Scaling Your UX Strategy |


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. >>> Seguir leyendo “Scaling Your UX Strategy |”

Beyond Foursquare: The Next Generation of Customer Loyalty – Michael Schneider and Anne Mai Bertelsen – The Conversation – Harvard Business Review

Today, loyalty programs are often siloed and limited to the interactions between two axes: the customer and spending. In the best of these programs, a brand knows exactly what the customer is spending and how frequently. On the other hand, while brands have spending data across their own locations, they lack knowledge of what kind of business the customer is giving competitors.

If location-based services began collecting the size and frequency of purchases across all locations and mining the data of check-ins (including likes and dislikes), they could begin to build the next generation of loyalty rewards programs comprised of customer, spending, location, and sentiment. Such a program would benefit location-based service providers, brands, and customers alike.

Take this example: if every day a consumer purchases a latte from Starbucks and then walks across the street to Dunkin’ Donuts to pick up a turkey sausage flatbread, both companies could benefit from that information. If many customers display similar habits, Starbucks could add a similar breakfast sandwich to their menu or even discontinue their current breakfast fare at that location.

That level of data provides a more holistic view of consumer behavior, and could ultimately help brands become more relevant and timely. In the example above, in addition to knowing consumers’ breakfast sandwich habits, Starbucks could also learn whether individuals go to Starbucks all or most of the time for coffee. The company could then use that market insight to offer coffee-consumers individual promotions to try their food items, instead of promotions for coffee which the consumer already gladly purchases at full price.

Beyond Foursquare: The Next Generation of Customer Loyalty – Michael Schneider and Anne Mai Bertelsen – The Conversation – Harvard Business Review.

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Globally Networked Creativity, Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

by Navi Radjou, Jaideep Prabhu, Prasad Kaipa, Simone Ahuja

In our recent posts, we wrote about how corporations in sectors ranging from healthcare and energy to consumer goods and technology are learning to leverage the benefits of polycentric innovation by harnessing globally distributed talent to develop new products, services, processes, and even business models in a networked fashion. Now we see a similar collaborative phenomenon emerging in the creative sector and, in particular, the film industry.

Let us state at the outset that polycentric innovation in the creative sector is more than about cross-border financial integration, which has been taking place for several years and is now accelerating due to the lingering economic recession in the West. Indeed, big Hollywood studios such as 20th Century Fox and Warner Brothers are increasingly partnering with production companies overseas to finance and distribute regional films for local and global audiences. And lately, the production companies of Hollywood heavy hitters George Clooney and Brad Pitt have signed development and financing deals with India-based Reliance Big Entertainment, which also took a 50% stake in Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks for $325 million.

As a global media company headquartered in the US with teams operating in emerging markets, Blood Orange Media has consistently experienced that team members who grew up in more resource constrained environments (primarily in emerging markets) often find creative and cost effective ways to solve problems — by, for example, building a makeshift but effective camera dolly when confronting limited time and supplies during a shoot in a remote rural area. In general, we have found that the organizational skills of the Western world complement the fluid and improvisational creativity in the East. This is not to say that there is no turbulence in this cross-regional flow of knowledge — but these “creative differences” enable teams on both sides of the globe to better learn from each other.

Thankfully, the rapidly dropping cost of global communication has made real-time collaboration among creative artists across borders seamless. For instance, a director sitting in Mumbai can simultaneously review and even modify a film clip with a production designer in Hollywood via a shared digital asset management system.

A larger-than-life example of this cross-border creativity and collaboration is Enthiran, the most expensive film to come out of Asia ever. Produced by Sun Pictures out of Chennai (South India) Enthiran is slated for worldwide release on October 1, with HBO handling its global distribution. The film is the collective output of a truly international crew. While this sci-fi thriller features Bollywood-style songs by Oscar-winner AR Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire) and kung-fu-style fight scenes choreographed by Hong Kong legend Yuen Woo-ping, it also boasts animation and special effects done by Stan Winston Studio (of Terminator and Jurassic Park fame) and costume design by Mary E. Vogt (who worked on The Matrix and Men in Black).


Enthiran is a creative embodiment of polycentric innovation, seamlessly blending Eastern talent with Western expertise to co-create a viewing experience that no single region could have conjured up on its own.

