USI 2014, Unexpected Sources of Inspiration (1/2)

USI 2014 futur-en-seine.frUSI new acronym is quite meaningful and demanding: Unexpected Sources of Inspiration. I can say the promise was truly kept this year. Following is a sum-up of some inspiring and surprising talks.

Patrick Dixon, Future’s vision

USI opened June 2014’s session with stimulating futurist Patrick Dixon, author and business consultant, and chairman of the trends forecasting company Global Change. Here is what he tells us about our future.

Patrick Dixon USI

  • The most important word that will drive the future is emotion; you can have all the innovation you want in the world, if it doesn’t connect to emotion, nothing happens;
  • We need an agile way to the future, with an IT strategy fused in corporate strategy;
  • Vietnam is the new China:  wages are half the wage level of China; 40% of GDP will be in Asia by 2015; it’s not the rise, it is the rebalancing; 50% of Indian population is under 25;
  • Urban migration: hundreds of millions of people will move to cities: we are a tribal people, we love to live together;
  • The web has made us very impatient, 5 s and you press the back button. Rational CEOs become extremely irrational in less than 5 s! Email is so last century, there is only one way to communicate to your friend:messaging. SMS is the only technology we care for: very simple tech can change huge things at work, 1/3 of Kenya economy is traded using mobile money Mpesa, transfering money via SMS; videocall leak data, that’s why we don’t like it;
  • 50% of online sales will be soon completed via mobile; IoT and big data mean nothing unless it çreates customer magic. Moving all payments to the Smartphone will bring more revenue than traditional Telco services; the only thing that really matters for Telco networks is video;
  • Sustainable development has strong power: solar cell generation parity, and electricity became a way to make money in Germany;
  • Ethical will be a most important faith in the future: life is short, do things you really believe in; sell products you’d sell to your best friends, the things we would do for nothing, find a story of passion, building a better world, the magic if every great business.

Xavier Quérat, a spirit of service

Xavier Quérat is head of Quality at La Poste, and a promoter of service mindedness, moving from marketing to managing customer experience. He draw some lessons from the work achieved in his company:

Xavier Quérat

  • It all starts with identifying irritants, both internally and externally. Then, problem solving follows a cocreation process with customerss: it’s not someone who tells us what customers expect anymore;
  • How can we leverage a task force of 8500 postmen to renew our range of services? How can we welcome agile resources loke start-ups to make La Poste become more agile? That is the challenge;
  • There is a tipping point where trust enables to evolve from an uniform process to bespoke adaptations according to context; spirit of service fundamentally questions intermediary management;
  • Simplification, personalization, recognition, changing the internal state of mind to better serve externally, being lead by meaning, are key principles; in other words seeking collaborator’s smile to get customer’s smile!
  • Developing peer emulation, setting-up support teams, and monitoring critical size, are other key success factors;
  • Outputs : a brand new mobile offering, an extended relationship including ban services, and a modern image, presented to the daily 2 millions customers showing up at the Post office.

Christian Monjou, Innovation’s essence

Christian Monjou, professor and researcher at Oxford, Ecole Normale Supérieure ULM, and Henri IV college, has a great talent to leverage Art (plastic arts, theater play, opera) to investigate leadership, relationship, innovation, and emulation.

Christian Monjou

  • Someone who’s not in a change mode himself, showing his transformation to the others, can not lead change;
  • Innovation is not process optimization, innovation is uneasy because it appears as destructive, and nurtures from fracture: a leader is the one who gives others the courage of creative destruction for the greater good; what legitimates leadership is the fact to trigger innovation; change can bear humiliation: one needs leader’s exemplarity to entice;
  • Innovation is a surprise that becomes obvious! Innovation is newness soaring, or a resurgence of the ancient, embracing audacity; splitting, reassembling, radicalizing one’s intuition, and letting random turn into opportunity: like in Kandinsky upside down painting, paving the way to abstraction;
  • Companies need Pollock archetypes, placing the drawing on the ground, throwing out attempts, reaching the unexpected, and unfolding new horizons; innovation means taking the risk of a new gesture, tying up working hands with one’s ability to dream;
  • Innovation is eliminating, targeting simplification that makes you feel dizzy; disruptive innovation is fine, incremental innovation is essential: #radicalincrementalism
  • Competition stimulates innovation, akin to photography gave painting a new takeoff; tulip’s speculation only happens when one does not look outside the box; innovation can not happen when one sticks to his natural slope;
  • One only innovates against death, it’s always the child in us who’s innovating: genius is retrieving childhood in every creative instant; innovation thrives on knowledge accumulation, and then letting go, playing the game of innocence: ‘it took me a lifetime to learn again, how to draw like a child’ said Picasso; be careful of icons: accept to start with quirky doodle;
  • An innovator is someone who’s being accused of transgression: it’s up to the leader to protect him;
  • Innovation is a collective adventure: the solitary accursed artist is a kind of romantic cliché; Rubens for example did not complete all his paintings on his own; innovative artists attract top talents on specific domains, sharing a common design; being showing innovation dynamics, and by inviting others to contribute, they get back much more that what they had initiated.

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Credits: USI events photo album

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