Thursday, November 12, 2009

Beyond Mobile Payments

I recently was invited to write an article for FST and I have selected the topic of the future of mobile payments. I will add a link to the article later but in the meantime I am going to share a short preview.

Celent predicts that by 2015, the U.S. market alone could encompass between $1.8 and $5 billion in mobile payments related revenue. With such revenue potential, financial institutions that embrace early and actively move to provide mobile money wallet solutions will become the provider of choice for consumers.

However to reach the mainstream and transform the way people shop and pay for their purchases, industry players will need to look at the behaviors and needs of the most sophisticated mobile consumers to design services that meet the future needs of consumers.

Consumers are looking for the cool factor (I can't wait to use the Starbucks new mobile app to pay for my Latte) as well as convenience and flexibility of payment options.

Offering mobile payments as standalone capability will not be enough to become a market leader. Rather than solving for today’s needs innovative companies should consider key emerging trends and look at the future opportunities.

The list of Key Trends impacting mobile payments includes:

* Alternative Payment Models.

* Mobile Apps with mash-ups that integrate payment capabilities with location-based advertising and customer analytics.

* Mobilizing Payments:

Bill Pay & Invoicing
P2P Money Movement
POS payments with contactless
Stored value card (like the Starbucks mobile apps)

Once again in today's User Driven World the consumers are driving innovation. Mobile Apps built on the top of open source software such as Google Android will dictate the way people use mobile devices rather than the other way around where consumers had to wait for companies to bring innovation into the market place.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Priority Wheel - A Tool for Career and Family Alignment

The ability to "Connect The Dots" across career, family and children is one of the most pressing problems that professional women and men are facing today.

Guess what? There is not a simple answer.

After a long race trying to find a perfect balance between career and family, people came to the conclusion that a perfect balance does not exist. Rather than trying to achieve a BALANCE we need to have a goal of achieving ALIGNMENT between our top priorities.

ALIGNMENT means that the weight across your Priority Wheel will change according to the particular needs of your life stage.

The "Priority Wheel" is a tool for aligning priorities through change. Think about a wheel - Wheels are always moving.

Remember that success is a wheel of continuous improvements. Your wheel is always in motion. We all have many dots2connect and having a "Priority Wheel" will help you to be ready to achieve success when the opportunity comes. It will empower you to create opportunities to achieve success on your own terms and have the right person near you to share success with.

Success (like a wheel) is always in motion and the meaning of success changes according to what is most important for us. As you go through different life stages your priorities and needs change. Hence, your "Priority Wheel" needs recalibration in order to reflect new dimensions. Multiple life events can affect the dimensions of your "Priority Wheel", for example the following is a list of the most common life changing events:

o First job after college graduation
o Going back to graduate school
o Engage in a serious relationship
o Job displacement
o Leadership promotion (at all levels)
o Marriage
o Having kids
o Elder parents
o Opening your own business
o Community involvement
o Family lost or serious illness
o New job or career opportunity
o Personal interest / hobby

Once when you develop your "Priority Wheel" with the important dimensions you will need to be prepare to make trade-offs between the time and energy you dedicate to your career development and success and the time and effort you put on rising your children a nurturing your family relationships. My book Connecting My Dots offers multiple examples of how successful women of different ages use their "Priority Wheel" to plan for success.

One more important lesson from Connecting My Dots is an advice that many successful women have shared with me while I was writing the book. One of the lessons from the Five Leadership Lessons for Multidimensional Success is to find the right partner.

Lesson #3 Finding the Right Partner
is quite important if you want to achieve multidimensional success with your career, family and personal life.

Only you and time can tell if you found the right partner that will work with you to put "Your Priority Wheel" in full motion.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Web 2.0 Check List

The terms Web 2.0 and Social Networking continue to hit the top of the emerging technologies list for corporate executives, small business owners, non-profit organizations and individual consumers.

In every business networking meeting I have attended over the last four months people get asked if they are using Twitter. Adding the address of your LinkedIn profile has become one of the new best pratices for professional job seekers. Others have created consulting practices to teach organizations and individuals on how to leverage the power of these tools. Since 2006, the Gartner Group identified Web 2.0 technologies in their key emerging technologies watchlist.

