The Art of Business Design 2.0

1 04 2010

I recently published a free eBook on the subject covering my philosophy of Authentic Design Thinking.

This covers Design Thinking and Authenticity, and how I believe that these are both crucial important elements in designing and/or redesigning business models that cope with the miriad of challenges of today, and position businesses to be the leading companies of tomorrow.

You can view and download your FREE copy of this book from – just follow this link:-

The Art of Business Design 2.0

Don’t forget to share your comments about this subject below.

If you would like to discuss it in more detail and how it can apply to your business then contact me…

James Rock, Chief Business Designer – CULTIVAR Consulting


Masterclass : Business Leadership for the 21st Century

16 02 2010

You can also get an audio version of this blogpost here: – Listen!

Copyright : World Economic Forum by Monika Flueckiger

Founded in 1971 the World Economic Forum is the influential think-tank that is “Committed To Improving the State of the World”. Every year it holds its annual meeting of Global leaders in Davos, Switzerland. The theme for this year’s meeting was “Improving the State of the World – Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild”.

One of the key plenary sessions covered the subject of “Business Leadership for the 21st Century” – where a panel of Chairmen and CEO’s from some of the worlds leading companies discussed how businesses and organisations need to change if they seek to follow the Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild message.

Central to their debate was Peter Druckers quote that “Management is about doing things right – but Leadership is about doing the right things”.

The panel consisted of Indra Nooyi – Chairperson and CEO of PepsiCo; Wang Jianzhou – Chairman and CEO of China Mobile; Stephen Green – Chairman HSBC Bank; Eric Schmidt – Chairman and CEO of Google; and Rosabeth Moss Kanter – Author and Professor in Business at Harvard Business School.

These opinion formers all agree that following the economic crisis of 2008/9, business leaders need to provide a new direction in 2010. After the huge breakdown in public trust in organisations, the financial system and capital markets, they understand that the nature of capitalism must change.

Indira Nooyi summed it up by saying that: –

  • We need to focus on Stakeholders not just Shareholders
  • We need to marry Performance with Purpose
  • We need to plan and act for the long-term not short-term

Wang Jianzhou identifed 3 key leadership challenges: –

  • Management should focus on real practice not theoretical models
  • Everyone should embrace technology to innovate
  • Companies need to be more socially responsible

Stephen Green made these key observations: –

  • The implications of the economic crisis will last for years
  • Out of crisis will come a better and less geared financial system
  • Companies will need to contribute to both economic and social development in future

Eric Schmidt’s view centred on:-

  • Where will growth come from – reshuffling money in the system? or creating something new?
  • Embracing new technologies is a way of empowerment

Rosabeth Moss Kanter commented on recent HBS research on Global businesses that are outperforming their peers, which clearly supports the emergence of 4 attributes for success: –

  1. Organisations need to understand how they serve society by defining and organising their resources around a “True Purpose”
  2. They need to be innovative in the way they serve society by creating new solutions to societal problems
  3. They need to develop an eco-system network of partnerships that extend their reach
  4. Strategies need to be people-centric and focused on the engagement of employees and customers who want to be involved in something that “makes a difference”

These observations show a startling degree of congruency from a wide range of Global Leaders from different sectors and regions. Their key messages resonate with the key elements of Authenticity discussed in my earlier blog postings on the big business issue.

Perhaps the time is right for you to follow the example’s being set by these wise folk? Will you change your leadership style in 2010? Will you set out a new route for success in the forthcoming decade? Why not consult me and my colleagues from Authenticis about how our methodologies can help you succeed in Rethinking, Redesigning, and Rebuilding your message?

You can see the full video of this panel from WEF 2010 here :-

Video : Business Leadership for the 21st Century

Posted by: James Rock – Managing Director, Cultivar Consulting

Being an Authentic Business

10 12 2009

Being an Authentic Business...

Do you know what an Authentic Business is? Have you, like me, found that this is a term increasingly being used in the aftermath of the banking crisis?

I wondered what “Authentic” meant in the context of business and resolved to research it in more detail. I found that there is an increasingly large body of reference work related to Authenticity – and its popularity stems from a return to “real” values and behaviours that people want to see in companies they do business with.

Perhaps the best definition I found was in a book by Neil Crofts, who describes the key principles as: –

  • A purpose beyond profit
  • A purpose that is profoundly held
  • A purpose that is socially and/or environmentally positive
  • Integrity between communication and action
  • Respect for others
  • Sensibility to exploitation of resources and customers
  • A distinct and unique business personality

You can get Neil’s book here:-

Authentic Business – How to create and run your perfect business

You can see Neil talking about Authentic Business in this short video: –

Businesses that operate by these principles seem to be thriving, even through the economic downturn. They are benefiting hugely from growth generated by customers who become fans, keep returning to buy again, and who become brand ambassadors – happy and keen to tell their family, friends and networks about these favourite suppliers. In todays world of word-of-mouth marketing via social media this means that they gain customers without huge marketing expense.

Do you know any of these Authentic Businesses? What do they do that inspires you to keep returning as a customer? How do you tell your family and friends about them? Please let me know by responding to this post so that I can include them in my future research..

many thanks

James Rock

Avoiding Mediocrity – An Exemplar of Sustainability…

23 03 2009

Do you ever wonder if those reports you hear about a company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability programmes are for real? or, like me, do you often think they are mere “Greenwash” i.e. all words and no action – talking it up, but not walking the talk? As a consultant working in the field I have come across more than one company who says all the right things but fails to put them into practice.

