|Welcome to a meeting of minds
Meeting of Minds is a collaborative, equal partnership of experienced independent consultants, technologists, innovators, learning experts and information specialists. Our partners each possess unique and specialized skills essential to the delivery of our offerings. We have no hierarchy, no physical assets, no front or back office, no overhead, no bureaucracy, and no employees.
We pool our intellectual assets ñ expertise, skills, experience, networks, and leading edge thinking, tools and technologies. We bring agility, economy, efficiency, reach and depth that no limited, hierarchical professional services organization can match.
The products and services of Meeting of Minds fall into three clusters:
|Solution cluster 1:
improving front-line effectiveness
A major challenge for business in the 21st century is improving the productivity and effectiveness of increasingly specialized, mobile, business-critical, time-challenged front line workers, and at last realizing, as a result, a healthy return on the businessí major investment in deployed information technology.
The traditional model of ëknowledge managementí, where top-down, centrally managed, standardized knowledge bases, loadsets and ëproductivity suitesí are pushed, cookie-cutter style, to all your employees, have not worked. Nor have attempts to ëcaptureí internal best practices and know-how in massive, central, indexed repositories.
The Meeting of Minds approach is completely different, and is based on our membersí learnings from failed knowledge management and one-size fits all IT deployment programs worldwide.
In contrast to the traditional model, our approach is personal and customized to the needs of each front-line worker. It extends the boundaries of your organization by allowing everyone to tap into the personal internal and external networks of everyone — to bring to bear, just-in-time, the best minds on the planet to solve your business problems, not just the information that your employees happen to have written down in case it was needed again.
Our four offerings in this Cluster are implementations of a new set of front-line focused technologies called Social Networking Applications, voted 2003ís ìTechnology of the Yearî by Business 2.0 magazine. They are:
Personal Content Management: Simple, leading-edge tools and processes that allow individuals to organize, manage, add to and share the knowledge that they have on their desktop. These tools, customized and stripped down versions of commercial ‘weblogs’, also allow this personal, organized collection of knowledge to be shared, simply and automatically, with others at the individual’s discretion, and likewise permit your front-line people to browse and subscribe to the personal knowledge collection of others, inside and outside the organization, reciprocally, worldwide. The PCM tool therefore serves as the individual’s proxy, e-filing cabinet, CV and calling card.
Expertise Location: Simple, boundaryless networking tools that allow individuals to find world-class expertise inside or outside the organization to solve large and small business problems quickly and effectively. These tools, customized versions of commercial social networking applications, can tap into PCM knowledge and the assessments of others outside the business to enrich and extend the search for expertise, automatically collect and maintain a ‘super address book’ of expertise to provide instant, multiple points of contact with identified experts, and can even be used to contract to buy from or sell to those outside the organization.
Simple Virtual Presence: Simple, professional laptop based tools that provide one-click multimedia access to anyone in each employee’s ‘super address book’, and virtual presence at any conference. Used in connection with a rotatable laptop camera and headset, these tools simultaneously show a view of the person you’re talking to, the document or presentation you’re collaborating on, and any sidebar instant messaging conversations you’re participating in.
Personal Productivity Improvement: Short, focused, pre-researched, one-on-one sessions with each of your front line people that address the specific technology and information challenges of each individual, configure their computer for optimal personal use, provide useful leave-behind reminder tips (‘cheat sheets’), and identify and report back to management systemic knowledge and technology problems that are hampering employee effectiveness on a wider scale. These sessions hone employees’ problem-solving, researching, analysis and communication, consultation, collaboration and technology use skills in the context of what they do in their individual roles, in ways that work for them.
Social Networking Applications, properly designed and implemented, are as easy to use as a telephone, and function intuitively, allowing individuals to do electronically and virtually what they now do physically, in an analogous manner, without the need for substantial training.
These products and services can be used to innovate, reinvigorate, enhance, and improve the effectiveness and value of your IT, Learning and Information/ Knowledge Management teams and processes, and enhance the productivity of everyone in your organization.
