Friday, May 28, 2010

Lightnings: The Glory of Failure

If Thomas Edison as an inventor has 5000 failure credits for the light bulb alone, how many credits of failure do you have?

"A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions--as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all. "

"You always pass failure on the way to success."

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. "

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."

"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. "

"A minute's success pays the failure of years. "

"Don't be discouraged by a failure. It can be a positive experience. Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success, inasmuch as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true, and every fresh experience points out some form of error which we shall afterwards carefully avoid. "

"We all have a few failures under our belt. It's what makes us ready for the successes. "

"If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down. "

"Three failures denote uncommon strength. A weakling has not enough grit to fail thrice. "

"The guy who takes a chance, who walks the line between the known and unknown, who is unafraid of failure, will succeed. "

"There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.

"I'd rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate. "

"Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement. "

"Sound character provides the power with which a person may ride the emergencies of life instead of being overwhelmed by them. Failure is... the highway to success. "

"Each failure to sell will increase your chances for success at your next attempt. "

"Mighty hard to tell the people you love you’re a failure. "

"Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It's quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn't as all. You can be discouraged by failure - or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember, that's where you will find success. "

"Before success in any man's life he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. "

"I can accept failure, but I can't accept not trying. "

"We are all of us failures, at least, the best of us are."

"Don't fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have. "

"The awareness of the ambiguity of one's highest achievements (as well as one's deepest failures) is a definite symptom of maturity. "

"The only real failure in life is the failure to try. "

"If the truth be known, most successes are built on a multitude of failures. "

"Success isn't necessarily permanent - but neither is failure. "

"It is a mistake to suppose that men succeed through success; they much oftener succeed through failures. Precept, study, advice, and example could never have taught them so well as failure has done."

"Every great work, every great accomplishment, has been brought into manifestation through holding to the vision, and often just before the big achievement, comes apparent failure and discouragement. "

"Not many people are willing to give failure a second opportunity. They fail once and it is all over. The bitter pill of failure is often more than most people can handle. If you are willing to accept failure and learn from it, if you are willing to consider failure as a blessing in disguise and bounce back, you have got the essential of harnessing one of the most powerful success forces. "

"Our achievements speak for themselves. What we have to keep track of are our failures, discouragements and doubts. We tend to forget the past difficulties, the many false starts, and the painful groping. We see our past achievements as the end results of a clean forward thrust, and our present difficulties as signs of decline and decay."

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Intensified Hospitality: Service Style Cards

Despite of my ICT background, when asked to work on a service design project I decided to work on a totally different domain. I chose to work on the hospitality industry to create innovative hotel experiences. I'll share some of the outputs of the generation and explanation phases here and would welcome your feedback.

In this post I'll share the output of the service style card tool.

1-Cool, Trendy, Stylish and Modern

  • Auto tweeting, facebook posting for guests.
  • Ustream and of different hotel locations.
  • Check-in through iPhone or blackberry.
  • In-Room iPhone/ iPod support.
  • Hotel local companion community.
  • Media Sharing giant screen in the lobby

 2-Personalized, Customized, Tailored

  • Ability to see the exact chosen room  when checking on at the website, guest can also look from the window and see the view outside.
  • Providing more family-oriented suites.
  • Letting customer customize different elements of his experience including (housekeeping time, longer breakfast span, guidance on the city, updates on city events, and tendency to network with other customers)
  • In-hotel experience building catalogue including items for purchase (tourism and adventure items, business or family-related items)
  • Customized route to the room based on facilities will mostly be needed.
  • A possibility to choose a welcome complement.
  • Baby-sitting, secretarial and tour guidance facilities.
  • His name on the door.
  • Family check-in corner.
  • Separating the roles of receptionist and guest services, who can give differentiated support and information for the different segments of the hotel. We should have more than a guest services officer with different specialties.
  • Upon checkout, please keep in touch.
  • Celebrating guests stay, “we’re happy to have you for 4 days now”.
  • Couple, business, family and tourist printed guides.
  • A hotline for out-of-hotel support “I’m lost. what should I do ..?”
  • Following up on guest’s medicine taking.
  • Mentoring and counseling services.
  • Ability to know guests with similar stay purpose.

