sábado, setembro 26, 2020

"Do we feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?…”


 Ao ler isto: "Salário mínimo europeu vai criar concorrência mais justa na União Europeia", senti-me invadido por um sentimento de ironia

A frase foi proferida por Nicolas Schmit, o comissário europeu do Emprego. Um salário mínimo europeu aplicado em Portugal teria um impacte arrasador:

Mas adiante. O ponto que quero salientar aqui é este:
Este senhor está a fazer o mesmo papel que a CIP e outras organizações patronais fazem nas reuniões da concertação social. Pensam neles e como criar barreiras aos pequenos. Afinal, é a Primeira Lei Arroja da Concorrência: “A concorrência é boa e desejável em todos os sectores de actividade, excepto no nosso”.

sexta-feira, setembro 25, 2020

Delírio

Em Agosto passado no JdN, no artigo "Postais de verão", encontrei um trecho revelador de que é preciso mais, muito mais reflexão sobre os caminhos para a reindustrizalização da Europa antes de se escrever:
"No imediato, por questões de vantagens competitivas, os salários relativamente mais baixos dos novos entrantes no mercado de trabalho podem favorecer a reindustrialização da Europa;"
Reindustrialização da Europa com base em salários baixos é delírio.
Os jovens europeus estão disponíveis para isso?
Os imigrantes africanos estão disponíveis para isso?

Depois no Jornal Económico, no artigo "Apostar na formação para se poder reindustrializar":
"“Se não competimos com baixo salário temos de competir com produtividade”, frisou João Duque ao JE, lembrando ainda que os portugueses são considerados “pouco produtivos”. [Moi ici: Pouco produtivos porque produzem artigos de baixo valor acrescentado]
O economista acredita que “os países do Leste da Europa que aderiram à União Europeia são os grandes concorrentes, os países que mais facilmente vão poder arrebatar os novos projetos de reindustrializaçao”, isto porque “têm uma tradição industrial, uma mão de obra que muitas vezes é mais barata que a nossa”. [Moi ici: Tudo coisas que têm impedido a Irlanda de liderar este campeonato] “Vamos ter dificuldade em entrar neste campeonato contra o centro da Europa”, referiu João Duque" 
E volta e meia aposta-se na caridadezinha:
"“Não podemos apostar numa reindustrialização se o sistema de ensino quer ao nível básico e secundário ou de ensino superior não estiver alinhado com as necessidades do mercado”, sublinhou ao Jornal Económico (JE) o presidente do Conselho Coordenador dos Institutos Superiores Politécnicos Pedro Dominguinhos""
Com o sistema político e económico que temos, quanto mais formação damos às pessoas mais as apoiamos a fazerem o melhor para a sua vida: emigrarem.

quinta-feira, setembro 24, 2020

Abençoada pandemia

 “General Motors started Maven, a car-sharing service, in 2016 but had scaled back the effort significantly by the middle of 2019. It started Book by Cadillac—a car-swap subscription service where you could get a Cadillac for a fixed fee of $1,800 a month—but closed it soon after. Walmart bought Jet.com at $3.3 billion and then folded it into its e-commerce business after it got relatively little traction. It’s hard, if not impossible, for the big bus to become a bike or scooter. These companies have big investments in physical assets, such as stores and warehouses and facilities. They have long-standing, fixed relationships with suppliers, dealers, and business partners and are part of existing networks for infrastructure, “logistics, technology, and payment. They have relationships with governments or other public institutions that are difficult to change or break. They have brand equity decades in the making, reputations to protect, and expectations to be filled. And they have organizational structures that are very good at protecting, defending, and perpetuating themselves.”

Organizações que sobrevivem à custa de planos desenhados por amigos em lugares de influência e poder e pagos por dinheiro impostado a saxões contribuintes desgraçados. Organizações que no seu íntimo agradecem: abençoada pandemia!

Trechos retirados de “The Interaction Field” de Erich Joachimsthaler. 

quarta-feira, setembro 23, 2020

"only about one quarter are truly profit-oriented"

 "“No company has ever failed from making a profit. Most companies are revenue driven, market share driven, sales driven and only about one quarter are truly profit-oriented.”

So if you want your company to not just survive the Coronavirus pandemic but thrive long into the future, you need to understand that pricing isn’t about the price per se, it’s about value.

More importantly, price is about the value your customers place on your product or service.

“Pricing is about value, or more precisely, the value perceived by the customers. If the customer perceives a high value, he or she is willing to pay a high price. If the perceived value is lower, you have to offer the product at a lower price.”"

Trecho retirado de "Why Pricing Is Not Primarily About Price with Hermann Simon

terça-feira, setembro 22, 2020

Guideline for the future

 Yesterday had an interesting phone conversation with a client about its quality policy. He sent me a first draft and I said I didn't like it. It was a text full of vague statements, applicable to any company in any sector of activity. So, I got back to the charge with my approach. A quality policy can be much more useful if it states:

  • Who we are and what we do
  • Who we work for
  • What do we have to be really good at.

At one point I said to him:

Look at current customers, I know that organizations want to serve all types of customers, which is a mistake, but look and choose 3 or 4 who are the ones that represent the ideal customers, you may not send any customers away, but you want everyone to be like these 3 or 4.

Now tell me, why do these 3 or 4 customers work with you? What attracts them? What should your company bet on to make a difference with these customers?

It was then that the answer really surprised me ...

We are new in this area, we know that we are in an evolutionary path and now we really have no customer like these...

I soon jumped to seize the opportunity.

- So even more important is doing the exercise. Which 2 or 3 customers would you like to win over the next 3 to 4 years?

And my mind was full of metaphorical images developed in more than 30 years of work... like the children in the playground. I think that companies see their customers as children in a playground. They only see the collective and forget that at the end of the day each child goes home to be a singular person to its parents. 

The customer, even if it is a corporate, must be seen as a unique entity that we can, we should look into the eyes.

Another feeling before the end of the meeting was that my client found something that made sense, something to help, to guide his company in the journey to a desired future state.

segunda-feira, setembro 21, 2020

Quando o mundo muda - o imperativo de fuçar

 Lembram-se de Abril passado "for at least the next couple months every organisation in the world is a startup"? Quando o mundo muda é perigoso manter o pensamento que gerou o sucesso no mundo anterior. Há anos que escrevi esta série "Parte VI – Zapatero e os outros".

"Firms that apply planning strategies (i.e., elements of causal behavioral logic) with a focus on accurate predictions and analysis of changing situations tend to outperform those that do not. With its emphasis on actions guided by predefined goals, causation helps firms to efficiently manage scarce resources that are of particular importance for firms operating in emerging market contexts.

...

