Friday, May 27, 2016

West Coast Inspiration

- Charlene Li
- Google
- TechShop
- AirBnB

Special Bonus: Have your personality analyzed by Watson

Two weeks ago, the global digital team embarked on an entirely new kind of executive digital education. They sponsored a trip for all the worldwide Market leads from the Personal Health organization to San Francisco and Seattle. The purpose of the trip was to introduce all these Philips leaders to the most successful companies in the world. Companies we've often referred to on this blog as the 4 Horsemen. It was an immersive experience into how these companies leverage digital technology to change the way relationships are built with customers, to change how business strategy is built and goals are set as well as the way people are managed. It immersed them into Digital, New Business Models and Disruption. I was privileged to join the group for this experience and I'd like to share some of the insights and learnings with you now.

We started our first day with a talk and then a discussion with Charlene Li, one of the founders of Altimeter Consulting. Charlene's topic was Disruption. Disrupters shift power in relationships which leads to growth. She talked about nurturing disrupters in our company and building a disruptive organization. She showed how traditional businesses are being disrupted by digital upstarts. We've talked about many of these examples on this call.

Netflix has completely disrupted not only the video rental business, where it started, but also the TV and Film businesses. But it's well aware that it is swimming with sharks who are all out to disrupt their business, so their reaction is to disrupt their own business. First with streaming, then by producing their own award winning content and now through key partnerships. They know that to stay successful, they'll need to continue to disrupt. I'm sure our community members can name a number of other businesses who've had the same effect on other industries. This is a theme we heard over and over again. Disrupt to thrive, then disrupt to survive. To do this, leadership needs to push people out of their comfort zone and at the same time empower them by
Focusing on the Vision, Foster internal conflict with diversity, create entrepreneurs, provide structure and measurement and amplify with Digital. She said Create a culture of customer obsession. Another recurring theme.

Next stop was Google. They spent quite a bit of time talking about their company and culture.
A poster on the wall describes work rules for building a great culture: Give pepole slightly more trust, freedom and authority than you are comfortable giving them. If you're not nervous, you haven't ''given them enought.ATheir core values start with hiring great people and creating an environment where they can flourish and grow. They value diversity in people and ideas, and treat people with respect but challenge each other's ideas openly. They use data to make decisions. They expect a lot of people but working there is fun. It's challenging and energetic work environment where people enjoy each other and celebrate each others' accomplishments
They're all about technology, which they apply creatively to solve important problems.
They aspire to improve and change the world. Aim High. Think Big, Take Risks
Have a healthy disregard for the impossible
They strive to earn customerand user loyalty and respect every day.
User Experience comes before the money
And, of course.... Do the right thing. Don't be evil.

We ended that day with a visit to TechShop. This is a collaborative maker spaces that includes a metal machine shop, a wood shop, textile and fabric tools, a computer aided design studio, numerous 3D printers and anything else a person would need to build anything they can imagine. Not only are the tools there, TechShop offers classes in using all the tools and also features a community of makers who will help each other by teaching, mentoring or even contracting to build something that someone else needs. The creator of the mobile payments processing company Square built his first prototype here and many other businesses have been launched from this space. The San Francisco location we visited was the first TechShop, but now they're all over the country and in many parts of the world. The collaborative has a long list of requests from companies looking to jumpstart co-creation and municipalities looking to add this resource to their communities, all asking to sponsor a TechShop in their backyard.

The next day, we were off to AirBnB at their new offices in an old paper factory which they've completely transformed with a familiar open plan, conference rooms decorated like the apartments they rent and a huge open building foyer with a living ivy wall.

They presented to us about the Sharing Economy. A relatively new business model based on 3 principles: Access vs Ownership, Idle resources are made available, Matching Needs with Haves.
They mentioned that most people have a cordless drill/driver and most of these tools are used for a total of an hour and 45 minutes over the course of their lives. Seems like it would be better to rent one when you need one than buy one that you'll hardly ever use.

AirBnB was started by a couple of guys who decided to go online and offer to rent air mattresses on the floor of their apartment during a developer conference in San Francisco...And by the 3 people who took them up on that offer. The rest is history. They now make more than 2 Mn properties available in 191 countries, 34K cities and the company is valued at over $24Bn. Remember, this is a company that doesn't own a property outside of their headquarters. They bring together people who have a need for space with people who have unused space. Other companies have sprung up to help musicians who have instruments, audio equipment and practice space meet musicians who need these things. Or travelers who need a bike with local bike owners who aren't using theirs. And even to connect people who'd like to sport a high end purse with people who are willing to rent theirs. Why buy something when you can use someone else's whenever you need to? It's a big business. There are currently over 9K sharing companies, 24 of which are valued at over $1Bn and the sharing economy brought in over 26Bn in revenue in 2015. But that's nothing. By 2025, 53% of the us workforce will rely on primary or secondary income from the sharing economy which will generate over 335Bn in revenue.
Astonishing when you think that this kind of business didn't really exist before 2007.

Next month, I'll talk about what Jeremiah Owyang had to say about the collaborative economy and also share insights from our visits to Facebook and Amazon.