Scarlett of Suburbia

Field Notes from The Motherhood


October 2009

The Rise of Power Jeans

Power jeans are increasingly common in high-ranking business and political circles. Indeed, jeans are now a legitimate part of the global power-dress lexicon, worn to influential confabs where the wearers want to signal they’re serious—but not fussy—and innovative.

The look started with the young but has crossed into gray-haired circles. In preparation for a meeting with the U.S. president of Swiss watchmaker IWC, Larry Seiden, a 56-year-old fine-watch collector from San Jose, Calif., bought a pair of black Agave jeans from a high-end boutique. “They tailored them for me and I have to tell you, I really love them,” he says. “Now I’m thinking of getting another pair in blue denim.”

Jeans are recruiting new fans among even dressy executives. “I’m not really a jeans guy,” said Gilles Mendel, chief executive and designer of J. Mendel furs and evening wear, not long ago, sitting in his New York office. Still, he went with a snug set of dark blue Acme jeans under a black Dior blazer.

Associated Press

Many leaders wear jeans for a power look, like Barack Obama

Chosen well, jeans can suggest the wearer is confident and modern. Traditionally cut blue jeans carry a whiff of the laborer about them, so denim on a leader suggests a willingness to roll up the sleeves and dig in. There’s also something of the rebel in a pair of jeans. In the boardroom, that can read as creative.

But jeans must be carefully paired with a pressed shirt and good shoes to be elevated to business class. And some industries haven’t (yet) become open to denim as power wear. Banks and accounting-firm boardrooms, for instance, remain decidedly woolen. New York-based career adviser Jonscott Turco says jeans are generally a “no-brainer” in the media, manufacturing and creative industries, but not in financial services and law firms.

Is denim the new black for the jet-setting executive?


Transmitting Our Thoughts Via Broadband

New research from the University of Southampton has demonstrated that it is possible for communication from person to person through the power of thought — with the help of electrodes, a computer and Internet connection.

Dr. Chris James demonstrating brain to brain communication using BCI to transmit thoughts, translated as a series of binary digits, over the Internet to another person whose computer receives the digits. (Credit: University of Southampton)

Brain-Computer Interfacing (BCI) can be used for capturing brain signals and translating them into commands that allow humans to control (just by thinking) devices such as computers, robots, rehabilitation technology and virtual reality environments.

This experiment goes a step further and was conducted by Dr Christopher James from the University’s Institute of Sound and Vibration Research. The aim was to expand the current limits of this technology and show that brain-to-brain (B2B) communication is possible.

Dr James comments: “Whilst BCI is no longer a new thing and person to person communication via the nervous system was shown previously in work by Professor Kevin Warwick from the University of Reading, here we show, for the first time, true brain to brain interfacing. We have yet to grasp the full implications of this but there are various scenarios where B2B could be of benefit such as helping people with severe debilitating muscle wasting diseases, or with the so-called ‘locked-in’ syndrome, to communicate and it also has applications for gaming.”

His experiment had one person using BCI to transmit thoughts, translated as a series of binary digits, over the internet to another person whose computer receives the digits and transmits them to the second user’s brain through flashing an LED lamp…

All the science makes sense — brainwaves, physics, electrical impulses, binary etc.

Just wow. Reading someone’s mind on the internet. Pretty cool.

What Is Twitter Now?

Is Twitter a social network or blog? That’s how the conversation started here at Organic…and it blew up from there.

A Social Network
If you consider the definition of a blog from Wikipedia, most of us would agree that a blog it is not. Look at their social network definition. It connects individuals by “one or more specific types of interdependency.” Think friends, family, colleagues, beliefs, interests…

Neither a Blog Nor A Social Network
While some of us at Organic argured that Twitter is a social network, David Lewis pointed out that it lacks one crucial element of what most of them offer: the ability to see the whole conversation. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen someone use an obscure hashtag. If the tweet is intriguing enough I may search the hashtag and try to sift through the conversation to figure out what they’re really talking about. The majority of the time this doesn’t work. I leave the page just as confused as when I entered. Just like in the real world it’s not always easy to edge your way into conversations.

To add to the social confusion, it’s tough to follow complete conversations. I haven’t found one place that displays the complete thread of a conversation between two or more people on Twitter. You see @so&so respond to @her and you wonder what it is that @her asked in the first place. Because of all of this Lori Laurent Smith feels the company should coin a completely “new phrase to define itself.”