We work closely with the people at both the top and front lines of your organization to achieve these improvements. We do not reduce cost or the need for people in your organization. Instead, we enable your existing staff to do significantly more, in areas that are strategic, even critical to your businessí success, and to do so more effectively.
||Traditional, Failed Approach
||Meeting of Minds Approach
|Content Management Strategy
||Large, centrally- managed repositories
||Personal, individually- managed repositories
|Knowledge Acquisition Strategy
||Internal employees contribute to central repositories
||Individual repositories are connected peer-to-peer
|Knowledge Deployment Strategy
||Centrally-available knowledge is promoted
||Individual repositories are ‘published’ and ‘subscribed’ to
|Knowledge Re-use Strategy
||Search repositories for previously contributed knowledge
||Just-in-time canvassing of ‘community’
|Boundaries of Knowledge
||Sourced from and shared within the organization only
||Sourced from and shared anywhere (subject to security policy)
||People to (internal) knowledge
||People to (internal & external) people
|Critical Knowledge Tools
||Intranet search engine and internal community of practice ‘spaces’
||Expertise locator & individual repository browsing, publishing & subscription tools
|Standard Collaboration Protocol
||Simple virtual presence
|Technology Deployment Strategy
||Standard ‘loadsets’ and productivity suites for all staff
||Customized, personalized tools for each person
|Technology Training Strategy
||Standard group training and computer-based instruction
||Individual, face-to-face productivity training
|Solution cluster 2:
INFRASTRUCTURE STRATEGY & ORGANIZATION
Management today has a love-hate relationship with infrastructure. On the one hand, it is the long term investment in technology, intellectual capital, and learning that helps the people in the business do what they do best, effectively, and provides enduring competitive advantage to the company. On the other hand, much of this investment is in areas that are not core competencies of the organization, and it’s difficult for management to measure and justify its value, especially when today’s mantra is to outsource everything possible, especially in areas of fixed cost.
Meeting of Minds can help you identify which technology, information, learning and other infrastructure strategies make sense for your business, and whether, and how, to outsource. Our three offerings in this Cluster are:
Infrastructure Strategy Alignment: We help you assess alternative infrastructure strategies, bringing to bear competitive intelligence on which strategies have and haven’t worked for other companies in your industry. Then we show you which alternative strategies are most closely aligned to your short and longer term organization-wide business strategy, and help you find a migration path that will give you the infrastructure you need, where you need it, in both the near and long term.
Infrastructure Reorganization & Outsourcing: We take a look at your overall infrastructure resources and investment, and the value they provide to your business. Then, drawing on leading global practices in infrastructure organization and management, we help you determine whether, and how, reorganization of your infrastructure groups and redeployment of intellectual resources can benefit operational effectiveness. If outsourcing is a logical alternative, we work with the existing staff to help them be part of the solution — helping them set up new infrastructure specialty houses that can improve their job satisfaction while transitioning them from an employee to a supplier relationship with you.
Infrastructure Future State Visioning: At Meeting of Minds we take a long view of business change. We know that sometimes what provides short term pain creates long term pain, and that many businesses are undone not by poor business management but by failure to anticipate and adapt to unexpected innovations and environmental changes in the industry. We closely monitor what’s happening at the leading edge of intellectual capital development and management, and how today’s emerging infrastructure tools will transform the way business is done tomorrow. Future State Visioning can provide you with a dynamic scan of the horizons of your business and industry, and allow you to anticipate and capitalize on future trends, and stay on your industry’s leading edge.
KNOWLEDGE, TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION SCORECARD
Here are ten questions that will help you self-assess the current state of your knowledge, technology and innovation infrastructure and processes. If you’re not able to answer ‘yes’ to each of them, Meeting of Minds would be pleased to help you get you there:
1. Are you aware of, and satisfied with, the return your business is getting on its investment in information, technology and learning?
2. Do you know what the prevailing ‘information behaviour’ of your front-line people is — how they use information, where they look for it, what sources they trust, and how they learn?
3. Are your people able to effectively use the technology and information that is available on their laptops/desktops — can they find what they need quickly, reliably and efficiently?
4. Do your people travel only when other effective means of communication, meeting and collaboration are unavailable — do they even have these alternatives at their disposal and are they comfortable and effective using them?
5. Are you, and your senior IT and KM people, aware of the existence of, and potential value of, Social Networking Applications, and why Business 2.0 magazine called them 2003’s Technology of the Year, and why some people think Social Networking will be the successor to Knowledge Management?
