Tuesday, June 20, 2017

5 Leadership Lessons from the Indian Meltdown (ICC Champions Trophy Final- Cricket)

ICC Champions Trophy Final June 18, 2017; India lose by 180 runs

Pakistan 338-4 (50 overs) ; India 158 (30.3 overs)

1. The Game Is Not Over Till It Is Over: Play till the End.

While the Pakistani team even after building a clear path to victory continued to play with the same vigor; the Indians had essentially given up after their first few wickets fell in quick succession. Only one player (Hardik Pandya) took the fight to the other camp but he too was let down by his own team-mate in a disastrous run-out.
Turnarounds are possible in any game.......and in business and life.
For a successful leader the zeal to recover from losses, regroup and fight till the end with an indomitable spirit needs to exist at all times.

2. All for One, One for All: No First Among Equals.

Over-hyping the contributions of some players like Virat Kohli and M.S. Dhoni made the team mentally over-dependent on them resulting in a situation where the team was psychologically undermined when these players were quickly knocked out of the game.
Also, players need to be willing to take one for the team and sacrifice their own personal agenda in case another player is better suited to take the cause forward (Seeing the way Hardik was playing; Jadeja should have been willing to sacrifice his own wicket as the run-out fiasco played out)
A successful leader needs to acknowledge and recognize key contributors but not at the cost of undermining the efficiency and efficacy of the entire team. No one is indispensable and the game needs to go on even if some key players get knocked out early.

3. Manage Expectations.

The Indian Team had tried to temper the unrealistic expectations that had been created for them by the media. However, the weight of the nation’s over-hyped expectations was like an albatross around the team-member’s necks. The Pakistan team despite the expectations from their own nation managed to create an under dog image. As a result every win of the Pakistan team was a bonus for the fans (esp. after a string of early losses, including one to India).
A successful leader needs to manage the expectations of the stakeholders, ground them in reality and also shield the team from the unreasonableness.

4. Be Flexible, Creative and Responsive: You are only as good as your Plan B.

The Indian team failed to respond flexibly and creatively to the Pakistani onslaught. They seemed to be caught in a warped game-plan and were not able to modify it once they saw it unraveling.
Successful leaders war-game different scenarios and the options to switch between them. Even if the real life scenario may turn out to be different, the practiced ability to switch between scenarios will come in handy. Very rarely will a one trick pony come out on top.

5. Stay Calm, Stay Focused and Execute.

Unfortunately the game played out to the stereotypical “Fail Under Pressure Indian Team” vs. “Go for the Kill Pakistani Team”.
I am not sure wearing ones emotions on one’s sleeves and creating hype ahead of the event is the best approach for high stress scenarios. There is something to be said about staying focused and keeping the emotions bottled up till after the game when they can be all let out.
Successful leaders have the ability to channelize their teams emotions – anger, sadness, joy towards achieving the goal at hand rather than wasting that energy on unproductive displays.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Healthcare Sector and the API Economy

Harvard Business Review talks about the The Untapped Potential of Health Care APIs
Leaders of most internet-based businesses have realized the critical importance of using open application programming interfaces (APIs) to expand the reach of their organizations. If the health care industry followed suit, the impact on the quality and cost of care, the patient’s experience, and innovation could be enormous.
IBM has outlined 5 entry points to an API Economy:
  • Creating value by offering APIs that others want
  • Using APIs to help your developers innovate freely
  • Supporting your mobile development team with APIs
  • Making APIs the common language in a hybrid world
  • Linking devices to data on the Internet of Things (IoT)
The first 3 ones seem to be most relevant for any corporation.
A next step could be an exercise to figure out what data resources a Corporation may have which there may be value in exposing to others via APIs.
Several healthcare related open APIs are now accessible via API markeplaces.
A good opportunity for some healthcare player may be moving a step up the value chain and creating a Healthcare API Management Portal/System . Lots of players – insurance companies, hospitals etc. would be providing APIs. APIs in many sectors are “open” APIs but in the healthcare sector there are several privacy related constraints so there is an opportunity for players to create a Healthcare API Management Portal/System which:
  • Helps set up and define rules related to who can access what and how much. A single point clearing house for validating requester credentials and matching it up with what access it should get him/her to the various discrete APIs accessed via the portal. Obviates the need to provide credentials multiple times.
  • Facilitates different sets of rules for different groups of people based on their role (caregiver vs. patient vs. provider etc.)
  • Monitor traffic for usage and abnormal spikes.
  • Provides analytics on how data is being used, for what and by whom.
I am not sure if any player has offered such a System yet. If not, then a good opportunity for someone to get in and get some early traction.
Users will like to have this portal/system because they will have a one-stop shop to access all healthcare related APIs presented to him in a curated fashion on a self-serve platform which s/he can customize/personalize. No need to provide security credentials multiple times.
Companies will like to use such a portal to list their APIs because it makes them easily available to a broader audience without dealing with headache of security validations etc. Reporting available to them as a package.
The business model can either be subscription based from users or could be free for users but a fees from institutional participants. The portal could be accessible as a customized plug-in on institutional websites too.
I may be getting ahead of myself though. Or maybe, not.