Yet, in emerging markets during adverse economic conditions, which are, by nature, extremely turbulent and uncertain environments, formal planning activities fail to produce the desired results. The future stops being predictable enough for forward‐looking analyses, and the conventional strategic and marketing analytical tools fail to provide a robust basis for an effective decision‐making process. As such, in the crisis context, prior plans become largely obsolete and ineffective. Following them leads to SMEs' incapacity to adapt and be flexible in the fast‐changing environment; indeed, in extreme cases, the firms might be better off abandoning any pre‐planned actions altogether, as implementing them are unlikely to lead to an improvement of the situation. This negative effect of crisis on causation's effectiveness gets even more pronounced in the sample of firms that are particularly affected by a macro‐level crisis, which shrinks their resource base while also preventing acquiring the resources in the market. In other words, a severe level of crisis impact on a particular firm might deprive it of the resources needed to implement the pre‐planned activities, thus eliminating the possibility of a positive performance pay‐off from causation.

Moreover, the organizational crisis reduces the scope of possible actions that get into the plans because of the threat‐rigidity reaction. That is, the quality of the causation‐based planning is likely to suffer for the SMEs affected by a crisis in an emerging market. In particular, a crisis limits the decision‐makers' ability to conceive of actions that are different from traditional ones, constraining the scope of analyzed alternatives to only familiar solutions. Firms become strategically “rigid,” choosing to perpetuate established routines and leverage existing competencies, even though they are likely to turn obsolete, leading to the firm‐level crisis in the first place. Thus, in the contexts of major crises, planning‐based logic leads to rigidity that blinds the decision‐makers to emerging opportunities and unexpected courses of action; it inhibits the flexibility and adaptability that are of particular importance for SMEs while they help to eliminate their deficiencies in the midst of crisis.

...

The effectual behavioral logic, [Moi ici: Recordar "The effectual Logic" que traduzo na minha linguagem mais colorida como "fuçar" e na "A vantagem da ignorância] on the other hand, imposes losses on a firm in emerging market contexts under low crisis (when planning seems to be a preferable strategy), yet becomes a driver of performance in situations characterized by high levels of crisis. With respect to performance variability in an emerging market, effectuation acts as a “booster” in low‐crisis conditions yet stabilizes the performance in high‐crisis times."

Trechos retirados de "Navigating the emerging market context: Performance implications of effectuation and causation for small and medium enterprises during adverse economic conditions in Russia

 

domingo, setembro 20, 2020

A receita irlandesa

Ontem ao final do dia apanhei este tweet na minha timeline:

O que é a produtividade?

A produtividade é uma espécie de função, é uma espécie de alavanca que transforma entradas em saídas:
Por entradas entenda-se recursos, entenda-se investimento, entenda-se custo.

Por saídas entenda-se produtos/serviços, retorno financeiro, valor monetário, ganho.

Outra maneira de olhar para a coisa é:
Como se pode aumentar a produtividade?
  1. aumentando a quantidade de unidades de saída por unidade de entrada - aumentando a eficiência
  2. aumentando o valor unitário de cada saída - produzindo saídas diferentes
A opção 1 é praticamente a única que as empresas conhecem. O problema da opção 1 é que tem um poder de alavancagem muito baixo, como aprendemos com Marn e Rosiello. Dizer, como no tweet acima, que as empresas têm de se organizar para aumentarem a produtividade significa confiar na opção 1. 

Quem só conhece a opção 1 e compara a produtividade entre Portugal e países como a Irlanda ou a Holanda não percebe como é que eles trabaalhando menos horas conseguem ser mais produtivos. O erro é não perceber que eles não produzem  o mesmo que nós. Esse é o ponto da opção 2. 

Em vez de correr numa corrida de ratos para conseguir mais 0,1 unidade de saída por unidade de tempo, a opção 2 passa por um outro tipo de corrida, desenvolver artigos com cada vez mais valor unitário associado. 

É facil? Não! É impossível? Quase! Porquê? Porque para dar o grande salto que precisamos, a nível de país, temos de dar grandes saltos a nível de saídas. (Portugal produz em média 23 €/h enquanto que a Irlanda produz mais de 83€/h) E aí o problema é o dos macacos não voarem!

Como se dá o salto? Volto à minha tese, aplicar a receita irlandesa.

Não adianta chamar brutos aos patrões portugueses, esses dão o seu melhor. Quem achar que sabe fazer melhor que avance e lhes coma o negócio. Aqui o tema é como o cão dos Baskerville, não é quem está, é quem não está que é relevante. Acham que a produtividade irlandesa foi obtida à custa de patrões irlandeses e marcas irlandesas?

Para uma empresa em particular, a sua opção deve ser baseada sobretudo na opção 2 à sua maneira, ao seu ritmo. Uma empresa em particular não tem de pensar na produtividade do país, tem de pensar na sua própria produtividade.


















sábado, setembro 19, 2020

A defesa da suckiness

 Acompanhei com um sorriso irónico  a leitura deste artigo "Why the American Consumer Has Fewer Choices—Maybe for Good":

"Some IGA Inc. grocery stores now offer only four choices of toilet paper. A few months ago, before the coronavirus pandemic, IGA’s 1,100 U.S. stores typically carried about 40 varieties. Harley-Davidson Inc. has cut some models from its motorcycle lineup. Outback Steakhouse has stripped roughly 40% of its menu, is studying whether customers care, and may drop some items for good even after the pandemic.

Consumer-oriented companies spent the past decades trying to please just about everyone. The pandemic made that impossible, and now some no longer plan to try. Sellers of potato chips, cars, meals and more have been narrowing offerings since the coronavirus snarled supply chains and coaxed consumers back to familiar brands.

Some executives said they plan to stick with fewer choices when the pandemic fades, saying it forced them to reconsider whether American consumers need such vast choices that sometimes overburden factories and stores.

...

Executives at Kraft Heinz Co., Coca-Cola Co., Hershey Co. and other food giants have said they are trimming less-efficient and less-profitable products, while shelving some in development. [Moi ici: Eheheheh Kraft Heinz... a lutar contra Mongo, a defender a suckiness]

...

Steven Williams, CEO of PepsiCo Inc.’s North America foods business, said the company stopped producing a fifth of its products during the Covid-19 crisis, including lightly salted Lay’s potato chips. He said he and his colleagues spoke with grocery executives as the pandemic deepened, determining that PepsiCo should focus on its fastestselling products.

PepsiCo is starting to bring some items back, but Mr. Williams said he expects its Frito-Lay snacks business to emerge from the pandemic with 3% to 5% fewer products. The company is taking the opportunity to discontinue some items that have few fans or are complicated to produce, he said, making its factories and distribution network more efficient."

Bom para startups surgirem e fornecerem a variedade para as tribos cada vez mais exigentes. 

 

Para reflexão

 "Given how much our culture depends on finding out what’s new, it’s surprising that few have figured out how to be smart about it. If you’re a creator, the truth remains what the truth has been ever since Yahoo tried to sort the web by hand: the best way to make a hit is to build something for the smallest viable audience and make it so good that people tell their peers."

Trecho retirado de "Who is good at discovery?

sexta-feira, setembro 18, 2020

Que sensação de schadenfreude...

 No país onde se espalharam estes cartazes:


No país onde se teimou em fazer dos cidadãos, obedientes seguidores das orientações superiormente pensadas e decididas pelos xamãs (ministros, autarcas, ...).

