Recommended reading: Wikinomics

I’m a fan of Don Tapscott’s work. Although this isn’t my favorite book of his (Sorry Don, but Digital Capital and Creating Value in the Network Economy are two of my favorite books), Wikinomics is timely and relevant with plenty of online content available. A good read.

Cheap yet effective innovation: Switch mindsets

The second stage of the Business Diamond Framework™’s 3i Methodology™ is to create innovative strategies to help organizations lower costs, raise revenues, and differentiate. (If you’re totally new to the Business Diamond Framework™, click here for a quick synopsis).

bdf-w-words-fullThere are a number of tools practitioners can use to innovate but one of the easiest ways to generate innovation in this stage is to move departments and roles and processes from one Function Diamond to another. (For example, from the Support Diamond to the To-Market Diamond or from the Value-Add Diamond to Leadership Diamond).

A popular example of this is the IT department. In many businesses, the IT department would be defined as a Support Diamond part of the organization. Because of that, the IT department is reactive and often merely tasked to patch together a computer system to let the company achieve a baseline of internal and external communication. Then, they are tasked to maintain that baseline. That’s a classic Support Diamond problem — the expectation that departments, processes, and roles in this Function Diamond will perform at a specific minimum.

But a simple, conceptual shift from the Support Diamond means that IT is no longer reacting as a supporting department.

Shifting IT into the Value-Add Diamond puts the department to work as an essential part of the business that intentionally contributes to the business’ Value Chain. Or, shifting IT into the Leadership Diamond puts the department to work as a business enabler — a department that drives positive change and encourages forward momentum by becoming a decision maker in the business. We see this a little with the role of the CIO, but it’s just the beginning. When I did some writing for SAP, this was a big deal that we were addressing. And I recently found this book, which I thought was also relevent: 2017: The End of IT as We Know It.

But IT is just one example, of course. There are other departments, processes, and roles that can be shifted from one Function Diamond to another to create innovative ways of doing business.

Want to stir up your business for some fresh and innovative thinking? Identify a role and explore ways to shift them into another Function Diamond.

Social media solution: What’s your dream vacation?

One of my clients is Boyd Autobody & Glass, one of the largest operators of collision repair facilities in North America.

They wanted to participate in social media but there’s a problem: Collision repair is not really a topic that people think about unless they need it. And, even when people do need collision repair, it’s not always a positive experience for them because of insurance deductibles and red tape, collision-related injuries (and worse), and stress about an investment that is often the second most expensive thing they own (next to their house). In short, collision repair doesn’t provide many favorable or compelling social media conversations.

AaronHoos_businesswriter_client_Boyd_FBDreamVacationSo one solution for them has been to create a Facebook fan page that syncs with a contest they are running.

The contest is a personalized dream vacation in which the winner can go on their very own all-expenses-paid vacation-of-a-lifetime. Fans of the Facebook page aren’t participants in the contest but are simply Facebook users who have the opportunity to talk about their dream vacation. That makes more sense: We may not all want to talk about collision repair (even if it’s something we need right now) but we ALL have a dream vacation to share!

Visit Boyd Dream Vacation page on Facebook to talk about your dream vacation and to see how Boyd has overcome the social media challenge they faced.

Client Spotlight: TopStockGurus

aaronhoos_businesswriter_client_tsgTopStockGurus.com is a free report and weekly newsletter in which stock market gurus choose compelling stocks and give their reasons for the choice.

As the editor of the report and the weekly newsletter, I track the gurus down each week and review their investment recommendations and then develop content that introduces the investment and the guru.

The gurus include well known names like Tom & David Gardner of The Motley Fool, Roger Conrad of Utility Forecaster, Jim Trippon of China Stock Digest, Gene Marcial of BusinessWeek, and many more.

The newsletter is delivered to subscribers every Thursday morning.