Showing posts from 2014

Fail Fast or Learn Fast?

This work by Marcelo Bernardes (@marcelobern) was originally posted on LinkedIn.
As I read the article from Jim Belosic (CEO of ShortStack), it got me thinking how many times people get paralyzed by past failures. While entrepreneurs are forewarned of the danger (and sometimes likelihood) of failure, fear of failure is a challenge for all people and we all should reflect on which risks to take, how to mitigate them, and seek to learn from the outcome. It is about reframing the fear of failure into risk taking as a learning opportunity.

Prepare yourself to learn from your journey I agree with Rob Shelton (global innovation chief of PwC), when a more scientific approach is used, learning takes center stage.

It's about having a hypothesis, and testing it, if the results don't match your hypothesis, you've got data. If the results do match your hypothesis, then you have a discovery. - Rob Shelton
Entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, and business leaders might use business pl…

Corporate Innovation in a Numbers Driven World

This work by Marcelo Bernardes (@marcelobern) was originally posted on LinkedIn.

In his recent Forbes article, Neil Howe suggests that the shared leadership of Boomers and Gen Xers is a key driver behind the current risk-aversion behavior we see in the corporate environment.

This risk-aversion further challenges corporate entrepreneurs (aka intrapreneurs), and the execution of innovation driven projects, especially disruptive innovation ones. Here are some suggestions on how you can win support from your Gen Xer leadership and even engage millennials, who are eager to innovate and become intrapreneurs!

I'd like to be an intrapreneur - "Leadership: attract & retain millennials or fail!" by @marcelobern via @LinkedIn
— Melanie Mather (@MelanieMather_) April 22, 2014
Be Numbers Driven Yourself Revenue and profitability are key numbers for most customer facing projects. So start by figuring out how much revenue and profit your innovation pr…

Transform Education into Life-long Learning

This work byMarcelo Bernardes was originally posted on LinkedIn.
As an undergrad student, I had to complete courses that did not seem to have value for real life. The arguments used at the time to justify this approach were:

We have to prepare you to be a professional, regardless of the actual field/industry you might end up working on, so we should cover all basesThis way you know in which book/body of knowledge to find the information, in case you ever need it during your careerWe are teaching you to “learn how to learn”
While “learning how to learn” continues to be a critical skill today, the knowledge currently available over the internet has made the ability to cover all bases a questionable goal. And the speed of change, makes knowing the “right” book a daunting task.

On the other hand, being able to quickly derive value from the (learning and financial) investment is increasingly desirable. And soft skills like the ability to work in groups (in an increasingly diverse…

Pro Services Best Practice - Partner with Sales

This work byMarcelo Bernardes was originally posted on LinkedIn.
Having had the chance to lead Professional Services teams around the globe, let me tell you the "secret" to make a successful career out of it: partner with all the sales teams your work with!
Far too often, I partnered with or coached Professional Services associates who would not find this approach easy or even natural. If you find it hard to partner with your sales team, please give me five minutes of your time, so I can elaborate why it makes sense. If partnering with sales does not sound natural to you after reading this article, please share your point of view and let me know where the rationale failed!
Understanding the sales mindset
Let me share what I learned from the sales people I worked with.
Sales salaries (base+compensation) may be structured so the base salaries alone are not enough to keep people around (PayScale). So, the sales team is very motivated to meet and exceed their quota, which means most …

Drive Corporate Innovation with Crowdfunding

This work by Marcelo Bernardes (@marcelobern) was originally posted on LinkedIn.
I have been tinkering with the concept of using crowdfunding to drive corporate innovation and I believe it can be done. While companies like IBM are experimenting with an internally focused corporate crowdfunding approach (HBR, Time), I believe a customer focused corporate crowdfunding approach can deliver far more value. So, let me share with you how you can unlock this value for your organization.
Standing on the shoulders of giants In the article from Henry Chesbrough, he explains that: "You have to fight – and win – on two fronts (both outside and inside), in order to succeed in corporate venturing". This internal and external duality is a natural way to describe the corporate entrepreneurship challenge, and it is complementary to Peter F. Drucker's five simple questions (Amazon):
What is the mission?
What are our results?
What is our plan?
Who is the customer?
What does the c…

Leadership: attract & retain millennials or fail!

