It’s all about you

Life will change, and so will do our passions, feelings and sensations. We will change our point of view, people will hurt us, criticize, destroy our dreams but we have to keep in mind we are still ourselves and we are alive to shine, to light others path. There’s always someone needing to be rescued, looking for help, someone in a lower position than you, waiting for a hand to stand up and keep on walking on the path of life. Since we’re born our destiny is built by the decisions we take, how we struggle to survive and become the ones we are today.

Life, passions, feelings; we’re made of moments and the way we integrate them on us, results on the kind of persons we are.

I’m currently on finals, and it’s curious how is mostly in this period of time when motivational quotes tend to appear on the notes took in class. Today was time for Stephen Covey and this touching quote:

“I can change. I can live out my imagination instead of my memory. I can tie myself to my limitless potential instead of my limiting past. I can become my own creator.”

This make me think about the potential everyone has but less than the half discovered yet. We, the humans, tend to follow trends leaving habits we love just because of others, we want to be cool and we want to look awesome, but we don’t know that doing what others like, we are hurting ourselves and our future. Everyone is unique. Yes, you who are reading this post right now are unique. You know how to do things others don’t. Maybe you’re not a scientist, policemen or astronaut, but there’s something on you that tell your personality from others. And you have to preserve it being yourself. Do not care about others’ opinions, just act as you feel more comfortable because you are the master of your life.

So then, what are you gonna do? Be your own creator or stay on your limiting past?

/ It’s all about you

Design is not everything, but it is

Sometimes, and when I mean sometimes it’s more frequently than what I would like to, people ask to me why Mac? Why at the moment I went for a laptop I decided to get a Mac instead of any else, and I use to answer about the complementation between software-hardware, the materials, the culture of the company or even what Apple represents to me or what Jobs contributed to the society, but almost always I arrive at the same point: the design.

Design is not everything but it’s the factor the consumer appreciate the most. You get attracted by a product in function of its design, colors, packaging or stuff like these; pure marketing in fact, and competitors can do nothing in front Apple in this field. What I really appreciate about the Cupertino’s company is the believe on making something better each time they launch some new advice to the market, they keep trying to innovate and create having the design as the main subject.

But why I am talking about all of this? Why defend Apple?

The answer is these two videos Apple launched some months before. Designed by Apple in California represents the excellence of each product they build, each device they imagine and I have to admit that these marketing strategy completely convinced me.  I don’t want to be that kind of people who get mad when you criticize the fruity products, but I’m and will be totally in love with what Apple produce. Other companies can produce smart devices too, but no one has the components, features and branding as Apple has.


Designed by Apple in California.

Do you dare to dream? I An inKnowation Production

Since our childhood we all know how to dream. Asleep and awake. Thanks to the power of our imagination we believe we are capable of achieving anything we can dream of. However, as we grow older we lose this wonderful ability we’ll later need to be creative, to innovate, to change our lives and to transform our organizations. We invite you to dare to dream again, to challenge your comfort zone, and to enjoy the pleasure of turning your dreams into reality.
Do you dare to dream?

Transforming organizations through innovation

I’ve never heard about inKnowation, a company based in Madrid and London, but after search a little about how they work I wonder how it’s possible that I ‘ve never noticed before. Basically in which consists inKnowation is in to help organitzations transform and adapt to an increasingly changing reality. “We help leaders and their teams to transform paradigms” it can be read on their web.

Business reality is changing increasingly faster. The roadmap you had is no longer valid because the territory has been depleted. The map is not valid anymore. It is time to explore new territories. Would you like to know how it happened?

When you started operating in your current paradigm, you focused on learning and creating a way of doing business. The way of using your resources and their first results showed that the business could thrive. Told in terms of the comfort zone, in order to create a new paradigm, the members of the management team need to transform their leadership style. This transition between paradigms implies leaving the comfort zone and going to the no-experience zone, which is a panic zone for many people. It is not easy to manage uncertainty without a proved metodology. We can see this transition on the video. As a company you also have a comfort zone that is anchored in the current paradigm and therefore your clients feel the same.

