ManagementStyles https://googlejuices.com Leadership and Management Updated Articles, Management Trending News, Marketing Articles, Social Media Marketing Strategies and Ideas Thu, 05 Dec 2019 14:10:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.4 https://i0.wp.com/googlejuices.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/cropped-rocket_2__.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 ManagementStyles https://googlejuices.com 32 32 108325208 This hardware store’s Christmas ad cost just $131 to make, and it’s one of the best ones you’ll see this year https://googlejuices.com/this-hardware-stores-christmas-ad-cost-just-131-to-make-and-its-one-of-the-best-ones-youll-see-this-year/ Thu, 05 Dec 2019 14:10:29 +0000 https://googlejuices.com/this-hardware-stores-christmas-ad-cost-just-131-to-make-and-its-one-of-the-best-ones-youll-see-this-year/ An independent hardware store in Rhayader, Powys, Wales made what some people are calling the “best Christmas ad of the year” for just £100 (about $131), and its star is a two-year-old named Arthur. On [...]

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An independent hardware store in Rhayader, Powys, Wales made what some people are calling the “best Christmas ad of the year” for just £100 (about $131), and its star is a two-year-old named Arthur.

On Monday, the family-owned hardware store, which has been in business since 1895, tweeted: “Here it is, the Hafod Hardware Christmas Advert 2019 #BeAKidThisChristmas” along with the touching video. 

The BBC reports that the store has been making Christmas adverts for the past seven years.

This year’s spot shows adorable Arthur getting out of bed, going through his morning routine, setting up the family’s shop for the day, serving customers, looking over important paperwork, briefing his toys, tending to the festive window display, and going to pick up a Christmas tree.

Wales Online said the two-minute video features four generations of Arthur’s family, with appearances from his parents and grandparents.

Hafod Christmas advert still 2
Arthur get ready in the morning before a hard day’s work in the family store.
Hafod Hardware

Store owner and Arthur’s father, Tom Jones, said the video was shot over one day, as reported by Wales Online, with help from his friend and filmmaker Josh Holdaway.

As detailed by Wales Online, Tom said the biggest spend of his budget production was getting permission to use the advert’s song, which is a cover of Alphaville’s hit “Forever Young” from 1984 from American singer-songwriter Andrea von Kampen. It cost him just £100 (around $131), which he confirmed in a tweet.

“I knew I really wanted this song as it’s perfect. I got in touch with the singer and she said as it happens she was in the studio so we just needed to pay for the sound engineer,” he said, according to Wales Online

Hafod Christmas Advert still 3
Arthur serving customer’s at Hafod Hardware.
Hafod Hardware

Fans of the ad, which at the time of writing has 161,000 views on Hafod’s Facebook page, are already asking for the nostalgic cover to be released.

The artist Andrea von Kampen said in a tweet the song will be out soon when a Twitter user suggested getting a campaign going for the track to be Christmas number one. 

Speaking to Rachel Burden on BBC 5 Live, Jones said the advert’s “underlying message” is to “shop at your small independent shops.”

He also told the BBC: “I understand Christmas can be a very expensive time for everyone and they need to save money where they can, but if they can afford to, just try and shop at your small independent shops and support us, it makes a big difference.”

Read more: 

Your ultimate guide to holiday gift ideas for 2019 — from gifts under $100, $50, and $25, to the coolest tech gifts out there

15 reasons why we’re obsessed with Christmas — and why you should be too

31 gifts for toddlers that’ll keep them entertained longer than the boxes they come in

World’s first printed Christmas card exhibits at Dickens museum

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What It Means To Be a Tech Company https://googlejuices.com/what-it-means-to-be-a-tech-company/ Thu, 05 Dec 2019 14:10:28 +0000 https://googlejuices.com/what-it-means-to-be-a-tech-company/ Also, what makes Jeff Bezos tick. advertisement MIT SMR Frontiers This article is part of an MIT SMR initiative exploring how technology is reshaping the practice of management. Editor’s note: Elsewhere is a column that [...]

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Also, what makes Jeff Bezos tick.

Editor’s note: Elsewhere is a column that highlights ideas from other media platforms we believe are worth your attention.