I compiled a list that I plan to use during my presentation about Social Collaboration at Duke University. I want to share this list to help you to connect the dots across all the different Web 2.0 tools and technologies:

1) Blogs
2) Collective Intelligence (Crowdsourcing)
3) Mash-ups (Aggregation of Content)
4) Peer-to-peer fiel sharing
5) Podcasts
6) RSS (Syndication of Content)
7) Social Networking
8) Web Services
9) Wikis

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mentoring Programs Toolkit

Mentoring continues to be a high priority for me and with the publication of my book "Connecting My Dots", I have been able to inspire many leaders to dedicate time and effort to mentor junior associates and emerging leaders across their organizations.

Now that I am taking a short time off from Corporate America, I can advise organizations on how establish successful mentoring programs.

Few weeks ago at the LISTA 2nd Annual Technology forum on the Hill, I had the opportunity to award a copy of "Connecting My Dots" to US Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis. During the event we discussed the importance of setting mentoring programs to promote STEM careers and develop emerging leaders for the new global economy. We talked about the importance of role models for Latinas and emerging leaders in STEM professions.

On June 2009, we successfully launched the NCTA WISE professional mentoring program for women in STEM in the Charlotte region. The program is running as a pilot this year and women from over 10 different organizations are participating in the program. Through the mentoring program we have identified the right mentoring relationship based on needs, preferences and career goals.

If you are looking to establish a mentoring program in your organization here is a summary of the critical steps you will need to consider:

1) Problem Definition
a. Initial step to define the need, goals and objective of the mentoring program
b. Define success metrics and expectations

2) Data Gathering
a. Survey managers and potential pool of participants to understand expectations for the program

3) Determine mentoring model
a. The mentoring model must fit the needs of the organization and participants. Mentoring programs that are tailored to the needs of one department tend to have more structured than mentoring programs that go across organizational boundaries.
b. Questions to ask when developing the model:
i. Duration of the formal program and Frequency of the interactions
ii. Level of engagement from Human Resources (career coaches, training courses)
iii. Mentor/mentee ratio
iv. Roles and responsibilities of Executive sponsor, Program manager, HR consultant, mentors and mentees
v. Select training materials (e.g. Personality tests, Career assessments, etc)

4) Recruiting participants
a. Self-selected
b. Nomination by managers

5) Application process
a. Both mentors and mentees need to submit an application requesting the participation in the program. Mentees will need to obtain approval from the direct line manager to dedicate time to the program during working hours.
b. The application form should contain the following information:
i. Career objectives and expectations from the program
ii. Preferred communication style
iii. Personal preferences
iv. Approval from line manager (for mentees)

6) Matching process
a. This is a critical step in the process and should be conducted by the mentoring program managing team (e.g. program sponsor, program manager, HR consultant)

7) Implementation and Communication
a. Develop a communication plan to executive sponsors and participants

Post a question to Get additional advice about connecting with a mentor.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

10 Trends from Emerging Technologies Outlook

Last week on the Hill, I had the opportunity to address representatives of the goverment during the LISTA Technology Legislative Forum where I provided an outlook on emerging technologies.

I want to share the main points of the briefing:

Innovation and the Democratization of technology are driving the growth of our economy. Retention in technology, science, energy professions and the creation of green jobs propel innovation and position our country to compete in the new global and "connected" economy.

Solid understanding of the emerging technologies trends will position us to anticipate the needs of our economy and the consumer market.

Trends and Technologies:

1) Electronification of transactions (financial transactions, medical records), migration from paper to electronic medium.

2) User-generated content and democratization of information and knowledge ( adoption of web 2.0 technologies). Impact of user-generated trends to digital media and adversiting.

3) Mobile technologies ( mobile payments, P2P services, location - based services)

4) RFID, NFC impacting manufaturing, retailers, logistics

5) Adoption of Web 2.0 technologies (blogs, wikies, tagging)

6) Social networking

7) Collaboration technologies (teleconferences, videoconferencing) enable global collaboration and accelaration of innovation.

8) Cloud Computing

9) Nanotechnologies

10) Open Source Architecture

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Innovation and Customer Experience

Today I want to start this blog with a question: What is impact of introducing innovative services to the customer experience?

