Latest Read: Actionable Intelligence: A Guide to Delivering Business Results with Big Data Fast!

Actionable Intelligence: A Guide to Delivering Business Results with Big Data Fast! falls into the must read category for leaders of any organization. Actionable Intelligence is in the Lean model well beyond the vanity metrics that so many leaders have embraced. Lessons on implementing a secure framework comes from lessons including Estee Lauder, Procter & Gamble, Lifetime Brands and the CIA. Yes the CIA.
Actionable Intelligence: A Guide to Delivering Business Results with Big Data Fast!Reading this book I have found tested lessons by Keith B. Carter regarding the lack of Actionable Intelligence in many organizations. The start always seems to be the lack of organized data and determining which is the most pressing to actually use in order to be successful in a fast changing world.

Maybe his most powerful work revolves around how executives at any company (or university) even question the value of actionable intelligence regardless of the tools already in place. Too many silo examples reinventing the wheel while overlooking the need to understand their own data reporting methods.

Sustaining delivery of actionable intelligence by the evolution from Dashboards to Cockpits. IMHO to many university leaders are just beginning to understand the Dashboard and their tools miss the Cockpit opportunities.

Business lessons alone describe how to mine actionable intelligence prove the validity of this book. Lessons from Estee Lauder include how the company was able to leverage secure data reporting in order to adjust following the powerful Japanese earthquake and tsunami that triggered the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. And in some ways Carter points to a crisis in order for executives to embrace actionable intelligence:

People do not trust data, they trust other people and their opinion of the data. So when the data owners, the people who input the data and/or use it, raise their hands and say, “This data is good; I trust it,” that will make it more likely for other people in the organization to believe it. It also means that it’s clear. It’s not just that they trust it from the point that 1 + 1 = 2. It is also clear how the data has to be used, and the definition of the data is clear.

Carter helps breakdown the old data principle “People don’t trust data – they trust other people.” Its true. Estee Lauder’s use of actionable intelligence is such that every organization should be striving towards in order to stay competitive.

Latest Read: Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution

Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution is a remarkable book about the explosive relationship between Apple and Google as smartphones and tablets came to dominate the PC marketplace. This is a historical view of the final battle of Steve Job’s life and the work by Google to win over the digital battlefield from both Apple and Microsoft.

How Apple and Google went to war and started a revolutionDogfight is a smashing success in revealing how human technology companies really are today and the enormous demands they place upon their employees. They create the tools for our digital lifestyles and the means in which it drives new business models (and society) on a global scale. Its truly magnificent.

Since Dogfight is centered around the last days of Steve Jobs many readers may be intrigued to learn how he was personally making Apple vulnerable to Google’s Android by placing so much trust in Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Schmidt. Interesting lessons for us all.

The most interesting aspect for me was understanding the complex relationship between Google and Apple when Microsoft was in charge of the PC market. Clearly Microsoft missed the smartphone and tablet market and now may be forever a forgone player in that space. Even industry leaders are acknowledging that in the mobile space there are only two OS platforms to consider: iOS and Android. Amazing how Microsoft lost its way.
Continue reading “Latest Read: Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution”

Latest read: Big Data Using smart big data analytics and metrics to make better decisions and improve performance

There is nothing boring in the established insights and support for Big Data Using smart big data analytics and metrics to make better decisions and improve performance.
Big Data Using smart big data analytics and metrics to make better decisions and improve performanceRead one big data book you’ve read them all right? Not so fast. This book reveals how a well planned understanding of your business can better embrace select data sets for your company, organization or school to not only remain competitive but thrive in the new global economy.

For all of the Big Data blogs, books and white papers that I have read Big Data by Bernard Marr is one of the better written books. Many will benefit from this knowledge.

Bernard Marr’s challenge continues to be what most senior managers do not understand about Big Data. And he does an admirable job in chapter six: Transforming Business. There are so many examples of how Big Data can actually re-define your objectives, but many are surrounded by a sales approach I recall from work Apple’s Michael Mace.

Michael was Director of Competitive Analysis at Apple and eloquently addressed FUD at a sales conference in the 90s. The same lessons apply today regarding Big Data. FUD is Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt.
Continue reading “Latest read: Big Data Using smart big data analytics and metrics to make better decisions and improve performance”

Latest read: Need, Speed, and Greed: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World’s Most Wicked Problems

Every company and school needs to add Need, Speed, and Greed: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World’s Most Wicked Problems to their mandatory reading list.
Need, Speed, and Greed: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World's Most Wicked ProblemsVajay Vaitheeswaran really understands the need for innovation, change and embracing new ideas in order for America to survive and thrive into the future.

This is especially true for those in aging markets like the auto industry and higher education.

Need, Speed, and Greed is divided into three sections: Why Innovation Matters, Where Innovation is Going, and How to win in the Age of Disruptive Innovation.

