segunda-feira, setembro 30, 2019

Can you imagine?

This is how organizations, normally, see the world:
A place full of unexpected results conspiring against its existence and success.

But, if we digg a little deeper...
We always find an invisble system with its own agenda. Worst, we find nests of invisible cycles conspiring against the oficial agenda.

And what is interesting is ... like in that Alien movies: The evil (the xenomorph) was inside Ripley all the time
Results are a natural fruit of how organizations work and manage. Some times it is just a rule, just a small practice, that derails the entire system.

Can you imagem the power of that bonus?


Para reflexão

Ontem, no caderno de Economia do semanário Expresso, li:
"O grupo francês Michelin vai encerrar a fábrica de Bamberg, na Alemanha, com 858 empregados, devido à queda da procura dos pneus que ali se fabricam provocada pela concorrência asiática.
.
O fim da atividade em Bamberg ocorrerá até inícios de 2021, explicou a Michelin, que constituiu uma provisão de €167 milhões nas contas deste ano para fazer frente ao encerramento da fábrica. Em Bamberg produzem-se maioritariamente pneus premium de 16 polegadas, um segmento do mercado que segundo a empresa se vê afetado por “uma forte diminuição da procura global e por uma concorrência extremamente forte dos fabricantes asiáticos”. Os €60 milhões investidos desde 2013 para adaptar a produção e os esforços das suas equipas não foram suficientes para compensar as evoluções. A Michelin diz que neste contexto não há “qualquer alternativa industrial economicamente viável”.
Uma fábrica de uma marca de relevo, a trabalhar para um segmento premium, num país conhecido pela sua elevada produtividade e que está a queixar-se da concorrência asiática.

Humm!!!

Ou é uma desculpa (recordo a Fiat e a Polónia), ou é um sintoma de algo mais profundo... uma marca de topo, com produtos premium já não consegue fazer a diferença para a concorrência asiática.

domingo, setembro 29, 2019

Sintomas de um futuro a caminho

"Any business can invest in advanced technologies, but creating a workforce that’s ready to use them is much harder. It requires workers who can understand data, serve customers across virtual and physical interaction points, and keep up with fast-changing software languages. Unfortunately, traditional education systems often don’t teach these skills. Most university professors lack real industry experience, and curriculum development cycles can be as long as seven years. This timeline is a problem. A global survey of 4,300 managers and executives shows that 90% of workers feel they need to update their skills annually just to contend.
.
To close the gap between where education leaves off and the needs of the 21st century begin, some companies and governments are starting to take matters into their own hands."
Trecho retirado de "How Companies and Governments Can Advance Employee Education"
"Whenever a system has a sufficient number of badly served constituents, an inflection point has fertile ground to take root. I believe that alternative forms of credentialing, in which some kind of respected accreditation body certifies skills based on the level of the skill, rather than the degree, are beginning to gain real traction.
There is definitely demand. The presence of so many online resources and other tools that individuals can use to learn is creating a hunger for alternative certification systems. Considerable experimentation has been conducted with students using online badges and verified certificates to complement their traditional transcripts. While these things have been around for a while, the notion that they might substitute for a conventional degree has been met with ongoing skepticism.
This is changing. Evidence from a LinkedIn insiders’ survey of knowledgeable learning and development specialists shows a softening of the traditional model. Sixty percent of those surveyed believed that employers are well on their way to skills-based-hiring—in other words, “choosing candidates based on what they can do, rather than degree or pedigree.” Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they believe employers will start to place more value on nontraditional credentials, with one respondent going so far as to say that traditional credentials are “boring."
Trecho retirado de "Seeing Around Corners" de  Rita McGrath.

Uma revolução a caminho "47 dias incipientes e depois, de repente..."

Sorrateiramente, por baixo da maquilhagem, o diabo vai chegando às pessoas

Recordo de Junho último, "Optimista? Realista? Pessimista?":
"Se estudassem os números por detrás do número, podiam perceber o que venho relatando há cerca de um ano, a mudança de panorama das exportações portuguesas e a sua crescente fragilização: "What a difference a year makes! (parte II)""
Recordo também o último "Um outro olhar sobre os números das exportações" (parte III) (de Setembro de 2019).

Enquanto as exportações de automóveis, de óptica e aeronaves vão maquilhando o total, as exportações das nossas PME vão encolhendo e, sem fazer muitas ondas, que não convêm à coligação média-governo, uma empresa após outra vai fechando.

Um exemplo de Maio passado no calçado "O fim de um ciclo (parte II)". E agora, um exemplo no têxtil "Fábrica de Lousada faz despedimento colectivo e deixa 113 pessoas no desemprego":
"A unidade, que produzia camisas para marcas como Zara ou Lion of Porches, abriu em Junho de 2015 e já teve cerca de 200 funcionários.
...
“Dizem que dá prejuízo desde o início, mas nós tivemos sempre muito trabalho e temos dado horas extras”"

sábado, setembro 28, 2019

"The central vehicle for value creation"

Em "Mental Representation and the Discovery of New Strategies" de Felipe A. Csaszar e Daniel A. Levinthal encontro:
"A mental representation is a model of reality held in the mind of an individual, who can use this representation to generate predictions about reality. Mental representations are especially important in strategy because they allow managers to consider alternative strategies in an `o -line' manner. That is, mental representations allow managers to consider the merit of alternative strategies without the need to actually invest in and carry out the various options. Of course, such `modeling' is inevitably imperfect and di fferent representations may off er better or worse characterizations of the likely payoff s in an actual business context. Thus the quality of managers' mental representations is a basis for performance diff erences, and a firm's prior history may have a considerable influence on the mental representations adopted by their managers.
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A fundamental characteristic of mental representations is that they account for only somedimensions of the represented reality. In strategy, the reduced dimensionality of mental representations helps explain why `frameworks' are pervasive in the field. Frameworks - which provide simple, typically two dimensional representations of the complex underlying strategy context - suggest the dimensions that a mental representation should include.
...
A framework is useful to the manager because it reduces the high dimensionality of strategic problems and so makes them tractable within the bounds of the manager's cognitive capacity. Because frameworks incorporate only a subset of the problem's actual dimensions, multiple frameworks can apply to a given strategic problem.
...
Thus, an important problem that managers face is to choose the dimensions of the representation - the `lens' or `fi lter' - through which to view their business landscape. That any landscape looks much di fferent under diff erent representations exposes a problem with how the literature has conceptualized the process of searching for a strategy."
Isto está relacionado com:
"firms create value as they formulate, identify, and solve problems.
...
At the firm level, scholars have looked at the origins of value held in resources, accumulating experience, and developing capabilities, as well as in a firm’s governance. Some have argued that the “locus” of value creation exists at higher levels and thus have placed emphasis on factors such as the evolution of industries or interorganizational relations and networks. In fact, one of the central trends to emerge from recent research is a diminished focus on the firm itself as a central unit and source of value and an increased focus on value creation that originates from linkages with disparate environmental constituents [Moi ici: Os ecossistemas] (e.g., users, customers, suppliers, and universities).
...
Value creation only occurs when a focal firm somehow discovers a bargain, namely, a solution with value that exceeds the price paid. Moreover, even such value creation may be short lived if competitors can access these same solutions at similar prices. Thus, discovering firm-specific bargains among solutions demands some kind of firm specific filter, a filter that enables the firm to sift through the abundance of possible and ready-made solutions, to discover those that might offer the firm unique value.
...
Vital to a firm’s capacity for value creation is its ability to generate value for customers or offer common value at a uniquely low cost. Uniqueness is the discriminator between creating value that flows solely to customers and creating value that is at least partially captured by the focal firm. Value creation for the focal firm therefore demands that firms discover or solve unique problems, namely, problems or solutions unseen by or inaccessible to others.
Identifying common problems and discovering common solutions are unlikely paths to value creation, because these common problems and solutions are accessible to direct competitors as well.
...
We contend that, for a given focal firm, the path to value creation typically originates with a cognitive effort to compose and develop a unique and firm-specific theory of value creation, in other words, a theory of and for a specific firm. This theory may reveal assumptions about the evolution of consumer tastes, define an unmet customer need or unaddressed problem, offer insights into the under- or overvaluation of assets in markets, or highlight a problem in the production of a product or service. The theory essentially defines a set of problems for which resolution is hypothesized to create the value foreseen.
...
The central vehicle for value creation, then, lies in composing and updating the firm’s theory and using it to formulate problems, organize solution search, and select from among available need–solution pairs.
...
humans, including managers and entrepreneurs, have a unique capacity to engage in forward-looking theorizing about possibilities beyond extant realities, theorizing that uniquely guides attention and observations. We argue that theorizing, then, isn’t the unique domain of scientists but in fact a universal human capacity that shapes human perceptions and behavior more generally. Importantly, theorizing is not simply the process of environmental observation or representation, learning or information processing, which suggests a rather passive conception of rationality and mind. Rather, theorizing is an active effort to project into the future and to imagine possibilities beyond what might readily be observed. We thus build on a very particular view of the human mind, one that does not rely solely on stimuli but instead focuses on the unique expectations, guesses, hypotheses, and theories that the mind constructs as it interacts with the environment.
...
In economic settings, an individual’s capacity to recognize valuable problems and solutions depends on beliefs and attention, which are in turn shaped by the unique theories actors hold."

Trechos retirados de "Crossroads - Strategy, Problems, and a Theory for the Firm" publicado de Organization Science, de Teppo Felin e Todd R. Zenger (2015)

Practicing the noble art of cheating (part VI)

Part I, Part IIPart IIIPart IV and Part V.

On Part II I wrote:
"A typical SME in Portugal cannot start with a blank sheet, and start from scratch in a rational strategy development exercise.
.
Stay with me and try to put on shoes of a SME in need of developing a strategy. Why do they need to do that? Normally, for one of two possible reasons:
  • to seize an opportunity that it inadvertently discovered; or
  • to stop a competitive bleeding that is weakening it, and find a way to recover."
Now, reading "What Sets Breakthrough Strategies Apart" I find this:
"We argue that strategic thinkers engage in an exercise that parallels that of scientists. Like scientists, they start with a significant problem to solve, and then use this problem as a prompt to compose a theory — in this case, a theory of value creation. This theory then becomes their unique perspective and point of view about the opportunity they see.
.
One role of a theory is to shape sight and perception, to enable seeing — often from simple observations — what was previously unnoticed. As Albert Einstein observed, “whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use.” Through a novel business theory, you see value in choices, in combinations, and in purchases that others cannot. And most importantly, like theories in science, your theory of value should lead to hypotheses and experiments that help realize opportunities unseen by others."
This "start with a significant problem to solve" instead of starting with a blank sheet and thinking "let us plan" is the difference between the PDCA cycle and the CAPD (better CASD) cycle:
Starting with a problem is a way that lead us to start with the end, by where we want to arrive with our work not with fancy ideas:

"Government likes to begin things—to declare grand new programs and causes and national objectives. But good beginnings are not the measure of success. What matters in the end is completion. Performance. Results. Not just making promises, but making good on promises."George Bush

sexta-feira, setembro 27, 2019

Curiosidade do dia



Um mar de heterogeneidade (Parte II)

Parte I.

Resolvi ir à procura do paper na origem do artigo citado na Parte I. Assim, cheguei a "What Drives Differences in Management Practices?" de Nicholas Bloom, Erik Brynjolfsson, Lucia Foster, Ron Jarmin, Megha Patnaik, Itay Saporta-Eksten, e John Van Reenen, publicado por American Economic Review 2019, 109(5): 1648–1683, e valeu a pena:
"There are compelling theoretical reasons to expect that management matters for performance. ... management practices are a key reason for persistent performance differences across firms due to relational contracts. ... “engagement traps” can lead to heterogeneity in the adoption of practices even when firms are ex ante identical.
...
The relationship between management practices and performance also holds over time within plants (plants that adopted more of these practices saw improvements in their performance) and across establishments within firms at a point in time (establishments within the same firm with more structured management practices achieve better performance outcomes).
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The magnitude of the productivity-management relationship is large. Increasing structured management from the tenth to ninetieth percentile can account for about 22 percent of the comparable 90–10 spread in productivity. This is about the same as R&D, more than human capital, and almost twice as much as Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). ... variation in management practices is likely a key factor accounting for the much-discussed heterogeneity in firm productivity. Technology, human capital, and management are interrelated but distinct: when we examine them jointly, we find they account for about 44 percent of productivity dispersion.
...
First, there is enormous inter-plant variation in management practices. Although 18 percent of establishments adopt three-quarters or more of a package of basic structured management practices regarding monitoring, targets, and incentives, 27 percent of establishments adopt less than one-half of  such practices. Second, about 40 percent of the variation in management practices is across plants within the same firm. That is, in multi-plant firms, there is considerable variation in practices across units. ... Third, these variations in management practices are increasing in firm size. That is, larger firms have substantially more variation in management practices. This appears to be largely explained by the greater spread of larger firms across different geographies and industries.
...
To investigate learning spillovers,
...
Comparing the counties that “won” the large, typically multinational plant versus the county that narrowly “lost,” we find a significant positive impact on the management practices of incumbent plants in the county. Importantly, the positive spillovers only arise if the plant is in an industry where there are frequent flows in managerial labor from the MDP’s industry, [Moi ici: MDP = Million Dolar Plant] suggesting that the movement of managers is a mechanism through which learning occurs. We also show positive impacts on jobs and productivity."



"a myopic strategy that leads to consistent mediocrity"

"customer loyalty is driven more by emotional factors than by rational ones.
...
Ask yourself this: Is your company trying to minimize complaints or maximize customer delight? Given the research I’ve cited, you might think that every company would be trying to create dynamic, delightful customer journeys infused with emotion. You’d be wrong. Many focus almost solely on complaints. Their goal: Eliminate the customer’s pain at every point where the consumer and the company intersect. It’s a myopic strategy that leads to consistent mediocrity, because companies miss much of what the customer experiences on his or her journey.[Moi ici: Recordar "There’s nine times more to gain by elevating positive customers than by eliminating negative ones"]
...
The journey between visiting a company’s website, say, and making an actual purchase is an emotional, cognitive, and motivational process. It’s the mix of those forces that creates feelings, memories, and stories about an organization, whether positive, negative, or ambivalent. It’s this variability that creates opportunities for companies to deliver memorable experiences. Rules and standardization can get in the way.
...
When companies focus on reducing variance in customer experience, eliminating outliers, they make sure that, statistically speaking, as many customers as possible occupy the middle of a normal distribution curve. Terrible customer experiences get a lot of attention, which reinforces the strategy of standardizing operating procedures and laying down more rules. Imposing controls helps bring experiences closer to expectations. While eliminating bad experiences may reduce complaints, result in fewer angry customers, and trim costs, the unanticipated consequence of moving most customers to the middle of distributions is that it will also result in consistent mediocrity. They will have undifferentiated, average experiences, which will leave them with few, if any, memories.
...
For that reason, positively varied emotional journeys can have the richest payoff. They leave indelible memories, increase customer loyalty, and have multiplier effects in a world where customers are closely connected. For companies that embrace variability, even terrible experiences that spawn negative emotions — such as that lost purse at Disney World — are an opportunity. If the company surprises and delights the customer by efficiently and innovatively resolving his or her problem, the dominant emotion, the one that lasts in memory, will be positive."

Trechos retirados de "The Magic That Makes Customer Experiences Stick"

quinta-feira, setembro 26, 2019

Curiosidade do dia

A propósito de "Why industrial agriculture is crucial to fighting climate change" prefiro acreditar nesta opção:



Fonte, "Solar PV Power Potential is Greatest Over Croplands"

Players shaping the very nature of the game itsel

Um artigo que me seduziu, "Searching, Shaping, and the Quest for Superior Performance" de Gavetti, Helfat e Marengo, publicado por Strategy Science Vol. 2, No. 3, September 2017, pp. 194–209.

"People often think of strategy as a game of chess. The game has a prescribed number of players and a board with preset features, a set of game pieces with prescribed rules for the types of moves that each piece can make and the order in which players can move, and a prescribed objective that a player must meet to win the game, namely, capturing the other player’s queen. As players take turns moving their pieces, they search for the best positioning to ultimately capture the queen. But suppose that players could change the number of spaces on the board, the game pieces, or the available moves for each piece, among other possibilities? Then the players playing the game would also be shaping the very nature of the game itself..
Not all strategy is a game of chess of course, but the analogy helps to motivate the distinction between searching and shaping in business strategy. Firms often search for ways to improve profits and gain competitive advantage within an established business context. If the context changes due to exogenous shifts in factors such as technological change and consumer tastes, firms then adapt by again searching for ways to improve their profits and attain competitive advantage. Some firms succeed in part or in whole, and others do not, closing shop or selling out. In this way, firms co-evolve with the industries and sectors in which they compete. But sometimes firms introduce innovations (in technology, products, resources, and the like) that not only benefit themselves but also fundamentally transform the business context for all firms.
...
Firms do not limit themselves to search in exogenously-determined business contexts. The strategy literature is replete with examples in which firms attempt to shape the contexts in which they do business to their advantage, such as by developing new technologies or altering relevant audience perceptions.
...
The critical distinction between shaping and search is whether firms create or alter the payoff structure for all firms in a given business context: search takes place within an exogenously- determined payoff structure, whereas shaping endogenously generates or transforms a payoff structure."
Tanta gente com direitos adquiridos e sempre a gritar:
- Onde está o meu queijo? Quem mexeu no meu queijo? Tenho direito ao meu queijo! Quero o meu queijo!

Os ratinhos que aparecem no iníci desse livro "Quem mexeu no meu queijo" não se interrogam. O queijo desapareceu, azar!
- Bora procurar uma alternativa! Bora criar uma alternativa!

A merecer reflexão (parte II)

Cada vez mais clientes usam os serviços da Spirit Airlines.

No entanto, "Companies That Mistreat Their Customers Are Mistreating Their Employees".

E recordar "A merecer reflexão" (Outubro de 2016).

