Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Future of Work | @Deloitte @Time

Any discussion about the innovation of management processes necessarily leads to the future of work, how work gets done and how to retain talent that will ensure the organization is agile, flexible and able to compete in the fast-changing global environment. Time is the latest to publish their insightful Future of Work online.

Deloitte's innovative employment practices are featured:

It's a shift, in other words, from a corporate ladder to the career-path metaphor long preferred by Deloitte vice chair Cathy Benko: a lattice.

At Deloitte, each employee's lattice is nailed together during twice-a-year evaluations focused not just on career targets but also on larger life goals. An employee can request to do more or less travel or client service, say, or to move laterally into a new role — changes that may or may not come with a pay cut. Deloitte's data from 2008 suggest that about 10% of employees choose to "dial up" or "dial down" at any given time. Deloitte's Mass Career Customization (MCC) program began as a way to keep talented women in the workforce, but it has quickly become clear that women are not the only ones seeking flexibility. Responding to millennials demanding better work-life balance, young parents needing time to share child-care duties and boomers looking to ease gradually toward retirement, Deloitte is scheduled to roll out MCC to all 42,000 U.S. employees by May 2010. Deloitte executives are in talks with more than 80 companies working on similar programs.

Time also mentioned labour trends in their report with these indicators:
According to consulting giant McKinsey & Co., nearly 85% of new jobs created between 1998 and 2006 involved complex "knowledge work" like problem-solving and concocting corporate strategy. Job opportunities in mathematics and across the sciences are also expected to expand. The U.S. Department of Labor spotlights network systems and data communications as well as computer-software engineering among the occupations projected to grow most explosively by 2016. Over the next seven years, the number of jobs in the information-technology sector is expected to swell 24% — a figure more than twice the overall job-growth rate.

P.S. For those noticing the title, it's an experiment with tags for updating this post on my twitter feed:

Googlenomics [@Wired]

Wired Magazine's "Secret of Googlenomics" article explains the math behind Google's AdWords, Google's online unique advertising auction.

The entire article by Stephen Levy is a great read but what I found particularly interesting is the following passage because it describes how every bit of data has potential value:

Keywords and click rates are their bread and butter. "We are trying to understand the mechanisms behind the metrics," says Qing Wu, one of Varian's minions. His specialty is forecasting, so now he predicts patterns of queries based on the season, the climate, international holidays, even the time of day. "We have temperature data, weather data, and queries data, so we can do correlation and statistical modeling," Wu says. The results all feed into Google's backend system, helping advertisers devise more-efficient campaigns.

To track and test their predictions, Wu and his colleagues use dozens of onscreen dashboards that continuously stream information, a sort of Bloomberg terminal for the Googlesphere. Wu checks obsessively to see whether reality is matching the forecasts: "With a dashboard, you can monitor the queries, the amount of money you make, how many advertisers you have, how many keywords they're bidding on, what the rate of return is for each advertiser."

Wu calls Google "the barometer of the world." Indeed, studying the clicks is like looking through a window with a panoramic view of everything. You can see the change of seasons—clicks gravitating toward skiing and heavy clothes in winter, bikinis and sunscreen in summer—and you can track who's up and down in pop culture. Most of us remember news events from television or newspapers; Googlers recall them as spikes in their graphs. "One of the big things a few years ago was the SARS epidemic," Tang says. Wu didn't even have to read the papers to know about the financial meltdown—he saw the jump in people Googling for gold. And since prediction and analysis are so crucial to AdWords, every bit of data, no matter how seemingly trivial, has potential value.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Innovating through a Recession

Professor Andrew Razeghi ( of Kellog School of Management has written a compelling piece called "Innovating through a Recession, When the going gets tough, the tough innovate" - it's available as a download here: PDF Download

Taking lessons from history and the Great Depression, Razeghi provides insights into how NYTimes, Fortune, Kraft (Miracle Whip), Motorala, Texas Instruments, La-Z-Boy, and Apple innovated and succeeded when others pulled back on their efforts.

He also shows how companies like Vlasic reduced their prices in the hopes of making it up on volume but in the end it damaged their brand.

Razeghi's 7 Principles:
1. Listen to the market.  It's quieter when it's less crowded.  Unmet needs abound.

2. Invest in your csutomers  Now they need you most.  Loyalty hangs in the balance.

3. Rather than reduce price, offer more value to your customers and demand greater value from vendors.

4. Increase communications with your customers.

5. Move longer-term projects forward not back.  Now is the time to grab market share.

6. In recession, not all costs are create equal.  Maintain or increase investment in "good costs"; prune "bad costs"; use judgment on "it depends costs".

7. If you don't have money at least spend the time.
- "Now is the time to unleash corporate creativity.  The greatest mistake you can make now is to mortgage your future by failing to innovate"

It's a very good piece for innovators looking for inspiration in challenging times.  I highly recommend it.