3-Culture-centered, Authentic, Original, Local and Traditional

  • Daily wisdom from culture to change on room walls, lobby, lifts and other facilities.
  • Do’s and Don’ts book upon check-in.
  • Hotel to include a social local gathering room where guests can mingle with local people.
  • Hotel’s own networking site where guest can build relationships with local people before arrival.
  • Hotel to offer local drinks and snacks in hotel lobby and rooms.
  • A complementary book/e-book about the culture upon check-in.
  • Receive you with tea or coffee option on reservation.
  • Check-in tent (very luxurious one)
  • A local traditional grilling activity.
  • Running a club for locals who’re interested to get in touch with guests including business people, families, tourists.. etc.
  • Restaurant offers meals cooked by local people.

Following are the posts on the intensified hospitality project on Auroralahti:
Intensified Hospitality: Service Style Cards (this post)

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Lightnings: Hug the Risks

"Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream"

"And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more."

"Come to the edge. We might fall. Come to the edge. It's too high! Come to the edge! And they came, and he pushed...... and they flew."

"There's no safety in playing it safe as change is the underlying of everything. It'll be the most dangerous to lean to it think that it's safe"

"Half the failures in life arise from pulling on one's horse as it is leaping."

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Google & Pixar: 2 Cases of Culture Creation in Innovation Centered Businesses (3)

Be Customer-Focused and the Rest Will Follow

Being customer-focused simply means that you dream, plan, design, implement and improve with customer in mind. And the first customer to think of is your internal customer. Carefully, selecting the right people who meet the requirements and comply with the business culture is vital. Google’s executives participate in the hiring process themselves and review every single offer. In the early days of Google, having previous work experience was negative as it means that your experience may contradict with the model.
One of Pixar community’s basic beliefs is that talent is rare. Pixar is very strict with their bringing in of the required fresh-bloods. Once, you have your internal customers in, empowering, supporting and rewarding them is crucial for your success with the external customers.
Be customer-focused and don’t mix the business goals with the financial objectives. Eric Schmidt sees Google’s goals to include end-user happiness with search and advertising, growing and scaling the business as it grows and the construction of Google’s network of partners to achieve the other goals. Eric believes that the business financial objectives of maximizing shareholder’s value or revenues are a subsequent of achieving the goals.

Water It, It’ll Grow
Culture is not an injection; it’s something that develops overtime. The more it remains the more fruits it will have which in return will enrich the culture and widen the culture’s adoption. Google’s culture defined its outcomes. The culture drew the behavior and all the executives were playing according to the rules. Many Google’s executives have grown up inside the company and they breathe the culture. Google’s dynamic culture has moved to different ways of thinking in the software development industry, the web as a whole, and introduced the agile development to the product and service development. Any business’s culture should be affecting all aspects of business starting from strategies down to job descriptions and even buildings. Google’s strategy is known to have been written in a couple of minutes on the board before one of the 2 founders had to run for dinner, while the other filled in the details. Steve Jobs’s Pixar building is a piece of art that aims in supporting a high level of communication and interaction among Pixar’s team.

More posts in this series:

Google & Pixar: 2 Cases of Culture Creation in Innovation Centered Businesses
Google & Pixar: 2 Cases of Culture Creation in Innovation-Centered Businesses (2)
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Google & Pixar: 2 Cases of Culture Creation in Innovation-Centered Businesses (2)

Empowerment Is a Key
Empowering your carefully selected teams is a must. When you empower your team members you’ll leverage and develop their leadership skills, they’ll feel more responsible to the business and they’ll take the risk to be initiative and to innovate. We all want to have an impact and the key is empowerment. Amongst 3 main principles of Google’s management style empowerment was one in addition to communication and moving quickly. Google considers the empowerment of smart people one of the major success factors. Driven by the university theme, Google teams are busy doing what they are empowered to do and what they want to do, and they come back only when they feel they need help.
Pixar values empowerment and considers it one of its success factors. Pixar defines production leaders who have full power on the movie creation from beginning to end. The leaders are powered by a creative brain trust that serves as an advisor to the leaders; the creative brain trust includes senior figures from Pixar. Leaders have the full authority to take or to leave the creative brain trust’s advice

Free Up the Communication
Just as how Google listed communication amongst their 3 main principles, they took this into action. Google’s decisions are not taken until a disagreement is reached, discussed and a decision is taken after that. Google have some internally planned practices and values that are there just to enforce a dialogue. At a certain point of their history, Google went thru what they called “the disorg” in which they literally got rid of all the executives and the whole 150 employees reported to 1 person.
Pixar’s model of communication differentiates between communication structures and decision making processes. Everyone in Pixar has the right to communicate with anyone to get something done. The manager doesn’t have to be aware of everything. Pixar believes that it must be safe for everyone to offer his ideas. Pixar has a very organized process of doing daily reviews of the work while being done, which they call the dailies. This process established the concept of freedom to show your work unfinished, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be presented.

Break Them If You Know Why and How
It’s so clear that Google, Pixar and multiple other businesses have broken rules everyone in the management field thought were a must. The core concept here is, is it the best, is it fundamental and how do we manage the risk? Google’s executives believe that Google is Chaos, but they believe that they are still a high-performing organization. Google’s risk mitigation in all the innovations, including their management style, relies on smart people, quick moves and debated decisions as a risk elimination procedure.
Pixar believes that in order to do their job well they have to be in a big risk. They simply have to do things and so they have to remain scared all the time. Pixar’s mix of risk mitigation tools includes their talented people, the community spirit and very well-designed post-mortem meetings.

More posts on this series:
Google & Pixar: 2 Cases of Culture Creation in Innovation Centered Businesses
Google & Pixar: 2 Cases of Culture Creation in Innovation Centered Businesses (3)

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Google & Pixar: 2 Cases of Culture Creation in Innovation Centered Businesses

Culture is a crucial aspect of any business. In reality, distinct and unique cultures of successful businesses can pass the limits of an organization to the industry or even to the level of setting new global business and non-business cultures. Culture is not really the business’s perfume; it’s the essence and the core. It determines who should be running the company, what products or services the company will offer, how it will be offered and what should customers expect from the business.
Apple inc. has a distinct culture that you’ll get a glimpse of in whatever interaction you do with the brand, its philosophies or any of its products or services. It takes much to create a distinct culture and it takes a lot more to get it spread, blended and overflowing to the entire industry or business world. In this short article, we’ll explore how innovation-centered businesses like Google and Pixar created, developed and multiplied their culture.

The Culture Theme
Coming from an academic background, Google’s founders didn’t know the difference between university and business. Regardless of this being the truth or Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, was just joking, Google has adopted very fundamental concepts and practices that simulated the university and its culture. “Everything was being debated as if new”, Eric Schmidt said in description of his astonishment of how decisions are taken in the early days of Google. The “everything important has to be debated” rule, remains a very fundamental aspect of Google’s decision-making process until today. Eric describes one of his 2 main responsibilities as a CEO, in the empowered model of Google, as having to make sure that everything important is debated, and the second as putting pressure to make this happen quickly as business is speed.
Edwin Catmull, the president of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios, defines Pixar’s culture theme as of a community. This community culture contributed to many of Pixar’s successful productions and led to radical management innovations in the movie industry. The community culture of Pixar requires Pixar to have all of the teams and creatives as fulltime employees. All of Pixar’s stories, worlds, characters..etc are created internally. The team members are involved on a daily basis and throughout the project which may take 4-5 years of work. ” I know what I’m describing is the antithesis of the free-agency practices that prevail in the movie industry, but that’s the point: I believe that community matters” says Catmull.

The Culture Emerges

Cultures are not processes that you can import and apply right away. The human aspects of cultures require them growing in their environments. This makes the culture very much tied to the leadership that enforces it. Google’s culture seeds were available there from day one and it emerged and got clearer overtime. When we say that cultures emerge, this doesn’t mean that a culture is not transferable.
In certain stages cultures could be transferred and work as in the case of the merger of Pixar with Walt Disney company. Pixar’s team started to transfer the culture to Disney animations studios.

Shared Vision
The shared vision is one of the aspects that hold teams together. It helps them know the direction and figure it out on their own when needed. Shared vision around innovation is a connector that holds the souls of the Google team together. Pixar’s team shared vision of detail-oriented excellence and uncertainty is a driving force.

More posts in this series:
Google & Pixar: 2 Cases of Culture Creation in Innovation-Centered Businesses (2)
Google & Pixar: 2 Cases of Culture Creation in Innovation Centered Businesses (3)

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