Lembro-me de ler um artigo que dizia que quando algo atingia o preço zero, comportamentos esquisitos podiam surgir. Aqui temos uma empresa que pratica preços super-baixos, deixa os clientes insatisfeitos, mas como o factor principal é o preço... o número de clientes continuam a crescer.


quarta-feira, setembro 25, 2019

Outra religião, a do big data

Ando mesmo interessado nos textos de Felin & Zenger
"No doubt bias and error are important concerns in strategic decision-making. Yet it seems quite a stretch to suggest that the original strategies developed by people like Apple’s Steve Jobs, Starbucks’ Howard Schultz, or even Walmart’s Sam Walton had much to do with error-free calculations based on big data. Their strategies, like most breakthrough strategies, emerged in settings with remarkably little data to process and little basis for calculation — situations in which the paths to value creation were highly uncertain and evidence was sparse. We are highly skeptical that debiasing decision making, eradicating errors, or ceding strategy to AI will improve strategizing, let alone lead to breakthrough strategies. [Moi ici: Pensamento bacteriologicamente puro, sem erros, totalmente justificável e matematizável é o da triade, dos encalhados. E perder o pé? E o optimismo não documentado? Valor não se calcula numa folha de cálculo, é um sentimento]
...
Composing valuable strategies requires seeing the world in new and unique ways. It requires asking novel questions that prompt fresh insight. Even the most sophisticated, deep-learning-enhanced computers or algorithms simply cannot generate such an outlook. But where does the uniqueness and novelty so essential to innovative strategic thinking come from? It comes from contrarian, perhaps even “distorted,” perceptions and beliefs about reality and the “facts” that surround us.
...
If everyone believes the same thing — or if everyone uses the same variables, information, and computational tools — the logical result is computational consistency, shared conclusions, and me-too strategies.
...
In setting strategy, deviation in judgment is a feature, not a bug.
...
It is tempting to believe that the right evidence and the right analysis will yield the right strategy. But just as customer surveys seldom lead to breakthrough products that capture the imagination of customers and markets, substantive strategy-making requires that we see well beyond the available data.
...
We view the strategist’s task as akin to an inkblot test, where participants are presented with highly ambiguous evidence and signals that afford many possible realities, but offer no single correct answer. With such tests, the very same evidence — an ambiguous picture or set of marks — can be interpreted correctly in many different ways.
...
Valuable strategizing demands this novel perception — an ability to see in ambiguous cues and data what others can’t see. Strategic thinking is fueled by the novelty of our observation, not its consistency. [Moi ici: Lembram-se do Serginho Centeno ou do André e as suas previsões do calçado, assentes em big data?] The object of strategic thinking is not to ensure that we all observe the same information and derive the same conclusion. It is precisely the opposite: If your desire is to be a value creator, you must aspire to see what others cannot."

Trechos retirados de "What Sets Breakthrough Strategies Apart".

Um mar de heterogeneidade (Parte I)

"Why are some companies more productive than others? And why do certain divisions within those companies perform better than others do? Research has shown that top performers tend to invest more in research and development, adopt better technology, and employ a more educated workforce. [Moi ici: Poderíamos resumir, depois do que temos lido de Felin e Zenger que "Top performers haver better theories"]
...
Nicholas A. Bloom [Moi ici: Um velho conhecido deste blogue] ... found that management practices accounted for about one-fifth of the variation in productivity among plants. Management style had the same effect as R&D spending — and twice the impact of technology spending — in explaining productivity differences.
.
There’s an overwhelmingly strong relationship between structured management and performance,” Bloom says.
...
The researchers found that plants where managers carefully monitored the manufacturing process, production targets, and employee performance, and used that data to inform decisions, were more successful. Plants where leaders infrequently reviewed performance indicators and targets, and promoted employees based on tenure or connections rather than achievement, fared worse. These links remained strong after controlling for workers’ education level, the age of the plant and firm, and a wide range of other factors. Plants with more structured management performed better than other sites within the same firm, and plants that adopted more of these strategies saw their performance improve over time.
...
One takeaway of the study was just how differently plants are managed, even within the same state or industry. In fact, 40% of the total difference in productivity was among plants within the same firm. [Moi ici: Algo sobre o qual escrevemos aqui há milhares de anos] That means that the attributes of a CEO, corporate governance, and company ownership can’t easily explain a large share of the differences in management practices.
.
“It’s astounding,” Bloom says. “Some managers monitor huge amounts of data, and others seem to operate entirely by gut instinct.” [Moi ici: Uma classificação que quem anda no terreno nunca faria, é o pão nosso de cada dia]
...
“You would think all firms would be well-managed and doing the right thing, but they’re not,” Bloom says. “I guess firms are like people — we all have our faults.” [Moi ici: Come on Bloom, esperava que já estivesses mais calejado nestas cenas]"

Trechos retirados de "How Much Does Management Matter to Productivity?"

terça-feira, setembro 24, 2019

Num mundo sem patentes

Ao longo dos anos tenho escrito aqui sobre um futuro sem patentes:

Mongo será um mundo sem patentes (não se confundam, não falo de contrafacção), "Facebook may copy your app, but Amazon will copy your shoe":
"Num mundo sem patentes... tudo é acelerado.
.
A única forma de uma empresa se manter à tona é nunca parar, é estar sempre à frente da onda."

“whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use” (Parte IV)

Parte I, parte II e parte III.
"The theory-based view has equally important implications for understanding the markets that surround organizations. While economics has traditionally focused on asymmetric information, idiosyncratic history, and bounded rationality to explain the heterogeneous outcomes that play out in markets, we anchor on divergent theories held by economic actors. ... “into the sentiments and minds of the actors” ... “a theory of people with theories”. Our assumption of an economy with a multitude of economic actors who possess potentially divergent theories of value has important implications for how we understand the economics and very nature of markets—both the markets through which theories are pursued and the markets through which theories are funded.
...
there is nothing inherent to assets or objects that allows us to conclusively delineate all possible uses, though efficient markets hypotheses make precisely this assumption. Furthermore, any number of assets and objects in the world are scarcely even priced, thus simply waiting for the right theory to provide them with use, relevance, and meaning. From the perspective of the theory-based view, the idea of any form of efficiency or full rationality in the use of resources or assets in an economy is a fiction, perhaps only applicable for some cases of pure competition.
.
The domain of strategy fundamentally is concerned with novel, unanticipated, and hidden sources of value, which we argue are unlocked through firm-specific theories. Naturally there might be hindrances in the emergence of novelty and heterogeneity. Humans naturally fixate on those functions and uses of objects that are common, which indeed creates discrepancies and opportunities in markets, which in turn readily allow savvy entrepreneurs with novel theories to find bargains and new uses.
...
the theory-based view highlights that economic actors in markets compete for resources on the basis of the theories they possess. This competition is driven by different visions of the future, and has an important social component.
...
in our interactions with entrepreneurs, executives, and firms we ask the following questions:
  • What do you believe that no one else believes? Why?
  • What specifically is your firm’s theory of value? How is that different from others? If your theory is so unique, then what specific assets would you say are underpriced (or even unpriced)?
  • Is your theory of value novel, simple, and elegant? Is it falsifiable? Does it rule out some experiments and point toward others? Is it generalizable and generative?
  • What problem is no one solving? Or put differently, what problems do you (or others) need to solve to realize your vision of the future? How will you solve these problems?
  • Who do you need to convince (or incentivize) for your theory to be realized?
  • What funding and governance mechanisms will best enable you to realize your theory?"
Trechos retirados de "The Theory-Based View: Economic Actors as Theorists" de Teppo Felin e Todd R. Zenger, publicado por Strategy Science Vol. 2, No. 4, Dezembro 2017, pp. 258–271.


segunda-feira, setembro 23, 2019

As minhas dúvidas

A SIC passa a mensagem "Tradicionais feiras de calçado têm cada vez menos visitantes". Pelas entrevistas vemos um padrão: do fabricante/marca para o consumidor (M2C).

Em 2016 escrevíamos isto ""De tão concentrado no corte dos custos"" sobre a tendência M2C.

Na semana passada vimos "Grupo de Guimarães lança plataforma para “revolucionar comercialização do calçado". Durante o mês de Agosto vimos "Why Manufacturers Will Become the Next Big E-Commerce Brands".

Sim, mas.

Este blogue é um promotor da subida na escala de valor desde quando poucos sabiam o que isso era ou significava. No entanto, este blogue não gosta de mandar inocentes para a frente de batalha para serem carne para canhão. A APICAPS fez a contabilidade em Fevereiro deste ano, "Calçado cria 238 marcas desde 2010".

Quantas marcas desapareceram desde então? Seria uma outra contabilidade interessante.
Quanto valor foi destruído desde 2010 com marcas que já morreram?

Temos vindo a apontar aqui no blogue nos últimos dias os nossos sublinhados sobre a abordagem de Teppo Felin e Todd R. Zenger em relação à estratégia. Temos ao longo dos anos referido aqui no blogue a mensagem de Ricardo Hausmann, os macacos não voam.

Onde quero chegar?
A empresa bem sucedida como fabricante é talhada e moldada num conjunto de experiências e desafios que não a prepara para as experiências e desafios do mundo das marcas. Faz-me recordar o velho engenheiro Matsumoto. O mundo fábrica é o mundo da eficiência, o mundo da marca é o mundo da eficácia.

Talvez a política oficial da APICCAPS passe por esta aposta nas marcas, mas eu, anónimo engenheiro da província, tenho as minhas dúvidas. Preferia uma aposta naquilo em que temos tradição, uma aposta na fábrica do futuro, para dar resposta à procura do futuro.

Podem bater-me à vontade, está aqui uma evolução face ao meu posicionamento de 2007.

Practicing the noble art of cheating (part V)

Part I, Part IIPart III e Part IV.

Let us go back to the last picture of Part IV ...
... and let us select the elements of the cause-effect relationship that are in red.
These elements are coded because they were written by someone individually, ideally even anonymously, so that the elements are more freely evaluated by all.
And now, with the group in front of the relationship we can ask:
- Why does A2 happen? What may be behind A2?
- Why does B2 happen? What may be behind B2?

Speculation will start to arise and we may agree on a first cause
Whe have safety accidents because staff do not know the risks.
Why staff do not know about security risks?
Staff do not know about security risks because we do not train staff.
E also have staff accidents because we have no safety protection systems in place.

Good practice is to ask "why" at least 5 times. In this way we move towards root causes, something that influences the end result and can be manipulated by us.

Successively asking why sometimes leads us back to a point already described, namely:
Do you see that? Do you see a loop there?
This technique leads us to identify a cycle that conspires in a normally dangerous way. Especially when they have the power to accelerate autocatalytically. The more accidents occur, the more potential is created for new accidents to occur in the future. Who taught me the ABC of systemic thinking, Peter Senge, places at the center of these cycles the icon of an avalanche descending through a mountainous ridge. The farther down, the more voluminous and destructive the avalanche.

We do not train staff because we have no time available for training.
Why do we have no time available for training staff? Because we lack human resources!!! So, we went back to the starting point.

The exercise should also be done by looking ahead for the future. Can any of the post-its on the board be the cause of something still to describe?

Now instead of "why" I use the expression: "And" as a way of appealing to a criterion of importance.
For example: we lack human resources. And? Why should we worry about this? What may be the consequences of this situation?
If staff is lacking, then existing staff must systematically extend their working hours.
The SME owner could comment:
- And? or "So what?" This is not a problem. I do not pay them overtime.
- OK! And what can happen because of the systematic use of overtime, paid or unpaid?
- People saturate, get tired, want to live their extra work life.
- And?
- Some say goodbye and leave the company. Others begin to fall ill and often fail to come to work. Others come to work, but without the necessary attention.
- And?
WOW! See what just happened?
We identified three more cycles that conspire to maintain and worsen the status quo. How can a company aspire to enter a virtuous cycle if, in this restricted scope alone, we find four vicious cycles. And as long as these cycles are not broken we are wearing bandages, we are making corrections, we are feeding imbalances that we will sooner or later be unable to contain, to hide, to control.

For simplification let us only use three cycles:
Now we have to identify all sticky notes that have no upstream arrows, no upstream causes, they represent root causes, they are root causes. In our example we have (see the yellow sticky notes):

Let us also identify sticky notes that include "no(t)", things we don't have or don't do:


Strategic initiatives will be projects, action plans, dedicated to surgically eliminating root causes and the various "no(t)".
Remember the figure of the monstrous earthmoving machine in part III?

I use it to get here and to highlight the specificity of what is going to be proposed, the degree of detail, as well as the authorship of these proposals, people who suffer from these problems and who are involved, challenged to give their opinion. People with tremendous motivation to perform, because it is their everyday work and they were the creators of the action plan.

Going back to the sticky notes, now of another color, we can place over each root cause or no(t), one or more elementary actions to eliminate these causes.
"Streamline staffing" (we often don't need to hire more people, we just need to transfer people from some sectors to others) to eliminate "The staff number is very restricted"
First "Update job descriptions and competence requirements", then "Train staff" to eliminate "We do not train staff"
"Allow time for training" (be creative, you don't need to do training seated in a room, on-job-training? games? films?) to eliminate "No time available for training"
"Design and implement safety protection systems" to eliminate "We have no safety accident protection systems"

If we impleent those actions what will, most likely,  happen? See the green sticky notes


But ...
If we no longer have lack of human resources... staff no longer needs to systematically extend working hours... Do you know what that means?


The chain of effects downstream no longer happens!!!

So, what do we need to do?


How to turn this into an action plan, a strategic initiative?
We have to answer the questions:
Who? When? Sequence? Time? Cost?

Et voilá!
We come to a detailed action plan arising from the strategy described in the strategy map.

Normally a team of 6 or 7 can generate 3 to 5 pages like this one:

Using the technique of sticky notes with different colors (gray is action; green is something you cannot change)

Then we list all gray sticky notes ...
... and start to make groups of gray sticky notes around a common theme. For example:

  • marketing and brand
  • production and efficiency
  • innovation and interested parties
  • marketing and influencers.
What do you think about this technique?
Would you like to try it?

domingo, setembro 22, 2019

Inovação e curiosidade

Muitas vezes vejo artigos sobre inovação a confundir variabilidade com variedade.

Inovação tem tudo a ver com variedade, e variedade com curiosidade e criatividade.
"Most of the breakthrough discoveries and remarkable inventions throughout history, from flints for starting a fire to self-driving cars, have something in common: They are the result of curiosity. The impulse to seek new information and experiences and explore novel possibilities is a basic human attribute. New research points to three important insights about curiosity as it relates to business. First, curiosity is much more important to an enterprise’s performance than was previously thought.
...
Second, by making small changes to the design of their organizations and the ways they manage their employees, leaders can encourage curiosity—and improve their companies.
...
Third, although leaders might say they treasure inquisitive minds, in fact most stifle curiosity, fearing it will increase risk and inefficiency. [Moi ici: Aumentar a eficiência passa por reduzir a variabilidade. É a cozinha do McDonald's, experiências não são permitidas - execução, execução, execução]
...
My own research confirms that encouraging people to be curious generates workplace improvements.
...
Twice a week for four weeks, half of them received a text message at the start of their workday that read, “What is one topic or activity you are curious about today? What is one thing you usually take for granted that you want to ask about? Please make sure you ask a few ‘Why questions’ as you engage in your work throughout the day. Please set aside a few minutes to identify how you’ll approach your work today with these questions in mind.”"
Trechos retirados de "Why Curiosity Matters"

“whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use” (Parte III)

Parte I e parte II.


"Better theories explain and predict more with less. For the same reason that one-to-one maps of reality are useless, valuable theories must be parsimonious and simple.
...
From the perspective of cognition and perception, we know that humans similarly miss all manner of “obvious” things in their environments—including sources of value— in our immediate visual scenes, unless they are asking the right questions, or are armed with the right problem, or are operating with the right theories.
...
[Moi ici: O trecho que se segue fez-me logo lembrar o truque que aprendi com Roger Martin, o de negar uma estratégia e ver se o inverso é estúpido. Este trecho também faz pensar em Porter quando este afirma que é tão importante o que uma estratégia implica não fazer como o que implica fazer. Por fim, faz lembrar também as estratégias híbridas e as puras] As Popper notes: “Every ‘good’ theory is a prohibition: it forbids certain things to happen. The more a theory forbids, the better it is.” Of course, scientists are interested in verifying and falsifying theories for the sake of advancing knowledge, but economic theorists are interested in creating value by pursuing strategic actions consistent with their theories, while avoiding those that don’t. The virtue of a falsifiable economic theory is that it provides clear prescriptions about what strategic experiments or actions are consistent with the theory and thus worth taking up and which are not."

sábado, setembro 21, 2019

“whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use” (Parte II)

Parte I.
"As with scientific theories, an economic theory commonly originates with a question or problem, either one widely recognized or one entirely unseen by others. Such problems or questions may prompt a novel hypothesis or conjecture about paths to a solution, and lead to experimentation. Through further refinements, partly informed by experimental actions, the problem becomes more fully framed, and a more well-formulated theory may emerge.
...
Valuable theories—whether scientific ones or economic theories of value—perform several key sight-giving functions. By effectively framing a problem or a set of problems, a theory provides a coherent, abstract, causal representation of the world. It serves not as a (or the) representation of the world, per se, but rather as a map of what might be observed: a way of seeing things that may not be evident or obvious to others. A theory provides predictions about observations, future states, and the emergence or dynamics of the problem. A theory permits counterfactual inference, allowing an economic actor to infer what might happen in response to a given action, and it allows the interpretation of evidence obtained from that action.
...
Valuable theories require a contrarian belief....
However, in the economic context, if a view or theory is commonly held by others, then it is logically unable to yield new insights about novel uses of resources, novel observations, and sources of opportunity. Thus, valuable economic theories must “go against the tide” of common opinion, facts, and wisdom, and thereby permit vision that others lack. Novel theories are essentially bets against “the market” or bets against common understandings about what might be valuable. [Moi ici: Foi aqui que escrevi a tal nota sobre a galeria de cromos, Zapatero e os cemitérios]
...
A valuable economic theory, then, frames a problem and encapsulates a novel belief about a possible future in which that problem is solved. It prompts a theory-guided search for resources and solutions to then solve it and create that future. A firm with a theory, therefore, attends to its environment with a specific lens—with the aforementioned Suchbild in mind (a set of questions and problems)—for which it seeks solutions. Moreover, there is an inherent back-and-forth or toggling between beliefs or theories and questions or problems. Beliefs reveal problems, which, as they become better framed, emerge as theories and hypotheses. Alternatively, initial problems may generate conjectures, which generate new problems and questions that ultimately lead to a well-composed theory."