While the current paradigm was valid, it brought about a stable relationship for all parties involved. From shareholders and executives to employees and clients. Nothing seemed to indicate that anything could change. But in fact your clients are leaving for the companies that already are in the new paradigm and that offer better user experiences. So finally, the longer you wait to work with the new paradigm, the worse your results will be.

But the problem for many leaders is that neither themselves nor their teams have a sufficient sense of urgency to decide going something about it. They feel trapped in their current paradigm, without knowing what to do. It is as they lived in the Old Paradigm island, which is about to explode. And they do not realize that there are companies in the New Paradigm island that are already growing in a virgin market to which more users are getting.

So, to create this new paradigm it is necessary to transform the company’s culture and strategy. Only then it will be able to implement innovation project that avail of the current opportunities and generate +/+/+ user experiences. And as a consequance, improve the company’s results.

How inKnowation do it? How are they capable to change the paradigm?

“We use our own maps designed after working with our clients in Transformation Processes. With them we will guide you safely through the journey between paradigms.

Captura de pantalla 2013-01-27 a les 14.04.00
5 steps on which is based the Paradigm Transition

1) Diagnosis. The objective is making the invisible visible. Through different diagnosis tools we identify the organization’s aspects that contribute the most to losing efficiency. By observing and understanding what happens we can start designing the transformation.

2) Self-leadership. To lead others it is necessary that each management team member is aware of their self-leadership style. First you will need to change yourself, as a leader, so that others may have a model to follow afterwards. This work is critical to start the cohesion stage. 

3) Cohesion. After improving self-leadership we start increasing cohesion in the management team and afterwards in the rest of the organization. This increases the alignment and motivation of the staff and decreases entropy or wasting useful resources in the organization. It enables designing the New Paradigm. 

4) New Paradigm. When designing the New Paradigm, we take into account the trends, the target, its needs and current solutions, to discover the opportunities. From this knowledge we define the strategic components that create the new business models and provide +/+/+ user experiences. 

5) Projects. The transformation is carried out from the Diagnosis stage. There is a first wave of projectes that start the cultural transformation and create the conditions for innovation to arise. After creating the New Paradigm, the innovation and transformation projects are implemented based on this new strategy.”

I’m pretty sure due to markets and trends changing and new ITs implementation most of the companies will have to start thinking about where they want to go and how they will do it. This is the reason there will be a growth of  “gurú organizations” such as inKnowation in the closer future. If you’re interested in more information about inKnowation check out their web or blog. They’re also on the most popular social networks!

Keep on dreming

We are what we repeatedly do.

Excellence then, is not an act, but an habit“-Aristotle

Hi everybody! Today I want to share with us this funny animated video about creativity. We don’t have to be scared to embark on new projects. It’s never too late, you just need to have an idea and make it happen, as you were a kid! And remember, never stop dreming!

Analyzing Human Towers l Belbin team roles and Organic Structure

Català: 3 de 10 amb folre i manilles carregat ...

Human towers maybe won’t say anything at first and you can be thinking what’s this mad guy talking about? But where I grow up and still living, in Catalonia, it’s traditional to lift up human constructions simulating towers touching the sky, as an imitation of skyscrapers made by humans and with humans. I thought it’s the perfect representation of a company and all its hierarchy levels. Next I’m going to explain why but before let me introduce this beatiful tradition.

Introduction

The tradition of building castells originated in the southern part of Catalonia towards the end of the 18th century. Later it developed a following in the other regions of the country and, since 1981, when the first castell of 9 levels of the 20th century was built, it has become very popular in most of Catalonia and even the Balearic Islands. On November 16, 2010, were declared by UNESCO to be amongst the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

castell is considered a success when stages of its assembling and disassembling, can be done in complete succession. The assembly is complete once all castellers (competitors) have climbed into their designated places and the enxaneta climbs into place at the top and raises on hand with four fingers erect, in a gesture said to symbolize the stripes of the Catalan flag. The enxaneta then climbs down the other side of the tower, after which the remaining levels of castellers descend in highest-to-lowest order until all have reached safety.

