Pop-Ups and “Citizen-Sourcing”

by scott pickard

Tom Peters, famous author of In Search of Excellence, coined the phrase “fast failures” which simply means corporations using modest amounts of capital to let employees rapidly test out new concepts, versus following a traditional deliberate corporate process to vet new product and service ideas. Fast forwarding to today, the idea of the “pop-up” has steadily been gaining traction in the retail and restaurant sectors as a way to quickly test the market, introduce new products and services, and gain some quick local market awareness.

When you think about it, the pop-up has been around for a long time, we just called it a booth at a tradeshow. What’s different now is the pop-up can happen anywhere, especially outside where people are walking, browsing, and congregating. In the tradeshow model you had to attract the people to your booth (one of hundreds) in a big event center. In the pop-up model you embed your story where the people are and often you are the only show at that location.

The pop-up is not just for big corporations. Any organization and any individual can pop-up their story on a budget that ranges from a table at a flea market in a mall, to an open-air stand at an art fair in a parking lot, to something more elaborate whether it is indoors or outdoors. The pop-up enables rapid prototyping (and fast failures), market introduction and awareness, brainstorming, customer feedback, crowd sourcing (“citizen-sourcing”), and more. And because it is such a cost-effective technique, we should encourage and enable pop-ups in our communities as much as possible because what we need in our communities is new thinking that leads to new companies and new jobs which can help backfill the substantial job losses we are experiencing by disruption across all sectors.

Just to pick one example, consider libraries which are being disrupted across the United States because of the digital revolution and declining state and municipal budgets. Public libraries across the nation are struggling to figure out how to redefine the mission of their libraries and develop a sustainable financial model.

The “elephant in the room” that people are afraid to talk about or step forward on is the question of do we still need to allocate that much space for books-on-shelves? It is such a revered and emotional tradition (some say “right” or “entitlement”) to have books-on-shelves in expansive quiet spaces, that some library directors have already lost their jobs trying to move in a different direction. But it will happen! We don’t need as much space allocated for books-on-shelves as we used to, so we will have to repurpose some amount of that library space and potentially have some of the space generate revenues which will help support the library.

A specific example of this is our own public library that has a 40,000 square-foot basement which is empty. The basement of our public library is nicer than the basement in my 90-year old home: well lit, dry, high ceilings, broadband wireless, plenty of power, smooth concrete floor, plenty of books and coffee and conference rooms and restrooms upstairs, warm in the winter and cool in the summer. That’s a lot of space to be doing nothing when the library has been running a deficit budget for the last five years.

Why not mobilize the power of the crowd (the library patrons and the community at large) by letting them pop-up their ideas in the basement?

  • Design lab
  • Media lab
  • Art studio
  • Dance studio
  • Co-working area for budding entrepreneurs
  • Fablab, makery, hackerspace
  • And the list goes on…

Basement of the library is an excellent place for a pop-up fablab.

Give them some of that empty underutilized space, support them however you can, and unleash the creative energy of citizen-sourcing in your community because no single library director or board of trustees has the all-knowing crystal ball to build a roadmap to the future for their libraries. I have much more confidence in the power of diverse thinking from citizen-sourcing than I have in a library director either afraid of losing his or her job or stubborn to change; or a politicized board of trustees nervous about community blowback. I was on our library board so I’ve seen this group-think dynamic from the inside.

The library is only one of many institutions which are being disrupted (big university is another, for example) which we need to address, but we are failing our communities if we don’t fully utilize the power of citizen-sourcing.

Pop-ups are a great way to mobilize and tap the creative and problem-solving power in our communities and get on with it!

- sp -

Customers should easily understand pricing in one read

I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, and Product A is a work-in-progress in terms of sales and pricing, but you could never scale Product A to hundreds or thousands of customers if you have to do as much hand-holding as has been required for recent customers. This seems to indicate that the pricing scheme is not simple enough. – sp

Marketing Pricing The right price for parking is the lowest price you can charge and always have one or two spaces left to park. How is pricing strategy developed in the company?  What are the factors that affect pricing strategy? (a) cost-of-goods sold; (b) overhead; (c) competitors’ pricing; (d) past pricing trend; (e) customer sensitivity to price; (f) volume; (g) “market-will-bear” pricing  What has been the price trend for the past five years?  What is the price trend for the next five years?  Will price competition increase in the next five years?  Is there a price leader in the industry? If it’s not the company, why?  Do salespeople (and others) have the approval to sell products at a price that differs from the approved price list?  Are prices reviewed/adjusted each year?  Can cost increases generally be passed on to the customer?  Are we routinely using online comparative shopping systems to monitor and adjust our pricing relative to the competition?  Do we have a good understanding of how our customers react to price changes or discounting policies?  Have we correctly segmented our customers when it comes to pricing and discounting?  Do we provide our sales channels clear discounting guidelines and targets?  Do our sales people offer discounts outside of margin guidelines?  Can we quickly adapt to market changes to achieve short-term objectives without sacrificing margin or damaging long-term growth?  Do we have real-time visibility into profit performance by channel, product, and customer segment?  Are we able to quickly sense and respond to emerging opportunities and competitive threats as they arise?  Is our pricing and promotion strategy driven only by costs and competition, or more by our customers? in general: pros | www.vendavo.com | www.zilliant.com | price fixing | real-time pricing intelligence: blacklocus | revenue management: modeln categorical thinking: Does bundling products together undermine their value? lease pricing: What percentage of sales are leases?  What is the length of a typical lease?  What percentage are full payout leases?  Does the company have any third-party leasing agreements at present?  Are the company’s license agreements effective revenue generators? software: Can we demonstrate an immediate return on investment (ROI) for our software customers?  Can we track the success of our technology implementation?  Do we map the cost of our software to our customers' business needs in measurable ways?  Do we help customers justify software purchases internally?  Are our software contracts easier to understand than the competition's?  Do we offer more manageable terms that do not lock-in customers to outdated products?  Is our warranty and performance guarantee credible?  | digital licensing: www.protexis.com | recommend new software at install time: opencandy books and articles: Competitive Pricing: Harnessing the Power of the Waterfall Model Accenture | Customers Will Pay More for Less Chernev | Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value Poundstone | The Strategy and Tactics of Pricing Nagle Art | Customer | Supply Chain | Inflation | Buying

Keep it simple, stupid (KISS).

 

Minimum Wage

While a federal bill to raise the minimum wage is stalled in congress, 29 states have a minimum wage greater than the federal rate – covering 60% of the working population. No less than 21 states raised minimum wages at the start of 2015, and more are likely to do so in the coming years.

minimum wage

 

 

RadioShack files for bankruptcy

Development of Technology Innovation  RadioShack files for bankruptcy. Garages are the authentic American fablab. sp | Will Uber’s autonomous cars destroy millions of jobs? Is innovation predictable? Does every innovation begin with a question? What can pirates, terrorists, computer hackers and inner city gangs tell us about the misfit economy?  Where do big ideas come from? Does public scrutiny and high expectations of stock value impede corporate innovation?  Do your innovation teams have a blend of cognitive types? (a) creative’s; (b) detail-oriented; (c) conformists Who is the greatest innovator of the past decade?  How is innovation management handled across the enterprise?  What internal and external resources are used to stimulate and guide innovation?  What percentage of revenues is from new products introduced in the last two years?  Is innovation blocked or stagnated in the company?  Why? (a) too many layers of approval required; (b) bad decisions due to lack of info flow up through the organization; (c) unsynchronized incentive systems; (d) slow response time to customers and market; (e) "not invented here" syndrome; (f) "always done it this way" syndrome; (g) creativity and innovation are driven underground; (h) overall frustration and dissatisfaction; (i) customers are angry and alienated  How fast can a new idea be tried out at the company? Months? Weeks? Days? Hours?  Does the company's new product satisfy the requirements for rapid diffusion into the marketplace? (a) Simple; (b) Compatible; (c) Observable; (d) Trialable  Do we focus our creative efforts toward the creation of value for others?  Do we consistently see opportunity in the face of adversity?  Do we cultivate collaboration through diversity in our social and professional networks?  Do we make the most of our programs for learning and training?  Do we cultivate a healthy work/family balance?  Do we work on becoming good presenters?  Do we have a good understanding of our core competencies and how to focus them on opportunities in the marketplace?  Do we periodically challenge long-held assumptions (assumption busting) to open up possibilities for novel solutions that are rooted in a fundamentally different understanding of the problem? in general: Create a path that makes it easy for good people to do good things, and they will do it. | www.ninesigma.com | digital literacy | conferences: innovation.economist | commercialization: copycats | corporate sponsorship: Shell’s GameChanger | crowd-sourced: openIDEO | design: catapultdesign | digital brainstorming: branddelphi | energy: ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit | enterprise social innovation: 3ds | federal sponsors: NSF I-Corps | follow the patents | quid | games: disruptus | global innovation index: www.managementtoday.co.uk/news/610009 | government impact: Permissionless Innovation Thierer | incentivization | innovation ecosystem | marketplace: planeteureka | museums: nobelmuseum | on-demand management: acceptsoftware, brightidea | resources: strategos, centricsoftware, ninesigma | product lifecycle management: www.centricsoftware.com, rymatech, www.acceptsoftware.com | states: illinoisinnovation | students: Design for America, hackathon | team building: www.celemi.com | timeline: stages of evolution | ultra high-speed networks: gig-u | young innovators: Disney's Big Hero 6 - XPRIZE Challenge academic research: Research Excellence Framework REF breakthroughs: FAST’s top 50, popular science top 100, Wharton’s 30 over 30 disruption > obsolescence: What added value does your retail outlet offer the customer today vs buying real-time/online? | A Total Disruption | Blackberry | creative destruction: ice > refrigerator | devices: sliderule | education: imagine K12 | gigaomnetwork | publishing: The Great Amazon Debate salon | retail: RadioShack bankruptcy | taxis: Uber |  top 10 | trends: techie xprize: Revolution through Competition | exponential innovation: overview |  xprize.org big ideas | tricorder books, articles, essays, portals: Abundance Diamandis | Closing the Innovation Gap Estrin | Creating Innovators | Epistemology of Innovation Vojak | fastcoexist | Open Innovation Chesbrough | Reverse Innovation Govindarajan | Ten Steps for Innovators Houtman | The 50 Greatest Breakthroughs Since the Wheel Fallows | The Innovator's Dilemma Christensen | The Medici Effect Johansson | The Power of Two Shenk Retail | Jobs | Entrepreneurship