I thought about the relationship between innovation and customer experience reading a post in LinkedIn. While innovation is a cornerstone of web interactions - too much innovation too fast can negatively impact the customer experience.

When we were ready to launch the beta version of the first mobile banking service to Wachovia customers many members of the project team felt that introducing a beta version of the service could have a negative impact to the overall customer satisfaction with the web site. As a result of this concern they wanted to wait to launch mobile banking until the service was fully tested.

However, the beta version of mobile banking was a result of the “Test and Learn” approach to propel innovation across the organization and to engage customers in the innovation process.

The team did 3 important things to mitigate the risk of launching a beta service:

1) Telling customers the TRUE about our intentions for launching a beta version that was not fully developed.
2) Making sure business requirements for security and protection of the account data were taken into consideration during the development of the new services since the beginning.
3) Implementing a customer feedback form to allow customers to participate in the innovation process.

Last but not least, understanding the behaviors of target customer segments should be part of the design of the “Test and Learn” strategy. While some customers are always looking for the next innovative capabilities others like a website that seldom changes.

Invite customers to participate, design a virtual center of innovation where your customers can share ideas and test drive new products and services. Capturing customer feedback allows companies to connect the dots and design products that meet the needs of their customers.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Framework for Doing Business in Social Networks

Summer 2007, as part of managing a portfolio of internet emerging technologies I became interested in exploring social networks and virtual worlds for business purposes.

Second Life was the buzzword back then (just like now everyone is talking about Twitter) so in collaboration with IBM partners we conducted a POC in Second Life. My goal was to test virtual worlds as a viable solution for internal collaboration for distributed teams of employees. The name of my avatar was Noemi and all avatars met at the IBM Business Center.

My ENTP mind always has the tendency to conceptualize things and created a framework to classify the different type of business opportunities within social networks. I wanted to use the framework for a conference but at the last minute the topic of my presentation changed and never used it.

Yesterday, I was cleaning old files when I found this framework. The classification still as relevant as it was in 2007. Perhaps even more relevant now when we look at the success with Twitter gaining broad media popularity and micropayments becoming the backbone of World Warcraft like gaming sites.

Just like the User-driven World matrix helps organizations to understand the behavioral motivations behind the consumerization of emerging technologies, the following framework will help organization in the identification of business opportunities to leverage and monetize social networks.

Let me know if the framework was helpful. And I will embrace the practice of checking my old files for new sources of information.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Social Networking Personality

We all have many dots2connect but we connect our dots in a different way making multidimensional connections.

I wrote about social networking personality types last year in a blog discussing the top 6 reasons why people join Linkend. Since then I have been observing social behavior in the Twitter community and found the same 5 social networking personality types.

Who are you? Do you hide your network / tweets from the broad community? Are you just a Spectator? Or do you fall into Malcolm Gladwell's categories? Are you a Connector with million of connections in your network? Are you the knowledgeable Maven who provides helpful insights but doesn't really spend much time connecting, or the Salesman with the perfect profile and persuasive recommendations?

Controllers are typically those with a few protected connections / messages and no additional engagement outside their own network. Even more extreme are those that I call Spectators with a lonely profile and no connections at all.

So, what is your social networking personality?

Are a Connector? Maven, Salesman, Controller or a Spectator?

What is the connection between your social networking behavior and your personality type?

Are active Twitter Connectors always Extraverts?

Take this online version of a personality test and find out what is your personality !

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Managing Success during Recession

We tend to think about success when things are going well in our lives, but when things go bad we shift to the survival mode and forget to develop a plan and pay attention to our key priorities.

Planning for success becomes even more important during times when we are facing economic hardships and personal problems. During the years of my illness I did not stop making plans. Focusing on the future gave me the hope and strength to overcome obstacles. I began to understand a simple rule: “Success means to be ready when the opportunity comes”.

Successful companies have created new business models during times of economic downturn and many people have found their passion and a new career as a result of loosing their jobs.

How were they able to accomplish this? I think because of these two reasons:

1) They see opportunities when others see problems.
2) They never stop making success a top priority.

