a house would work better.

But I come from a manufacturing background, so perhaps that’s my own preconceptions bubbling to the surface! I’d be interested if anyone separated the building aspect into two parts as a kaizen during any of the sessions run at the Agile conferences.

You can request all the material to run your own session of this game from Danilo Sato or Francisco Trindade.

Here’s a photoset of the Lean Lego game being played on Flickr.

As always, please comment if you’ve had any experience playing this game or running a session. Also hop on over to the creators’ blogs and share your comments there.

I’ve added this game to my growing list of Lean games and simulations.

Martin has even provided a link to the slides!

This post is from the “Lean Simulations blog“.

http://leansimulations.blogspot.com/2011/02/lean-lego-game-4-rounds-to-successful.html

A Lean Approach to Education?

Ken Robinson: Changing Education Paradigms

Today’s educational systems places our children in batches based on their birthday. We then place them in crowded rooms where they are required to listen to a teacher, and then they are required to recall the information. We threaten our children with our vision of a bleak and unemployed future if they don’t ‘buckle down’, ‘get serious about school’, ‘calm down’, and ‘focus’.

While I was “officially” diagnosed with ADD in the late 90’s, I have struggled with issues of attention all my life, but it was not until I began reading, “You Mean I’m Not Lazy Stupid Or Crazy?!: by By Kate Kelly, Peggy Ramundo, that I fully understood my ADD. I have come to believe that part of the problem is how we educate our kids.

In this talk from RSA Animate, Sir Ken Robinson lays out the link between 3 troubling trends: rising drop-out rates, schools’ dwindling stake in the arts, and ADD. While he does not offer solutions to this problem, it is an important that we understand how today’s educational systems are a great deal like yesterday’s manufacturing systems.

Ken Robinson: Changing education paradigms | Video on TED.com.