By Brant Cooper
To me disruption means much more than the ideology of startups eating away at the market share of large businesses.
What we will focus on are the ongoing disruptions we're seeing at a rapid pace e.g. pandemic, global supply chain, ransomware attacks, inflation, shortages and the list goes on.
I will show you how to properly organize your teams and business to make sure you can not only survive in this new digital world but thrive in it.
Disruption Proof Oct 24, 2022
Solving the Personal Productivity Dilemma | LinkedIn Audio Event Special
The debate that has raged on since the pandemic; personal productivity. I would argue that being in the office does not make someone more productive than working from home. In this LinkedIn audio event I'll be going over how to maximize personal productivity by the use of a KANBAN board.
AI- Artificial Intelligence or Artificial Innovation?
The hype around AI is mind-boggling—more than the standard tech hype, which is saying something. Leadership is demanding to know what it means for their organizations. So what does it mean? Is this just the latest iteration of FOMO? How do you get answers?
Unlocking the Human Side of Digital Transformation
Surviving and thriving in the digital world does not mean merely implementing technology. It also requires instilling new mindsets at all levels in the organization.
The way people work needs to align with the speed, complexity, and uncertainty of today’s economic activity while solving real-world problems that benefit customers.
The path forward is to create RAD organizations: resilient to endless disruptions, aware of changing market conditions, and dynamically adapting to create real value.
The Uncertainty of Support Functions
Will support function departments (HR, legal, finance etc) be replaced by AI?
Instead of looking to replace these roles, however, leaders should be looking to evolve them.
Technology has always automated tasks no matter collar of your collar. AI is merely the newest and perhaps the scariest, because we don’t understand its boundaries.
HR teams, for example, don’t (or shouldn’t be) manually scanning through hundreds of resumes anymore to find a new candidate thanks to tech. AI might even make the process better.
A growth-minded organization sees this as an opportunity to improve how HR serves its internal customers, however, not merely as a cost-cutting initiative.
The extra time might be used by the HR team to discover ways of retaining employees, increasing happiness, improving collaboration, and so on; bringing “human” back into Human Resources.
The same concept can be applied to all support functions.
Evolve the roles so your people can have a more direct impact on the success of the organization.
Will tech take jobs? Yep.
Might it lead to job-creating growth? Surely, if you up-level the skills of those you’ve already invested in.
In this LinkedIn Audio event special we talk about the uncertainty these roles face and what leveling them up looks like so they can have a deeper impact on the organizations they work for.
Rapid Experimentation: The Fast Track to Overcoming Uncertainty
Brant Cooper talks about what it takes to complete rapid experiments and how it can be the fast track to overcoming uncertainty.
The goal is to separate what customers will do vs what they say they’ll do. Too many entrepreneurs and corporate product people rely on “positive feedback” to make decisions.
Countless hours and dollars are wasted assuming they know what their customers want based on little to no evidence. With rapid experimentation, customer behavior is a key part of the process.
If you'd like to download our Rapid Experimentation Board for free DM me on LinkedIn: Brant Cooper: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brantcooper/
Defining Innovation & What It Means for Your Organization
Brant Cooper discusses what does innovation truly mean and why do so many organizations fail at it?
The overly-used buzzword often means something different to different members of the organization. It needs to be defined by the organization and then shared with everyone.
👉What is the expected output of innovation?
👉What are the desired outcomes?
👉Who is responsible?
👉What is out of scope?
While “innovation” might be one method of achieving priorities and goals, having an innovation mindset is required no matter the pursuit.
The innovation mindset is characterized by behavior reflecting learning and exploration. It’s how to deal with uncertainty.
Value Streams Part II
The Value Stream Discovery Loop is a customer-centric approach to value creation. It helps businesses understand what their customers need and how they can provide value to them in an efficient, value-enhancing way. At its core, this is accomplished by looking at a customer’s lifecycle journey from their perspective.
The journey can be broken down into seven states that a customer goes through: Awareness, Intrigue, Trusting, Convinced, Hopeful, Satisfied, and Passionate. Each state has a customer behavior that indicates what state they’re in and at least one high level business activity required to get the customer to act out that behavior. Think: “Call to Action (CTA).” Generally, you measure the # (or %) of customers who act on which CTA.
Value Stream Discovery LinkedIn Audio Event Special
It’s likely you’ve heard the term “Value Stream” tossed around quite a bit without much context or definition. This is a shame, as creating greater efficiency without understanding an organization’s value streams is likely to result in decreased efficiency.
A value stream consists of all the steps or processes an organization goes through to deliver a product or service to the customer. But, it should go further than that. It should describe all the activities an organization does to create value for customers and other stakeholders. This includes all the activities done to develop, market, sell, deliver, and support the product outside of product creation, like manufacturing. After all, if a customer never hears of a product or can’t take delivery of it, it never creates value for them.
