Creating an Environment for Great Ideas

“Ideas are Cheap” is a maxim you hear with alarming frequency. For the most part it’s true, ideas are everywhere and yes, the real key is in the execution. The risk of this attitude though is that we begin to treat ideas as a commodity.

Ideas are living things, they start off small but cared for, and helped to develop, they can begin to take on a life of their own but to really be transformational your idea will likely need a little TLC before you even think about executing in it. That said, where ideas really need the TLC is before you even have them.

Nature vs. Nurture

Some ideas are born great, others need some help and hate to break it to you, most ideas fall in the latter category. It’s rare to have that ‘a-ha’ moment in a spontaneous fashion. Your ideas need time to grow. Think of the idea as a seed, often the idea gets planted and as soon as we see any green poking out of the ground we’re harvesting it (Get it done!) but have you really thought everything through? How often have you seen a team run with an idea only to hit a major roadblock that wasn’t anticipated? Have you even had the best idea yet?

Continue reading Creating an Environment for Great Ideas

Get Informed & Help Stop SOPA. #stopsopa #sopastrike

If you go to many sites around the web today you may find that the site you usually expect to see has been replaced with a black screen (wikipedia.org, wordpress.org & http://boingboing.net/ being good examples). This is part of a day of protest  against two bills being considered by the United States government called Protect-IP and SOPA.

These two bills arguably present the first front in a battle to keep the Internet open, free and uncensored. They threaten to hand the reigns of the web to multinational corporations, entertainment companies primarily, allowing them to have sites they don’t like blocked within the US and gives them the power to sue sites just for LINKING to other sites that may host or otherwise give access to copyrighted materials. The laws are vague, over reaching and variations of it will no doubt spread to Canada in short order if passed in the United States. Continue reading Get Informed & Help Stop SOPA. #stopsopa #sopastrike

10 Rules Enterprise Technology Groups Need to Start Living By

Over the past ~15 years or so I’ve had the opportunity to engage with enterprise technology groups in one form or another whether it be designing solutions with them, consulting for them, selling to them and now, actually working within one.

As a result I’ve had a front seat as they’ve been dragged into a new world where they’re no longer the place where employees are amazed at the cutting-edge technologies they get to work with at the office, but instead a place where just keeping up with the latest technologies has become a massive challenge (Hands up if you work at a big corp and you’re still on Win XP, Office 2003 & IE6).

Compounding the problem is the accelerating pace of technology evolution – not just for the applications and hardware already in the organization, but the growing number of applications and devices they’re expected to support. 25-30 years ago it was a putting a computer on every desk, today I personally have a corporate desktop, laptop (2 actually), blackberry and iPad. Then you’ve got the applications, the intranet and all the servers to run everything. What it boils down to is 100’s of thousands of moving parts that they’re responsible for and that number is only increasing (oh, and did we mention your budget has been cut back?).

So with that context I do think there’s some areas where technology groups could make their lives easier. Most, if not all, of the following rules really only require a mindset shift to implement (easier said than done, I know) Continue reading 10 Rules Enterprise Technology Groups Need to Start Living By

Unconsciously Killing User Experience in the Enterprise

After ~18 moths in a large organization, I’d be hard pressed to find a statement that fills me with dread more than: “Oh, we’ve got this great new system that you can enter your request in now” – No sooner have those words left someone’s mouth and I know that I’ve just lost hours of my life and in short order, will likely start sympathizing with those people who snap in the workplace.

It happens easily enough – A team within a department are tasked with cleaning up their processes and building or configuring a system to automate all that tedious data collection and information submission. It’s a task that is approached with the best intentions but often goes horribly astray at some point along the way. The reason? The Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) begin thinking of themselves as the ‘users’ and when that happens, all hope is lost.

Heck, if it’s a system that only the SMEs need to use then go for it, knock yourself out. Unfortunately though, more often than not, the intentions of these systems is to get users from outside a department or work group to submit information to the SMEs in a consistent, organized fashion. The problem? They’re not SME’s – they don’t know what you know. Actually, the problem in these cases is that YOU don’t know what you know. Continue reading Unconsciously Killing User Experience in the Enterprise

App I’m Loving: Waze

Got turned on to Waze the other day by my friend Mike – in short Waze is a GPS navigation app for mobile devices that uses the users data, both passively and actively collected, to update their maps and provide traffic and other details. The app in turn uses this data to route you around traffic, give you heads up on potential speed traps and lets you know about things like construction or other hazards to be aware of.

It’s easy to use and oddly addictive they’ve put just enough game in the app to keep you interested in proactively adding data to it but also passively leverages the folks who just drive  around with it on and don’t want to contribute additional data on their own.  I especially love the touch of them adding ‘candy’ bonus points to the map to areas where they need more data about the road – a great way to encourage the harder core members to venture down that street. You can even have the system prefer to route you over those spots – don’t think I’ll be getting THAT into it, but you know there’s some keeners out there. Continue reading App I’m Loving: Waze