Design Thinking, Architecture and Interior Design

11 04 2010

Two years ago I wrote the following blog post: –

“Are your Employees like Battery Hens?”

The theme of this post was about the issue of workplace design and how it relates to happiness and motivation of your employees. I argued that I find only too often that workplace design is poor and uninspiring, leading to both poor motivation and poor levels of creativity and innovation in the workplace.

Later, in September 2008 I wrote the following blog post: –

“Business 2.0 – Delighting customers, shareholders and employees simultaneously”

The theme of this post was about embracing Business 2.0 to think again about how we organise our businesses, embrace technology to support home-working practices, and resulting in happier employees, greater productivity and innovation, and better profits and improved shareholder value.

Now I would like to link these two earlier posts to my recent thoughts on Design Thinking…

The office above is at leading design agency IDEO in San Francisco. Notice that it isn’t rows of cubicles, or bland desks, with poor lighting and ventilation.  This space is COOL.  Its designed as a social and collaborative space where groups or teams of various sizes can get together.  People can go away and work on things alone, but now when they get together they want something more than a 10×10 meeting room with a square table and four chairs. This type of environment not only supports creativity and innovation – it stimulates it!

Is your workspace like this? If not here is a link to a website where you can see 10 seriously cool designs for an office – perhaps this will inspire you :

“10 seeeeeriously cool workplaces”

So if you are seeerious about Design Thinking as a way of re-inventing your business, then why not engage a leading architect and interior designer to help? think of it differently – is it possibly something you thought was previously too expensive? but now maybe you should consider it as an investment?

Contact me for more information about how we can help bring design thinking, creativity and innovation to your business via our network of associates.

James Rock – MD & Chief Business Designer

CULTIVAR Consulting

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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 swiss-image.ch/Photo 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





David and Goliath – The battle for Authentic British Chocolate…

25 01 2010

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

Cadburys Dairy Milk

US based Global Giant Kraft foods

The David Vs Goliath battle for ownership of British chocolate maker Cadbury now seems to have been won by powerful global brand Kraft Foods.

Employees of Cadbury, residents of Birmingham where its HQ is located, and the wider British public and press are generally up in arms about this planned take-over.

Their real concern seems to be about the Authentic legacy of the Cadbury brand, and fears that Global food giant Kraft will end the higher purpose and philanthropy that the British brand is famed for, particularly within the Bournville Village suburb where it was founded.

But is this fair? Kraft is recognised in USA as one of its most reputable companies, and Forbes Magazine recently ranked Kraft as number one USA company for sincerity i.e. doing what it says it will do; and number 3 for overall reputation. So why is the British public so concerned?

Recent economic events have created a great deal of scepticism regarding the blatant pursuit of profit – and much of the press reporting in this case has focused on how Kraft has borrowed heavilly to buy Cadbury at a time when the Dollar/Sterling exchange rate makes the purchase cheap. And traditional financial reporting has primarily focused on the profit motives of Kraft, and I have yet to see any journalist dig deeper into the values of the Kraft management team, and its social responsibility record or future strategies and policies. However, Kraft itself also seems to have failed to capitalise on its reputation, and its communication programme seems to have stumbled in todays world of word-of-mouth communication. Its management team has a duty to shareholders to pursue opportunities that meet its stated strategy – which this take-over is, but it has failed to engage the wider stakeholders and is now seen as a hostile enemy.

This leads me to conclude that Authentic businesses need to be GREAT at communicating their values and policies, to generate trust, and to make sure that what they do is aligned with what they say they will do. It also confirms a wider trend that I and my colleagues in Authenticis are finding – that people in general are more concerned about the greater purpose of brands and are shunning those who purely pursue short term profitability for economic gain. Kraft will need to beware of boycotts to both brands in the post-acquisition period.

What do you think? leave a comment below, or get in touch to hear how we can help your organisation in developing its Authenticity.

James Rock Cultivar Consulting

Member Authenticis Consulting Network





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!

adnams-ck-outletadnams-cafeadnams-dist-ctr

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

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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