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J.D. Meier's Blog - Patterns and Practices at Microsoft
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Agile Results, Digital Business Transformation, and Program Management
Updated: 32 min 49 sec ago

Agile Results Refresher for 2017

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 19:16

I’ve put together a quick refresher on Agile Results for 2017:

Agile Results Refresher for 2017

I tried to keep it simple and to the point, but at the same time, help new folks that don’t know what Agile Results is, really sink their teeth into it.

For example, one important idea is that it’s effectively a system to use your best energy for your best results.

I’ve seen people struggle with getting results for years, and one of the most common patterns I see is they use their worst energy for their most important activities.

Worse, they don’t know how to change their energy.

So now they are doing work they hate, because they feel like crap,and this feeling becomes a habit.

The irony is that they would enjoy their work if they just knew how to flip the switch and reimagine their work as an opportunity to experiment and explore their full potential.

Work is actually one of the ultimate forms of self-expression.

Your work can be your dojo where you practice building your abilities, creating your competencies, and sharpening your skills in all areas of your life.

But the real key is to bridge work and life through your values.

If you can find a way to bake your values into how you show up each day, whether at home or in the office, that’s the real secret to living the good life.

But what’s the key to living the great life?

The key to living the great life is to give your best where you have your best to give in the service of others.

Agile Results is a way to help you do that.

Check out the refresher on Agile Results and use the Rule of Three to rule your day.

If you already know Agile Results, teach three people and help them live and lead a more inspired life.

Game on.

Categories: Architecture, Programming

Where to Look for Trends and Insights

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 08:45

“The best is yet to come.”

It can be tough creating the future among the chaos.

The key is to get a good handle on the real and durable trends that lie beneath the change and churn that’s all around you.

But how do you get a good handle on the key disruptions, the key trends, and the macro-level patterns that matter?

Draw from multiple sources that help you see the big picture in a simple way.

To get started, I’m going to share the key sources for trends and insights that I draw from (beyond my own experience and what I learn from working with customers and colleagues from around the world).

Here are the key sources for trends and insights that I draw from:

