Current topics of interest
I have many professional interests. The below "carousel" mentions just a few of the topics I'm currently passionate about.
Business Agility / Organizational Design
According to Wikipedia, business agility refers to the "ability of a business system to rapidly respond to change by adapting its initial stable configuration". The question is, how to become agile? By implementing the right organizational design!
Most companies are still organized in a hierarchical and highly functional manner. Lots of top-down “command & control” is going on, supported by “rules & regulations”, leading to excess bureaucracy. It is a classic Tayloristic model. It is rigid and non-adaptive.
Ideation of new Business Models
One of the best ways to document, communicate, and debate new business models is visually and as simple as possible. In this case, less is more, especially during the early stages of exploring new business concepts.
The popular Business Model Canvas is a strategic management and entrepreneurial tool. It allows you to describe, design, challenge, invent, and pivot your business model.
While starting seems easy, it takes a bit more than dropping a few colored Post-its onto a canvas of 9 boxes. The inventors at Strategyzer are continually evolving their toolbox and best practices. They have added more tools, such as the Value Proposition Canvas, testing cards (to validate assumptions), supporting instruments, etc.
I am currently taking Strategyzer online courses. I am also applying all their tools (including the online project dashboard) to some new business concepts I am designing. Stay tuned.
Outsourcing / Nearshoring / Remote First Work
I have been working with remote software development since 2001. My work led me collaborating with companies, teams, and individuals in Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria, Poland, Spain, Pakistan, India, and Indonesia.
Many years ago, as Product Manager and CTO of software companies, I used to be on the "demand-side" of these cooperation models. In a recent sales-oriented role at a large IT services company, I was on the "supply-side" for many years.
Right now, I am "in-between" demand-side AND supply-side, running several nearshore partner evaluation processes, working with clients to find the best possible provider for their setting and context, while maintaining good relations with 150+ providers.
The real challenge - and big (often untapped) opportunity for ALL stakeholders - is to bring the right talent to the right project at the right time in the right way. I believe the IT services industry should be reinvented. Novel and innovative cooperation models between companies, providers, teams, and individuals must be possible!
Objectives & Key Results (OKRs)
Objectives and Key Results (OKR) is a framework for defining and tracking goals and outcomes. It has become prevalent in recent years.
OKRs are conceptually straightforward. It gets more tricky when you have to implement the practice in your organization. If you start small and take a gradual "learning by doing" approach, it is manageable.
Some time ago, I helped a distributed sales & marketing team implementing OKRs. The results were promising. The value (in that particular case) has been primarily in team alignment, focus on the right priorities, transparency, and improved communication.
Why? - Purposes, Causes, Beliefs
Recently I read the classic "Start with Why" from Simon Sinek. It turned out to be quite inspiring and thoughts-provoking.
The book is all about how in business (1) everybody talks about the WHAT (e.g., "our services" or "our products"), (2) some try to differentiate themselves with HOW (e.g., "our unique value proposition" or "our proprietary process"), but (3) surprisingly almost nobody can clearly articulate WHY they do what they do!
WHY is the purpose, cause, or belief of a business! Make the Litmus test right now: WHY is your company doing what they do? Is it a truly inspiring cause? Does it give you a sense of belonging?
I tried to identify the WHYs of several IT service providers and other businesses. Very hard! What you typically will find are Vision and Mission statements, but not a genuinely inspiring WHY. Time permitting, I will dig a bit deeper and write an article about my findings.
Sources: Simon Sinek
Franchising Professional Services
Franchising is a marketing concept that an organization can adopt as a strategy for business expansion. Where implemented, a franchiser licenses its know-how, procedures, intellectual property, use of its business model, brand, and rights to sell its branded products and services to a franchisee. In return, the franchisee pays specific fees and agrees to comply with certain obligations, typically set out in a Franchise Agreement.
We all know the big brands like McDonald's, Starbucks, etc. They all use franchising to scale globally and to sell simple physical products to consumers.
The question is: Is it easily possible to implement franchising concepts also for let's say, B2B professional services? What needs to be considered? Are there companies that do this already successfully?
I am intrigued by this question and currently researching this topic.