6. Do you know the pros and cons of central vs decentralized vs outsourced models of infrastructure management — technology, knowledge and learning — and are you confident your company has it right?
7. Do you know how much of your revenue is coming from new and innovative products vs. incremental and ‘sequel’ products, and is it substantial enough to achieve your revenue goals even in the face of new competitive price pressures?
8. Are your best and most creative people happy, fulfilled, charged up about their jobs?
9. Do you really understand how the producer-customer relationship has shifted in unprecedented and inexorable ways in the past decade, and how your business should adapt or even reinvent itself around a new relationship with customers?
10. Are you on top of the latest techniques in business management — viral marketing, working capital outsourcing, scenario building — and are you using them effectively to help your business succeed?
|Solution cluster 3:
RE-ENERGIZING BUSINESS INNOVATION
In the early years of the 21st century the focus of business has been on short-term productivity and cost management, and many businesses have taken their eye off the ball of innovation, the longer-term engine of business success. At Meeting of Minds we’re watching for you, tracking innovations, notably in some unexpected industries and countries, that will transform business and produce new products and services with unimagined benefits and render today’s products and services obsolete. Here are six of our offerings in the Innovation Cluster:
The New Business Incubator: Your most creative people are also likely your most entrepreneurial and least risk-averse. Taking a page from some of the world’s most innovative companies, we can help you set these people up in their own new business incubator, and set them free to do what they do best. We’ll teach them the basics of entrepreneurial business management — a program we call Entrepreneurship 101 — and work with you to set them up in a separate autonomous business, where they set the rules, they decide on priorities, they source and manage their own budget, they take all the risks, and you are their #1 customer.
The Innovation Amplifier: Drawing on our knowledge of how innovation succeeds in different business environments, we can assess your existing innovation processes and your ‘innovation culture’, and help you introduce proven techniques and methods that will give you a better ‘environmental scan’ of emerging trends and technologies that could have application in your business, better connectivity with your most future-astute customers, skill in ‘thinking customers ahead’ to assess the commercial value of new ideas, an ability to ‘fail early’ to cut the costs of unsuccessful innovation, and the competence to commercialize and implement innovative products, services, processes and technologies effectively.
Economic Scenario Builder: Using a variety of financial forecasting and sensitivity models, the Economic Scenario Builder can answer your ‘what if’ questions about the impact on your business of sudden changes in interest rates, unemployment rates, currencies, tax rates, GDP growth rates, trade, social and environmental laws and regulations.
The Customer Handshake: The latest innovation in Customer Relationship Management is a very old idea: build your contract with customers on trust, transparency, and a simple ‘handshake’ commitment to mutual satisfaction. The concept uses simple-language agreements and tools that replace today’s adversarial relationship with customers with a collaborative, ‘win-win’ relationship of respect and compromise.
Working Capital Monitor: Inability to properly manage cash, receivables, payables and inventories is the #1 cause of business failure. The Working Capital Monitor is a tool for forecasting and optimizing levels of each of these assets.
Viral Marketing Toolkit: Capitalizing on the explosion of connectivity and information in today’s consumer society, and new knowledge of how ideas are propagated and catch hold, one person at a time, the Viral Marketing Toolkit shows you how to promote your products and services without coercive and expensive advertising.
| Sample credentials:
dave pollard, founder
Each of the members of Meeting of Minds is an independent businessperson. When you decide to contract with us to help your business succeed, we work with you to select the team of Meeting of Minds experts best suited to the particular project.
Each of our members has unique, deep and exceptional business skills and experience. As an example, here are some of the credentials of Dave Pollard, the partnership’s founder:
- Thirty years of business experience
- Ten years as Chief Knowledge Officer of Ernst & Young in Canada, and as their Global Director of Knowledge Innovation
- Director of the Center for Business Knowledge, the world’s largest and most award-winning centrally managed knowledge organization
- Core Member of Ernst & Young’s Innovation Team and author of the firm’s Idea eXchange innovation database
- Fifteen years advising entrepreneurial businesses on all aspects of business success — financial and operations management, start-up, forms of business organization, financing, acquisitions & divestitures, IPOs, process improvement, technology and general business advisory services
- Author of many published articles, presentations, book chapters and speeches on social networking, knowledge management, innovation, the virtual workplace, and the future of business
- Author of Canada’s highest-rated business weblog