What is the Future of Self Driving Cars?

 27th October 2016 by gihan

In my conference keynote presentations, I often talk about new technology that’s just around the corner. Almost without fail, the topic that generates the greatest discussion and debates is self-driving cars (also known as “autonomous cars”). Perhaps that’s because we’re so used to driving as a normal part of life, perhaps because we don’t believe computers could do as good a job as we can, and perhaps it’s because we just can’t imagine a world where humans are not allowed to drive.

Whatever the reason, most people are intrigued by the idea, but don’t know much about the technology.

Here’s a very useful video that briefly explains the technology and some of its implications:

And if you’d like to understand some of the possible drawbacks, watch this video:

Even if you’re more optimistic than pessimistic, it’s worth understanding the pros and cons, so you can have a more informed conversation.

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Leads vs Loyalty: The Better Way to Make Money

 25th October 2016 by gihan

Leads vs Loyalty: The Better Way to Make Money

I have been speaking recently at conferences in a range of industries – including financial planning, corporate travel, insurance underwriting, banking, and healthcare. As part of our presentation briefing, I always ask my client about the biggest source of income in their business or industry, and the answer is almost always “repeat and referral business”.

I also ask them about the biggest challenges facing their business or industry, and invariably the answer is “Getting and keeping customers”.

But “getting” and “keeping” are two entirely different things! And if the biggest source of income is from repeat and referral business, then “keeping” is far more important than “getting”.

So how do you keep your customers and clients?

It’s not surprising that keeping customers is a challenge, because customers have so many more options now. Even if you have been a preferred supplier in the past, that doesn’t mean they will continue to give you business in the future. If you want to continue to get business from your customers, you have to continue building your relationship with them – long after the first sale.

This is not just about providing a great experience once – because they will soon forget that experience.
It’s not just about having the best product or service – because somebody else will do it better.
And it’s not about continually promoting to them – because that makes you an unwelcome pest.

It’s about continuing to deliver value in the way they want it.

This is true customer loyalty: Customers remain attracted to you and your business (not just your products or services).

Here are four ways to keep delivering value in order to build loyalty.

1. Offer personal access to you (and your business).

Give customers a way to contact you directly for personal support, insights, education, and more (like Apple does with their Genius Bar).

This is the most expensive option, because you’re providing individual access. So you might only offer it to your best customers and clients. On the other hand, you might consider it so valuable that (like Apple) you offer it to all customers, because you know it creates huge brand loyalty.

2. Offer group access to you.

Give customers access to you, but in a group setting. For example, I know a financial planning business that offers a free quarterly “market intelligence” webinar, but available only to their clients. And retail stores like OfficeWorks and Bunnings offer free training sessions for customers.

This is more affordable than personal access, but still valuable because you’re providing access to your expertise and knowledge.

3. Send personal gifts.

You don’t provide access to you, but you do provide something personal on a regular basis – for example, a book you know they might like or a handwritten postcard to congratulate them on something you noticed on Facebook. You could even just send them a link to an interesting article or Web site.

This is not as valuable as providing access to you, but it does show you’ve been thinking about them.

4. Send group gifts.

You still send loyalty gifts, but everybody gets the same thing. For example, American Express recently sent me a $25 gift voucher for being a loyal credit card merchant.

You don’t have to give money, of course. Your gifts can be physical (for example, a copy of your book, or a card on their birthday, a printed newsletter) or digital (a private client e-mail newsletter, smartphone app, or access to online resources).

This is the easiest option to automate and delegate, because it just needs a mailing list, a collection of gifts, and a calendar to schedule them. But it’s still more than what most businesses do!

Which of these could YOU do?

Some of these are easy to do, and others take a bit more work and money.

You might choose a range of options, and offer different options to different groups of people (for example, only your “Platinum Frequent Flyers” might get personal access).

Whatever you choose, choose something. In this highly-competitive world, it’s more important than ever before to build loyal long-term relationships that create repeat, referral and renewal business.

Webinar Thursday 27th October: Build a Mobile App In One Hour

One of the most powerful loyalty-building tools – if you can do it right – is a smartphone app. Internet users spend more time on their smartphone apps than on Web sites – a lot more time. So it’s not surprising that many businesses want to have prime place in their customer’s mind by building a great app.

Early apps weren’t very sophisticated. When I first ran a training webinar about building an iPhone app (way back in 2010!), the technology was clunky and limited, and it took a lot of work to create a great app.

But things have changed a lot now, and you can create a highly functional app for your business in a few hours.

Come to this webinar and I’ll show you how to create an app yourself – right in front of your eyes. Yes, it is possible to build an app in an hour now!

