Archivo de la categoría: Blogs.hbr.org

Scaling Your UX Strategy | blogs.hbr.org


 

In business today, “user experience” (or UX) has come to represent all of the qualities of a product or service that make it relevant or meaningful to an end-user — everything from its look and feel design to how it responds when users interact with it, to the way it fits into people’s daily lives. You even people talking about UX as the way in which a consumer connects to a business — all the touch-points from marketing to product development to distribution channels.

It’s the “new black,” to borrow from a fashion phrase — as well as a reference to its influence on profitability.

The value of UX as a corporate asset is no longer in question. Just look at the
$1 billion price tag paid by Facebook for Instagram, whose primary asset is not technology, but the best photo sharing UX in the business (and some of the best UX talent as well). Look at the recent Apple vs. Samsung judgment: 93% of the damages were related to design patents that define the iOS user experience. The growing appreciation of the value of UX is not restricted to consumer-facing tech companies, like Google with their new focus on unified design or Microsoft Windows 8 with its sleek new “Metro” design language. At frog, we hear the same things from executives in financial services, healthcare, and infrastructure. Companies like GE and Bloomberg are recruiting leading designers to build UX capabilities at a corporate level. We even hear it from our clients in the international market, such as regional telecommunications companies, who see a “unified user experience strategy” like Apple’s as a sign of status.

The recognition of UX’s importance seems to be slowly sinking into corporate culture the way “brand” did a decade ago. >>> Sigue leyendo

Getting Strategy Execution Right – logs.hbr.org


by Video  |  blogs.hbr.org

Michael Jarrett, INSEAD professor, on the most important imperative for your business.

Are You Creating Disgruntled Employees?


You can’t make every worker happy, surely, and should a business even try? Evidence from our recent research suggests, actually, that the answer is yes. Or rather, our evidence shows that managers are giving up far too soon on their disgruntled employees, making them less productive than they could be, exposing their companies to unnecessary risks from thefts and leaks in the process, and inflating turnover costs.

What causes employees to become disgruntled and what can be done to prevent it? To find out we zeroed in on the most unhappy people in our data. These were 6% in our database of 160,576 employees who displayed the lowest levels of job satisfaction and commitment on their 360 evaluations of their bosses. We were looking for those among them whose managers also oversaw the most satisfied employees. In this way we identified that group of leaders who were managing both the very unhappy and the very happy at the same time. Sigue leyendo

Top 50 Ranking of China’s Business Leaders Exposes Common Myths


by Xiaowei Rose Luo, Morten T. Hansen, Herminia Ibarra, and Urs Peyer  |  http://blogs.hbr.org

“A general who fears to unsheathe his sword is not a good general,” says Mr. Li Jiaxiang, Chairman of Air China from 2004 to 2008 and the #1 performing corporate leader in China according to our new ranking (just published in the Harvard Business Review China and the centerpiece for the magazine’s launch events in Beijing and Shanghai). Under his leadership, the company’s total shareholder return outperformed its industry peers by 1,022%, corresponding to a compound annual return above the industry average of 129%, with a corresponding market capitalization increase of CNY 237 bn (USD 36.7 bn). A former general in the China Air Force, Mr. Li put into practice leadership skills he honed in his military career.

Though ours is not the first ranking of Chinese business leaders, it is the first ever such ranking to rely on objective long-term stock market performance. Sigue leyendo

Five Ways to Ruin Your Innovation Process


Rita McGrath

RITA MCGRATH
Columbia Business School professor Rita McGrath studies innovation, corporate venturing, and entrepreneurship. Her latest book is Discovery-Driven Growth (2009).

http://blogs.hbr.org

Most companies sabotage their own innovation processes without meaning to. I’ve noticed five tell-tale signs of this syndrome, which I recently described during a talk to the Columbia Media Forum.

1. Innovation is episodic. We’ve all seen this movie: A few people in the organization have a burning desire to foster more innovation, or a different kind of innovation, so they invent a new process. If they are more junior, they might create a small team that, working around the typical organizational barriers, explores new opportunities. If they are more senior, the impulse may become formalized in a skunkworks, or even a New Ventures Division. For a while, things move along: people make interesting discoveries, and find new places where the company’s capabilities might be relevant.

All too often, however, the initiative ends badly. Sometimes it’s because the senior sponsor moves on. Sometimes it’s because the ideas didn’t work out: innovation, after all, is an uncertain process. Sometimes the company faces a cash or a profit squeeze, and the folks with budget scalpels go looking for something to cut. (It’s easy to ax innovation. Potential future customers can’t scream about not getting a product they don’t know they would love.) So, the innovation efforts get shut down.

More tragically, the group has actually come up with something powerful and novel, but — whoa — someone senior realizes that this could have a disruptive or cannibalizing effect on existing cash cows. The innovators get squashed and the idea is shelved.

What to do? First, remember that innovation, like any other important organizational process, can be managed. Don’t reinvent the wheel — there are good resources that can help you build a repeatable process. Second, recognize that on-again, off-again innovation is worse than nothing. It sends the signal that these are not the projects that people should bet their careers on. So, make it continuous and systematic. Set aside a regular budget. Build it into good people’s career paths.