Marta Strickland thinks “platform” best categorizes it. And that might be the closest as it’s the tool people are using in three distinct ways. It’s the people who use it most often who are really defining it.

For One-Way Blasts
Clearly everyone has a different view of what twitter is [to them]. It is what you make it. It’s no more than an entertainment channel to some. They might be simply reading for enjoyment or posting into the abyss. Others are onboard to stay informed or absorb learnings from experts in their industry. In both cases, it acts as a distribution channel.

For Two-Way Dialogues
Direct Messages allow two people to carry on a completely closed conversation. I’ve seen a couple brands use this as a way to send their RSS feeds. Okay, so I see the blast more readily, but why wouldn’t you want to include the rest of the Twitter Universe in on the news? Not the most effect use of two-way conversation.

For Multi-Way Conversations
Twitter is also good at facilitating the exchange of ideas. More people are accessing Twitter via various channels (think Seesmic, TweetDeck and TweekGrid, just to name a few) in order to do this more effectively. Organized Twitter Parties use the platform as a kind of live chat, so even if you’re not following someone, you can join in the conversation using a predetermined hashtag. Usually a moderator presents questions or thought-starters in an attempt to keep the conversation on track. Still, it can be tough to keep up. Read a transcript and you’ll see what I mean.

Twitter Now
Twitter is evolving. It’s not the same today as it was when it was started back in 2006. So, it’s not surprising that we have so much trouble defining it. Craig Ritchie claims, “Twitter owns the now.” For some, true. If you’re interested in the conversation right now, then it has you.

But I can bet that your definition of twitter has even changed now that you’ve read this. What was Twitter to you one year ago? What is Twitter to you now?

This was a good discussion topic. Does Twitter need to be defined? Is it a blog? Social network?

6 Cheap or Free Web Usability Tools : MarketingProfs

There are two general types of usability testing:

  1. Expert reviews—A trained professional in human-and-computer interaction reviews a website or application based on existing user-experience best-practices but takes into consideration variations required to meet specific user needs or business requirements.
  2. Performance testing—Actual users, or people who match typical website users, are tested in a carefully developed series of tasks on a website. The session is one-on-one: A moderator provides the test instructions while the participant tries to accomplish the tasks. The participant is recorded (via audio, video, and screen interaction), and task failure points are documented and analyzed.

Both types of testing deliver an analysis of where the task-flow errors are occurring; an evaluation of the severity of each error; and a set of recommendations for ways to eliminate the error, thus increasing task-flow completion.

Today’s Cheap or Free Usability Testing Tools

In the past few years, tremendous growth has occurred in the development of usability testing tools for usability professionals. An increasing assortment of tools is also being created with the nonprofessional in mind, enabling designers, developers, and others to be able to access and analyze the same data that had been the domain of the usability pro.

A word of caution: Having access to usability testing tools and using them effectively to make corrective website improvements can be two different things. Just as a doctor should evaluate an X-ray, an expert’s analysis of the data is invaluable, as are the subsequent recommendations based on the data.

The First Six Usability Testing Tools

In this article, I will discuss six of 22 cheap or free usability testing tools (in alphabetical order).

As with any tool, each has a specific purpose based on uses that best fit usability-testing needs. Not all tools do the same thing; those that are similar nevertheless have differences that, depending on the circumstance, make one better than another at that moment.

Finally, there are pros and cons with each tool that I’ll briefly describe, along with current pricing information.

1. A Piece of Paper and a Pencil

No usability-tools list is complete without one of the single, most-effective, yet simple (and cheap!) tools available—paper and pencil.

Drawing wireframes or mock-ups on paper using a pencil and reviewing those with potential users is an incredibly powerful way to gather early usability feedback quickly, efficiently, and effectively.

Do not underestimate how user input early in the design process, based on hand-drawn wireframes, can help make major usability improvements on websites or applications.

  • Pros: Cheap, fast, and extremely effective.
  • Cons: Early-design-stage testing only, not for use in testing interaction.
  • Pricing: Free to very cheap.

2. Concept Feedback

Designed for small and midsize businesses that have limited marketing-research budgets for gathering opinions about concepts, Concept Feedback can also be used by website designers.

You post a concept, reviewers provide tips and advice, and you judge the “quality” of their answers by each reviewer’s reputation score. The service, in essence, provides free expert advice from a community of professionals who can “grade” one another via reputation score.