  1. Age of Context (Book), by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel.  Age of Context provides a walkthrough of 5 technological forces shaping our world: 1) mobile devices, 2) social media, 3) big data, 4) sensors, 5) location-based services.
  2. Cognizant – A global leader in business and technology services, helping clients bring the future of work to life — today.
  3. DaVini Institute – The DaVinci Institute is a non-profit futurist think tank. But unlike traditional research-based consulting organizations, the DaVinci Institute operates as a working laboratory for the future human experience A community of entrepreneurs and visionary thinkers intent on discovering the (future) opportunities created when cutting edge technology meets the rapidly changing human world.
  4. Faith Popcorn – The “Trend Oracle.”  Faith is a key strategist for BrainReserve and trusted advisor to the CEOs of The Fortune 500.  She’s identified movements such as, “Cocooning,” “AtmosFear,” “Anchoring,” “99 Lives,” “Icon Toppling” and “Vigilante Consumer.”
  5. Fjord – Fjord produces an annual report to help guide you through challenges, experiences, and opportunities you, your organization, employees, customers, and stakeholders will likely face.  Check out the Fjord Trends 2017 report on SlideShare.
  6. Foresight Factory (Formerly called Future Foundation) – Future focused, applied, global consumer insight. Universal trends that shape tastes and determine demand the world over; sector trends that are critical to success in specific industries; custom reports produced in partnership with clients and focus reports on key markets, regions and topics.
  7. Forrester – Research to help you make better decisions in a world where technology is radically changing your customer.
  8. Gartner – The the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company.
  9. Global Goals – In September 2015, 193 world leaders agreed to 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. If these Goals are completed, it would mean an end to extreme poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030.
  10. IBM Executive Exchange – An issues-based portal providing news, thought leadership, case studies, solutions, and social media exchange for C-level executives.
  11. Jim Carroll – A world-leading futurist, trends, and innovation expert, with a track record for strategic insight.  He is author of the book The Future Belongs to Those Who Are Fast, and he shares major trends, as well as trends by industry, on his site.
  12. Motley Fool – Motley Fool – To educate, amuse, and enrich.
  13. No Ordinary Disruption (Book) – This is a deep dive into the future, backed with data, stories, and insight.  It highlights four forces colliding and transforming the global economy: 1) the rise of emerging markets, 2) the accelerating impact of technology on the natural forces of market competition, 3) an aging world population, 4) accelerating flows of trade, capital, people, and data.
  14. O’Reilly Ideas – Insight, analysis, and research about emerging technologies.
  15. Richard Watson – A futurist author, speaker and scenario planner, and the chart maker behind The Table of Trends and Technologies for the World in 2020 (PDF). Watson is author of the What’s Next Top Trends Blog. Watson is the author of 4 books: Future Files, Future Minds, Futurevision, and The Future: 50 Ideas You Really Need to Know.
  16. Sandy Carter — Sandy Carter is IBM Vice President  of Social Business and Collaboration, and author of The New Language of Marketing 2.0, The New Language of Business, and Get Bold: Using Social Media to Create a New Type of Social Business.  She’s not just fun to read or watch – she has some of the best insight on social innovation.
  17. The Industries of the Future (Book), by Alec Ross.  Alec Ross explains what’s next for the world: the advances and stumbling blocks that will emerge in the next ten years, and how we can navigate them.
  18. The Second Machine Age, by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee.  Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee identify the best strategies for survival and offer a new path to prosperity amid exponential technological change. These include revamping education so that it prepares people for the next economy instead of the last one, designing new collaborations that pair brute processing power with human ingenuity, and embracing policies that make sense in a radically transformed landscape.
  19. ThoughtWorks Technology Radar – Thoughts from the ThoughtWorks team on the technology and trends that are shaping the future.
  20. Trend Hunter – Each day, Trend Hunter features a daily dose of micro-trends, viral news and pop culture. The most popular micro-trends are featured on Trend Hunter TV and later grouped into clusters of inspiration in our Trend Reports, a series of tools for professional innovators and entrepreneurs.
  21. Trends and Technologies for the World in 2020 (PDF) – Table of trends and technologies shaping the world in 2020.
  22. – helps forward-thinking business professionals in 180+ countries understand the new consumer and subsequently uncover compelling, profitable innovation opportunities.

While it might look like a short-list, it’s actually pretty deep.

It’s like a Russian nesting doll in that each source might lead you to more sources or might be the trunk of a tree that has multiple branches.

These sources of trends and insights have served me well and continue to serve me as I look to the future and try to figure out what’s going on.

But more importantly, they all inspire me in some way to create the future, rather than wait for it to just happen.

I’m a big fan of making things happen … you play the world, or the world plays you.

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Categories: Architecture, Programming

Consumer Trend Canvas

Sun, 01/15/2017 - 08:11

Consumer Trends are a key building block for innovation.

Is you are stuck coming up with innovation opportunities, part of it is that you are missing sources of insight.

And of the best sources of insight is actually consumer trends.

One tool for helping you turn consumer trends into innovation opportunities is the Consumer Trend Canvas, by



What I like about it is the simplicity, the elegance, and the fact that it’s similar in format to the Business Model Canvas.

The Consumer Trend Canvas is broken down into to simple sections:

  1. Analyze
  2. Apply

Pretty simple.

In terms of the overall canvas, it’s actually a map of the following 7 components:

  1. Basic Needs
  2. Drivers of Change
  3. Emerging Customer Expectations
  4. Inspiration
  5. Innovation Potential
  6. Who
  7. Your Innovations

From a narrative standpoint, you can think of it in terns of pains, needs, and desired outcomes for a particular persona, along with the innovation opportunities that flow from that simple frame.

The real beauty of the Consumer Trend Canvas is that it’s a question-driven approach to revealing innovation opportunities.

Here are the questions within each of the parts of the Consumer Trend Canvas:

  1. Which deep consumer needs & desires does this trend address?
  2. Why is this trend emerging now? What’s changing?
  3. What new consumer needs, wants, and expectations are created by the changes identified above? Where and how does this trends satisfy them?
  4. How are other businesses applying this trend?
  5. How and where could you apply this trend to your business?
  6. Which (new) customer groups could you apply this trend? What would you have to change?

When you put it all together, you have a quick and simple view of how a trend can lead to some potential innovations.

The power is in the simplicity and in the consolidation.

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Categories: Architecture, Programming

Trend Framework

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 16:29

It’s that time of year when I like to take the balcony view to figure out where the world is going, at least some of the key trends.

I’ve long been a fan that while you can’t predict the future, you can take the long view and play out multiple future scenarios so you are ready for (most) anything.

But I’m an even bigger fan of the idea that rather than predict the future—create the future.

To do that, it helps to have a solid handle on the trends shaping the world.

To help make sense of the trends, I like to use mind tools and frameworks that help me see things more clearly.

One of my favorite tools for trends is the Trend Framework by uses a framework to sort and catalog trends. 

To understand the future of consumerism, they use a framework of 16 Mega-Trends:

  1. Status Seekers.  The relentless, often subconscious, yet ever present force that underpins almost all consumer behavior.
  2. Betterment.  The universal quest for self-improvement.
  3. Human Brands.  Why personality and purpose will mean profit.
  4. Better Business.  Why “good” business will be good for business.
  5. Youniverse.  Make your consumers the center of their Youniverse.
  6. Local Love.  Why “local” is in, and will remain, loved.
  7. Ubitech.  The ever-greater pervasiveness of technology.
  8. Infolust.  Why consumers voracious appetite for (even more) information will only grow.
  9. Playsumers.  Who said business has to be boring?
  10. Ephemeral.  Why consumers will embrace the here, the now, and the soon-to-be-gone.
  11. Fuzzynomics.  The divisions between producers and consumers, brands, and customers will continue to blur.
  12. Pricing Pandemonium.  Pricing more fluid and flexible than ever.
  13. Helpful. Be part of the solution, not the problem.
  14. Joyning.  The eternal desire for connection, and the many (new) ways it can be satisfied.
  15. Post-Demographics.  The age of disrupted demographics.
  16. Remapped.  The epic power shifts in the global economy.

I’ve used these 16 Mega-Trends from the Trend Framework as a filter (well, maybe more accurately as idiot-guards and bumper-rails) for guiding how I look at consumer behaviors shaping the market.

In fact, this was one of the most helpful frameworks I used when putting together my Trends for 2016: The Year of the Bold.

As I create my master list of Trends for 2017, I’m finding this simple list of 16 Mega-Trends to be useful once again, to better understand all of the micro-trends that emerge on top of this foundation.

The Trend Framework makes it easier to see the graph of trends and to quickly make sense of why things are shaping the way they are.

Categories: Architecture, Programming

Hack a Happy New Year!

Mon, 01/02/2017 - 20:04

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” — Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Hack a Better New Year

It’s time to dig down, dig in, and dig deep to create a great year for yourself and others.

I’m a fan of hacks for work and life.

I find that hacking away at challenges is a great way to make progress and to eventually overcome them.

Hacking is really an a approach and a mindset where you try new things, experiment and explore while staying open-minded and learning as you go.

You never really know what’s going to work, until you’ve actually made it work.

Nothing beats personal experimentation when it comes to creating better results in your life.

Anyway, in the spirit of kicking off the new year right, I created a comprehensive collection of the ultimate hacks for a happy new year:

101 Hacks for a Happy New Year

This is no ordinary set of hacks.  It’s deep.  There are hacks for mind, body, emotions, career, finance, relationships, and fun.

There are hacks you can use everyday to change how you think, feel, and act.

There are hacks to help you change habits.

There are hacks to help you relight your fire and get back in the game, if you’ve been in a slump or waiting on the sidelines.

