Category Archives: Innovation

How much to include in version 1.0?

Dallas social Media speaker J.R. Atkins comments on App developmentHave you seen the new photo sharing  app called Path? It was developed by former Facebook employee Dave Morin and Shaw Fanning of Facebook and Napster fame. Most of the Blogs, forums and reviews are hammering the new app for its lack of functionality and limitations–like being able to only connect with 50 friends.  I contend they are on the right path by offering an app with limited functionality.

Take a look at TechCrunch blogger Eric Schonfeld comment; “Path is designed to share photos with only your closest 50 friends, primarily through the app itself. You can’t Tweet out links to your photos or share them on Facebook”. But remember this is version 1.0. I’m sure as Path increases in usage V1.1 or V2.0 will offer more features.

“I find it refreshing to see a project launch with such a tight focus and function.  Clearly the aim of Path is to be the very best at one thing vs. pretty good at a lot of things” says Jason Franzen of [x]Cube LABS in Dallas. “This is an approach to admire in a sea of “Swiss Army Knife” apps that tend to equate Quantity with Value.”

What Jason is referring to is the attempt of developers or clients to add too many features to an initial application. This complicates the development process and often creates confusion for the end user. Think back to when Facebook first started, (or remember the movie) it offered a picture and status update “what are you doing now”. Over time features and functions have been added to become a robust social media network.

Dallas Social Media speaker J.R. Atkins reads TechCrunch dailyIf you are considering an app for the iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry or Microsoft platforms, keep it simple! Start with a set of high value features that will attract new users. If the applications is interesting, solves a problem, or is entertaining then people will use it and tell others. Once usage is high enough, then release version 2.0 with added functionality. If you are smart, provide a means for users to suggest new features and help you prioritize updates.

As Franzen says “The smart phone is already the ‘Swiss Army Knife’, all we really need are new blades to help us cut to the chase.”


What events will lead you to more business?

What events will lead you to more business?

Events are a great way to meet prospective clients, vendors and partners, but how do you identify the right events to grow your business? Here are few thoughts to consider and I welcome your feedback:

  1. If the group meets weekly with little change in attendance, skip it!
  2. Look for groups with some kind of educational component like speakers and workshops that will help you think outside your own beliefs and grow.
  3. If group has requirements like 7 visits, 7 guest, and 7 one-on-one meetings just to join, skip it. They are more interested in meeting then getting results.
  4. Look for groups that gather around new trends and ideas. These usually collect people that are on the go and �on the grow.
  5. If the group is “just for networking”, skip it. It is short sighted and non-sustainable in the long run.
  6. Look for the value exchange: what value do you bring and what value is given to you. As long as there is a good value exchange, it makes since to attend. When the value declines, find another event to attend.
  7. My favorite events are: at unique locations, with new people, with smart people, people on the go, well educated people, good communicators and those who are creating new business. Oh yea, they usually have money or about to have money. The Ritz Carlton is one of my favorite places.

Each month, I list events that I am attending on my Website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and MeetUp. Here are a few monthly events I attend:

Dallas Social Media Speaker J.R. AtkinsSMB Social Media Happy Hour – Monthly event, changing locations, small intimate conversation about social media for business growth  Sponsor: JR. Atkins & Something Different Companies. Last Tuesday at the Ritz  Monthly event, on the Patio at the Ritz, M&A oriented, finance, law, start up’s and more  Sponsor: John Willding, Corporate and Securities Partner at Strasburger & Price, LLP

Dallas Social Media Speaker J.R. Atkins likes the Social Media Club of DallasSocial Media Club of Dallas – Monthly event, location varies, covers anything and everything social media and related.  Sponsor, Social Media Club of Dallas

Tower Club – Anytime I can attend an event at the Tower Club, I know it will be a quality function. I’m not a member, (yet) but I keep my eye open for events that welcome guest. The Tower Club

Chambers � I scan the local chamber websites for unique, high quality events with good speakers. Watch out for the early morning groups as they can be small and limit your exposure. The Dallas Regional Chamber

Dallas Social Media Speaker J.R. Atkins likes the Dallas Regional Chamber$100 Events – If it cost close to $100 for a full day event, you are usually going to meet people committed to their craft and on the go. If you only attend $25 events, you may be limiting yourself.

What have I over looked? Please share your thoughts so we can all get better.


How Do You Create a Culture of Innovation?

Dallas Socila Media Speaker J.R. Atkins comments on Gallup Management Joournal blog post.A recent post from the Gallup Management Journal, suggest 6 steps to creating an organization of innovation. How do you create innovation in your culture? Is failure tolerated, scorned or encouraged?

Too often, mistakes are treated with such negative energy that we squash innovations. Or, only the few that know the system are successful innovators while the rest of the ideas are never mentioned.

According to Jason Krieger, in the “new normal,” fostering innovation will be a driver of organic growth.

Since the Industrial Revolution, there have been three main business innovations. The first was neoclassical economics to drive a supply-and-demand economy. The second occurred in the 1980s and 1990s when companies like Toyota, GE, and others used process improvement (Six Sigma, lean manufacturing) to drive profitability and growth.

A new major business model will drive innovation: behavioral economics.

In today’s marketplace, these models no longer provide the competitive advantage they once did. So the third major business model will be the driver of innovation moving forward. This model is behavioral economics.

Whether these three models were product driven, knowledge driven, or innovation driven, one thing remains constant: They all need people and managers. To execute, you must choose to use people as allies rather than adversaries. Behavioral economics is the science that allows this to occur. There are three mechanisms or levers that an organization can pull to drive innovation using behavioral economic principles. They are culture measurements, capability assessments, and selection of the idea catalysts (the organization’s people).

To build a culture that fosters innovation, an organization must hire for innovation talent, build teams that are diverse in talent, and fit individuals to the right role to drive success. Once the people have been identified and placed, management must provide the right training and onboarding relative to innovation and should train managers for skills needed to drive innovative talent.

In addition, firms must have useful metrics, and these should be embedded in the culture of the organization. These metrics include benchmarking tools that allow companies to compare themselves to the best in industry and the best in class. There also must be robust customer input to allow for adequate feedback to the innovation process. Lastly, organizations must have an employee engagement program. Gallup’s research indicates that high levels of employee engagement correlate to more idea sharing, better idea generation, more creativity in role, and improved business outcomes (on key items, including customer metrics, productivity, and profitability).

In order to execute on this culture of innovation, firms must have six keys in place.

    1. Innovation assessment
    2. Onboarding and training
    3. Innovation index
    4. Customer metrics
    5. Employee metrics
    6. An innovation scorecard

Please follow the link to see the complete article, originally published in The HR Director. There is more details on each of the 6 keys. Yet, how do you see the 6 keys affecting innovation in your organization?


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