Peter Kiddell, director of the Fespa UK Association, regularly carries out funding searches on behalf of members. Here’s his take on finding grants.
When you’re trying to sell a product or a service, it’s tempting to talk figures straightway. Yet the respected innovation blogger Seth Godin (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/ ) questions if this is the right approach.
In 1964, Barry Goldwater, a right-wing Republican Senator, ran for the American presidency under the campaign slogan: “In your heart you know he’s right”.
Many consultants make the mistake of equating innovation with technology, the internet and owning a garage where you can experiment away the hours. So it’s a pleasant change to discover a website like Wisepreneur (http://wisepreneur.com ) which aims to help innovators even if they don’t want to invent the next Facebook and focuses on challenges that are firmly grounded in everyday business life.
Recently tackled issues include how to stop that post-meeting drift (when an agreed plan of actions mysteriously drifts in the wrong direction), whether your company unconsciously stifles innovation (by creating a culture where new ideas are stifled by meetings where people say things like “We’ve tried that”, “Management won’t go for it”, etc) and, in an especially timely post, whether you need to do an inventory of your unspoken assumptions and decide which ones should be discarded.
The difficulty is that many of the assumptions that need challenging are the ones that, in management’s view, made the company successful in the first place. But the history of business is full of companies whose strengths became weaknesses where success, ultimately, bred failure. Holly Green, CEO of The Human Factor (a corny name for a consultancy but it doesn’t make her insights less valid) suggests every company could usefully ask these core questions:
- What has changed with our customers, the market, the industry and the world
- What assumptions do we still make even though some of us suspect they’re no longer true?
- What processes do we hold onto simply because “we’ve always done it that way?”
- What new ideas/processes/services have we thought of recently but never progressed because they “would never work”? Has anything changed since we made that call?
Phil Thompson, head of BPIF Business, lists the top security controls for information security management.
Richard Moore is print and paper industry lead at Proskills, which has undergone significant changes this summer.
Proskills ceased to be Sector Skills Council (SSC) at the end of last month, a move that followed an earlier restructure and the departure of chief executive Terry Watts in the spring. Since then we’ve also seen the departure of interim CEO Tom Bowtell. So just what is the new look Proskills all about and what’s it doing for print?
The importance of being boring
Why weren’t Canadian banks hit as badly by the credit crunch as American and British banks? One answer is given in ‘Other People’s Money’, Justin Cartwright’s exceptional novel about a Rothschild-style banking dynasty. In the final chapter, a spokesman explains a Canadian bank’s resilience by saying: “We are boring and we don’t go to the opera.”
In boom times, great business leaders are lauded for their eccentric, audacious genius. But in an era where every week reveals another business that doesn’t seem to fully understand its own business – the bank J.P. Morgan being merely the latest example – many pundits now feel there is a lot to be said for leadership that is quiet, shuns the limelight and doesn’t indulge in what ‘Time’ magazine columnist Joel Stein calls “a lot of alpha male yelling and inspirational speechmaking”.
In Stein’s book ‘Man Made: A Stupid Quest For Masculinity’, he interviews leaders from all walks of life and finds that the most effective – like the captain of a fire station in Hollywood – “weren’t particularly charismatic, or funny, weren’t the toughest guys in the pack, didn’t have a Clintonian need to be liked or a Patton-like intensity. They were, on the whole, a little boring.”
Yet the firefighter, Klein suggests, has learned that “inspiring people through your personality is a risky, exhausting endeavour. But if you make people feel like you’re going to help them accomplish something far bigger than you, you can let the belief do the work for you.”
HR specialist consultancy Page Meir Global considers how your HR policy needs to grow and adapt with your business.
The Out of Home Media session in the DrupaCube made it clear that print needs to be more vital if it’s to take a serious slice of the OOH advertising budget in years to come. Here’s what some of the speakers had to say on the topic.
Phil Thompson, head of BPIF Business, considers the options of outsourcing and internal diversification.
Posters, cup cakes and the Internet
Matthew Peacock, managing engineer for Vision in Print, explains why you need one and who it should be.
Successful change programmes within a company are not only highly rewarding but really useful as examples and as reference points for future projects. Whatever part of the production process is worked on, be it the reduction of steps needed in administration, to reduction of waste, when done well, the results will be significant. Huge savings can be made, but that is not always the most satisfying part.