Can’t find an app or too tired to set an alarm? Ask Siri to do it. Keep reading for other useful ways to utilize Apple’s virtual personal assistant.
Still having trouble with the new iOS 7 update? Think you’ve mastered all the new features? Read more to find 15 tricks to using the iOS 7. Whether you’ve recently updated or have been using the feature for a while, you might be surprised at some of the features you missed.
From an aesthetic standpoint, what do you think of the iOS 7 compared to the iOS 6?
Eighteen months ago, a massive earthquake struck off the northeast coast of Japan. The tsunami it unleashed caused devastating damage whose effects are still being felt. But it could have been even worse. Instead, a mere three seconds after the earthquake struck, a sophisticated early warning system kicked in. The system then triggered a series of messages via TV and cell phone warning about the impending tsunami that came about nine minutes later — which, as a Time magazine reporter noted, “can be just enough time to take cover, drive a car to the side of the road, step back from getting on an elevator or stop medical surgery.”
Corporations should have early warning systems to detect emerging competitive threats that have long-term potential to affect their business. Just as seismologists used research to determine what to watch for and then distributed networks of sensors to identify the right signals, strategists can look back at past transformations to inform their own analyses.
Strategists need to understand how tomorrow’s industry could be structured. The work of two of the most important scholars in the field, Clayton Christensen and Richard N. Foster, suggests considering five questions:
1. How willing are customers to continue to pay for further improvements in performance that historically merited attractive price premiums? One of the key tipping points in a market occurs when a company, in Christensen’s language, overshoots a given market tier by providing them performance that they can’t use. Your television remote control probably serves as a daily reminder of overshooting. Each of those buttons can do wonderful things, but would you pay extra monthly fees for yet another button? Probably not. When overshooting begins to set in, industries can change rapidly.
2. Are customer preferences and habits changing due to enabling technologies and/or changing social norms? Companies often miss important shifts because they start not among mainstream customers, but at people at the fringes of the market. But remember, the quirky behavior that teenagers follow today (100 text messages an hour!) becomes mainstream just a few short years later.
3. How active are startups at the industry’s edge? For much of the 1980s and 1990s, many parts of the startup ecosystem focused on communications, technology, and health care. In the past few years, there have been significant investments in markets like data analytics, 3-D printing, renewable energy, and financial services. Executives in market leaders in those sectors need to watch these developments carefully, because the seeds of transformation are being sown as we speak.
4. Are competitors with disruptive strategies having a material impact on portions of the industry? Christensen’s research shows clearly that transformation often comes in the form a disruptive innovator that makes consumption simpler, convenient, and more affordable. When a company with a lower-cost business model or one based around radical simplicity gains traction, it augurs significant change. Disruption is moving from a dream (or nightmare, depending on your perspective) to a reality in the financial services industry. Jack Dorsey’s Square is processing millions of dollars in payments a day with its simple but powerful solution. Wonga‘s payday loan offering continues to grow rapidly. And companies like Google, Apple, and even telecommunications titans are eying the industry. Executives that dismiss these developments do so at their own peril.
5. Will current or pending changes in government action shift the basis or competition or make life easier for entrants? The government is often portrayed as an inhibitor to innovation, but that’s not fair. Many commercial innovations, including the Internet, mobile technologies, and countless lifesaving drugs, have their roots in government research. Nonetheless, in Seeing What’s Next we described how governments can curtail both the motivation and ability of innovators to drive disruption. When governments change the rules, or focus their ample buying power in new directions, executives need to stand up and take notice.
Companies need to do more than analyze early warning signals. They need to make sure they organize and act in ways that maximize their chances of responding accordingly. And they need to recognize that, all too often, the right time to start is before they feel the need to response. Good early warning systems provide the data to help inform these decisions.
(One increasingly important component of a company’s strategic early warning system is sniffing signals in social media. Doubting companies should look no further than seismologists. Remarkably, the Twitter Earthquake Detection system detected a recent earthquake off the coast of the Philippines before advanced equipment. It is another sign of how breathtakingly fast our world is changing.)
September is National Preparedness Month. On government websites such as http://www.ready.gov, the focus is on preparation for natural disasters. As a business located in the hurricane-prone state of Florida, I highly encourage everyone to check out the site for tips on preparing your business and your family for potentially devastating events.
However, the Preparedness actions outlined on the site are applicable not just to natural disasters, but could prevent a business disaster or failure as well. The actions they outline include:
- Be Informed
- Make a Plan
- Build a Kit
- Get Involved
For businesses, being informed is critical. Are you sufficiently monitoring the horizon to see what might impact your business? I read an article recently about the reason Apple developed the iPhone. It wasn’t because they wanted to be in the phone market, but that they were confident the phone market would cannibalize their big profit item – the iPod. Business Leaders need to be reviewing direct competitors’ actions, industry trends, and supply chain developments in their direct industry. However, leaders must be follow parallel industries, general population trends, global markets and other areas that impact their business over the longer term to prevent business disaster.
Make a Plan
Obviously, awareness is not sufficient to prevent disaster. You have to take action. Planning is critical. Take the opportunity while you are not in distress to think clearly about what you would do under different types of circumstances. Would you enter a new market through product development or acquisition if the current trends continue? Would you change your talent mix to meet the needs of a more diverse buying population? Based on the information you monitor, make sure you have a plan for the high likelihood scenarios that will affect your business over the next 5 years.
Build a Kit
For businesses, building the kit refers to taking measurable action steps to implement your plan. To use the Apple analogy again, they were building prototypes of the iPad more than 5 years before the product was ever introduced. Without a defined launch date, or a full understanding of how the market would adapt to a tablet-type computer, there were teams of people working on products to protect their business future. In the early days, it may just be brainstorming sessions of what your business would look like with a few people once per month. But, as the market dynamics shift in the direction of your scenario, more resources and effort can be applied without the panic of impending disaster.
As leaders, it is critical to share your vision broadly, engage your team in anticipating coming up with solutions to future problems, and personally get involved in planning and building your future. Collaboration between leadership and the entire employee population is crucial to ensuring buy-in and success. By being visible and a champion for preparing the business for the future, you will improve your standing and increase your chances of success.
So, check out the tools on the National Preparedness website. Prepare yourself and your business for the natural disasters that could strike at any time. However, more importantly, start now on preparing for the changes that most certainly will affect your business over the intermediate to long-term.
I love birthdays! Especially my kids’ birthdays. It always makes me a bit nostalgic about how fast they have grown and things have changed. Also, each year brings new learnings such as how to be a better parent, ways to grow sales at the office, or how to be a better citizen of the world.
So, looking back at the events in the last 12 months, what can we learn about America?
- The freedom we possess and encourage is desired by many across the world. The fall of suppressive governments in the Middle East through popular uprising (with a little help from Twitter) is a testament to the power of freedom.
- Make great products with heart and passion, and you can inspire a generation of innovation. Steve Jobs preached that concept at Apple and dramatically changed our way of life. He will be greatly missed.
- Everyone has a voice. There has never been a more rigorous debate on so many issues. The protestors of Occupy Wall Street, both sides of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), and the nearly 1 billion people on the now publicly-traded Facebook are a testament to our ability and willingness to express ourselves publicly.
- No one is above the law. Even the winningest coach in college football history and the storied Penn State University football program had to answer for the wrongdoings of members of their staff.
I don’t know about you, but I am cautiously optimistic about the future. If our business is any indicator, our customers are hiring again, looking to grow, and beginning to invest in the future. And, the fundamental beliefs of the American way of life are still strong.
So, Happy 236th birthday America! Let’s make the next year an even better one than the last.