This is cover-to-cover reading for everyone. I really looked deeper at the closing chapter Can Dinosaurs Dance. While applied to the American auto industry, think about the strides made by Elon Musk and Google, the application of dramatic change fits quite nicely into many universities around the country.
Continue reading “Latest read: Need, Speed, and Greed: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World’s Most Wicked Problems”

Preview: When to Rob a Bank

Could not think of a more focused book title: When to Rob a Bank from the Freakonomics dynamic duo of Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. Looking forward to reading this book. I have never been disappointed in the research and economics of their stories. When to Rob a Bank marks the 10 year anniversary of their original bestseller Freakonomics.
when to rob a bankFrom their legendary initial release Freakonomics and their follow-up bestseller Superfreakonomics to their book Think Like a Freak and even to their highly anticipated movie. When to Rob a Bank should be a very enjoyable read and an opportunity to review some of their most striking stories.

And I must admit after living in Chicago the segment of the Chicago mother looking to inspire her son was a story I felt many around Chicagoland could understand to some degree.

Their approach to telling stories on their blog over the last ten years led them to some amazing stories …. and some that totally missed the mark.

A collection of their best blog posts has been compiled into When to Rob a Bank.

Pearl Harbor revisited

Ran across this in my Facebook feed yesterday. It was a post from RantPolitical. Its nothing more than Pearl Harbor revisited, a post of interesting facts surrounding the Japanese attack.

Yet first “fact” presented (screenshot below) was an accusation President Roosevelt knowingly led America into war. The announcement just this week that the Defense Department will exhume the remains of our fellow patriots killed aboard the USS Oklahoma.

Pearl Harbor conspiracy
For over 40 years the US Government classified a secret study by the RAND Corporation regarding our growing role in Vietnam’s internal conflict. Simply known as The Pentagon Papers the 48 volume study was commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. The formal report titled United States – Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense was leaked to the New York Times by Daniel Ellsberg, a RAND analyst who previously served as a US Marine first lieutenant commanding a rifle company in Vietnam in the 1950s.

So where does this all lead? One thing about History: In time when evidence is presented through the process of discovery, a deeper analysis can be established.

Relations between the U.S. and Japan were frail (at best) as Japan expanded war into Indo-China by defeating the French. Its clear war was in the air. Yet The Pentagon Papers reveal numerous communications between U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull and Kichisabura Nomura, Japan’s Ambassador to the U.S. After Japan attacked Pearl Harbor Roosevelt famously announced to Congress:

“Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.”

Volume V-B1: The Roosevelt Administration 1940-1945 also contains a classified memorandum sent by President Roosevelt to Japanese Emperor Hirohito saber rattling the Emperor regarding Japan’s occupation of Saigon. Roosevelt suggested unless Japanese forces withdraw he would consider sending the U.S. military to Saigon to confront Japanese troops and restore French rule in Indo-China. This memorandum (beginning on page 27 of Volume V-B1) was transmitted to the Government of Japan on December 6, 1941.

War between Japan and the U.S. was literally hours away. The declining dialog clearly indicate war was only a matter of time. Is it enough to suggest a conspiracy that Roosevelt was leading America into war? That may still be a debate issue. However to label it “fringe fanaticism” with little evidence…I recommend reading the entire V-B1 volume in detail.

Need, Speed, and Greed Preview

Just started reading Need, Speed, and Greed: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World’s Most Wicked Problems.
Need, Speed, and Greed: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World's Most Wicked ProblemsMust say its another refreshing look at how we must innovate in today’s global world. Written by Vajay Vaitheeswaran of The Economist, it is providing so far excellent lessons for any company, non-profit, innovation center or educational organization.

Addressing global health and education is just the beginning. Need, Speed, and Greed is laying out how companies must adjust (via lessons from IBM, Google and P&G) or watch the world run you over and out of business.

The one thing Need, Speed, and Greed is making very clear: we are now able to collaborate in a global view with advanced technologies and new open business thinking to solve complex problems around the globe.

This is shaping up to be the kind of book every school kid in America should be reading.

Latest read: Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

Not long ago I began reading Creativity, Inc. Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration the story of Pixar written by co-fonder Ed Catmull.

Creativity, Inc.On the surface one may consider this a story about animation movies beginning with Toy Story.

Some may want this to be a historical look at the company from Lucasfilm and their acquisition by Steve Jobs to the merger with Disney. Others want to see the inside of Pixar as Jobs ran the company. However this book is about management.

Managing one of the most successful entertainment companies is not an easy task. And here Creativity, Inc. shines in revealing deep lessons running a developing company, how to manage creative people and how to change the world. Yes indeed.

Clearly anyone who manages people should read this book. If you work as a designer or in an artist agency it is damn well worth your time.

Pixar’s lessons will have even greater impact if you enjoyed their movies with your children because Ed reveals details of how Pixar struggled to make their amazing animations. His details will surprise you. More importantly you will see how you can apply his lessons in your life.

Just imagine the company owning a string of incredible movie releases failed often and quickly but rose to maintain an incredible company. The lessons in management by Ed Catmull are some of the most rewarding that I have learned to manage teams in a long time.