  • Pros: Obtaining free “expert” advice in a very quick manner and following up (and networking) with the reviewers.
  • Cons: Reviewers are not conducting actual tasks (they’re viewing an image), so you have no ability to obtain consistent reviewer feedback about specific items of interest to you (reviewers can write whatever they wish), and there’s no guarantee the reviewer’s opinions will match user behavior once the site is live.
  • Pricing: Free

3. Chalkmark by Optimal Workshop

As the product’s website states: “Do people know where to click? Quickly run a test on your UI prototypes to answer any nagging questions about usability.”

Chalkmark enables Web designers to set a task (e.g., purchasing a digital watch) and upload an image of the potential user interface for that task. Chalkmark then provides what it calls a “survey URL,” which can be sent via email or posted on a website.

Participants who take the survey read the task and then click on the image where they believe the task would be completed. Each participant’s click is recorded and displayed in real time as a heatmap of the concentration of clicks. Task time is also captured and is available for analysis. Reports are available via PDF download.

It sounds complex, but the process of asking real users to show where they would click to “find information about new iPhones,” for example, is a standard usability testing method to evaluate navigation and labeling systems on wireframes or prototypes.

  • Pros: The system’s ability to record clicks and display them in real time. It’s also commendable that a researcher can invite actual website visitors to participate.
  • Cons: The inability to ask participants why they clicked where they did; although PDFs are helpful, more complex data analysis requires CSV (character-separated value), Excel, or database files.
  • Pricing: A free account can be used indefinitely and creates surveys with up to three tasks. The 30-Day Plan costs $109 for unlimited numbers of surveys and tasks, and the Annual Plan costs $559 for unlimited surveys and tasks.

4. ClickHeat by LabsMedia

Like Chalkmark, ClickHeat is a tool that tracks where users click and presents the data in the form of a heatmap. However, ClickHeat is free open-source software that is deployed on your website server, so actual user clicks on your website are recorded.

A ClickHeat WordPress integration plugin is available, so even small websites that use WordPress can take advantage of powerful heat-map user-click data. In addition to the clicks, screen size is also captured.

  • Pros: ClickHeat is free, and it provides the ability to track real users who are clicking to perform real tasks on a real website.
  • Cons: It has specific server requirements (PHP, GD2 PNG support, etc.) and other restrictions; researchers will still not be able to ascertain the “why” of where and when users clicked. Currently, database file downloads are not yet supported.
  • Pricing: Free

5. ClickTale

ClickTale is a paid hosted service that, in conjunction with JavaScript code on your website, records user clicks, keystrokes, mouse movements, and even the length of time users move around and up and down a Web page.

Individual user sessions can be displayed as a movie in which the user’s cursor (with a helpful large round circle around it) is shown moving over an image of the page. Data can also be displayed as aggregated heatmaps and as analytics reports. The heatmaps reveal with red “hot areas” where users spend more time and with blue “cold areas” where users spend the least time.

A nice additional feature is Form Analytics, which displays, among other things, aggregate form-field data by time and number of entries or clicks. That allows researchers to see exactly which form fields have the highest abandonment rates, take longest to complete, have the most backtracking due to errors, and more.

ClickTale also can record, and thus help IT staff find, website bugs. Since ClickTale uses a third-party content-delivery network if its servers go down, your website remains unaffected and will continue to function normally.

  • Pros: The recording of real user data, on a real website, trying to complete real tasks; and the ability to either view each session as a movie or view aggregate data as reports. Form Analytics is a nice feature, especially for e-commerce websites.
  • Cons: Not having access to users to determine the “why” of their clicks, not having permanent access to the recordings, and the issue of having to host extra JavaScript code. Also a bit cumbersome is the rather complex number of pricing subscriptions and plans.
  • Pricing: Can be somewhat confusing with monthly, six-month, or annual pricing among Free, Bronze ($99 per month), Silver ($290 per month), and Gold ($790 per month), and Enterprise packages. Each comes with specific support options, number of page views, domains tracked, and recording-history time. The Free plan is bare bones; for example, it allows playback of only the first two page views of a user’s visit during a session.

6. Clixpy

Another tool in the quickly growing category of user-movement recorders is Clixpy. It’s a very low-cost tool (starts at $5 for 100 captures) that tracks what users do on a website, including mouse movements, clicks, scrolling, and form inputs. As with the other monitoring services, JavaScript code is added to the website code, enabling Clixpy to record users’ movements.