No país que agora reconhece que afinal, tal como o Brasil, não tem economia para suportar um confinamento quanto mais dois, a maioria dos eleitores, pela idade ou profissão, não depende da iniciativa privada, e pretende jogar bilhar como qualquer amador: "Novo confinamento está a ganhar adeptos".

Que sensação de schadenfreude...

Jorge Marrão começava a sua crónica no JdN do passado dia 15 com esta frase: “Os fundos europeus serão o remédio para manter uma doença incurável da sociedade.”

Talvez um segundo confinamento tenha o dom de acabar com este regime para espanto à posteriori dos defensores desse mesmo confinamento. Quantos direitos adquiridos sobreviveriam a um segundo confinamento?

"Supporting people rather than jobs"

Em Dezembro de 2008 escrevi: 

 "Eu, que não tenho a informação que têm os governos, e que não tenho medo de eleições que não disputo, proporia uma receita diferente.

.

Apoio mínimo às empresas de qualquer sector, os consumidores que decidam quem tem direito a sobreviver como empresa.

.

Em contrapartida, apoio máximo às pessoas e sobretudo aos desempregados."

Julgo que já escrevi aqui no blogue algo do mesmo tipo este ano por causa da pandemia. 

Agora no FT apanho "Support people rather than jobs for a more resilient post-Covid economy":

"What should we protect during the coronavirus pandemic: jobs or the people who hold them? Different answers to this question largely explain huge variations in unemployment figures around the world. In the years ahead, they are also likely to distinguish between successful and sluggish recoveries from the crisis.

European countries have generally focused public support on jobs. Various job retention schemes and short hours programmes have kept employees attached to their employers and off the unemployment totals.

The EU unemployment rate has risen only a little,

...

By contrast, generous US support in the form of enhanced jobless benefits has been given to individuals, until this fell victim to political infighting. With the support attached to the person rather than the job, the US unemployment rate leapt from 3.5 per cent in February to 14.7 per cent in April before falling to 8.4 per cent in August.

The underlying conditions in the European and US labour markets were similar, but the type of support had vastly different effects on the unemployment statistics. More importantly, the gulf between the policy approaches will have meaningful and lasting economic effects.

Early in the pandemic, there were many advantages in the European approach. When coronavirus lockdowns appeared to be a short-term emergency response needed to buy time to beat the virus, job subsidies were a smart way to minimise disruption and eventually allow a return to normal. This sort of public insurance works best when the crisis is short, the affected companies require skilled workers and the jobs at risk are high value.

The longer the world has to live with social distancing and the more sectors are unlikely to return to their former glory, the more important it is to find a different solution. In that case, we need to support workers rather than jobs, helping them find alternatives rather than simply waiting and hoping that their old jobs come back. The US strategy now seems preferable.

Supporting people rather than jobs also works better when the roles at risk are lower skilled because fewer months of training are lost when people switch to other positions. With the pandemic disproportionately hitting the lower-skilled and worse-paid retail, hospitality and travel sectors, it is increasingly workers who deserve our support more than their employers.

...

Europe, meanwhile, should now begin to switch away from keeping people attached to jobs that will not return quickly and towards supporting workers find new employment. As time passes, job retention schemes will, in any case, become more and more unfair, because they provide much greater support for those who previously had jobs than for young people who are entering the labour market for the first time.

Recognising that the pandemic has moved into a new phase, the OECD this week urged all its member countries to adjust their responses to Covid-19 “gradually to support workers rather than jobs”. This was not to cut costs, the international organisation emphasised. Rather, governments should be seeking to give people the best possible chance at maximising their earnings over time by helping them find new roles now."

Claro que em Portugal seremos vítimas de algo ainda pior, os delírios hidrogénicos, as maravilhosas novas pilhas de Baalbek ou ...

quinta-feira, setembro 17, 2020

"To everything - turn, turn, turn"

Interessante notícia, "Vinyl records outsell CDs in US for first time since 1980s":

"Vinyl records have outsold CDs in the US for the first time since the 1980s, according to data from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

.

A report on the first half of 2020 across the recorded music industry reads: “Vinyl album revenues of $232m were 62% of total physical revenues, marking the first time vinyl exceeded CDs for such a period since the 1980s.” The report acknowledged that vinyl records accounted for only 4% of total recorded music revenue.

...

US listeners are also increasingly willing to pay for premium services to listen to music ad-free, up from 58.2m in the first half of 2019 to 72.1m in the same period this year.

.

Vinyl’s popularity also continues to grow in the UK, with sales increasing in 2019 by 4.1% on the previous year, though the rate of growth has slowed following the “vinyl revival” boom in the middle of the last decade."

Registos de um percurso:

quarta-feira, setembro 16, 2020

Is the customer always right?

 "The reality is that we are in an era ruled by uncertainty. In one recent survey, more than 80 percent of business leaders said that they were likely to make significant and long-lasting changes in how they organized work and interacted with and served customers. [Moi ici: Remember the punctuated equilibrium and sudden shifts] Opportunities to redesign the business and do something substantially different usually come only after an event such as a merger or when a startup suddenly scales. But the wide-ranging effects of the coronavirus pandemic give all businesses the impetus for change.

.

How do you as a company leader design for this different world? When the ground shifts beneath you, the first thing to do is find a solid place to stand — and that is your value proposition. Customers come to you for a reason: because you’re innovative or top-quality, because you’re a one-stop shop, or because you build deep relationships.

...

1. Segment your customers. “The customer is always right” is one of the oldest and most misleading adages in business. The customer is always right only if you have the right customer. [Moi ici: Something that we defend here long time ago: here and here] Has your “right customer” changed? [Moi ici: Something we spoke about last Monday] Through no fault of yours, businesses you’ve worked with or customers whose needs you successfully met may have temporarily retreated or changed to a new model. How can you still be “right” for each other?

.

Consider Panera Bread — a fast-casual restaurant chain, meaning it’s a cut above fast food but is not at the level of waitstaff service. Panera’s value proposition emphasizes food made fresh from sustainably sourced ingredients. Its right customers have traditionally been office workers: individuals picking up a bagel and coffee for breakfast or meeting a colleague for lunch; groups for which it caters a selection of sandwiches and salads for meetings. That right customer is no longer in the same place; she is probably working from home now, and is likely to continue doing so at least some of the time for the foreseeable future. Lunch around the conference table? Well, maybe next year.

...

You might also find that your company has new right customers: These might be people or companies that have changed in ways that could benefit you if you design ways to connect with them, or that have been stranded by the incapacity of others, or that are worth your attention now although they weren’t before."

Excerpts taken from "Forget about the “new normal”: Design something different"

terça-feira, setembro 15, 2020

Sociedade: top-down versus bottom-up

Em pleno desenrolar da crise económica, decorrente do confinamento vivido, o ministro das Finanças de Portugal, mais uma personagem que nunca teve de pagar salários, comunicou ao país: "João Leão defende aumento do salário mínimo "com significado"".

