How does data become light, travel thousands of miles and become data again?

The Data Inside a Cable

You’re at your PC and you type “Hello World”. This gets converted into binary which is a number system comprising of only 1s and 0s. Example:

H e l l o Space W o r l D
01001000
01100101
01101100
01101100
01101111
00100000
01010111
01101111
01110010
01101100
01100100

No one really touches or manipulates this translation process, its age old and rock solid. It’s called the atomic structure of information.

BinaryTable.JPG

Why ones and zeroes? Cause it’s the simplest way to communicate. Like the name says, it’s binary, yes or no, true or false. You start from there and add it up to something complex.

Sending Data as Electricity

Once you convert that text into ones and zeroes, you have essentially converted it onto the smallest piece of information, called a “bit”. Before we talk about electricity think about Morse Code. One Beep, Two Beeps, One Beep in a given period is the way one party conveys a sequence of taps to another, who then rebuilds it into a message. With that in mind, you do the same for electrical communication, using transistors.

Electronic devices like your PC has something called a transistor, which are silicon semi-conductors (does not conduct but feels electricity). These transistors can send/read electrical pulses or signals. So with the morse code example in mind,  that “Hello World” text is converted into ones and zeroes and instead of taps, pulses are sent over an electrical cable to the receiving party which listens for a given period and then creates the Hello World message on the other end.

Transistor.JPG

Images and Music

Ever bought a TV and they say the resolution is 4000 pixels or remember setting the resolution on your desktop PC to 800 by 600? That’s the number of pixels on the screen, little dots that make up the image you are viewing. Each of these dots has a color specification typically a combination of red, green and blue (RBG) example; Red 217, Green 60, Blue 172.

Pixels.JPG

That color code for each pixel is converted into binary, and sent just like the Hello World text. Even sound, which are essentially waveforms which have numerical representations and can be converted into binary too.

With more transistors, you can send a lot more bits at a time, with 8 you can send 8 bits (1 byte) which can represent a binary sequence of numbers up to 255, with 32 it becomes 4.2 billion. Note that 1000 bytes make a kilobyte, 1024 kilobytes make a megabyte. If a song is 3 megabytes, that makes 24 million bits that need to be transferred.

To get this song in 3 seconds, machines need to send each other 8 million bits per second over an agreed period of time so that one is listening while the other sends. That’s where bitrate comes into the picture, and this 3 megabyte song is transferred at a rate of 8mbps (8 million bits per second).

How is Data Sent Over Light

The LAN cables carrying this data between your PC and a router is great for a short distance, but if you’re sending data from Singapore to Germany, it needs to be way faster. This is where light comes in to the picture, specifically Fiber Optic cables. Check out this article on submarine cables.

Fibre Optic cables are essentially highly reflective cables, mirror-like, which you can send a light beam through and it bounces about the cable before reaching the other end. When you send a beam of light, what you are doing is sending a signal that is binary, its 1 or 0, light or dark. The logic is the same, the other party listens, builds that data and it becomes easily readable. And in a single cable, you can send several different beams which bounce around the cable and comes out the other end.

So that, at a very high level, describes how data is sent over cables (electrical and optical). It is the same for wireless, the binary data is converted into radio waves and beamed out to a router, which then does the digital translation, and sends the data the cable way to the router the other end which then converts the signal into radio wave, wirelessly to you.

Wiring – Internet from the Sea

There is a book out there, which costs ~800 dollars, called: The History of Electric Wires and Cables (History of Technology Series) 1St Edition Edition by R.M. Black (Author)

Salute Mr or Ms Black…

It was written in ‘83, and I wonder how thing have changed since then and what  the author would have written about the wired world today. Imagine 1983 with clean desks, pens, notepads, carbon paper…  think 2003, every desk with a desktop PC… and  then 2013 hot desk offices, everything wireless…

Where did this all start?

Submarine Cables

 I love this site (https://www.submarinecablemap.com/) shows you all the submarine communication cables, these are cables on the sea floor. Think there are a couple of wires down there? Check this out:

Submarine Cable Map

 

Sea floor cables stretch back to 1851 when the English Channel Submarine Telegraph Company laid the first water-resistant thermoplastic coated line across the English Channel. 46 kilometers long, going from the English South East to France, enabling telegraphic communication between these 2 countries on 15 October.

These cables are the network, the internet. Owned by different companies and governments, information transmission is huge business. There is an awesome article on Mentalfloss that talks about the challenges faced such as sharks (attracted to electromagnetic pulse) trying to eat these cables, ship anchors falling right onto the cable, and spies and saboteurs.

These huge cables head to “cable landing points” where they are powered on to final land based infrastructure. Several major cables terminate at Changi, Singapore (PANC, TIICSC, EAC-C2C). Often enough, many cable projects are skipping landing points and going straight to Data Centers.

So What Happens Next?

The cables break up into many smaller fiber optic lines that run about 100 kilometers at a time, at least 3 feet underground (but typically much deeper) and hits “termination points”.  For example the little fiber point in your home where your router is plugged into for home WiFi, or for buildings it typically ends at a Main Distribution Frame room, where the cables break out further and travel to Wireless Access Points giving out that office WiFi signal or, they land on desks as LAN cables you’d traditionally plug into your laptop.

And that is how the internet travels to you.

 

Transborder Data Flow Isn’t Free Flowing

Transborder Data Flow

One of the most interesting concepts I learnt recently… the regulations around data flowing from one country to another. Whenever (Transborder Data Flow) TDF is referenced, it is almost certain to mention the European Union laws (EU data protection directive).

It centers around different standards in data privacy. For example the EU laws ensure that any data controller must have technical and organizational measures in place to meet individual privacy objectives. In summary, you have to get consent if you’re collecting personally identifiable data (think date of birth, social security number, even fingerprint) and be transparent about what you are going to do with it, and if the subjects wish to opt-out, they have that right.

What happens if you don’t comply – you could get a warning, get audited, or corporations could face fines of €10 million or more.

So if you have a global cloud based system with infrastructure in North America and Asia, and European customers who use your service… what does all this mean?

You can store data overseas, it is not a question of storage as much as what you do with the data. It gets more complicated when you consider trust domains and using federations or 3rd party identity management, but simply everyone in the mix needs to comply with the data privacy rules in the not just the spirit but in the words of the directive; to collect only the required data not something you need for future use, if you plan to share it with a marketing affiliate it needs to be known to the subject – they have to agree and must be able to update their data, delete if they want. The data must be protected at all times. All parties that use the data must be disclosed, including the purpose.

US-EU Safe Harbor Privacy Shield

An example of transborder data flow as a concept in practice is the privacy shield between the European Union (EU) and the United States, which basically allows organisations in the two continents to transfer data between each other. The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is more stringent that the American requirements in terms of data privacy. The shield itself has 7 principles which participating organisations must adhere to (pretty much what is described in the section above). So for this shield to work, companies need to make a self-certifying submission that they meet the EU privacy standards, and pay a fee.

What does this mean for Brexit?

If the UK separates from the EU without an agreement, then data transfers from the UK to the EU and vice versa will no longer be considered as compliant to the EU standards. Which means EU companies could be subject to fines if they transfer personally identifiable data of EU citizens to the UK.

 

 

Operational Risk Management

Operational Risks

Its all about controlling the probability that something goes wrong.

It is one of those topics that people generally don’t like to think about, because it usually means a lot more work on top of the work you already have, or worse – it associates blame for the gap with the person who raised the gap.

What I have come to find is that when it comes to risk management, its probably one of the best areas to look into, to profile yourself as a thought leader.  Like anything else, it is all in the presentation.

Countless times in my careers I have seen people create an urgent and wide attention on “things that need to be fixed right away”, things that have been open for years. And those that do fix it, well they do get rewarded or at least recognized for the effort.

From a value creation perspective, which I define it as your ability to do something more than your regular 9 to 5, what more value are providing – risks are infact generally easier to identify and work on than ideas. Ideas generally require already thinking about a better process or way.

In a risk containment approach – really what you need to do is follow 4 simple steps (and a possible 5th):

  1. Ask, Find, Hunt

If you already are a subject matter expert, then you’d know where to look and you can skip this section.

If you want to profile yourself as a risk management guru, you need to get talk to people – preferably process owners. Look for a few common themes:

    • Process that is manual, and people dependent e.g. someone needs to key everything manually into Excel
    • A role that has no coverage, e.g. if someone is out of office – it’s a scramble, perhaps after hours support is needed at times but no one is ever on-call formally
    • Ask people about past outages, folks tend to remember this – you might strike gold if you meet someone who took the initiative to solve that outage that one time… perhaps you could implement a permanent fix

If you’re already planning to have a value creation sharepoint for your organization, this process becomes easier <see innovation topic>.