Over the years of learning from my success and failures, I have developed my own formula for success, which I call the 4P Formula:

4P = Planning, Preparation, Perseverance, and Passion

Your plan starts with a dream. The power of a dream is endless; however, you need tools that will help you in achieving your goals. In my book Connecting My Dots I share Five Leadership Lessons and a tool called the Priority Wheel which will help you define and achieve success on your own terms by keeping your key priorities in motion.

When I think about success, I think about a wheel that is always in motion because what will make you successful today will not make you successful in the future. Here is where the Priority Wheel will help you identify and focus on your key priorities so you can connect your dots at each stage of your life.

Success is always a moving target and we need to recalibrate our priorities or the weight of each priority within the wheel. Using the Five Leadership Lessons and the Priority Wheel, you will be to stay focused on your goals and also be flexible and willing to try different approaches.

Do you have a formula for success that you use to connect your dots?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mobile Trends Predictions

Innovation is not about the latest technology invention but about the value of the technology to the user and the society in the form of a service. (Read Peter Drucker’s classic book Innovation and Entrepreneurship). The degree of which the new technology produces a service that fulfills one of the basic human-needs from my 2X2 matrix is what defines the value of the invention. The value to the end user and the ease of use of the new technology is what differentiates innovation from invention.

On my last trip back from San Francisco I spent 4 hours writing down my thoughts about promising mobile trends to discover later that I had left my notes in the airplane.

Instead of trying to remember everything I wrote, I decided to share my predictions about mobile services that will bring value to consumers.

1) Acceptance of 2-way SMS messages with a location-based customer loyalty component: Consumers will get discount coupes via SMS when they are shopping at a particular retailer. (check Clairmail)

2) Deployment of mobile payment interoperability for mass-transit transportation across different geographic locations: People will use a mobile phone to pay for the subway in NY and the Bart in San Francisco.

3) Deployment of speech recognition features with natural language processing on the mobile phone: Finally, I will be able to talk to my phone in a combination of English, Spanish and Russian and my phone will understand what I am saying.

4) Acceptance of micro payments via mobile phones and combined billing capabilities: Consumer’s purchases will be included in the phone bill. I bet the telecoms are going to like this one.

5) Increasing convergence between PC and mobile browsers: iPhone-like browsers will become the standard.

6) Acceptance of the Chief Mobile Office role in financial services: the mass adoption of mobile payments and the growing importance of the mobile channel as a source of revenue generation will require that this channel get dedicated attention rather than continue to be viewed as part of internet / ecommerce channel.

7) Mobilizing the POS: retailers will accept mobile payments at the POS.

Making Predictions is a risky business and most of the time we get them wrong !

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mobile Banking – What is Next?

There are many dots2connect with over 3.3 billion people worldwide carry a mobile phone. And so it is time I write my viewpoints about mobile as well as my predictions.

“Does your phone come with mobile banking?” – This was the title of my presentation when we were introducing fully functional mobile banking services to the US market.

I remember the excitement when, in 2006, our Wachovia internet group launched the next generation of mobile banking for Blackberries and Palm Treos. Back then (and not so long ago) the iPhone only existed in Apple’s R&D labs. Although the service was in a beta, it allowed users to check account balances, transfer money between accounts and provide feedback.

I got the first interview with American Banker to announce the product launch and at the time many of the industry analysts were full of doubts about the consumer market readiness to adopt mobile banking. While others at a rountable with Banking Strategies believed that mobile banking was real.

Nonetheless, vendors were calling all the time and every day new companies were jumping to the mobile banking train. Clairmail, mFoundry and Firethorn were the top picks among the large number of other vendors. Of course, Monitise, m-Com, and Yodlee were also on the list.

A year later, we launched a mobile application in partnership with AT&T in November of 2007 and Verizon a month later using the Firethorn application (Firethorn was acquired by Qualcomm). The new service enabled mobile banking and bill-pay services and transfer features.

The question is not about the stage of the mobile technology or the ability of banks to provide mobile banking services. After all, 2008 was the year for all large US banks to introduce mobile services and the coexistence of the three delivery methods (browser, SMS, and downloadable applications) for mobile banking services became common practice.

