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.