Find Out More

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Build a Mobile App In One Hour

 24th October 2016 by gihan

Build a Mobile App In One HourInternet users spend more time on their smartphone apps than on Web sites – a lot more time. And that’s not surprising, because an app is right there on their phone. So it’s also not surprising that many businesses want to have prime place in their customer’s mind by building a great app.

Early apps weren’t very sophisticated. When I first ran a training webinar about building an iPhone app (way back in 2010!), the technology was clunky and limited, and it took a lot of work to create a great app.

But things have changed a lot now, and you can create a highly functional app for your business in a few hours.

If an app falls in the forest, does it make a sound?

But most apps are terrible!

There are thousands of business apps available for both iPhones and Android phones, and yet most users download just a few dozen, and use even fewer of them. So how can you be sure that yours is one of those few?

Here’s the secret: Ongoing help

The magic ingredient in the best apps is ongoing help. To be successful as a tool, you don’t need to be as popular as all the big-name apps, but you do have to provide ongoing help.

Here are some examples from well-known apps:

  • Facebook: Connecting with friends and sharing things every day.
  • Pokémon Go: Playing a fun game alone and in teams.
  • Evernote: Storing and retrieving documents.
  • Weather apps: Checking short-term and long-term weather forecasts.
  • Shopping list apps: Storing a list of things to buy, and then prompting you when you’re out shopping.
  • … and so on

As you can see, these apps all provide ongoing help in some way.

That might seem obvious, but most business apps fail this test!

So, when it comes to planning and building your app, think carefully about what ongoing help you can offer to your users.

Webinar: Build a Mobile App In One Hour

If you want to know more about building your own mobile app, come along to this webinar and I’ll show you how to create an app yourself – right in front of your eyes. Yes, it is possible to build an app in an hour now!

Find Out More

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Recommended Podcast: HBR Ideacast

 21st October 2016 by gihan

podcast-hbrideacastEach episode of this podcast from Harvard Business Review features an interview with a Harvard academic, the author of a new book, or some other authority on some aspect of business. As you would expect from the Harvard Business Review, the interview guests are leading authorities in their field, and the topics are covered in depth and with appropriate levels of evidence and academic support.

That said, the interviews are presented in an engaging and accessible way. As with the HBR magazine, many of the topics are most relevant in larger organisations. Even so, many of the topics covered in this podcast apply equally to leaders and managers in smaller businesses as well.

Subscribe Now

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The Future of Work

 18th October 2016 by gihan


We now have so many options for doing work – and that brings more flexibility, greater access to talent, and better integration of work goals with personal goals. But this also needs a new mindset around work, for everybody in the workplace – especially leaders.

In this conversation with Libby Sander, we explore many of these topics about the future of work.

Listen To the Episode

Listen to the episode here:

Our conversation was based on some of the things Libby identified in her article “10 Ways Work Will Change in 2016”:

  1. More work, more flexibility.
  2. Distributed workplaces need distributed leadership
  3. More stress
  4. More automation
  5. Yearning for place
  6. Baby boomers leaving, Gen Z entering
  7. The gig economy
  8. Anti-authenticity marketing
  9. Expect to be asked what you are doing to disrupt and innovate in your job
  10. Don’t label me

The Fit for the Future Podcast brings you regular ideas, interviews and insights about how you, your teams and your organisation can become fit for the future.

More ways to engage with me:

Recommended Podcast: Exponential Wisdom

 14th October 2016 by gihan

podcast-exponentialwisdomIn this podcast, billionaire investor and futurist Peter Diamandis teams up with master coach Dan Sullivan to discuss future trends and technologies – including automation, innovation, healthcare technology, the Internet of Things, and so on.

As the driving force behind the X Prize innovations – which run multi-million dollar competitions for things like sci-fi healthcare sensors, commercial space flights, and the like – Diamandis not only talks about this stuff; he actively supports it. So he can speak with authority about a range of future technologies.

When it comes to painting a picture of the future, the two hosts are definitely on the optimistic end of the spectrum, with abundance rather than scarcity. They also take a global view (for example, they often talk about how technology and innovation boost developing nations) rather than looking narrowly at the impact on rich, developed, Western nations.

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When it Comes to Innovation, Habit Trumps Discipline

 12th October 2016 by gihan

Habit Trumps Discipline

What are the habits in your personal life? Things like brushing your teeth twice a day, getting dressed, a glass of red wine with dinner, washing up the dirty dishes in the sink, putting on your seat-belt when you get in the car, going to the gym, eating everything on your plate, locking the door when you leave the house, …

What about your professional life? Perhaps they are things like the weekly status meeting with your team, checking e-mail every few minutes, adding appointments to your calendar immediately, interrupting colleagues when you walk by their desk, packing or buying the same lunch every day, taking the same route home, …

I’m not making any judgement about whether these are good or bad, effective or ineffective, productive or wasteful. I’m just saying these are habits, which means you do them without forcing yourself to do them.