Entretanto, na Grécia que se prepara para voltar a ultrapassar Portugal, "Greece lowers taxes to boost employment"

Pelos vistos o governo de Portugal diz que vai pedir um estudo de actualização do relatório Porter, mas para não ser surpreendido, como foi o governo de Cavaco, já indica o que quer ver no resultado do relatório:

"O objetivo é identificar as “potencialidades da economia portuguesa e definir políticas públicas que permitam melhorar o perfil de especialização e a estrutura do nosso tecido industrial“. Mas há um foco: o Governo está especialmente interessado nos “domínios e setores emergentes, como, por exemplo, nas baterias“."

Quanto às políticas públicas para melhorar o perfil de especialização e a estrutura do nosso tecido empresarial - recordo esta tese

Como os macacos não voam, e a via irlandesa é blasfémia para os partidos da geringonça, teremos torrefacção de dinheiro nas baterias et al, as futuras "Artlant".

É tão fácil começar a ouvir aqueles poetas citados nestes podcasts a descreverem mais uma sociedade arruinada.

Sensemaking, punctuated equilibrium, sudden shifts, radical change


 It is interesting to realize that in these last days we are finding more and more articles about context analysis and making sense of the surronding environment. Yesterday found this one, "The Overlooked Key to Leading Through Chaos". 

"Ask executives to list traits of great leaders and they will probably name vision, honesty, or the ability to execute change. Rarely mentioned is one critical capability that leaders need most in turbulent times: sensemaking, the ability to create and update maps of a complex environment in order to act more effectively in it

Sensemaking involves pulling together disparate views to create a plausible understanding of the complexity around us and then testing that understanding to refine it or, if necessary, abandon it and start over.

...

Leaders need to know what’s happening around them in order to drive organizations forward. Today this task is harder than ever, given the ever-increasing rate of change in technology, business models, and consumer tastes — and it is now further complicated by the global pandemic and its related economic and political aftershocks.

...

Rather than immediately jumping to solutions, we must start with collecting data and scrutinizing it for trends and patterns that point to better solutions; rather than ignoring warning signs of failure, we should learn from others what those warning signs might be. This is not the time to do less sensemaking — it is the time to supercharge your organization’s ability to do more."

Certainly a symptom that the world in which organizations operate is in one of those phases of the punctuated equilibrium where everything undergoes sudden shifts leading to radical change.

 Other recent posts on the subject:

segunda-feira, setembro 14, 2020

Curiosidade do dia

Apanhei esta figura no Twitter via @heldercervantes

Interessante aqueles 4 primeiros e a relação com o resto.

 

Sense, organize, capture and renew

"First, develop a comprehensive set of processes to actively sense new insights (whether internal or external) that could affect the business, and hence identify threats or opportunities [Moi ici: Attention, threats and opportunities are not intrinsec qualities of context issues, they are a function of the current strategy. Covid 19 is a threat or an opportunity? It depends] as early as possible. Second, organize in response to those threats or opportunities; this is likely to involve reallocating resources, revamping processes, filling capability gaps, and aligning the company’s structure and governance. Third, capture value by revising business models and restructuring relationships with other players in various ecosystems. And fourth, renew the organizational capabilities needed to create and capture value by continuing to monitor and assess results and making small adjustments over time — while also preparing for the major disruptions that require a more comprehensive overhaul."
A text taken from "Plotting Strategy in a Dynamic World". A text in line with:

domingo, setembro 13, 2020

Covid 19 and context analysis in ISO 9001


This week I was asked a question by email about ISO 9001:
"Do you think we should consider covid 19 as an external factor?"
Of course yes!!! Which organization was not affected by Covid 19?

It is an event with implications for all organizations. For some it creates risks, but for others it creates opportunities. It changes the external context, modifying both the level of demand, the channels used, and the value proposition for new and different groups of customers, but it can also change the internal context with teleworking and preventive measures on the production lines or during service provision.

As an auditor, I look forward to seeing Covid 19 in the context analysis update.

Today I found this article on the FT, "How coronavirus changed gardening forever". A good example of Covid 19 as an opportunity increasing demand. but also bringing new and different customers looking for different value propositions:
"In early March, when Covid-19 began to take hold of the globe, something changed in the world of gardening.
...
On March 16, the British government ordered people to avoid pubs, restaurants and non-essential travel. That morning, David Robinson, Managing Director of Suttons Seeds in Paignton, Devon, settled in for his usual Monday ritual of checking weekend sales numbers. He had a shock. “I said, ‘I think we have a problem with the sales numbers, it looks like they’ve been double or tripled.“”
.
Converted gardener Sonja Ruetzel: “I was feeling anxious during the lockdown, and gardening makes it look like you have an area where you have a little bit of control
.
But the numbers were right: suddenly millions more people went online to find out what they could develop. In the weeks that followed, Suttons experienced days when sales were 20 times higher than the same day a year earlier – with lettuce, beetroot and cilantro seeds being the bestsellers.
...
Sowing a seed or renovating an overgrown garden was a balm to the pain of foreclosure, offering hope for some foods that didn’t have to come from an overcrowded and under-supplied supermarket, and the opportunity to improve and to embellish the little pockets of greenery around us.
...
Food culture YouTuber Charles Dowding has seen a huge spike in popularity, with 2.8 million views between March 24 and April 23 and 37,000 new subscribers. The Candide gardening app saw an average increase in the number of new members of 50% compared to the same period last year.
...
This wave of new gardeners is already bringing change to an industry that is slow to embrace a new audience. Garden designer and TV presenter Diarmuid Gavin started a daily live gardening conversation on Instagram during the lockdown that caught the attention of TV production companies, and he ended up doing a six-part TV show. titled Gardening together who tapped his mind to taste.
.
“There is a whole new breed of gardener who is so enthusiastic and hungry for information,” he says. “It’s less about the tricks of journalism and more about listening directly to people trying their hand at themselves.”
.
Will this shift to gardening last or is it a short-lived phenomenon caused by unique circumstances? Everyone I interviewed is optimistic that many of the newcomers will persist.
.
As Gavin says, “What we’ve heard from garden centers, compost makers and seed growers is that these new customers are coming back and coming back. They really want to know how to do it right. They are really invested because it means something to them. Once they have grown a spud, they will never stop. “"

sábado, setembro 12, 2020

"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

No começo do artigo "Do You Have the Right Sales Channels for a Downturn?" pode ler-se:
"Major economic downturns hit most companies. And manufacturers who sell to their customers through channel partners, such as retailers or value-added resellers, face additional challenges. Under-capitalized partners may be unable to get products to customers — or worse, could go bust. With the current pandemic, the situation appears dire, with even more bankruptcies predicted than occurred during the global financial crisis of 2008-2009.
.
For manufacturers, success when emerging from a major downturn requires rethinking channel strategy. Manufacturers who simply plot a “return to the way it was” may not fare well."
Enquanto conduzia, ouvia este artigo e visualizava o business model canvas:

E perguntava: Só os canais?

Sim, é verdade, os canais são muito importantes como ilustra o que sucedeu aos produtores de vinho, ou aos pescadores que exportam a nata do peixe pescado na costa portuguesa, ou aos fabricantes dedicados ao canal HORECA, durante o confinamento.

