photo(2)The Lean IT summit 2014 happened earlier this month and as usual it has been inspiring and fun. Inspiring as it was an opportunity to listen to stories from leading figures of the lean/agile community (Jeff Sutherland, Mary Poppendieck, Daniel T. Jones) or from major companies of the 21st century (Amazon, Spotify, ING direct, Nike and, of course, Toyota).

And it was fun because hanging out with the likes of Mike Orzen, Michael Ballé, Jeff Gothelf, David Boagerts and my colleagues at Operae Partners (disclaimer, the company I work for co-organizes the event) always is.

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The Lean Scale-up

October 16, 2014

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Startups have been all the craze for the last 15 years or so and the two bubbles : 1.0 (dot com’s) and 2.0 (social apps). One could argue that their most impressive achievement is succeeding in making technology entrepreneurship sexy and successful entrepreneurs as glamorous as rock stars, despite the swimming pools flip-flap.

There have been many blog posts about what a startup is and what is not but I’ve always thought there were something missing. Until I read this essay by Paul Graham, co-founder of startup incubator Y Combinator. The name of this essay does not hold so much suspense : Startup = Growth. The guy behind the success of dozens of startups including Airbnb explains why. At this point, I can only recommend you to read this essay and come back, as this is probably the most insightful 15mns read you can have about start-up. (Go ahead, take your time, I’ll be waiting here).

First takeaway :

For a company to grow really big, it must (a) make something lots of people want, and (b) reach and serve all those people.

My perspective is that startups have put great focus on (a), the external part of the challenge, mostly thanks to Eric Ries formalization of Lean Startup. However, I believe that these small companies sometimes are left wanting on (b), i.e internal processes and management. As a result, even young companies succeeding in finding their audience and target customer sometimes struggle to deliver and to achieve promised results and growth.

This is where the Lean Scale-up gets in … Read the rest of this entry »

The Self Aware Organization

September 15, 2014

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(Picture by Spencer Tunick)

This is yet another topic that has been running in the background of #hypertextual for a while now. Three events have contributed to promote it to the foreground.

First is the insightful essay by Freddy and Michael Ballé : Lead With Respect, and the subsequent conversation we had with Michael, Luis, Claude [FR] and Céline. The latter made an enlightening point.

“Leading with respect is not just a matter of personal ethics. It has to show, in actual behaviors and practices. It requires a constant effort of self-awareness, self-demanding mindset, and empathy with the diversity of team members.”

Second is the title of talk of Mary Poppendieck at the next edition of Lean IT Summit on 16th and 17th October : The Aware Organization. Last is this talk by Mike Rother, at Lean Summit 2012 where the author of #hypertextual favorite Toyota Kata establishes some interesting connections between neuro-sciences and our ability to learn.

The proposition of this post is that self-awareness is critically important for an organization to succeed, that it has to be deployed throughout the whole organization and, this deployment is the job of managers (and coaches).

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In 1944 George Loewenstein, a behavioral economist at Carnegie Mellon University, provided the most comprehensive account of situational interest. It is surprisingly simple : Curiosity, he says, happen when we feel a gap in our knowledge.

Made to Stick, the book from which this quote is taken, is a great book to benchmark and design your communication strategy whether it is to sell washing machines or lead changes in an organization.

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Surf Lacanau

(Version Française)

When I decided last year to take a new turn in my career, I was lucky enough to be able to choose from two different options, both very exciting: Enterprise 2.0 / Social Business on one hand , lean on the other.

After much thought, I have chosen the second option because it seems to me more deeply aligned with the challenges of today’s business, namely the need to navigate through the turbulences of our uncertain world. These turbulences and uncertainty are largely related to the digitization of our daily lives: the digital transformation of the organization therefore seems inevitable.

My hypothesis is that today, Lean is the obvious strategy to carry out this transformation, for the following reasons:

  1. digital transformation actually means a radicalization of the use of new technological opportunities,
  2. it’s all about management principles
  3. a model exists, embodied by the born digital companies (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Pixar, Twitter etc. …)
  4. their management cultures are explicitly or implicitly aligned with the principles of Lean.

(Warning, long truck ahead : more than 1800 words) …

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Un sujet qui me trotte dans la tête depuis une bonne année maintenant. Plus précisément depuis l’interview de Catherine Chabiron en charge du programme Lean chez Faurecia. Un des éléments que Catherine identifie comme structurant dans l’amélioration significative de sa DSI : la ré-internalisation des équipes :

We believe in insourcing rather than outsourcing, to maintain in house competences on our core services

L’autre source d’inspiration est cet article du toujours pertinent Bertrand Duperrin sur les conditions de succès de la transformation digitale. La deuxième partie de ce billet va donc questionner l’applicabilité de l’orthodoxie en stratégie SI (dont l’externalisation) dans ce contexte de la digitalisation de l’entreprise, un des enjeux majeurs des DSIs pour les années à venir.

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Luc de Brabandère est philosophe d’entreprise et fellow au Boston Consulting Group. Un de ces speakers pluri-disciplinaires à la culture très étendue, que l’USI propose à son auditoire pour étendre ses perspectives. Luc est intervenu en 2009 (voir article) et aussi en 2014.

Un ouvrage philosophique sur l’innovation : il ne s’agit ici pas de spéculation intellectuelle par un chercheur depuis sa tour d’ivoire ou sa bibliothèque d’université. On voit ici une réflexion inspirée par une confrontation permanente au monde des innovations et des trouvailles scientifiques. Une pensée qui fait cet aller-retour (déductif, inductif) incessant pour éclairer les grandes inventions de multiple perspectives.

L’ouvrage prend racine dans une question d’un des participants à une conférence sur l’innovation : “Vous dites qu’il faut sortir du cadre mais de quel cadre parlez-vous ?”.

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