Our Thoughts

Ideas that change businesses, industries, and people

Alexa Will Influence Much More Than Your Grocery List

Almost two years ago, during one of my catch-up conversations with Scott Manuel from Thomson Reuters, I first heard of Alexa, the intelligent personal assistant service of the Amazon Echo. Scott said, “Trust me, you’ve got to get one of these.” His job is to...

Who Builds Better Digital Products – IT or Product?

When we started Thought Ensemble in 2008, we did a lot of consulting work in industries like information services and publishing. At that time, these industries were at the height of their disruption. Digital products, from both longtime competitors and...

Visioning with a 5-Year Old

I may not be the craftiest mom. I may not be the best at academic prep. I'm definitely not the one throwing the football. But there's one thing I know I can teach my kids: how to create a life they love. It is the start of a new year, so we are working on our vision...

Recipe for an Awesome Morning

Before I had kids, I didn’t think much about the mornings. Each day was different. I woke up when I needed to based on my calendar. But kids have brought more routine to my life - a rhythm to the day, week, and year. For the first five years of parenthood, we had a...

Actually Get Some $#*! Done

In my previous blog, I talked about getting change initiatives off on the right foot. This involves assembling your A-team, preparing a plan of attack, and kicking the project off. Assuming you have already done these things, you are set up to move forward...

IT Culture Got You (Upside) Down?

The list on the left describes the IT organization of the past, or at least what most organizations strived to be. Less than a decade ago, these were the words woven into IT visions everywhere. The list on the right describes what most IT organizations are striving to...

Marshmallows and Your Strategy’s Success

One of my happiest parenting moments was when my eldest son was four. On his birthday, I gave him a single marshmallow and told him that if he could wait to eat the marshmallow until I returned 15 minutes later, I’d give him a second marshmallow. Alternatively, he...

Get Off on the Right Foot

I’m kind of impatient and I like to jump into things as quickly as I can to, as Larry the Cable Guy would say, “Get ‘er done.” However, I believe that some of the most critical work on large-scale change initiatives is done before any of the actual “work” of the...

Detours Ahead in Data Intelligence Strategy

“Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine.” - Peter Sondergaard, SVP at Gartner Research Data is awesome. More specifically, what some companies are doing with data today is awesome. We’re seeing advances ranging from powerful...

Herding Your Sacred Cows

Leaders face a whole host of issues when trying to implement new projects in their organizations, but one of the most pervasive and difficult issues to address is the infamous “sacred cow.” Without rounding up these bellicose bovine, improvement efforts are doomed to...

I Love 2×2 Matrices

I’ve spent most of my career in a “consulting type” job, either working for a major consultancy or in a project-oriented corporate role. Consulting typically involves running or assisting on projects that are tasked with solving a specific problem. And problem solving...

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Team Building

Years ago, when I was in graduate school, I took a two-day elective class on improvisational comedy. Why, I don’t know exactly, but I think someone told me it was fun. As it turned out, it was very fun and also incredibly valuable. The week after I took the class, I...

There’s a New Sheriff in Town

  Most of us have been through it – the person we work for leaves the company or takes on a new role and we get a new boss. This isn’t the person who hired us, we aren’t their “star” player, and we have no idea what their agenda is. It’s tempting to gossip, worry,...

Three Books I’m Grateful for in 2015

I thought I’d wrap the final day of the year with a blog on my favorite books of the last twelve months. I’ve read a lot of great books this year – fiction, non-fiction, and business, but three of them stand out as great reads that I’m truly grateful for reading. None...

My Performance Review of Performance Reviews

I think it’s been about 10 years since I personally received a performance review and probably 8 years since I gave one. The further away I get from it, the odder the whole idea seems, especially for knowledge workers. I admit that in my earlier years, I not only...

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