Being Cross Cultural In A Global Economy

Being Cross Cultural In A Global Economy

One of the offshoots of being global in our business, in today world, is that we have infused cross-cultural paradigm into the manner in which we do business globally. But have businesses been successful in handling these cultural cross overs or are there challenges which have been overlooked, if not ignore?

Here is an interesting conversation on HBR podcast with Erin Meyer.

[SoundCloud.com] :

Three Creativity Challenges from IDEO’s Leaders

Everyone is creative in their own capacity and skill. We all think about problems and their possible solutions. But ideas done come easy, especially when you are seeking an idea that can translate into a product or a service or (for the enterprising kind) a star-up.

This article on HBR gives some simple, yet constructive and priming activities that will charge you grey matter to think laterally and out-of-the-box when seeking solutions and directions that are not yet defined in the conventional patterns of actionable.

Three exercises have been listed. There are more in the published book (linked in the article).

Have a go at it.

Do I need to have a responsive UI for my website?

Responsive Design

Being responsive assists you become dependable to your customers.

I intend to throw some light on responsive design and the though process that should go behind developing a responsive website. I hope it will allow the business stakeholders make a informed decision.

Responsive design allows a website to intelligently morph its UI to acomodate itself on the screen of the device the user would access it from. There is a lot more happening other than a mere rearrangement of the layout to facilitate the screen size.

Take a look at yellowpages.co.in which is a very good example of a well applied responsive design to a website. If you are loading this website in a desktop browser, try and reduce the size of the browser window and see what happens. Well … that folks, is a responsive design.

Benefits of a responsive design
Here are some of the highlights of the benefits of a good responsive design.

  • You have to design and maintain a single website to cater to all possible device access.
  • The overall cost of development and maintenance is low.
  • In all probability, you would have optimized the site, not only for performance but also for content display and interactions.

Risks of a badly integrated responsive design
There are several risks associated with responsive design. Its not applicable for all websites. Not in the traditional sense. Here are some risks that you should be aware of.

  • For data and script heavy sites, there can be performance drops on small screen devices
  • The design breaks or is not compatible with certain browser types. This would result in a bad experience to the end user.
  • Maintaining the website becomes hell with limited or no documentation or process in place.
  • User drop rates can affect your business

No business would want their customers to be driven away. While responsive design may provide benefits for the business. They get negated when the customers or users experience a bad website interaction.

An hybrid solution – Server Side Optimization
Responsive design has its benefits which cannot be ignored. one should distinctly identify family of devices that can experience almost similar experiences and cater to these distinct groups in a responsive manner. Server side scripts can manage response to the page requests depending on the source device. Depening on which device family these requests come from, specific UI can be pushed to that device. This ensures that your site will optimally peform on the device/browser and the responsiveness of the page scripts at the client side will ensure that the experience will get managed locally.

How stories help build a experience

Every product has a experience to offer. Be it a software or a hardware product. People dealing with industrial design will know better. Even the service industry has customer experience as the fulcrum of their service design. So, why then is it that software should be any different? Its used by people and they can be for personal consumption or business or exerprise objectives. What ever the purpose, there is a value proposition that the software offers to the user.

So how does one go about building a good experience for their product? The answer is actually quite simple in essense. Give them value proposition and a feeling that it was made keeping them in mind.

Value proposition
So what is valued by the user? There are various possible values that you can deliver.

  • product features
  • user experience
  • aesthetics
  • intuitiveness
  • effective delivery

Tailor-made for them
This is the icing on the cake. And this is where your product design tells a story. Remember the stories your mother or grandmother told you when you were a kid. Remember your excitement even when the same story got repeated again and again. why was it so? the story had the same ending, the moral was the same and the person telling you the story was also the same. But the experience that you got from listening to the story never diminished in excitement or intrigue. That is the highlight of a good expeirence.

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Make failure your tool

Failure as a Tool

Failure as a Tool

Found this interesting sketched diagram explaining failure as a tool. Its an intuitive mind map, of sort, addressing learning, growth, innovation, strategy and success. To fail is to learn. To learn you need to attempt at taking risk. To take risk you need to do try to do something that others still have not attempted to try and make it work. Its all interconnected.

Fear of failure is the biggest outcome that we as professionals dread. Its this fear that stagnantes us from attempting what other do. This risk appetite is what separates the leader from the follower, the genius from the masses and the progressive from the conformist.

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Blackberry and Microsoft’s achilles’ heel in the Smartphone dominance

Achilles' heel for Blackberry and MicroSoft

Achilles’ heel for Blackberry and Microsoft

The once powerful giants had fallen. New blood and an invigorated rival had these goliaths. So much so that surpassed them to their scaled heights seemed impossible. But in the world of business where nothing is constant, the future is an open field as long as the moves are right.

Microsoft dominated the operating system battle and so did RIM in the smart phone market. This was untill Apple and Google came in and chalked out their own territories and drew new battle lines. And Microsoft and RIM saw themselves outside the boundary line, watching their dominance crumble, like mere spectators.

I don’t intend to get into the history of how things evolved to where it stands right now. But I see both Microsoft and Blackberry (ex-RIM) ready to battle out and claim their own stakes in this battle to reign in the mobile space. Simple put, the future is about mobility and the winner takes it all. The looser is doomed to perish. It’s as brutal as it can get in the world of business.

RIM rechristened itself to Blackberry and got a new lineup of phones and a well designed operating system in place. Microsoft and putting all its bets on Windows 8 and has enough dough to pump in and get the new life into an otherwise stagnated operating system. Its has new alliances and with that a new line of products coming out both in the desktop and the mobile space. To their credit Windows 8 is unique and seems to be trying hard to look different and give users an experience that’s very 8-ish.

So will it work for these two now? I think the answer lies in what your competitors are doing, and doing so correctly. It’s in developing an ecosystem for the users. An experience that flows from the hardware to the operating system to the softwares (or Apps) that work on the device platform. And from what we have learned from the Android and iOS battle is that it’s all about the App Store. User crave for apps and the more that you have to offer, the better. Android for one didn’t even care if an app was as useless as loading something that turned on the device LED. Apps of all kinds were on the store. It was all about number. ‘We got a million apps’, wow! like the users care. Actually, the developer community did. Developers swarm around a platform like flies to a light if they know its going to make them some money. They would make an app for a platform if its being consumed by a lot of people. The platform and thereby its users are a market for the developer. Selling your app becomes that much easier when there is only one store from where people are buying stuff.

Blackberry and Microsoft failed early on (and so did Symbian) as their platforms were either not developer friendly or were not enticing to the developer community to go ahead and make apps for. So have they learned from their mistakes. I think they do. But the catch is in getting the same developer community to start making apps for their ecosystem. Both Blackberry and RIM are going great length in supporting the developer and making it a lot more developer-friendly and commercially lucrative to build apps on.

But will it work? That’s another story. It will depend on how excited the consumers get with the new offerings. A consumer would be excited to see how many of their favorite apps are available on the new platforms. Absence of their favorite app on these stores would be a let down and probably might make you go against a purchase decision or probably word-of-mouth publicity.

App store

Apps makes the platform matter. (Image from Mashable.com)

So will the once upon a time market leaders be able to pull it off? I believe they would. The bigger question is, will hey evolve and not stagnate like they did before. One thing that this market space has taught us is that you can never rest even if you are at the top. Period!