Letting customers ‘co-create’. Young people and companies seem to do this naturally

This is a bit self-indulgent. It’s my younger son playing piano with his uni housemates in their band. What intrigued me is why he is doing it quite like this. So, I asked him.

It’s because one of their ‘fans’ asked. It says so on-screen partway through the video clip. It reminded me of when a CD Baby customer asked for a squid in answer to the question on the form ‘Anything else you want?’ and was sent one (look it up on You Tube). Younger people, bands, companies seem to have far less problem with this adaptation of what they do in response to what customers ask – turning it into a quirky feature.

Anyway, here’s the blindfolded piano player and his musical friends to illustrate the point:

Time to vote for the Top 30 World Leadership Gurus (before end February)

Well, I was 17th last year, largely, I think, for creating The Leadership Hub, and winning some awards around the world for the corporate version, which runs inside the intranet of a large organization and brings their global leadership community together as a development platform. No-one’s done it like that before as far as I know, and I think that’s what brought me to this website’s (below) attention.

Anyway, see the email I just received, below, and do please vote. For me if you think I deserve it, but for someone else if I don’t. I didn’t put myself up for this, I should add.

Phil Dourado

PS If you get ‘failed’ when you try voting using their drop-down list of the Top 30 candidates (hey, why am I in small print in there 🙂 ) , then just write into the field a bit further down that says ‘nominate’ and submit that instead – my name if you like, or someone else’s if not www.leadershipgurus.net

Dear Global Guru Candidates

We are finalizing the ranking for 2012. And your originality, works and impact have qualified you as one of the world’s top 30 Leadership gurus. And as you know, 40% of the ranking is based on peer voting.

So, please get your fans to vote for you at: www.leadershipgurus.net. The final calculations will be completed by March 1st. we will inform you individually when we tabulate the results.

All the best,


PS. As usual, if anyone contacts you and asks for money or donations representing Leadership Gurus or Global Gurus, it is NOT us. We will never request or accept compensation or gratuities for this award”

What my Tesco Metro taught me yesterday








I walked into my local Tesco Metro the other day and they have this new, real-time display above the entrance doors. Sometimes it says ’30 seconds’ even. This time it was less than 60.

The lesson’s  obvious for all of us. This just makes the point in one wonderfully ‘in  your face’ screen. In the 1980s and 1990s, large organizations busily created processes for managing customers based on them/us queuing or waiting in line – most notably the contact centre/center industry.

But, customers don’t want to wait. They hate you for it. They hate your call centres that queue them or make them wait in line. They hate your attempts to route them through your system with Interactive Voice Response.  They hate you for making them fill in a form with their personal details when you already have that information. They don’t want that. They want a real person answering their question now.

The reason they won’t wait is that time is life. By asking them to wait, you are stealing their precious time – you are taking little chunks of their life. You are killing them by moments. That’s how they/we see it. Life’s short. We all want to get the most out of it. The more you eat into people’s time by making them wait, the more you are, literally, taking their life away from them, second by second, when they want to do something else with that time.

So, before you build yet another process based on the assumption that customers will wait in line to reach you. Or even on the cynical assumption that they won’t wait, so you ‘manage’ the queue that way – which we all have experience of as customers; you actually exploit the ‘Life’s too short to wait’ feeling we all have by making your service have a long wait time – the traditional route for keeping customer complaint calls down – then you are, in the long-term, dead yourself as an organization.

Follow Tesco. Follow Disney. Bust your queues or lines. Don’t build processes that assume customers will wait for you.

Why on earth should they?

Phil Dourado 

Little Bets, How breakthrough ideas come from small discoveries, by Peter Sims


“In this era of ever-accelerating change, being able to create, navigate amid uncertainty, and adapt using an experimental approach will increasingly be a vital advantage.

The way to begin is with little bets.” – Peter Sims

I love this book.

One sentence book summary: You innovate to keep changing and improving by a constant series of ‘little bets’ – affordable experimental changes or mini pilots – taken at all levels of the organization: if you are not trying at least one new thing or new approach at any one time, then you will stay the same; maybe you’re ‘good’ already so play safe most of the time, but since ‘good’ is no longer good enough, you may look like you’re succeeding, but you are actually slowly slipping behind. (Wow, what a long sentence…)

Why this is so important: Fundamental to the little bets approach is knowing that you will get something wrong, learn why and improve it. It’s because it’s new that you don’t know if it will work. And you ‘learn by doing’ – smart business leaders call this ‘failing forwards‘ – It looks like failure but it teaches you something you didn’t know and teaches you how ‘it’ will work, and you then fix it and find you now have something no competitor has. You created it.

One paragraph on why you will think this is wrong compared with the way you are used to working: NONE of us are comfortable with this approach as it ‘ups’ what looks like our failure rate. We all want to be in charge of the unit or department or organization that rarely gets anything ‘wrong’ – the safe pair of hands.

That old-fashioned view of what success looks like just means you will stay in safe territory where you know how to do what you are doing. So, you will not progress fast enough. As Picasso said, he was always trying new things that he didn’t know how to do, in order to learn how to do them. That’s the only way we move forward.

Fundamental to the little bets approach is that you:

1. Experiment: Learn by doing. Fail quickly to learn fast. Develop experiments and prototypes to gather insights, identify problems, and build up to creative ideas, like Beethoven did in order to discover new musical styles and forms.

2. Play: A playful, improvisational, and humorous atmosphere quiets our inhibitions when ideas are incubating or newly hatched, and prevents creative ideas from being snuffed out or prematurely judged.

3. Immerse: Take time to get out into the world to gather fresh ideas and insights, in order to understand deeper human motivations and desires, and absorb how things work from the ground up.

4. Define: Use insights gathered throughout the process to define specific problems and needs before solving them, just as the Google founders did when they realized that their library search algorithm could address a much larger problem.

5. Reorient: Be flexible in pursuit of larger goals and aspirations, making good use of small wins to make necessary pivots and chart the course to completion.

6. Iterate: Repeat, refine, and test frequently armed with better insights, information, and assumptions as time goes on.

Great book. Busts the ‘innovation is only noticeable if it’s big innovation’ thinking and shows how to create a continuously innovating culture that improves – a continuous improvement ‘engine’ if you will.

More on Peter Sims’ website>>>

Peter Sims talks about the book on his website (I’m a link. Click on me).