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The Long Tail: Infinite Consumer Choice

The Long Tail

The Long TailThe Long Tail is the other half of the same chart we saw in an earlier Big Ideas article: the Pareto Principle. Vilfredo Pareto took an interest in the head of the chart, where a small number of people accounted for a huge proportion of wealth. In 2006, Chris Anderson published a book that looked at the huge number of products that form the remainder, when you exclude the few that account for the majority of sales.

How many categories of item does Amazon list? I found the statistic from January 2018 that:

Amazon lists more than 3 billion products across 11 marketplaces worldwide.

But most of their sales and revenue come from the top few highest performing goods in each category. A small number of books may sell thousands a month. But there are millions of books that rarely sell any in a given month… or year.

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Tribes: From Shared Interest to Change

Tribes

TribesSeth Godin is a marketer and a communicator. His stream of valuable ideas about 21st century marketing is something we’ve written about before. And we’ve featured his idea of Permission Marketing in a previous Big Ideas article. But perhaps the most resonant of his ideas is that of Tribes. This is the idea that marketers need to lead change. And we do that by building a coalition of the willing: a tribe of like-minded people who share our vision.

What I like best about Godin’s idea of Tribes is that it works well on two totally different levels. And different managers in our readership will find greatest resonance in one or the other. The idea of tribes can be about:

  • leading change to build a better future
  • creating demand for a new product, idea, or service

So, Tribes is a big idea about change leadership or about marketing… or maybe about both.

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Transformational Leadership: Values-driven Change

Transformational Leadership

Transformational LeadershipCan there be some big ideas that underpin the emergence of others? That’s a question that James McGregor Burns tackled in much of his writing. And the answer he gives us is ‘yes’. That big idea is Transformational Leadership.

It’s not surprising that leadership is a common topic for us, here at the Management Pocketblog. There must be a dozen different models to choose from among our articles. But Transformational Leadership is one we have returned to a number of times.

We do so, because it repays careful study. It is an idea that changed my thinking and has huge value for any manager or leader in business or public or community service.

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Behavioural Economics: You aren’t as Rational as You Think

Behavioural Economics

Behavioural EconomicsIt turns out that you aren’t as rational as you may have thought. So, traditional economic theories that assume you are, are… well, flawed. We need an approach that accounts for self-interest and lazy mental short-cuts. Enter Behavioural Economics.

We’ve already told the foundation story of Behavioural Economics in our Management Thinkers series. There we looked at the two men who received Nobel Prizes in Economics for their work in the field:

  1. Daniel Kahneman won his in 2002
  2. Richard Thaler won his in 2017

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5S: Organise Your Workplace

5S: Organise Your Workplace

Here at Management Pocketblog, we love the ideas that come out of Japanese manufacturing. And none more so than the 5S approach to creating and maintaining an efficient workspace.

Originating with the work of Hiroyuki Hirano, and rapidly adopted into the Toyota Production System, 5S is now an essential part of Lean Manufacturing and Just in Time processes. It has also been adopted into the Six Sigma quality process tool set.

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Blue Ocean Strategy: Winning through Value Innovation

Blue Ocean Strategy

Blue Ocean StrategyLike so many big ideas, Blue Ocean Strategy was not new when its founders conceived it. They just gave it a resonant name and started to flesh out the idea.

In this case, it was W Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. They gave their Blue Ocean Strategy concept a set of case studies to tempt new adopters, and some thinking tools to give them confidence. The result is an approach to developing new products and services with a 15-year track record.

If you’ve not yet encountered Blue Ocean Strategy and the concept of Value Innovation, it’s well worth exploring.

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The Trust Equation

The Trust Equation

The Trust EquationThe Trust Equation is an attempt to highlight the key features of trust in a professional setting. And it does a very good job.

And this is super-helpful to any professional, manager, or team leader, for a simple reason. Trust is your stock-in-trade. If your team, customers, and bosses don’t trust you, you have nothing but a job title. The extent to which you can get things done in a leadership role depends largely on trust.

But how do you inspire that trust? This is what the Trust Equation will show you.

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Cognitive Bias – Getting it Wrong

Cognitive Bias

Cognitive BiasYour brain is wired to think fast. So, to do this, it needs to take shortcuts, that psychologists call heuristics. But these shortcuts don’t always give the right answer. They give rise to cognitive bias.

Cognitive bias is the result of the shortcuts. If every car door you’ve ever encountered opens outwards, it’s a good bet that the next one you encounter will too. That’s a bias in your assumptions. Usually, it serves you well. One day, it may let you down.

But the cognitive biases that we need to worry about are those that are baked into our mental operating system. We make the mistakes without realising it. They lead to bad decisions – sometimes to catastrophe.

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Benchmarking – Keeping up with the neighbours

Benchmarking

BenchmarkingWhat if you want to improve the performance of your business or public service? You could study it carefully and hope to find inefficiencies and novel approaches. But maybe you could compare your practices to those of another organisation. That’s the essence of Benchmarking.

The idea of benchmarking is to compare yourself with others, to get new ideas from them, and to learn from what works for them. It’s a powerful idea that allowed Japanese manufacturing to catch up with and overtake the US. And then it helped the US regain lost ground, by codifying what the Japanese had learned, and the improvements they had made.

But it’s not universally loved. There are problems. That said, benchmarking is a big idea that every manager should be aware of.

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Authenticity – Congruence for the 21st Century

Authenticity

AuthenticityNobody likes a fraud… yet we tolerate them. Nobody wants to be a phoney… but we all let ourselves down on occasion. But regardless of our actions, we all value authenticity.

The challenge of course is not just to recognise it, and distinguish the authentic from the ersatz.

It’s to form a clear idea of what you mean by authenticity. Because in modern business and professional parlance, it’s become a bit of a chameleon.

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