Clixpy will not track passwords or other sensitive data but will track everything else. It is possible to manually add attributes so that Clixpy does not log credit-card numbers; as with all such recording services, caution should be used to ensure privacy and security of sensitive user data.

  • Pros: Its incredible low cost, and ease of use of both the tool and Clixpy’s website
  • Cons: The lack of larger-scale aggregate reporting that would be required of more frequently visited websites and the inability to explore with users the “why” of what they did.
  • Pricing: Clixpy costs $5 for 100 recorded sessions, $10 for 200, $20 for 600, and $30 for 1,000.

Getting people to your content is only the tip of the iceberg. Usability testing indicates what’s working on your site…and what needs improvement to convert browsers to buyers.

How to use social media to change the story

Social media can do more than just allow you to monitor the conversation — it can actually help you change what people are saying, argues AMD Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Nigel Dessau.

The problem: The standard test for measuring laptop battery life favored a competitor’s chip. The test measured how long the battery lasted while the laptop was powered up, not necessarily while it’s being used. AMD wanted retailers to focus on how long a laptop’s battery lasted during day-to-day use.

The solution: AMD decided it wouldn’t challenge the standard test, but it would suggest retailers provide customers with two sets of numbers: one for how long the battery lasted while at rest and one for how long it lasted while it was in use. Dessau compares the two numbers to the difference between city and highway gas mileage.

The method: Dessau posted an item on the AMD blog that framed the problem as a question: Why are retailers only telling consumers about this one number? Why not tell them about both numbers? He encouraged consumers to get involved in the conversation by being transparent about his motives. Would he be asking these questions if the standard test favored his company? Maybe not, he told them, but that doesn’t make the question any less valid. Fans respected his candor and took the conversation to Twitter

The follow up: Not only did the blog win the support of customers and retailers, it also caught the competition off-guard. Dessau says AMD’s competitors weren’t prepared to counter a social media offensive, so they tried to dismiss the importance of social media. The backlash from that statement increased the stories reach and won AMD additional support, Dessau says.

Dessau’s top 5 tips for using social media to change the conversation

  • Be clear on your audience. You’re not trying to gain new followers with this initiative, you’re reaching out to people who already follow you and trying to change their perception.
  • Think like an editor. Craft your message carefully for maximum impact.
  • Honest, integrity and transparency. Your followers aren’t fools. They know you’re motivated by self-interest. That’s OK. Respect their intelligence and they’ll respect you.
  • Build a coherent strategy or approach. Know what you’re trying to achieve before you to go to work.
  • Be your brand. Make it distinct by making it personal.

Great example about AMD changing perceptions — what company doesn’t have a nagging issue it would love to put to rest?

Shift in Search-Ad Tactics Seeks More for Less :: WSJ

In search-engine advertising, marketers bid against each other on key words. When a consumer searches for any of those phrases, ads appear above or next to the search results. Where the ad appears on the page depends on the price the company bids and an algorithm search engines use to determine the ad’s relevance to a particular search. Advertisers pay only when consumers click.

One of the newer strategies is to prioritize certain categories of words. Sprint is buying the top ads tied to phrases consumers tend to search for when they are close to making a purchase, such as “cellphone rate plans” and specific products like “Samsung Reclaim,” rather than more generic phrases they search for at the beginning of the shopping process, like “Sprint,” “AT&T” and “cellphone.” Pricing for the more-generic terms tends to be higher, yet less for important to driving sales, Mr. McPhillips says.

Volkswagen is coordinating its search marketing strategy with its network of 600 dealers across the country so it doesn’t end up competing against itself for the same terms and driving up prices. For instance, the car maker tends to bid on ads tied to more generic terms, such as ” Jetta,” while a dealer in Georgia would bid on a phrase more geographically relevant, such as “Atlanta Jetta,” says Charlie Taylor, general manager of digital marketing for Volkswagen.

Marketers are tapping social media more, too. The shift is likely to be more dramatic on the heels of new research from the search division of GroupM Search (a media buying and planning unit owned by ad holding company WPP) and online measurement firm comScore. It shows that consumers exposed to social media campaigns are likelier to search and click on that brand’s paid search ad.