A product’s value stream provides an opportunity for organizations to identify inefficiencies, redundancy, bottlenecks, and other types of waste in their processes. Unlike most company cost-cutting efforts, mapping, analyzing, and improving the value stream leads to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, reduced costs, and increased profitability, without sacrificing value creation.
Value Steam Discovery Part I
Value streams are all the activities an organization does to create value for customers and other stakeholders (usually within a specific product).
“Lean” practitioners help you map your workflows, so you can see how to improve them while maintaining value creation.
But what if the value isn’t there?
Or you’re creating a new product? Or “innovating.”
How can you discover your value streams?
The Rise of Product Management | LinkedIn Audio Event Special
Product management dates back to the 1930s with the concept of “brand management” pioneered at Proctor & Gamble. The memo that started it all sounds more like modern product marketing than product management, but your mileage may vary.
Others point to 1990s Microsoft, which introduced the role of a “program manager.” The program manager was part of the Engineering department. It was their job to ensure all aspects of the product development process were aligned and working together. Program management was steeped in technical processes, but also considered how product decisions would impact the product’s end users.
The best recap I dug up on how modern product management evolved is by Aakash Gupta. At the very least, it resonated with my experience. I’m buying that modern day product management, regardless of its origins, began at Hewlett Packard. The primary function was to serve as the bridge between Engineering and Marketing.
For a readable version click here: https://movestheneedle.com/blog/the-rise-of-product-management-2/
The Rise of Product Management Part II
The pandemic marked a point of acceleration for corporate digital transformation. The companies that performed the best were digital or had at least adopted a digital age mindset. Not surprisingly, companies who never had product managers are now forming product management teams.
These organizations are now living in a world where the product is never done and their systems, structures, and processes must reflect that. The product management function is the right group to design, test, and iterate upon those systems.
To succeed, companies must at some level be digital ready:
- Development team is agile, with an eye toward making the whole company agile. The PMs will be a conduit for expanding agile beyond Engineering.
- Employees are close to customers – hiring outside agencies, doing “market research”, and otherwise separating employees from customers is anachronistic. This is true even in business to business companies and highly regulated industries.
- Evidence informs decisions – leaders should yield to data and insights.
- Compete based on creating value – If M&A, government lobbying, or selling ice to polar bears is your primary growth engine, you don’t need product management.
The Rise of Product Management
For a long time economists thought demand existed before supply was created.
It turns out for most products, the inverse is true, where supply creates demand.
People often aren’t conscious of their needs or how to address them.
This also explains why we buy a lot of things we don’t need.
This is why, at least if one wants to create value in the world, it’s up to product managers to understand needs.
In other words, they shouldn’t be asking customers what they want or asking them to predict how they might behave in the future.
Innovation Labs into Center for Excellence- LinkedIn Event Special
On this LinkedIn audio event special Brant Cooper discusses the evolution of Innovation Labs.
In this episode Brant goes over the common errors associated with innovation labs and the real pivot they need to make in order to survive their 3-5 year lifespan.
Turning Your Innovation Lab Into a Center of Excellence
Innovation labs have expertise but it's not invention. They excel at exploration work and exploration is the solution for how companies should deal with uncertainty.
Therefore this idea of turning the innovation lab into a source that can drive exploration using KASE (Kickstart, Accelerate, Scale, Endure).
The Role of Innovation Labs
Innovation labs have been hip for the last decade or so yet the story is that they only last 3-5 years.
Something is up here.
It's not up to the innovation labs or teams to produce innovation. I know, it sounds like a paradox. What it should really be about is an innovation mindset.
The difference is the output. Innovation is defined differently by every department in a company.
Therefore sticking the responsibility of innovation for a whole company when every part of the company wants different outcomes is a tall order.
So with this mindset having an innovation mindset allows the team to be entrepreneurial and find growth opportunities for the business that's outside it's core revenue.
Reducing Uncertainty Within Your HR Dept via Explore in the Core
Corporate HR teams are facing unprecedented uncertainty: hybrid work, the “big quit”, and “silent quit”. To make things worse, an exhausted, burned-out workforce.
The remaining workforce will be implored to “just work harder.”
This is a recursive, negative cycle. Can it be stopped? I don’t know. But if it can, I know how you’ll figure it out. You must learn to “explore in the core.”
Listen to this before you do your next re-org
Most re-orgs cut into muscle not just fat.
As we head into an uncertain economy in 2023 and businesses plan for the year ahead re-orgs are likely.While re-organizing parts of the business might improve some efficiencies, it’s often disguising leadership problems, rather than real productivity issues.
The end result is a bias toward making people work harder, not smarter.If you’re looking for a true solution to more efficient workflow then re-orgs should be thought of from the bottom-up, not top-down: empower the bottom thin out the top.
You want the organization to be able to react to changes to its environment, which generally occur at the edge, not the center. Agile teams define work needed. New information is relayed to the top. Leadership alters strategy, communicates plans and allocates resources.
How to create effective KPI's for 2023
What’s so interesting about KPIs and OKRs is every few years there’s a new framework for metrics, but essentially, they’re always about outcomes. So, what are the desired outcomes?
