Checking out Stefan Lindegaard’s People First, Processes Next, Then Ideas

Cover of "Good to Great"
Cover of Good to Great

On my quest for how to lead innovation projects this post drew my attention. Some essential points are mentioned by Stefan (and are by the way in line with Jim Collin’s recommendations from Good to Great).

I would also to include the external world into any innovation project, searching for members that do not have fixed ideas or are even not familiar with the item to be innovated.

Great to connect to and for constructing your innovation plans 2010

Found at

by Stefan Lindegaard 2009/9/11

The chief thing you as an innovation leader must realize is that when it comes to making innovation happen, people matter more than ideas.

Innovation TalentTake a moment to think about that. Many innovation initiatives fail miserably because their leaders don’t understand this simple fact. In fact, it is actually more important to have A-grade people than it is to have a slew of A-grade ideas because A-grade people can take a B-grade idea – or perhaps even a C-grade idea – and turn it into a successful reality. B-grade people, on the other hand, will struggle with even truly great ideas.

So before you get all fired up about generating a ton of ideas, first figure out how you’re going to match those ideas to people who can make things happen.

As you start this work, here’s another key point to remember: the skills needed to lead and manage a project within the existing core business – where innovation is likely to be incremental and resources plentiful – are significantly different from the skills needed to overcome the challenges and obstacles that greet almost any new business project – where resources may be hard to come by and the innovation involved may be significant or even radical. You need to staff new business projects with people having a mindset and toolbox that match this different challenge.

Innovation CoachingI recently coached teams working to create new business ideas with a big potential. The managers more or less thought this was business development as usual – as they usually do with core projects – and they did not understand the dynamics of such new business development or innovation projects. Their biggest mistake was that they attached people without passion for the specific challenge to the idea – you need people who have their heart and skin in the game when it comes to developing innovation projects, especially if it has some kind of radical or breakthrough potential.

You also need different people for the different phases of the innovation process. Just as some entrepreneurs are better at running a company at its very early stage and others are better at helping the business scale once the product is launched, so too are there intrapreneurs who are better suited both in terms of mindset and skills to various phases of the innovation process.

Where to Look

Once you accept the importance of finding not only the right ideas but also the right people – your company’s potential intrapreneurs – how do you identify these folks? A few possibilities – from the simple to the more complex – include:

1. Look around you

  • One simple way to find the people you need is to look for people who persistently follow up on ideas they have previously put forth. You have scores of employees who submit ideas and expect others to deliver on this. Nothing happens in such cases. But if you can find one person who keeps showing passion and persistence about their one idea, you’ll be farther ahead than if you have 600 people who each submitted an idea but who don’t really have an interest in doing the hard work required to make their idea real. With one persistent and qualified contributor – and a good idea – things can happen fast.
  • Look for people who are persistent about their ideas, people who work on their ideas on their own and who perhaps even gather other people to help work on it. If the idea is good and you have this kind of person to drive it, you have something to build on.

2. Internal business plan competition

  • A much more formalized way to identify potential intrapreneurs is through internal business plan competitions similar to those held by leading universities. A well-designed competition accomplishes many things. It helps you identify intrapreneurs, moves ideas with real potential forward, helps participants upgrade their intrapreneurial skills and provides a method for matching these A-grade people with good ideas in the future.

3. Intrapreneur-in-residence program

  • Why not adopt the entrepreneur-in-residence (EIR) practice that venture capital firms use and create your own intrapreneur-in-residence program? The role of an EIR varies, but typically it involves an individual who wants to start a company. Sometimes the entrepreneur has already spent a great deal of time on an idea that the venture company might invest in upon further development or the EIR acts as a ‘partner’ and helps the venture capitalist evaluate potential deals where the entrepreneur has a particular expertise.
  • An EIR might also spend some time with an existing portfolio company to provide his or her functional expertise. In this scenario, the EIR will sometimes enter the company as a full time executive (typically CEO or some ‘C’ level role) if the company and the executive feel there is a good fit.

