In Their Own Words: An Interview with CloudFactory

In Their Own Words: An Interview with CloudFactory, Winner of the 3S Award in Community Engagement

 

Interview with CloudFactory CEO, Mark Sears

Mark Sears, CEO, CloudFactory

Mark Sears, CEO, CloudFactory

1. Can you describe how the concept of CloudFactory came about?

In 2008 my wife and I came to Nepal for a two-week vacation and I ended up extending my trip a few weeks after meeting some smart young software developers. I bought one iMac and four of us crowded around in the mornings as I trained them on a technology called Ruby on Rails. I was amazed with how talented they were and they were hungry to learn. Next thing I know we got a paid project from North America and then we hired a few more local computer engineering graduates, got another project and a business was born.

My wife and I had been living in Nepal for about a year when the software outsourcing business was growing and our clients started asking us to do data-related services like image/video tagging and online research. At the same time we began making friends with many people in our neighborhood that were very talented but with more than 40% unemployment in Nepal, there were no jobs and we were only hiring computer engineering graduates. So we saw both the demand for data services and the supply of talent to deliver them so we decided to start CloudFactory as a side project in January 2010.

We set out to build a fully scalable technology platform and workforce model that could employ 1 million people in developing nations while efficiently serving the growing data needs for businesses around the world. But because of our social mission we also wanted everything to be personal and based on relationship, we didn’t want to build another faceless crowd sourcing platform. The goal was to build a business that is very scalable and very personal at the same time – those have been two key concepts in building CloudFactory.

2. What pushed CloudFactory towards pursuing goals in sustainable and socially responsible practices, as opposed to a strictly profits-based model?

From the very beginning CloudFactory was not about making money for the sake of making money, so there was never really a conscious choice to pursue an impact sourcing model or not – the social mission is such a core part of our history, purpose and culture at CloudFactory.

We have always been very serious about driving revenue and profit so that we could reinvest to grow the company and grow the social impact by giving more opportunities to talented people with little to no professional opportunity. We are also unique in that the idea, the initial funding and the talent to build CloudFactory all came from the developing world so we have a unique worldview that comes from that.

Seven professionals from North America and their families have moved to Nepal to join our 130 employees and live alongside the 3000 data operators we have here now. Being on the ground in Nepal for years and now Kenya has allowed our leadership to remain squarely focused on the social mission while also ensuring we meet and exceed the expectations of our Western clients.

That is what started us in the direction of being an impact sourcing service provider (ISSP) but what we quickly discovered is that when you truly care for and invest into your people and their communities, there is a different culture that begins to emerge. One with more ownership over the work and one with dedication to doing a great job is just the de facto standard. It is similar to how Google has been so aggressive about providing free food, free haircuts, beach volleyball courts and amazing perks that other industries just don’t understand. They have built a culture of innovation by investing into their employees that is the main engine behind their current and future success. We believe that our aggressive focus on investing into our workers and the communities we operate in is giving us a similar opportunity for long term success.

3. Did you – at any point – come to regret that your company is following this path?

Our social mission has only hurt us when certain clients see this part of who we are and assume that impact is our main focus when instead it is just our main motivation. Our focus is actually on technology innovation and reinventing outsourcing to be more scalable and more efficient because we know this is the only way to accomplish our crazy impact goals.

So we don’t ever regret being an impact sourcing service provider, it is all that we know, but sometimes we regret talking about it because people begin thinking we can’t compete with the traditional financial bottom-line sourcing providers. That is a myth. We strongly compete and usually win over these legacy models. For example, on one of our recent projects we won out over 8 other bids coming from the more traditional BPO side.

4. What do you think sets you apart – as far as business model is concerned – from other companies from your sector?

There are some really great Impact Sourcing companies that do similar work to us.  In fact we collaborate quite a bit to bring awareness to what is happening in this space.  We heard a lot of customers say the following “ If I can deal with senior leadership that is professional, people who really get my expectations AND I can have low cost centers that are more efficient in terms of accuracy, turnaround and scale,  then I am willing to partner with you and become a stakeholder in the impact that you are having.”

You know using an ISSP used to be seen as much more difficult and costly that a traditional BPO but we are changing that.   From the beginning we have been about offering a superior product, at an incredible value and the impact is the icing on the cake.

