How to learn from failure – without failing

If you were a kid growing up in the 80’s it was pretty hard to have not seen and been wowed by at least one of the original Indiana Jones movies. As a hero, the titular Indiana had the whole package – brains, courage, machismo and rugged good looks (which were eerily similar to those of another lead in a Lucasfilm series from the same time).

In our house, Raiders of the Lost Ark was on a continual VHS loop on Saturday mornings from the late 80’s to the early 90’s. Indy’s adventures left me with a profoundly warped perception of what an archaeologist actually did, but instilled in me a lifelong passion for history and the promise that historical study brings – the ability to better understand the present through knowledge of the past. Continue reading

What LEGO’s worst selling product line of all time can teach us about the importance of product testing to reduce strategic risk

I’m absolutely nuts about LEGO.

My infatuation with the endless possibilities of the little brick started as a ten year old and has shown no signs of letting up since.

Millions of fans the world over have a similarly deep relationship with LEGO, who have successfully managed year after year to bring to market LEGO themes (lines of individual LEGO sets aligned to a set of characters for the uninitiated) which capture the imaginations of their customers and the hard earned dollars of their wallet wielding parents (for the record I now buy my own LEGO, much to the embarrassment of my parents, my wife and my children).

The LEGO group, which last year posted a profit of 8.2b kroner ($1.7b AUD) is currently flying high, bolstered by an empire which includes revenue streams from toys, software and the incredibly successful LEGO Movie. But things were not always so rosy for the Danish juggernaut. Continue reading

Responding to a Crisis with Confidence & Conviction

A crisis in business can mean anything from a natural or man made disaster to product recalls, cyber attacks or infrastructure failures. Conventional wisdom tells us that it is critical that we plan for these types of events in advance, developing strategies to respond and testing these fully before a crisis eventuates.

In small or resource bound organisations this advice is not always practical though and in some cases even the best plans fall apart when a completely unexpected disaster befalls a business.

However, there are some practical tips all businesses can apply in the absence of a predefined plan when a crisis strikes. Continue reading