Creating IntrapreneursWhy not use this model to establish an intrapreneur-in-residence program within your company? This could be an adjunct to a business plan competition. Having identified people with intrapreneurial potential in the competition, you can assign them to the role of intrapreneur-in-residence for a set period of time. The key here is to define what role this individual would have; this should be based on what outcomes you’d like to achieve with such a program.

The approach is especially useful when companies work to develop a new platform of business activities that in the early beginning still consists of many small, early stage projects. You wait to see how this specifically talented intrapreneur should be brought into action and until you decide on a full-time executive role in one of the projects the intrapreneur consults on the many projects.

I hope you share my belief that people matter more than ideas. As a follow-up post to this, I will soon look into idea harvesting and filtering strategies and other techniques to make sure the ideas you generate are on target.

More at

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Resolutions 2010: Implementing Jeremiah Owyang’s How Customer Support organizations must evolve

Great summary for any leadership in any organization!
Customer support is tactical, a cost-center, and the clean-up-kids at the company.
Well, that’s the mentality that needs to change.  Instead, customer support can be strategic, a value center, and proactive towards customer needs.The lines between marketing and support continue to blur, as customers share their experiences (most recently, Dooce vs her Whirlpool washing machine) the support experience she has becomes a PR task. Support organizations must quickly evolve as customers connect to each other –and share their stories –using social technologies.

How Customer Support Organizations Must Evolve:
Companies need to stop treating support as lowly department to deal with customers problems, and start to advance their role.

Go Beyond the Official Support Domain
Some companies only support customers on ‘official’ requests such as calls to 1800 numbers or support tickets generated in help systems.  The evolved support organization must go to where customers already are at, like in the social web to find, triage, and respond to customers.  For example, Logitech was proactive in responding to my customer needs in Twitter –shifting the conversation to email and solving my problems.  The many companies who have joined Get Satisfaction, conduct support on Twitter and Facebook are already demonstrating this value.

Become A Strategic Asset to Marketing
Outsourced support site Get Satifaction’s credo that “Support is Marketing” is spot on.  As customers share their product experience with their trusted peers –they influence their network.  Comcast’s Frank Eliason and his Comcastcares team as an indicator of a PR blessed support individual becoming a marketing asset. As a result, customer support experiences are indeed the scope of marketing.  Perhaps the most trusted members of a company are not the VPs of marketing and their shiny blog, but the rough and tumble support technician who resonates and resembles a customer.

Influence Product Development
Customer touching groups have more insight to the needs of the market and must integrate with product development teams. For example, Intuit integrates community in their actual product –enhacing how customer voices influence their next-generation. Customer interactions should be recorded, prioritized and share with product teams who are designing the next generation of products.

Let Go and Allow Customers to Self-Support Each Other
In many cases, customers as a collective know more about the product set than a support team or product team do.  Microsoft and other tech companies have developed a thriving community of customers that self-support each other in their developer forums. Companies struggle letting go of answering questions about products, but should instead use the right collaboration and knowledge capturing tools to allow customers to self support each other.

Become Proactive, Not Reactive
Support organizations must not only be responsive and wait for customer issues to go awry, but be proactive and head off issues before they become customer problems.  Beyond companies forced to issue recalls, asking customers how their experience is going on a regular basis is key.  Expect support organizations to develop advanced monitoring strategies and couple with CRM systems to instantly alert stakeholders of issues that can be corrected.

Anticipate, And Move Beyond Real-Time
Most companies already have 24/7 support organizations that can handle customer needs round-the-clock yet need to prepare for real time responses.  Shuffling customers with issues (esp influencers) into a queue only amps frustration.  The truly evolved support organization anticipates customer issues using proactive techniques mentioned above.

Get Actionable:
The path to the evolved state of support isn’t easy, to start with, companies should get started by:

Measure based on Value –Not as a Cost Center
Support organizations must not only measure based on customer sat, number of calls received and closed, but develop marketing and PR metrics. Measure on how many crises were diverted, new knowledge gleaned, and interactions in the open web.