Today, the question is about the ability for building a critical mass of users - and this takes time. While early adopters are ready to try every new gadget, it typically takes much longer for the average consumer base to get comfortable with new technology, or new ways to utilize it. To maximize the rate of adoption, the service needs to fulfill most, if not all, of the dimensions from the 2x2 matrix.

But, true mobile commerce is still in its very early stages. Mobile Payments continue to be at the top of the agenda. Even after the efforts of PayPal and Google Mobile with the Android, mobile payments have not yet seen the green light in the US market. For one, any payment guru will tell you that for a new payment method to be widely accepted, it will need to somehow improve upon the methods that already exist. Thus, mobile payments will need to be better in some way than plastic cards, or possibly just fuse the two.

Many questions loom about how to reach the next generation of the m-Wallet and enabling payments:
• On what applications will contactless operate?
• How will the current applications evolve to support multiple payment accounts at different institutions?
• What are the implications of the competing mobile platforms on this development? And what role will carriers play? Is there a need for a new payment network?
• As carriers open their networks to be device agnostic and allow applications, how will this affect the competitive environment for financial services?
• What is the profit model? Will banks and carries share the profit? What about the risk?

And finally the question about “Invention versus Innovation”: What is the decisive mobile payment service that will enable U.S. banks to bring convenience to their customers’ daily life?

What is your prediction? I will tell you my mobile predictions in my next blog.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Top 6 Emerging Trends Predictions

After reading the latest predictions from the latest Trendsspotting predictions, I decided to contribute and share my personal predictions on the Top 6 emerging technology trends that are impacting consumer behavior.

As you read these trends and think about opportunities for new product development and/or opportunities to create a new marketing position for your product, keep in my mind that the greatest innovation as well as the major threats comes from the convergence of multiple technologies coming together to address the main human needs from the 2X2 matrix.

Convergence of technologies and interoperability across different services and platforms become key drivers for mass adoption and consumerization of emerging technologies across all consumer demographic segments.

1) Community Advice and Growing importance of Peer Review: consumer review sites like Consumerist combined with built-in peer review features on online retail giants like Amazon and have emphasized the peer review functionality to the point where it is becoming integral part of the purchasing process. The same trend applies to financial services as investment sites like Cakefinancial and Tradeking allow for community discussion, advice, and even monitoring the investment behavior of top-performing peers.

2) Increasingly opportunistic purchasing: emphasis on peer networks for retail purchases has created a sub-market of deal sites like and where consumers aggregate coupon and discount offers. This interest could become a key driver for the acceptance of mobile alerts with discount offers based on GPS/geolocation.

3) Experiential marketing and new realms of Customization: technological improvements are offering solutions for online clothing retailers’ greatest challenge: the inability for potential buyers to try things on. Sites like Victoria's Secret offer the ability to change the colors and styles of featured swimsuits on demand, and places like take it one step further and allow users to input measurements to customize clothing to body shape and size. Technological improvements at physical locations, for example with RFID technology being able to detect the clothing being worn in a dressing room, allow for customized suggestions for alternative colors/styles, as well as potentially complementary items and accessories.

4) Retail giants becoming more "mobile friendly": more emphasis on mobile experience as mobile technology improves and as consumers become more comfortable using mobile devices for reviews, store locators, price comparisons, and even purchases. Target and Wal-Mart have both made customized mobile sites over the last 6 months ( and respectively). Next on the horizon are mobile payments.

5) Proliferation of video advertising: companies have been exploring the use of embedded video into their websites and now they are adding YouTube to their multichannel marketing strategy. An interesting question to ask is how the proliferation of user-generated video will impact advertising agencies? People find user-generated videos more engaging that traditional ads.

6) Adoption of Web TV: with broadband and 3D capabilities TV is coming back and growing in importance. Web TV will impact media ad consumption. Giants like Google, Apple and AT&T are investing in new TV technology. Adoption of 3D could bring a new impulse to the advertising.

Also let’s keep an eye on video gaming, the gaming industry is experiencing an explosive growth and during these times of economic crisis, gaming and virtual reality offer to consumers a way to escape from their “real life” problems.