This work by Marcelo Bernardes (@marcelobern) was originally posted on LinkedIn.
Over the next decade, many organizations are at risk as they fail to attract and retain the very professionals necessary to keep them "alive".

Here is why The workforce is changing:
"By 2025, millennials will account for 75% of the global workforce and by next year (2014), they will account for 36% of the American workforce." (Forbes) "Millennials want to work for organizations that support innovation. In fact, 78 percent of Millennials are influenced by how innovative a company is when deciding if they want to work there, but most say their current employer does not greatly encourage them to think creatively." (Deloitte Millennial Survey) So organizations will need to find ways to bridge any existing gaps with millennials, as those unable to cater to this millennial desire to innovate will struggle to attract and retain millennials, and may be unable to secure thei…

Will Customer Service Ever Be The New Marketing?

This work by Marcelo Bernardes (@marcelobern) was originally posted on LinkedIn.
Industry experts have been touting this convergence for years, but will these practices ever fully integrate? What should you be doing today?
Customer Service and Marketing lines blur More and more, social media is becoming the primary mean by which users reach out to ask for companies to solve their problems and express their opinions about a brand. According to the 2012 American Express® Global Customer Service Barometer, 1 in 5 Americans have used social media to get a customer services response at least once in the last year (infographic).

The obvious challenge is that such interactions happen on a very public forum. So, every reply needs to be carefully crafted in a positive way, and in line with the company branding. Failure to do so, has lead to disastrous consequences, as in the cases of McDonald's, Tesco, and many others.
Social media represents a new dynamic in customer experience…

Cloud Integration (iPaaS) Analysis & Trends

This work by Marcelo Bernardes (@marcelobern) was originally posted on LinkedIn.
From vendor fragmentation and acquisitions to open source, the activity level in the cloud-based integration market, is indication that we are about to experience deep changes, similar (or bigger) than those experienced when software as a services (SaaS) was introduced (Forbes).

Note: please check Wikipedia for details on what is cloud integration, also known as infrastructure platform as a service, or iPaaS.

This article is a short compilation of the cloud integration market, vendors, and trends.
iPaaS market The iPaaS customers can be segmented as follows:
Individual and start-up customers: these customers are cost sensitive, so vendors targeting this segment generally have a freemium (Wikipedia) business model, and their prices go up to USD100/month. Zapier, IFTTT, and Cloudpipes are examples of vendors in this group.Enterprise customers: these customers are looking for global footprint, scalability, and …

Why add start-ups to your investment portfolio?

This work by Marcelo Bernardes (@marcelobern) was originally posted on LinkedIn.
I recently had an epiphany: I should review my investment portfolio to include start-ups. Let me share my rationale with you, so you can reach your own conclusions.
The Corporate Scenario: Proven Execution According to Steve Blank, "Every large company, ... is executing a proven business model". So, it should come as no surprise when large companies "... have a hard time with continuous and disruptive innovation.", continues Blank (Inc.). And my observation of large companies corroborates that seeking efficiencies and cost cutting, are here to stay.
Millennials Are Here! There is a lot of debate about millennials. Be it because of economic reasons (Entrepreneur), social reasons (infographic) or education reasons (CNBC), the reality is that millennials prefer to build their own businesses, rather than join existing companies, regardless of size.
"54 percent of Millennials say …

Establishing a Customer Base in Brazil: Avoid Common Pitfalls

This work by Marcelo Bernardes (@marcelobern) was originally posted on LinkedIn.
During a casual conversation, I heard the tale of a technology company looking to establish a presence in Brazil, but failing. It turns out the company had decided to solely rely on a local partner to develop the market for them, and had little checks and balances to track the progress being made by the partner.

With all the interest in the Brazilian market over the past decade, I have heard similar tales too often. Like many others, I also learned the hard way, so let me share some of that learning in hopes it will increase your chances of success.
Some common challenges In order to avoid the most common mistakes, please consider this short list of suggested "homework" items which should be addressed prior to trying to establish an operation in Brazil (some of this rationale might even apply to other geographies as well):
Competitors and taxes: check if your main competitors have a l…