How can we do that?  Well in regards to our model, I would say there are some key decisions made early on that gave us the tools we needed.  One I already spoke about above and that is this focus on being scalable and personal at the same time. The way we recruit, train and lead our workforce teams is incredibly personal.  At the same time we acquired a technology platform (formerly backed by Google Ventures) that allows us to offer unheard of efficiency and scale even beyond that of a traditional BPO.  So you get this very unique model where each person is known and can grow and contribute in whatever capacity or skill level they may be at while at the same time we are able to dramatically exceed client expectations in terms of vendor output and expertise.

For example, one of our clients expected to have to hire 3 to 4 traditional BPO’s to achieve their required outcomes. You know there is a lot of headache in having to on-board and manage multiple vendors and standards etc.  They had millions of records that needed to be digitized. We were able to provide this to them as a single vendor processing over 1 million records a day with off the charts accuracy. Our model is really built around this idea of accuracy at scale.

5. To what would you credit the success of CloudFactory practicing socially responsible business?

I would say that meeting the needs of our clients and the communities where we work is definitely grounded in this aspect of serving one another in community. The motivations vary and run deep across the company but we try to provide an environment where people can express and nurture these motivations in the context of their own communities.

There are certainly those that come to us looking only for work and a paycheck but it is incredibly rewarding for us to see these initial motivations transform as many begin to find that their work is a way to give back to their country and their communities.  We have letters from elders in the community saying, “I am not sure what you are doing with those computers over there at CloudFactory but whatever you are doing keep it up!  My son/daughter is becoming a different person, engaged, helping out more around the house, filled with hope and purpose…” So, the way the model works is that doing great work naturally leads to an amazing impact in their own communities.

Each and every CloudFactory employee (full or part-time) joins the company in a team of 5 that meets in-person weekly for lessons on leadership, competency, character and accountability. Then, on a regular basis they go out into their own community to act on what they have learned. To date CloudFactory teams have completed over 1500 community projects and committed to over 58,000 personal action steps. (See more at  http://community.cloudfactory.com)

6. What do you think can be done to make the business world aware of the need for corporate social responsibility?

Unfortunately at this point the business world en-masse is not going to listen to any justifications before they answer the question “is it better for my financial bottom-line?”  Many businesses do a minimum amount of CSR for the soft ROI of marketing, branding and community/customer perception.

The main thing we can do right now is innovate and find ways to make the best socially responsible thing to do also be the best financially responsible thing to do. This isn’t always possible but in our industry it is and it will just take some time for more impact sourcing service providers to show the competitive advantage of quality work through caring for and investing into their employees and their communities.

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CloudFactory was established in 2010 by Mark Sears in Kathmandu, Nepal. It currently operates in Nepal, Kenya, Hong Kong and the United States with 130 full-time and 3100 part-time employees.  The company’s goals for the next year is to replicate its model from Asia to Africa with Kenya being the starting point. Over the next 5 years the goal of CloudFactory is to disrupt the traditional BPO industry in a way that connects 1 million people in developing countries to meaningful IT work.

The GSC 3S Awards Corner

The GSC 3S Awards Corner

A Recap of the 2013 GSC 3S Awards – Sourcing that Empowers

On October 28, the GSC celebrated its fourth annual GSC 3S Awards Program, graciously hosted by the Consulate of the Republic of Poland at the De Lamar mansion.  Over 100 international guests gathered for the GSC 3S Awards Gala, reflecting a global commitment to recognize and reward best practices in Sustainable and Socially Responsible Sourcing.

IMG_9951Dr. Wanda Lopuch, Chair of the Board of the Global Sourcing Council, opened the ceremony, discussing the merits of sustainable sourcing as a fundamental aspect of corporate business strategy.  “Only a few years ago, socially responsible sourcing was an oxymoron in global business.  Today this oxymoron becomes a standard operating procedure, as business recognizes that it pays off to be socially responsible,” said Dr. Lopuch.

Mr. Michael Benedetto, Vice President and Regional Executive, Skanska USA, delivered the keynote address, entitled “Profit with Purpose – Individuals Make a Difference”, in which he outlined his own experiences, and those of his colleagues, regarding the success of socially responsible business initiatives. Madam Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka, the Consul General of the Republic of Poland, expressed Poland’s support and contribution to efforts that align with those of the Global Sourcing Council.  “We in Poland take social responsibility and sustainability seriously,” said Madam Junczyk-Ziomecka. “We proudly support the 3S Awards program”.

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Among those who gathered at the ceremony were award applicants, winners, global business leaders from such companies as NASDAQ, UBS, SKANSKA, Zurich Insurance, Teleperformance, PWC, etc., and NGOs such as the Rockefeller Foundation and the NASSCOM Foundation, with which GSC officially signed a collaboration agreement during the Gala ceremony.

This year, organizations from six continents submitted their programs for consideration by an independent panel of judges consisting of world-renowned experts in social responsibility.  From this wealth of applicants, five were chosen as the 2013 3S Awards Winners, and their work and mission were showcased at the ceremony.

 

Please read more about these institutions at http://gsc3sawards.com/2013-awards/2013-winners.

 

 The 2013 3S Winners are: 

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CloudFactory as winner in the category “GSC 3S Community Engagement”

 

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Vindhya as winner in the category “GSC 3S Employee Engagement”

 

weconn logo

WeConnect International as winner in the category “GSC 3S Empowered Women”

catrinka logo

The Catrinka Project as winner in the category “GSC 3S Out-of-the-Box”

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JSW Foundation as winner in the category “GSC 3S People’s Choice”

 

From the Desk of the Chair

We Salute the Agents of Change in Socially Responsible Sourcing

Dr. Wanda Lopuch

Dr. Wanda Lopuch, GSC Chair of the Board

NEW YORK, NY (November 7, 2013) — Last month, we celebrated the winners of the 3S Awards, the Awards in Sustainable and Socially Responsible Sourcing. This program provides a spotlight for the companies and individuals who walk their talk when it comes to putting big, abstract concepts of corporate social responsibility into daily practices.

And what a celebration it was! Over 100 guests from all corners of the world attended the GSC 3S Gala to congratulate the winners of GSC 3S Awards. The GSC 3S Awards Gala raised funds for Awards that Empower, the 3S Executive Development Boot Camp.  I encourage you find out more about the winners, the applicants, and their fantastic programs. Please join us in saluting their tremendous accomplishments.

This fourth edition of the GSC 3S Awards was also a time for reflection on changes in global business. These changes are happening in front of our eyes, every day. The GSC has been proudly participating in the changing community by offering our views and opinions. This year alone, in five GSC global meetings we have engaged in vibrant discussions on topics such as the meaning of global citizenship and its practical applications, principles of social investment, embracing new consumers such as handicapped or aging individuals, and the importance of vendor diversity in a global supply chain. We have presented our views on the conflict mineral provision of the Dodd-Frank Act and on changes in post Foxconn-Apple labor practices in China and globally.  We have been giving voice and visibility to true agents of change: those companies and their leaders who put tangible meaning into socially responsible sourcing – day by day, program by program.

In doing so, we have been touched, inspired and humbled by the resourcefulness of our winners, providing value and progress when resources are scarce, and by the sincerity and passion of these real agents of change.

As of September 2013, GSC has received the status of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, in the State of New York.  This designation offers great financial advantages to corporate members and sponsors..  GSC is a charity that understands the context of our mission within  global business – and we support socially responsible global business. GSC understands the necessity for business to make a  profit, but profit with purpose.

A new Board of Directors of GSC was elected at our October 28th Annual Meeting. I have the honor and privilege to lead the GSC Board for another year. We realize how much work is ahead of us, as we are just starting to touch many important topics and issues.  The new GSC leadership is mindful of this responsibility and accepts the challenge of further advancing the cause of socially responsible sourcing in broad collaboration with like-minded organizations and individuals. I invite each of you, believers and skeptics alike, to join us in this quest.

Please contact me or my GSC colleagues with your thoughts, ideas and challenges. We look forward to your contributions and to working with you to further our ambitious goals.

Sincerely,

Wanda Lopuch

GSC, Chair of the Board

The Global Sourcing Council is Proud to Announce Its New Partnership with NASSCOM

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[From Left] Dr. Wanda (Global Sourcing Council) and Ms. Rita Soni (NASSCOM Foundation) signing Memorandum of Understanding

On October 28th, 2013 in New York City, NY, the Global Sourcing Council and  NASSCOM Foundation  signed the  Memorandum of Understanding  to establish a partnership to collaborate in promoting responsible business and sustainable global development.  Specifically,  GSC and NASSCOM Foundation agreed to jointly promote the GSC Awards in Sustainable and Socially Responsible  Sourcing (GSC 3S Awards), where NASSCOM will serve as an Outreach Partner for the GSC in India and globally.

