Archive for September, 2020

An ALL-IN, ALL-ONE Mindset

September 18, 2020

Adopt an ALL-IN, ALL-ONE Mindset

Conflict. It’s a fact of life. Sometimes life is dry without it, and sometimes it’s just too much spice, too much sauce! We advocate adopting an ‘ALL-IN, ALL-ONE’ mindset to help our clients to better understand the circumstances and the motivations of all stakeholders and to better strategize and plan on how to best address a conflict. An ‘ALL-IN, ALL-ONE’ mindset:

  • Reminds everyone that they are on the same team, so it benefits Everyone when any ONE person succeeds while helping Everyone to work on a common purpose;
  • Provides us with energy and hope, so that we can be fully committed (ALL-IN) and fully trusting of the team (ALL-ONE);
  • Connects everyone to a higher purpose, a higher goal than one he/she could do on their own;
  • Helps align everyone on a common purpose, and a common plan on how to achieve that purpose;
  • Encourages respect and acceptance of people who are not-like-you;
  • Empowers everyone at all levels to express their motivations and interests so that it can be factored in with the strategy and execution;
  • Invites respectful debate when appropriate with no room for dissension when a decision has been made;
  • Increases the likelihood of receiving a more diverse range of effective options and opportunities;
  • Helps any individual member (and the team) to understand when she/he is not a good fit for the team and make plans accordingly and
  • Emboldens all of us to keep reaching for stars, in a way that’s All IN, All-ONE.

You don’t have to be ALL-IN for all things, but do adopt an ‘ALL-ONE’ mindset – choose kindness and compassion and curiosity, especially for those who are not like you.

Embracing the Creative in a Tech-philic World

September 11, 2020

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September 11 When She Speaks Program: Embracing the Creative in a Tech-Philic World

FountainBlue’s September 11 When She Speaks event was on the topic of ‘Embracing the Creative in a Tech-philic World’. Our panelists represented a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives, companies and roles. Although they were each unique and accomplished, they had much in common.

  • Each chose a technical/science educational path, yet each made the proactive choice to go into more creative and business-focused roles.
  • Each has focused on solving critical, difficult problems, working with both technologists and creatives, and found a way to translate between the two sides when there were conflicts and misunderstandings.
  • Each is entrepreneurial, creatively solving problems in new ways, yet each is also process-oriented as she implements solutions.
  • Each is customer-centric, curious about the customer problems, the customer experiences. Each insisted in getting a first-hand connection to those customers so that she can better deliver solutions that serve the customers’ needs, providing a flow that is useful and easy to navigate for the customer.

Below is a compilation of advice and best practices on how to be creative in a tech-philic world.
It’s the Age of the Customer

  • Focus on the gaps and the pain points. Find out what your team/company is doing to address that pain point and how the customers are responding to these solutions. Then work from there.
  • Because technology is moving so fast, and solutions are getting so inter-related and complex, it’s often easier to design a solution based on the problem identified by a customer rather than innovating for the sake of innovating, without knowing if it serves a current pain point/need.

Know yourself

  • Know what you’re good at, what you want and reach for it.
  • Know how you work with others across the team and beyond, and learn how to work with others not-like-you.
  • Make sure that your current roles and responsibilities are a personality fit for you.

Challenge yourself

  • Never settle. Keep reaching for what’s next, what can bring out more learnings for you, more value for the customer, for your team and company, especially when it makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • Choose excellence, even if it means you have to work really hard to get there.
  • Persevere and learn as you go. Don’t expect to be always right, but do expect to be always learning.
  • Don’t always adopt someone else’s best practice. Do the research on what works for you and fold in also things that work for others which might also work for you.
  • Invite yourself to dream of practical innovations which meet customer needs today and also in the future.
  • Creatively consider how AI and IoT solutions can transcend industries not traditionally known for their tech.
  • Get noticed for the exceptional work you consistently deliver, the impossible problems you routinely solve.
  • Plan-fully and collaboratively plan a future for your product and team so that it has maximum impact on customers and markets.

Be a translator

  • Teams and companies need both creatives and technologists. Translating Geek-speak to Biz-speak and vice versa adds value to all involved.
  • Translate what Customers are saying to you so that both Creatives and Techies understand. Speak also to the Executives so they also understand how everyone is collaborating to deliver products and services.

Empower Others

  • Work with the Creatives to understand the Techies and vice versa, and help all to adopt a ONE TEAM mindset.

The bottom line is to be strategic and customer-focused. Ask yourself the Why of everything, then ask the What and the So What for Which audience.
Your network matters, if you want to make that lasting impact. Prove your value and you will secure additional sponsorship and mentorship and continue to drive high-profile initiatives and generate results.

