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Written by ZOOZ consulting and training | (972)-9-9585085 | info@zooz.co.il | www.zooz.co.il

 | Issue 75 |

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Those who wish to learn more, will find links to articles and relevant information sources.
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Pleasant reading!
Ari Manor, CEO, ZOOZ
 

Details

An interview with a senior executive

Sagit Abadi, Director of Marketing and Communications, 3M Israel

 

  • Number of company employees: Approx. 70 in Israel and 70,000 worldwide. Five employees are my direct subordinates.
  • We provide: Progressive solutions for industry, medicine, protection and security, transportation safety, communications, electricity and electronics, and consumer goods. This wide variety is marketed by six business divisions, and is based on unique technologies 3M has developed.
  • I have been in my position for: : Approx. two and a half years, but I’ve grown and developed at 3M Israel.
  • History: I started working in marketing positions in various business divisions, and I led the Six Sigma program for two years before being promoted to my current position. I have a B.B.A. from the College of Management, and an M.B.A. from Hebrew University.
  • What I like about the job: Since 3M has six different business divisions aimed at different target audiences using various marketing strategies, it is always interesting and challenging to find different ways to develop and market solutions and products. On the other hand, it is also interesting to learn internally and implement successful strategies from the other divisions.
  • The most difficult part of the job: Over the past two and a half years, the company’s Marketing Department has been undergoing an overhaul, from various organizational changes to marketing and business work processes. These changes, which consequently affect other organizational functions, create complexity and daily challenges.
  • Goals I want to attain: It is extremely important for me to create the right change that will bring about the desired business outcomes on the one hand, and please and satisfy the company’s marketing professionals, on the other hand. Like I said, my position is currently very interesting and full of constant challenges, and it’s important to me that it stays this way. In my private life, I try be involved in all aspects of my children’s lives, and find time for family and social activities that provide a balance, and give me the energy to move forward and cope.
  • Our vision: Our local vision stems from 3M’s global vision. We aspire to foster significant growth by developing our core solutions, penetrating new markets, and implementing new business models, all based on our technologies, vast professional knowledge, and the level of service we offer our customers. We implement this vision while encouraging creative thinking and the introduction of new models, analyzing 3M’s extensive supply and examining it against the processes and the market conditions in Israel, and of course, employee development and implementing these goals as part of their individual work plans.
  • Original products in the field: 3M has a variety of innovative and quality products in various fields, whose goal is to streamline existing work processes and save the customer time and money. For example, for industry we have innovative polishing products and adhesives that serve as substitutes for more complex bonding systems. Another example, for personal protection, 3M was the first to come out with a folding respirator that is very comfortable for the worker, ensuring maximal use of the product on one hand, and ensuring that the worker will wear the mask and protect himself properly, on the other hand.
  • Sources of innovation:  As an international company, the products are developed worldwide, but we decide whether and how to launch them in Israel. However, a great deal of thought goes into new business models and additional markets that we can penetrate. We rely on global information and analyses but also examine ways to use existing layouts in certain divisions for other divisions. This is one of the nice things at 3M, that its diversity and presence in so many markets creates interesting growth opportunities using benchmarking.

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  •  3M Israel’s website: www.3misrael.co.il
  • Send feedback to: sabadi@mmm.com
  • Would you like to be interviewed?: contact us

Education

A must-read book for managers

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The Innovator’s DNA / Dyer, Gregerson & Christensen / Harvard Business Review Press

 

A guest column, written by our colleague, Bob Donnelly from New Jersey, USA. Bob is the editor of the Entrepreneurial CEO column at Chief Executive Magazine, and an educator, author, and coach. Author of GUIDEBOOK TO PLANNING - A Common Sense Approach, available on Amazon, and now as an audio book. rmdonnelly@chiefexecutive.net

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Getting Practical About Practicing Innovation
A Book Review by Bob Donnelly, CEO of VAAS Americas
Originally published on Chief Executive.Net on the 9th of August 2011

 

There are almost as many books about business innovation as there are biographies of Lincoln or Jesus. Most are mediocre and forgettable. A few actually are helpful. The Innovator’s DNA may be one of the latter. It’s written by three well-known and widely published academics from Brigham Young University, INSEAD, and Harvard, who seek in practical terms to explain the managerial ingredients required to generate and execute a continuum of innovative business ideas. The authors have identified five skills of disruptive innovators supported by interviews and analysis from the innovative leaders at Amazon, Apple, Google, Skype, the Virgin Group, and others.

 

The author’s take the reader through what they call the DNA of Disruptive Innovators explaining the discovery skills of: Associating, Questioning, Observing, Networking, and Experimenting. The book begins with a motivational message, “Disruptive innovation starts with you!” And an inspirational quote from the innovator’s innovator, Steve Jobs, “I want to put a ding in the universe.”

 

The authors describe the discovery skills as follows:

 

Associating. Innovators think differently by connecting the unconnected. The authors spent time with Jobs during their research and quote him often. For example, “when you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.” This statement led the authors to conclude that innovative leaders associate what they observe and cross-pollinate ideas in their own heads and in others. They have determined from their research that innovative ideas flourish at the intersection of diverse experiences, whether it be those of the innovators, or others.

The authors also provide sections in the book to be filled in by the reader to help force new associations and challenge the reader to provide “what-ifs” to generate some possible new features and benefits.

 

Discovering. Questioning is another key element of the author’s research results, and they cite a statement from Ratan Tata — “question the unquestionable.” They conclude that questioning is a way of life for innovators. Former Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley changed the game at P&G by asking lots of questions. Like, who is your target customer here? What does she want? What do you know about her? What kind of an experience does she really want? What does she think she is missing today?

The authors also conclude that innovators ask disruptive questions and constantly challenge common wisdom. Innovators treat the world as a question mark. With the classic question being — “why has no one else ever thought of this before?” For good measure the authors offer a disruptive innovator’s questionnaire in the book for reader’s to complete and motivate them to think of their own ideas.

 

Observing. The authors conclude that most innovators are intense observers. As a great example, they discuss an experience that Ratan Tata had on a rainy day in Mumbai that inspired him to create the world’s cheapest car. Tata noticed a lower-middle-class man riding a scooter with his wife and children precariously balanced on different angles on the scooter, and all of them soaked to the bone. At that moment he asked himself, “why can’t this family own a car and avoid the rain?” Of course such observations are common to anyone traveling in India. The difference is that he was compelled to take the next step, something that isn’t commonplace.

The result is the Tata Nano priced at $2,200. The car can be assembled from kits at dealerships. It was India’s car of the year in 2010. This innovation went on to bundle financing, insurance, registration, and even driving lessons for new customers who had never owned a car as part of the total Nano car ownership experience.

Steve Jobs observed that consumers needed the Apple Store where they could browse, examine, and learn about all of Apple’s neat new devices, and even ask questions at a genius bar. And Howard Schultz did the same thing while wandering around Italy and stopping in at Italian espresso bars, which was the genesis of Starbuck’s.

The authors also provide Ten Questions to Ask While Observing Customers, another wonderful and useful tool in the book.

 

Discovering. Another part of The Innovator’s DNA is that thinking outside of the box often requires linking ideas with others who may not be in your immediate sphere of reference. This networking process is another characteristic of innovators. The authors describe this as bridging gaps in social networks to get new ideas much like we are seeing frequently now with one new emerging social network after another. For example, a tweet can lead to another tweet that eventually results in a new product or service.

They even recommend forming a personal networking group of “go-to” folks to work with to find or test new ideas. The authors found that many innovators have a small group of creative confidants that they can bounce their ideas for new concepts off of. Michael Dell described it as a collaborative approach building on each member by asking, “how about this, or how about that.”

The authors also offer a variety of what they call “tips” in the book for developing idea network skills, as well as an outline on how to diversify your idea network.

 

Experimenting. Here the authors cite Thomas Edison, “I haven’t failed… I just found 10,000 ways that did not work.” Jeff Bezos started Amazon by asking, “what would people buy remotely?” That led to his launching Amazon as the Earth’s Biggest Bookstore.

When Bezos was a child, and fed up with sleeping in his crib, he tried to take it apart with a screwdriver. This experimentation lasted through his teen years with an unending series of other experiments.

The authors outline three ways to experiment:

1.try out new experiences

2.take apart products, processes and ideas

3.test ideas through pilots and prototypes.

Their research also revealed that one of the most powerful experiments innovators can try is living and working in different cultures. Of those who have lived and worked abroad, 35 percent are more likely to start an innovative venture or invent a new product. They cite P&G’s A.G. Laffley’s and Howard Schultz’s international experiences, among others.

 

The DNA of innovative organizations typically reflects the founder’s attitudes and beliefs, but over time it also is a reflection of the people, the philosophies, and internal processes of the enterprise. Such firms believe that:

1.innovation is part of everyone’s job

2.disruptive innovation is part of their innovation portfolio

3.there are lots of small properly organized innovation project teams

4.smart risks should be taken in the pursuit of innovation

 

The fastest way for an organization to die is to stop innovating, and we certainly have seen many examples of that fact recently. The current dilemma at Nokia is a direct result of Apple’s innovation with the iPhone while innovation languished at Nokia, the pioneer in cellular phone technology.

 

In summary, the most innovative companies in the world have leaders who understand innovation at a deeply personal level. They lead the innovative charge with a high discovery quotient and regularly contribute innovative ideas to the company. The epitome of such a leader is Steve Jobs. The results of the research done on the world’s most innovative companies by Christensen, Dyer, and Gregersen reveals that the DNA of innovative organizations mirrors the DNA of innovative individuals. Jeff Bezos captured this quite eloquently — “Innovation is deeply ingrained in all of the nooks and cranies of our culture.”  

 

 

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Invention

An innovation which surprised the world market and competitors

Having a Ball
About a basketball shooting practice machine

 

In 1976, when he was 16 years old, John Joseph went to basketball camp, where they showed a movie about a device made of nets that Duke University used in 1950 to quickly return the basketballs to the players shooting the balls. The device helped the players improve their shooting rates by 10%, and John decided to build such a device by himself. When he got back from basketball camp, he indeed built a similar device out of netting and wire. The improvised device was ridiculed by passerbys, but it helped him improve his shooting.

 

Years later, when John was at college, he redesigned his device and offered it to basketball coaches, but was repeatedly rejected. The idea of throwing balls over the net seemed ridiculous back then, and no one took John seriously. He didn’t give up and in 1982, a successful coach from Pennsylvania bought the first device from John to get his players in shape, and fast.

 

John knew that it was only a matter of time before more coaches followed suit, and sure enough, thousands of Shoot-a-way devices were sold in the U.S. Today, when a basketball coach in the U.S. sees a player shooting too “flat” or too low, he knows he needs to train him using the Shoot-a-away: the net designed to collect the balls also forces players to make better shots.

 

The success of the Shoot-a-way was a sign of more to come. In 1998, John wanted to invent a new device that would also pass the basketballs to players. Lo and behold, The Gun was born, which counts how many hoops the player shoots, passes the balls to 16 precise pre-programmed spots on the court, and enables players to shoot 200 times within a 10-minute period. The University of Florida was the first to buy The Gun in 1999 and numerous other schools followed suit.

 

In 2001, John donated The Gun to a high school in Colorado, whose basketball team made it to the Colorado State school finals only 5 times in 48 years. That same year, this team won the national championships, even though not even one of its players was taller than 1.8 m! The Gun improved the team players, their shooting rates were exceptional, and they won because of it. Thanks to this and other success stories, approx. 80% of colleges and 75% of professional basketball teams in the U.S. have purchased The Gun. In 2003, Michael Jordan, who likes to train with The Gun, bought one for his kids as a Christmas present.

 

John, who considers himself a wacky inventor, did not stagnate and continued improving his Gun. The new generation of The Gun, The Gun 8000, tracks and displays the player’s shooting session and can print each player’s individual statistics. The Gun can be programmed to pass to several spots on the court in a pre-arranged order, and even choose to move to the next spot only after two shots have been made in succession from the current spot.

 

More than 10,000 basketball Guns have been sold in the U.S. to date, and in recent years they have started being sold worldwide. Maccabi Tel Aviv recently purchased a Gun for its youth department, and the adult team loved the machine so much that they also started using it to train. Their shooting scores were not good at the beginning of the year, but in recent weeks, thanks to The Gun, they’ve improved a lot.

 

Thanks to his success in basketball, John Joseph started developing devices to improve skills in other sports, such as soccer. John is an excellent example of a persistent and ingenious entrepreneur and inventor who never let rejection and ridicule get him down, and who eventually made his dreams come true.

 

 

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Published by ZOOZ | +972-9-9585085 | info@zooz.co.il | www.zooz.co.il

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