Wally Olins, a tribute

Yesterday I shared a lively interview with Michael Wolff only to discover a few hours after I posted it that Wally Olins, the other half of legendary Wolff Ollins, had died. Creative Review has a lovely tribute.

Wally Olins, co-founder of Wolff Olins and chairman of Saffron Brand Consultants, has died aged 83. CR editor Patrick Burgoyne pays tribute

The Financial Times once described Wally Olins as "the world's leading practitioner of branding and identity" and it's hard to disagree with that assessment. Certainly Wally didn't as, in typical style, he placed it in a prominent position on his website.

 

Earlier this year Michael Wolff and Wally Olins were reunited at the Kyoorius Designyatra in India, which was chaired by Creative Review's editor Patrick Burgoyne. In this first video, Pat asks the influential pair what drove them mad about the other.

Creating a Culture of Quality

Ashwin Srinivasan, managing director, and Bryan Kurey, senior director at CEB, share the results of a study on quality and working with a bias towards it in Harvard Business Review:

For two years CEB has conducted research exploring how companies can create a culture in which employees “live” quality in all their actions—where they are passionate about quality as a personal value rather than simply obeying an edict from on high. We define a “true culture of quality” as an environment in which employees not only follow quality guidelines but also consistently see others taking quality-focused actions, hear others talking about quality, and feel quality all around them.

We interviewed the quality function leaders at more than 60 multinational corporations, conducted an extensive review of academic and practitioner research, and surveyed more than 850 employees in a range of functions and industries and at all levels of seniority. Some of what we learned surprised us. Most notably, many of the traditional strategies used to increase quality—monetary incentives, training, and sharing of best practices, for instance—have little effect. Instead, we found, companies that take a grassroots, peer-driven approach develop a culture of quality, resulting in employees who make fewer mistakes—and the companies spend far less time and money correcting mistakes.

The whole article reminds me of something Luke Sullivan shared several years ago on his blog concerning making things with subliminal quality built-in


Instead of futurists, let’s be now-ists: Joi Ito at TED2014

Director of the MIT Media Lab Joi Ito speaking at TED 2014:

In the B.I. [before the internet] world, starting a business had a clear timeline: says Ito, you hired MBAs to write a business plan, you raised money, and then you built the thing you wanted to build. But in the AI world, the cost of innovation has come down so much that you start with the building—and then figure the money and business plan. “It’s pushed innovation to the edges, to the dorms rooms and startups, and away from stodgy organizations that had the money, the power and the influence.”

During Nicholas Negroponte’s era at the MIT Media Lab, the motto he proposed was: “Demo or die.” He said that the demo only had to work once. But Ito, who points out that he’s a “three-time college dropout,” wants to change the motto to: “Deploy or die.” He explains, “You have to get it into the real world to have it actually count.”

Ito takes us to Shenzhen, China, where young inventors are taking this idea to the next level. In the same way that “kids in Palo Alto make websites,” these kids make cell phones. They bring their designs to the markets, look at what’s selling and what others are doing, iterate and do it over again. “What we thought you could only do in software, kids in Shenzhen are doing in hardware,” he says.

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Ito urges us to follow a compass rather than a map. Instead of planning out every exact points before you start, allow yourself to make the decisions you need as you go in the general direction of where you need to be.

“I don’t like the word ‘futurist,’” he says. “I think we should be now-ists. Focus on being connected, always learning, fully aware and super present.”

 

Looking forward to seeing this talk when the video becomes available.