Adobe, like most other employers, encourages its employees to continually upgrade their skills, and offers interesting opportunities for us to learn, innovate, and change. What happens when employees become self-motivated to seek out interesting ways to connect with, learn from and share ideas with each other? They form a book club!
There are several book clubs here at Adobe. One is managed by the Women Unlimited group; others are attached to sites. I belong to the Globalization (North America) book club which started in January 2010 when a few of us attended a Localization Conference, where we heard a number of speakers mention the same books in their talks. We thought about what learnings we might need to do as we moved forward into new ways of doing business with social media, offshoring/nearshoring, and innovation. I’ll mention a couple of the books we have been reading and some of the reasons for choosing each book.
The first book we chose was Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future.
As with other industries in the U.S. and Europe, IT is fast moving to automation and offshoring. Author Pink challenges us to reinvent ourselves, rethink the current roles we play, and plan for the world of work. Creativity, design and innovation will be the new jobs. You can find Daniel Pink on twitter, TED, or his own website. Changes I’ve made as a result: I’m offshoring the majority of my execution-type tasks and am working on strategizing the long-term roadmap for globalization features of the products I support.
Social media and networking are ubiquitous. Everyone is jumping on the band wagon and blogging, tweeting, and facebooking! How do these tools affect our business, and how do we leverage these new media to benefit our branding and our communication with our communities? How do we connect and engage with our customers and help them solve problems? One way is through social media, which was the topic of our second read: 33 Million People in the Room by Juliette Powell. Changes I’ve made: this blog, contributions to the Adobe Globalization blog, tweeting, and connecting with worldwide developer communities on Facebook(c).
Various quality initiative promoters here at Adobe remind us that customer satisfaction is passé, and the new metric for quality is customer referral. How likely is your customer to stay loyal to your products and brand, and in turn, refer other customers to you? Sales trainer Jeffrey Gitomer engages us with his stories, and provides techniques and checklists for changing the way we measure our success in Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. As with the other authors, his social media contacts are found on his website. I did not read this book because I was taking a reading-intensive Cultural Anthropology class at the time. I hope to get back to it later.
This brings us to our fourth and current read: Innovation Games: Creating Breakthrough Products Through Collaborative Play by Luke Hohmann. The idea for this book came after several of us in Globalization attended a seminar on Achieving Extraordinary Outcomes: Models for Innovative Thinking, hosted locally by The Institute for Management Studies, featuring UCLA Adjunct Professor, Dr. Iris Firstenberg. In our kickoff discussion, I mentioned I had run across Dr. Stuart Brown‘s book Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul. As a precursor to our reading, we watched Brown’s TED Talk and another Brown, Tim, who espouses a similar theme on TED.
I’ll keep you posted on how I implement this last book on play in my work. Let me know if you have other interesting books or articles we might consider for the next read. Happy reading!
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