business Category

The logic of a $1000 iPhone

Today Apple is expected to release a new series of iPhone handsets with the base price for one set at more than $1000. While many commentators are focusing on the price, the bigger issue is less about what these new handsets cost, but what value they’ll hold.  The idea that a handset — once called […]

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A mindset for developmental evaluation

Developmental evaluation requires different ways of thinking about programs, people, contexts and the data that comes from all three. Without a change in how we think about these things, no method, tool, or approach will make an evaluation developmental or its results helpful to organizations seeking to innovate, adapt, grow, and sustain themselves.  There is […]

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Fail Fast, Succeed Sooner(?)

  Our series on paradox continues today by taking a look at the curious case of failure and how it’s popularity as a means to success represents more than just a paradox, but a series of contradictions that might just thwart the very innovation it seeks to support by embracing it.  Failure is everywhere. Today […]

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The hidden cost of learning & innovation

The costs of books, materials, tuition, or conference fees often distort the perception of how much learning costs, creating larger distortions in how we perceive knowledge to benefit us. By looking at what price we pay for integrating knowledge and experience we might re-valuate what we need, what we have and what we pay attention to […]

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Designing for the horizon

‘New’ is rarely sitting directly in front of us, but on the horizon; something we need to go to or is coming towards us and is waiting to be received. In both cases this innovation (doing something new for benefit) requires different action rather than repeated action with new expectations.  I’ve spent time in different employment […]

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What’s the big idea and how are you going to make it real?

Concepts like design thinking and developmental evaluation are best used when they help ask big questions before seeking answers. How we frame the problem is much more important than the solution we generate, but that way of thinking means going into an area that is much talked about and rarely delivered on: strategy. Many companies […]

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Grounding Your (Mindful) Organization

Building a mindful organization requires a sense of understanding where you are, where you came from and where you’re going. The first step is grounding your organization and learning about — and (re)creating your point of origin. In 1806, what became the city of Detroit, Michigan was first designed and conceived. Unlike other cities, Detroit […]

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Developmental Design and The Innovator’s Mindset

Blackberry, once the ‘must have’ device is no longer so and may no longer even exist. Looking back on how the mighty device maker stumbled the failure is attributed to what was done and not done, but I would argue it is more about what was unseen and not thought. Ignorance of the past, present […]

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The Developmental Evaluation and Design Imperative

Developmental evaluation is an approach to evaluating programs that takes account of complexity and changing conditions, supports innovation, and serves as a vehicle for adaptation for leaders seeking feedback on how to adapt to these evolving forces. It is not simply about improving programs, but developing them. From a technical point of view, this means […]

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Fashionably Thinking About Systems and Consumption

In April 2013 the world was horrified to learn that more than one thousand people were killed in a Bangladeshi factory used to make largely low-priced clothes for Western fashion houses. As the stories of sadness, loss and survival emerged from that rubble so too did cries of indignation and disgust from human rights groups, […]

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