Are You Connecting these Dots?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Five Leadership Lessons

We use leadership skills every day at work. Why not apply these same skills to our personal lives?”

How can we draw the correlation between leadership skills and personal effectiveness in balancing career, family and relationships?

In the book “Connecting My Dots”, I am sharing lessons that will empower you to apply your leadership skills that make you successful at work to your personal live. I will also tell you that there is not a formula you can flawlessly replicate to achieve success, because life is complex, relationships are unique, and each situation is different. Sometimes we need to make mistakes in order to learn how to assess a situation the next time it comes around.

I once thought that career success would be the main challenge I would have to face in my life. With that said, I was ready to focus my energy and strengths into achieving professional excellence. However, life showed me that raising two kids and preserving a cross-cultural marriage for twenty-five years, which entailed two immigrations and the numerous hardships caused by distinct personalities and backgrounds, could be at least as challenging as achieving career success.

Here are two of the Five Leadership Lessons for Multidimensional Success:

Lesson 1- Define Success on Your Own Terms: Achieving your dreams begins with a definition of what success and happiness mean for you.

Lesson 2- Don't Wait Too Long for What You Want

Lesson 3- Find the Right Partner

Lesson 4- Play Multiple Roles

Lesson 5- Don’t Give Up during Bad Times: How you handle difficult situations is what defines who you are. During bad times, couples have the opportunity to really show commitment to each other, to their relationship and their children. While marriage life is not a “perfect picture”, marriage is full of memorable and unforgettable moments. However, those priceless moments will come with a daily price tag.

Read this book at learn how to increase your personal effectiveness and use simple tools to balance career, family and relationships.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What is the Color of Your iPhone?

Every morning when I put the watch on my left arm, I ask myself the same question: Do I need to continue wearing a watch when I always look at my blackberry to check the time?

I have tried not to wear a watch to go to work but the next day before I leave my bedroom I put it back. Why? One answer is because of a habit of wearing a watch which of course is true, but the other answer is because I like my watch. My watch has a personal meaning.

The same is happening with mobile phones. For many of people the mobile device is a symbol of personal freedom and accessibility to value-added services. And, when I think about the time my daughter and I spent selecting the color and the style of our blackberries I go as far as saying that the mobile device has become a Personal Statement.

Technical innovations are transforming consumer behaviors, with the mobile phone being by far the most ubiquitous personal technology. The mass adoption of a mobile phone has far outpaced the adoption of the PCs. And, while there are parallels between adapting to the rise of the mobile channel and the advent of the Internet channel, this time the changes in consumer use and adoption are happening faster pushing innovation forward.

Coincidentally, the other technology that I can think about it that has achieved this astronomical level of consumer adoption is the watch. A watch is very easy to use, serves an important purpose, and it is a personal statement. A good watch is also a “statement of luxury”, just ask this question to people who pay substantial amount of money for a Rolex or Patek Philippe.

The mass adoption of mobile devices is connected the 2X2 matrix of four human-need drivers of Consumerization of Emerging Technologies: Social, Personal, Mobility & Convenience, and Security.

For example, let’s talk about Security and the mobile phone. First, many of the security protection solutions for strong authentication use out band authentication. In other words, the mobile phone is used as an alternative channel for consumers to get a secret PIN. But also think about how do you feel when your children are away from home or driving a car if they just got their driver license and you know they carry a phone? What a sense of security!

In the world of personal mobile devices, carrying an iPhone is personal statement about style and usability. Personally, I like the look of the iPhone and the same day when the iPhone first became available one of our developers had my approval to get one so we could play with it. Or in other words, so we could “test the functionality of the new device.” And how many different apps you can add now to your iPhone - it 's amazing!

The usability and integration with the native applications represent the future of convergence between PC and mobile browsers and the practicality of the touch screen. But regardless of how much I like the iPhone, I continue to use a blackberry for three main reasons:

1) I can’t access my corporate email through the iPhone
2) I have problems using the touchtone screen, maybe my fingers are too wide
3) I can’t choose a color that goes with my personality

Black or Silver? Both are very elegant colors but think about it, if the mobile device is a Personal Statement people want to be able to choose a color for their iPhone according to their personality.