So I was really enthused last week when I came across a company that seems to really be putting its weight behind the development and implelentation of sustainable practices.  Adnams of Southwold are part of the historical fabric of this up-market seaside town in Suffolk.  After sampling some of their wonderful range of beers in local pubs, I came across the Sole Bay Brewery in the heart of town, then their fantastic new  flagship Cellar & Kitchen retail outlet, and then a magnificent new 40,000 square metre distribution centre on the outskirts of town, which boasts the largest green roof in the UK. Later that weekend I sampled really good food and wine at The Crown Hotel – owned by Adnams along with another major hotel in town. Everything that I observed about Adnams further convinced me that this is a company that gets really close to its customers, and lives and breathes sustainable working practices for the benefit of all stakeholders.  After seeing so much mediocrity in business it was truly refreshing – just like a pint of their Broadside beer!


As you can see from my comments, I am enthused by Adnams the beer and Adnams the company, and I will be using them as an example of best practice in my consutling work in future… I’d like to suggest thet you check them out when you get the chance.

Sign up to Earth Hour and save the world… 28 March 2009

20 03 2009


On Saturday 28 March more than 1 billion people across the world will turn off their power from 8.30 – 9.30 pm. This action is their way of expressing their vote to save our precious planet. The energy saved during this period is expected to top 10% of normal global consumption.

Cultivar has signed up and is comitted to doing something positive on 28 march. Will you vote for our planet too?

Find out more about Earth Hour… Make a personal commitment, tell your famly and friends, get your business to sign up, make a difference!

Earth Hour

Business 2.0 – Delighting customers, shareholders and employees simultaneously

18 09 2008
working at home...

working at home...

There has been lots of excitement about Web 2.0 – using the latest internet innovations to re-invent how the web is used.  Recently I have been studying something called Transformation 2.0 – using latest web based communication tools such as blogging to improve how businesses implement change programmes. Now I’d like to propose that managers and business owners consider Business 2.0 – how to re-organise the business around a new business model that brings many benefits to all key stakeholders – again using recent innovations in communication technology as a core enabler.

Businesses are facing a multiplicity of pressures including demands from customer groups for improved corporate social responsibility, from suppliers raising input prices, from increased fuel and energy costs, from new legislation on energy usage, and increasingly from rising demands for bigger wage increases from staff who themselves are feeling the effects of inflation and the credit crunch.  Profitability is taking a hit and share values are falling as a result.  Businesses will need to re-act to these problems in the near future if they haven’t already done so.

In this situation the conventional responses may not be enough – sure, costs can be contained – in the usual conventional and predictable way by cutting expenses, restricting business travel, reducing stationery usage, blocking recruitment, etc. But will conventional responses like this position companies to be more competitive? To win increased market share whilst competitors struggle? Unlikely in my view.  However, managers who are bold and think creatively can re-invent their business in the Business 2.0 mould and simultaneously delight customers, shareholders and employees by making dramatic operating cost reductions that improve profitability, reduce personal costs and improve working arrangements for employees, and please environmental protagonists by reducing the company’s carbon footprint and improving business sustainability.

Working from home can be embraced on a much wider scale than it is currently by the majority of businesses. A recent research report by Siemens Enterprise Communications identifies that more than 70% of employees who are not currently working from home would like to – at least for part of their week. So can Business 2.0 help businesses use technology to become more virtual and less bricks and mortar?

I find that many managers worry about losing productivity by embracing the working from home model – perhaps because they are moving into a unknown way of managing and motivating people, and fear the loss of control? However, technology innovations and connectivity have improved dramatically in recent years, and the benefits of increased home working are getting bigger and bigger in the present economic situation, enabling smaller offices that are cheaper to run; employees to save on increasingly large transport costs now that petrol has dramatically increased in price; a happier workforce who are less stressed, improved business continuity plans as the risks of being unable to trade due to situations such as offices flooding or power cuts are lowered… and the benefits go on. The result will delight customers, shareholders and employees simultaneously!

The biggest hurdle in adopting this way of working – Business 2.0 or as I have also heard it called, the “Blown Apart Business Model…”   is conventionality.  For too long managers have failed to innovate the way businesses are organised – as I mentioned in my last blog article.  But history has shown that the biggest changes occur in turbulent times – so perhaps the result of “Turbulent Tuesday” as this weeks events are beginning to be called, might just convince some managers that there is an opportunity in pursuing this type of operational strategy on a much wider basis?  Could you be one of them, or are you happy to pull the blanket over your head and hope it all blows over so that we can return to service as normal?

I’d love to hear your views on this… and you can contact me via the website to learn more about how Cultivar can help you to create your own “Blown Apart” operating strategy – see:

Corporate Social Responsibility – Pangea Day 10 May 2008

13 02 2008

What is Pangea Day? Pangea Day taps the power of film to strengthen tolerance and compassion while uniting millions of people to build a better future.  In a world where people are often divided by borders, differences, and conflict, its easy to lose sight of what we all have in common.  Pangea Day seeks to overcome that – to help people see themselves in others – through the power of film. On 10 May 2008, Pangea Day sites in Cairo, Dharamsala, Kigali, London, New York City, Ramallah, Rio de Janeiro, and Tel Aviv will be videoconferenced live to produce a 4 hour programme of powerful films, visionary speakers, and uplifting music.  The programme will be broadcast live to the world through the internet, television, digital cinemas, and mobile phones. Of course, movies alone can’t change the world.  But the people who watch them can.  So following 10 May 2008, Pangea Day organisers will facilitate community-building  activities around the world by connecting inspired viewers with numerous organisations which are already doing groundbreaking work. For more information watch the short video clip below and  visit the website :-““This is an opportunity for you to encourage friends and colleagues to participate in what should be an inspiring day, and become engaged in wider social issues afterwards.  I am trying to organise a group screening of the Pangea Day worldcast live in Birmingham.  If anyone would like to become involved and help me to do that then please contact me at: