In this four part "Stars of the Accelerator" series, we will explore the innovative projects and achievements of our Accelerator participants.
Banker CK Ho embarked on the #Turbocharge challenge because he believes that the key to growing relationships is to provide solutions that connect with the consumer on a personal level. As Head of Affluent Marketing, CK’s project is to change the way consumers view loyalty programmes, not just at his bank but at industry level! His motto is “Creating value through emotion.”
The bank’s loyalty programme, was re-branded last year in conjunction with the launch of several new features. Together, they revolutionize the way customers use the points and miles they have collected through their credit card expenses.
Unlike other programmes, the bank’s loyalty programme allows customers to use their points or miles to redeem almost anything they choose to purchase in their daily lives, rather than just the traditional way of redeeming items from a catalogue. This means that consumers now have complete freedom in choosing what they want to do with their points or miles.
Despite these amazing features, the challenge was that customers were confused by the fragmented number of redemption options that are available to them. His solution: Connect with the customer via a digitally-led marketing campaign that served a targeted message via targeted digital media to specific segments based on their past spending behaviour. Also, he aims to effectively change the way points and miles are seen as currencies in their daily lives.
As a result, the bank will move to become more relatable and consumer-centric. CK's bank is the first in Malaysia to offer a loyalty programme with such a far-reaching features. The days of being a distant corporate giant are over!
CK has recently launched the full marketing campaign across all selected media, including a microsite. The marketing campaign success will be measured via digital media metrics.
CK credits outstanding teamwork and support he received from his team and colleagues as a whole. He appreciates the spirit of collaboration that went into this project. Congratulations CK for becoming a Star of the Accelerator!
Part four of four
In this four part "Stars of the Accelerator" series, we will explore the innovative projects and achievements of our Accelerator participants.
Banker Betty Goh embarked on the #Turbocharge challenge because she believes in the power of motivation. Her motto is “Laugh Everyday!”
For a sales team to perform at their best, they must be equipped with up-to-date information. In addition, they need to be uplifted by seeing their peers succeed. As Insurance Sales Head, she took it upon herself to encourage her team to perform even better. The solution was an innovative project that shared motivational content via a user-friendly and fuss-free platform. For this idea to work, the sales team had to be able to learn on the go.
Luckily, the perfect free and easy platform already existed: WhatsApp!
Betty devised a creative, fun and engaging communication strategy. She would shoot short videos with success stories, sales tips and techniques. She would then share the content with her team. Taking full advantage of the app, her content could spread to the right audience in a fast and efficient way.
She made a short interview video of a new staff who landed her first successful sale. That video was seen across the nationwide sales team. This breakthrough success story inspired the Relationship Managers to follow the sales techniques discussed in the video. This method also gives a confidence boost to whoever is featured in the videos and empowers them to push their limits further!
Sales agents are a busy lot. It’s a challenge to catch them at the right time to shoot the videos. Betty worked it out by setting up short flexible sessions to accommodate the guest speakers around their lunch breaks or after hours.
The results of this brilliant strategy are phenomenal. The confirmed increase in insurance sales revenue registered between March and April 2018 is RM30K!
Betty has achieved all these results while facing a personal struggle: insomnia. Despite the sleep deprivation, she is enjoying every minute of the journey. Her long term goal is for 30% of all clientele to hold at least one insurance plan.
Thanks to the accelerator program, Betty has surpassed her own expectations as to what she is capable of achieving. Congratulations Betty for becoming a Star of the Accelerator!
Part three of four
In this "Stars of the Accelerator" series, we explore some of the innovative projects of the leadapreneurs in our programmes.
Nitin Kumar Jain and Victor Prabhu
Leading the charge for innovative initiatives is what motivated these two passionate bankers to take up the Turbocharge challenge. They have adopted Leadapreneur's motto as their own: “Innovate or Die!”
Employee productivity is crucial for a company’s success and competitiveness. As Vice Presidents of their respective teams, Nitin and Victor are determined to find a way to boost productivity. Greater transparency with regards to Anti Money Laundering (AML) is also an area they are committed to improving. Furthermore, they are aiming to achieve major savings.
To kickstart their accelerator project, they set out to measure productivity by using a point-based dashboard system. This innovative tool gave them precious data and insight. It allowed them to identify gaps and implement productivity enhancement.
They are now able to recognize the high performers’ efforts. Other analysts are given the chance to catch up and realize their full potential via a feedback loop and further training. Everyone is appreciated for their dedication through a reward program and no one gets left behind! This is how they motivate their team to surpass their limits.
Nitin and Victor’s ambition: Achieve 90 points increase in overall AML analyst productivity!
The data-mining stage was a bump in road at first, but they charged ahead with perseverance. With valued input from their trainer, Jan Bartscht, and their coach, Sim Choo, they were able to overcome the roadblocks. Nitin and Victor believe the results will speak for themselves: the total annual savings add up the incredible annual total of RM472,500!
Thanks to their project, Nitin and Victor have learned some valuable lessons in gathering detailed data and in turning an innovation into successful project implementation. They are now equipped with the skills to cope with this fast-moving digital era and stay ahead of their competition with speed and efficiency.
Part two of four
In this four part series, we will explore the innovative projects and achievements of our "Stars of the Accelerator". They are participants who embarked on a journey to become Leadapreneurs, with astonishing results!
Johor-based banker, Michael Lim embarked on the accelerator adventure because he has a drive to surpass his limits. His motto as a Leadapreneur is “do or die!”
In his role as Sales Head, he noticed that clients from Singapore often did not bring crucial documents with them. Hence, their bank card application could not be processed quickly and efficiently via the online system that allows bank card application within seconds. This led to loss of clients and business.
Despite this hurdle, Michael saw this as an opportunity to shine. He set out to find a solution that would benefit all parties. Hence his innovation project was born. His goal is ambitious to say the least. He wants to achieve 100% adoption rate!
To get to 100%, there were a few challenges to overcome:
1. His team had to get the stakeholders on board. Efforts were made to encourage the clients to get involved. Clear, transparent and frequent communication was key.
2. The team had to be trained to uphold the business plan. iPad usage was promoted as an innovative and efficient tool.
3. After the first few stakeholders were sold on the idea, he cheered his team on to enlist even more clients.
Michael efforts paid off. He is already at 70% adoption! Since the start of the project, the savings stack up to a whopping RM 23k+ per month! Thanks to his accelerator project, Michael has a new-found confidence to approach important stakeholders. He became empowered to kick start groundbreaking and interesting ideas. He credits his class mates and his coach for keeping him motivated to make his project a success!
Part one of four
Why did we create Leadapreneur?
The purpose of Leadapreneur as a company is to democratise the ability to make your world a better place. Jessica and I co-founded Leadapreneur to build the people who can build a better world. We realised that a better world doesn’t just happen, it must be built by people who have the skill and will to build their dreams. What was missing was a framework to do this in the 21st Century realty. What should you do if you want to be successful? A degree? An MBA? Become a manager? A leader? An entrepreneur? We think we should be more than all of those, we should become leadapreneurs.
We are trapped in 20th century concepts that are not relevant to our 21st Century reality.
Why should we separate leadership, management and innovation skills? It’s obvious that we need all 3 of these skills to be successful today. Our key insight came from complexity science and the fact that that all systems must demonstrate 3 critical behaviours; creating solutions, adapting to change and optimising performance. A successful system is successful because it correctly deploys the right behaviour at the right time to achieve its goal. This enabled us to understand that 1 person should be able to deploy these three skills and so we created the term ‘leadapreneur’ to describe the synthesis of leadership, management (the middle a in leadapreneur!) and entrepreneurship skills in one person. Simply put, a leadapreneur has a superior and more relevant skillset to a traditional manager and that is why the future belongs to the leadapreneur.. We don’t think you want to hire someone with a degree, we believe you want to hire a leadapreneur; an agile digital innovator who rapidly deliver the solutions that grow the business. It’s time to be more than a manager, it’s time become a leadapreneur.
Heads up, strong language is used in this blog for emphasis.
TL; DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Disruptors win because they have a superior mindset that focuses on not giving a fuck, fighting the people they hate and aggressively pursuing great wealth.
This blog is a ‘tell it as it really is’ insight into what disruptors really think, feel and do. It’s a reaction to this video which got me very pissed off up because I could not believe how detached the speaker is from today’s disrupted reality. This speaker doesn’t understand disruption and if you buy into what he is saying then you’re company is definitely going to die because you don’t get it either. The purpose of this post is to help you ‘get it’; to understand how disruptors approach things. Why? When you know your enemy, you have a better chance of beating them. So, pour yourself a drink, put on this song to evoke the disruptor ‘spirit’ and listen up.
Disruptors don’t give a fuck about regulators
Incumbents are supposed to work with regulators to define the status quo of an industry. What actually happens is ‘regulatory capture’, the phenomena whereby incumbents actually make the regulator serve their needs instead of the regulator protecting the consumer and market. The total failure of the British and US Financial Service Authorities to protect the world from financial apocalypse in 2008 is a good example of banks capturing their regulator. What actually happens is that incumbents use regulators to kill innovation and stop new entrants from taking market share, thereby creating stagnant environments were the incumbents maximises profit over everyone and everything else. The appalling level of service from taxis around the world is another good example of this as the taxi mafia (used to) dominate city hall world-wide (more examples here). However, there’s a problem for incumbents: disruptors don’t give a fuck about regulators.
Disruptors don’t care what regulators think because they focus on doing their own thing. They just don’t give a fuck. This ‘zero fucks given’ attitude is something incumbents cannot do or even understand. For example, Uber (transport), Airbnb (travel) and Transferwise (international payments). Taxis, hotels and banks are running around crying because they are being disrupted and yet the regulators are usually unsympathetic… Why?
The problem for incumbents is that they have forgotten that regulators serve the consumer, NOT the incumbent. Therefore, when the disruptors create something so goddamn awesome that totally redefines the industry (e.g. Uber) then regulators re-align themselves to the disruptor. Regulators have always known that global taxi business is a giant mafia scam but have lacked the power to do anything about it. That’s why most cities actually welcome Uber; it breaks the taxi mafia, finally provides long-suffering consumers with great transport and reduces congestion. Big win for City Hall.
Rule number 1 for thinking like a disruptor: Forget the rules, create your own then get others to support your way of doing things.
Disruptors fucking hate you (not you, the incumbent firms)
True story; Uber was founded because its co-founders were partying in Paris and couldn’t get a taxi for love or money. Having been in a similar situation myself I can tell you that it’s true, taxis are impossible in Paris let alone late at night. Immensely frustrated, they discussed the idea of a driver-on-demand service and Uber was born.
It’s important to note that what drove them to create Uber was their intense frustration at the taxi-travel reality. Not a clever business plan, not billions of investment, instead it was pure and simple RAGE at the incompetence and injustice of the way taxis served customers. In other words, the founders were fucking pissed-off and decided to do something about it.
Most disruptors are driven by a deeply felt ‘mission’; a profound desire to ‘beat the goddamn system and build a better world’. It is important to understand that this is pure rage, a deep hate for what exists and a burning passion and desire to build something better. They live, breathe and burn to beat the incumbents. They are on the warparth to break the old system and build a new, better one in their own image.
We can see examples of this phenomena in Apple, SpaceX and Tesla; companies driven by visionaries who demand a better world and will fight to the death to make it happen. Incumbents don’t understand this rage because the truth is that they don’t really give a shit. For example, the leaders at most banks don’t really give a shit about their customers or consumers. How do I know this? Because if you care then you create. When you really care about something you are compelled to create a better world for it. All we get is excuses about ‘what’s not possible’. There is no fire, no desire, no sincerity in ‘building a better world’ and that is why the disruptors fucking hate you.
Rule number 2 for thinking like a disruptor: Find what you care about and fight to the death for it.
Disruptors want to get fucking rich
Just because they are driven by their mission doesn’t mean disruptors don’t want to get paid. They do, big time. For them, getting paid is much more than earning money, it’s a way of keeping score, money is a measure of their success. I repeat, they aren’t earning money because they want a nicer car, they want to ‘win’ the game of life by getting the high score and scores are measured in millions and billions of dollars.
Disruptors want to get fucking rich and the way they are going to get there is by stealing market share from the incumbents. They think incumbents are too slow and ignorant to fight back (which is usually true) and, therefore, focus on growing as fast as possible. They don’t compete with incumbents because they know the incumbent CAN’T compete (do you really think taxis can compete with Uber?). Instead it’s all about go-go growth. Highly aggressive and focused on massive growth, disruptors are single-minded in pursuing the high-score of life.
Rule number 3 for thinking like a disruptor: Focus on explosive growth that rapidly captures market share.
Today we lived in a disrupted world; the confluence of globalisation, Gen Y and accelerating technologies. There are a lot of disruptors with the above mindset and many, many more will emerge in the next 5 years. To survive, incumbents will have to fight them and win, adopting the disruptor mindset can help them (you) do that.
In our increasingly disrupted VUCA reality, more and more startups are seeking to disrupt existing incumbent players to steal their gold and glory. How can it be that the titans of today are worried about tiny minnows? To understand the fear, we need to understand the nature of disruption.
According to Clayton Christensen, the Harvard Business School professor who popularised the term, disruption occurs when a new product opens a previously underserved market category (new market disruption) or offers a dramatically cheaper and/or easier value proposition (low-end disruption). Disruption does not refer to products that are cheaper, faster and better. Instead, disruption describes products and services that serve new categories of customers that then grow so big as to change the rules of the game.
For example, the iPhone was disruptive because it offered smartphones to a whole new category of people who had previously never considered buying a smartphone, ordinary consumers like you and me. Pre-2007, Blackberries et al. were for business and tech geeks, not normal consumers. Apple’s genius was to offer a far easier device that fundamentally re-defined what a phone was to an underserved population segment, the normal consumer.
The key insight here is that in the beginning the incumbents don’t care about being disrupted because they are not losing profitable customers. They are losing customers who they can’t serve anyway or didn’t believe existed. For example, many of the consumers who bought iPhones wouldn’t have bought Blackberries. For a long time, many people had a Blackberry for business and an iPhone for personal use. However, these disruptive technologies can become so popular so quickly that they cause the entire market to shift rendering the incumbent irrelevant i.e. people don’t want 2 phones and since the iPhone was more relevant to more people it ended up winning.
A key point is that as the disruptor grows, it causes existing consumers to shift their preferences i.e. they prefer the advantages the disruptor provides. For example, the iPhone keyboard was initially not as fast as the Blackberry physical keyboard and there were business functions the Blackberry could perform better e.g. encryption. But for most consumers, this was not as important as the many advantages the iPhone offered e.g. touch screen, apps etc. Eventually, even business people preferred to use iPhones and the battle was lost. The disruptive iPhone caused the market to shift in ways Blackberry had not anticipated; Blackberry did not expect the massive shift to consumer smartphones and suffered as a result.
Why didn’t Blackberry see this shift coming? A final, and crucial insight about disruption is that the traditional incumbent cannot fight the disruptor because they lack the means to do so. Specifically, they will lack the strategy, technology and people to fight back. Blackberry couldn’t build a serious iPhone competitor even when it actually wanted to (5 years too late). The problem is that the incumbent is trapped in their old way of doing things and this prevents them from changing fast enough. It is the incumbent’s inability to transform fast enough that causes them to die.
How fast does the incumbent need to transform itself? As I showed in a previous post, the problem is that the incumbent, especially the senior leaders who lead (manage) the incumbent, fail to take the disruptor seriously enough soon enough. They wait too long to respond and by the time they really understand what is going on it’s too late. It’s too late because the disruptor is now growing faster than the incumbent can fight back. At a certain point, Apple and Android were growing so fast that Blackberry (and Nokia and Microsoft) had no chance of catching up. Specifically, it seems like 5 years is the magic number, by the end of year 5 the disruptor will be moving at an innovation velocity that the incumbent cannot match. By 2013, it was clear that Apple and Android had won.
