September 12, 2008
I just learned a few minutes ago that Dr. Michael Hammer, the father of business reengineering and author of the best-seller, “Reengineering the Corporation,” passed away last week at the age of 60.
I worked closely with Dr. Hammer in the mid-1990 when I worked at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture). Dr. Hammer and his (then) side-kick, Steve Stanton, helped me and my team develop our Process Excellence Principles.
One of his contributions was a video he developed for us. While in his office, we turned a camera on, and he rattled off the most amazing 30 minute speech, without any preparation or any retakes. This video, cut into smaller vignettes, became a highlight of our day long training sessions we delivered to over 20,000 people around the world.
I also had the great pleasure of sharing the stage with him on a couple of occasions. His speeches were awe inspiring and content-packed. I have yet to see a presenter who has impressed me more. I always thought of him a role model.
I remember one time I introduced Dr. Hammer as the “father of re-engineering.” When he took the stage, he quipped, “I often hear that I am the father. My wife wants to know, who is the mother?”
In some respects, I should thank Dr. Hammer for the life I have now. I was one of the leaders of Andersen Consulting’s reengineering practice. If it weren’t for Hammer, that great opportunity would not have been created. That work gave me the chance to travel the world giving speeches since 1992. But it was only after spending time with Hammer a few years later did I really find my love of the stage.
I remember back in November 1996, someone asked me where I wanted to be in 5 years. I responded, “I want to be the Michael Hammer of the next business wave.” 5 years later, nearly to the day, my first book hit the book stores and I left Accenture for the life I have now.
Thank you Dr. Hammer.
September 11, 2008
My friend, Shari Harley, wrote a beautiful article commemorating September 11th. For her it is very personal since she worked in the Twin Towers at that time, but was not in the office that day.
She asks some very thought provoking questions:
- How is the world different because I lived on September 11th when others died?
- What have I done in the last 12 months to make the world smaller and to build community each time I get on a plane, walk in a store, meet someone new and have a conversation?
- Where have I played small…said yes when I meant no…said no when I wanted to say yes…or didn’t say anything at all?
I encourage you, as she does, to think about the contribution you are making to the world. Her article has reaffirmed my theme for the rest of this year: “significance.”
September 2, 2008
In today’s Wall Street Journal, there is a good article about South Bend, Indiana-based Memorial Hospital’s Innovation Cafe. The article starts off…
Hungry visitors to Memorial Hospital here sometimes cross the street to its Innovation Café, lured by the outdoor patio with white metal tables and chairs. Inside, however, all they find is fake food and a blackboard listing “recipes” such as “Basic Ingredients for Innovation.”
The Innovation Café is an unusual teaching laboratory created by Philip A. Newbold, the veteran chief executive of this midsize community hospital and health system. He converted a failed delicatessen into a venue where staffers and outsiders can learn to craft new ideas.
In the middle of the article, there are some interesting facts and figures…
He persuaded his employer to become the first U.S. community hospital with an innovation research-and-development budget. The board committed up to 1% of annual revenue for innovation activities. That equals about $4 million a year. The hospital ended up spending just $195,000 in 2005, $622,000 in 2006 and $711,000 in 2007 on innovation efforts such as venture start-up costs and staff training. But the increase in related operating profit was as much as three times the annual expenditure.
These innovation incubators are a great idea.
But, as the article mentions, the one challenge that can result is too many ideas. That is why I am a proponent of combining this concept with an Innovation Center of Excellence and “challenge-based” innovation. To learn more about these concepts, read my article in the European Business Forum. In fact, while you are at it, read all of my innovation articles.
July 11, 2008
I am here in Bangkok and loving it. The people are so nice. The food is great. And the massages (legit ones!) are cheap.
I check email once, maybe twice a day. And I only respond to the urgent ones (like requests from TV stations and magazines here in Bangkok who want to interview me). I’m getting more work done in less time, because I can stay focused on the task at hand, rather than reading and responding to emails every 5 seconds.
I bought a cheap mobile phone and have both Malaysian and Thai phone numbers so that I can make local calls. But I don’t even carry the phone with me when I am out. It is for emergencies primarily.
This is freedom.
July 8, 2008
How are you doing with the 30 day challenge? For me, the first few days were tough. What made it even more difficult was that my hotel does not have internet access in the rooms. So whenever I want to access email, I need to go to the hotel lobby.
I’m on day 4, and as predicted, I am no longer stressed about checking my email. I set up an autoresponder that gives people my agent’s contact information if they need a response that is time sensitive.
I’m off to Bangkok in a few hours…