I have been following the work of Grant McCracken for a while and have yet to be disappointed. McCracken is an anthropologist that studies culture in organizations and has taught at MIT, Harvard and is a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge. Following his previous work Chief Culture Officer in 2011, his latest book on Culture is just as informative and more importantly, for summer reading, entertaining. Culturematic is about making an ingenuity engine that drives performance – something sorely needed in this economy. For emerging producers of culture, this book serves as a digital guide to the territory. For traditional producers of culture – hopefully the book will act as a source of inspiration. How to manage innovation from the C-suite? This book provides some welcome guidelines for creating a culture of innovation. If you want to get ahead of your competition, the most secret sauce of competitive advantage is your culture. McCracken shows you both why and how. He blogs extensively at culture by.com on the intersection points between anthropology and economics. Worth checking out.
If you are looking for an interesting book to start off 2012, the Digital Innovation Playbook might be for you. Author and Innovator Nicholas Webb has provided his unique perspective on the use of digital and social media to drive customer value. Rules of successful innovation management have changed drastically. Topical questions such as:
o How does the digital universe is driving the most innovative organizations?
o How do you increase breakthrough in incremental innovation?
o How do you digitize open innovation?
o and for all you number crunchers out there, How do you build sales while reducing costs?
will be explored and answered. Do you need a digital culture? Yes, most certainly. Corporate culture is the foundation on which you build your organization and your ability to innovate. Webb speaks to the need for active listening – a novel concept to many organizations who pay lip service to ‘customer feedback’ but do not actually listen to what their customers want. Digital technologies can provide a listening platform that will drive profitability and develop an authentic relationship with your customer. Why pay attention? As Peter Drucker so wisely stated “there will be two kinds of managers – those who think in terms of a world economy and those who are unemployed.” Webb gives insights into reaching and listening to that world economy. You choose which manager you wish to be.
Best wishes for 2012!
Douglas Holt brought us the classic “How Brands Become Icons” and he and partner Douglas Cameron have given us another soon to be classic, Cultural Strategy. We are offered some great tidbits such as : how do you find the next market opportunity or how to design a product to meet the new market? Finally utilizing the power of corporate culture and how you harness it, Holt and Cameron emphasize that innovation is as much about culture as it is about product or market development. Do you have a culture capable of not only withstanding ‘being different’ but supporting that difference to drive economic growth? If you are wondering what you need to succeed, this book is for you.
For anyone interested in branding, David Aaker is a must read. Most strategists know that brand awareness, quality, customer loyalty and brand associations are necessary to compete in today’s market. Aaker provides many examples and methods to drive brand equity. Emphasis is on relationship not transactions – as it should be. Having this book in your arsenal as you face the challenges of social media, explosion of amount and complexity of data, a growing proliferation of channels and devices and shifting customer demographics and psychographics will allow you to sleep at night.