What if you could make innovation a habit?

Innovation is everybody’s business now. It’s not just something you can “leave to the R&D team”.

But it’s not easy to innovate when everybody is too busy trying to get their daily work done. And in our fast-changing world, it’s often a struggle to just get that daily work done. So how can you possibly find the time for innovation?

It’s tempting to say you’ll innovate “tomorrow”, when things quieten down. But tomorrow never comes!

But what if innovation was a habit – just like brushing your teeth or checking Facebook every few minutes? Then you wouldn’t have to force yourself to do it – you would just do it.

Crucially, you wouldn’t need “discipline”, because that’s too much like hard work.

When it comes to innovation, habit trumps discipline.

OK, but what does that mean in practice?

Here are four ways you can create positive habits for innovation: time, space, money, and people.

1. Make TIME for innovation.

Do you set aside regular time for innovation?

This doesn’t have to be as generous as Google’s famous (and now obsolete) “20% time” for employees to work on anything they wanted. You could create much simpler habits, such as:

  • Leaving work early on Friday afternoons
  • Hosting an innovation meeting at the same time each week
  • Setting aside 15 minutes every day when you wake up

It might even be as simple as starting your weekly team meeting by asking everybody to share one innovative idea they have seen in the past week (Thanks, Nils Vesk, for this idea).

2. Find the right SPACE for innovation.

Don’t wait for the annual conference on Hamilton Island. Find or create spaces for innovation in your regular work. For example, this could be:

  • Working in the cafe down the road instead of sitting at the office desk
  • A walking meeting rather than a sit-down meeting
  • For distributed teams: An informal videoconference call with pizza or coffee for all attendees

Different things work for different people, so let them each choose the individual innovation space that works best for them.

3. Set aside MONEY for innovation.

Every month, I take 3% of the salary I pay myself and put it into a separate Technology/Gadgets bank account, which is purely for buying technology, gadgets and other tools (Thanks, Michael Harrison, for this idea). It means I have the budget to invest in new technology even if I can’t completely justify the need for it.

I also put 10% of my salary into an Education bank account, which I use for conferences, online courses, books, and other learning resources. Again, because the money is already put aside, I can use it when I want it, and I don’t have to weigh it up against anything else (that would take discipline!).

You don’t have to follow exactly the same formula, but I hope you adopt the principle: Set money aside for innovation, and use it. You can make this work for yourself personally and for your team’s budget as well. It’s much easier to set aside the money in advance than try to justify spending it later.

4. Surround yourself with the right PEOPLE for innovation.

Make it a habit to hang out with people who challenge your thinking, share different ideas, and have diverse backgrounds and experiences.

For example, I host a monthly non-fiction book club and discussion group, and it’s a diverse group, including people from IT, marketing, high school education, aged care, health and fitness, and more. We don’t solve all the world’s problems, but I do always leave with something new to consider and apply in my life. Because it’s a regular event, it’s a habit for me.

When we get into routines or get very busy, it’s all too easy to interact with all the same people all the time (even in social media). It’s good to have a “tribe”, but staying only in that tribe can stifle innovation.

So what can YOU do to make innovation a habit?

Make no mistake: If you’re not innovating, you’re falling behind. And if you don’t make innovation a habit, it rarely happens.

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Light Up – Innovate Now

 11th October 2016 by gihan

Light Up - Innovate Now

Our world is changing rapidly, and businesses and entire industries are being shaken, disrupted and toppled. This is a huge opportunity if you can take advantage of it, but a massive threat if you don’t. Will you thrive or survive?

You can watch the recording here:

After the webinar, I asked participants “What was the most useful thing you learned today?” Here are some of their answers:

“Ideas to practise to help innovate both in my personal and professional life”

“We have to embrace change”

“How i deal with change and some ideas to expand my awareness and focus”

“Habits trumps discipline!”

“The process you laid out that can be followed over and over as a reflective tool when facing any change or wanting to innovate in my business.”

“Make it a habit”

“The importance of being pro-actively innovative”

“How to get new ideas”

“Reminder of breaking of old habits”

The Future Proof Webinar Series

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In each webinar, I'll cover an important topic about the future - for example, the shift of power to Asia, the changing workplace, healthcare technology, the shift to customer-centric business, big data, and more. This is not just theory; I'll also give you practical examples and ideas for you to future-proof your organisation, teams, and career.

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