Enthiran lends evidence to the fact that the monocentric film industry of the 20th century where all the creative work (concept development, post production, 3D) was done in one region, usually in the West, is shifting to a polycentric world of the 21st century where new innovation hubs are emerging in India, Argentina, China and even New Zealand (remember The Lord of the Rings?). The creative workers in these emerging hubs augment the capabilities of their peers in established hubs in the US and European hubs by offering complementary skills, expertise, and mindsets as well as cost efficiencies and an international aesthetic. Seguir leyendo “Globally Networked Creativity, Coming Soon to a Theater Near You”

A Practical Plan for When You Feel Overwhelmed

In general, September is often a difficult month: I’m catching up from summer vacation as are many of my clients, projects tend to regain momentum, the Jewish holidays reduce my work days, and our kids need more of my time as they readjust themselves to new grades in school.

But this year feels worse. On top of my regular client work, I have three strategy offsites to design and facilitate, my publisher‘s edits of my next book to review, and a TEDx talk to prepare and deliver — all in a month. And then, of course, there’s my weekly blog.

Just to be clear: I’m not complaining. I feel incredibly fortunate to be so busy doing work I love. Still, it can be overwhelming.

And here’s the crazy part: I just spent the last two days trying to work without actually working. I start on something but get distracted by the Internet. Or a phone call. Or an email. Or even a video online that has no value whatsoever. In fact, at a time when I need to be at my most efficient, I have become less efficient than ever. Seguir leyendo “A Practical Plan for When You Feel Overwhelmed”

Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything

Harvard Business Publishing
by Tony Schwartz |

I’ve been playing tennis for nearly five decades. I love the game and I hit the ball well, but I’m far from the player I wish I were.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot the past couple of weeks, because I’ve taken the opportunity, for the first time in many years, to play tennis nearly every day. My game has gotten progressively stronger. I’ve had a number of rapturous moments during which I’ve played like the player I long to be.

And almost certainly could be, even though I’m 58 years old. Until recently, I never believed that was possible. For most of my adult life, I’ve accepted the incredibly durable myth that some people are born with special talents and gifts, and that the potential to truly excel in any given pursuit is largely determined by our genetic inheritance.

During the past year, I’ve read no fewer than five books — and a raft of scientific research — which powerfully challenge that assumption (see below for a list). I’ve also written one, The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working, which lays out a guide, grounded in the science of high performance, to systematically building your capacity physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Seguir leyendo “Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything”

Why Companies Should Insist that Employees Take Naps

by Tony Schwartz | //

Good luck, right?

But here’s the reality: naps are a powerful source of competitive advantage. The recent evidence is overwhelming: naps are not just physically restorative, but also improve perceptual skills, motor skills, reaction time and alertness.

I experienced the power of naps myself when I was writing my new book, The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working.
I wrote at home, in the mornings, in three separate, highly focused 90 minute sessions. By the time I finished the last one, I was usually exhausted — physically, mentally and emotionally. I ate lunch and then took a 20 to 30 minute nap on a Barcalounger chair, which I bought just for that purpose.

When I awoke, I felt incredibly rejuvenated. Where I might otherwise have dragged myself through the afternoon, I was able to focus effectively on work other than writing until 7 pm or so, without feeling fatigued.

When Sara Mednick, a former Harvard researcher, gave her subjects a memory challenge, she allowed half of them to take a 60 to 90 minute nap, the nappers dramatically outperformed the non-nappers. In another study, Mednick had subjects practice a visual task at four intervals over the course of a day. Those who took a 30 minute nap after the second session sustained their performance all day long. Those who didn’t nap performed increasingly poorly as the day wore on. Seguir leyendo “Why Companies Should Insist that Employees Take Naps”

Ingenuity vs. Inefficiency: A Tale from Tianjin

by Michael Fertik  |

The 2010 Annual Meeting of New Champions, or “Summer Davos,” just wrapped up in Tianjin. An exceptional event. But perhaps the most interesting insight I gathered on the state of business in China today came from trying to get a local SIM card to make calls back to the U.S. I’ve changed names to protect the innocent, but otherwise this is what happened. I’ve never seen such intelligent, collaborative hustle leaning against such a jumble of byzantine rules.

I ask David, a front desk manager at my hotel, where I can get a SIM card. He tells me Sam from the concierge desk can go get one for me. I hand Sam a few hundred RMB, and he jets off.

A few minutes later, David calls me in my room and says that he forgot that you need to bring your passport to get a SIM card. So I go downstairs to meet Sam, and we walk the five blocks over to the China Mobile office together. It’s about 4:30 when we get there.