 

 

 

[From Left] Dr. Wanda Lopuch and Ms. Rita Soni toast the new partnership

[From Left] Dr. Lopuch and Ms. Soni toast new partnership

“We are very excited about strengthening our existing relationship with the NASSCOM Foundation,” said Dr. Wanda Lopuch, the Chairwomen of the Board of the GSC. “ With our Partner, NASSCOM Foundation,  GSC is looking into further advancement of  the GSC 3S Awards platform and other programs that aim at advancing the cause of responsible global business practices.  NASSCOM Foundation’s  charter of advancing inclusive growth in India perfectly matches the GSC’s goal of advancing sustainable and socially responsible sourcing globally”.

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[From Left] Dr. Lopuch, Ms. Soni, and Mr. Daniel Caselles (AuthenWare Corp.) finalizing partnership

The GSC 3S Awards  Program has attracted significant attention in India, which is a  dominating  force in global outsourcing.  A number of finalists and winners of the 2012 and 2013  GSC 3S Awards were from India.   The GSC is very glad to share the experiences of the winning companies, from India and other parts of the world,  in practicing responsible business day in and day out.  “Our role is to share the 3S Best Practices of the 3S Awards laureates with the global outsourcing community.  Our goal is for other entities to learn and to be inspired by our laureates, [with the end result being to build their own] outsourcing programs that empower.  We are very pleased to work towards that end with the leading organization in India, that impacts global outsourcing space far beyond India,said Pumella Sallela, a Member of the Board of the GSC, and the GSC Ambassador in Residence in Africa.

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The Global Sourcing Council ( GSC) is a non-profit organization with an educational mission to promote an exchange of ideas and information among business, trade organizations, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and academia; to discuss and define sustainable and responsible practices in global sourcing and supply chain management, and to encourage progressive economic growth leading to increased trade, investment and social good, all with an aim  to increase knowledge, deepen trade relations and broaden commercial and cultural ties among nations.

Learn more about the Global Sourcing Council at www.gscouncil.org.

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NASSCOM aims to channel the potential of the IT-BPO industry towards inclusive development of India.  The mission of the Nasscom Foundation is to mainstream responsible business, promote and develop social and environmental solutions, build capacities of individuals and organizations to achieve these, and influence policy making & create thought leadership, using the capacities and competencies of the ecosystem of the IT-BPM industry in India.

Learn more about NASSCOM at www.nasscomfoundation.org.

 

 

Fish n’ Shoes

By Karen Morris

I intended to write this article about a passion of mine: algorithmic-based predictive modeling variances in global supply chains.

But, it is the sultry gloaming of summer in the city and my city is New York, home of “Sex and the City” so, if you don’t mind, I think I would rather write about the S-word. Yes, you’ve guessed it……shoes.

Shoes matter (this is a universal truth). They particularly matter to me. Remember when Sex and the City’s protagonist Carrie Bradshaw is mugged and exclaims: “Please sir, you can take my Fendi baguette, you can take my ring and my watch, but don’t take my Manolo Blahniks”.

She was speaking a language I understand.

Ask anyone who knows me. I have been fortunate, frazzled and frustrated to have traveled the world in my career – and my shoes came with me. When it comes to shoes, I laugh in the face of excess baggage charges.

You see, I believe that as we embrace the many changes through our multi-faceted, iterative careers, we need a change of shoes. As we grow personally and professionally, life urges us to put on new shoes, literally and metaphorically. As leaders and innovators, we need something more – a range of shoes. The celebrated shoe designer, Christian Laboutin , likens a girl’s first pair of high heels to the rite of passage from girl to woman. Remember the shoes you wore at your wedding, on your first day at work, when you ran a marathon? Shoes commemorate transition and change. They have something, to say about innovation strategy and management too.

Our beloved Monsieur Laboutin tells his rite of passage story for a reason. It makes shoes matter more; it imbues shoes, his product, with meaning. Crafting a strategic narrative uses the socializing power of storytelling to inject meaning, relevance and purpose into your strategy in a way that can be immediately understood by all your stakeholders. When Laboutin the businessman and innovator set out to make his name synonymous with sexy, exquisitely expensive shoes, he probably did not have medieval Popes on his mind. Nonetheless, an analogy obtains between Papal power reinforcement strategies and market place and brand power reinforcement strategies.