In a new marketing campaign launching Thursday to promote the debut of its 2010 GTI hatchback car, Volkswagen is creating a racing game for Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch where players can win a car that includes several tie-ins to social-networking sites. Players can send messages to their competitors on Twitter and post videos of their games to YouTube.

Seems like some corporate marketers are acting upon the intrinsic link between search and social communications.

Smartphones + Mobile Social Networking = Next Big Thing

Jeff Smith is a diligent social-networking user, but he doesn’t own a PC.

“I prefer a cellphone and a service for a cellphone,” says Smith, 40, a postal worker in Detroit who served as an Army Ranger in Desert Storm and Somalia.

For about a year, Smith has used MocoSpace (for “mobile community space”) to chat, meet people, search the Web and play games. “Anything else feels like too much.”

The majority of people who participate on social networks do so from their PCs. Yet a growing number — many of whom can’t afford a PC or would rather not use one — are using mobile devices to tell their friends where they are and what they’re up to and for sharing pictures.

Mobile users are an important part of the mix for behemoths Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. But many folks are migrating to a new crop of mobile-only social networks such as MocoSpace, Mig33 and Peperonity. MocoSpace has emerged as a favorite in the U.S., where it is available in 22 cities, including New York, Seattle and Los Angeles. It offers chat, instant messaging, photo- and video-sharing, and games.

The number of people who use social networks from their smartphones skyrocketed 187%, to 18.3 million unique users, in July, compared with the same month a year earlier, says Nielsen. Social networking is among the fastest-growing activities on mobile devices, along with search and checking news, says Jon Stewart, Nielsen’s research director for technology and search.

With so many eyeballs increasingly fixated on mobile devices, opportunities for advertisers abound. Visiongain Research predicts mobile-social-network-related revenue will reach about $60 billion in 2012.

For the BSO-chasing crowd (that’s Bright Shiny Object in social-snakeoil-salesman-speak), mobile will finally have its 15 minutes of fame in 2010, only to be immediately eclipsed by wi-fi ubiquity by 2012.

I Want An Apple Magic Mouse :: Gizmodo

As a mouse

The Magic Mouse is a very, very pretty mouse—something you wouldn’t feel like you had to hide when not in use—and looks different enough from other mice that people will ask who made it, before awkwardly mumbling a nevermind as they spot the grey Apple logo.

Compared to ergonomic mice, the Magic Mouse is really low and aerodynamic, which means it doesn’t contour to your hand and doesn’t give the sensation that the mouse is a part of your hand, like Logitech mice tend to. But it is Bluetooth, so you don’t need an extra dongle, and it’s powered by two AA batteries, which get up to four months of use per charge, according to Apple.

Physically moving the mouse and mousing is fine and smooth, since there are two plastic bars on the mouse’s underside that minimize contact with whatever surface you’re on.
Even though there’s no clear delineation between right and left buttons on the mouse itself, the Magic Mouse knows to interpret a click on the left or right half appropriately (though right click needs to be activated from inside System Preferences before you can use it).

As for tracking, it’s a pretty standard laser technology that tracks decently on most surfaces, including jeans and chairs. Still, the Magic Mouse doesn’t have the crazy tracking ability that Logitech’s MX mice just introduced—so it can’t track on glass, and it can’t track on glossy surfaces like the 13-inch MacBook.

The scrolling

The one thing Apple did completely right in the Magic Mouse was the touch scrolling. It’s fluid, natural and works with any amount of fingers on over 75% of the mouse surface (all the way down to the Apple logo). Flicking up and down gets you up and down web pages fast, as long as you have “momentum” turned on in the settings. Turn it off and you get fine-grained 1:1 scrolling—good if you want to slowly navigate through a PDF doc.

You can also click with one finger and scroll with another, letting you highlight blocks of text like you would on a normal scrolling mouse. On the whole, there’s no major piece of scrolling functionality (other than a middle click) that you lose transitioning from a standard scroll wheel to this touch-sensitive solution. You just get the ability to scroll in 360 degrees as a bonus.

The only flaw is that you sometimes activate the left (or right) click when you’re scrolling too emphatically. I suspect this is just something you’ll get used to over time, but it can be annoying when you’re trying to scroll and you navigate somewhere else instead.

Using two finger swiping to navigate web pages, on the other hand, is a bit more awkward. You’ll need to pinch the mouse on the sides with your thumb and fourth/pinkie finger while you’re scrolling, forcing you to make a painful eagle claw all the time.