Develop An Internal Marketing Plan
Get a seat at the table by demonstrating the strategic component of customer facing support efforts. Show marketing, product development, and leadership teams why your scope has increased –as should your internal influence.

Enhance Your Existing Processes
Put in processes that enable support in the real-time open web. You’ll need the right roles, processes, and tools to grow where your customers already are. Develop a triage system that integrates marketing’s efforts in social with your own internal processes to identify, triage, and react to customers.

Conduct Internal Training –and Fire Drills
New technologies require new processes, skills, and roles. Support organizations must train staff to learn new tools like mobile, social networks, and brand monitoring tools. Conduct internal “fire drills” and have contingency plans to avoid staying off this list.

Expand CRM and Customer Systems To Connect to Social Web
Customers are off the reservation, as should your systems. Learn to identify, prioritize, and capture customer interactions as they spread to social platforms and the to mobile.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Building Customer Relationships is a Journey: Does Your Social Media Plan include a Map?

Regular readers of this blog may be aware that I do not believe in the paradigm of true relationship between customers and organizations. I check the report mentioned. It was delivered in 2007. A long time ago before the crisis and its gigantic impact for the public and the customer morale. Anyway a good read because the point of views can contribute to creating your construct and context!

Found at

By John I. Todor, Ph.D., The Whetstone Edge, LLC

Strong customer relationships are essential to a company’s ability to sustain profits and have a shot at growth. This was the clear finding of a worldwide study by the Economist Intelligence Unit. They found that 90% of senior executive concurred. Here’s the way they put it:

…the winning differentiator is no longer product or price, it is the level of engagement—the degree to which a company succeeds in creating intimate, long-term relationships with customers.

Intimate relationships imply an openness—a sharing of concerns, challenges and desires. But this type of relationship requires two-way trust. Unfortunately, customer trust is very low.

Low Trust Customer Relationships


Distrust of a company usually happens for one of two reasons. The first is the customer suspects or detects a one-sided agenda: the company is most interested in a sale and less interested in delivering what the customer needs or values.

Seventy-seven percent of people stop doing businesses with companies they don’t trust. But it doesn’t stop there. They tell others, and 33% spread the word over the Internet.

Low trust in business, as is now generally the case, leads to suspicion which leads customers to adopt a one-sided agenda of their own. At best the relationship becomes competitive, at worst, adversarial. The classic example is the perception that a used car salesperson will say whatever it takes to sell a car. As a result, customers push hard for a lower price or other concessions.

Low trust contributes to closed mindedness—customers become immune to persuasion making it hard for a company to communicate effectively. This customer indifference has a serious consequence. Customers treat products like commodities bought on the best trade-off between price and convenience. There is no relationship, nothing to bring customers back to a particular business.

While many businesses believe they are the good guys and are worthy of customer trust, assuming customers believe the same thing is a big mistake. The general low trust in business tars everyone with the same brush. Companies can overcome this by deliberately shifted the focus of the relationship from their offering to the value customers get from using or consuming it. But customer must experience this. When they do, they are likely to become advocates.

Getting Started on the Journey

In the trust curve, there is a barrier between companies that are perceived to be focused on the sale and companies that are customer-centric. To get over the barrier the company must attract customers with a hopeful proposition: A proposition leads to a gratifying customer experience. I call this hopeful trust.

There are many online strategies that will attract a customer to a website or landing page. Some may even make a sale. But if they fail to accrue trust that convinces the customer that it is not a gimmick, it is a one shot event.

To get past hopeful trust companies must come through on a promise that is meaningful to the customer. They must also repeatedly engage with customers to demonstrate that the relationship has future value. Relationships build trust when customers believe the company will be there for them in the future. Trusting relationships simplify things in a fast-changing and increasingly complex world. With this kind of trust customers want the company to be around.

