Posts Tagged ‘Management’

Driving Innovation

October 25, 2010

At QSR International we have core company values of Innovation, Collaboration, and Celebration.   Five years ago we developed an Innovation Strategy that can be summarized as follows: 


  • is about collaboration and exploration
  • requires an understanding of technology
  • requires an understanding of business domain
  • must produce deliverables
  • and is not a replacement for customer feedback

to achieve this we must

  • monitor emerging technology and industry trends
  • attend technology and industry conferences
  • undertake surveys and interviews with customers
  • undertake exploratory workshops
  • produce prototypes and whitepapers
  • support innovative ideas during development
  • establish links with universities

We understand that software development teams are led, not managed.  That great new products, outstanding enhancements to existing products, and creative new business initiatives are driven by passion and inspiration.  And foremost that innovation is very much dependent on the quality of the team and therefore it is important to create an environment that will attract the right people and skills.

Recently, I read the book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink.  As the CTO at QSR International, I was challenged that we could step-up innovation further by nurturing a culture that provided staff greater autonomy, mastery, and purpose.  The RSA Animate adoption below provides a good overview these aspects of the book.

To drive this innovative culture, we are launching a program in 2011 that gives our technical staff 20 Development Days per year.  These Development Days can be used for training, research projects, and charitable work.  The program is similar in nature to those in use at Google (20% time), Atlassian (20% time), 3M (15% time), Twitter (Hack Week) and Readify (20 days).

I like this related quote on innovation from David Whelan, CTO, Boeing Space and Communications

The CTO nurtures and cultivates new ideas and innovation in both the technologies and the business processes.


Growing and Scaling your Business

March 25, 2010

Asia-Pacific region winners of the Dell Small Business Excellence Award were privileged to spend two days with Dell in New Delhi, India.  The theme of the two days was on ways to grow and scale your business from small to large. The award winners in attendance were:


Shown Left to Right: A. Long (QSR International), J. Owen (QSR International), M. Dell (Dell), K. Thomas (QSR International)

Michael Dell (founder, chairman and CEO of Dell) met with the winners and fielded questions from the winners.  Michael covered many topics, including environmental accountability, forming partnerships, taking risks, future of technology, and utilizing social media.

Michael was asked if he had this time over again, and was to start-up and grow Dell again, what would he do differently.  Michael said he would focus more on developing talent; that it is important to recognize the capabilities of your people and develop them accordingly, as well as hire people with the right capabilities.  If there was one single piece of advice for a small business – it was talent management.

On risk taking, Michael stated that “failure is an opportunity to learn”.  He would rather start 10 projects and have 7 of them be successful, than to start 5 projects and have 5 of them be successful.

On the future of technology, Michael believes that television viewing will fundamentally shift, that people will watch what they want, when they want.  That people are looking for data convergence, not device convergence.  That the future will be about different devices (personal computers, mobiles, televisions, etc.) that have their data synced in the cloud.  Furthermore, there will be new innovations and new business models, which usually come from new players.

Amit Midha (President and Corporate VP – APJ SMB, Dell), Satya Narayanan (Founder, Career Launcher), and Rajan Anandan (Managing Director, Microsoft India) talked about managing growth and the challenges of scaling up.  Rajan Anandan who is also an angel investor stated that he gets worried when companies tell him they have more than 10% of the market.  He believes that companies in this position need to redefine their market by thinking about how to adapt their product or service to new markets.  In a similar fashion, Satya Narayanan stated that a business needs to reinvent itself every three to five years to sustain growth.

Michael Buck (Director Global SMB Online, Dell), Sridhar Seshadri (Country Head – Online Sales and Operations, Google India), and Neeraj Roy (CEO, Hungama Mobile) talked about best practices for websites and social media.  Michael Buck spoke about the importance of experimenting with changes to your website and measuring the outcomes, as well as the effectiveness of various forms of online advertising.

Other sessions over the two days covered financing, branding, and technology.  In summary, I found that I gained fresh insights and inspiration to grow and scale my business.  The next 2-3 years will be very interesting for QSR International, and likewise I imagine for the other companies that attended.

Afterwards, Nicole Gemmell (Senior Corporate Communications Manager, Dell) visited our Melbourne office and produced the following video.