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Le Petit Journal
Formation et motivation

  Le Petit Journal
de L'Encyclopédie de la Stratégie, de la Créativité et de l'Innovation
N° 3, du 04 au 23 août 2004
« An idea is salvation by imagination » Frank LLoyd Wright

La voiture amphibie refait surface
Le Figaro, lundi 23 août 2004
Le Figaro consacre une presque pleine page à la voiture amphibie (page téléchargeable pendant une semaine gratuitement sans problème). Article nostalgique qui évoque longuement l'Amphicar des années soixante. En fait la voiture amphipie a changé. Au siècle dernier, c'était une voiture qui flottait. Aujourd'hui avec le concept de HSA (High Speed Amphibian) c'est une voiture à la James Bond ayant la capacité de tirer des skis nautiques. Si ce qui est pourpre est rouge (voir La Vache Pourpre, Le Petit Journal du 21 août), voici une voiture pourpre de pourpre à tout point de vue : la Watercar, concurrente américaine de l'Aquada britannique (Le Petit Journal du 24 juin).
Watercar : www.watercar.com

La Vache pourpre de Godin
Le 21 août 2004
Sortie chez Maxima de la traduction française de The Purple Cow de Seth Godin (Permission Marketing, Les Secrets du marketing viral, etc.) avec un petit problème sémantique. Une Purple Cow fait référence, dans la culture américaine, au célèbre quatrain d'un humoriste américain du début du siècle derrnier, Gelett Burgess :
I never saw a purple cow
I never hope to see one
But I can tell you anyhow
I'd rather see than be one !
Une purple cow étant une vache qui n'existerait pas (pour reprendre l'idée de la fourmi de Desnos), une vache à cinq pattes. Pour compliquer le problème, la couleur « purple » en américain est violette ou mauve, comme la couleur de la Purple Heart, la première des décorations militaires (avant la Légion d'honneur), et celle de The Purple Rose of Cairo de Woody Allen et pas rouge (voyez la jaquette). Et pour le compliquer encore, il faut distinguer en français entre la pourpre (rouge vif) et le pourpre (rouge violacé et, même, en héraldique, violet tout court ). De plus, il existe une vache mauve, celle de Milka. Qu'auriez-vous fait ?
Ceci étant, Seth Godin avait donné dans Fast Company ses dix conseil pour élever une vache mauve. Les voici :
1. Differentiate your customers.
Find the group that's most profitable. Find the group that's most likely to influence other customers. Figure out how to develop for, advertise to, or reward either group. Ignore the rest. Cater to the customers you would choose if you could choose your customers.
2. If you could pick one underserved niche to target (and to dominate), what would it be?
Why not launch a product to compete with your own that does nothing but appeal to that market?
3. Create two teams : the inventors and the milkers.
Put them in separate buildings. Hold a formal ceremony when you move a product from one group to the other. Celebrate them both, and rotate people around.
4. Do you have the email addresses of the 20% of your customer base that loves what you do? If not, start getting them. If you do, what could you make for them that would be superspecial?
5. Remarkable isn't always about changing the biggest machine in your factory. It can be the way you answer the phone, launch a new brand, or price a revision to your software. Getting in the habit of doing the "unsafe" thing every time you have the opportunity is the best way to see what's working and what's not.
6. Explore the limits.
What if you're the cheapest, the fastest, the slowest, the hottest, the coldest, the easiest, the most efficient, the loudest, the most hated, the copycat, the outsider, the hardest, the oldest, the newest, or just the most! If there's a limit, you should (must) test it.
7. Think small.
One vestige of the TV-industrial complex is a need to think mass. If it doesn't appeal to everyone, the thinking goes, it's not worth it. No longer. Think of the smallest conceivable market and describe a product that overwhelms it with its remarkability. Go from there.
8. Find things that are "just not done" in your industry, and then go ahead and do them.
For example, JetBlue Airways almost instituted a dress code -- for its passengers! The company is still playing with the idea of giving a free airline ticket to the best-dressed person on the plane. A plastic surgeon could offer gift certificates. A book publisher could put a book on sale for a certain period of time. Stew Leonard's took the strawberries out of the little green plastic cages and let the customers pick their own. Sales doubled.
9. Ask, « Why not ? »
Almost everything you don't do has no good reason for it. Almost everything you don't do is the result of fear or inertia or a historical lack of someone asking, "Why not?"
10. What would happen if you simply told the truth inside your company and to your customers?
Formation Les Six Chapeaux de de Bono, le lundi 15 novembre 2004 à Paris
www.mind-ing.com, le 21 août 2004
Nicole Patris, managing director de Minding International, en charge de la diffusion des œuvres et outils de réflexion de Edward de Bono en France et en Belgique. anime le lundi 15 novembre à Paris (Pavillon d'Armenonville, Bois de Boulogne) une journée consacrée à la pensée parallèlle et aux six chapeaux de la réflexion.
Informations : info@mind-ing.com et www.mind-ing.com