How did Laboutin become “the” designer shoe in a surprisingly crowded marketplace of thousand dollar plus shoes, inspiring an eponymous single composed by Jennifer Lopez, a “Laboutin Barbie” and a Disney short. Yes, his designs, raw materials, craftsmanship, distribution and premium pricing were outstanding. But so are Manolo Blahnik’s, Christian Dior’s and Jimmy Choo’s. These albeit indispensable, determinants of best in class will not put you in a class of your own.   He made the sole of the shoes, historically the unseen, least vital part, narrate his brand. He made the soles red.

This is innovation genius. The disruptive power of “just one change” lies in the inversion of conventional thinking about what matters and why. We typically classify product and service attributes, in this instance shoes, into those that matter from a utilitarian perspective……such as quality and durability….or , from an emotional perspective……design, elegance, fashion statement, unabashed sexiness. By going against the segment’s assumption that the sole is a utility and function play and making it instead the quintessential aspect of the offering, immense competitive thrust is delivered.

This, to adapt a culinary classic of my native Yorkshire, is Fish ‘N Shoes Thinking. Fish – because you swim upstream against the force of industry assumptions – and shoes, because, as already indubitably established, shoes are a better metaphor for strategic leadership than French fries. Fish ‘N Shoes Thinking abounds in businesses that demonstrate the “change one thing” strategy: Apple – put design above function. Whirlpool – it doesn’t have to be white, make the washing machine furniture. Macy’s – furniture “risk less” insurance, refund the insured their premium if no claim is made on the policy (“risk free” insurance oxymoronic to an insurer). Argyle Mines’ industrial grade brown diamonds, increase the price by a thousand per cent and create desire for the previously undesirable brown…now champagne, cognac, and hazel…rocks.

In these paradigms, the “one thing” becomes a great deal more than the sum of its sole part, which returns us conveniently to the red Laboutin   sole, affectionately termed “Sammy red-bottoms”……

The litigiously hard-won intellectual property right protection of exclusive rights to the use of that red bottom color code (Pantone 18-1663 TPX) on shoes cemented the commercial advantage of  Laboutin’s differentiator and created an impermeable barrier to entry.

The red soles then deliver value far beyond the aesthetic innovation; they go to work on brand promotion as “free” advertising. Marketing – I heard a Harvard business school professor quip – is the price you pay for not having a good enough product. We are accustomed to admiring utility brands whose functional excellence or brand ubiquity makes their brand inseparable from the product’s performance. Jacuzzi, Xerox, FedEx, Escalator, Hoover, Google, Kleenex.

In this case, the emotional ‘story’ of the luxury glamorous shoe renders the brand inseparable from the product and the product literally a walking promotion for the brand. The flashing red sole in turn becomes a unique value proposition to the consumer, a motive to purchase, a fashion and status statement, an advertisement of how expensive the shoes are. The historically unconsidered sole becomes the soul of the consumer experience (no more puns, I promise). And this is exquisitely commercial head over heels success, 3 years straight leading the Luxury Brand status Index, three years

Awarded Most Prestigious Women’ Shoes, and the “real” Carrie Bradshaw, fashion doyenne and trend setter par excellence Sarah Jessica Parker gets married in them. This is brand promotion money can buy, just not Laboutin Ltd.’s money since in a marketing Fish ‘n’ Shoes move contrary to luxury brand convention, Laboutin’s “ just one thing” is never to give his merchandise away for promotional gain…a practice the designer( disingenously ?) dismisses according to  British Vogue as ‘unimaginative”.

As mentioned, this kind of “fish ‘n shoes” thinking about differentiation in a crowded marketplace is not limited to $4000 shoes. But since we’re on the topic of shoes…….I promised no puns….but I still love shoes….let’s look at another shoe-led business model innovation Zappos.

A parallel pattern emerges in the components of the strategy:

  1. Question conventional assumptions.
  2. Change one thing.
  3. Build a platform (not an intentional pun) around the innovation.
  4. Socialize the strategic story.
  5. Make the “product” integral to the buyer experience.

The Zappos story also begins with an inversion of the “rules”. Conventional thinking about call centers obsesses about cost and efficiency with emphases on control and consistency. US-situs call centers have had notoriously high turnover rates. We have all had dispiriting experiences trapped between the tyranny of the technology (press 73 if you would like your blood pressure to reach dizzying heights in frustration) and the disembodied and disengaged script reader on the phone.

This constipated experience is the antithesis of storied, connected, empathetic customer experience. But that’s call centers for you….and unlike books and sundry hardware, some things just don’t fit the on-line model because fit is important, shoes for example.

