Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Maddock Douglas Acquires Change Inc.

Things are looking green around Maddock Douglas—and for good reason.

Maddock Douglas Acquires Change Inc banner

We recently signed a letter of intent to purchase Change, a Vancouver based consultancy focused on creating and branding green products and services. And with the closing date set for February 1, 2010, we’re ready to start innovating greener.

Check out the official press release on MaddockDouglas.com

“Why” might seem like a no-brainer, but the environment isn’t the only reason to be eco-friendly. Green is good for the consumer and our planet, true, but sustainability is now the key driver of innovation and, believe it or not, it’s also the ultimate competitive advantage.

And what exactly do we mean by that? Here’s why sustainability is more than planet-friendly:


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Social Media In 2010So far, 2010 has been the year of the tablet, the Blu-Ray, the e-reader, and 3D entertainment. These ideas represent fine consumer product innovations, but let's take a moment and talk about business models. The next year will see a host of changes for many large companies. One of the most interesting (and something we have had our eye on for years) is the integration of social technologies into large, and often siloed, organizations.

If you’re thinking, “wait a minute, I thought that was 2009,” think again. 2009 was indeed social media’s first year in the mainstream corporate consciousness, but for many, adoption has been slow and support has been the same.

Here's what you have to look forward to in 2010:

1) Social media won’t just be social media. That is, Social media in 2010 will no longer be a stand-alone feature. Instead of being the add-on garage, many innovative services and products will have social technologies built into business strategy. Social media will be used, not as a novelty, or an experiment, but as a strategic and integrated piece of a business unit. If we had it our way, the term "social media" would dissapear and simply be understood as a core operating principal of any successful organization.

2) Conversation will king technology.
Instead of focusing on spreading presence across mediums, (whether it be Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin) companies will begin to hone in on the most important part—the conversation. More in-depth efforts will be made to forge relationships, not small talk. Insights will be gathered with more efficiency and passed up the chain with more regularity.

3) Long-term will lead.
Throwing out tweets into the vast social media landscape with the hope that someone re-tweets or responds will be a thing of the past as marketers become better at crafting sticky messages. More in-depth (and ultimately fulfilling) interactions for the brand and the consumer will be far more regular than one-offs.

4) People will bolster relationships—not bots.
The companies that have the right strategy and implementation in place will, if they haven’t already, begin to interact with people as people—not bots, not nameless suits—people. In turn, company-consumer trust levels will increase.

5) Crowdsourcing will come with the territory.
People that are fans of products and services will help to police themselves—and companies will be more willing to allow the communities they are building to grow organically, ultimately facilitating consumer to corporate as well as consumer to consumer conversations with less interference.

Are your public relations professionals, marketing managers, agencies, and account teams still talking about social media one-offs? The most successful companies in 2010 will employ people who understand that social technologies have become a required practice and embrace these concepts as part of the job.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

YEO and ACE Founder Verne Harnish Talks Going Global and Getting Lean

Is your company ready to face huge opportunity? Verne Harnish, founder of the Young Entrepreneurs’ Organization (YEO), the Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs (ACE) and founder and CEO of Gazelles, Inc. explains why productivity is key to going global and getting lean—and how it will change the game for good.

Verne Harnish - Go Global Get Lean from Maddock Douglas, Inc. on Vimeo.

Verne is a member of the Maddock Douglas Global Expert Network, an exclusive group of thinkers that includes entrepreneurs, professionals and specialists. GEN members span the globe and are hand picked to provide insight and expertise for specific opportunities and challenges. These experts often come from a parallel industry or have a specialized skill that relates to the challenge at hand. And this cross-section of thinking creates relevant, and frequently groundbreaking, ideas. Do you have a GEN? And if not, how do you plan to infuse outside expertise into your next big challenge?


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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Why Victims Can't Invent Anything - BusinessWeek

First, get past the fear of failure and unknown markets. Then stop complaining and blaze your own trail to innovation and profit

Consider this tale: Two salespeople for a leading athletic shoe company are sent over to a developing-world soon-to-be superpower country in the early 1980s. After a week of working to find leads, each salesperson reports back to corporate.

The first salesperson says, "Prospects could not be worse. Nobody wears athletic shoes over here."

The second salesperson sees things differently. "This is unbelievable! Everybody here needs our shoes!"

Question: Which report would have come back from you?

The answer is a simple way to determine whether you have what it takes to be a successful innovator. You are either a creator ("What an amazing opportunity—everyone needs what we have; we just need to figure out how to reach them") or a victim ("What a terrible situation").

Now you're probably thinking you are almost always a creator—never, or rarely, a victim. Well, here's how you know you are a victim: You complain about anything. That's right, the sure sign you are playing victim is complaining.

Here's why this should matter to you: In the world of innovation, there are only two kinds of people, victims and creators. Creators focus on finding solutions, welcoming the bumps along the way because they know overcoming hurdles will ultimately lead to a better solution. (More on that in a minute.)

Meanwhile, for victims, small problems—not to mention the inevitable big ones—lead to an unlikely addiction that keeps great ideas from happening.

Victims are Excuse Addicts

Perhaps you have uttered some of these words: The budget is too small; the deadline is too tight; the competition is too tough; my boss is a tool; my boss is an ignorant tool; legal won't approve it; R&D won't make it in time; my team is too small; we don't have any big ideas; we have too many ideas. Any of these sound familiar? Of course they do, because everyone developing new products and services has the same challenges. So why are your competitors—down the street and down the hall—besting you when it comes to new product development?
Put simply, they have learned failure is a positive part of being a creator and complaining is just the drug of choice for the victim. (And we want to acknowledge that The Power of TED, a book by David Emerald, got us to start calling these people victims.)
Failure is the Oxygen of Innovation

We are not being overly dramatic here. Failing is as much a part of creating as heavy breathing is a part of running. The trick is to understand that the creator sees every small failure as a big opportunity to modify the product or experience. They view every problem as an opportunity to come up with some creative workaround. For example:

• "R&D can't make it? I'll try to open innovation models and see if someone else can develop for us."
• "Budget is too small? I'll have online thought leaders expose it to their followers (for free) and take advantage of the viral lift."
• "This approach has never worked in the past? Well, gee. Maybe times have changed—and if they haven't, let's try a different way of attacking the problem."

Creators see the obstacles as springboards for new thinking, not as an excuse to throw up their hands and give up.

What is the Outcome You Want?

Okay, fine, you say. But what do you do if you have a victim mentality—if only once in a while—or manage people who do? Our suggestion is to ask this simple question when you (or the folks you are in charge of) confront an obstacle that makes you think about quitting: "What is the outcome you want?"

This simple question can magically turn a victim into a creator. This phrase is the beacon that allows you to navigate through political, budgetary, and scheduling waters.

Once you are clear on the destination, it becomes a lot easier to steer a course around obstacles and shoals.

If you manage a person who is constantly pointing to excuses when asked why the pipeline is slow or low, ask, "What's the outcome you want?" If that person can't create ideas to get there, he or she might just be too addicted to victimhood to innovate. And if you as a boss find yourself doing more complaining than creating, perhaps it's time to ask yourself the same question—and do something about it.

This article originally published in BusinessWeek

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