No entanto, pode ser muito mais do que os canais.
E os clientes-alvo, continuam a ser os mesmos? Por exemplo, quando recomendo a aposta na nichização, estou a dizer que os clientes-alvo serão outros.
E a proposta de valor, continua a ser a mesma? Se passamos a trabalhar para nichos temos de afinar a proposta de valor para um grupo muito mais apaixonado.
Que actividades-chave serão eliminadas e que actividades-chave serão acrescentadas?
Como se criará uma relação com os clientes?
Que novas parcerias serão necessárias? Que outras terão de ser abandonadas?

 "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

" interpretations, not fact or truth"

Segue-se uma interessante reflexão de Roger Martin que se enquadra não só com o crescente radicalismo um pouco por todo o lado, como com os crescentes exageros da comunidade científica:
"As the world has gotten more science driven and data obsessed, the formal educational system is teaching certainty with ever more confidence. The message being transmitted to students is, crunch the data and you can determine “the truth.” And we wonder why political positions have become more entrenched! Instead we need to inculcate a belief in the benefits of balancing the manipulation of quantities with the appreciation of qualities. Because science requires numeric quantities and mathematical methods for manipulating those quantities to determine “the truth,” we intensively teach the manipulation of quantities—starting with addition, then subtraction, then multiplication, then division, then algebra, then calculus, etc. This causes our students to become highly experienced and skilled in seeking out quantifiable variables and crunching data so as to determine “the truth.
...
Very little in our formal education system helps students become skilled in the appreciation of qualities. It happens in literature, fine-arts, and design courses, in which students are helped to make finer and finer distinctions in the qualitative attributes of their subject matter.
...
As a consequence, we produce students who systematically lack balance. They are strong in the manipulation of quantities and weak in the appreciation of qualities. They are overly certain of the correctness of their models and their analyses based on those models and are equally certain of the incorrectness of opposing points of view. They are confident that they have looked at all data that is relevant to a position and that other variables, by definition, are not at all relevant.
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We need to arrest these tendencies. We need to teach students to balance the manipulation of quantities with the appreciation of qualities. We need to teach them that their conclusions are interpretations, not fact or truth, and that alternative interpretations might be equally meritorious and/or contribute to generating a still more meritorious interpretation. That is the only way they will be prepared to work productively in a complex adaptive system."
Trechos retirados de "When More Is Not Better" de Roger Martin.

sexta-feira, setembro 11, 2020

"Niching down"

Ainda esta semana chamávamos a atenção para a importância da nichização, um tema recorrente neste blogue:
Para quem promove o advento de Mongo este artigo, "Why Niching Down Is an Entrepreneur's Best Chance of Standing Out" é relevante:
"Entrepreneurs are always trying to stand out, and understandably so -- after all, there is a lot of competition out there. The need to stand out becomes even more vital in light of the recent Covid-19 pandemic. [Moi ici: Recordar que a pandemia apenas veio acelerar o que já estava em curso]
...
So what's the best way to stand out, especially if your business operates in a particularly crowded niche? The solution isn't to try to go bigger. Instead, it's the opposite.
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Identifying with more passionate audiences.
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While it is true that many sub-niches have a smaller potential audience than the broader niche, these smaller segments tend to be more tightly connected. If your product or service is a hit, it is more likely to take off on a community-wide level.
...
Underserved sub-niches tend to have less competition, because many brands deem the smaller market as not being worth targeting.[Moi ici: Recordar a VW e as carrinhas eléctricas]
...
Targeting a smaller niche also gives you the opportunity to reevaluate and strengthen your brand.
...
Mourreau explained that generalist photographers rarely become the best in their niche. Those who focus on a particular subcategory of photography are eventually seen as the go-to resource when those types of photos are needed. Because they have put in the time and effort to develop that particular skill, there is far greater demand for their services than if they had remained a generalist.
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Niching down gives you the ability to identify your brand's strengths and weaknesses.
...
By shifting your focus to your area of strength, you can continue to develop that ability and be better able to deliver high-quality results for your clients. Satisfied clients will naturally lead to referrals, growth from repeat customers and the ability to charge a higher premium for your services.
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Finding the right sub-niche for your brand.
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Not all sub-niches are created equal. Finding the right sub-niche requires evaluating your own brand's strengths and weaknesses, identifying gaps in the market and ensuring that there is a sizable enough audience for you to reach.
...
Shrinking your potential target audience may feel counterintuitive at first. But it ultimately gives you the chance to become a big fish in a much smaller pond. By strategically pursuing the sub-niches that will work best for your brand, you can increase your profitability and better define what makes your company unique."

quinta-feira, setembro 10, 2020

"an endless journey of transitory improvements rather than definitive solutions"

A continuar a minha leitura de "When More Is Not Better" de Roger Martin encontro uns trechos que me fizeram recuar aos anos 80 e à descoberta de Karl Popper:
"The job of educators should be to prepare students for a complex adaptive system, not to make them capable of operating only a narrow part of a complicated machine. We need to equip our youth for a world that isn’t about perfecting a machine but rather about achieving a balance—an endless journey of transitory improvements rather than definitive solutions. That is the only way we will produce the citizens that we need and the business executives and political leaders to pilot productively.
...
At present, the formal education system predominantly teaches certainty; that is, that there is one right answer and many wrong ones.
...
Despite humanity’s long and painful history of being shown to be wrong about what was previously held to be certain, we keep teaching models as if they are not models but rather reality—the true unshakeable reality, rather than what they are: the best interpretation of reality humanity has been able to come up with yet.
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Instead, we need to teach students—at all levels—that all models are wrong, otherwise they wouldn’t be models in the first place. Rather than teaching students to uncritically adopt models, with all their implicit flaws, we need to teach students how to critically evaluate models. Even more important, we need to teach students how to build new ones. That is what human advancement is about: building better models.
...
Theorizing is important. It is what we do to make sense of the world around us and build models for taking action. But theorizing on the back of someone else’s interpretations is never going to be as powerful as theorizing on the basis of your own interpretations of real interactions with your subject—whatever that subject happens to be.
...
Rather than teaching students that data is restricted to numbers that appear mysteriously for the student to analyze, or teaching the accumulation of quantitative data via arms-length surveys, educators need to teach students that data, both qualitative and quantitative, gleaned from watching real people engage in real activities, is the most powerful tool for building better models for how the world works. Those models can be tested quantitatively to refine them. But the attempt to build models of our complex adaptive world purely on the basis of quantitative analysis of data will lead to narrow"

quarta-feira, setembro 09, 2020

Curiosidade do dia

Nas últimas semanas tenho aproveitado os almoços, algumas caminhadas e até substituo a TV pelo youtube à noite para me deliciar com a audição de uma série de podcasts. O tema é a queda das civilizações e os podcasts são de uma qualidade invulgar. Comecei com este impressionante, "The Sumerians - Fall of the First Cities" e não tenho parado.

O início ou o fim de cada podcast põe-nos a viver, sob o ponte de vista de alguém que assistiu ao fim do império, normalmente através de um poema. Em várias das civilizações pressente-se o fim quando se instala um ciclo vicioso, não é a morte das pessoas que mata as civilizações, é a falta de energia, é a perda de força vital, é o descalabro económico. Impressiona que várias vezes (no caso dos Khmers, dos Vikings e da Suméria, por exemplo) é o clima: é a mudança do padrão das chuvas, ou o arrefecimento que destroem a economia baseada na agricultura.

