Showing posts with label Sustainability. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sustainability. Show all posts

INNOVATION: making things great again

I really don't read or perceive that there has been declared the official winner of the race for CLOUD computing:  one of three things that the technical sector has decided is one of the cool things we need:

IofT:  Internet of things or intelligence of things?

The best way I would be able to explain to a non-layperson what this acronym means is that you can control things designed to have enhanced technical capabilities.  I would use General Motors as a prime example.  In my view, opinion and limited observation.  I don't have to work there, all I have to do is pick up on the consistency of being on message flowing neighborly along that appeals to the largest percentage of people.  

Again, I've never worked for GM or read any prospectus or proposal on how they were going to prove that they were savable after a big government bail out.

I saw it before, just as a user of products, a major accounts rep, a vendor and a buyer perspective:  Xerox.   Anne Mulcahey (need to check spelling) put some building blocks in place on how they were going to rebuild a once great company from the basement of the downward steps to rock bottom to recovery and rethinking innovation and deciding to self-consciously or corporate self-examination:  what would they be known for?

So a lot of these almost washed up companies are having an injection of innovation or continued creation of a historical identity.  

Most would say that Xerox discovered xerography and became this really big company, until it delved out significant intelligence to Apple and Adobe.  Well yes, that is correct.

My guess would be how Xerox, through stringent quality control, strove to replace dust pollutant of toner dust, toxic for our water systems and ecosystems.  They made new toner that was sustainable, really smartly reusing natural resources that does not upset the universe's eco-structure from emitting toxins.

Safe to say, Xerox is a prime example of something highly identifiable can decoy from staying static and holding true to being innovative.

The best companies in the world, in my opinion are not bricks and motor, factory, industry, on the "try" at the end - see that?  Or maybe I'm psychic and see the pattern emerging.  How?

From watching the numbers.  Looking for patterns.  That information is out there and it is free.  When it goes to the cloud, someone is going to make heaps of money storing their customer's information. 

AI:  Artificial intelligence.  

I guess somewhere, somehow, someone decided that it was hip or cool to include "intelligence" to create an acronym that rings with distinction, like a battle cry to the trod on economic forces blow over.

Robots have been around for decades.  I haven't fact check, however, I'm going to say they started surfacing when more and more companies starting realizing, by looking at numbers with a strong focus on profit, they had to try to get rid of people, which is the highest expense .... yet few would survive without its people.

Has anyone written about a theme of companies who become so bloated with their own ego and self-importance, that complacency would never reside.  Quickly replaced with value, rate of return, key performance indicators.


Is when someone comes up with an idea that totally transforms the way we do or think of things.  Think of the smart phone as a disruption to mobility telecommunications.  

Taking something that we use every single day, is as familiar to us as our television or automobile:  the telephone.  As it evolved from a communications device into a hand held computer that uses wireless or the internet in order to transmit.  

A telegram is something we consider as old, war era communications of great importance has now been developed into something immediate.  Every day is special because we can communicate with others, convey our thoughts or feelings by the click of fingers or twiddle of thumbs.

What else is out there that hasn't been thought up yet or uncovered a need for?  The first things to look at are those every day indispensable items we use and then make them better, causing a ripple effect that requires traditional means to update their technology or capabilities or they will be stuck in the mud at the side of the super highway of happening things.

RRR REcycle REuse REnew

Ok, so I may be switching it up a bit.  After all, I tend to focus on sales tips, with the a couple of sidebars.   Call me behind, or having a gigantic job underway, but I want to touch on one of my other passions – sustainability!

No, I don’t own a pair of Birkenstocks -- not that I knock people that do because I’m one in a million who are not comfortable because of a high arch … many friends would ah hem point out that it’s due to being vertically challenged, I’m accustomed to wearing heals.  Nope, I haven’t chained myself to any great tree … if you don’t count the chain link fence surrounding my yard facing a beautiful pathway to allow people to freely admire my garden as they cycle, walk, jog by.

My mother is coming to visit!  Seriously, I’m not a bad housekeeper (boy, do I miss my nanny/housekeeper) but compared to mom, who was married to my air force father for 54 years gets me cracking!  As we moved from Canada to Europe and back, there was always an inspection of our house because it was rented through the military.  Yes,  they did come in with white gloves.  The only time my mom ever got dinged was while waiting for the inspection she had a coffee (maybe it should have been whisky?) while waiting and it left a ring mark.

Everyone should have a mom like mom come visit so they can clear the clutter and clean.  Beats waiting until you move.  While prepping for the inevitable, I realized that there were quite a few items around my home that signified that I walked the walk, not just talked the talk about sustainability … from a unique angle.  I had a couple to share.

I accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!   I have more jewellery, most of it costume, than a bohemian boutique.  A few years ago, frustrated with always untangling necklaces, never mind being able to match with earring,  I came up with, what I think pretty clever idea (at the time, I thought I could retire by mass producing)  I had this old bulletin board limping from its glory days as a command center for schedules, art work, and “to do” lists.  I painted the wood around the bulletin board (please, don’t drink and draw).  Secondly, I applied leftover wallpaper to the cork board. 

Since cup hooks to neatly hang cups within cupboards were passe’ (yeah right, in your dreams I’d have anyone in my house hang cups when they can throw them in the cupboard – yup, teenagers).  I screwed the cup hooks on to the bulletin board with the wallpaper as my artistic backdrop.  Voila!   I hung up the necklaces with matching earrings looped to them and it formed almost a piece of art.

Now, you are thinking … the loyal readers that are male are tuned out.  Sigh.  Sadness settles in.  I definitely have changed tactics on sales.  Then again,  I’m passionate about coming up with ways that someone like me – a shopaholic in green heels – can do my part by making toss-away items into innovative ideas.

