Monthly Archives: June 2009

6th Wirtschaftstreff 2009 at Radisson Blu Leipzig

 
Coming Tursday, July 2nd, 2009 at 07.30 p.m. the Leipzig JCI "Wirtschaftsjunioren" chapter invite to their social gathering "Wirtschaftstreff" at the Radisson Blu Hotel’s "Spagos" Bar/Lounge.
 

view over bar and tables

 
The event will also feature a lively discussion with the German Federal Ministry of Finance’s Dr. Christian Kastrop who will beforehand give an introduction (in German) to Financial Politic’s Instruments in Times of Financial and Economic Crisis. Furthermore members who travelled to JCI‘s European Conference in Hungary will report on their experience and also bring some photoraphs to show.
   If you will like to join us, you’re welcome. As free seats are limited, please apply via e-mail in advance. In case you are not from here or don’t know the Radisson, this map will assist you finding us. The facility exists right opposite from the well-known Augustusplatz.
 

Radisson Blu Hotel Leipzig, Augustusplatz 5/6, 04109 Leipzig, Germany

 
See you on Thursday ! :-)
 

An Opposable Mind: Business Week interview with Roger Martin on "Integrated Thinking™ " as an approach to solving complex problems

This week in an approach to broaden my problem-solving skills and just after having subscribed to ROTMAN Magazine, I came across this highly interesting Business Week Feedroom interview with Roger Martin, the dean of Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto (thus more often than not named “Dean Martin” by the incident… ;-)), who coined and trademarked the term of Integrated Thinking, promoting a "Design" approach towards solving of complex problems.
   This essentially is based on the assumption, that it may be hard to solve new and complex problems by simply applying already existing "models" derived from challenges successfully managed in the past without having to face significant trade-offs caused by the obvious contradictory nature of these pre-existing solutions.
   What to do, if you are in a highly competitive market (and who isn’t these days…) ?  Cut costs or drive innovation by further increasing them ?
   In his ROTMAN magazine article Choices, Conflict and the Creative Spark [PDF, 385 KB] Roger Martin discusses how a more holistic way of addressing an issue can lead out of the dilemma of having first to choose between and then to act upon one of seemingly contradictory models by instead drawing from all of them to create a completely new approach.
 

So integrated thinking people are those, who…

…the capacity to hold two diametrically-opposed ideas in their heads. And then, without panicking or simply settling for one alternative or the other, they are able to produce a synthesis that is superior to either opposing idea.

The advantage:

Integrative Thinking shows us a way past the binary limits of ‘either/or.’ It shows us that there is a way to integrate the advantages of one solution without canceling out the advantages of an alternative solution, affording us, in the words of the poet Wallace Stevens, “the choice not between, but of.”

And despite the common believe, that this integrated way of working on complex issues likely was unique to people mostly considered "geniuses" of their time, Martin argues, that the capability of creating new successful and elegant ideas from (at least by "proven" measures…) opposable concepts indeed may possibly be trained and learned by many of us. This would lead to the de-facto conclusion, that Integrative Thinking is largely a tacit skill in the heads of people who have cultivated their opposable mind.
 

And at this very point of time Dean Roger Martin and his students are working on a proof of the assumption…

Checkout Re-Visited: Step 3 — Entering Your Shipping Information

 
Does any online vendor need to know where you live and when you move and who you would like to send a present to ?
 
Isn’t that you having to pay the shipping anyway !??
 
Furthermore with every new online shop one buys from, a new transmission risk is brought up; even less in terms of loosing or unwillingly leaking the data, as much more in the forms of typos and misspellings going to prevent successful execution of the order itself.
 

Well, admittedly, as of this writing, in most parts of the world the seller needs to know where to ship the items you ordered alongside with the obligatory invoice — and he likes it that way.
 
Especially, as this will also make sure that all his colorful prospectuses will reach you reliably as well.
 

Nevertheless: From all orders made over the web, most deliveries are likely to be executed by no more than a fistful of forwarding agencies.
 

So why shouldn’t you simply tell them the shipping details ?  This would both protect your privacy and likely reduce errors in address transmission (a common cause of failed delivery) to a minimum. If they get your address right once, it is secured they have it until you decide to move for the next time or ask for deletion.
 
Or you may even make shipping providers subscribe to a machine-readable address profile of you on the web (as you probably may already have one with online social networks such as LinkedIN or XING) to make sure their information is always up to date. Want to send a present for a colleague ?  Just drag in you buddy’s address card from Facebook.
 

Reliable information exchange has never been easier and more secure.
 

The outcome concerning the shipping process now could be, just to stick an RFID tag or old-fashioned barcode label (as both are already quite common today) to the parcel and let you forward its identifier to the corresponding delivery service from right inside the checkout process. Approved transmission of your shipping information as being required by either the shop owner or the shipping provider can then be securely handled browser-based via a traditional web form (for instance, using the mentioned OpenID approach).
 

Too complex an idea to hope for a commercially reasonable adoption rate and timeframe ?
 

4 Dabbawalas @ work delivering tiffins

Then please take a look at Mumbai’s Dabbawala Association for instance. For more than a century now, this cooperative has delivered home-cooked food; first to the British colonial rulers and from mid-twentieth century then to Mumbai’s business people, building right from the beginning on exactly the before mentioned cooperative distribution model, where you tell the shipping provider instead of the producer, which destination you want the final product to be delivered.
   Dabbawalas may use colors and symbols instead of fashionable barcode or RFID tags, but the delivery concept has been the same for more than a hundred years now — so it can indeed be considered a ‘proven’ business model. As every single of the peer-to-peer deliverer knows his or her local district like the back of his hand, the cooperative delivers at a so sensationally low error rate, that any western parcel service may quite well take a leaf out of their book. Continuously rating at a full “Six Sigma” reliability with renowned consultancies, the association lately began to take online orders via their website or even via SMS from mobile phones. They also started opening their P2P delivery network e.g. to grocery businesses, so you can now get your daily dose of fresh veggies shipped directly to your cubicle as well.To the customers’ delight,
   Ordering via Dabbawalas also comes with a very transparent pricing model: The daily services are traditionally being provided at a monthly flat rate of around 300 rupees, locally perceived as something like € 6 (a de-facto even cheaper real price of around € 5 at current exchange rates). Newly additional services like delivering banking receipts or address confirmation of contract partners are being added to the traditional offerings as well — at reasonable surcharges.
 

An example for how deploying these concepts of ‘cooperative logistics’ (if you come up with a more suitable term for it, please let me know…) for short range to-your-door distribution in other parts of the world may spur entirely new business concepts (probably riding on the current growing demand for customized goods with its often numerous ‘long tail’-biz actors) while empowering the more traditional models with better service at their endpoints.
 

Too bad, we just paid a whopping € 2.60 handling fee on our two pizzas ordered to the office today…