Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Destination Imagination Reflections

8. Is there anything that you want to comment on the programme like the strengths (areas that were done well) or weaknesses (areas that were not done so well) or suggestions for improvement?

Destination Imagination Reflections

7. How can you apply some of the learnings/understandings you have derived from the programme into your daily lives?

Destination Imagination Reflections

6. If you have the opportunity to go back in time and do this again, what would you do differently and why?

Destination Imagination Reflections

5. What do you think are the things that your team had done well and the areas whereby your team will need to improve in order to do better?

Destination Imagination Reflections

4. Comment on the performance of your team highlighting the high and low points.

Destination Imagination Reflections

3. Describe your experience while doing the programme.

Destination Imagination Reflections

2. What have you learnt from the DI experience? From the things that you had learnt, what was the one most important key understanding that you had derived?

Destination Imagination Reflections

1. After having gone through the DI programme, what do you think are the objectives of the programme? List the objectives and explain if they have been achieved?

Lesson for 10 March 2011

My apologies for not being able to have the lesson with you as I am now in Sabah preparing to conquer Mt Kinabalu. I hope you have enjoyed the Destination Imagination Programme and I can see that you are having fun in class doing the instant challenges. Anyway, there are some reflection questions posted in the blog and an accompanying survey for you to complete. Please take your time to think through and respond accordingly.

Things to do:
Reflection on Destination Imagination
1. Get into your group and discuss your response to the questions 1, 4 and 5 posted on the blog.
2. State the challenge you are doing and the team members' names in your comments for question 1, 4, 5 and 8.
3. For the rest of the reflection questions, please think through carefully. I do not want to see answers that are flimsy, superficial and without much thought put in.
4. Lastly, please complete the survey on DI.

Thank you.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Innovate! - The Steve Jobs way

Source: Beckford, Avil. (2011). 'Innovate the Steve Jobs way'. Retrieved from


In the recent webinar, "Innovate the Steve Jobs Way: 7 Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success," Carmine Gallo shared seven principles for innovation which he learned from studying Steve Jobs for many years. The webinar was a prelude to his book The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success. I found it extremely useful to attend the webinar before reading the book and I combined what I learned in the webinar with what I learned from the book. The book provides concrete examples of how Steve Jobs innovates and the author conducted several interviews with former Apple employees.

To support what he says in the book, Carmine Gallo also looked at what other innovators were successfully doing.  He defines innovation as, "A new way of doing things that result in positive change." How can you innovate the way you do your job? What innovations are occurring in other industries that you can transfer to yours?

Carmine Gallo has identified seven principles to guide innovation based on what he has learned from studying Steve Jobs, the Co-founder and CEO of Apple. The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs has 15 chapters, an introductory one and two chapters devoted to each principle. Though the book presents a lot of information on the way Steve Jobs approaches innovation, there are many examples of others who are innovating in similar ways and achieving success.

Principle One: Do What You Love

Passion is everything, and it keeps you going when you face inevitable setbacks. Be obsessed and improve the areas that you love. To achieve success, passion is not enough – follow your obsessions, tailor them to your skills, and focus on what you can make money from. What is your calling and your destiny? How can you change the world?

A simple formula is Success = Passion + Skills + Market Demand

Principle Two: Put a Dent in the Universe

Innovation doesn't take place in a vacuum. Have a vision, because innovation cannot occur without one. What's the bigger picture and how can you share your vision with enthusiasts who will make your vision a reality. How is your product or service going to change the world? How can you leave the world a better place than you found it?  How can you make your customers' lives better?

Margaret Mead's quote, "A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has," encapsulates this principle.

Principle Three: Kick Start Your Brain

Seek our new and novel experiences, and bombard your brain with them. Who is doing something remarkable that you can learn from? Steve Jobs studied the Four Seasons Hotel and Mercedes Benz because they are aces when it comes to remarkable customer experiences. Jobs introduced a Concierge Service in the Apple Store based on what he learned from observing the Four Seasons Hotel.

A critical part of this principle is to make connections among disparate things and force yourself outside of your physical and mental comfort zone. To live a vision requires creative thinking which requires immersion in novel experiences.

New experiences expand the way you think. Surround yourself with people from different cultures. Experiment, and try new things. What are two things that you can do differently to improve the way in which you deliver your product or service?

Principle Four: Sell Dreams Not Products

Understand your customers, and help them to fulfill their dreams. Get to know them better than they know themselves. How can you change your customers' worlds? Create remarkable customer experiences and market that.

Your customers often do not know what they want, so be a linchpin as marketing guru Seth Godin says and anticipate what they need before they do. It's a twist to the concept of build it and they will come, to build it and convince them that they should come.

Principle Five: Say No to 1,000 Things

Take the road less traveled. Remove distractions so you can focus on the core product. Eliminate distractions from the customer experience. Don't spread yourself too thin, and go for simplicity. Steve Job told Nike's CEO  Mark Parker, "Get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff." Go for simplicity and elegance.

Simplify and focus on your product and service offerings. What are you best at? What is one thing that you do extremely well? Focus on it and simplify.

Principle Six: Create Insanely Great Experiences

Create emotional connections with your customers. What are five ways you can enrich the lives of your customers? What relationships are you forming with your customers? Look outside your industry for examples. Create memorable experiences so you have rabid fans. Before you innovate, hold your customer in your mind's eye, and proceed from there.

Principle Seven: Master the Message

Effectively communicate your vision. Innovate around the way you communicate the vision. What are master presenters and communicators doing? Emulate them. Be a great storyteller, and be consistent in your messaging.

I enjoyed reading The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success because I had to stop several times and think about what I was reading. The many examples demonstrated how others were using these seven principles with great success, and I understood how I could use them as well. I also learned about innovative products that others were delivering.

For instance, DNA 11 creates art with their customer's DNA and became a multi-million dollar business in five years. The owners Adrian Salamunovic and Nazim Ahmed didn't conduct focus group interviews to decide if there was a need for their product, they created the product then created the demand for it. They also noticed that some of their customers were asking for art with their pets' DNA, so they offered that to other customers who might not have thought of that.

What Carmine Gallo has shown in his book is that innovation does not necessarily mean creating something radically new. Sometimes it is simply doing something in an entirely new way. This is a practical book written in a clear manner. I recommend The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success.

News Update

Source: The Straits Times, 05/03/2010