Every castle is structured and built by following a specific structure. Each band has a leader:

  • band leader or cap de colla– the head of each team, who decides which castells the team is ready to attempt and directs the construction of the castles from the ground. The leader is always accompanied by a number of assistants and advisers.
  • bulk leader or cap de pinya– one of the band leaders’ assistants who takes particular responsibility for the allocation of places in the bulk, ensuring even force is applied to the base of the castle.
  • top bunch or pom de dalt– the top three levels of the castle.
  • the twos or els dosos– the level sustaining and locked together by the riser and surmounted by the rider. Generally kids.
  • riser or aixecador– the person who helps lock together the twos so providing a stable platform for the rider who stands astride the riser. Almost always a child.
  • rider or anxaneta- the topmost casteller, a child.

Once introduced the parts of a castle, we can compare them with the ones of a company seeing that both share the same construction and moreover the same personal requirements (sacrifice, effort, leadership, collaboration, etc.)

Analysis

First of all I’m gonna make an analysis in function of the Organic Structure developed by Henry Mintzberg were we find three hierarchical levels: strategic apex, middle line and operating core, plus two support areas: technostructure and support staff.

This is the graphic-representation of a classical company, but it’s more than this. Our life is structured following this model.  All of us live located in one of these levels, our life is hierarchical. For this reason I took castells as an example, as I could take a football team or a beehive.

Using the description done before about castellers, I will explain every position in function of this Organic Structure:

Strategic apex- here we’ll find the leaders of the band which ones have the responsibility and obligation of lead the members in order to success the castle.

  • Band leader or cap de colla– the head of each team, who decides which castells the team is ready to attempt and directs the construction of the castles from the ground. The leader is always accompanied by a number of assistants and advisers.
  • Bulk leader or cap de pinya– one of the bandleaders assistants who takes particular responsibility for the allocation of places in the bulk, ensuring even force is applied to the base of the castle.

 Middle line- this is the middle part of the hierarchical structure where we can find middle directors of a company:

  • Top bunch or pom de dalt– the top three levels of the castle.
  • The twos or els dosos– the level sustaining and locked together by the riser and surmounted by the rider. Generally kids.

 Operating core- finally in the top of a castle we have the riser and the rider which ones represent the operating core of a company, the ones who produce and finalize products:

  • Riser or aixecador– the person who helps lock together the twos so providing a stable platform for the rider who stands astride the riser. Almost always a child.
  • Rider or anxaneta- the topmost casteller, a child.
Support staff and technostructure will be played by public and people attending to the event, supporting the uprising of the castle.

Secondly it’s interesting to analyze castellers in function of the directrix of Dr. Meredith Belbin team roles, used to identify people’s behavioural strengths and weaknesses in the workplace. We start from three concepts: hand, heart and brain. (The next post will be dedicated to explain the theory of Belbin Team Roles, in my opinion very interesting).

Following this concepts we can define every role of castellers:

  • band leader take the coordinator (CO) role. Coordinators are the ones who take on the traditional team-leader role and have also been referred to as the chairmen. They guide the team to what they perceive are the objectives. They are often excellent listeners and naturally able to recognize the value that each members brings to the table.
  • bulk leader as implementor (IMP). implementors are the people who get thinks done. They turn the team’s ideas and concepts into practical actions and plans. They are typically conservative, disciplined people who work systematically and efficiently and are very well-organized.
  • top bunch and the twos take the team worker (TW) role. Structurally talking are the ones who provide support and make sure that people within the team are working together effectively. They join strategic apex with operating core (band and bulk leaders with riders and risers).
  • riser and rider are pure completer-finishers (CF). Completer-Finishers are the people who see that projects are completed thoroughly. The ensure there have been no errors or omissions and the pay attention to the smallest of details. They are very concerned with deadlines and will push the team to make sure the job is completed on time.
In conclusion every organization, crowd, team, company or the same life can be analyzed by its structure having a different point of view of the elements. It can seem strange, but this process helped me to understand the function and working of lots of organizations and daily activities.