Trechos retirados de "The Theory-Based View: Economic Actors as Theorists" de Teppo Felin e Todd R. Zenger, publicado por Strategy Science Vol. 2, No. 4, Dezembro 2017, pp. 258–271.

Fundir ou eliminar marcas

A propósito deste artigo "Why Consolidating Brands Can Be a Strategic Mistake" que termina assim:
"The lesson for managers? Don’t confuse your sense of the company’s identity with your customers’ sense of your brands’ identities. If you do, you’ll only spread your own confusion."
Faz-me recuar no tempo:

O artigo inicial chama atenção para o que a maioria esquece:
"Interestingly, companies that are expert in branding are usually comfortable with managing the brands separately. Executives at P&G, for instance, have a very strong sense of corporate identity even while they manage a huge portfolio of standalone branded businesses – and with multiple brands in each segment."
Julgo que a maioria dos decisores por fusão ou eliminação de marcas não percebem que os clientes são heterogéneos e valorizam diferentes propostas de valor. Como só pensam em reduzir custos, passam ao lado de um instrumento de marketing que podia ser utilizado de forma interessante aqui em Mongo.

sexta-feira, setembro 20, 2019

“whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use” (Parte I)

No sábado passado comecei a ler, a saborear, este artigo, "The Theory-Based View: Economic Actors as Theorists" de Teppo Felin e Todd R. Zenger, publicado por Strategy Science Vol. 2, No. 4, Dezembro 2017, pp. 258–271.

Foi uma excelente surpresa. Uma abordagem sobre a estratégia com algumas novidades e sob um prisma completamente diferente do habitual. Algumas das ideias alinham-se com algumas das nossa reflexões (como em "Para assentar ideias").
"In this paper we focus instead on economic actors’ capacity to theorize, just like scientists, and argue that the theories actors generate animate markets and reveal paths to value creation.
...
To address the limitations of an omniscient and efficient view of markets, strategy scholars have postulated several alternative value-generating paths to heterogeneity. Two seem particularly salient for our purposes. First, heterogeneity may reflect a firm’s initial resource endowment that results from luck or the firm’s unique history. These initial endowments provide a source of difference and latent possibility and a vehicle for building capabilities over time. Second, heterogeneity may result from cognitive limitations and behavioral failures. The fact that the rationality of some market actors “falls short of omniscience” creates heterogeneity and opportunities. Economic actors neither act rationally nor omnisciently when purchasing assets and making economic decisions — because of cognitive bounds and the limits of human information processing — which in turn leads to heterogeneity. In short, the suboptimal decisions of some economic actors open up the possibility for creating and finding value.
...
While the two above sources of heterogeneity provide useful explanations, we suggest an alternative path, one that emphasizes the human capacity to ask novel questions, frame novel problems, and compose novel theories.
...
Whether in the realm of scientific discovery or economic value creation, theories guide perception and observation—they shape what we see. As simply put by Einstein, “whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use”. In other words, without questions and theories, things in our environment—even obvious ones— often remain hidden and outside our awareness. Our physical reality and environment has a large if not infinite variety of features, characteristics, and possibilities that remain latent or dormant. However, theories provide a mechanism that allows for salience and unique observation. Novel theories, sparked by novel questions and novel problem frames, allowus to see, look for, and express that which may previously have escaped awareness. And importantly, the reinterpretation of even mundane objects, events, occurrences, or readily visible factors may take on completely new meaning and insight in light of the novel theories we possess.
.
Economic theories of value, as held by entrepreneurs and managers, are no different in shaping what is observed. These theories, as animated by questions and problems, provide the underlying instruments and vehicles for identifying previously unseen sources of value. [Moi ici: Recordo aqui o caso do burel e outros] They reveal new possible uses and functions— called “affordances”—for common objects and new combinations. While traditional approaches to markets focus on prices and the informational content that price might provide, economic actors with theories and opinions—as we will discuss and illustrate—can identify sources of value in unpriced factors or identify unpriced value by identifying new uses and affordances for assets.
...
Perception scholars have persuasively shown that there is no way to exhaustively capture or represent a visual scene or environment. Any visual scene has a massive number of features and characteristics that could be attended to, and thus we necessarily attend to the world in more directed and focused fashion. Organisms—humans included—attend to their surroundings not in a computational or camera-like sense but rather through the questions, problems, hypotheses, and theories that they have in mind and impose on the world. Thus salience and observation, in terms of what we are aware of, are driven by theories and questions and not by the inherent characteristics (called “natural assessments” in the literature), presence or even nature of objects. This intuition, intriguingly, was featured in some of Simon’s early work, when he argued that “a subject perceives what he is ‘ready’ to perceive in it; the more complex and ambiguous the stimulus, the more the perception is determined by what is already ‘in’ the subject and less by what is in the stimulus”.
...
Essential to our theory-based view, then, is the recognition that we attend to our surroundings and environment looking for something, rather than neutrally recording or scanning its contents. This “looking for” is different from comparison or calculation. Here salience and awareness are driven by the questions that we impose on the world, and the search for specific answers.
...
Perception and observation are never neutral, or some kind of pure, mind- or organism-independent recording or capturing of what is objectively there, but rather “observation comes after expectation and hypothesis”. ... Thus, the mapping is from mind-to-world rather than world-to-mind.
.
In sum, we argue that perception and observation do not happen based on the actual nature or characteristics of stimuli or objects themselves but rather it happens on the basis of the questions and theories that economic actors impose on situations and environments. This leaves the world poised for constant reinterpretation and possibility, as perception is not passive or automatic, but generative, though requiring a theory and “readiness to perceive”....Thus, we see theories within the context of economics and strategy as serving the same function as they do in human and scientific contexts as well. They are the human “Suchbild”—search or seek images— that direct our attention and awareness. Theories represent instruments for making previously unobserved facets in and of the environment more salient. And theories of economic value guide our awareness toward specific observations and factors that may readily have been missed by others and reveal potentially valuable assets and opportunities others overlook."

E quem manda no dono da prateleira?