But guys .. this one is for you.  Sort of.  What about bras?   Did you know that bras with padding are great utility items?  Cut around the cups and you now have a silky smooth cleaning buffer!  For your vehicle!  Don’t tell me, someone “else” does the housework?  Come on .. if you can use a bra, you may partake in household chores more often.    If you use those old bras on rings around the bathtub, imagine the other instances your hand could be on a … well, never mind. 

One of my best forms of recycling that I learned from my teenage girls.  Thankfully, they limit their high cost items are their jeans.  In my day (ok, sounds old), we never paid $200 for a pair of jean!  They love excursions to Goodwill or Value Village (in Canada) second hand stores.  At first, I’d let them scour the clothes while I focussed on the book section.  Then, it became a mission.  Can you find the most expensive designer clothes at a fraction, or a fraction of a fraction, of what they’d normally cost?  I love a challenge.  Hooked, you bet!  The best part is I donate to those same stores.  Now, shopaholics, unite, you can say you RECYCLE.

In case Mom reads this.  I do have another tip.  Instead of just tossing the fabric softener into the recycling bin, I like to tip it upside down to drain the last bit of fluid, add a bit of water, then soak the sink wash cloth with the residue.  In my house, if I don’t put it into the laundry, who knows what it smells like!

A relapse from a business sales blog.  Perhaps.  Gotcha thinking?  Double the bonus then!

SUSTAINABILITY: Hogwash, Greenwash, Brainwash or Lipgloss?

Do you consider sustainability Hogwash, Greenwash, Brainwash or Lipgloss? 

Depending on where you stand, you might sit under one banner.  A Hogwasher may be someone who may be more of a traditionalist who views it just another thing that people are hyped up about that will soon settle down or be replaced by something like 'social media'. 

A Greenwashers may consider those on the GREEN bandwagon, tree huggers, or creating hype or scaring people with "global warming" warning. 

A Brainwasher could be someone who thinks that they've always considered themselves kind to their environment so they don't need someone preaching to them how they are suppose to do something differently.

What about a Lipglosser?  I would say they are in a position that dictates that they cannot ignore that sustainability is an important issue to many, so they better promote themselves or their organization as a caring one.  Don't take my word for it.  Look for yourself, to see how many free images with palms open holding dirt or a seedling to be sure you don't forget to include on your messaging.

Don’t get me started on acronyms as that is being saved for another blog. The idea of sustaintability is something that I hold dear to my heart and yet I wonder if it has been glossed over, compartmentalized like I just did, like so many things, because it’s so timely or “sexy” in referencing.

Let’s get it out in the open and then take each step. What does sustainability mean as it relates to business and marketing.

If you want to understand how the environmental issues are impacting businesses, it is far easier if you have a scientific brain to process "how to reduce carbon footprint"  or ask an organization if it has to pay "carbon taxes" that starts to create dialogue on things that impact their bottom line.    Those that say environmentalists are "tree huggers" was probably have said  the Beatles were a long haired bunch of hippies that wouldn't last in the 1960s -- yet look at how much influence their music and lyrics hit us everyday - on the radio or in advertisements.

To ignore that environmental-influenced buying decisions better not watch CNN or updates on what is happening in Iraq or how BP's Gulf tragedy.  Of course, they impact global financial markets.  We just don't do much about it until it's time to gripe at how much we have to pay at the pump.

Interestingly, as I have conversations with some key decision makers they strike social media and sustainability as something that is appealing today, that will have its time, but go on to other issues. Their previous generation probably said that about the internet.  Then they want to go back to strategies on increase revenue, reduce costs or streamline process.

To ignore environmentally influenced buying decisions is like ignoring how social media will impact how we communicate. So far, many of us, me included, attributed social media as a means to communicate our going ons with friends and family.

You see, there are ways in which to communicate, that relies on anything than paper. Online information has been around as long as Google and inquisitiveness.   There are many solutions available.

Social media really is a means to help the environment. It CAN reduce our footprint. By communicating online, via e-mail or social media, you are not printing on paper. Ironically, the most vocal on sustainability are paper companies. There is the FSC, another acronym, that says that you are printing on environmentally friendly paper or with environmentally friendly printers. It is certainly a start. Yet to think that the main pushers of FSC certification are paper manufacturers is quite crazy! They promote paper products that have less impact on the environment.

So now qualified printers have to prove that they use less environmentally impacted inks and papers to cooincide with your organizations’ sustainable program, but certifying that they are FSC certified?  I've seen it live where someone thinks FSC is ineffective or how I would categorize as "Lipgloss".

As a seasoned business owner or sales professional, take the time to ask your clients or prospects what their personal views are on sustainability.  Ask deeper questions on what corporate initiatives they have in place for sustainability -- don't be surprised if many say they "recycle their paper more" as their contribution.  If you want to find interesting data to introduce sustainability dialogue, just Google "toxic toners"  and you will find a hornets nest after a study in 2007 after Queensland University of Technology Professor Lydia Morawsky released a  study saying that office laser printer could be damaging to your health.  Professor Lydia Morawska found that melted printer toner turns into tiny liquid particles that can be breathed in ...  the debate continues still.

Creating compelling business discussions can create value to those you are finally getting a chance to meet face to face and do something other than a feature/product dump.  Sustainability is not Hogwash, as organizations examine their own corporate culture or what they deem necessary.   I just ask that we refrain from Lipgloss --  for the sake of a marketing campaign --do it for the sake of what it means – reducing your footprint.  Ask your customers what you, your product, service or organization can do to help.