Death by Powerpoint l Improve your presentations with Alexei Kapterev

Few weeks ago at Information Systems class we watched this slide-show made by Alexei Kapterev. It’s about how to make your powerpoint presentation more dynamic, atractive and interesting. I suggest you to take a look in order to improve your future slides, because as you’ll read on the slide-show: there are 300 million powerpoint users in the world, they do 30 million presentations each day, about a million presentations are going on right now,  50% of them are unbearable, so lots of people are killing each other with bad presentations now.

“You don’t grow up dreaming to become a “presentations guru”. My school graduation certificate was full of B’s (pun intended) with only 3 A’s: in compter science, in English and in history. Other subjects didn’t interest me at all. I wanted to continue studying English but then the Soviet Union collapsed and everybody suddenly decided to become economists and managers. And so did I. I majored in finance and went on to work at Citibank. It was a very nice job, probably one of the nicest in the late 90′s Russia. It had only one fatal problem: it was booooring. It took me 3 years to figure out that it’s not gonna be any better. So I decided to do something with my life and moved to consulting.

Consulting was much more exciting — but much more demanding at the same time. At first I was just writing reports but then I had to go and present my findings to the clients. My first presentation was a disaster and my boss, the firm’s partner, gave me an assignment to “figure out presentations”. It took me two years but after a while I did. Next I’d read Jim Collins’ book From Good to Great and decided to do for a living what I found I could do best—give presentations.

In 2008 I published a presentation called Death by PowerPoint which to my utter surprise went viral, having been viewed by more that 1 million people as of now. It was the greatest reassurance that the path that I’ve chosen is the right one. I’m currently teaching presentations at a one of the Russia’s best business schools, doing corporate workshops, practicing as a consultant, and occasionally working with Mercator, Russia’s leading producer of corporate films, business presentations, and infographics.”

Why we have too few women leaders?

Searching for new and interesting articles today, I found a really great video that explains a glaring truth: the lack of women leaders in companies. This video was posted on TED.com in women’s section [TEDwomen] where speakers talk about popular topics including gender issues and reproductive health. 

In this video, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg looks at why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions- and offers 3 powerful pieces of advice to women aiming for the C-suite. 

TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a global set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, formed to disseminate “ideas worth spreading”.

TED was founded in 1984 as a one-off event and the conference was held annually from 1990 in Monterey, California. TED’s early emphasis was largely technology and design, consistent with a Silicon Valley center of gravity. The events are now held in Long Beach and Palm Springs in the U.S. and in Europe and Asia, offering live streaming of the talks.

They address an increasingly wide range of topics within the research and practice of science and culture. The speakers are given a maximum of 18 minutes to present their ideas in the most innovative and engaging ways they can. Past presenters include Bill Clinton, Jane Goodall, Malcolm Gladwell, Al Gore,Gordon Brown, Richard Dawkins, Bill Gates, educator Salman Khan, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and many Nobel Prize winners. TED’s current curator is the British former computer journalist and magazine publisher Chris Anderson.

From 2005 to 2009, three $100,000 TED Prizes were awarded annually to help its winners realize a chosen wish to change the world. From 2010, in a changed selection process, a single winner is chosen to ensure that TED can maximize its efforts in achieving the winner’s wish. Each winner unveils their wish at the main annual conference.

Since June 2006, the talks have been offered for free viewing online, under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons license, through TED.com. As of November 2011, over 1,050 talks are available free online. By January 2009 they had been viewed 50 million times. In June 2011, the viewing figure stood at more than 500 million, reflecting a still growing global audience.