Lembrei-me disto ao ler "The corporate zombies stalking Europe":
"What we do know, but are not treating urgently enough, is the serious damage that has already been done to Europe’s corporate economy. Many companies’ balance sheets have been hurt so badly as to put in doubt their ability to return to normal, let alone contribute to renewed growth. Even an unrealistically best-case scenario — where the virus recedes and activity bounces back — leaves serious problems.
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Welcome to the zombie economy. The steepest downturn in generations forced many European companies to run down cash reserves and increase debt to the point where their solvency is threadbare.
...
A large number of undercapitalised companies will hold back Europe’s economic performance in two ways.
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First, they do not invest.
...
Second, many businesses whose revenues largely go to debt service can, at best, hope to delay their inevitable insolvency. The wider economy’s interest in what happens to such companies is mixed. Keep them alive for too long and you stop workers and capital from moving to more productive activities — the process optimistically known as “creative destruction”. But a wave of insolvencies could also bring destruction without the creation..
As employer-employee relationships are severed, accumulated company-specific knowledge is lost; machines and skills atrophy as they wait to find new uses. In addition, the financially weakest companies are not always the same as the least productive ones."

Ecossistemas, transitoriedade e a morte do regime (parte II)

Parte I.

Isto que se segue deve ser blasfémia para os crentes no Grande Planeador, no Grande Geometra:
"The actors in the system are continuously driving adaptation of the system. By the time we decide what to do, it is quite possible, if not likely, that the system has changed in a way that renders our decision obsolete by the time it is acted upon. And by the time we have figured that out, the system will have changed again. Because of that adaptability, our design principle must be to balance the desire for perfection with the drive for improvement.
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In a machine model, the pursuit of perfection makes sense. It is sensible to analyze the machine in every detail in order to understand how to maximize its performance and, once that optimum performance level has been achieved, then defend against any attempt to change the way the machine works—because it is performing as well as it possibly can. At this point, any failure in the machine’s performance is likely to be interpreted as pilot error or not giving the machine enough input or time. This is what philosophers call a justificationist stance. There is a perfect answer out there to be sought, and when that perfect answer is found, the search is over. The task then turns from searching for the perfect answer to protecting the perfect answer against any attempt to alter it. It feels noble to aim for, fight for, and protect perfection.
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However, in an adaptive system, there is no perfect destination; there is no end to the journey. The actors in it keep adapting to how it works. In nature, this happens reflexively, as with a tree that turns to the sunlight due to the force of nature, and by growing taller obscures the sunlight for those in its increasing shadow. In the economy, adaptation “happens reflectively. People take in the available inputs and make choices, and those choices influence the choices and behaviors of the other humans in the system.
...
So, although the pursuit of perfection may seem like a noble goal, in a complex adaptive system it is delusional and dangerous. In a cruel paradox, seeking perfection does not enhance the probability of achieving said perfection. In a complex adaptive system, it is not possible to know in advance the organized, sequential steps toward perfection. Guesses can be made. Better and worse vectors can be reasonably chosen. But perfection is an unrealistic direct goal, with the problematic downside of creating a paradise for gamers. As justificationists staunchly defend a system they perceive to be perfect, gamers are only given more time and space to enrich themselves at the system’s long-term expense."
Trechos retirados de "When More Is Not Better" de Roger Martin 

terça-feira, setembro 08, 2020

Longe do mainstream

Interessante!
Os gurus deste país sonham com empresas grandes que possam ser mais eficientes e produtivas. Recordo o recente "Ignorar uma realidade básica" e o mais antigo "Mas claro, eu só sou um anónimo engenheiro da província".

Neste último postal, de Maio de 2013, cito esta afirmação:
"Há 12 anos éramos 500 pessoas e tínhamos cinco clientes activos. Hoje somos 160 e temos mil clientes activos"
Sintomático que, julgo que em 2018, a empresa de onde provinha esta citação tenha encerrado.

O que é que este consultor anónimo da província prevê para o grosso do sector do calçado em Portugal?

  • Há 20 anos éramos 500 pessoas e e tínhamos cinco clientes activos.
  • Há 7 anos éramos 160 pessoas e tínhamos mil clientes activos.
  • Daqui a X anos seremos 20-30 pessoas e teremos 50 clientes activos.
Recordo a minha previsão sobre a próxima fase do sector do calçado em Portugal, "Quantas empresas? (parte I)":
"Vamos entrar numa Fase 4
O número de empresas vai voltar a diminuir
A quantidade de pares produzidos vai voltar a diminuir
O número de trabalhadores vai voltar a diminuir
O preço médio por par vai novamente dar um salto importante"
Como é que isto acontece? Mudando de modelo de negócio!

Uma das vias que está mais desenvolvida é a da nichização. Contudo, a maioria das empresas ainda não está a diminuir de tamanho porque os nichos são o meu velho fiambre que vem complementar o singelo pão com manteiga. Os nichos são ainda vistos como um complemento.

Entretanto, li um artigo que me sugere outra alternativa para a Fase 4, "The ‘Zero Inventory’ Solution". Sim, trabalhar para marcas da gama alta que assentam o seu modelo de negócio na ausência de inventário.
"Nearly everything sold by Stòffa, a Manhattan-based maker of classic luxury menswear, is made-to-order or made-to-measure.
...
Building such a business takes time and patience. First, they had to establish relationships with manufacturers and suppliers in Italy that were willing to work this way. [Moi ici: Este modelo de negócio não assenta na presença nas clássicas feiras. As empresas portuguesas poderão tirar partido da marca "Made in Portugal" e da sua flexibilidade e rapidez de resposta] Then, they had to build up a client base, which they did through their own networks and city-by-city trunk shows.
...
But it wasn’t until Lever Style began working with newer brands that he transformed the way the company was managed and operated by focusing less on achieving minimums with one large brand and more on servicing many brands in a more efficient manner. Today, 50 percent of Lever Style’s sales come from brands that require quicker turnaround and smaller runs of product. Some of the companies he works with generate just a few million dollars a year in sales.
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Last year, Lever Style’s gross margin was 29 percent; higher than the industry average for a manufacturer that doesn’t have its own consumer brands."


segunda-feira, setembro 07, 2020

"Her real job"

Um texto dedicado ao meu parceiro das conversas oxigenadoras e à sua preocupação com a preparação das pessoas para a Industria 4.0.

