Category Archives: Project Management

Vivek Kundra – U.S. Government CIO

"Put the citizen at the heart of Government Services- they are the customer, not the bureaucracy."

“Put the citizen at the heart of Government Services- they are the customer, not the bureaucracy.”

Vivek Kundra is an Indian American administrator who served as the first chief information officer of the United States from March, 2009 to August, 2011 under President Barack Obama. As CIO of the U.S. Government,  Vivek was one of the first to champion the use of cloud technology in the public sector. He believes in high level accountability for every IT project and was passionate about the ability to use government collected data to drive real consumer improvement.  I had the opportunity to hear Vivek speak as an Innovator at the World Innovation Forum.

Vivek’s first actions as CIO were centered around restructuring the project portfolio.  Many of the Government IT projects were millions of dollars over budget, and still years off schedule. He added three key strategies to focus spending and increase accountability: Continue reading

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Michael Martin – Vibram

Michael Martin – From a Marketing Strategy to a Global Movement

“We sold a product that went against everything we ever did in the industry, without a business model, that no customers asked for, that people initially hated, without spending a dollar in marketing.”

Michael Martin, General Manager of the Five Fingered shoes (you know, the “toe shoes”), shared his journey building a product that was doomed to fail according to virtually every conceivable measure of potential future success.

The company’s big break was actually deep in it’s history, when it sold the first rubber soled shoe, going on to supply the US military with all of its footwear. They had proven they could innovate once, why not again? As anyone in a large successful company can attest, it is a lot harder to innovate in a proven, successful market than it is at the start of a company when you have nothing to lose.

As if putting Mauro’s theory into practice, they relied heavily on their loyal customers to advertise their product for them. They have a website where their customers have made three minute videos about what Five Fingers means to them.  Suddenly, this confusing, unwanted product has evolved into the 2010 “Item of the Year” in the Plus awards for design excellence.  All of this is possible because they had the courage to stand by their idea, because of their experience with a young, unproven product. The courage to accept early failure as part of the road to future success is instrumental to building a culture of innovation.

Posted in Funny, Inspirations, IT, Life Lessons, Project Management, Shifting Perspectives, Uncategorized. Tagged with , , , , , , .