Conférence Quinze idées pour avoir des idées, le mercredi 29 septembre à Jouy-en-Josas
Jouy-en-Josas, le 20 août 2004
« Créativité et management. Quinze idées pour avoir des idées », c'est le titre de la conférence que Jean-Louis Swiners fera dans le cadre des conférences du soir de L'Université du Management,  le mercredi 29 septembre 2004, au CRC, Jouy en Josas, 20 h 30.
L'entrée est libre pour les personnes intéressées par les programmes de formation de l'Université du Management mais le nombre de places est limité. Renseignements : Francoise Perret : 01 39 56 76 93.
Voir : Les conférences de l'Université du Management

Les drôles de machines des nouveaux fous volants
Paris-Match, n° 2882, 12-18 août 2004
Un article sur le SpaceShipOne de Burt Rutan (un de nos « grands innovateurs de combat ») et sur le Skycar de Paul Moller, deux facettes de l'innovation : la réalité et le rêve.
Si le SpaceShipOne a réussi son challenge en juillet dernier en volant à plus de 100 km d'altitude, le Skycar n'a jamais pu s'élever à plus de quelques mètres du sol et n'a jamais pu réaliser un vol libre.
  Le rêve   La réalité  
Les soucoupes volantes individuelles et les voitures volantes de Paul Moller : www.moller.com

L'Intelligence décentralisée du Toyota Production System
Slate, 5 août 2004

Slate publie dans son numéro du 5 août un article de Duncan Watts (l'auteur de Small Worlds) sur les leçons que la CIA (Central Intelligence Agence) devrait tirer de l'intelligence décentralisée de Toyota. En voici un extrait :

When organizations fail, our first reaction is typically to fall into "control mode": One person, or at most a small, coherent group of people, should decide what the current goals of the organization are, and everyone else should then efficiently and effectively execute those goals. Intuitively, control mode sounds like nothing so much as common sense. It fits perfectly with our deeply rooted notions of cause and effect ("I order, you deliver"), so it feels good philosophically. It also satisfies our desire to have someone made accountable for everything that happens, so it feels good morally as well.
But when a failure is one of imagination, creativity, or coordination—all major shortcomings of the various intelligence branches in recent years—introducing additional control, whether by tightening protocols or adding new layers of oversight, can serve only to make the problem worse.

To understand this, we need to (…) take a look at the world of industrial organization, which has had some valuable experience in recovering from major mistakes.

In 1997, the Toyota group suffered what seemed like a catastrophic failure in its production system when a key factory—the sole source of a particular kind of valve essential to the braking systems of all Toyota vehicles—burned to the ground overnight. Because of their much-vaunted just-in-time inventory system, the company maintained only three days of stock, while a new factory would take six months to build. In the meantime Toyota's production of over 15,000 cars a day would grind to an absolute halt. This was the kind of disaster with the potential to wreck not just the company itself, but the entire Japanese automotive industry. Clearly, then, Toyota, along with the more than 200 other companies that are members of the extended Toyota group, had ample incentives to find a solution.

The big question was : How? How does one rapidly regenerate large quantities of a complex component, in several different varieties, without any specialized tools, gauges, and manufacturing lines (almost all of which were lost), with barely any relevant experience (the company that made them was highly specialized), with very little direction from the original company (which was quickly overwhelmed), and without compromising any of their other production tasks? Well, actually it's not clear that one could do it at all, nor was it clear at the time to any of the senior managers of the Toyota group. After all, if this was the kind of disaster that their risk management executives had considered, they would never have left themselves vulnerable to it in the first place.

Nevertheless, they succeeded, but not in the way one might have expected. Rather than relying on the guidance and coordination of an inspired leader (control mode), the response was a bewildering display of truly decentralized problem solving : More than 200 companies reorganized themselves and each other to develop at least six entirely different production processes, each using different tools, different engineering approaches, and different organizational arrangements. Virtually every aspect of the recovery effort had to be designed and executed on the fly, with engineers and managers sharing their successes and failures alike across departmental boundaries, and even between firms that in normal times would be direct competitors.

Within three days, production of the critical valves was in full swing, and within a week, production levels had regained their pre-disaster levels. The kind of coordination this activity required had not been consciously designed, nor could it have been developed in the drastically short time frame required. The surprising fact was that it was already there, lying dormant in the network of informal relations that had been built up between the firms through years of cooperation and information sharing over routine problem-solving tasks. No one could have predicted precisely how this network would come in handy for this particular problem, but they didn't need to—by giving individual workers fast access to information and resources as they discovered their need for them, the network did its job anyway.


Creative intelligence analysis has a lot in common with other kinds of problem-solving activities: thinking outside the box, challenging deeply held assumptions, and combining different, often seemingly unrelated, kinds of expertise and knowledge.
By understanding how innovative and successful organizations have been able to solve large-scale, complex problems, without anyone "at the top" having to micromanage the process, the intelligence community could learn some valuable lessons that might help it escape the mistakes of the past.


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©2004 Jean–Louis Swiners et Jean-Michel Briet