Is Intellectual Property killing #innovation

You only have to follow the News to find out who’s suing who in the Intellectual Property wars, Apple,  Samsung, Microsoft, Nokia – they’re all at it – but is the whole intellectual property industry an anachronism of the past ?

Most technical innovation takes place at such a rapid pace, & product life-cycles are so short,  by the time the dispute get’s to Court the product is obsolete.

Geography also plays its part with some countries immune to International legislation.

There is also a strong argument that resources currently deployed pursuing & defending IPR could be better & more effectively deployed in innovation itself.

What do you think ?

chris@projectsguru.co.uk

www.projectsguru.co.uk

Follow projectsguru on Twitter

View Chris Robinson's profile on LinkedIn

; Keep up to date by becoming a  facebook
fan

project managers and business consultants

Diamond geezer #business

The news today that Barclays CEO Bob Diamond has resigned has been greeted in many areas with unbridled euphoria. Those who blame “greedy bankers” for the current crisis are rubbing their hands in glee.

They may, however, be missing the point. All the talk about a culture of greed and lax morals is no more than politicians & moralist’s hot air.

If you put the kids in charge of the sweet shop then pull the blinds down and let them get on with it it’s not much of a surprise when you return much later all the sweets are gone & the shop is in disarray.

The current legislative framework is a result of persistent deregulation since the early 1980’s presided over by Labour & Tory and is the root cause of the Banking Crisis.

The system is broken & needs to be fixed.

chris@projectsguru.co.uk

www.projectsguru.co.uk

Follow projectsguru on Twitter

View Chris Robinson's profile on LinkedIn

; Keep up to date by becoming a  facebook
fan

project managers and business consultants

Candid Camera………….#pmot #innovation

1st digital camera

1st Digital Camera

The recent news that Eastman-Kodak had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy created much derision around the fact that Kodak invented the digital camera back in 1975 but failed to exploit this achievement.

Of course hindsight is a wonderful thing & perhaps we should consider that back in 1975 Kodak had 90% market share of the conventional film market & the vast expansion of digital technology was difficult if not impossible to predict. In 1975 only a handful of hobbyists had a computer at home & most of these were incapable of displaying a decent colour image.

Innovation isn’t easy. Companies have to decide very carefully what to invest in & can spend many millions backing the wrong “horse”

One way to make this process easier is to capture the “Voice of the Customer” by carrying out carefully worded customer surveys, engaging the customer in online conversations via Social Media, having effective call centers  & by analysing customer return data. All of these activities can help organisations predict market trends.

The closer the supplier can get to its customers the better the chance of  Innovation success.

chris@projectsguru.co.uk

www.projectsguru.co.uk

Follow projectsguru on Twitter

View Chris Robinson's profile on LinkedIn

; Keep up to date by becoming a  facebook
fan

project managers and business consultants

Unemployment – #Innovation is the answer #pmot

UnemployedIn the U.K today we slumped to another level of misery with unemployment hitting 2.57 million, the highest for 17 years. What a tragedy especially for our youth with levels above 21% for 16 – 24 year olds.

So what’s the answer – there is no magic solution to the world economic crises but how about some of the following:-

  • less focus on “the markets”, our repeated emphasis on stock indices performance has led to short terminism in the extreme.
  • Stop bailing out failing financial institutions. Trillions of pounds of taxpayers money on both sides of the Atlantic has been thrown away propping up banks which have made disastrous risky investments at our expense.
  • Using the money saved from the above embark on a major series of public works, transport, housing, digital technology and green energy solutions should be at the forefront.
  • Set up a state bank to invest in small businesses. Small Businesses employ around 60% of the private sector workforce & are desperate for funds to enable growth.
  • Set up more Technology parks. Cambridge is a fantastic example of how successful this strategy has been over the last 20 years.
  • Encourage start-ups in the North by offering financial incentives to do so. Far too much of our industry is currently situated in the overcrowded South East. There is a wealth of untapped talent in the North which is currently going to waste & plenty brownfield sites to build on. The developments at Salford Quays including Media City is a great example of what can be done when there is a will to do it.

These are just some ideas how we can stimulate the economy by investing in Innovation & Technology instead of continuing to bail out banks  pouring more valuable resources down the drain.
chris@projectsguru.co.uk

www.projectsguru.co.uk

Follow projectsguru on Twitter

View Chris Robinson's profile on LinkedIn

; Keep up to date by becoming a  facebook
fan

project managers and business consultants

Casino Capitalism….#pmot…#biz..#innovation

traderWe have seen trillions wiped off stock markets worldwide, the FTSE 100 has lost over 10% of it’s value in the last week alone & our TV screens have been filled with hysterical traders and concerned politicians.