What It Means to Be a Tech Company

WeWork’s rapid reversal in fortune in September caught some analysts by surprise. The high-flying office-sharing company, then favored by gig workers and the tech elite, was gearing up for an initial public offering that was widely expected to raise upwards of hundreds of millions of dollars. Instead, within a few days it became a poster child for investor herd mentality gone amok and was scrambling for cash.

WeWork’s free fall (the company’s valuation has dropped more than 80% since January 2019) has fed a spirited discussion over what it means to be a young “tech company.” Although WeWork’s core business model — renting empty offices in bulk and turning them into coworking spaces with amenities such as yoga classes and kombucha for companies and individuals — doesn’t seem especially technology-focused, the company’s prospectus used the word technology more than 100 times, notes reporter Marie C. Baca in The Washington Post.

Taiwan-based business analyst Ben Thompson writes in Stratechery that what separates tech companies from other types of businesses is “the centrality of software.” For instance, software creates ecosystems and enables companies to eliminate both marginal costs and transaction costs. By this definition, he says, WeWork falls short. Although it uses software, WeWork “pays a huge percentage of its revenue in rent.” Moreover, he says, “it is difficult to find evidence that [its ecosystem] is a driving factor for WeWork’s business.”

Notes Baca, “The issue goes beyond mere semantics. Some investors worry that the slipperiness around tech terminology and valuations could contribute to an economic bubble.”

Deconstructing Jeff Bezos

By many measures, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos holds greater sway over U.S. commerce and even society than almost any other individual in history. While John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie built massive fortunes during the late 19th century from oil and steel, Bezos’s empire is both wider and deeper. Amazon’s e-commerce site, with more than 600 million items for sale by more than 3 million vendors, draws most of the attention, accounting for almost 40% of U.S. online sales. But other Amazon ventures, notably its cloud computing and video streaming operations (and Bezos’s personal ownership of The Washington Post), are critical elements of the expanding Bezos empire.

In a recent story in The Atlantic, Franklin Foer examines what makes 55-year-old Bezos tick and what his plans are for the future, based on five months of conversations with current and former Amazon executives, company rivals, and others. With its database of customers’ past purchases and its unmatched knowledge of logistics and the global supply chain, Foer says, Amazon has “the capacity to build its own winning version of an astonishing array of businesses.” This has huge implications not just for the U.S. economy, but also for society at large. “In the end,” Foer writes, “all that is admirable and fearsome about Amazon converges.”

He adds, “Jeff Bezos has won capitalism. The question for the democracy is, are we OK with that?”

The Sharing Economy Rolls On

The sharing economy has been with us for more than a decade. Some early entrants, such as Airbnb, Uber, and Kickstarter, are now household names. Yet the basic business model shows no signs of fatigue. Writing in a recent issue of Wired, Arielle Pardes says, “When Airbnb started in 2008, the idea of turning your house into a crash pad, or paying a few hundred dollars to sleep in a stranger’s guest room, was still fringe.” Now, she says, “the rental economy is everywhere, and for everyone.”

Among the recent entrants she highlights are Boatsetter (for renting boats), Spacer (for garage space), and Hipcamp (for matching campers with empty campsites). With Boatsetter, for example, owners can list their boats on the site for would-be renters, with a daily or hourly rate. The company helps arrange for the insurance and provides names of qualified captains for hire.

The sharing economy is also making inroads in more mundane areas. According to an article in The Economist, Roadie, based in Atlanta, offers a service that helps companies save money on deliveries by tapping motorists who are already traveling in the desired direction.

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People-Centered Design Principles for AI Implementation https://googlejuices.com/people-centered-design-principles-for-ai-implementation/ Thu, 05 Dec 2019 14:10:25 +0000 https://googlejuices.com/people-centered-design-principles-for-ai-implementation/ MIT SMR authors David Bray and R “Ray” Wang discuss how people-centered design principles can serve as a framework in AI implementation. advertisement Related Reading David A. Bray and R “Ray” Wang, “Three People-Centered Design [...]

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MIT SMR authors David Bray and R “Ray” Wang discuss how people-centered design principles can serve as a framework in AI implementation.

