Tag Archive: innovative

What MacGyver & the Fess Parker Have in Common

September 8th, 2016

supply chain

With the reboot of MacGyver starting this fall, it reminds me of one of the strategies behind my success — leverage already-existing assets to deliver results. Coincidentally, over Labor Day weekend, I went to Santa Barbara and stayed at the Fess Parker Resort by Doubletree. Of course, it has stunning views of the ocean. One of the guests told me about the story of their restaurant and wedding area — the Roundhouse. It symbolizes the historic railroad roundhouse that once stood on the site (see below). And, they have made it into a popular wedding & party destination today. It is one of the only places I’ve posted on Facebook where I received several comments from folks solely about the hotel.

The Roundhouse

One tip to implement this week:

So, how can we be innovative and use what we have in new ways to create success? When I was a VP of Operations & Supply Chain for a mid-market manufacturer, we were rebuilding after narrowly avoiding bankruptcy following a cash-consuming merger and ERP implementation. Thus, we didn’t have money to spend yet we had to find ways to become even more competitive to grow our business while reducing our cost base. This strategy came in quite handy!

The best approach for this week is to take a step back and assess your situation. What priorities exist? Choose one and think about strategies to leverage already-existing people, materials, systems, etc. to improve your situation. What can you do to take a few steps forward without going for more approvals (that will take longer than the week to achieve), spending unnecessary money, and the like? I’ve yet to find a situation that had zero room for improvement with already-existing assets. Ask your trusted colleagues for ideas. Set aside time to brainstorm. You’ll come up with ideas.


Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”

Unique New Zealand Style Cooperation

June 15th, 2016


This past week, I’ve been in New Zealand, following my strategy/mentor advisory meeting in Sydney and a few tours in Australia. Our first stop was Christchurch. It was devastated by an earthquake in 2011 with buildings crumbling everywhere — apparently, they hadn’t built Christchurch with earthquakes in mind originally (although they certainly are rebuilding it that way now). Thus, it was almost a complete loss in the city center.

Not to be held down, New Zealanders thought of an innovative plan to build a mall from shipping containers to keep the city center going, and it became so popular that it still exists today. Here is a picture of the mall:

innovative idea

And, I thought this mural (in the mall) was a great depiction of how New Zealanders cooperate. Several of the sentiments on the mural and especially “Creativity is maximized when you are living in the moment” was exemplified with the creation of the mall. I love many of these!

creativity mural

One tip to implement this week:

Are you creative and cooperative? It might come in quite handy when trying to solve a “work problem” you’ve had for quite a while (or even think of an innovative new approach) if you emptied your mind to see what new ideas came to you. And if you could collaborate and brainstorm on those ideas, I bet you’d have an even better chance at coming up with good ones — and implementing them. After all, most of my clients have the ideas but need the assistance to confirm, prioritize them and to “get them done”.

Take a break or lunch this week and just empty your mind. Give yourself the opportunity to think creatively, and you might find that you have new ideas. Perhaps you can then use another sentiment from the mural and “do one thing a day that scares you” — it could be believing in your idea enough to run it by your colleagues, customers, Board of Directors and the like.

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”


Synthesize for Results

May 5th, 2014
Supply chain and manufacturing innovation

Today’s bombardment of ideas requires an ability to synthesize — to spot relevant connections and innovative combinations in manufacturing.

We’ve talked about the ingredients required to have an Eagle Eye – how to rapidly spot key priorities and ensure results occur. There are so few people who put these qualities together effectively; it makes sense to explore it further.

One of the keys to success is the ability to synthesize. According to Webster’s Dictionary, synthesize means “to form (a material or abstract entity) by combining parts or elements (as opposed to analyze)”. Have you met someone who can put the “right” ideas, people, project plans, strategies, etc. together at the “right” time to “see” the big picture or solution?  It can mean the difference between success and failure in a supply chain. Thus, I thought a few strategies to improve upon our ability to synthesize might be in order:

1. Read voraciously – In order to be able to see connections and combinations, it helps to have a broad background. Be well-versed to start.

2. Be observant – It is interesting how often you don’t see something until you look for it. For example, if you are thinking of buying a new car, have you noticed that you suddenly see all the car options on the road? Try being observant.

3. Look for connections – Try looking for connections between people, places, items, numbers, etc. Once you start looking, you’ll begin to see them.

4. Look for trends – What is changing? Are things improving or declining? Every time x occurs, have you noticed that y follows? Catching these trends will help in your ability to synthesize.

5. Take the time to think – There’s no way to synthesize unless you take the time to think about multiple streams of data, people, interactions, events, etc. in conjunction with one another. Take a step back and begin to put it all together.



Did you like this article?  Continue reading on this topic:

Eagle Eye Strategic Focus

Metrics Rule