Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Potential of Mobile Phone Marketing

Mobile marketing is growing as a potential marketing channel to reach increasingly on the go consumers. The cell phone is nearly always carried with consumers in a way that makes them constantly connected to a network that offers new opportunities for product exposure. A literature review in the Journal of Retailing and Consumers Services synthesizes literature on mobile marketing and comes to a few conclusions (Strom, Vendel, Bredican, 2014).

There are many potential use of mobile phones for marketing. Text, web searches, social media, phone calls and much more. In this case, mobile phones are seen as a method used by consumers by searching out products and comes to a conclusion to purchase.

Market Potential:

It is first beneficial to determine potential size of the marketing. An industry study shows us that half of U.S. mobile consumers are mobile device shoppers with 10% being heavy users and 40% light users (Leo Burnett & Arc Worldwide, 2011). As mobile phones continue to develop in technological and functional ability they will also likely increase in shopping and marketing potential.

In-Store Use:

Mobile shoppers sometimes use their phones to compare products right within the store. Once they find a product they like, they may search out alternatives, and if the cost of effort and value appear to be competitive, they will make an in-store purchase. Mobile phones become a method of price comparison.

Mobile Phones and Computer Use go Hand-in-Hand:

People who use mobile devices to shop will often use a computer as well. This makes the cell phone an extension of online search patterns. If an interesting product is found on their phones they may conduct a more extensive search using their computer to obtain more information.

Mobile Phones for Convenience:

Mobile phones will be used for convenience purposes to check prices, share ideas, and determine whether or not they should act. When they are walking into stores, hanging with friends, or doing some other activity, they may use their cell phones to check on items and interest. This makes mobile phone a strong Word-of-Mouth convenience shopping tool.

Leo Burnett & Arc Worldwide (2011): “A mobile shopper research study”. [Online]. Available at>

Strom, R., Vendel, M., Bredican, J. (2014) Mobile marketing: a literature review on its value for consumers and retailers. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 21 (1001-1012).

Genius Beyond Intelligence Level for Workplace Development

The study of genius has attracted sociologists, psychologists and business people for a long time. Finding ways to attract and enhance genius to become performers can lead to significant gains for society. Whether that is from business development or scientific breakthrough, the hiring and grooming of genius can lead to new ways conducting business in society. There are some factors that make genius unique among the general population that interlopers should become aware.

Genius is often defined by one's intellectual ability. A person who scores above 140 on a standard Standard-Binet scale is considered a genius. They may also be seen as a person who is 2 standard deviations above average. According to an assessment of genius in the Social and Personality Psychology Compass Journal this quantitative method may limit our understanding of genius personality traits and how it can influence performance (Simonton, 2012).

IQ assessment is a limited perspective of highly intelligent people and puts in the shadows other markets that might be of importance.  Understanding some of these psychological traits also helps us better grasp of how to determine who is a genius and put them to constructive work. Taking note of intelligence, motivation, psychological uniqueness, and openness to experience gives a more profound explanation.

A Minimum Intelligence Level

True creativity relies on intelligence and it can be rare to find a person that has made strong contributions in the creative domain that doesn't have an intelligence of at least 120. Creativity is defined as a different type of intelligence level beyond than what is found on a standard intelligence level. While minimal brain smarts are needed other factors often determine success.

Thinking creates a high level of cognitive load that is not often available for the average person. The genius enjoys intellectual challenges and has the mental resources to apply a deep thought process to the development and creation of solutions. It will take a certain level of intelligence to sustain this effort to a degree where multiple factors must be kept in mental play to find complex solutions.


Potential genius can only be turned into a true genius through motivation. Obstacles and rejections push the potential genius to realize his/her talents to overcome these challenges. A solidification process occurs where confidence and ability rise to create meaningful outputs.

This is an essential factor where a genius has the abilities but never use those abilities to accomplish something or they face a challenge and overcome it in a way that leads to a breakthrough. Once a process has been developed they can use that process to overcome other problems to create additional breakthroughs.

Psychological Uniqueness

Being outside the curve can also mean that one has the personality traits that lead to new developments and ideas. This makes geniuses more prone to mental disorders. For example, where someone in the general population may become schizophrenic, the genius becomes creative. Where a bi-polar person barely functions, the genius becomes highly motivated and improves performance.

They may not move all the way into these disorders, but touch upon them in a way that makes them who they are as unique individuals. One can have a difficulty time inventing a new way of looking at the world if they do not have the biological and psychological abilities to make unique connections that would be unavailable as a mental resource in the general population.

Openness to Experience

People who are open to experience learn new and unique things that others cannot. They gain over the years the ability to see problems from many different perspectives based on the accumulation of knowledge through trying new and unique things. They are not subjected to rigid routines that often limit the growth potential of others.

Geniuses are highly curious people who desire to understand the world around them. This curiosity is what allows them to focus on problems and create a scientific breakthrough.  They are inclined to try new and interesting things to help them master their environment and learn about their interests. It is an overwhelming interest in the new and unique.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Can Innovative Clusters Protect the Economy from Recession?