Based on the above insight, we can create a simple disruption equation to understand who will win, the disruptor or the incumbent. Specifically, can the disruptor gain market share faster than the incumbent can transform itself to fight back? If this is true, the disruptor will win e.g. Apple. However, if the incumbent can change fast enough, it can fight back against the disruptor and protect itself e.g. Microsoft protecting its Office product against Google Docs. Therefore, the entire contest comes down to 2 specific rates of change; the rate at which a disruptor gains market share vs. the rate at which an incumbent can transform themselves to fight the disruptor. This is what I call The Disruptor Equation.
The Disruptor Equation; the rate at which a Disruptor gains market share
vs the rate at which the Incumbent transforms themselves to fight the disruption.
:) Disruptor growth rate > Incumbent transformation rate :(
The Disruptor wins because they will grow faster than the incumbent can change
:( Disruptor growth rate < Incumbent transformation rate :)
The Incumbent wins because they can regain market share faster than the incumbent can steal it
However, since most organisations today are over-managed, under-led and have little innovation capability (especially in finance…), the reality is that most incumbents will die when confronted with aggressive, fast-moving disruptors who have superior technology and are well-funded (hello fintech!). The reason why many startups today receive huge valuations is that the investors believe the startup will grow faster than the incumbent can respond. People invested in Airbnb, Uber and SpaceX because they don’t think the incumbents will be able to fight back and that these new players will capture huge chunks of the market at the expense of the incumbent. The truth is, they are probably right. Incumbents are terrible at transforming the way they do business and that is why many of them are struggling and going out of business, they were on the wrong side of the disruptor equation. RIP Blackberry.
PS. Bonus example for those who are keen:
A beautiful example of disruption is Airbnb, the platform that allows anyone to transform their home into a hotel. At first, it only served Gen Y travellers; an underserved customer category who couldn’t afford hotels and wanted a more local experience. Airbnb was disruptive because it served a new customer category. The company grew rapidly and then started to target traditional business travellers and is increasingly attacking traditional hotel markets. Today it is worth more than USD $30 billion, more than most hotel groups in the world. None of the billion dollar hotel groups in the world have been able to create a serious competitive response to Airbnb because they are stuck in their old models of charging you $15 USD for wifi and $30 USD for breakfast. There is a quote to describe disruptors: "first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you and then you win." Airbnb has won the 21st Century travel market… for now.
The Leadapreneur team are pleased to share with you this guest blog post from Kristoffer Briones, Head of Talent Management & Organizational Development at Smart AXIATA
“The biggest driver of success is innovation! We need to think outside the box!”
I’m imagining a scene where a CEO of some company is standing on a well-lit stage, trying to convince its employees through some well-practised rhetoric and fancy theatrics, asserting that “innovation is key". However, beyond these shows, these big words typically don’t translate to a meaningful transformation into a truly innovative company.
So how do we build a truly innovative company? I stumbled upon this question when I joined a workshop my company organizes for educating our top talents on how to lead agile innovation. We partnered with a company called Leadapreneur  who delivers an experiential learning platform for our talents to create an idea, get it done (as opposed to mere simulated business plans), and convince our CEO that it actually generated business value. Essentially, this is the question we are trying to answer through this program, but it is a rather complicated question. However, I believe one of the answers lies in re-framing the question instead. When asking how to build a company that drives innovation, one of the underlying questions that need to be explored is this: How do you build entrepreneurial ownership? (or a more appropriate term might be "intrapreneurial" ownership - employees feeling like they own the company and it’s their personal desire to take their company to the next level). Why ask this? To start, we need to understand what truly drives innovation.
"How do we build 'intrapreneurial' ownership?" How do we make employees feel like they own the company and it’s their personal desire to take their company to the next level?
More often than not, innovation is associated with words like creativity, inventions, new technologies, etc. I’m not saying these associations are wrong, but these words only show the tip of the iceberg. What really drives innovation underneath is the conscious will and effort to put yourself out there, vulnerable against the world that is used to keeping the system of what works today . It's the deep drive and desire to create an alternative to the current system as a way of expressing one's self. This is either moved by eliminating/reducing pain or by having/maximizing gain – in short, by avoiding fears or by pursuing dreams. With that said, desire is usually rendered “too fluffy” and not what's typically accounted for when senior leaders talk about building an innovative company.