2. Resources are held hostage by incumbent businesses. If you want to understand the most significant lever for generating change in a large, complex organization, you need to understand the resource allocation process. Resources flow where there is power; they signal what is important. Unfortunately, the resource allocation process in most complex organizations is not innovation-friendly. Rather, it’s a throwback to an era when the importance of a business was directly correlated to the people and assets it had under management. Makes perfect sense in a world of steady-state production. It can be lethal to organizations trying to be more innovative.

Most people who manage powerful businesses believe that it’s not in their personal best interest to contemplate shrinking that business or redeploying its assets and capabilities. So resources shore up the position of businesses that are starting to fade, eking out a little more time for the managers in charge. This creates two problems: first, valuable assets are being tied up in a business that doesn’t represent the future. Second, the resources that might be used to fund growth are held hostage.

The only time I’ve seen a company neutralize this problem is when very senior managers are charged with extracting resources from established businesses and re-purposing them to fund growth. This is not easy stuff. IBM had to re-invent its entire innovation process, creating an “Emerging Business Opportunity” model where a senior-level executive watched liked a hawk to be sure that the people and assets allocated to innovation didn’t get sucked back into the existing business. Ivan Seidenberg of Verizon was criticized by many — even his own people — for re-purposing the cash coming out of land-lines and phone books to support moves into wireless and entertainment businesses. The core lesson is that, if you allow the existing businesses to determine where people and funds are allocated, you won’t get innovation. Sigue leyendo

Changing the Conversation in Your Company


Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind

BORIS GROYSBERG AND MICHAEL SLIND
http://blogs.hbr.org

 

Boris Groysberg (bgroysberg@hbs.edu) is a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. Michael Slind (mike@talkincbook.com) is a writer, editor, and communication consultant. They are co-authors of the book Talk, Inc.: How Trusted Leaders Use Conversation to Power Their Organizations (HBR Press, 2012).

In our experience, it’s rare for a diverse group of headstrong Executive Education participants from around the globe to agree on anything. Yet earlier this month, when we surveyed a group of leaders who attended the Driving Performance Through Talent Management program at Harvard Business School, 92% agreed that the practice of internal communication “has undergone a lot of change” at their companies “in recent years.”

While the sample size in this case isn’t large — about three-dozen leaders took part in the survey — these participants make up a highly representative group. They hail from every part of the globe, and from organizations small and large (with head counts that range from about 200 to more than 100,000). They occupy senior positions in fields that include sales and talent management, and they work in industries that range from manufacturing to health care to financial services.

That survey result reinforces a finding that we’ve observed elsewhere in our research: in company after company, the patterns and processes by which people communicate with each other are unmistakably in flux. The old “corporate communication” is giving way to a model that we call “organizational conversation.” That shift is, for many people, a disorienting process. But it also offers a great leadership opportunity.

Our research has shown that more and more leaders — from organizations that range from computer-networking giant Cisco Systems to Hindustan Petroleum, a large India-based oil supplier — are using the power of organizational conversation to drive their company forward. For these leaders, internal communication isn’t just an HR function. It’s an engine of value that boosts employee engagement and improves strategic alignment.

Broadly speaking, there are four steps that you can take to make your approach to leadership more conversational. (In future posts, we will address each of these points at greater length.)

1. Close the gap between you and your employees. In our survey, we also asked respondents to name the biggest employee communication challenge at their company. In response, one participant cited the need to “move away from top-down communication.” Another highlighted a “disparity between the senior management team and middle management due to low transparency.” Trusted and effective leaders overcome such challenges by speaking with employees in ways that are direct, personal, open, and authentic.

2. Promote two-way dialogue within your company… Sigue leyendo

Why We Can’t See What’s Right in Front of Us


Tony McCaffrey

TONY MCCAFFREY

http://blogs.hbr.org/

Tony McCaffrey developed the Obscure Features Hypothesis for innovation as his dissertation in cognitive psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is currently funded by the National Science Foundation’s Center for e-Design to implement his innovation-enhancing techniques in software. Beta testing will begin in summer 2012.

The most famous cognitive obstacle to innovation is functional fixedness — an idea first articulated in the 1930s by Karl Duncker — in which people tend to fixate on the common use of an object. For example, the people on the Titanic overlooked the possibility that the iceberg could have been their lifeboat. Newspapers from the time estimated the size of the iceberg to be between 50-100 feet high and 200-400 feet long. Titanic was navigable for awhile and could have pulled aside the iceberg. Many people could have climbed aboard it to find flat places to stay out of the water for the four hours before help arrived. Fixated on the fact that icebergs sink ships, people overlooked the size and shape of the iceberg (plus the fact that it would not sink).

More mundane examples: in a pinch, people have trouble seeing that a plastic lawn chair could be used as a paddle (turn it over, grab two legs, and start rowing) or that a candle wick could be used to tie things together (scrape the wax away to free the string).

The problem is we tend to just see an object’s use, not the object itself. When we see a common object, the motor cortex of our brain activates in anticipation of using the object in the common way. Part of the meaning of an object is getting ready to use it. If a type of feature is not important for its common use, then we are not cognizant of it. The result: our brain’s incredible inertia to move toward the common. Efficient for everyday life, this automatic neural response is the enemy of innovation. Sigue leyendo

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