As the AI field currently stands, deep learning is playing an increasingly critical role. As organizations begin adopting deep learning, leaders must ensure that these artificial neural networks are accurate and precise — lest they negatively affect business decisions and potentially hurt customers, products, and services.

Please join MIT SMR authors David Bray and R “Ray” Wang as they discuss how people-centered design principles can serve as a framework in AI implementation. They’ll also cover the methods companies can take to put these principles into action in their AI projects.

In this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • The three people-centered design principles for deep learning.
  • Three methods to put the principles into action.
  • How the principles help companies avoid bias and bad outcomes.
  • Why the principles can address both short- and long-term concerns around deep learning.

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Making It Easier to Manage and Scale Digital Projects https://googlejuices.com/making-it-easier-to-manage-and-scale-digital-projects/ Thu, 05 Dec 2019 14:10:24 +0000 https://googlejuices.com/making-it-easier-to-manage-and-scale-digital-projects/ Organizations struggle to reap the benefits from agile methods at scale. Systematic processes for prototyping, testing, and launching ideas can fix that problem. advertisement Image courtesy of Keith Negley/theispot.com As business models across industries are [...]

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Organizations struggle to reap the benefits from agile methods at scale. Systematic processes for prototyping, testing, and launching ideas can fix that problem.

As business models across industries are destabilized by disruptive threats, organizations are searching for effective ways to manage their digital projects to deliver the highest value outcomes. Agile methodologies that were originally used in software development are increasingly being applied to cross-functional projects such as e-commerce websites and mobile apps.1

While there has been progress, barriers remain, particularly in cases where companies try to coordinate multiple agile projects simultaneously and scale them across the organization. Although some managers are attempting to move beyond linear development processes in hopes of completing projects faster, most are working in siloes, with little or no interaction or cross-fertilization with other groups. The result is that there’s little opportunity for sharing best practices across functions, divisions, and regions.

In studying agile approaches over the past three years through interviews at more than 50 companies and surveys at more than 100 companies, we found that the organizations that achieve the most success with digital projects use processes that allow for continuous learning and that support critical business goals. For starters, they try to ensure that teams are working on the right problems to address the needs of customers, business units, and other stakeholders. This requires designing prototypes to test key assumptions and value propositions. These organizations also create experiments to collect meaningful data from their customers and other stakeholders so that they can learn what works before pivoting and iterating to develop good solutions. Finally, they pitch their findings and ideas to internal business leaders who are able to provide the resources, including funding and staff, to take the most promising ideas to market. With everyone following those same processes — we summarize the system as prototype, pivot, and pitch — organizations are better equipped to juggle multiple projects at the same time and reap the benefits of scale.

Over the past few years, Johnson & Johnson, one of the organizations we studied, has employed this approach. Individual groups found it so effective that the company’s technology organization created a centralized team that provides dedicated counsel and support related to digital projects. Known internally as rapidValueRealization, it is made up of nine individuals who conduct training and workshops on agile processes and tools that assist IT and business-side employees in managing and scaling digital projects. In this article, we describe how Johnson & Johnson does this and the benefits and challenges the approach brings.

1. Prototyping to key in on the right problems. In developing digital solutions, internal teams are trained to engage with business leaders across the company at the prototyping stage to understand their needs. The agile expert group onboards digital teams at the beginning of their project and practices the necessary skills with them. Integral to the process are simulation exercises designed to help employees become comfortable with testing assumptions and risking being wrong. In one of the exercises, small teams work together building an imaginary town with Lego bricks. The teams gain experience interacting with various stakeholders such as town planners, investors, and residents to understand their needs and prototype ideas.

The exercise encourages employees to overcome functional biases and show respect for colleagues with skill sets, perspectives, and experiences that are different from their own. A strong sense of team building comes from being aware of each team member’s contribution toward the common goal of designing the future town.

Digital teams are also trained to resist embracing solutions too quickly and to examine customer problems from multiple directions. In a popular design exercise known as Crazy 8s, teams are given a problem — for example, how to present user instructions for a new medical device — and individuals get a fixed amount of time to sketch and label eight variations on how to approach it. Then each team member shares his or her ideas with the group. The goal is to generate as many diverse ideas as possible, and then the team discusses how to narrow down the list to the most compelling suggestions. From there, the team votes on which ones are worth prototyping. Such exercises give team members experience in rapidly conceiving and building low-cost prototypes and identifying potential pain points.