The office, about the size of a trailer, has travel posters on the walls and a long, unmanned glass case filled with manga characters that double as USB drives and cell phone accessories that have been gathering dust since Nokia was on top of the world. At the far end, two uniformed women with elaborate neckties wait for business. Sheila is sitting under a sign that says “Billing Area;” Rose beneath a sign that says “Cashier Area.”

Sam, by the way, is a Chinese version of Christopher Walken at 25 years old. He’s angular, with a light step, and he talks like Walken, both in English and in Chinese. That means his cadence is a pitter-patter of speeding up and slowing down, outbursts and outbeats. He exclaims “Yes!” when it doesn’t make sense, but he does it so effusively that you make the meaning work in your head because you don’t want the appeal of his presentation to fall flat.

Let me see if I can reconstruct what happened next. It was all in Chinese, so I can’t be sure of everything. But Sam explained a few key passages for me, and the visible events were universal enough, so I think I can be a pretty good reporter on what unfolded. Seguir leyendo “Ingenuity vs. Inefficiency: A Tale from Tianjin”

Stop Comparing Yourself with Steve Jobs | Dan Pallotta

Comparing yourself with Steve Jobs is not healthy. Never mind that it’s probably the pastime of every alpha male and female businessperson on the planet these days.

Drawing inspiration from Steve Jobs — or from anyone else you admire — studying them, and learning from them, now those are different matters. But all too often we conflate admiration and comparison. They’re two completely different things. One is smart, the other debilitating.

Comparison sounds like this: “Why aren’t I that creative?” “How come I don’t have the negotiating cajones he does?” “How come I can’t manage my people to that level of excellence?” “Why can’t I run two companies at once like he does?” “Why didn’t I have the guts to drop out of college and do what I really wanted to do?” “How come I haven’t had a comeback?” And it’s no surprise what comes next: “What a loser I am. I’ll never be like him. I’ll never be able to do anything that big. If I were sitting across the office from him he’d make mincemeat of me. I just don’t have what he has.”

The loop is repeated every hour or every time you read something about your icon, whichever comes first.

And this is healthy how?

Such comparisons spiral you into depression. They demotivate you, demoralize you, and generally suck every last bit of enthusiasm and aliveness out of you, so that you go into your next meeting or activity unable to contribute an ounce of energy to the room. How could you? You just annihilated your spirit.

Don’t touch hot stoves, don’t forget to call your mother on Mother’s Day, and don’t compare yourself with others. Wire this into your brain. Ruthlessly comparing yourself with others has become confused with some kind of tough-love work ethic. It isn’t the same thing. And it isn’t the least bit productive. It leaves you with nothing but personal unhappiness, and you can’t create very much of anything with that.

Because we confuse destructive comparisons with a strong work ethic, we make a habit of them, and mental habits get hardwired into our brains.

Break the cycle. Do an intervention on yourself. Begin the process of permanently rewiring your brain by consciously recognizing that this thing you thought was good, or responsible, is in fact the opposite.

There’s a saying, “You can’t afford the luxury of a negative thought.” It’s true. And comparing yourself to others is the equivalent of smothering yourself in negative thought. The feelings of self-loathing that follow are ultimately self-centered and self-indulgent in the most negative possible way. Yes, it’s a form of self-pity.

And if all that isn’t enough, consider this: The last way you will ever get to play in a game remotely like the one your icons play in is by comparing yourself with them.

When I was in my 20s I moved to Los Angeles to try and get a record deal as a singer and songwriter. I compared myself with Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell constantly. Using that approach, I never produced a remotely memorable song. And then I started observing pop/rock songwriter John Cougar. He was derided by the critics for being derivative of, but never nearly as insightful or affecting as, the greats. In a brilliant stroke of authenticity, he dropped the name I assume record producers had forced on him and began using his real name — John Mellencamp. As he embraced his own inadequacies, he began to write about things that were actually real and personal to him, instead of trying to channel Bob Seeger, and suddenly he was producing critically acclaimed music. He went on to found Farm Aid and in 2008 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Using Mellencamp as my model — which meant being true to me and not someone else — I began writing much better, much more authentic material, and even had a song recorded by Edgar Winter. Seguir leyendo “Stop Comparing Yourself with Steve Jobs”

Brazil’s Whopper Deal

by Fernando Luzio

When a New York-based private equity firm, 3G Capital, bought the Miami-headquartered fast food chain Burger King for $3.26 billion last week, you could sense the excitement as far south of the equator as Sao Paulo. That’s because three well-known Brazilian investors (and Harvard alums) back 3G Capital: Jorge Paulo Lemann, Carlos Alberto Sicupira, and Marcel Telles.

