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Category Archives: Strategy and Innovation

Political Innovation: Embracing and understanding customer service

Guest post by Grayson Brulte, Co-Founder & President of Brulte & Company

Politics is a pursuit inherently built on customer service but without enough attention paid to those who matter the most: voters. In politics, voters are the customers, and instead of asking for a refund or an exchange, they can vote the politician out of office.

So why isn’t voter relations one of the top priorities of a campaign? Campaigns should hire a Chief Voter Relations Officer to manage voter relations and develop an organization that is always striving for perfection. In that way, the organization would be actively embracing customer service as an asset, not a chore.

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Six steps for creating a winning business strategy with the Delta Model

Contributed by MIT Sloan Executive Certificate holder and guest blogger Juan Ignacio Genovese

Strategy can be defined as thinking about and establishing new ways to reach company goals, and although many examples exist, few models of winning business strategy provide the diversity of tools necessary for actualizing that strategy.

Most readers are aware of the important influence of Michael Porter, author of Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors. However, his model does not necessarily make us take action; rather, it determines what we should be aware of to protect and increment our market share. Another example is The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy Into Action, written by Robert Kaplan and David Norton. However, this book is not a tool for modeling strategy but for measuring the strategic impact of our actions. Although there are many other books about the subject, most do not successfully present a complete strategic model.

While searching for a powerful strategic model to use in my position as a marketing consultant, I discovered MIT Sloan Professor Arnoldo Hax’s The Delta Model: Reinventing Your Business Strategy. The strength of this model is that it puts the customer at the center of the strategy, with the goal of achieving customer bonding. The model is based on application of the eight competencies of the firm—specific strategies developed by Professor Hax that help us accomplish our final goal of customer bonding. Each of these strategies will work for a particular market segment.

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The design structure matrix: helping to see complexity in systems

Many global business organizations develop and manage complex systems with multiple interacting parts. In an effort to become more effective, efficient, and profitable in the face of growing complexity, businesses seek process innovations that help them streamline their systems. Perhaps that’s why the design structure matrix (DSM), originally developed in the 1970s to model design problems and used at MIT since the 1990s to research system complexity, has become a powerful tool for developing products and systems.

In their recent book, Design Structure Matrix Methods and ApplicationsSteven Eppinger, Professor of Management Science and Engineering Systems at MIT Sloan School of Management, and co-author Tyson Browning, show how DSM analysis helps companies streamline the process of product and system design.

“Engineering work can be procedural and systematic,” says Eppinger. “People think of engineering as a matter of always developing something new, unlike business operations, where you do something over and over again. But we’ve learned that while you may repeat engineering work five or 20 times in your career instead of 100 times a day, there’s a process there. And if you can capture that process, you can improve it.”

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EmTech 2013 day three: Climates of yes

Guest Blogger: Doña Keating is President and CEO of Professional Options, a prominent innovator in the leadership, policy and management consulting industry which provides solutions for businesses, organizations and governmental agencies.

I am officially addicted to EmTechMIT. Since returning to the left coast from last week’s event, every neuron in my body is firing from a reconnection to one of the ultimate “Climates of Yes.”

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The new competitive advantage: not leaning in, but leaning forward

Microsoft recently announced a significant restructuring in hopes of reclaiming its lost market share and the trust of its customers. In response, many are asking, “Is restructuring the answer? What changes will Microsoft need to make to regain its competitive edge?”

The Lean Forward Approach

According to Steven Spear, Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan and recognized expert on high velocity organizations, the most successful organizations are the ones creating high value with their products, in less time, using less effort. These organizations, says Spear, use the lean forward approach: they consistently seek immediate clarification and amplification of their customer’s voice by leaning into their users’ domain to discover the problems as well as delights of their experience.

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