Keeping Up With The Quants

I’m sitting in my little apartment here in Copenhagen, Denmark getting prepared for next week’s classes in advanced market research and competitive intelligence.  Teaching at the Copenhagen Business School as a Visiting Professor is a wonderfully enriching experience – meeting faculty and students from around the world.  Lots of  fresh ideas, interesting discussions and lots of danish pastry and coffee at the faculty table. Hanging out in Copenhagen isn’t all that bad either!

Of course, I also had to visit the university bookstore.  Bookstores are one of my favourite places to hang out and the bookstore at CBS didn’t disappoint.  A new book by Thomas Davenport was filling the shelves – and since it directly ties in with the courses I am teaching, I had to grab it.  “Keeping Up with the Quants” is a great followup to his first book – “Competing on Analytics.”  Davenport and Jinho Kim have done a great job building a beginner’s guide to understanding and using analytics.  From formulating a hypothesis, digging for data, interpreting the data into actionable insights and then communicating your results – the authors provide a roadmap that is both comprehensive and easy to follow.

Critical thinking and analytical skills are now a must in any business that wants to remain competitive.  I gladly added this book to my recommended reading for the students and passed it along as well to other faculty.  Adding to my book collection is always a joy – even if it means I need to buy another suitcase for the journey home.

Keeping Up with the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics

Idea Agent: Leadership that Liberates Creativity

If you are interested in how to manage creative people to maximize your innovation potential, here is a book to read over the holidays.  Or give to you boss as a (hint) gift.  Lina Echeverria is a leadership consultant with over 25 years experience in science and technology. At Corning, Lina went from scientist to Vice-President and tended both people and process that resulted in products ranging from faster optic fibre to flat-panel glass used in smart-phones and LCD TVs.  Her emphasis is on culture that is defined by beliefs, attitudes, energy, interaction styles and rituals.  Her focus is on the values that drive creative engagement. I love her commitment to establishing an oral tradition – the stories told that drive passion and respect individual freedom to create in a space that authentically welcomes innovators. A yummy, yummy book hot off the press!

Idea Agent: Leadership that Liberates Creativity and Accelerates Innovation

The Intention Economy

It’s been a busy Fall!  From classes starting again and working with the Conference Board here in Canada, I’ve been running.  At our last meeting of the Customer Experience Council, we had the pleasure of listening to a presentation on VRM – Vendor Relationship Management – by Doc Searles.

Searles has  done it again.  From the Cluetrain Manifesto and ‘all markets are conversations’ to ‘caveat venditor‘ – let the seller beware.  Customers are beginning to take charge of their own data, maybe not tomorrow but its coming.  The market is shifting to being driven by demand – the customer. Beyond customer-centric, The Intention Economy shows us a world ruled by customer intent – vendors must respond to the intentions of the customer instead of responding to a crowd.

Consider a world where you were able to build your own loyalty programs and dictate terms of service to the vendors that you favor? Control the flow and the usage of your personal data? Once again, the message is ‘The end of business as usual’.

Big data gives you big data.  Insight into the marketplace is what is required. VRM is forerunner of what is to come.

The Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge

How Will You Measure Your Life?

Clayton Christensen is well known as the author of The Innovator’s Dilemma. In this new offering, he has drawn upon his business experience as a consultant and professor to explain how high achievers can often fall into traps that lead to unhappiness. But how to measure happiness? satisfaction? achievement?  How to avoid compromising your integrity in our current economic maelstrom? Christensen provides both wisdom and inspiration for anyone searching for a path to fulfillment. A great summer read!

How Will You Measure Your Life?

Shop Class as Soulcraft

Matthew Crawford has written an excellent book on the value of working with your heart as well as your hands – the reality of practical activity. What have we lost in moving away from the art of ‘making’? How does the modern working environment deaden our senses? Is the emphasis on the knowledge worker in our economy missing a valuable resource? Some interesting questions for anyone whose heart lies in ‘making’. The work of skilled ‘builders’ cannot be outsourced and forges a strong bond with the community in which the builder resides. Crawford makes his case for the sheer pleasure of manual labor – emphasizing the skilled artisan of the past and needed as a valuable asset in our future. An interesting addition for any reader who studies the world of work.

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work

Working with Images

Depth Psychology challenges orthodox psychological thinking by insisting that the field of psychology must itself revision its ideas. For the student of the imagination, Benjamin Sells has compiled formative articles from the Spring Journal that explore the use and the power of images. Its generative ground for both theory and practice is ‘psyche’ or soul, that is the source of our imagination.

Working With Images provides a method for reaching into the imagination and feeding the creative source. For anyone interested in maximizing creative potential, this work provides an aesthetic foundation from which to build.  A great reference guide!

Working with Images: The Theoretical Base of Archetypal Psychology (Classics in Archetypal Psychology, 4)

The Story Solution

For anyone who is interested in how story works, author Eric Edson has provided a compact framework from which to build a powerful tale. Edson has written seventeen feature screenplays for companies including Warner Brothers, Sony, Disney and Showtime and is a Professor of Screenwriting and Director of the Graduate Program in Screenwriting at California State University.

He outlines 23 interlocking actions used in every successful screenplay that can create dynamic heroes and captivating plots. For the corporate reader, this is an excellent reference guide to the transformational arc that every character needs in order to grow. So does your CEO quality? You be the judge!

The Story Solution: 23 Actions All Great Heroes Must Take