Are you as amused as I am when someone on LinkedIn boasts that they have over 20,000 connections, or some other outlandish number? It prompts me to wonder how he/she would ever find the time to communicate in any meaningful way with even a small fraction of them. If he/she can't do so, how valuable a network is it? Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends. 

Collecting Contacts is Not Networking

At the heart of any offering is its value proposition. It should compellingly answer the question, "what's in it for me?"

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends...

LinkedIn fortune tellers may be able to accurately predict a connection's future (and possibly, their present) by reading the signals that we send via our Linkedin dashboards. There are some common signs that some of us inadvertently transmit that can invite speculation regarding our intentions, among even casual observers.

As marketers, it's always a good idea to remind ourselves that we don't know what consumers want and need better than they do. Further, it's useful to recall that insight is typically at the heart of innovation. It took a phone call with my 85 year old mother the other week to reinforce these messages.

In a recent survey by leadership development and training company Fierce Inc., 86 percent of respondents said that ineffective communication or lack of collaboration was to blame for workplace failures. (Source: Rieva Lesonsky) This doesn't surprise me at all. These failures can have myriad causes. Experience tells me that the most likely contributors to failure are:

The starting point for any technology sourcing endeavor is articulation by Marketing of its Business Needs, which are subsequently translated by R&D into Technical Needs. This step makes the technology search mission clear (it should also describe the success criteria). In effect, it should set the stage so that if R&D finds what is sought, Marketing has tacitly agreed to "buy" it from them. However, what happens if the Need is ambiguous, or is subject to multiple interpretations? That, my friends, represents a moving target...which, as we all know, is much, much harder to successfully hit.

Many people (myself included) see real merit in the idea of "embracing failure" as a means of furthering learning in a business setting. It is a noble idea in principle, as realistically not every new initiative is destined to succeed. However, many of us also know that "success has many fathers, while failure is an orphan".

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends...

This week's newsletter aims to shed some light on a topic that may seem somewhat mysterious to lay persons (and even to some industry insiders!): how do companies decide which solutions to adopt for their technical challenges and needs? It's time to shine some light in the black box.

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends...

"What is a cashmere sweater? It's some fabric, some buttons and a zipper". Les Wexner was having a teaching moment. He was explaining to a conference room full of Limited Brands merchant executives that in order for a cashmere sweater to command a premium price, it must be marketed compellingly, going well beyond simply describing its components.

Put Agreements in Writing Today to Avoid Problems Tomorrow.

Some years ago, a lawyer acquaintance quipped to me, "To avoid a mess, put it on paper." His advice remains sound and worth heeding.

How to Make Open Innovation More Open

Here are some common sense suggestions to improve everyone's experience.

Technology Seekers Benefit From "Information Firewall"

Companies often don't wish to publicly reveal their identities when seeking solutions to their technical challenges, especially if this would make their strategic intentions known to their competitors. For instance, Colgate would not want Crest or others to know its plans for a next generation oral care product.

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