Does your company have a deliberate plan to develop this type of customer relationship?

My book, Addicted Customers: How to Get Them Hooked on Your Company spells out the psycho-economics principles that get customers engaged and lead to relationships customers value and reward with commitment and loyalty.

The Whetstone Edge, LLC, has applied the underlying psycho-economic principles to social media and customer relationships. Our framework enables someone to deliberately build in ways to build customer relationship rather than tactics that work temporarily and/or encourage customers to adopt a competitive or adversarial relationship.

If you are interested in learn how this psycho-economic framework can apply to social media, I suggest you consider my upcoming online course:

Building Customers Relationships and Advocacy with Social Media

This 3-session course is sponsored by the Social Media Academy. To register or for more details go to: Social Media Academy


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Checking out E Kolsky A brief history of SCRM

As we are moving away from mere communication to real conversations in a business environment in which a control attitude is replaced by a collaborative urgence it is always good for front office managers to reflect on how CRM and social media are converging.

This great and extensive post from Esteban enables you to do so.  Construct your mindset, connect and act!

Post found at

Paul Greenberg put the stake in the ground by defining SCRM and said that we needed to grow if from there.

I agree.  And it is in that spirit that I want to introduce this post.  A little bit longer that most of my posts, but a way to start the conversation on what does SCRM look like once implemented.

A Brief History of CRM

In the first few generations of CRM we saw the basic three pillars (sales, marketing, and customer service), a common data model (probably the best innovation CRM provided to organizations), and common integration points to the existing systems in the organization: ERP, legacy, databases — even partner applications in occasions (look ma, no VAN!).  The following picture is a basic representation of what CRM 1.0 looks like.

Traditional CRM Implementation

Traditional CRM Implementation

These implementations collected data across all functions in the front office, store it in a central location and use it.  That data was all operational: who did what when, for how long, and what were the results.  The promise of a “holistic customer representation” or “360 view of the customer” did not materialize since we were missing the most important item in the equation: what the customer wanted when they came to see us, why did they need that, and what was the result of the interaction.  In other words, we had the content but we were missing the context and intent of those interactions.

Later we began to add “components” that complimented what we were missing.  Created analytical CRM by adding analytics engines to it.  Began to measure customer satisfaction via surveys and inserted that value into the customer records (not always).  Became proactive by trying to get what we needed to make good decisions: context and intent.  Products were enhanced, better integration added, and more powerful CRM solutions released.

CRM 2.0 was born, but not necessarily an improvement in the search for perfect customer knowledge.  Despite collecting the information, and in some cases integrating it with the existing data, we could not mesh all the data, all the insights, and all the processes together.  All our actions were reactive, and the customer was not directly involved as part of the decision-making: it was still company-centric in reality albeit the label of customer-centricity.

We began to include the customers perspective and we evolved more by adding EFM engines, predictive analytics (sales, marketing, and customer service), proactive customer service.  We wanted to improve the relationship and get to work better with customers as we moved into CRM 3.0.  There were some improvements in relationships – but the vast majority of the information we needed was still out of reach.  Over 90% of customer feedback is in unstructured feedback: blogs, social networks, private conversations, chat and IM, emails and the like.  Not being able to tap this data was limiting as to how much an organization could learn about their customers.

There were early attempts to explore this new world.  Collaborative Customer Service (communities and forums), blog-trolling software with speech and tech analytics, different methods for feedback event beyond surveys (e.g. focus groups for customer service) were all attempts to collect and leverage this information.  Some of them worked great, some of them not so much.  Alas, the basic infrastructure for leveraging the information collected was still missing.

A Brief History of Social CRM (SCRM)

Enter the Groundswell revolution and the advent of Social Media into the enterprise.  Organizations start to listen to customers.  They acknowledge there is a lot of data about their business but don’t know how to find it or tap into it.  We feel empowered by what we are discovering — but we still don’t have a framework to take advantage of this!  The tools give some guidelines and insights as to how to proceed, but nothing really in the sense of strategy or what to do with it.

