Thursday, December 13, 2012

Value Management in action: NBN Co. talking to Whirlpool

The Harvard Business Review and McKinsey are running an 'Innovating Innovation' competition, and I posted a story there about how NBN Co. started talking to consumers on Whirlpool (and theory behind).

My argument is:

- for a long time NBN Co. wouldn't engage on Whirlpool

- debate raged on Whirlpool over the pros and cons of the NBN

- we wanted to hear answers from NBN Co. on Whirlpool to set the record straight

- feedback from Whirlpool was important for NBN Co. to hear, to feedback into the pricing, design and strategy of the NBN

- this engagement is an innovation, a significant shift in the way NBN Co. did business, with a good chance of making a better NBN.

If you agree or disagree or would like to comment,
- please add a comment at the competition (login required)

- please like or dislike (no login required).
Very happy to have your feedback below or on mixprize. There is more technical (innovation, customer value theory) discussion which I haven't included here, but you can see on mixprize or in other blog posts

Link to competition entry again:
If you want to add to the story, sign up to Mixprize and become a joint posting author. All welcome...
This image takes me back to the beginning of this research, and shows the evolution from Innovation theory, adding Kim and Mauborgne's (2005) Blue Ocean Strategy work (Value Innovation) to reach a synthesis in Value Management.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Innovating Innovation Challenge

Harvard Business Review and McKinsey are running a challenge (due 07.01.13) to answer the question:

How do we make innovation an everyday, everywhere capability in our organizations?

This is part of the M-Prize website: "solving the toughest management challenges together".
So far there have been 36 entries, and you can add a story or a hack. Visitors can like or comment on your entry and the leader so far has 8 likes and 15 comments. So get your Innovation thinking caps on and share your best of breed Innovation ideas with the community.

This is a great oppurtunity to expose your Innovation thinking to some of the leaders in the Innovation field. I will add something in about Value and Innovation, since I am looking to publicise the results of my thesis. This challenged is a great opportunity compared to the Academy of Management conference (papers due Jan 15), or Best Dissertation Award (due Feb 1).

Gary Hamel, Innovation Professor and guru is sponsoring the challenge. See his intro video:
Gary Hamel: Are you really serious about innovation?

Some initial ideas of what I could add to the challenge:
  • Value Management: ongoing sensing of value rather than Innovation Management
  • Value Leadership vs Value Management: giving customers what they want vs what they need
  • Value concepts: value meanings, value practices, supporting concepts (attitude, emotion)
  • Value model: process, attitude, emotion centrality
  • Emotion as a mechanism to cut through incommensurable value properties
  • Defining innovation: new and different vs new value
  • Customer centricity rather than process centricity; emphasising voice of the customer in a dynamic environment with high uncertainty
The last is my initial point of emphasis. But maybe there need to be  series of entries that build the story I think there is too much to put into one entry. Perhaps the story starts with listening to the customer first. The second step might be defining our identity so as to prevent facing a challenge or answering the question. What if better innovation everywhere means doing innovation differently, and hence the need for this challenge...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Matisse embraces simplicity

The Economist reflects on two Matisse paintings
this week.
"The exhibition explores Matisse’s experimental process, in which he painted pairs, trios or series of the same subject, re-evaluating and refining his work. He struggled to “strip painting of all inessentials”, to create pure “essence” and to “capture the true matter of things.” It was an emotional, aesthetic and intellectual journey as the artist studied and compared the multiple images he made, rejecting some elements and adopting others as he laboured to become master of his style. This exhibition maps that journey. New York is its final destination, after Paris and Copenhagen. Don’t miss it."
This stripping away of inessentials sounds like what Apple is trying to do, and what Jonathan Ive often describes his process, now embedded in the iPhone and iPad.Simplicity, I found was one of twelve value dimensions in my 3G mobile phone dataset.

See Jony Ive's comments in Objectified, the movie.

Aust. National Research Investment Plan embraces well-being

The Dept. of Innovation released the Australian National Research Investment Plan (NRIP, pdf 135 pp.) on 28 Nov 2012. The report contains some interesting introductions from the Prime Minister, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research and Chief Scientist mention key points:

  • Chief Scientist: "Governments invest in research and innovation to increase productivity, increase employment and improve national wellbeing" (p.v) ie  aim to create value.
  • Chief Scientist: "setting priorities for mission-based research that improves national wellbeing" (p.v)
  • Minister: "The Gillard Government recognises the contribution that science and research makes toward driving innovation. Our investment in science and research improves the wellbeing of all Australians by addressing the social, economic, technological and environmental challenges we confront." (p. iii) : links innovation and wellbeing
  • Prime Minister: "the discovery and use of new ideas makes the greatest possible contribution to the Government’s broader policy objectives and to the wellbeing of all Australians." (p.i)
Thus there is a sense of a purpose to innovation, which is to improve the quality of life and provide purpose for "our nation's future". Value is an important part of this link between innovation and wellbeing. Innovation -> Value -> Wellbeing.

Of particular interest to ANDS:
"To capture the full value of the Australian Government’s research investment, ARCom  will provide advice on a whole‑of‑government approach for opening access to the outputs and data from publicly funded research." (p.xiii); sharing is valuable
This suggests that data sharing may be mandated at some point, perhaps not too far off in the future.  

Innovation is defined quite narrowly (no value), following Schumpeter's definition (1934): " Innovation is the implementation of a new or significantly improved product (good  or service), process, new marketing method or a new organisational method in  business practices, workplace organisation or external relations." from OECD 2005 Oslo Manual for Measuring Innovation, 3rd Ed.(p.6).  

The report goes further saying: "Importantly, the process as a whole comprises, not just the conduct of research to create knowledge and translate it into a new product, but also the taking of action to deploy or implement the new product or process." (p.6). Still this is taking a product to market, and not the acceptance in the market of the product, ie value creation through acceptance of the product purchase.

The report makes an interesting point about why governments invest in science and innovation: "In the absence of government investment in research, neither the business nor non‑business sectors are likely to carry out the amount of research necessary to sustain national wellbeing;, government has a particular responsibility to sustain basic research capability; an excellent research capability strengthens Australia’s role in the global community; and government investment in research consistently provides high economic and social returns" (p.12).   This post looks at the report up to the end of Chapter 2.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Microsoft does Scholar.... Visualising Literature...

At the recent eResearch Australasia Conference, a visualisation contest brought me into contact with Microsoft Academic Search (MAS).

MAS provides an API to interrogate the database of 38M articles programmatically. Including access to title, author, journal, abstract, keywords, citations. See User Manual here.

Cyrus from Versi and I proposed a service where a tag cloud is generated from abstract text from articles with a certain keyword. Here is my text to a Microsoft reviewer after the competition. Kudos to David Flanders for passing this on: -->mail begins...

The basic pitch is to assist researchers to do literature reviews with targetted tag cloud summaries of relevant articles.

1. By topic (provided by MAS)
2. By abstract text. We had trouble with the API getting to the abstracts.

ie extract abstract text by API, and build tag cloud. Each word links to list of articles with an abstract containing the selected text fragment.

3. By keyword. We had trouble accessing publication keywords with the API.

ie extract keywords for target articles by API, and build tag cloud. Each keyword links to list of articles with selected keyword.

This is similar to the co-author path, but for keywords.
ie this code gave us blanks:

My APP-ID: xxx [Microsoft issued me an API within 24 hours. Fast service.]
Benefits: The MAS API has a lot of potential to automate (do the heavy lifting) for researchers saving potentially many hours. My demo was aimed to replicate a three day literature review I did recently (for corrections on my PhD; in close to sixty seconds. Saving researchers time like this could likely result in strong word of mouth recommendations for Microsoft Academic Search.

Any questions, please let me know. I enjoyed the faceted browsing of MAS, and hope the API will be improved to improve the stability of the functions we tried to get working.

Likes: faceted search, tabular output, access (theoretically) to abstract, keywords, author, title. Good access to references. A lot of potential going forward. Many articles. Good journals included in my field (Business, economics).

Dislikes: no community content in forum to answer api problems, difficulty getting API to work as documented (ie difficulty accessing keywords and abstracts). Little community activity on forum suggests need more promotion of tool. Looking at one journal (eg it was unclear which selection criteria were used on articles displayed and in what order they were presented.

Keep up the good work. Lot of potential here...