Wait until Steve Jobs realizes that iPhone sales could increase even more if the devices come in different colors. Hope someone from Apple is reading my blog…

So what is next? How about being able to buy a watch with your phone--and no, I’m not talking about trading your phone for a watch; I’m talking about mobile payments like you can do in Japan!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mentoring 2.0

Mentoring is a 2 way street.

In today’s world of constant change and evolving opportunities, women need role models and real personal stories of women from diverse groups who have achieved their goals and overcome barriers along the journey, providing with their actions, tangible examples to women looking for the path to success.

Leadership training is one area of opportunity to address the needs of emerging women leaders. For the most part, corporate leadership training provides women with career development guidance, but the majority of training curricula continue to emphasize the male model of leadership and are not designed to meet women’s needs. Current leadership training is unilateral and does not teach women how to become contextual leaders and to switch between work and personal life.

Like many of you, I have also attended numerous leadership training programs through my career. And recognize that, while some gender issues women face in corporate America are the same across cultural groups, other issues have their roots in cultural traditions.

As women are trying to develop their success plans or revise the ones they have, I encourage them to seek the advice from several mentors. Sometimes you need to connect with a mentor for career development that is different from the mentor for personal and family success.

Mentors can act as a sounding board and role models. They can also point out opportunities and inspire you with their examples. Establish Mentoring relationships that last are based on common understanding and personal connection.

Connecting My Dots” provides mentoring by telling personal stories of success and failures.

Do you want to share a story that will provide guidance to young high achieving women trying to connect their dots and achieve career, family and personal goals success?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

User Driven World

A User Driven World increases the speed of adoption of those emerging technologies that accelerate the fulfillment of basic human needs.

The “User Driven World” can be explained using a 2x2 framework that evaluates emerging trends as a way to fulfill a combination of basic human needs. In this framework, the speed of adoption of emerging technology has a direct correlation with the degree that the use of the service can facilitate the fulfillment of basic human needs. This framework can help us predict and understand the drivers of consumer adoption of emerging technologies.

I also believe that Cultural Differences impact the world-wide adoption of emerging technologies. For example, Mobility is a global emerging trend with specific manisfestations of adoption in local markets.

What is going to be the impact of the Democratization of Content for countries or cultures were people are used to protect knowledge from the general public?

Does a person in Japan use Google Maps in a different way than a person in US? Yes, just the same way I like to eat mangos more than I like berries.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Do You Have a Role Model?

On Dec 31st, I sat down with a cup of strong Cuban coffee and began to reflect on my defining moments this past year. I wanted to connect my dots from 2008 and look forward to 2009.

Mentoring has been a major focus for me and an important aspect of my life that provides inspiration and sense of purpose. It is also a way to follow the legacy of my mother Dr. Noemi Perez who passed away last February (her wiki is available in spanish). At the time, we were working together on the book “Connecting My Dots”. She was a great supporter of this work because the book is about mentoring and the challenges of having a successful career while balancing family and marriage. She was a role model not just to me, but also a role model and mentor to many young women and men.

The year 2008 was a year of personal loss, but also a time of personal growth. First, I had the unique opportunity to sponsor the 2008 Mentoring program for the eCommerce organization and to collaborate with two fantastic women – Lori and Siobhan – who were the driving force behind the success of this program. I met Miriam, a young dynamic woman, who is developing a framework for a Mentoring program targeted to Latino employees. And I began working with a group of women from NCTA WISE organization, developing a Mentoring program for STEM professionals that we plan to launch as a pilot this year for the Charlotte region under the theme: “Geek is Chic”.

Passion and motivation lead to success. People, particularly young people, need to have role models that inspire them. The need for successful role models is even more important among young high achieving women.

Even more, the feedback of many participants in our mentoring program told us that women like to learn from real personal stories of other women that have achieved their goals and overcome barriers along the journey. That’s why I decided to talk about mentoring through personal stories of success and failures. And by the way, men also like to make connections to personal stories.

Mentoring young women, particularly in the IT profession helped me recognize even more, the relevance of the dilemma I had personally faced many times during my career, including the pressure and sacrifices imposed on women in balancing a career and family.