What it can’t do

As good as the swiping gestures are, they’re limited in what you can actually accomplish with them. You can’t use more than three fingers at a time, because you won’t have enough fingers left to hold the mouse. There’s also no option for touch-sensitive clicking, like in trackpads, something that would have been cool to have just as a bonus. You also can’t tell which side is up just from touch until you click down and feel nothing happen.

So far the Magic Mouse is only compatible with the iMacs that they ship with, but will get broad support soon.

It also can’t manage to stay free from scratches, similar to white MacBooks that also get scratched very easily. But the blemishes don’t interfere with the mouse’s functionality—it’s just painful to watch any new product lose its pristine finish so quickly.

Is this the best mouse Apple has ever made?

Yeah, it is. The Magic Mouse is much better than the Mighty Mouse, which people hated, and might actually be good enough that non-Mac users might want to pick it up as well, supposing that they don’t really care about ergonomics. Since it fills the gap between a tiny travel mouse and a full sized desktop mouse, the Magic is in a good position to grab users on both ends.

Apple consistently develops technological devices that fill a deep consumer need (Macintosh, MacBook, ipod, iphone…) Next time you hear the phrase, ‘actionable insight’, think about the magic mouse as a perfect example.

Getting Started with Disruptive Business Design

Craig Newmark’s Craig’s List is estimated to have about $100,000,000 in revenue — with 30 employees. That’s $3.3 million per employee, and even if it costs $70,000,000 to run it (which it can’t), that’s a profit-per-employee of $1,000,000. (Compare that with Amazon’s profit-per-employee of approximately $30,000.) His model is so disruptive because he gives away all the ads except those for jobs, thereby turning what was once newspaper profits into what economists know as consumer surplus.

Now, there’s been a lot of interest in “disruption” ever since Clay Christensen did his pathbreaking work on The Innovator’s Dilemma, which chronicled how incumbent companies were upended by competitors or substitutes who arose from “lower” markets to create a new cost and demand base. Southwest Airlines did it in air travel, and Wal-Mart in retail. You know the story.

So what is the toolkit to create a disruptive design? Here are some ideas:

1. Simultaneously simplify a number of advantages together to create a new cost base.
When Southwest Airlines launched they flew only one aircraft — the Boeing 737. Today, they still have one aircraft. They have one class of service. They have simple fare strucutures. They sell direct to end customers. They go to the less frequented, second-tier airports. They have broad job descriptions and cross-train so that one person can do many jobs — including pilots handling luggage. The created radical simplicity by simplifying many dimensions. They are not the only business where complexity has stopped adding value. New, radically simple business models can be created in everything from financial services to healthcare.

2. Give away the other guy’s razor! Craig Newmark garnered dominant market share by giving away almost all the blades. Put more formally, every “two-sided market” has a vulnerability — and if you can enter by aiming at that vulnerability, you can win. In China, Google is now giving away MP3’s and sharing the ad revenue with the artists. Paid music is now all marketing promotion. In addition, at Wired magazine’s Disruptive by Design conference, a featured book was Chris Anderson’s Free.

3. Look for new, radically cheaper ways to do the job. Yeh used run-of-the-mill technology — cell phones, video cameras, and even a styrofoam cooler — to create a much cheaper design. Consumer technologies and on-demand services like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk enable new business designs that could have a fraction of the cost to deliver the same services. Imagine a security company that was truly designed around the inexpensive, internet connected, monitoring equipment available today.

4. Think about leveraging a very few individuals with extraordinary talent. It is possible today for a small group of people to make a spectacular movie (think Pixar) or to manage billions in capital (think hedge-funds). Is there a way to create incredible value for your organization by leveraging the power of a small group across millions of consumers or billions of dollars?

One good way to get at these disruptive designs is to do what we at my firm call a “Fiercest Competitor Workshop,” which starts with the premise that you have been fired from your old organization but you have access to ample capital and talent. Your task is to design the fiercest competitor that could take the market from your old firm. In my experience when running these workshops, it takes people about an hour to get out of their old mindset — but when they do, they often design the most wonderfully dangerous potential competitors. No one knows their company’s vulnerability to a disruptive design better than their own employees.

It is the leader’s job to unlock this disruptive design potential so that it can be harnessed to help the incumbent make more money for its current shareholders, employees, and provide better surplus value to customers.

Tear up the rulebook. Conventional wisdom is neither in this brave new world.

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