Imagine the delight at unwrapping your Christmas present in 2043 and discovering you’ve been gifted a trip around the Moon. It may seem a little far-fetched right now but it could become a reality if space companies like Virgin Galactic realize their aspirations over the next 30 years or so. Richard Branson and his children are due to fly in his company’s spaceship on its first commercial flight currently slated for 2014. But speaking to CNN outside a space conference in the UK last week, the company’s CEO George Whitesides said their ambitions extended beyond sub-orbital flights for those first customers. […]
Posted on December 13, 2013 at 12:17 pm
Posted on December 13, 2013 at 11:58 am
“Always-on commerce” is a subtle but significant evolution from “everywhere commerce,” brought on by consumers’ ubiquitous connectivity, according to a new eMarketer report, “Key Digital Trends for 2014.” The upshot is consumers who are, in effect, always in the consideration phase for something and rarely more than a tap away from jumping from a physical store to a virtual store, or from one online merchant to another. The impact of a pervasive “shopping state of mind” fostered by greater mobile connectivity is only beginning to be reflected in commerce sales forecasts. eMarketer predicts that by 2017, mobile will account for 26.0% of US retail ecommerce sales (which exclude travel and event tickets), up from 19.0% in 2014. That still translates into a small fraction of total retail sales, however. […]
Posted on December 10, 2013 at 3:22 pm
Next month Porsche will start selling its new Panamera S E-Hybrid, a plug-in hybrid that can travel 22 miles on battery power alone before its gas engine kicks in. Here are some first impressions after I took it for a quick test drive this week at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech conference. (Disclosure: Porsche was one of the event’s sponsors).
The new Porsche isn’t quite as responsive—or spacious—as the Tesla Model S that it’s meant to compete with. But it has some advantages, including a much greater range between fill-ups—that could make it a real challenger for Tesla. Although Tesla is a small company, it has been outselling Porsche and several other brands in California this year (see “Tesla Versus the Luxury Automakers” and “Why BMW’s i3 Electric Car is Really a Plug-in Hybrid”) […]
Posted on May 14, 2013 at 4:23 pm
In their recent article in the Harvard Business Review Angela Wilkinson and Roland Kupers take us on a enjoyable and educational time travel to the early days of corporate scenario planning. Having both worked for Shell they share how the globally renowned scenario planning practice has been born out […]
Posted on May 10, 2013 at 8:49 am
What do address books, video cameras, pagers, wristwatches, maps, books, travel games, flashlights, home telephones, cash registers, Walkmen, day timers, alarm clocks, answering machines, The Yellow Pages, wallets, keys, transistor radios, personal digital assistants, dashboard navigation systems, newspapers and magazines, directory assistance, travel and insurance agents, restaurant guides and […]
Posted on June 24, 2012 at 3:10 pm
(aka beware false prophets…)
Is it just me, or do you have bookshelves (‘real’ and virtual) lined with epiphanies-du-jour (EDJ) each advising you in starkly different ways how to run your business if not your life? And we’ve all had the boss or know a colleague who wreaks havoc every time they get off an airplane, having digested the contents of the latest Wired, Economist or Road & Track magazine article. Ninety minutes on a plane and these DIY subject matter experts are now convinced that they have ‘found the shoe‘ – the answer to all of the company’s prayers, secular and otherwise (please click on the hyperlink above for a case in point!).
The truth of course is that there is no truth – certainly not in business (or likely in life either). But business prophets and their acolytes, just like their counterparts in religion, tend not to have a sense of humour about such things, and can cause tremendous harm when a) adhering with evangelical fervour to the ‘one’ truth, or worse b) forcing constant course correction because that ever-elusive ‘truth’ keeps evolving (waterfall last week, agile this week etc.) because of their travel schedule.
In either case, the quest for a sanitized, homogenized ‘answer’, either singular or plural is misguided. All prophets are driven by self interest, and of course are addressing a context that may superficially appear relevant, but generally fall short in any direct comparison with your specific need. Thats not to say that staying current with the EDJ is not the smart thing to do, but its even smarter is to process and apply their sermons with a very critical filter. The problem is that too many of us fail to do that, speaking to a real paucity of common sense and leadership. Face it – its often easier to quote someone else as the au courant prophet (who are you to presume on their evident success?), than to come up with something original and more to the point – relevant. It’s easier, faster (and alas, safer) and allows your leadership qualities to be imbued by (and associated with) your hero.
Unfortunately, they are simply too often wrong. And the real misfortune is that more often than not, your common-sense instincts and those of you subordinates are far more right than you have the confidence to admit. How often have you seen the consultants come in (the deciples to stretch the metaphor), or one of your own step up to the plate announcing the new next strategic imperative (or tactical lurch), only to know deep in your heart that you collectively have the experience and smarts to devise a solution perhaps less elegant than the one everyone’s getting excited about, but far more likely to succeed?
I’m all for being anticipatory and responsive to the market – that is to zig and zag (indeed, I think I can lay claim to the title ‘poster boy’). But there are four reasons to do so, and only one is good. You are either wise and right, impatient, don’t know where you should go or you know where you should go, but haven’t the courage to do what’s necessary to get there. Show of hands what you think drives most zigs and zags? Instead the answer could be alarmingly simple. You and your team DO have the answer (augmented by some carefully distilled advice from the prophets of choice), and then need to stay-the-course (thats the courage-of-your-conviction part). It’s perhaps less exciting than chasing prophets about, but its far more likely to take you where you need to be.