Management has found that digital teams sometimes select the “latest and greatest” solution even if it’s not a perfect fit, or they jump into solutions without fully understanding the customer data. A recent experience involving one of the company’s skin-care product groups highlights this tendency. A cross-functional team was having difficulty understanding the motivations and challenges for getting consumers to reapply sunscreen — a critical requirement for the mobile app that was supposed to address this problem. Initially, the team focused on the functional and technical aspects of the app. An “aha” moment occurred when team members took a step backward and asked a series of “How might we…?” questions, including: How might we make the process easier for parents? How might we incentivize children to reapply sunscreen? And how might we design an app that helps with this and makes it fun?

The questions pushed the team to probe more deeply into the user experience for both parents and children, and to deconstruct the problem into smaller pieces before reassembling them into areas of focus for prototyping and testing. This led the team to prototype different user experiences, including immersive technologies available on smartphones, such as augmented and virtual reality applications.

2. Pivoting to find better solutions. Once a prototype has been launched and refined, teams can begin testing critical hypotheses about the solution’s benefits. The goal is to learn how to improve the user experience and to assess whether the offering can achieve the desired user behaviors and business outcomes. If not, the team can pivot or redirect the project.

Johnson & Johnson’s recent experience with its Vision Pro website for eye care professionals provides a good example of what this entails. The Vision Pro team set out to develop a digital hub for eye care professionals who didn’t like having to order different vision care products from different sites. The team ran an experiment to determine user needs and found that a system that let people order all of their products from a single site would be very popular. However, the most useful insight was learning that, over and above the ability to order products, eye care professionals wanted the hub to provide information that advised them on which products were best suited to treat their patients. In light of this information, the Vision Pro team adjusted its approach, and the results from the new site have turned out better than expected: Site traffic and orders have exceeded the company’s goals, call center issues have dropped dramatically, and more than 80% of site visitors take advantage of the product training materials.

Because designing new digital solutions can be costly, organizations need to be mindful of the business and revenue implications of different options. Indeed, just because it’s possible to build a cool app doesn’t mean it will add value or that you should do it right now. For example, the company’s Vision team wanted to grow its contact lens business through subscriptions, by getting people to sign up for recurring shipments through their eye doctor. However, this was easier said than done; many consumers resisted at first, thinking they could get better deals elsewhere.

At a workshop, the digital team focused on eye care decided to test a discounted subscription offer through doctors’ offices: three months of free lenses to patients who signed up for a one-year subscription. But the team members decided to hold off on investing in an app until they had a clearer idea of whether people were interested. Then, when they received a positive response from patients, they developed an app that has allowed the company to expand the program to scale.

3. Pitching to potential backers for additional resources. Because consumers expect technology solutions to become better and better, digital projects must continuously evolve. Typically, there are ongoing requirements for new people, technology, and financial resources. Yet the governance models at most companies are still based on an annual budgeting process, resulting in a mismatch on timing and needs. What’s different today is that in order to scale digital projects effectively, teams need to become adept at pitching their project resource needs to internal sponsors who can respond quickly. Rather than focusing only on ROI, teams need to use a variety of performance metrics to show how the approach works and how it delivers value.

There are no all-purpose metrics appropriate for every project, but user engagement metrics are generally well suited for early-stage projects. Leading indicators such as average minutes per session, click-thrus, number of messages and chats, and positive ratings can demonstrate whether a prototype is well received and additional funding is warranted.

Digital solutions related to consumer health need to demonstrate low risk and high potential for success, and teams must show how they can differentiate these offerings in the marketplace. For example, the company’s consumer team made the case that its over-the-counter allergy medicine could deliver better outcomes and customer engagement if there were an app that offered patients geographically specific information about the types of allergens circulating in the environment.

To obtain funding for developing an app that would feature this type of personalization, the team put together user engagement and product market data showing that the app would lead to higher revenue and better customer retention. The projections convinced the company to invest in the project.