My Copier/Toaster Knows I Am Angry!: Building Emotion AI in Devices.

What if your Copier or your Toaster knew you were getting angry or were in a hurry and could change device settings appropriately to deal with that ?
Emotion AI is emerging as a major tool with applications across many industries. Per KBR Research Global Emotion Detection market expected to grow to $29B by 2022 at CAGR of 27.4%
Think of Cars that sense fatigue, distraction and occupant mood. Car senses that you are getting angry and could make your brakes more responsive?
The same technology can be integrated into many of our devices. This is part of trend to humanize technology with Emotion Intelligence by enabling machines to be emotion-aware and by allowing consumers and businesses to get emotion analytics.
Current technology (viz. Affectiva) leverages facial recognition and a vast database linking facial expressions with emotions. In the future the sensing can be tactile too. Your smartphone senses/detects that you are intoxicated or sleep deprived based on the way you are handling the device or the way you are typing and blocks you from sending any tweets saving you from embarrassment later on (Save you from a #covfefe moment!).
Think of your printer or toaster with camera sensors to detect your mood or better still, ones that leverage the built-in camera of smartphones to sense your mood as you use them to engage with other devices.
Yes Copier I am in a hurry, print out those copies faster, high resolution not needed!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

3 Disrupters* for the Copy/Print Industry

In the Harvard Business Review a few years ago I had written about how by focusing on down-stream disrupters and failing to recognize "platform disrupters" companies can miss the woods for the trees.
I see 3 such platform disrupters emerging in the Copy/Print Industry space:

#1: Robotic Process Automation

 In a widely noted study ("The Future of Employment") published in 2013, Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne concluded that
“recent developments in machine learning will put a substantial share of employment, across a wide range of occupations, at risk in the near future.” 
That may be a pessimistic view, the optimistic being that technology always creates more jobs than what it takes away. But all agree that the nature of work as we know it today will definitely change. A more automated workplace with lesser number of employees could drive down the demand for traditional copy/print.

#2: Smart Contracts

From Harvard Business Review ("Truth about Blockchain")
“Smart contracts” may be the most transformative blockchain application at the moment. These automate payments and the transfer of currency or other assets as negotiated conditions are met. For example, a smart contract might send a payment to a supplier as soon as a shipment is delivered. A firm could signal via blockchain that a particular good has been received—or the product could have GPS functionality, which would automatically log a location update that, in turn, triggered a payment. We’ve already seen a few early experiments with such self-executing contracts in the areas of venture funding, banking, and digital rights management.
The implications are fascinating. Firms are built on contracts, from incorporation to buyer-supplier relationships to employee relations. If contracts are automated, then what will happen to traditional firm structures, processes, and intermediaries like lawyers and accountants? And what about managers? Their roles would all radically change...."
As contracts become smart the need for printing associated documentation will diminish.

#3: API Economy

Like Uber for taxi industry, AirBnb for hotel industry – Managed Print Services (MPS) offerings from the API Marketplaces can be a major disrupter for the organized MPS sector.
Came across some companies which are offering Printer Monitoring in the cloud. The features they tout are : 
-          A complete API Platform for Printer
-          Build your own MPS solution etc. 
They have scaled subscription based model with subscriptions including among other things : Unlimited data retention, Unlimited API calls, Unlimited access to all available API, Unlimited access to Cloud Web Portal, Unlimited Users, Customers, DCA downloads, Tech support via email, ticket, chat etc.
Currently, however these solutions while low cost and simple, have less functionality than other 3rd party tools like FM Audit and lack key features .
However, these players are only likely to get better and evolve very rapidly. They may not be perceived as competitors by the mainstream players right now but they can catch up fast. I can visualize them becoming major disrupters – either standalone or in the hand of aggregators who bundle these capabilities with some others which the mainstream players may not even be thinking about right now.
The mainstream players can react to these ins several ways
·        opportunities for them to make some of their own APIs or tool suite available on such marketplaces.
·        Or build such a marketplace for Print related APIs.
·        Or augment some of their own offerings with some other capabilities (which may be non-print related) sourced from the open marketplace.


Hopefully, the mainstream players see these disrupters approaching in their rear-view mirrors and will take steps to ensure that the impact for them is not a "Big Bang".
I would hypothesize that most Disruptions can be prevented from having a Big Bang effect by smart companies by:
- early identification of emerging trends
- what-if /SWOT analysis to identify impact on existing business
- identify opportunities to leverage the emerging trend
- get "co-opted" into the evolution process
- ride the evolutionary wave and reap the benefits.
Companies which do not do so will feel the impact of what was actually an evolutionary process as if it was a "Big Bang". Guys who see an oncoming bus and prepare for it can run alongside it a bit and then board it ; guys who are oblivious will be "hit by a bus".
So that’s why I view most disruptions as evolutionary rather than Big Bang and recommend that organizations prepare for them that way. For each of the companies that have been highlighted as being affected by the Big Bang disruption there will be countless others who would have thrived from the same disruption.
 * Disrupter or Disruptor: I have chosen to use Disrupter!

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