Friday, 20 November 2009

Wal-Mart's Personal Sustainability Project for employees

Wal-Mart asked all employees to adopt a pledge to improve their bodies, their families or their planet. $30m commitment to help with this.


Friday, 13 November 2009

Signing a form affects your honesty

An automobile insurer discovered that most people, when filling out forms that ask how many miles they've driven in a year, claimed that they drove less than they actually had.

Building on the discovery that people are less inclined to cheat after being reminded of their own ethical standards, the company moved the signature line to the top of the form. Applicants who signed the form at the top of the reported driving an average of 2,700 more miles a year than those who signed at the end.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Co-Creation: Lego Factory & Cuusco

Lego Factory is a simple piece of software that leds you build Lego kits and then order the parts to make them. In 2008, average of 28,000 submissions were made to the website every month.

In Japan, a similar user-generated innovation platform - Lego Cuusco - is being piloted. But when over 1,000 votes are received for a model Lego will consider sending it to production and giving the designer a share of revenue.

Source: Contagious magazine, Q4 2008

Lean Consumption - Car Repairs

Nice explanation of how Portugese car dealer GFS changed its process for repairing cars to both save itself money and its customers time. Along with 2 good diagrams of 'before' and 'after' lean processes. E.g.:

Source: 'Lean Consumption', Womack and Jones, HBR 2006. All copyrights acknowledged.

3 Key Customer Experience Questions

From Forrester’s Scenario Design:

No experience is inherently good or bad; it can only be judged by looking at how well it helps customers achieve their goals.

Constantly ask:
- Who are your target users?
- What are their goals?
- How can you help them accomplish their goals?


Monday, 9 November 2009

Haier & Target set up air conditioning pop-up store in Times Square

In July 2004 Haier was trying to build awareness of a new line of air conditioners in the US. It teamed up with Target to set up a temporary store filled only will Haier products in Times Square and offered custoemrs free delivery and other promo incentives.

Haier sold 7,000 air conditioners in 7 hours - generating media coverage and web chatter.

HBR, March 09

When Should a Process Be Art, Not Science?

Excellent article. In organisations:
- some processes should be tightly controlled a precise 'science': the same every time
- other processes, like customer service, are 'art': always unique
- it's important not to mingle the two. Different metrics etc.

E.g. A Steinway piano voicer needs parts that are exactly the same (science), but use their skill autonomously to made unique pianos (art)

'When Should a Process Be Art, Not Science?', Hall & Johnson, HBR, Mar 09

Petrobas: role modelling the important of safety

At Petrobas the CEO and other top managers "have joined the auditing teams that check the HSE compliance of our business and service units and new projects. Senior, executive, and general managers have participated in more than 1,000 audits, going on field trips to refineries, offshore platforms, and pipelines." [...]

"When I [CEO] step off the helicopter an at offshore platform, it's sort of like the general showing up at the barracks for the morning bed check. But employees know that I'm there because I are about what they're doing, not to catch some indiscretion. This is part of an important formal and informal trickling-down process that drives the cultural change into day-to-day operations."

'The Greening of Petrobras', Jose Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo [CEO], HBR Mar 09

Performance metrics at Clifford Chance

Law firm Clifford Chance replaced its single metric of billable hours with 7 criteria on which to base bonuses:
  • Respect and mentoring
  • Quality of work
  • Excellence in client service
  • Integrity
  • Contribution to the community
  • Commitment to diversity
  • Contribution to the firm as an institution

In 2002 a leaked memo from the firm contended that pressure to deliver billable hours had encouraged padding of billed hours and senior associates doing work that could be done by cheaper junior ones.

'The Five Traps of Performance Measurement', A Likierman, HBR Oct 09

Using CAPTCHAs for free transcription

Luis von Ahn and colleagues at Carnegie Mellon University are using CAPTCHAs to decipher words that have stumped optical readers trying to digitise old books.

Now transcribing 10m words a day, equivalent of 150,000 books a year, equivalent to 37,500 full-time workers.

'The Power of Unwitting Workers', HBR Oct 09