Recessions can be brutal and countries often suffer from the magnitude of global changes and shifts that can impact their economic well-being. While they search for solutions to strengthen their economic position among lower cost emerging nations they should consider the benefits of developing clusters. According to a study entitled Coping with Economic Crisis-The Role of Clusters published in European Planning Studies, clusters offer a ray of hope in fortifying an economy from recession.

When the global economy adjusts there will be winners and losers. Some nations will pick up additional manufacturing while others will lose manufacturing. When times are good more people will be employed, while when times are bad people will be unemployed.  Europe and the U.S. has lost jobs over the past few decades due to the cheaper cost of manufacturing in places like China, Asia and India.

The only true competitive position that Western countries can make is to be more innovative and development oriented than emerging nations. They must lead the market with new products and services in order to ensure their offers gain the most market attention and interest. Clusters offer an opportunity to capitalize on Western ingenuity in a way that keeps manufacturing and jobs at home; even when the global economy shifts.

The study looked at Norwegian clusters and used surveys and data from four cluster organizations to determine how they acted under economic pressure (Skalholt & Thune, 2014). The economic time-frame use for the study was a recession from 2009 to 2010. They looked for innovative strategies, roles and activities of the clusters during the crisis, and the differences in behaviors of mature clusters.

The study found that mature clusters adapted to economic recessions by putting forward new innovative strategies, increasing collaboration with other businesses, and engaging in developing their workforce. A big concern was that lenders slowed down available investment capital and this choked off innovation. The study highlights that when monies were available, clusters were able to overcome challenges by developing new innovative products/services even while the global market was slowing.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Location of a Business Influences its Growth Potential

What advantages does close proximity of businesses have for product and firm development? According to a study conducted on the Hsinchu District in Taiwan, close proximity results in knowledge spin-offs as a result of people moving and sharing of knowledge between firms. Proximity influences innovative development in technology firms in a way that creates synergy and higher growth (Hu, Lin, and Chang, 2005). Proximity also increase the likelihood that products will move from the conception to production stages.

Innovation is a messy process where knowledge interacts with available resources in a way that leads to new product development. A significant portion of this growth rests on a person's social networks and the ideas those networks generate. Social learning becomes part of the process of how tightly woven clusters develop to overcome market challenges. 

"the close spatial clustering of technology firms favour repeated knowledge agent spinoffs and high-tech personnel mobility that then clearly influence the innovative activity of technology-based firms (Hu, Linand Chang, 2005)." 

As skilled people move from one company to the next they carry with them product development lessons in a additive manner. They can apply this knowledge to their new jobs in ways that connect corporate intellectual capital. Within their networks companies share information and build off of ideas through social construction that results in developmental synergy. 

While some industry knowledge seeps across international borders the highest states of development occurred with the confines of local clusters. Proximity in this case was an important catalyst to growth. A business that wants to succeed in a particular industry should consider the merits of working next to other businesses to soak in their innovative development.

As an added bonus, clusters made the movement from product conception to mass production more likely. It was a function of how closely they interacted to increase likelihood. When inventors and builders interact together at social clubs, restaurants, bars, and sports lounges things start to happen. Walking across the street and handing an engineer a set of plans can make a big difference. 

The study helps us understand that proximity and social interaction in places like the Hsinchu District of Taiwan produce opportunities for innovative synergy that results in new product development. When clusters are designed with innovative growth in mind, proximity should be a major consideration to help them associate through formal and informal channels. Highly skilled technology workers socialize with other like-minded individuals and share knowledge and resources in an informal manner. They also switch to new companies and carry that knowledge with them. Great minds working in the same are seem to have an additive process to get their creative juices flowing.

Hu, T. ,  Lin, C. and Chang, S. (2005). Role of Interaction between Technological Communities and Industrial Clustering in Innovative Activity: The Case of Hsinchu District, Taiwan. Urban Studies, 42, (7), 1139–1160.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Theory of Constraints and a Process of Continuous Improvement

Paths to Productivity
The Theory of Constraints developed by Eliyahu Goldratt in his 1984 book entitled The Goal highlights how organizations are limited by a small number of constraints.  These constraints can add up and impact profit margins by slowing everything else down. The organization can be defined by its weakest link. To improve performance means removing these bottlenecks and ensuring efficiency and proper flow throughout the organization.

Bottlenecks can be physical, financial or informational. Manufacturing facilities have spots where products and resources are congested. Likewise, organizations that rely heavily on intellectual capital could have informational bottlenecks that limit task completion. Financial constraints can also impact both types of organizations when capital is not available to finish projects as needed. 

Research helps uncover these bottlenecks and find solutions that improve the overall flow of physical, financial or informational resources. A process of continuous improvement is implemented in a way that leads to greater analysis, discovery, improvement and review that creates higher levels of organizational performance. A continuous process is often beneficial in this regard. 

The Five-Step Continuous Improvement Process:

The Five-Step Continuous Improvement Process is based on finding the constraints in the system
(Goldratt, 1984, p. 297).
1. Identify the system's bottlenecks.
2. Decide how to exploit (get the most from) the bottlenecks.
3. Subordinate everything else to the above decision (make the bottleneck the
4. Elevate the systems bottlenecks (find a way around the bottlenecks).
5. If, in a previous step, a bottleneck has been broken go back to step 1.

Goldratt, E. (1984). The goal. Croton-on-Hudson, New York: North River Press, Inc.