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Please join me in thanking our hosts at Texas Instruments, and our esteemed panelists for FountainBlue’s September 11 When She Speaks event on the topic of ‘Embracing the Creative in a Tech-philic World’.

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue 
  • Panelist Hope Bovenzi, Sector General Manager for Automotive Infotainment, Texas Instruments
  • Panelist Revathi Narayanan, Chief Of Staff, Compute and Networking BU, Micron
  • Panelist Preethy Padmanabhan, Head of Platform Product Marketing, Freshworks
  • Panelist Charu Roy, Senior Director, Product Management Fusion PLM, Oracle
  • Panelist Urvashi Sheth, Senior Vice President Client Services, Intermedia

Power to the Grid

September 11, 2020
FountainBlue’s September 11, 2020 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘Power to the Grid’.

FountainBlue’s September 11, 2020 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘Power to the Grid’. We were fortunate to have a diverse range of executives in attendance who shared a wide range of perspectives across organizations, across industries, across roles, across teams. Despite the differences, we came to an agreement regarding getting power to the grid.
Today is actually the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, so we started by comparing where we were then and where we are now in terms of how we think about energy usage. 

  • Solar adoption, renewable energy generation and EV usage have gone from a novelty – a long-term vision, to a more standard practice, more in some locations than others.
  • The age of always-on vampire mode is now politically and economically incorrect.
  • Network infrastructure and data storage is now ubiquitous, the cloud commonplace now, with costs within reason for businesses large and small.
  • Similarly, the movement of data is now commonplace, relatively inexpensive and pervasive.
  • Energy storage is much more prevalent for enterprises, with consumers now taking a look at it.

There was much conversation about the challenges related to the management of energy generation, storage and distribution, and also agreement on how we can collaborate to make progress.
Energy Management is Complicated.

  • Our energy infrastructure involves an ecosystem of public-private partnerships.
  • The challenges are many and escalating, caused by: energy usage, climate change, distribution of energy generation/storage, political agendas, the vocal opinions of companies and consumers alike, aging power infrastructure, etc.,
  • The order of magnitude for energy projects is mind-bogglingly HUGE, taking many resources and much time (in the order of decades) to implement. 

Collaboration is key.

  • Policymakers must collaborate with all parties to ensure efficient energy generation, storage and distribution.
  • With energy, IT (including enterprise systems around HR, finance, etc.,) must meet OT – operational systems which physically bring the power to our systems and devices. Collaboration is a mandate, yet often a challenge.
  • Leveraging open source solutions around energy like the LF Energy system, may help build collaborations which are science-based and a-political while also proactively managing our energy consumption and our adoption of renewable energy sources.
  • Partnering with European countries in their use of technologies and processes may help US energy customers better manage their own generation, storage and usage. 
  • Find ways where all stakeholders can provide value and provide services in a way which is economically viable and even attractive.

Security across the grid is of paramount importance.

  • Security is at huge risk with the proliferation of devices attached to the grid from both enterprises and consumers. This is especially true as attacking our source of power puts regions and nations at risk.
  • Utilities may be forced to integrate legacy systems into overall energy management solutions. Keeping these solutions secure may be more challenging and complex.

Innovation is key. Below are some thoughts on how we could innovate.

  • Consider the adoption and integration of micro-services, especially for less populous areas with lower energy demands.
  • Create Software Defined Infrastructures to better manage energy usage, to better support the integration and management of all applications, including legacy applications.
  • Provide detailed real-time reports on energy usage easily accessible by enterprises and consumers. Gamify the solution so that we can make sustainable choices around energy usage.
  • Offer strategies for enterprises and consumers can be independent of the grid either when necessary (for rolling black-outs for example), or for efficiency.
  • There may be opportunities for cities to put power lines underground, and if they do so, perhaps they can set up data sub-stations while they’re at it, for areas which use higher volumes of energy.
  • Consider vehicle-to-grid opportunities around energy generation, storage and distribution.
  • AI and ML algorithms to identify patterns and make predictions around energy usage, so that we can proactively manage.
  • Consider providing aggregated reports of energy usage and renewable energy adoption which enterprises could use across their many global facilities. 
  • Devices on the edge of the grid can help manage and monitor the energy usage, and also help us understand current and anticipated needs based on specific scenarios – usage patterns, temperature readings, population density, industry trends…
  • Create solutions which would allow customers and enterprises to make local input, and global impact while creating jobs as well.

The bottom line is that there are models and predictions around energy usage, even as we are impacted by climate change. Rising above the political and economic agendas, we can come together and create solutions and forge policies which would be good for businesses, for customers, for the Earth.