Zappos founder Nick Swinmurn and CEO,  Tony Hsieh, did not conform to those assumptions. Swinmum’s vision to build a retail empire online began with the unlikely proposition of shoes. Like many bright ideas, it now seems obvious with 20/20 hindsight but on inception looked improbable, even to initial venture investor Hsieh. But if the shoe fits or is easily returnable, you can buy it on-line, and even  in 1999, $400 million dollars’ worth of shoes were being ordered from mail order catalogues and that was a mere sliver of a then $40 billion dollar US market.

In this case, there was no actual change of shoes. Zappos shoe inventory replicates other online and physical store retailers. Zappos did not change the  what but the how of its model. Product-centricity was supplanted by people-centricity. In its brief occasionally tumultuous ten year history before hitting over a billion dollars in sales and being acquired by the Goliath Amazon, Zappos had a number of Fish and Shoe moments, such as its decision to walk away from drop shipping, representing 25% of revenues and sorely needed cash-flow because control of customer experience necessitated control of inventory.

But the bold,  transformational “change one thing” that excites me in this people matter as much as product story was their reinvention of the call center. Through a dramatic salmon  upstream leap of faith and imagination, Zappos effectively repurposed the call center from servant of the organization’s efficiency and expense management to servant of customer experience.

Of course, for the one changed thing to have resonant and sustainable business impact the organizational ecosystem must be redesigned around it.  Operationally and culturally, Zappos built the platform around its core idea. Thus it became a business in the business of exceptional, memorable customer experience. The then prototypical accoutrements of the call center – scripts, time restrictions, de minimis discretionary decision rights, hourly fungible impersonal staffing, key stroke counts, command and control – were booted out in favor of intensive training, trust and empowerment. The first step to customer centricity is often misunderstood as customer focus. I would like to stiletto that notion. The quintessential first focus if we seek differentiation in customer experience must be on the employee.

Recruitment training and retention methods and tools were reinvented to support the preeminence of customer experience. New recruits were paid during intensive training programs building skills to communicate with customers empathetically and authentically. All new hires to the company at every level and brooking no exceptions whatsoever were inducted into the customer-centric culture by working for an initial period in the call center. The story goes of a newly-appointed senior executive officer who was disinclined towards the immersive call center experience. The company was disinclined to continue the relationship.

The organization made cultural fit and shared values the defining characteristics of employees and created and sustained employee engagement as the sine qua non of the delivery of customer experience. Making the grade technically is irrelevant if the cultural dimension is lacking.  After training, new hires are offered a 3,000 dollar “bonus” to quit.

Moreover, employees enjoy the benefits of the people-centric culture that they are accountable for sustaining quite literally as well as socially. Zappos offers free health care, lunches and vending machines and a library. However these are positioned as cultural rather than economic benefits.

Constant storytelling and exchange, and “goofing around” underscore the unique values and positioning of the company which publishes unedited its annual “Culture Book” an anthology of employee descriptions of the company’s culture. These are not ubiquitous traits of service center environments but as tony hsieh puts it they business of selling goods online but in the business of “Delivering Happiness” and their reputation suggests that they do.

So this fish ‘n shoe combination is an invitation to think differently and make the inquiries:

  1. What conventional assumptions can we invert?
  2. What one thing can we change?
  3. What platform can be built upon this innovation?
  4. How can we socialize our strategic story?
  5. How do we make our product the soul of the customer experience? (I may have broken the no-pun promise)

Finally, if cynicism still has you under its heel, remember Golda Meir’s advice about confrontation. Before you race to dispute someone with a different perspective than yours, walk a mile in their shoes. Then, if the dispute should materialize, you are a mile away and you have their shoes. And if you are really blessed, they will be your size and have red soles.

Karen A. Morris is a strategic advisor to national and multinational companies. She is formerly Chief Innovation Officer of Chartis Insurance, one of the world’s largest general insurance companies, Karen specializes in all aspects of innovation strategy and execution. She has over 25 years’ experience in law, management, underwriting and multinational business. This rich and diverse international background inspires her insight on product, service and business model innovation. She is a frequent speaker and writer on innovation and leadership at global forums and conferences around the world. Karen is co-founder and President of The Institute for Insurance Innovation launching in 2012.  Karen is also an adjunct professor at Fordham University in New York teaching Innovation as part of the MBA program. She has spoken on innovation at the world’s foremost executive MBA program. You may contact Karen at karen.morris2@yahoo.com.