So does it really matter, in the long term probably not, but if you were planning on retiring soon and have an equities based pension scheme you may well have to think about postponing your retirement.

The markets have become the biggest casino on the planet, where billions are traded on market fluctuations to generate financial gain for wealthy funds. The problem is that massive losses can also be generated especially in times (like now) of great volatility.

It is almost as if Government policies are primarily based on satisfying short term targets of financial speculators.

Over the last 30 years we have seen increasing numbers of large corporations listed on the Stock Market. The benefits of this are increased transparency and greater share ownership but the downside is that company boards are increasingly focused on short term share performance rather than long term strategic growth. They are also more vulnerable to deselection which increases their focus on knee jerk reaction to stock market fluctuations.

So how do we escape from all this madness ?

Here are a few suggestions which may help:-

1) Corporations should seriously consider de-listing from publicly listed stock exchanges & revert to private Limited Company status. Directors will then be able to take a more objective long term view divorced from the daily vagaries of the markets.

2) They should follow the example of German organizations and involve workers representatives at board level, increasing participation and integration.

3) The only way to pay down debt is to generate growth; Governments need to think beyond printing money and subsidizing banks. Innovation in manufacturing and services should be strongly encouraged.

4) Failing corporations, whether banks or otherwise, must be allowed to fall. The risks of failing institutions should not be born by the taxpayer.

5) A state bank should be established to act in direct competition with the private sector so that essential Capital flows can be maintained.

6) Government (NOT essential public services) must be streamlined and taxes reduced. For too long those in business & manufacturing have subsidised those working for the state who provide no added value whatsoever.

We need a radical rethink if we want to escape the madness of Casino Capitalism.

chris@projectsguru.co.uk

www.projectsguru.co.uk

Follow projectsguru on Twitter

View Chris Robinson's profile on LinkedIn

; Keep up to date by becoming a  facebook
fan

project managers and business consultants

Project Management Rapture….#in…#pmot

RaptureI knew exactly how Reverend Harold Camping felt on Saturday when his end of the world prediction (known as “The Rapture”) failed to transpire.

I’ve been there, oh yes I’ve been there; not predicting the end of the world of course, but forecasting a key project milestone to a customer. Tracking progress carefully and communicating regularly and what happens……a project bananna skin sneaks under the sole of my foot and all hell breaks loose, my project milestone is suddenly hoofed into the future and I’m left in front of the customer with egg, not only on my face, but dribbling down my shirt as well.

Of course I always go back to the customer offering 3 options and making every endeavour to minimize the delay but…..it’s never the same.

Like so many of the good Reverends followers who sold their houses, or spent their life savings prior to “Rapture” the Customer inevitably feels cheesed off to say the least.

chris@projectsguru.co.uk

www.projectsguru.co.uk

Follow projectsguru on Twitter

View Chris Robinson's profile on LinkedIn

; Keep up to date by becoming a  facebook
fan

project managers and business consultants

The importance of bin on message #pmot #in

Obama2 Whatever the rights or wrongs of the killing of Osama Bin Laden the message delivered surrounding his dispatch was certainly confusing to say the least.

First he died in a vicious firefight, next he was unarmed.

He used his wife as a human shield, then it was her who leaped in front of him!

The Whitehouse staff watched every moment of the assault live, then…… oh no they didn’t, they only watched the first couple of minutes before transmission was lost ! etc etc etc etc

“Jeeeezzzzzz! can’t these guys get anything right? ” millions around the world screamed at their TV’s.

And this is just the kind of mixed messages we deliver to our exasperated customers every day of the week. First we promise delivery on a certain date, then we go back and revise it, then someone else tells them a different story, its hardly any wonder that customers get fed up and go elsewhere.

So here are some simple tips to make sure your organization is on message for your customers:-

1) Where possible have one direct contact per customer, if this is not feasible have one contact for engineering issues, another for commercial etc.

2) Before giving a customer a key milestone make sure the project plan is fully developed and includes some contingency to allow for risk.

3) If events transpire to affect a key customer milestone make sure every option is explored to pull back on track  before going back to the customer with the bad news.

4) If a major milestone is affected this should be communicated face to face.