  1. Categorize
IMPACT High Impact

Low Probability

High Impact

High Probability

Low Impact

Low Probability

Low Impact

High Probability

PROBABILITY

The chart is pretty much self-explanatory, all you need to do is to populate it with different risk topics.  Don’t rule out anything yet, put them all in.

Obviously the high impact, high probability risks are the best ones to tackle – typically these would already be addressed in some makeshift fashion or, they are usually too expensive or complicated to fix.

 

I like the high impact low probability ones – you could smartly group a few together to make a risk bucket, thereby increasing the total probability accordingly. Take the example below, of a typical bakery or confectionery, where the high impact but low probability items could be looked at together and addressed as a Business Continuity Plan.

IMPACT  High Impact / Low Probability

·         Fridge malfunction

·         Printer malfunction

·         Delivery vehicle faulty

 High Impact / High Probability

·         No delivery agent available for after-hours call

 Low Impact / Low Probability

·         Design PC not working

·         Stove no working

 Low Impact / High Probability

·         Fridge condenser gets frozen

 

PROBABILITY

 

  1. Fixing It

Now this is where it gets exciting, what could be done to mitigate the risks?

Chances are the folks that highlighted the risks already have suggestions, but do brainstorm a bit more. If you just happen to have a position with a wider view of the larger organization, you may even be able to find a solution sitting in another department, or a process that could be reused.

Again – talk to people, read, research. The key word here, is business impact. If you cannot identify, qualify or best of all – quantify – any business impact from the risk, it just won’t sell.

If you find that some of the risks you identified are just going to cost too much, or you don’t have an idea on how to fix it – don’t worry, it is still worth highlighting in the form of a “self-study” document, a very short summary work-in-progress write up.

So net – you don’t need a fully cooked solution, but your business case for why this risk matters has to be great. One way to get perspective on this, ask yourself what your management has been talking about, what are the buzzwords and try to relate them… cost savings, productivity improvement, process outages, infrastructure resiliency, impact to billing or shipping processes?

Risk Description
Title/Keyword After Hours Rota <Your Name> <Today’s Date >
 
One Line Problem Statement XYZ Confectionary is missing / not processing after hour orders on time leading to missed revenue.
 
Business Value XYZ Confectionary has seen a surge of overnight confectionary orders since launching our online portal. These late orders are priced at a premium, where one after-hours order would equal 3 business hour ones.

 

We have missed 2 orders in the past month valued at $1,250. We were late in delivery for 8 orders valued at $5,500 leading to customer dissatisfaction.

 
Recommendation It is recommended a staff Rota is established so that different people are scheduled to be on call on different nights, getting the next day off.
  1. Growing the Program

If this all gets received well by management and you find yourself needing to structure and expand your risk identification pursuit to the rest of your organization, you aren’t going to need to do a lot more than ensure 1) accessibility 2) promotion 3) continuance/wrap-up

Accessibility

I’d recommend to transfer your data to a sharepoint or corporate website, and be sure to define a data gathering structure that makes it easy for you to pick out the ones with big potential or to be able to pull data in an organized way.

At the very least you need to have a short summary, business value, recommendation and impact. But also consider, if you are in a confectionary for example and you have 5-6 key workstreams, e.g. baking, delivery, storage, packing, sales, others – you may want to force folks to pick which of these areas the risks fall in. It can give insights into tackling a couple of strategic risk areas.

Promotion

You could sell the idea of how a collectively team identifying risks, to be mitigated, helps everyone and is a virtuous pursuit – but I can safely tell you nothing draws interest as much as a rewarded effort. Try to secure a something simple from management, dinner or a cash prize for the person or team that comes up with the best risk, and mitigates it every quarter.

It would also help indeed if you spoke to department heads, or joined several department team meetings to spend 10 minutes asking about the risk mitigation program. Nothing works  better to illustrate what you are seeking than to do a quick demo, and show a real example.

Continuance/Wrap-Up

The easier it is for people to use the portal you setup, the more successful it will be. That said, try not to allow risks to be registered without a concluding status. Commonly you’d ask people to pick from these 4 – Avoid, Accept, Mitigate or Transfer, where:

    • Avoid – you actually plug the gap, fix it!
    • Accept – there are risks so small and at times on non-value adding process, that everyone just signs off and accepts the risk
    • Mitigate – you put a workaround that reduces the likelihood significantly
    • Transfer – outsource the risk for someone else to bridge the gap

If these sound too difficult to explain in a 10minute briefing – I’d recommend keeping it as Open/Close/Keep-In-View where:

    • Open – we’re still working on how to mitigate the risk
    • Accepted – we accepted it, can’t fix it
    • Fixed – implemented a fix

Once you feel that you’ve run the program for a good stretch, its really important to showcase your value as a program leader, and this is where having structured the data gathering bit will be useful. Present to management a report on insights, a 2-slide summary if you will. Organise the data into logical buckets and share interesting considerations.