We are entering CRM 4.0 (amazing how Paul Greenberg’s book is also coming on version 4.0 — coincidence? I think not) and we need some guidance.

See the chart below for my proposed framework for SCRM:

Proposed SCRM Framework

Proposed SCRM Framework

A few things you will notice in this chart.

  1. There is nothing new to add here – everything you already have (if you have been following the evolution I described above) is still there.  Few things you may need to add if you have not been following along, communities, EFM, integration with the cloud.  How much and how? It will vary by your organization’s architecture and needs.
  2. There are two layers of business rules as they apply to social interactions.  One tells the organization how to approach each channel, the other what to do with the data collected.  If you had a CIH (Customer Interaction Hub (**)) implementation you would not need these (actually, if you had a CIH we would be having a very different conversation since that model already included most of what you need to make SCRM work).  What is the CIH?  It is a framework that I created that describes how to bring new channels into the organization and leverage them across the enterprise.  Email me about it, we can setup some time to talk or I can send you some slides.
  3. Communities come at you from two different fronts: customer communities and partner communities.  The new model for Enterprise 2.0 calls for many-to-many relationships between communities, this is simply preparing SCRM to be a part of E2.0.
  4. The cloud becomes a key component of your architecture.  You can ask anyone who heard me before, I had forever maintained that organizations would not adopt hosted-CRM, SaaS, or whatever label you want to put on it without secure data transfers.  Using SaaS solutions isolated from the rest of the enterprise is not a solution, is creating another problem.  Thanks to the cloud (and we are not there yet, I know) we see a glimmer of hope in the near future to actually use SaaS solutions seamlessly integrated into the legacy and back-office systems.
  5. Feedback Management becomes the fourth pillar for CRM.  This is the quintessential integration that makes CRM work in a social environment.  Most of what we capture from the communities must be considered feedback.  The limited operational data we obtain can be easily separated by the business rules and stored in the appropriate places.

A (Very) Brief History of Customer Experience

There is one more thing to talk about: the link between SCRM and Customer Experience.  I believe this is where we will see the biggest improvement to organizations adopting SCRM.

Traditional Customer Experience Management relied on three components to do what it does: feedback management, business process management, and CRM .  As we move forward into SCRM these components will change – as will the function of CE.  See this next chart for a better idea of this change:

Shifts in Customer Experience Management

Shifts in Customer Experience Management

There are two things to note here.  First, the number of components and simpler complexity of the architecture .  By converting feedback management into the fourth pillar of CRM and taking some of the interactions between components as internal functions of SCRM the model has fewer “moving parts”.  This is good from the point of view of implementing simpler solutions and initiatives for customer experience.

The second item to note is that Customer Experience Management has morphed into Social Customer Engagement.  As customers discover how to converse with vendors better, and how to work directly within the “grid”, the term management is being replaced by the term engagement.  In addition, we see more and more customers gravitate towards communities of one type or another – and while we continue to deal with customers one-on-one, we cannot ignore the influence they receive and the trust they place in it.

More on this shift in Customer Experience in future posts.  Just wanted to introduce the concept.

Finally, an acknowledgment.  As I was shopping these slides and concepts around I got to talk to Prem Kumar (@prem_k in the #scrm Twitter community).  While exchanging ideas and concepts, he pointed me to his slideshare presentation on SCRM.  He has a lot of the same concepts with more detail and more technically inclined.  Unfortunately I had not see it before, or I would not have done the work I did.

I encourage you to take a look at his presentation for a better idea of how SCRM will grow.

OK, I am done now.  Let’s open the floodgates of criticism and praise.

What do you think?  What did I miss?  What didn’t i miss?  Any way you would do it better or different?  Please let me know.  Leave me a comment and tell me what you think is needed to move this to the next level – or what are we going to continue to support as we move forward.

(**) This is a link to Gartner Research.  You must be a client to access it, or you can pay for it if you think it is outstanding.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]