If these words are not only meaningless lip service from senior leaders, they’re oftentimes addressing the wrong issues to make the leap towards an innovative company. One common issue is what I just mentioned -- overestimating the “abilities" problem or competency gaps in contrast to putting more attention to address the motivation which is the real yet invisible engine of innovation. Again, both are important as elegantly expressed by the performance equation (Performance = Motivation x Abilities ); however, the typical reaction of managers to why a company is not innovative is to just blame the competencies of the people.
"Our employees are just not creative enough".
"They don't have the right mindset and don't think outside the box."
To some extent, this statement might be true, but just sending them off to traditional training might not be the answer either. In fact, majority of traditional (typically classroom-based) training programs would often fail to address such issues .
If that’s the case, how do we address motivation? One good place to look when it comes to innovation would be examples of innovators themselves – entrepreneurs. True entrepreneurs demonstrate intense hunger to realize what they desire to create. This desire is translated to taking a number of bold moves and putting in more hours for repeated iteration of what they’re trying to build. It’s precisely this strong desire and burning passion that give entrepreneurs courage to overcome the fear of failure and persevere through countless rejections. Innovation, being the pursuit of a new reality, universally requires to some extent a similar level of desire in the employees of a company should they wish to innovate as well. Companies cannot just require employees to be “innovative”; employees themselves need to want enough to innovate if they were to persevere in the realm of uncertainty the same way entrepreneurs do.
This is where the biggest gap is – the assumption that just focusing on competencies would do the rest. It does not necessarily translate to the extra hours that employees need to put other than business as usual and willingly putting this added effort without expecting overtime pay. Attending a workshop for “creativity” does not translate to the courage needed when it comes to taking initiative – initiatives that could fail but they do them anyways despite the fear from their managers blaming them for the possible failure. All these virtues of passion, courage, and resilience are pre-dominantly missing in the way we look at building innovative organizations today. Right now, the current popular “box” of how to build innovative companies is to just think of skills and solving that issue by traditional training. We need to re-think the box by accounting for the underlying influence of innovation which is the passion to create and an organizational culture built around it – something that classroom training cannot solve and traditional command-and-control management almost always kills. After we have started with building desire among employees, learning the necessary skills (or seeking how to develop them) would just almost naturally follow.
And here’s the thing, we can never have people who think outside the box because our minds always need a “box” to frame our thoughts; what we need to do is to re-think and re-imagine the box.
Now, how do we get employees to be passionate enough and hungry enough to innovate? How do we attract or shape talents to have an intrapreneurial ownership? One critical answer is PURPOSE. If companies are able to discover and articulate their purpose clearly by expressing authenticity around this purpose in anything they do and say, they get to attract and motivate talents who not only share the same purpose but also, as a consequence, willing to put in the time and effort to innovative progress, without necessarily expecting financial returns . Just look at companies like Apple, Google, Tesla, Uber, etc. to name a few. I’m not saying that all these companies have 100% employees who actively innovate, but these companies were at least able to give meaning to their employees’ work beyond just “having a job” because of what their company stands for. From livelihood, it became a platform for them to live and express their life’s purpose during their stay in those companies.
In our company, this is exactly what we are starting to address. We are now in a journey to re-discover our organization’s purpose that we kick-started during a management retreat we organized 2 months ago. From here, we not only can start to over-communicate our purpose but also can make sure that every single policy, process, practice, branding materials, competency, behavior, mindset, etc. is all an aligned and consistent expression of that purpose.
To support this with our innovation program, we also did the Lifepath – an exercise developed by Leadapreneur with the objective of allowing people to re/discover their purpose as a means of giving meaning to what they are doing today and what they intend to do in the future. Talents, who find greater congruence between their life’s purpose and the company’s, are definitely more engaged. However, the flip-side is true as well; the lack of understanding of one’s purpose or the company’s lead to disengagement or at least a very transactional relationship.
For people who are thinking this is all just fluffy talk, here’s a very well-written report by Ernst & Young and Harvard Business Review about the “business case for purpose”.  What’s going to be the source of relentless drive of people to push forward innovation, which by definition will naturally have the possibility of failure, is PURPOSE!
To end, here’s a quote from one of my post-modern heroes in the 21st century.