Thursday, 26 November 2009

Friday, 20 November 2009

Seeing the Wood and the Trees

Pentacle's own Design-Led Innovation 'Big brain' Colin Burns led this month's Evening Inspiration global mini conference. He took us on a fantastic journey from funky cassette recorders through tiling retailing to closely observing other people eating yoghurt. Along the way we learnt how not to use focus groups, we were taught how to use all five of our FiveEyesTM to observe and discovered that many people were 'secret yoghurt lid lickers.' He made sure that we could access valuable insights by seeing the P.O.I.N.T.TM

If you want to share similar inspiration you should take a look at next year's Third Thursday of the month Inspiration Evenings and perhaps come and join in a couple. You can find out more at and then perhaps you too can see the wood and the trees!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Where's David Dimbleby?

With the usual Question Time project manger, David Dimbleby otherwise engaged, Professor Darren Dachler had the job of keeping the five panelists in check during the Project Management Question Time at the Association of Project Managers annual conference in London last week. The conference was followed by the APM Awards ceremony featuring the new International Relief and Development prize sponsored by Project Management Today.

The eclectic panel of Nigel Smith CEO of OGC, Mike Nichols & Richard Pharro APM, Mike Rolls Royce and Professor Eddie Obeng who demonstrated the a key project management principle by turning up just-in-time for the first question. The questions ranged from the non-controversial to the controversial. Eddie Obeng did his best to stir-up the panelists and energise the audience with statements such as "I'm not sure it's just about being a profession - when I think of other professions, lawyers, accountants, they leave me cold and everyone hates them. It's all about delivery and building a reputation for taking people with us.  So fare we are content to let 75% of projectsmiss their goals. We should hit 100% then we can be real professionals and give the other professions a run for their money" He was also critical of the standard view and materials on sponsorship which allow most sponsors to see themselves as equivalents of the Queen launching a ship saying "I name this project, Daunting, God bless her and all who read Gantt charts upon her." and then disappearing for nine months only to return to kick the project leader. Perhaps that's why the usual project manager David Dimbleby was missing.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Taking root in the Netherlands

NOW WHAT? was the provocative question posed
last week by Robert Hewins to a select group of business leaders and opinion formers from across the Netherlands. Robert led an Inspiration Event at the world famous De Hortus botanical gardens in Amsterdam. The full title of the event, "Congratulations! You've survived the Meltdown. Now What?", was a theme which led to an interactive set of presentations, discussions and group work on key Pentacle concepts and principles.

David Lomas engaged the audience by demystifying innovation and explaining how to focus and make it happen using the R.A.B.B.I.T model and the participants' perceived challenges over the coming year.

Dave was followed by an energetic and inspiring contribution by Michael Anaman highlighting how to avoid and overcome resistance to change, and Toby Scott polished the session off by explaining how to think through business cases fast, using GapLeap.

The ideas planted have already taken root from the feedback and responses of the participants after the event...

The evening was capped by a guided tour through the botanical gardens, which were founded in 1638 -- the year after the collapse of the infamous Tulip bubble. Combined with 2009 being the year of Darwin and the recognition of Evolution, the Inspiration Event and its venue could not have been more timely in echoing the NewWorld strategic mantra of Evolve, Dominate or Die.


Monday, 19 October 2009

The Sparq of Design lights the UK Civil Service

David Kester, Richard Seymour, