Weekly Pulse by William Meller | Week 14, 2022

The Weekly Pulse is my content curation and my highlights from readings, books, podcasts, insights, and everything I discovered during the week.
The Weekly Pulse is my content curation and my highlights from readings, books, podcasts, insights, and everything I discovered during the week.

So, let’s go with some discoveries from the week!

#1 – Building Your Company’s Vision
#2 – How Concept Sprints Can Improve Customer-Experience Innovation
#3 – What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team
#4 – The Hard Truth About Business Model Innovation
#5 – Cultural Innovation

Building Your Company’s Vision

Source: Harvard Business Review
Author: James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras

Summary: Companies that enjoy enduring success have a core purpose and core values that remain fixed while their strategies and practices endlessly adapt to a changing world. The rare ability to balance continuity and change is closely linked to the ability to develop a vision. Vision provides guidance about what to preserve and what to change. 

3 Highlights:

“… The basic dynamic of visionary companies is to preserve the core and stimulate progress. It is a vision that provides the context.

“… What’s needed is such a big commitment that when people see what the goal will take, there’s an almost audible gulp....”

“… You must translate the vision from words to pictures with a vivid description of what it will be like to achieve your goal.…”

I was reading this one from the printed magazine, but you can find it here:

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How Concept Sprints Can Improve Customer-Experience Innovation

Source: McKinsey
Author: Kent Gryskiewicz, Hugo Sarrazin, Conrad Voorsanger, and Hyo Yeon

Summary: The concept sprint is a fast five-day process for cross-functional teams to brainstorm, define, and model new approaches to business issues. Here’s how it works. Many companies assume they know their customers and apply past learnings to the present day. This commonly leads to a false understanding of the user. 

3 Highlights:

“… A concept sprint addresses that shortfall through a set of activities that turn an “idea” into something that has a greater chance of seeing the light of day and succeeding in the marketplace…

“…  The concept sprint approach allowed the team to target the product features with the highest business value. It also helped kick-start the business’s shift toward an agile, product-oriented organization. Concept sprints were an instrumental component of a transformation that drove a 30 percent improvement in productivity and a 25 percent decrease in IT costs...”

“… In this phase, you will rapidly test your prototype with target users, observe their reactions in real-time, and adapt the prototype to see if it solves their problems. Many validation efforts don’t lead to scalable impact, so it’s crucial for the concept sprint team to make clear choices about which assumptions have indeed been validated, which new ones should be tested, and—importantly—how the next concept sprint will increase fidelity or advance the concept in some meaningful way…”

Access the full Weekly Pulse reading here >>

What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team

Source: New York Times
Author: Charles Duhigg

Summary: After looking at over a hundred groups for more than a year, Project Aristotle researchers concluded that understanding and influencing group norms were the keys to improving Google’s teams. But Rozovsky, now a lead researcher, needed to figure out which norms mattered most. Google’s research had identified dozens of behaviors that seemed important, except that sometimes the norms of one effective team contrasted sharply with those of another equally successful group. 

3 Highlights:

“… The technology industry is not just one of the fastest-growing parts of our economy; it is also increasingly the world’s dominant commercial culture. And at the core of Silicon Valley are certain self-mythologies and dictums: Everything is different now, data reigns supreme, today’s winners deserve to triumph because they are cleareyed enough to discard yesterday’s conventional wisdom and search out the disruptive and the new…

“… However, establishing psychological safety is, by its very nature, somewhat messy and difficult to implement. You can tell people to take turns during a conversation and to listen to one another more. You can instruct employees to be sensitive to how their colleagues feel and to notice when someone seems upset…”

“… We had lots of data, but there was nothing showing that a mix of specific personality types or skills or backgrounds made any difference. The ‘‘who’’ part of the equation didn’t seem to matter…”

Access the full Weekly Pulse reading here >>

The Hard Truth About Business Model Innovation

Source: MIT Sloan Management Review
Author: Clayton M. Christensen, Tomas Bartman, and Derek van Bever

Summary: Many attempts at business model innovation fail. To change that, executives need to understand how business models develop through predictable stages over time — and then apply that understanding to key decisions about new business models.

3 Highlights:

“… Executives sometimes prefer to invest in their existing businesses because those investments seem less risky than trying to create entirely new businesses. But our understanding of the business model journey allows us to see that, over the long term, the greatest innovation risk a company can take is to decide not to create new businesses that decouple the company’s future from that of its current business units...

“… Once a new business is launched, it must remain independent throughout the duration of its journey, but maintaining autonomy requires ongoing leadership attention…”

“… Determining whether an opportunity aligns to a business’s existing priorities is not an exact science, but there are questions that managers should ask to gauge how closely an opportunity aligns to the existing priorities…”

Access the full Weekly Pulse reading here >>

Cultural Innovation

Source: Harvard Business Review
Author: Douglas Holt

Summary: Holt’s research and consulting reveal the strategic principles that allow companies to pursue cultural innovation. In this article, he explores those principles using the stories of how the Ford Explorer reinvented the family car and how Blue Buffalo reinvented the ideology of dog food.

3 Highlights:

“… They have to be to excel at their current business. Their metrics and planning focus on it. As a result, managers come to perceive the category as an immutable reality, even though it’s actually built on a fragile consensus….

“… Cultural innovation has often been an entrepreneur’s gambit. Even when incumbents happen upon extraordinary cultural opportunities that should be easy to spot and straightforward to execute, they fail time and again. If companies are to succeed at cultural innovation, they need to avoid three pitfalls…”

“… Cultural innovations are brought to life by a combination of symbols that dramatize them in the most compelling manner…”

Access the full Weekly Pulse reading here >>

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