To achieve career success many women make substantial trade-offs: staying single, getting a divorce, or not having kids. Young high achieving women are put onto a successful, yet demanding career development path with very little guidance or leadership training on how to apply these success principles to their personal lives. When they see that a large percentage of high-achieving women do not have children or long-lasting relationships, these young women fear that they will not be able to have a family if they choose a leadership career.

As a mentor and a mother, I always ask myself a question: what are we doing to provide guidance to young women in their path to achieve multidimensional success on their own terms?

More women are choosing an executive and leadership career path, but at the same time career success requires that we make trade-offs and learn how to prioritize across career, family and personal demands. Recently through the Anita Borg group on LinkedIn, I became aware of Mentoring-in-a-Box toolkit available at NCWIT. This toolkit provides an excellent mentoring curriculum and tools for women in IT that are trying to balance the demands of a success career and family needs. I suggest you check out this toolkit. You can also join Women 2.0 LinkedIn group for professional networking.

When I think about Mentoring, I think about the importance of role models in the professional and personal development of young women.

When I think about Success, I always remember a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “You must do the things you think you cannot do”

Take Away: To achieve success you need to enlist your family and spouse to support your goals. You also need to have the courage to make trade-offs and the determination to make sacrifices.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Predicting the Consumerization of Emerging Technologies

My first job after college (long time ago when programmers used punched cards for data entry) was working as a scientific researcher doing macro economic forecasting. Early in my professional career, I learned that making predictions is a very a difficult task and that most of the time people get their predictions wrong - just check "Worst Predictions About 2008".

So, I don’t know why or how 25 years later I am still in the business of making predictions. Just this time, instead of developing complex econometric models I “evaluate” predictions for the Consumerization of Emerging Technologies in financial services.

Maybe because I always have many dots2connect to make predictions !

For the purpose of this post, my view on emerging technologies focuses on the widespread consumer adoption of the services that these technologies enable rather than the actual technological innovation-- a concept that Gartner calls the “Consumerization of IT.”

Generally speaking, you can find extensive literature describing the process and methodology to select and deploy emerging technologies. Less has been written, however, pertaining to the selection process of emerging business applications from the business point of view of the perceived value to the companies that are adopting these applications. As a result, the quantification of the business strategic value of emerging applications presents a challenge for most companies.

As you can imagine, the definition of “emerging” has a certain degree of relativity since business applications that are considered as emerging to one company might be viewed as core technology by another more advanced company. In practice, most emerging business applications are the result of using established technologies in new ways or the disruptive impact of new entrants like was the case with eBay. A simple way to track new entrants and learn about banking technology innovations in financial services is to attend Finovate.

Now back to Emerging Technologies and according to Gartner: “Successful deployment is more about incremental adoption of technologies used in new ways than about technology breakthroughs”

I believe that the business value of emerging applications is derived more from incremental adoption of technologies used in new ways or convergence of technologies to create innovative business applications than from a sudden technological discovery.

Let’s talk about evaluating Emerging Trends and discuss a user needs-driven approach that considers the degree of market penetration of the new technology for the evaluation and analysis of Emerging Technology Trends.

Look around and you will see that today the speed of Consumerization of Emerging Technologies is impacted by a “User Driven World” trend.

The “User Driven World" can be explained using a 2x2 framework that evaluates emerging trends as a way to fulfill a combination of basic human needs. The speed of adoption of emerging technology has a direct correlation with the degree that the use of the service can facilitate the fulfillment of basic human needs. This framework can help us understand the drivers of consumer adoption of emerging technologies.

The speed of technological change and the rapid market adoption of emerging technologies accelerate the fulfillment of four basic human needs: Social & Communication, Personalization, Speed & Convenience, and Security.

Find more about the "User Driven World" in the context of the following topics:

1) User Generated Content

2) Aggregation of Content

3) Social Communities

4) Mobility and Convenience

I also recommend to check Trendsspotting, Netbanker, and 2009 Web Predictions from ReadWriteWeb, three of my favorite blogs to read about internet trends, marketing research and predictions.

And my last thought, every time you need to predict the adoption of new technology keep in mind that:

“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future consumer’s adoption of emerging technologies.” my interpretation of Yogi Berra’s original quote.