Jump back in the game, master your work and life, and have some fun in the process.

Here is a quick list of the hacks from 101 Hacks for a Happy New Year:

1. Get the power of a New Year’s Resolution on your side
2. Limit yourself to one big resolution at a time
3. Get specific with your goals
4. Dream bigger to realize your potential
5. If you want change, you must change
6. Guide your path with vision, values, and goals
7. Change a habit with Habit Stacking
8. Create mini-feedback loops
9. Bounce back from a setback
10. Avoid “All or Nothing” thinking
11. Choose progress over perfection
12. Reward yourself more often
13. Gamify it
14. Adopt a Tiny Habit
15. Just Start
16. Adopt a growth mindset
17. Create if-then plans to stick with your goals
18. Start with Great Expectations
19. Adopt 7 beliefs for personal excellence
20. Master the art of goal planning
21. Prime your mind for greatness
22. Use dreams, goals, and habits to pull you forward
23. Use the Exponential Results Formula to make a big change
24. Adopt the 7 Habits of Highly Motivated People
25. Use Trigger Moments to activate your higher self
26. Use Door Frame Triggers to inspire a better version of you
27. Find your purpose
28. Figure out what you really want
29. Use 3 Wins to Rule Your Year
30. Commit to your best year ever
31. Find your Signature Strengths
32. Practice a “lighter feeling”
33. Let go of regrets
34. 15-Minutes of Fulfillment
35. Create your ideal day the Tony Robbins Way
36. Master your emotions for power, passion, and strength
37. Start your year in February
38. Build your personal effectiveness toolbox
39. Write your story for the future
40. Get out of a slump
41. Give your best, where you have your best to give
42. Ask more empowering questions
43. Surround yourself with better people
44. Find better mentors
45. Do the opposite
46. Try a 30 Day Sprint
47. Grow 10 Years Younger
48. Don’t get sick this year
49. Know Thyself
50. Decide Who You Are
51. Decide Who You Want To Be
52. Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude
53. Try 20-Minute Sprints
54. Create a vision board for your year
55. Adopt some meaningful mantras and affirmations
56. Practice your mindfulness
57. 15-Minutes of Happiness
58. Breathe better
59. Become your own gym
60. Master your wealth
61. Learn how to read faster
62. Let go of negative feelings
63. Live a meaningful life
64. Establish a routine for eating, sleeping, and exercising
65. Improve your likeability
66. Win friends and influence people
67. Improve your charisma through power, presence, and warmth
68. Fill your mind with a few good good thoughts
69. Ask for help more effectively
70. Attract everything you’ve ever wanted
71. Catch the next train
72. Unleash You 2.0
73. Learn anything in 20 hours
74. Use stress to be your best
75. Take worry breaks
76. Use the Rule of Three to rule your day
77. Have better days
78. Read 5 powerful personal development books
79. Practice the 10 Skills of Personal Leadership
80.  Develop your Emotional Intelligence
81. Cap your day with four powerful questions
82. Build mental toughness like a Navy Seal
83. Feel In Control
84. Transform your job
85. Use work as your ultimate form of self-expression
86. Be the one who gives their all
87. Live without the fear of death in your heart
88. Find your personal high-performance pattern
89. Create unshakeable confidence
90. Lead a charged life
91. Use feedback to be your best
92. Make better decisions
93. Learn how to deal with difficult people
94. Defeat decision fatigue
95. Make the most of luck
96. Develop your spiritual intelligence
97. Conquer your fears
98. Deal with tough criticism
99. Embrace the effort
100. Finding truth from the B.S.
101. Visualize more effectively

For the details of each hack, check out 101 Hacks for a Happy New Year.

I will likely tune and prune the hacks over time, and improve the titles and the descriptions.

Meanwhile, I’m not letting perfectionism get in the way of progress.

Go forth and hack a happy new year and share 101 Hacks for a Happy New Year with a friend.

Categories: Architecture, Programming