Inoculating companies against inaction, irrelevance, inflexibility and instability.

ANTIGENcy’s Purpose Design, Goals and Objectives

What ANTIGENcy is: It’s a group of curious people that have begun to create a way for organizations (ANTIGENcy customers) to better anticipate and outflank adverse business outcomes. It’s designed to help them become better acquainted with their futures.

ANTIGENcy is a product and a service. The antigen is the product. The application of the antigen and creation of the custom process is the service and it looks like this:

  • Research the organization/on-boarding
  • Administering the VAT(vulnerability assessment test)/scoring
  • Planning for the injecting of the antigen(s)
  • Injecting the antigen
  • Observing the outcome(s)
  • Overseeing the building of the antibodies
  • Periodic assessment of the antibodies efficacy
  • Continuous improvement cycles to keep the organization fit

So, first, there is a product that will take the shape of a library of growing antigens categorized as follows:

1. Strategic

2. Leadership

3. People & Culture (human capital)

4. External (marketing, advertising, etc.)

5. Technology

6. Operations (process & methods)

7. Sales (revenue & profit)

8. Environment (physical space & location)

9. Knowledge & Learning

Based on the client organization’s Vulnerability Assessment Test results, we would be able to steer them toward a specific category.

Second, there is a service, a consultation that allows for ANTIGENcy partners to help the organization plan for, administer and apply changes to allow for growth or suppression of the adverse events they’re guarding against.

There are many benfits to this approach over traditional management consulting. Foremost is ANTIGENcy’s belief that approaching sticky business problems is more than a mere prescriptive approach to problems they know they have. The difference lies between knowing you have a specific problem and knowing how to fix it (conventional approach), and not knowing you have vulnerabilities and seeking out to address them. This approach forces organizations to see around corners, to think laterally about the future and bolstering defenses before they become liabilities.

The ANTIGENcy approach is an effective way to present complex scenarios in a coherent, integrated picture that allows leaders to prepare for a more productive future.

It also allows for org’s to gain exposure to a broader array of potential problems than they may have exposure to in the present. It forces them to look at and gauge the importance of adjacent or tangential problems or challenges and their vulnerability to them and gives them an opportunity to become aware of them, at the very least and an opportunity to take steps to actively guard themselves against these problems.

A tangible selling point of this approach needs to be that if one subscribes to the ANTIGENcy library, they will soon have access to a growing body of maturing scenarios and viable means to protect themselves from unanticipated liabilities. I call this recombinance.

In essence, if one subscribes to the service, they gain access to the whole library giving them wide access to the means and ways that other organizations have used the antigens. If company A used antigen X, then company B should be able to benefit from the learning of company A and so on.

The goals of ANTIGENcy are:

  • To produce a valued disruption in traditional management consulting.
  • To help bold organizations play a more active role in their futures.
  • To make the client company have more fun with important work.
  • To grow a powerful library of business antigens that is valued by all who touch them.
  • Create a significant demand for this approach that organizations want to subscribe to.
  • Help organizations identify or self-diagnose what their limitations and barriers are and give them a means to address them.

The objectives of ANTIGENcy are to:

  • Create a business allowing approximately 15 smart and creative people to innovate a disruption to conventional management consulting.
  • To produce a profit allowing 15 people to live a balanced working life and be engaged in their work.
  • To become a B-Corp and give significant profits back to the communities in which we work.
  • To gain 25 clients within the first year and 100 clients within the first two years.

If you are interested in this approach please contact Steven Keith (919) 771-5219.

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An innovation formula

It occurred to me that the amount of pointless jabber is commensurate with how easy it is to be right. Or how hard it is to be wrong. Or how acceptable it is to us all to keep reading and retweeting the same crap over and over again. I am just as guilty as the next one. Just spouting.

I have been researching broad swaths of  innovation for the last two years and last night I hit a breaking point. I came across an innovation report from Accenture.  I read it twice and became angry at what turned out to be less interesting and insightful than the back of a pack of Splenda. Ironically none of us have innovated around innovation in while. Shame on Accenture for letting such a pile of crap out their door. I expect a whole lot more from them and so would their clients.

I know others in this field are equally dumbfounded or jaded by this.

I am looking for companies who are truly innovating and not just talking about it. If you know of any, please shoot me a note.

Filed under: Innovation, , ,

Innovation Antigen::Brainstorming a Waste of Time

In the last month, I have been working on an innovation antigen. I am not nearly done yet but want to share some progress here and now. This is an antigen that will help surface the need for change at the leadership level. This is not new stuff. Everyone knows companies need to be innovative. And everyone knows the typical CIO-driven organization does not have the tools, propensity or courage to invite innovation in the door. That is one problem. The other more menacing problem is that many companies feel or believe they are innovating with little or no success when they aren’t being innovative at all. This sours their appetite for continued innovation. If it hasn’t worked for them in the past, regardless of how they did it, they do not want to invite it back in to ravage their modest progress along the knowable lines of average.  In other words, they have little faith innovation can be predictable, manageable and repeatable. This I learned from

My aim is to point to the source of innovation latency and help uncover what isn’t working. Companies of all types and sizes should be able to perform their own “innovation quality checks” by evaluating prime variables affecting positive innovation. The reality is simple. It takes a lot of time, heaps of patience and a willingness to surrender control where control has lent the most comfort in the past…at the top. In my experience, innovation is far more likely to originate in a bottom-up rather than a top down fashion.  Also, in my most recent experience, innovation is deflated by a leadership that is scared and bound by need for control and lack of confidence and curiosity. Firms who’ve made modest earnings with faith in the status quo and comfort in the pragmatic are at most risk. Here are the basic dimensions that will help you determine your company’s climate for innovation.

leaders with no followers

leaders with no followers

  • Do we have a clear strategy to innovate? This is found by asking the question: “what services and products do we offer and how much are we willing to invest to make them better, more profitable or successful?”Chances are that you do not have in place, what it takes to make better situations occur from an innovation strategy. Otherwise you would not be taking the time to read this. Adopting the right innovation strategy can be simple if you are asking yourself honest questions and supplying equally honest answers.
  • Do we have the right processes in place to realize the right innovation for us? Processes are the workflows you have adopted to achieve your desired service or product outcomes. This is where I have lost all faith in brainstorming. It is most likely a waste of your time. Brainstorming is often the “re-arrangement” of all the thoughts and ideas you already have, re-purposed in safe variants too close to what you likely already have. You have to look at more stuff, think about it harder and be willing to surrender everything you have to bring something new into its place. This is critical. You have to be willing to adopt processes that allow the act of destruction in order to create new conventions. For quickest results, try a wholesale destruction of your current process. Allow yourselves to believe that breakthroughs tend to come from a perception system (or process) that is confronted with something it doesn’t know how to interpret. In other words, kill your process early and often. Re-invent processes to innovates.
  • Do we have measurable goals? No matter how much stuff you come up with, if it isn’t aligning to a goal, it’s merely cognitive masturbation. Try to bring simple goals to the table before you do anything else. If your measurement is, “come up with something the CEO likes, the president thinks is going to work or the CIO is willing to invest in, your already screwed. Those aren’t objectively measurable and in fact, invite the cancer back in. Instead, have a test group of outside potential users use them in prototype form and see how they react. Better yet, embark on a cyclical innovation process allowing your tweaks to any innovation to test with real users over and over again, allowing you to gradually perfect your new ideas with the test group. Then show how your progressive innovation process is gaining incremental successes with real users. Then show that to the C suite.
  • Do we have people who possess innovative skills or ideas? Yes you do. You have to let them do it.
  • Do we have the right leadership? –No.

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