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Business Change Management

Business Change Management

Some Thoughts on Strategy: When Insiders Might Know Best

On Sep 26, 2016 7:06:39 PM

/ Andrew Simon

Categories: Corporate Anthropology, business strategy

Last week I picked up the MIT Sloan Management Review Fall 2016 issue while waiting for dinner. I turned to the last page and read an article by Teppo Felin entitled: “When Strategy Walks Out the Door.” What was really important was the need to include employees in both strategy and execution.

Teppo Felin is a professor of strategy at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, UK. His article cites examples of employees who were disenfranchised at their place of employment and then went on to build successful companies out of rejected ideas.

Outsiders vs. Insiders

The thesis of Felin’s article is that senior management at companies often hire outsiders to develop strategies rather than turning to the insiders—the people who might really understand the company and the markets in order to develop effective strategy.

At Simon Associates Management Associates (SAMC), we fully support Mr. Felin’s position. As a matter of fact, we are often hired to help companies find new markets or develop new strategies. However, we are very careful NOT to take the lead but rather, to act as the facilitator in developing strategies. I think this is a very important differentiation, illustrating how we view our work with clients. We always tell management, “Do not outsource your eyes!”

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How Corporate Anthropology Transforms Observation Into Innovation

On Sep 8, 2016 11:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Culture Change, Corporate Anthropology, On the Brink

Recently, I was very excited to be interviewed by Mukesh Gupta for his podcast, PBTO (Pushing Beyond the Obvious). For our session, “Transforming Observation into Innovation,” Mukesh was in India and I was in New York. We covered a lot of ground and had a great time doing it!

During the 58-minute podcast, I share insights and stories about what corporate anthropology is all about and how it can help organizations change their culture, create new products and services, understand their customers better and most importantly, drive growth.

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Could Corporate Anthropology Help A Struggling Hospital Adapt To Changing Times?

On Sep 7, 2016 11:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Culture Change, Corporate Anthropology

In my book “On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights,” I write about one of my marketing firm’s favorite experiences working with a medical center that was literally “on the brink.”

In 2006, I was hired as a consultant at a 400-bed Midwest medical center that was losing close to $20 million a year, was leaking patients to its two competitors, had an entrenched staff (many of whom had been there for their entire careers) who didn’t want to change, and was having trouble establishing a connection with the population it was supposed to serve. On top of all that, it was not considered the area’s go-to medical facility unless you were poor, uninsured, seriously sick or injured, burned or a high risk mother-to-be.

The center’s leadership team was looking for someone to help them better understand their institution’s brand positioning so they could reinvigorate growth, re-brand the hospital for a changing market, and provide internal staff with a strong identity which would hopefully engender pride in their work. Here's what we did.

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How Can Healthcare Organizations Get Value From Data? It's All In The Story.

On Aug 8, 2016 11:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Corporate Anthropology, healthcare organizations and data, data as storytelling

Data as storytelling has the power to bring about great change, most critically in the healthcare field. But in order to understand facts, the brain needs to visualize them. Therefore the ability to convert cold, hard numbers into a compelling story that can, for instance, improve the patient experience or reduce operating costs, has enormous value, as I write in my latest article for Hospital Impact.

As I point out, because the brain is a pattern-making machine it is not happy unless it can convert data in a visual way into a meaningful story that resonates with what it knows already. This “data visualization” is something we’re working on with several of our clients at Simon Associates Management Consultants, and it’s proving to be quite a challenge.

So that you, too, can learn how to make your data come alive, enabling you to “see, feel and think” about it differently—which is when real, lasting change can occur—I share some approaches that have worked for these clients.

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When It Comes To Corporate Culture, Are Men And Women All That Different?

On Jun 7, 2016 9:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Culture Change, Corporate Anthropology, Corporate Culture


As a corporate anthropologist, I've been keenly aware of the recent shift in thinking surrounding how cultures should be restructured in order for women to thrive in the workplace. This has caused me to ask, What type of culture do women really want and is it that different from what men want, too? To find out, my firm, Simon Associates Management Consultants, conducted research using the cultural diagnostic tool, the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI), to see how women and men would prefer their organizational culture to operate in the future as opposed to how it operates today.

The results, which truly surprised us, also caught the attention of Forbes, which recently ran my article highlighting what we found. 

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Blue Ocean Strategy® Needs Lots of Exploring

On Mar 25, 2016 10:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Corporate Anthropology, Blue Ocean Strategy, On the Brink

There is an adage among folks who work in innovation and creativity that the more ideas you have, the more likely you will have great ones—you just don’t know which ones they are. Often they occur at the intersections of ideas…more random than scientific, more by chance than by choice, and more likely to come from luck than rigor.

This is very important if you are going to find a Blue Ocean Strategy. While you are trying to grow your business by adding value in innovative ways, the opportunities could be right under your nose. You just aren't finding them, aren't able to see the possibilities as opportunities. Is there a way for you to turn observation into innovation to sustain your growth? Yes!

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3 Ways Anthropologist's Toolkit Can Revitalize Your Company

On Mar 24, 2016 10:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Andrea Simon, Business Anthropology, Corporate Anthropology, On the Brink

What?!? Anthropology in my business?

I heard that more than once over the past few weeks of "Change Matters" workshops. I started talking about how powerful corporate anthropology or business anthropology can be for driving business growth. It’s true. The link between social science and business growth is deep and powerful, and growing. As business model innovation has become essential as company's adapt to today's fast changing environment.

Understanding human behavior and how to change a company's cultures is at the heart of building business success. I know it sounds obvious, but often it is ignored. At their core, all businesses are inextricably linked to the humans who work together and whose customers they serve — even if it’s sometimes hard to see the connection of business to culture.

Corporate anthropologists are finding that people know all too well the challenges of building and sustaining a business, especially in these fast-changing times. They often need a new toolkit, an anthropologist's toolkit. What worked in the past isn't doing so well today. But change is quite literally pain, and they fight it.

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Ten Anthropology Tools You Can Use in Your Business

On Mar 3, 2016 10:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Corporate Anthropology

At Simon associates Management Consultants, a client of ours recently struggled with sluggish growth. As this is not an uncommon problem in today's business environment, we showed him how to use some of the tools of corporate anthropology to help him see the possibilities that were all around him—which he had sadly ignored. 

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How Do Consumers Really Use Your Brand? Hire Corporate Anthropologists

On Jan 26, 2016 3:00:00 PM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Andrea Simon, Business Anthropology, Change Management, Corporate Anthropology

Are you getting the sense that anthropologists are coming soon to a neighborhood near you? You might be right. Are you ready to be observed? 

Filming consumers in their natural habitats

According to Linda Tischler in an article in Fast Company not so long ago, “Ad agencies are hiring anthropologists and ethnographers to study and film consumers in their natural environments to see what they really eat, drink, and buy.”

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