Tag Archives: collaboration

Why strategy, implementation and caring is so important

I came across this amazing video of Seth Godin’s over the weekend. It’s a great mix of classic Seth Godin (tribes, being “weird”, the entrepreneur/empresario) with doing business in a connected world. I found the following particularly interesting…

Godin describes the triangle of the connected world. We need Strategy, Implementation of Strategy as well as “Caring Enough to Fail” in order to create value, a following, and a company that matters. Oftentimes, our organizations get too big or too busy to question the status quo or care enough about experimenting and doing something that might fail. If we don’t care enough to fail how might we know what we are capable of and what our customers want and need?

In Latin America, I find organizations have a strategy and people to implement it but are set on what works rather than experimenting with failure ahead of the bell curve. How can we change this? Perhaps by leveraging connections and unexpected connections between things – and what is that? Innovation.

So this is the video that inspired me over the weekend to continue to tell meaningful stories to people who share (or will share) our views/concerns/needs. Let’s care enough to fail, be generous with ideas and…make them work through strategy and implementation.

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Walking with our ancestors: the ties that bind people and organizations

NWFP - Leah and Esther

When I moved to Latin America over 10 years ago, I was told that my great grandfather (British) had travelled to Brazil from the UK over a hundred years before; it was my grandmother’s way of telling me that I was not the only one in my family to be attracted to South America and the great opportunities it held.

People and organizations are informed by the experiences of the people, companies and products that came before. We can’t help it. We walk with our ancestors every day in the conscious and subconscious choices we make and the languages we speak.

As a consultant, I have the opportunity to work with many different organizations and “walk with them” as they enter or expand their presence in Latin America.

One of the most important things I have learnt is to understand, at the outset, what ties the business to Latin America or the geographical markets they are entering. Even if the organization has no direct experience in the region, what is it in their DNA that makes them “Latin American” — able to be understood, respected, and sought out, by Latin Americans? I’m not talking about trying to transform companies into something they are not but rather looking for “relatable” stories that can be shared and enjoyed by future stakeholders.

I have seen companies with no local partners do very well — if and when they are able to tell a compelling story about their connection to Latin America or the country, city, community they are interacting with.

If you are interested in Latin America – or entering a new market – what stories do you have that tie you to that market?

Let me close this post on a personal note. Above, you will see a photo of my sister, Dr. Leah Clark and me in Pakistan in 2005. We are just outside Peshawar on the border with Afghanistan in the North West Frontier Province; where my father was born just before Partition in 1947. Below you will see a video by Google that has been shared widely in 2013.

When I talk about walking with our ancestors, I talk about finding out what makes us, them, the world “tick” so that we can create more valuable collaborative experiences.

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Building Sustainable Cities – and Societies – through Collaboration

Sustainability Treehouse Exhibition

Society is described by Aristotle as two or more people pursuing a common goal. A society could therefore be an elevator –even if none of the occupants talks to each other! We enter, we nod, sometimes say hello, press our desired floor and look at our smartphone, contemplate our watch or adjust our briefcase until we are awaken from our reverie by the elevator chime, the door opening or someone entering or exiting our walled ecosystem.

Cities are like elevators. They have a common goal as well as people passing in and out of them. They require technology to function and use resources to reach shared goals. They receive people from all walks of life and representatives of every industry sector imaginable. Elevators and cities are systems in movement; buzzing and chiming every passing second. But despite, or because of, the noise their members are missing valuable opportunities to talk to each other…

Building sustainable cities requires collaboration. Not just collaboration between public and private sectors but also collaboration with and between consumers and citizens. A public private partnership (PPP) is a concept used globally (and usually quite successfully) to help solve infrastructure problems relating to things such as water and energy, ports and roads through both public and private participation. But I think it’s time to look at the consumer or user more closely when we talk about building sustainable cities.

We are living in an age where collaborative consumption is becoming the norm: examples range from the popular accommodation web platform “Airbnb” to crowdfunding projects and ideas through “Kickstarter” or “SeedInvest”. We crowdsource design, suppliers and scientific solutions. Consumers and businesses have found their own ways to collaborate and there’s much more innovative problem solving in the pipeline.

This is where the future of our cities lies; sharing physical and virtual spaces to come up with innovative and workable solutions to our cities’ most pressing issues. We don’t need to be elevators – each going our own way with very little conversation – when we can learn through collaboration; opening up “two way streets” for dialogue and problem solving leading to sustainable city growth.

One of the main questions that arose during the Peter Drucker Global Forum in November 2013 in Vienna, Austria was the role of leadership in complex – and increasingly collaborative – times. With collaboration, where do leaders fit in? If and when we crowdsource our cities’ problems, who leads the charge?

One of the characteristics of modern cities – a modern public – is the potential to create and identify leaders from the very platforms used for problem solving. Anyone can start collaborating but it takes someone to lead and implement the ideas that those platforms or networks generate. In other words, we need someone – whether from government, business or community – to defend, promote, adapt and use the idea for the benefit of the city. Someone to say: “here is an example that works – what comes next?”

If we want to build sustainable cities we need to tap into the knowledge networks that already exist and leaders will emerge. It’s not enough to just design, build and operate or to elect the officials to make strategic decisions for us; while some of us might be happy with the status quo the reality is that the status quo is not sustainable. Forums, networks, industrial clusters, special economic zones – as well as the communities, businesses, governments and individuals that support them – are the platforms for building collaborative and sustainable cities and societies.

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This post was written in response to Masdar’s 2014 Engage Blogging Contest: Smart Cities & Sustainable Development. You can vote for my story above – or another one you feel best answers the question: “How can cities contribute to the advancement of sustainable development and address issues including water, energy and waste?” on Masdar’s web site: http://www.masdar.ae/engage

My bio: Esther Clark is a Contributor to Forbes Mexico and America Economia magazines on leadership and strategy. She is the founder of Hipona Consulting where she currently leads Strategy and Business Development. She is a 2013 Peter Drucker Global Challenge Winner and blogs about business, leadership, branding, social entrepreneurship, knowledge networks and Latin America.

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5 Ways to Achieve Collaboration Excellence

12659973-collaboration-concept-in-word-tag-cloud-isolated-on-white-background

 

Collaboration – whether on a project, a campaign, a strategy, a new product/service – helps you to create more relevant products or services for your target market. And don’t we all strive to be relevant?

Collaborating with your market (called collaborative marketing) is a way that you create things that have heart and meaning for your clients. Why? People who help create things are more likely to buy and support those same things. It makes sense.

Here is a list of 5 ways to promote collaboration excellence in your organization (your business, your social groups, your family, etc.):

1)      Listen

Look and listen to what your customers and saying and doing. Do an “audit” of what is being discussed both online and offline. What trends do you see?

2)      Engage

This is a fancy word for finding your customers and encouraging them to act as both buyers and marketers. Word of mouth marketing is one of the oldest forms of advertising and still one of the most important (in some instances the most important). I also like the term “grassroots marketing” – marketing from the ground up. Engage your customers and find ways to bridge the gap between your business practices and their needs (see #4).

3)      Align Content and Messages

Consistency is a key factor to effectively getting your message across and building rapport with your customers.

4)      Improve Processes (Cheaper, Faster, Better)

Optimize what you can in order to bridge any gaps that might exist (see  #2).

5)      Commitment

Commit resources to collaboration and to the continuous process I have just described.

 

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