5) Always give the customer a series of alternative options, so they can choose the best for them.

Keeping the customer on message is an essential part of managing customer relations and ensuring steady, repeat business.

chris@projectsguru.co.uk

www.projectsguru.co.uk

Follow projectsguru on Twitter

View Chris Robinson's profile on LinkedIn

; Keep up to date by becoming a  facebook
fan

project managers and business consultants

Are we too risk averse…?….#pmot #in

riskmanagementThis week one of the busiest Motorways in England was closed for 3 days because of a fire in a scrap yard adjoining the motorway. In the ensuing debate questions were raised about the need to prevent such a thing happening again, including closing all potential threats in sites adjoining Motorways.

This was the FIRST TIME THIS HAD HAPPENED IN 30 YEARS !!!

It got me thinking about our attitude to risk.

How much time do you spend in New Product Development assessing and mitigating against risk ?

How much delay is introduced in the project timeline for risk prevention ?

Perhaps we need to have a better balance between risk mitigation and opportunity enhancement.

What do you think ?

chris@projectsguru.co.uk

www.projectsguru.co.uk

Follow projectsguru on Twitter

View Chris Robinson's profile on LinkedIn

; Keep up to date by becoming a  facebook
fan

project managers and business consultants

“Dee eff emm eee aaay”…? #pmot #in

DFMEADFMEA or Design Failure Modes Effects Analysis is a Risk Management Tool which is widely used throughout the Automotive Industry.

DFMEA is a Team activity which is led by the Project Manager or Senior Design Engineer.

It involves using a set form & identifying the risks in the project.

Each Risk is called a Failure Mode. Each has an Effect. The Severity of this Effect is assigned a score where 10 is high impact & 1 low impact.

Each Failure Mode also has a Cause which is ranked according to its Occurrence or likelihood between 1 & 10.

Each Failure Mode also has a Current Control and its chance of detection is ranked 10 unlikely to 1 likely.

The product of Severity x Cause x Control gives us a Risk Priority Number or RPN which gives us a measure of the size of the problem and the urgency to address it.

Identifying a Recommended Action for each Failure Mode leads us to rescoring the Occurrence & Detection and subsequently reducing the RPN.

The key to success of DFMEA is not to get too hung up about the scores and to use it as intended, as a comparative tool for Risk Analysis.

chris@projectsguru.co.uk

www.projectsguru.co.uk

Follow projectsguru on Twitter

View Chris Robinson's profile on LinkedIn

; Keep up to date by becoming a  facebook
fan

project managers and business consultants

10 tips to ensure project delivery….#pmot #in

On target delivery

On target delivery

As Project Managers our business is project delivery. However some external suppliers are more reliable than others so here are 10 tips to ensure success:-

1) At the first sign of trouble arrange to have a face to face meeting with your supplier. It doesn’t matter if they are on the other side of the world, clear a space in the diary, book the flights and get in front of them. It will be worth every penny.

2) Raise your concerns in an open, honest none aggressive manner. By all means express your irritation but don’t blow your top – you will make yourself look foolish and unprofessional.

3) Identify the key stakeholders within your own organization who share an interest in the project.

4) Identify the key stakeholders in the supplier organization who share an interest in delivering the project.

5) Break the task down into manageable chunks and identify responsibility for each sub-task.

6) Insist the supplier provide a daily report of activity to be delivered at a specific time. This report should include a simple graphical representation (such as a bullseye chart) to indicate days ahead or days behind schedule. It should also stipulate actions required and responsibility. This report should be circulated to all key stakeholders. Accept no excuses for late or none delivery of this key report.

7) Following the face-to-face have a daily conference call. Do this whether there are any issues or not. 2 minutes passing the time of day reminds the supplier they are uppermost in your mind.

8) Identify Carrots and Sticks. What penalty clauses can you invoke ?  What are the opportunities of new business ?  Identifying them gives you additional leverage.

9) Make it easy for them – have they got a spec, is it up to date, is it comprehensive enough, do they understand exactly what is required ?

10) Don’t assume everything is the fault of the supplier, have you communicated clearly and concisely what your expectations are ?  Have you paid each milestone on time ? Is the SOW & Contract clear ?

Some suppliers are always easier to deal with than others but employing the above tips should help. Have you got any more you could share ?

chris@projectsguru.co.uk

www.projectsguru.co.uk

Follow projectsguru on Twitter


View Chris Robinson's profile on LinkedIn

PGBANNERSTATIC