  1. Other relevant data

In closing, it is absolutely true that a good grassroots risk mitigation program can save a lot of downstream outages and waste in manpower spent in solving a known problem. However there isn’t any real metric to quantify success for a risk program, unlike a sales program which takes the total numeric growth as win – you can’t say a surge in registered risks is a good thing.

Its also difficult and somewhat demoralizing everyone spends their time only thinking about what could go wrong instead of what can go right – new processes and technology vs trying to fix existing outdated ones. Its not a culture folks would want to embrace.

My recommendation would be to do an annual exercise, the risk review – or something of this nature. A month in a year, with a small prize, I think you’d get a lot done quite quickly.

If you’re super interested in this topic, I’d recommend that you read: Blowup (Awesome article about risk in Malcolm Gladwell’s book What the Dog Saw… ) Posted January 22, 1996 by MALCOLM GLADWELL & filed under DEPT. OF DISPUTATION, THE NEW YORKER – ARCHIVE. http://gladwell.com/blowup/

How to manage a project without project management training?

How to manage a project without project management training?

A recurring and strange theme in my career has been project management. Many times I have been asked to lead projects, of all sizes… small service launches to multi-million dollar multi-vendor pursuits. I never really had any project management training other than a module in my software engineering degree, yet I think I was pretty successful in getting the job done, albeit imperfectly.

This article came to life as I was in a team meeting, I had asked a team member to lead a small project and he said he didn’t have the right training… I quipped “why would you need to be trained on something you are perfectly capable of doing already…” Of course he was after the esteemed PMP certification… and why not, if he is to do a function for a corporation why not achieve the right credentials, and while I do have my gripe on how corporations often fall short in getting their resources certified – it’s a separate topic altogether. What happened next was we carried on the mtg over lunch and the team asked how I managed projects, without project management training?

First off, lets define “project”… if I gave my kid 5 dollars and told him to buy an apple from the store and he had the option of taking the bus or train, and had to come back in an hour – a successful project would require him to pick his resources, do it within a budget and come back with my bloody apple. Anything short is a failed project.

Of course let’s also be clear that I am not talking about building the national highway system, but that’s the point I was making to the team – project management isn’t that hard if you focus on a few key things, and hold a few principles closely. So how does someone without project management training manage a project… that’s what we talked about in 45 mins over lunch, and I am going to re-create here as best I can remember:

Step 0: Charm School

More than anything else, a project is a team effort, strong relationships is the key. As much as you want to define Roles and Responsibilities, it’s never going to be perfect and you never know where you are going to need help… and not everything can be a change request… so don’t be a fiery dick! Be nice, connect often. Take an interest in how everyone else is doing, cause inadvertently or not – everyone else’s schedule could affect you.

Don’t escalate blindly, get overly aggressive and think that it’s a winning formula to frighten everyone to work… it may work for a bullshit little project but when you get to the big stuff, you really want to work with. So, be nice.

Step 1: What’s the deliverable?

A contract will typically define a cube as 6 connected squares. Your customer may define it as a steel box of 6 sides with 6 different colors that glows in the dark. It’s really important to identify what success looks like in the eyes of your customer.

Sometimes in the simplest projects – it’s unwritten. There was a customer who told me that he had no time for the project he was assigned, all he needed was a monthly report showing progress that he could take to his management, and that I work with all the other vendors independently – I asked for a template he wanted to see the information in, and to introduce us to the other vendors… realizing I’d be spending a fair bit of time in meetings and I needed someone to build a fancy report every month, I added the effort into the contract so that it’s billable and bingo, project was a breeze.

Never work with half-baked requirements, even if you get scolded 10 times trying to collect it… you have to literally taste what the end product needs to be before you start any work! I remember spending over a month in 8 mtgs with a customer who kept trying to explain what she wanted, each time we met I brought all sorts of pictures/templates/past-examples… until we finally struck a chord… I then sent a 3 page email with explicit details on what I would be delivering and pressured her for another 2 weeks to acknowledge. I got escalated to my management for being “inflexible” J Better inflexible in requirements gathering than incompetent when the product turns out wrong.

Step 2: Who’s it for?

