I assist a major firm identify the fundamentals of the media of the future, facilitate a culture of innovation and accelerate the reinvention of their business model. For those of you less familiar with the challenges of this industry in the US let me tell you what they are in this digital age: Read More
The “Intuitive Intelligence” conference I put together for HEC MBA – first business school in Europe per FT ranking over the past 5 years – has become one of the top global downloads for iTunes U.
One of the latest ideas to hit the buzz circuit is the concept of “digital intuition” – introduced by my6sense, a company which has developed a tool that serves up the most relevant
information for us. They’ve developed a recommendation engine which TechCrunch says “separates
the signal from the noise and helps users shift their attention to the
content they care about most.”
The application learns what you like, then finds more. Read More
A while back, I published a short article on the strategic role of Human Resources in the new economy. The article: Le rôle stratégique des DRH dans les 10 ans à venir is in French, but since I get so many requests to talk about this issue, I’ve translated it here for you. The main point I’m making is that in today’s disruptive economic climate, HR can and must become a critical differentiator.
The strategic role of Human Resources in the coming years
To generate creative added value is one of the surest ways for companies to win in the global competition today. Innovation is the new imperative. Read More
A short article in Les Echos:
Another way to manage and lead
Neurosciences in the service of business
Francis Cholle author of L’Intelligence Intuitive recommends to executives to combine their analytical mind with their intuitive aptitudes to gain further consumer insight and improve business performance.
From our correspondent in the Sillicon Valley, Laetitia Mailhes
For beauty and fashion executives time has come to reconsider every aspect of business. “The economy is changing consumers’ behaviors, independently from the evolution of incomes, explains NY Fashion Institute of Technology Professor Stephan Kanlian. To open their wallet consumers today want more than brand prestige. They demand more and more added value and a greater match between products they buy and their own values.” But the business community is not well prepared to adapt to such a radical change.
“Obsession for financial return has led leaders to often forget they share a common humanity with consumers,” says Francis Cholle, author of L’Intelligence Intuitive, innovation consultant for large corporations and advisor to their C-Level executives. A graduate of the best European business school, HEC (Ecoles des Hautes Commerciales) Francis Cholle insists that sustainable value creation requires the necessary synergy between analysis and ROI on the one hand and play and instinct, on the other (see graph below of The Intuitive Compass™).
The role of intuitive intelligence
“Neuroscience showed in 2005 that parts of our brain traditionally associated with our instinct are involved in our most sophisticated decisions” says our expert in reference to MIT Picower Institute for Learning and Memory research on our reptilian brain aka instinctual brain, published in the scientific journal Nature. “It is very noticeable in consumer behaviors. For this exact reason if a company wants to understand its market and meet its expectations, it is necessary that they understand how intuition works and integrate an intuitive process in their business approach,” adds Francis Cholle. His message is well received. “My daily conversations with Francis Cholle greatly deepen my thinking at a particularly critical time for our company” says Ralph Lauren Fragrances and Beauty President Guillaume de Lesquen, based in New York to orchestrate the brand development on the world stage.
Long before the economic recession Francis Cholle started to advocate the role of intuitive aptitudes and their impact on value creation. Biotherm for Men global marketing director, Charles Haddad is quite satisfied that he could attend one of Francis Cholle’s seminar and acquire tools that explain in a simple language many key aspects of brand development and marketing that he could confusedly feel but could not clearly understand even less so replicate. Today Charles Haddad encourages in his team ” free and spontaneous communication. We then select what we feel is relevant”. “It is not about leaving behind our marketing objectives but rather about dissolving automatic censorship mechanism often inherent to corporate structures.”
Armand de Villoutreys, CEO of Firmenich in Paris and president of Firmenich Fine Fragrance World Division, asserts that he has “learned to approach differently his leadership role in a creative corporation.” And it showed very tangible results! “We started four years ago to integrate into our management practices the principles of Intuitive Intelligence,” says the French executive. “We have been happy to see an accelerated growth of our financial results across continents well above market average.”
© Les Echos n° 20486 dated 08-13-2009 p. 06 (Authorized translation by Peter Camo)
If you have not already read “The Big Shift Index” report from The Deloitte
Center for the Edge led by John Hagel III, John Seely
Brown, and Lang Davison you should do so immediately.
This first release of the Shift Index reveals a startling fact: the return on assets (ROA) for U.S. firms has steadily fallen to almost one-quarter of 1965 levels; at the same time, the researchers found modest improvements in labor productivity.
Grim news, indeed. The report also finds:
– The ROA performance gap between winners and losers has increased over time, with the “winners” barely maintaining previous performance levels, while the losers experience rapid deterioration in performance.
– The “topple rate,” at which big companies lose their leadership positions, has more than doubled, suggesting that “winners” have increasingly precarious positions.
– U.S. competitive intensity has more than doubled during the last 40 years.
– While the performance of U.S. firms is deteriorating, the benefits of productivity improvements appear to be captured in part by creative talent, which is experiencing greater growth in total compensation. Customers also appear to be gaining and using power as reflected in increasing customer disloyalty.
– The exponentially advancing price/performance capability of computing, storage, and bandwidth is driving an adoption rate for our new “digital infrastructure” that is two to five times faster than previous infrastructures, such as electricity and telephone networks.