Lemann, a tennis player who qualified for Wimbledon in his youth, founded one of Brazil‘s most successful investment banks, Banco de Investimentos Garantia, in the early 1970s. Carlos Alberto (“Beto”) Sicupira started in the 1980s at that bank, and then, grew a single Rio de Janeiro store into Lojas Americanas, one of Brazil’s biggest retail chains. In the late 1980s, Marcel Telles, with Lemann and Sicupira, gained control of a Brazilian brewery that they grew into AmBev, which merged with Belgium’s InBev and, in 2009, acquired Anheuser-Busch.

Soon, Burger King’s chairman will be another Brazilian, Alex Behring, who is also 3G Capital’s managing partner. The former head of America Latina Logistica, a Brazilian railroad and logistical services firm, he joined the low-profile investment firm in 2005, after working for 10 years at GP Investmentos, a private equity firm that Sicupira founded. In addition, Bernardo Hees, who has been the CEO of America Latina Logistica since 2005, has just been appointed Burger King’s new CEO. Befitting the world’s largest exporter of grain and beef, Brazilians quietly control and manage both Anheuser-Busch and Burger King, two iconic American brands.

Some aspects of the takeover stand out:

  • The $3.26 billion involved in the Burger King buyout symbolizes the power that Brazilian banks have accumulated even as their rivals in North America and Europe recover from the wounds inflicted by the recent financial crisis. This happened partly because of the political stability in Brazil imparted by the Cardoso and Lula-led governments over the last 15 years; an economy that has been growing at 3.63% per annum in the last five years; and the close supervision of the autonomous central bank, Banco Central do Brasil.
  • After the recent consolidation in Brazil — where retailers such as Pão de Açúcar and Casas Bahia, private banks such as Itaú and Unibanco, and telecom giants like Oi and Brasil Telecom have merged — it’s become tougher for Brazilian companies to grow through M&A locally. Brazilian companies such as Gerdau, which took over Ameristeel; JBS-Friboi, which picked up Pilgrim’s Pride; WEG, which acquired Voltran and Zest Group; Petrobras, which bought the Pasadena refinery and Cascade Field; and Vale, which invested in White Plains and Fosfertil, among others, are acquiring assets overseas to become global players.
  • The takeover of Burger King symbolizes the growing entrepreneurial spirit and aspirations of Brazilian executives, who must revitalize the 12,000-store, 75-country chain that is a distant No. 2 to McDonald’s. The Latin American connection could help in several ways. Not only could Burger King’s supply chain benefit by procuring more meat and grain in South America, but also, the fast food chain could grow sales by expanding across the continent. It increased the number of restaurants it opened last year in Latin America by 6%, to 1,138 on June 30. Seguir leyendo “Brazil’s Whopper Deal”

Bad Is Stronger Than Good: Evidence-Based Advice For Bosses

Recently, I posted a list of 12 Things Good Bosses Believe. Now I’m following up by delving into each one of them. This post is about the tenth belief: “Bad is stronger than good. It is more important to eliminate the negative than to accentuate the psitive.”
Of all the tunes in the Johnny Mercer songbook, the most generally beloved must be “Accentuate the Positive” — whether your favorite cover is Bing Crosby‘s, Willie Nelson‘s, or someone else’s. Chances are that you yourself could summon up the chorus word for word (and click here if you want accompaniment).

You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

It trips off the tongue so easily that you might not even notice that Mercer is telling you to do two things, not just one. Eliminating the negative, as any skilled leader can tell you, is not just the flipside of accentuating the positive. It’s a whole different set of activities. For someone with people to manage, accentuating the positive means recognizing productive and constructive effort, for example, and helping people discover and build on their strengths. Eliminating the negative, for the same boss, might mean tearing down maddening obstacles and shielding people from abuse.

Certainly, every leader should try to do both. Yet, given that every boss has limited time, attention, and resources, an interesting question is: which should take priority? A growing body of behavioral science research provides a pretty clear answer here: It’s more important to eliminate the negative.