What added value does your retail outlet offer the customer today vs buying real-time/online?

 

Due Diligence List

Due Diligence List has over 2,000 good due diligence questions organized under fourteen major functional areas of the business.  There is also a sister book, Leaders Ask Good Questions, which has the same questions organized alphabetically.

Building brand with enterprise video

TubeMogul offers the brand impact and scale of television with the targeting and measurement of digital with their enterprise video advertising platform.

Advertising and Promotion Brand Identity and Loyalty I want something that’s always pretty good and never awful. Is your brand culturally relevant? Is it gaining or losing traction? What systems are in place to gain real-time insight into your brand positioning and strength?  What strategies are employed to lock-in brand loyalty?  What would be required to persuade users of competitive products to switch? What does the company do to insure a consistent corporate image? (a) marketing; (b) advertising; (c) sales; (d)products in general: build a loyalty program: punchtab small business | celebrity endorsement | clout | conferences: brandcampu | consultants: added-value | conversion and retention: Loyalty Lab, www.webloyalty.com | coolhunting | countries: Poland | customer engagement at point-of-experience: NICE | customer reviews: powerreviews, yelp | enterprise social media: www.awarenessnetworks.com | interactive customer collaboration: www.thinkpassenger.com | localized online marketing: balihoo, netsertive | logos: logogarden, logoworks | luxury accessories: marc jacobs | match content to brands: www.musicmakesitbetter.com, skyword | mobile phones: cellfire  | personal: brandyourself | physician engagement: medikly | protection: markmonitor | QR codes: visualead | real-time buzz: datarank | relationship building: www.closerlook.com | social media monitoring: attentio | social engagement: 500friends, pluck | strategy | subscribers: ordergroove | video: TubeMogul  search private label: debit cards: www.mavericknetworksolutions.com, wines: www.wineryexchange.com books: BrandSimple Adamson | Buyology Lindstrom | Likeonomics Bhargava | Logobook Houplain Video | Balance | Location | Optimized | Big Data | Ads | Customer | Design

Mexican migration to U.S. is declining

Manual labor for agriculture is getting harder and harder to find. For generations hard working immigrants from Mexico have come to US farms, nurseries and greenhouses to work, but that trend seems to be tapering off.  Shifting migration patterns have come to a point where migration from the US into Mexico is slightly higher than from Mexico into the US.

Population Immigration in general:  community-building: shelbyvillemultimedia | data: Migration Policy Institute | green card: roadmap | management system: www.immigrationtracker.com books, essays, films: Borderland NPR | Of Mice and Men Steinbeck | The Arrival Tan | The Real Story of the Superheroes Pinzón | Welcome | Welcome to Shelbyville Snyder Data | Economic | Education | Employees | HR | Issues | Jobs