Index consists of three indices: Foundation, Flow, and
Impact, and 25 metrics that together quantify the stock, pace, and
implications of the shift. The index enables analysts to
anticipate changes, identify bottlenecks, and guide strategy.
Not everyone, of course, will choose to monitor the same metrics or assign them
the same weights. Thus, the Shift Index is less a single measure and
more an informational platform that will give rise to a diversity of models
and, a stronger collective sense about the pace and nature of change,
constraints and opportunities within that system. As constraints
fall away and opportunities increase, old conﬁgurations become unstable
and new structures emerge.
A number of
key ideas in the report resonated with our observations at The Human Company:
– the importance of creativity and innovation in ROA
– information “flows” over
– passion as a driver for higher productivity
– more and more
– consistently declining return
– increasing rate at which big companies lose their leadership
– rising executive turnover tied to increasing performance pressures
However, I was surprised to find one element missing in their measurement model.
What’s missing? Sustainability and its impact on the economy.
is the business imperative for our time. From global-warming to competition for natural
resources, sustainability must necessarily sit at the core of any sound
business strategy. The sooner businesses understand this the better.
Organizations will have no choice but to
follow government regulations and anticipate consumers reactions and merciless
communication via ever more powerful social networks aiming at securing a
More importantly employers who align their
businesses to create a more sustainable world will also attract, retain and
empower more and better employees. Sustainability challenges have become so
pressing that they not only affect us at a rational and emotional level but they
also threaten our survival instincts. And as such they are bound to impact employee productivity, loyalty, and creativity. Meaning is the underpinning and decisive factor of human efficiency. How could a corporation careless of its employees’ and
employees’ children future ever encounter long term success in a flat world?
In order to maintain competitivity, growth and profitability
organizations will have to build sustainable blueprints for the future. Take a look at Adam Werbach‘s latest book: Strategy
The Deloitte report is an example of a brilliant work conceived in an
intellectual tradition largely limited to our analytical minds. Yes, they do mention creativity and talent and yes, they talk about information flows, but I wish they had mentioned sustainability. A quick glance at the Intuitive Compass™ shows us that Deloitte overlooked the South West Quadrant. Regrettably, this is often the case with our business thinking.
According to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, L’Oréal SA, the world’s largest cosmetics maker, reported flat sales
for the first quarter of 2009 as consumers shied away from its luxury
skin creams and shampoos in favor of its cheaper brands. The maker of products ranging from Giorgio Armani perfume to Lancôme
skin cream and Maybelline eye shadows said sales increased 0.3% to
€4.37 billion ($5.83 billion) in the first three months of 2009.
Jean-Paul Agon, L’Oréal’s chief executive, said that he would not offer
specific guidance for the year but that results would “improve” during
After accounting for the effect of currency fluctuations, sales fell
9.3% in Western Europe and 5% in North America. This shortfall was
partly offset by an increase in revenue in Asia.
Sales at L’Oréal’s luxury cosmetics division fell, while sales of its consumer drugstore lines increased slightly.
This is an unfortunate turn for L’Oréal which has always been known for its commitment to scientific research and exceptional financial results.
In fact, you might say there is an unresolved tension in its culture between creativity and business results. This tension is visible even on its website. If you read about the “profiles they are looking for” under the marketing category, here’s a description you’ll find:
Creativity, imagination, openness to new ideas – coupled with the highest professionalism.
• Project-oriented, natural team player, at ease working with others in an environment of entrepreneurial challenge.
• Global-minded, flexible, able to juggle multiple priorities.
• Strong analytical thinker, excellent communicator.
You have a keen eye on the latest fashions, a finger on the pulse of emerging consumer and cultural trends. Highly developed interpersonal skills, a passion for results. The personality to make a difference.
Diagnosis: L’Oréal – When East dominates West…
The challenge: help marketers and managers develop a sensitivity to the creative nature of the beauty
product development process and specifically gain an understanding
for the process of research and development.
When the cosmetic group decided to develop a world wide talent appraisal process Sir Lindsay Owen Jones articulated the need to develop a competence key to the success of the group in the eye of the CEO, and that is: sensitivity to métier. What Sir Lindsay Owen Jones was aiming for was to develop a global, shared understanding for beauty products development, for L’Oréal customers, and for a number of other confidential important characteristics identified by the CEO as key factors for success in the beauty industry.
The Human Company was commissioned to research how to define this specific aptitude and how to develop it and train for it. We developed an international training track that is seen today as one of the most successful and inspiring training program available at L’Oréal.
Our approach consists in helping marketers understand how to engage and inspire creative people to contribute the best of their creativity. We used the The Intuitive Compass™ to highlight the tension between results-driven managers and creative teams.
Our analysis: L’Oréal has a product innovation driven business model whereas most of its competitors have often a market-driven model. The company believes in scientific innovation to promote growth. Its founder was a scientist. It is how L’Oréal sustained 20 years of double-digit growth and became the world leader in cosmetics. There is, as I mentioned earlier, a tension in its culture between creativity and business results.
Results: We helped L’Oréal’s teams understand the perspective of the different teams. The creative teams learned about the business aspects they had neglected, while the managers and marketers were helped to understand the creative process. The bridge is intuitive intelligence. Our training program is seen today as one of the most successful and inspiring training program available at L’Oréal. (Average rating: 19.5/20) because it is very relevant with the innovation imperative prevailing in the beauty Industry, articulated by the CEO Jean Paul Agon in his mandate.