Stakeholders: who influences everyone, who’s voice counts, who signs off, who can make things happen. People talk about communication plan, a smart project manager makes an engagement plan – weekly tea with X, weekly beer with Y, weekly lunch with Z, weekly emails to A,B,C.

Chances are you have your contracted scope-of-work which was informed to you by a customer leader, who’s part of a small team that’s similarly engaged other vendors with the hope that all of you work together to make it a success with little intervention on their part. Knowing who to work with, and how to work with them is vital. Everyone’s got touchpoints and everyone is lobbying the customer to believe that they have everything ready – it’s everyone else that’s slow.

Keeping your head buried in your project plan, turning up only when there is a committee meeting, isn’t wise. Build the right relationships early, keep them engaged throughout.

Step 3: When is it due?

Knowing what you need to deliver, to who, and how they want it – helps you identify your resourcing and financial needs, which is completed with one more detail – when you do you need to deliver all of it.

Anyone who has hired an interior designer (ID) in Singapore will tell you that time is an illusion to the average ID, they plan a project with a slack in their heads of several weeks assuming it’s an accepted norm. Very often they don’t get return business, their reputation goes down the drain and they open a new company with a new name and start over. The key reasons for this 1) they collect and try to work with half-baked requirements, making an effort to understand as they go along 2) their don’t understand the concept of dependencies and never do plan to complete ahead of schedule

Never plan a project to miss a deadline. I’d recommend have 2 project plans, one which is reported and one with dependencies only for you to track. It is easy to get lost in the details, if you have a thousand line excel plan I bet everyone has seen and discussed it again and again and again are bored stiff, but that’s for the people working on your set schedule to know what they need to do and by when – what about the external influences?

As the person-in-charge, you need to identify those key “needs” and “risks”. For example, if you were going to build a server room, chances are you’d have your orders placed, all those backend teams ready to support the move, all your onsite people ready to setup onsite… but… those construction guys, what do they need to provide –

What When If Missed Mitigation
The room needs to be ready for us to start moving in 1 Mar Need alternative storage Communicate to construction team, room is needed by 1 Mar with power and electricity. Our deadline is 7 Mar. If 1 Mar is missed, get a drop-dead date and let customers know if we will be late as a result.
Power needs to be turned on 7 Mar Setup is delayed
Air Conditioning needs to be ready 7 Mar Setup is delayed
Connectivity needs to be ready 7 Mar Setup is delayed

Smart managers think ahead, plan early, and communicate new recommendations quickly.

People think of escalation as a bad thing, it is part of the bureaucracy – its way to get attention on a risk and help to move ahead. I’d recommend doing a joint mtg and escalating the concern jointly from the mtg, instead of you highlighting and condemning the rest.

 Step 4: Your resources, people and tools and money… and my project plan!

Chances are you figured I’d be writing the most in this section… but strangely, unless you are in business for yourself and working on your own project – this part is quite straightforward. There is a super high chance, that there is already a project management organization who has set the standards in reporting and processes to get resourcing, finances etc. So then it becomes a function of reading and learning.

My advise – learn from past implementations. Ask them for a couple of similar projects successfully completed before, share with you the project plan and connect you with the project manager and ask these 3 magic questions:

  1. How do I start?
  2. What were the challenges you faced?
  3. Any learnings you can share?

And really if you think about it, the challenge is not a lot more if your company doesn’t have a PMO, you just need to find the folks who done it before and grab advise to get you off the ground.

If you can, try to find someone who’s delivered the project you’re working on before. Keep this fellow handy, you may need to go back time and again for advise to circumvent issues.

Most importantly – the plan. Nothing beats having a completed project’s plan as a reference point. Believe me, building a project plan piece by piece is a great way to learn everything, but its all so much smoother and faster if you had reference material.

If you really don’t have a plan that you can reference, I’d recommend to just break the project into many small categories and start talking to people about each one, to get an idea on what/who/how/when… you wont have all the answers but it will give you enough detail to put together a high level plan… 

Thoughts What Who How When
Servers Wintel, networking devices List of server owners – ask Mike

List of N/W devices – ask Bryan

Servers are cabled first, then built, OS… 4 hrs Facility needs to have raised floor, power, aircon, connectivity
Applications Application List Apps owners, ask John Can be done remotely Apps go in after DB…
Databases Oracle team Alex Can be done remotely DB is put in after the server is built..

Step 5: The Short/Mid/Long Term

The Short Term

Solidify – your goal in the short term should be to elicit clear requirements, build a solid plan, socialize.