Requiring teams to pitch a project’s value can help companies manage their digital project portfolios more effectively. Even if an idea or prototype seems promising, managers might decide other projects are better aligned with the corporate strategy or have bigger financial upsides. In Johnson & Johnson’s medical devices group, for example, the biosurgery design team recently explored developing new surgical training solutions for mid-career surgeons that used virtual reality and augmented reality through headphones and iPads. While the early response to prototypes was promising, when putting together a pitch to potential funders, the design team realized that the development costs were high relative to the expected benefits. So the team circled back to the initial question: What could the company do to help surgeons understand and deliver treatments? This led the team to focus resources on simpler solutions.

Since 2015, Johnson & Johnson’s agile project experts have conducted more than 300 training sessions and workshops at 52 locations in 16 countries. In 2018 alone, the group worked with more than 100 project teams across the organization. The company believes the most important success factor to scale agile methods is the willingness of employees to experiment and pursue continuous learning. This is reflected in its 2018 digital agile initiatives: 58 projects involved experiments, and 62 projects involved pivots.

The company’s digital agile initiatives have also shaped its culture. The agile expert group has trained more than 1,000 employees. An internal study shows that knowledge of agile methods by those attending workshops increased by 58%. Some 60% of the projects have been initiated by business-side employees, and 12% of the workshops have now been run by business leaders who previously attended a workshop and are thus championing this effort.

Scaling digital projects is a complex undertaking. It requires a significant amount of hands-on training to give people the right mindset and skills to apply agile methodologies effectively. However, we have found that companies that take this approach in a coherent, organized way are generating value for multiple stakeholders. Business sponsors of agile projects receive high-quality solutions that directly address customer needs. There is a tighter alignment between digital and business strategy, as continuous investments in projects are made only when there is transparent and proven value to the business and its customers. This is particularly relevant as the marketplace changes. Finally, having a consistent approach to doing agile results in digital team members working more effectively together. Empowering teams to take risks, experiment, and continuously learn often results in more satisfied digital team members.

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In the Spotlight: Pure Green Founder Tells Colorful Startup Story https://googlejuices.com/in-the-spotlight-pure-green-founder-tells-colorful-startup-story/ Wed, 04 Dec 2019 14:14:38 +0000 https://googlejuices.com/in-the-spotlight-pure-green-founder-tells-colorful-startup-story/ You can find green juice, smoothies and other healthy products just about anywhere these days. But not all of those brands are favorites of big names like Selena Gomez and the New York Jets. That’s [...]

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You can find green juice, smoothies and other healthy products just about anywhere these days. But not all of those brands are favorites of big names like Selena Gomez and the New York Jets.

That’s where Pure Green sets itself apart. The franchise business focuses on creating a memorable experience for its customers. This led to a cult following in NYC and eventually new locations around the country. Read more about the company and its journey in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.



What the Business Does

Sells smoothies, acai bowls, cold pressed juice, and other healthy products.

Business Niche

Creating a memorable experience for visitors.

Founder and CEO Ross Franklin told Small Business Trends, “We don’t refer to the people that come through our doors as customers, we call them guests and treat them like a guest in our own home.”

How the Business Got Started

To inspire healthier communities.

Franklin opened the first location for the business back in 2014. Then, the business began to gain popularity. And they eventually decided to grow it using a franchise model.

Franklin adds, “We started in New York City and built a cult following.”

Biggest Win

Landing a big client.

Franklin says, “We have a wholesale division of our business and the biggest win was when we signed on the New York Jets as a wholesale client. The players love Pure Green cold pressed juice. And since then, we signed on over 60 professional sports teams who are all evangelists for Pure Green.”

Biggest Risk

Separating the retail division from the wholesale division.

Franklin explains, “This was the best decision we ever made as our retail division started franchising and we are on track for massive growth as a company.”

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Bringing in new franchisees.

Franklin says, “An extra 100k would go straight into marketing to help get the word out to potential franchisees. We are looking to grow fast and getting the right franchisees is key.”

Fun Fact

Getting worldwide attention.

Franklin adds, “Our cold pressed juice is in well over 30 states from professional sports teams, airlines to high end hotels. We knew we made it when Selina Gomez was photographed drinking our cold pressed juice.”

* * * * *

Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program

 

Image: Pure Green

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