The seminal academic paper here is called “Bad is Stronger Than Good” [pdf]. Roy Baumeister and his colleagues draw on a huge pile of peer-reviewed studies to show that negative information, experiences, and people have far deeper impacts than positive ones. In the context of romantic relationships and marriages, for example, the truth is stark: unless positive interactions outnumber negative interactions by five to one, odds are that the relationship will fail. Seguir leyendo “Bad Is Stronger Than Good: Evidence-Based Advice For Bosses”

The Power to Pull Prosperity

Umair Haque

By now, you might be grudgingly inclined to agree: there’s no recovery because this isn’t just another humdrum recession. You might even be on the verge of grumblingly conceding: the Great Stagnation just might be a crisis of a set of obsolete institutions (corporations, accounts, jobs, markets, even “profit” itself), left over from the industrial age. And, perhaps, you might even be coming around to the notion that rebooting prosperity begins not with bailouts, or stimulus packages, or better leadership, but buildership: building an updated set of institutions that are a better fit with a roiling, fragile 21st century.

So now what? How do we finally get started — right here, right now, in the real world?
Every once in a while, a book comes along that blows my mind, makes me gnash my teeth and say to myself, “Wow! That’s amazing.” The last one was Gary Hamel’s epic Future of Management. The latest is The Power of Pull, by John Hagel, John Seely Brown, and Lang Davison [Obligatory disclosure: both Johns blog for This review was my idea, and the opinions expressed here are, obviously, my own.] Here’s why. Seguir leyendo “The Power to Pull Prosperity”

Jobs 2.0: Nice Work If You Can Get It

Rosabeth Moss Kanter

When I told my mother that my husband-to-be was a consultant, she asked, “Does he work?”

Mom was stuck in the mindset of Jobs 1.0. She had been in the work force when the knowledge economy was just emerging, entrepreneurs were considered a little strange, the only “real” professions were law and medicine, labor meant industrial and trade unions, seniority reigned, and careers involved step-by-predictable-step up the rungs of a tall ladder. In the Jobs 1.0 era, consulting was the fall-back face-saver for people who had lost their jobs. Unfortunately, with 9.6% U.S. unemployment, too often that’s still the case. But consulting, whether through big firms, boutiques, or individual arrangements, is the epitome of a shift to Jobs 2.0.

Jobs 2.0 are not exactly jobs in the classic sense. Consultants, like many other professionals and knowledge workers, work for their clients rather than their employers; employers are often just the financial managers. The work itself tends to be project-based, involving a shifting set of assignments. Individual workers can have several managers, within one organization or across many. Their portfolios might consist of multiple simultaneous activities — a part-time temp job, a for-profit business, a non-profit board, family duties, teaching an after-hours college course, preparing a special report for an elected official, running for office. Seguir leyendo “Jobs 2.0: Nice Work If You Can Get It”

Leverage Your Top Talent Before You Lose It

Do you have an exceptional performer on your team — a person who stands head and shoulders above everyone else? If you do, it can be a wonderful gift for a manager to have an employee whom you can count on to get the right results; who thinks about what else needs to be done without being told; who doesn’t need to be pushed or motivated; who is always asking to do more.

Unfortunately many managers don’t know how to deal with such exceptional employees. They often unintentionally dampen their star performance or cause them to find better opportunities elsewhere. I’ve seen many cases where, instead of leveraging top talent, the manager has quietly suggested that the employee “slow down” or “do more research” or “wait for the right time” or “keep those ideas to yourself for now.” I’ve even seen managers allow their teams to ostracize or marginalize the top performer so that other people won’t “feel bad.” Seguir leyendo “Leverage Your Top Talent Before You Lose It”

Does Your Company Suffer from Process Attention Deficit Disorder?

by Brad Power

Does your organization suffer from subpar operational performance? Have your costs, response times, or reliability slipped relative to competitors or versus customer expectations?

Maybe your organization has Process Attention Deficit Disorder. If it has, symptoms will likely show up in three areas: incentives, behaviors, and organization. Seguir leyendo “Does Your Company Suffer from Process Attention Deficit Disorder?”

For a Better Career Outlook, Look Inward

The Conversation

by Sharon Daniels

Here’s an idea for your next performance review: Do what the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies do for their annual evaluation by the board of directors — write a self-assessment that helps guide the conversation. What you write will be a valuable tool for the performance review and, even better, a custom guide for your own development.

Ongoing self-assessment is one of the five zones of strength that leaders have and non-leader managers don’t, according to one of our ongoing workplace studies (pdf). Indeed, self-assessment makes a major contribution to all the other strength zones, the study concluded.

There are times at work when we tend to be on autopilot, repeating what we do without asking why. At these times we need to step back and reflect on our habits. A look inward will not only give you a better knowledge of what makes you tick, but will help you understand others’ motivations better. It also will help you make sounder intuitive decisions, a highly valuable ability these days when change is accelerating and you have to act without having all the information you want. Seguir leyendo “For a Better Career Outlook, Look Inward”