Monday, September 15, 2014

If you think money can't buy happiness...

By Angela Childs

I recently took a 7-week Social Psychology course (coursera.org…check it out) and week 7 covered
the science of happiness.  The findings:

  • Money can buy happiness
  • Couples are happier than single people
  • Having children does not, according to research, mean you’ll be happier (My son rolled his eyes when I told him.  I can kind of see where that research is coming from…)

One of the lectures included a TED talk by Michael Norton titled How to Buy Happiness.

In the talk he shares his research findings and the nut…
If you think money can’t buy happiness, you’re not spending it right.

Watching this made me think of one of Brian Kopack’s blog posts and I think it’s worth repeating some of his points in this context of “buying happiness”.  (No, I’m not just sucking up to my boss.)

From Brian’s post:

Think about how you manage your information.  How does it make you feel?

Seriously.

I bet it depends on how you purchased the system(s) you use.  Did you buy a thing or an idea?  Ideas don’t show well in big-time PowerPoint presentations, so my guess is you bought a thing.  Most likely, something expensive that does everything except what you need it to do most right now.

Congratulations, you bought a great system (thing) that doesn’t do what you want and you don’t know how to make it do what you need.  How do you feel?

You feel frustrated by the extra work you have to do to work around your system’s limitations. 

You feel trapped because you spent a ton of money and now you are stuck with a mediocre purchase.

You feel embarrassed because you forgot the power of technology doesn’t come from pushing buttons to be able to do something – it comes from making the buttons do that which will allow you to be more of something: smart / efficient / accurate / audit-ready / whatever. 

Without the idea, all you have are menus and drop-down lists.

Buying a thing is definitely a lot easier.  You come up with a feature check list, do some research on the internet, maybe you write an RFP, and you pick the thing that comes closest to your feature list that’s within whatever budget you set.

Not like you could go to the idea store…

Except, that you can.  The “idea store” is a partner that has the expertise you’re looking for and a desire to learn who you are and what your “idea” looks like.  What would make a difference for your organization or department?  How do we make an impact and buy a little happiness?

That’s our whole thing.  It’s why we get up in the morning.


At IOS, everything we do is based on the simple philosophy that it’s the idea that matters.
Monday, September 1, 2014

A Real Solution is a Problem Turned Inside Out

By John Trimble

Copier companies kill me. They throw around the word “solutions” more than a Presidential debate prep team. As copier companies attempt to move into actual document management they are second only to the low end imaging software companies in their never ending mantra’ing of the same word. Close your eyes, listen hard and in the distance you can actually hear the robotic marketing chorus: “Solutions…solutions…solutions…we offer solutions to today’s ever challenging business problems.”

Sure you do.

We have been called twice just this week from a copier company looking to us for help on a project already begun. My personal annoyance is not being asked to perform a rescue but rather in the simple fact that the more superficially one approaches a business problem the easier it is to act like X solution will fit X problem – like AP or Sales orders – even if you have never even analyzed the prospect’s specifics... as if all AP departments operate the same way.

Problem = solution. Solution = Problem

I wish. We could all go home early.

This is not the case. Flat out. At this point IOS has done discovery on hundreds of AP departments and you know what? They are all a little different. The path to creating a better process is a little different each time. Doing specific discovery on each client’s departments, making sure that efficiency is created and bad things actually are made to go away is part of the requirement. It would be lovely if that could be cookie cutter. It’s not.

What helps is if you have done it over and over, if you can name drop a gargantuan list of companies who you have helped, if you have technical and project personnel with skills who have experiences to draw from, who can guide clients towards improvement and away from missed opportunities.

How do you provide a meaningful, dare I say it, solution to a complex business problem?

First, as hinted, recognize the reality that no matter what you think, they are all complex. Secondly, even before you even dare to blab that word, be prepared to do the discovery work so thoroughly on the problem that you are actually now inside looking out. The hidden gotchas, the minutia, the exceptions….because we all know they are there…waiting and almost hoping to be put to bed.

If I am buying that is what I dearly hope someone is selling. Agility and creativity…. experience and expertise. Because that is what I know I will need.

IOS: it’s the idea that matters.