This is the best phase to build relationships, when everything is still moving smoothly.  Reporting is key – always send out progress updates to demonstrate you are on top of things.

The Mid Term

Calibration – the requirements may change, some of your dependencies may not be ready, you may face schedule and budget overruns. Always pre-empt the stuff that can go wrong, and what you need to do about it. Run through your project plan with your team again and again, new considerations will pop out, talk to the other vendors – catch the hint of a miss early. Protect your interest, don’t just let the world happen to you.

The Long Term

Commercialize – through every project you build a reputation, it does matter what people say and it does matter that people want to acknowledge your work. Sure there will be disagreements, misses and issues to deal with, whether its peaceful and deal with together – depends on you. At the end of your project, how much of a success it is, depends on how its articulated. I’d imagine that a 2-page journey summary, with photographs, positive comments from the vendors you partnered with, good feedback from your customer (throughout the project) – would be a lot more impactful to your management, a better showcase of your collaborative talent than just “ok, done, what’s next”.

How to Create an Innovation Program

Innovation – the destination doesn’t decide the journey…

Marriam Webster says this is the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods.

And yet in an organization, when you’re far away from R&D and working in pretty regulated department, you aren’t really empowered to make change. You feel that a lot of things need to happen, a lot of people need to buy-in to the “act or process”, when they actually only give buy-in when they see “new ideas, devices, or methods”.

Ever heard folks say: “Its so simple, they just need to do it that way”… “if it was left to me, I would do this this/that/the other way”…

This isn’t uncommon and you are right, those breakthrough ideas you read about – had a lot of backing and sponsorship which you aren’t typically going to get.

But you want to tick-off “innovation” as an item on your resume, maybe it will help you land the next job, maybe it will help you look good in front of your manager. However it helps you, this article is going give you the means to start a small, no-cost innovation program – where you can sell the “act or process”, instead of the “new ideas, devices, or methods”.

Step 1: Time It

Plan it according to your appraisal, this shouldn’t take more than 6 months, so start a couple months after your goal setting discussion with your manager and end a couple months before the end of year conversation – so that its fresh in the minds of everyone.

Step 2: Begin With the End in Mind

Now this is where the real thinking comes in. You need to have an inkling about the low hanging fruit – what can be fixed not how and bridge it to a manager who stands to gain from this. That’s your business case. Let me give you a couple real examples:

The Small Department

There was once a plain old department that handled some excel work. They didn’t manage any big systems or applications or processes. But they still were a department with HR processes – leave, reimbursement and the excel work they did. One bright spark put all 3 of those into a bucket called “operational innovation”, and made small improvements such as skipping redundant steps in the HR processes and made macros to automate some of the excel work.

The Large Division

I happen to work with a larger corporation, numbering about 150 folks. What I did was:

  1. Fixed something small myself. Presented the small win to Management in dollar savings terms and asked if they would be open to me starting a low-time investment, free-of-charge innovation program… all I needed was a sharepoint webpage and their support when I call for action.
  2. I lobbied several senior team members (amazing how the best ideas always come from the people who execute processes), and pulled a list of improvement ideas. I asked a couple of team members to turn the ideas into process and execute the improvement, and logged the success on the sharepoint.
    Tip: Share the early wins to Management to keep them warm.

    Pic1

  3. With the data on the sharepoint, I had an example to demonstrate the innovation program – I then held a large team meeting and asked everyone to contribute one idea by the end of the month, and each department to log a major operational risk by the end of every quarter.

    Pic2

  4. Every month I chased folks to execute their ideas, every quarter I presented the growing number of ideas to management. By the third quarter I was able to show that there were 50 ideas registered, 10 implemented which generated savings in cost and time.
  5. For the other 40 ideas I grouped them into a few big buckets and recommended that we secure some funding to pursue 3 improvement projects, which became my following year’s value add.

Step 3: Market It with a Bang

Be smart – look for the right avenues to market the work you have done. After a certain point, don’t call it “innovation program”, call it “value creation” – don’t tell folks you are developing ideas and identifying risks, tell them you are sieving out improvement opportunities that are relevant to meeting business goals. Don’t say this idea fixed an internal process, say it saves 10 man hours, don’t say an idea saves 50 dollars a month – say that without it the 2 year cost would have been over a thousand dollars.

Presenting your program with the right data points. You don’t need to say a lot, just say the right things.

Tip: when the well runs dry, and it will – start looking at risk instead of ideas more aggressively

Pic3