Em Dezembro de 2007 neste blogue escrevia-se:
"Quem controla a prateleira, controla o acesso ao mercado, controla a relação com os clientes.
.
Se uma empresa produz um produto, mas não consegue chegar aos consumidores, esse produto e essa empresa não existem!"
Em Fevereiro de 2012 neste blogue escrevia-se:
"A única forma de fazer frente ao poder do dono da prateleira é seduzir aquele que manda no dono da prateleira, o consumidor!!!"
Há dias em "The relationship with the customer" Seth Godin bate na mesma tecla:
"There are countless factories vying to sell generic products to the companies that own the customer relationship. Perhaps 90% (sometimes 100%) of the profit goes to companies that make the sale, not the ones who actually made the product.
.
That’s because while they make the thing, they don’t do the work. The hard part is earning attention and trust. The hard part is helping someone make the choice. (There’s a difference between the hard part and the important part. Without the factory, there’s nothing to sell. Making it is important. But increasingly, it’s not the hard part.)
...
Either you’re doing the hard part or you’re left out of the transaction."
O que é que a sua PME faz para não ser excluída da mente de quem manda no dono da prateleira?

quinta-feira, setembro 19, 2019

Curiosidade do dia

"Entretidos a distribuir, estes amigos parlamentares esqueceram-se de competir e não trouxeram nada de novo (e até, como na política de saúde, proibiram o que havia de inovador) a uma economia estagnada com uma população em processo de envelhecimento rápido e irreversível. Estes amigos ignoraram que a responsabilidade política é construir o futuro, não é distribuir o passado.
...
Para sair desta armadilha precisa de assumir a necessidade do regime de rendimentos crescentes, desistindo da ilusão distributiva de tirar a uns para dar a outros - porque acabaremos todos sem nada, o que é o destino final dos regimes dos rendimentos decrescentes."

Trecho retirado daqui.

Practicing the noble art of cheating (part IV)

Parte I, Parte II and Parte III.

We have a strategy map and we assigned indicators to each strategic objective. For each indicator we can measure current performance, the today's results, and we settle targets for future performance.
As we wrote before in Part III, today's organization generates today's results in a perfectly normal way. More demanding future desired results have to be generated by a different organization, the desired future's organization. So, to get that performance improvement we need to tramsform the current organization.

There is no chance. Sustainable performance improvements don't happen by accident.

Normally, we set a time frame between today's result and meeting the target. For example, we say that in the next 12 months the organization will increase its productive capacity utilization rate from 55,9 to 85%.

And I question you: Why 12 months? Why not tomorrow or next month?
And you answer: Because we are not yet the organization of the desired future, the one able to generate the desired performance.
Then I add: the strategy map is a theory, a hypothesis about how the organization will improve its performance, but the present organization is still not there.
So I ask: where are the weak spots that prevent us today from having the desired future performance? Concentrate on them, they are what restricts us, what constrains us from achieving our goals.
Let us look into the gap between today's results and desired future results as a perfectly normal and legitimate product of our current set of processes (that's how we work, how we manage, how we train, how we learn, ...)
Those current processes include within, a set of systemic structures that conspire (I use this word here because it seems perfect for what I want to communicate) so that today's results differ from desired future's results. Those systemic structures generate behavior patterns that quite naturally are behind today's results.
To eliminate the gap between today and the desired future we need to identify and eliminate the root causes behind those systemic structures through a set of action plans, strategic initiatives, which will transform today's organization into the desired future's organization and that way generate the set of processes of the future.

We will use a trick to identify the systemic structures: compare current performance with desired future performance. So, plunge into that gap and identify a negative fact. A fact is a fact. A fact cannot be denied. A fact is no theory. Everyone can see that fact. Be as specific as possible.

Gather a diverse group of people who together know the organization at several levels and from different perspectives. Ideally most of them were present when the strategy map was drawn. Remember to all the strategy map, the importance of the cause effect relationships and highlight the fact that the organization is still not the organization of the desired future, highlight the gaps in performance and give everyone a generous amount of sticky notes. Then ask them to individually and anonymously write a negative fact per sticky note and record as many negative facts as anyone can.
An example of a negative fact can be:

1. The machines have been down for a long time (x hours or y%)

When everybody finishes with the negative facts ask them to keep their facts secret and ask them to speculate. Ask them to give their opinion. Ask them to write down the causes that they think are behind each of the negative facts.
One cause per sticky note
For example:

A1. We do not perform preventive maintenance
B1. We have no critical spare parts

When everybody finishes with the causes ask them to give a final step and ask them to write down their opinion about why each negative fact is important for our strategy execution. One reason for importance per sticky note.
Example:
a1. Lost production capacity

This is what we are doing:
In this way we draw a cause-effect relationship anchored in reality, in a negative fact, something that no one can deny.

Negative facts are real but they can have no impact in the organization's strategy. 
I always use the example:
The company's last Christmas party was a failure.
Truth? Yes!
Relevant to the strategy? Most likely not!

So, we must test the importance criteria and check if they have any connection with strategy. Check if the importance criteria violates any promise from the strategy map:

In this example: Lost production capacity clearly goes against complying with prodution plans and maximizing usage capacity.

This way of working with facts, causes and importance criteria make us look into the organization at different levels of abstraction:
The following table can represent the contribution of one person:
Imagine that your team has 7 persons. 
Imagine that each person records 5 negative facts. So, you will have 35 cause effect relationships.
Imagine that 5 are similar to others. So, you will have 30 cause effect relationships.

Test all those negative facts to check if they are really relevant for strategy:

Now, look into the set of 30 cause-effect relationships and see if you can find new relationships among two of them. For example:
The effect "a1.Lost production capacity" acts as the cause that generates the effect "A3.We have stock shortages". And then A3 becomes the cause that generates "3.We carry unmatured product"

Go back to the remaining 28 cause-effect relationships and see if you can find one that relates very well with this two. Normally, people find more and more relationships. After some they will start to write new sticky notes because seeing all these at a wall make them find new relationships (that is why I use a codification for each individual negative fact, the new ones have no code, they are a product of team interaction)

After some iterations we can get a picture like this:
That is why I like to use the word "conspiracy".
Can you see how many feedback loops we have acting on the system?
If we want to improve we have to break this self-reinforcing cycles.

This post is already too long, in Part V I will present my technique to go from the conspiracy cycles into a set of very focused action plans, the strategic initiatives.

Other examples of conspiracy cycles (in Portuguese) herehere and here.