How to write a PhD? Great PhD resources

I found a number of books key resources in getting a PhD written:

  • Evans D. & Gruba P.   (2007). 2nd Ed. How to write a better thesis. Melb uni Press: Melbourne - plan the struture following standard format
  • Dunleavy, P. (2003). Authoring a PhD: How to plan, draft, write and finish a Doctoral Thesis or Dissertation. Palgrave McMillan: Basingstoke.- chase paradoxes, rather than gaps in the literature, writing paragraphs (unity and coherence)
  • Booth, W.C. et al. (2003) The craft of research. U of C Press : London - focus on how/why questions
My key challenge (among many) was I didn't know how to write an essay. After two degrees (Commerce and Law), a Masters thesis (40,000 words), I could not write an essay. I had to go back to basics and learn to write a five paragraph essay. Topic: Cats are better than dogs. Discuss.
Write an answer and give it to someone who writes well and ask them; do I know how to write an essay? If you do not, then learn. Fast. If you are a researcher, research how to write an essay.

My archive:

My advice: Write a blog about your process (share your journey). See mine at I recently passed 10,000 views.

Lewin AY (2003) Letter from the new Editor JIBS (2003) 34, 1-4 @3
What makes a good paper - Journal of International Business Studies?

"path breaking original research"

"investigates significant research question"
"theoretically grounded [logical hypotheses]"
"appropriate data"
"state of the art empirical methods"
"useful implications for ... practice"
"clear statement of purpose"
"key findings that imply new and surprising insights"
"advance theory"
"appropriate and concise literature review"
"discuss core concepts"
"alternative explanations"

"draw out implications"
"advance theory"
"discuss implications"

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Apple talks Value on Q4 Earnings call

Apple reiterated some of their strong value language, which is worth repeating: 1.CEO Cook:
"We are dedicated to making the very best products in the world and we think about the smallest of details and we are unwilling to cut [corners] in delivering the best customer experience to the world. [It's] this relentless commitment to innovation and excellence [that] is the reason that our customer[s] choose [] our products and this will always be the driving force behind Apple. We are [building] the company for the long run and will continue to make great long-term decision[s]. We[] remain[] very, very confident in our strategy and will use our world-class skill and hardware, software and services to delight our customer[s]."
2.CFO Oppenheimer:
"We also added the iPad Mini to our iPad line-up. The iPad Mini has the iPad experience and we priced it aggressively at $329 delivering incredible value to our customers."
3.CEO, Cook on iPad Mini:
"one of the things we tried to is to create a product that people will love for month and years after they purchase it and continue using it in a robust way. So that’s what iPad Mini has been designed to do and you can only see that more broadly on iPad by looking at the usage statistics, as I had mentioned earlier this week, over 90% of the web traffic from tablets are from iPad. And so, Apple will not make a product that somebody may feel good about it for the moment that they’re paying for and then when they get it, they really ever use [ever], that’s not what we’re about, it’s not a kind of experience we want our customers to have. And I think when you – I would encourage you to use an iPad Mini and I don’t think we’ll be using anything other than maybe another iPad or something app that you do there."
4.CEO, Cook on low cost iPad competitors:
"We've seen low-cost challenges before and iPad continues to beat every other tablet on the market... it can be any price and so we think customers are very smart, we think they have very high expectations, we think that they want a device that can do more and we are confident that our focus on making the best product is what will win at the end of the day and so we will stay true to that."
Source: Q4'12 transcript earnings call

Apple Financial News:

Meantime, Apple posted a 2012 $41.7B annual profit ($25.9B 2011), the second highest nominal profit in history, breaking into the Top 5 annual profits, all held previously, by Exxon-Mobil (see Wikipedia). Apple passed Exxon-Mobil as the largest public company by market capitalisation in the last twelve months (Q1 2012 - see Wolfram Alpha). Apple, on the Fortune 500, with this result moved from #17 to #5 (if the others did not move) as revenue rose to $156.5B from $108B in 2011.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Higher Education facing value shift / disruption from online teaching

Higher education revenue models are threatened by free online classes from prestigious institutions. I have just completed a course in Model Thinking (Understanding complex social systems) taught by Prof. Scott E. Page, University of Michigan and Sante Fe Institute at Coursera (

This is a significant potential disruption of Universities teaching revenue. Fee free courses are a significant value add to current courses. Potential revenue models are for providers to charge employer for access to top performing students. See for instance discussion of Udacity model in this video:
Coursera has been offering courses from Stanford, Michigan and Princeton. MIT and Harvard similarly are offering courses from their EdX webite.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Unlocking Value; Macro value shift

There are days or moments when what you value shifts dramatically. Perhaps more specifically the priority of value shifts. Today our first child, a son was born, and the possible became the actual.

Welcome Mackenzie. Our lives and our value will never be the same.