We want more customers.
We want happier customers.
We want more revenue, more growth, and more market share.
That's going to keep the bosses happy and their bosses happy. And ultimately, will make investors and Wall Street happy.
The challenge is when we’re down levels from those mega-desired outcomes, we don't feel like we can influence them too much.
How to start exploring in the core | 008
The trap that many corporations are falling into is the belief that digital transformation is viewed as mostly a technological thing. They think that they can hire a bunch of software engineers or outsource to development companies and that'll solve their digital transformation issues. That couldn’t be further from the truth as there’s a human side to digital transformation.
Their aspiration to be a Silicon Valley-type tech company that has a mix of entrepreneurism, agility and speed makes them believe that tech is the end all be all solution.
And while technology is disruptive to the business, that is not disruptive innovation. That is actually a purposeful re-imagining of how you structure and manage your work. It's recognizing that the real disruptions are external to the company mostly in the form of pandemics, ransomware attacks, supply shocks, energy grid collapses, the big quit etc.
What COVID should have taught us is that that's the new norm. These disruptions that are going to continue to ripple across our economies and ripple across the business is the new norm. All the companies that are sitting around waiting to return to the new normal will fail. Those companies that continue to attempt top-down transformations or reorganizations will continue to just shift, move around deck chairs on the Titanic, to coin a phrase.
So the question becomes immediately is how do you start exploring in the core?
Reducing Uncertainty in Your Business | Ep 007
How do you reduce uncertainty in your business?
Exploration is the norm. It’s not necessarily because people think of it that way, but because the default nature of a new business is not knowing. There is no blueprint yet for building, marketing, selling and delivering new value for customers. The first step is (or ought to be) understanding the market needs. This requires interviewing potential customers and running experiments all before building any of the product.
In established businesses, leaders and employees assume the blueprint they use to execute on the business is fixed. But as the last few years demonstrate, little is fixed. Pandemic, war, supply chain issues, ransomware attacks, inflation–it’s crazy out there! All these events ripple across the business landscape, disrupting the markets. The blueprint maybe doesn’t work anymore.
How do you fix that?
How to discover opportunities within your business part II | 006
Opportunity discovery is the practice of figuring out where a business can find new growth. It’s the phase that comes before customer discovery and before product idea. (You can actually start with either of those, but should take a big stop backward to figure out more about the actual opportunity.)
There are 4 parts to opportunity discovery: 1) Establishing the “sandbox”; 2) Establishing the “needs”; 3) Describing who has the need; and 4) Documenting the Job-to-be-Done.
In this episode we'll be going over these 4 parts and the process of finding said opportunities.
How to find new opportunities within your business | 005
In this episode we're discussing opportunity discovery and what it means to find new opportunities within your organization.
How to understand your customers better | 004
In this episode, we'll be talking about how you can properly survey your customers so you can better understand them. We often lead customers on and are looking for confirmation bias when making decisions.
I'll be going over how to properly pull data and make customer-centric decisions.
How to go about uncertainty in the marketplace | Ep 003
On this episode of Disruption Proof, we're discussing uncertainty in the market and how to go about it. The default nature of a new business is not knowing. There is no blueprint yet for building, marketing, selling and delivering new value for customers. The first step is (or ought to be) understanding the market needs. This requires interviewing potential customers and running experiments all before building any of it. In this episode, you'll learn how to undergo this exploration.
How do you scale agile within your organization?
What does it mean to be agile and how do you scale it within your organization?
When it comes to scaling Agile, proper management is crucial.
A core principle of agile is a “self-organized” team, which means that the team decides the best way to work together and how they will accomplish their mission. But collaboration with stakeholders is also an agile principle. Traditional performance management makes these two principles difficult.
Traditional performance management focuses on the individual’s performance as measured by achieving KPIs or OKRs (doesn’t matter), that were decided upon many months in the past. Even more enlightened organizations that conduct performance reviews throughout the year, rely on individual performance without regard to variables beyond the individual’s control.
If you manage one or two teams, this is perhaps workable, though the manager is constantly in a reactive mode, responding to individual tasks or behavior related to desired outcomes. If one wishes to scale agility, this won’t work unless “performance management” is the only job of the manager.
In a truly agile environment, individual performance must be tied to team performance relative to its mission. Of course, the devil is in the details. What is a mission?
Brant Cooper dives into all of this and more.
What does it mean to be Disruption Proof? | Ep 001
Welcome to The Disruption Proof Podcast!
In this episode, I talk about what it truly means to be Disruption Proof. To me, disruption means much more than the ideology of startups eating away at the market share of large businesses. What we will focus on are the ongoing disruptions we're seeing at a rapid pace e.g. pandemic, global supply chain, ransomware attacks, inflation, shortages and the list goes on. I will show you how to properly organize your teams and business to make sure you can not only survive in this new digital world but thrive in it.
If you found value in this please like, subscribe and share. Thank you so much!