Segundo ele, e julgo que tem razão, quase ninguém se preocupa com a preparação das pessoas para a Industria 4.0, o foco está todo na tecnologia.
"While Grosso understands that part of her official job is to transmit a body of content from her head to those of the students, she thinks her real job—her most important job—is to help students become capable of thinking in a complex and uncertain world. To her that means embracing the messiness of the world and not attempting to simplify it for students as if students can’t deal with messiness.
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That means helping them learn both how to build models (rather than handing them prebuilt ones) and how to build better ones together. She introduces them to the ladder of inference, a framework from business and education theorist Chris Argyris, which describes how humans reason, starting with selecting which data to take into account and then making increasingly specific inferences about the selected data—up the rungs of a metaphoric ladder to reach a conclusion on the subject of their thinking, at the top of that ladder. Grosso creates an exercise by which she writes different fragments of a story on a number of paper fish that she hides around the classroom. For example, the story may be about why she arrived at school grumpy one morning, and one fish may say “woke up late” while another may say “forgot marked tests at home,” and so on. Student groups go on a fishing expedition to find and collect the fish, and then attempt to come to a conclusion based on the fish that their group happened to find.
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Since different groups find different data-laden fish, the groups come to different conclusions. Instead of judging which conclusion is “right,” they explore how collecting different data means that each group might come to a different conclusion. Grosso highlights that although we can never collect all the data ourselves, we make our model more robust by being curious and asking questions of others who may have access to data that we don’t. By rejecting the need for one “right” answer, Grosso’s students become more confident. They gain the confidence to share their thinking, because if their answer is different from others’, it might just be because they collected different data or interpreted the data differently, not because their answer is “wrong.” The process also encourages students to make and think about connections—between what they and other students know—so that they can integrate multiple insights.
...
Beth Grosso’s approach underlies the agenda I propose here for educators to help preserve American democratic capitalism and enhance its ability to sustainably deliver broadening and rising prosperity. The job of educators should be to prepare students for a complex adaptive system, not to make them capable of operating only a narrow part of a complicated machine. We need to equip our youth for a world that isn’t about perfecting a machine but rather about achieving a balance—an endless journey of transitory improvements rather than definitive solutions. That is the only way we will produce the citizens that we need and the business executives and political leaders to pilot productively. Currently, the formal education system produces overconfident reductionists who don’t see that they are operating in a complex adaptive system and are altogether too sure of the quality and usability of their piece-part solutions. The purpose of education needs to shift, as Beth Grosso illustrates, toward producing sophisticated yet humble model integrators. To do so, educators must do four things.
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Temper the Inclination to Teach Certainty
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At present, the formal education system predominantly teaches certainty; that is, that there is one right answer and many wrong ones
Lembro-me da perplexidade da minha amiga Marina, que na altura estudava Biologia na universidade, ao perceber que tinha saído um artigo numa revista científica que desclassificava o que ela tinha aprendido numa aula na semana anterior.

Trechos retirados de "When More Is Not Better" de Roger Martin prossegue.

domingo, setembro 06, 2020

Curiosidade do dia

Gente de fibra!!!

Live and let live

Se fossem crianças, no Portugal do início dos anos 70 do século passado, depois do almoço estariam em frente à televisão para ver as Corridas Loucas ou o Stop the Pigeon.

Nas Corridas Loucas, Dick Dastardly dava cabo da minha paciência por estar mais preocupado em dar cabo da concorrência do que em ganhar a corrida. Basta pesquisar Dastardly neste blogue para ver como uso a personagem na minha relação com as empresas.

Gosto de usar a metáfora de David e Golias na minha relação com as empresas, mas procuro sublinhar que a metáfora não é sobre o combate em si, o mundo dos negócios não é uma guerra para aniquilar os concorrentes, é um esforço para seduzir e servir clientes. Já agora, gosto de usar a metáfora de David e Golias por causa do "twist" na estória, tal como nesta outra estória, para transmitir a mensagem de que há uma alternativa ao pensamento dominante à espera de ser encontrada ou melhor, construída.

Por isso, recomendo muitas vezes o "Live and let live", uma deturpação do título de um antigo filme de cowboys. Outra metáfora que gosto de usar é a da relação entre economia e biologia:
A continuação da leitura de "When More Is Not Better" de Roger Martin prossegue:
"Executives dream of becoming the next John D. Rockefeller, who built a monopoly in the oil-refining business in the late nineteenth century. Eliminating the competition feels like a natural goal; it means you’ve won. ... Managers feel more secure when their customers have no alternative to the product or service they produce. Given that American monopolists from Rockefeller to Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg have become among the richest men in history, the appeal of establishing a monopoly is understandable. But it has a downside. Monopolies don’t last in the natural world, and they don’t last in business either.
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Monopolies don’t last in nature because they don’t adapt, [Moi ici: Claro que monopólios protegidos, pelo estado, têm a possibilidade de serem eternos] and the fundamental rule of nature, as posited by Charles Darwin, is survival of the fittest—by which he meant those most able to adapt to the environment and its changes. And what drives adaptation in business? It is learning from one’s customers how to provide better value for them. Customers, not those who serve them, define value. Providers can only hypothesize about what constitutes customer value. Providers learn based on customer feedback, and therefore customer feedback is the linchpin of positive adaptation. It is very difficult to become a better provider of a given product or service in the absence of real customer feedback.
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It is not the mere existence of customer feedback that produces positive adaptation. Listening to customer feedback and taking action on it are both necessary preconditions for positive adaptation. But change is never easy. It is tiring and expensive. As a consequence, most companies, most of the “time, will listen to customers only when they must, and they have to only when the customer can credibly threaten to become an ex-customer if the provider doesn’t listen and change.
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Therein lies the fundamental sustainability problem for monopolists. They don’t have to listen to their customers. ... In the end, monopolists exist to serve themselves, not to serve their customers. They don’t get the training that customers normally provide, because the monopolist doesn’t have to train.
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As a consequence, monopolies stultify over time. They may have virtually unlimited resources, but they don’t have the motivation to deploy them productively. When the environment in which they operate necessitates major adaptation, they are unable to adjust, because they are out of practice."

sábado, setembro 05, 2020

Ecossistemas, transitoriedade e a morte do regime


Ontem numa caminhada ao final da tarde li:
"The service ecosystems perspective emphasizes that value is cocreated within multi-actor exchange systems in which shared and enduring institutional arrangements—interrelated rules, roles, norms, and beliefs—guide resource integration and service exchange. In addition to providing a systemic and institutional understanding of value cocreation, this perspective also offers important insights into how actors can intentionally influence long-term change within the complex service ecosystems they are a part of.
...
The service ecosystems perspective not only provides a more systemic and holistic understanding of value cocreation but also offers important insights into how actors are able to influence value cocreation within the service ecosystems they are a part of. Like natural ecosystems, service ecosystems exhibit the quality of emergence and are, therefore, beyond the full control of any individual actor. However, actors are able to intentionally influence, at least partially, how service ecosystems evolve.
...
What emerges from this theorization process is the conceptualization of service ecosystem design, defined as the intentional shaping of institutional arrangements and their physical enactments by actor collectives through reflexivity and reformation to facilitate the emergence of desired value cocreation forms.
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Ecosystems do not have an equilibrium steady state but rather adapt to instabilities by enacting forms that are uncertain and unpredictable. Furthermore, in recognizing the cocreated and phenomenological nature of value, it is not enough to focus on a single actor category (e.g., the user or the customer), but rather, there is a need to zoom out to understand the configurations of a multitude of interconnected actors who might all perceive the outcomes differently. In this way, actors may be purposeful in the forms of value cocreation they wish to influence, but they can never truly control or predict the outcomes of service ecosystem design. The first proposition of service ecosystem design summarizes the argument related to this insight."
Há muitos anos que trabalho o conceito de ecossistema. Julgo que a primeira vez que escrevi sobre esse tema aqui foi em 2007, "Subir na escala de valor".
Outras referências podem ser encontradas em:

Em 2005 escrevemos no nosso livro sobre o Balanced Scorecard:
E agora, juntar tudo isto ao que vou lendo em "When More Is Not Better" de Roger Martin:
"The economy is not a machine that experts can fine-tune for maximum efficiency. It is far more productive to think of it as a complex, dynamic system, like a vast garden, within which we can all thrive if we tend it properly.
...
A more powerful and useful metaphor for the US economy than a complicated manmade machine is a natural system, like a rainforest.
...
In a natural system, the outcome is the product of the dynamic interactions between and among the parts rather than a simple addition of the outputs of the parts. That is, one can’t just add up the parts and produce the whole. In fact, it is often hard to identify what the parts actually are. A family is a system. It is not possible to add up the individual features of a family and predict its functioning, because the interactions make it too hard to understand in advance how they will play out. The body is a system. One can’t really divorce the functioning of the liver from that of the kidneys or the heart or even the brain, though modern approaches to medi cine often attempt to do just that.
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If the economy is a system like a family or the human body rather than a machine, that suggests that an approach based on managing the parts separately and simply adding their outputs will very likely result in a major dysfunction at some point.
...
The economy, then, can best be viewed as a rapidly evolving and potentially unstable natural social system, in which intelligent players transact for their personal gain according to rules and processes that they design to facilitate those transactions—through laws, regulations, and the application of technologies. This creates the possibility that adaptive behavior turns into gaming, as individuals transact in the system in ways that suit their own immediate ends but subvert the system as a whole. And as we’ll see in the pages that follow, the smart people always figure out how to game the system and any attempts we make to change the rules in order to prevent the small number of smart players from walking off with all the rewards are doomed to end in failure."

Muitas vezes ao longo dos anos, ao ouvir certos políticos não podia deixar de sentir um misto de perplexidade e incompreensão. Como é que esses políticos se podiam arrogar a capacidade de terem desenhado a forma ideal de governar este país. Como podiam proibir os vindouros de alterar as regras? Como podiam pensar que tinham desenhado o melhor sistema possível?
Roger Martin deu-me a resposta: trata-se de gente que vê a sociedade, a economia como uma gigantesca máquina.

As pessoas, a tecnologia, o contexto, tudo muda. O que é verdade hoje, amanhã é mentira. (Nunca esqueço que a ala mais à esquerda da política portuguesa matou o rei D. Carlos porque não defendia as colónias...)

Voltando ainda mais uma vez a Roger Martin:
"Pursuit of all resilience and no efficiency is as problematic as pursuit of efficiency with no resilience. The only difference is in the nature of the death.
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Nonresilient systems tend to die explosively. [Moi ici: Como classificam um sistema que foi talhado na pedra como a última coca-cola do deserto? Estão a ver como acabam esses regimes cheios de direitos adquiridos? Não é uma questão de se, mas de quando]

In contrast, inefficient systems tend to fade away slowly, as systems with superior fitness replace them. There is no way to guarantee the resilience of a system that doesn’t pay attention to efficiency. It may appear to be resilient, but it will eventually be overwhelmed by a more efficient adversary."






sexta-feira, setembro 04, 2020

Ignorar uma realidade básica

Ontem no JdN um artigo de Luís Todo Bom, "Fazer as empresas portuguesas crescer". Alguns trechos:
"As empresas portuguesas, para além da sua pequena dimensão e reduzida capacidade tecnológica e de gestão, apresentam uma grande dispersão, em todos os sectores, em que raramente se verifica a existência de uma grande unidade, líder sectorial, que possa, por efeito de arrastamento, promover a melhoria global de todo o sector.
...
A solução passa por um incremento significativo de fusões e aquisições, criando, com rapidez, empresas de maior dimensão e mais capacitadas para recrutarem gestores e engenheiros, bem remunerados, que façam a diferença, no processo competitivo global.
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Só será possível promover a alteração da actual situação, de aversão a crescimentos rápidos, por parte dos empresários portugueses, com garantia de estabilidade das leis fiscais e laborais, criando um clima amigo da iniciativa e do investimento privado.
...
Os investidores estrangeiros não encontram parceiros nacionais credíveis, que permitam uma redução do risco do seu investimento, nem um “cluster” robusto de empresas complementares, que melhorem o posicionamento competitivo das suas unidades."
IMHO o artigo peca por ignorar uma realidade básica. Qualquer empresário quer crescer. No entanto, em muitos sectores de actividade, sobretudo os exportadores, crescer implica mudar de clientes-alvo e de proposta de valor, implica ter uma empresa diferente com uma gama de produtos diferentes vendidos sob diferentes modelos de negócio. Implica entrar em Terra Incógnita e ter de usar vantagens competitivas em que a cultura portuguesa não costuma ser forte.

IMHO o artigo peca por o autor continuar a ver o preço/custo como a única forma de competir e que quanto maior mais competitivo à custa dos ganhos de escala. Só que isso significa sair do nicho onde se está e ir para campo aberto competir com outros players, com necessidades de recursos muito maiores, com outra estrutura mental e outra cultura.

Se recordarem o que escrevi há uma semana, mais produtividade a sério não é a fazer melhor, mais eficientemente, o que já fazemos. Mais produtividade a sério só à custa de outras áreas de negócio, com outra cultura. Ou seja, investimento directo estrangeiro.

quinta-feira, setembro 03, 2020

A lição nabateia, sempre actual

"Brazilian private-equity firm 3G Capital is learning this the hard way with its Kraft Heinz investment. Flush with its apparent success in consolidating the global brewing industry with Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI), 3G successively gained control of Heinz in 2013 and Kraft in 2015 and then engineered a merger of the two food companies. It saw the resulting food conglomerate as bloated and riddled with slack that could be taken out with 3G’s zero-based budgeting (ZBB) approach.
...
Between 2015 and 2018, ZBB was able to drive sales, general, and administrative (SG&A) costs at the merged company from 10 percent of sales to 8 percent of sales—an impressive 20 percent improvement in overhead-cost efficiency, consistent with an all-out attack on the enemy: slack.
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However, it appears in hindsight that some of those costs weren’t entirely wasteful slack. During that same period (2015–2018), the gross margin at Kraft Heinz—i.e., revenues less the cost of goods sold as a percentage of sales—fell by 3.5 percentage points, from 39.5 percent of sales to 36 percent of sales. The 2-percentage-point reduction in SG&A costs helped lead to a 3.5-percentage-point reduction in profit margin—a net detriment to the business of 1.5 percentage points. This substantial decay in its business prospects forced Kraft Heinz to announce a massive $15.4 billion write-down in its assets in February 2019, one of the ten largest corporate write-downs in the decade."
Recordar:

Trechos retirados de “When More Is Not Better” de Roger Martin.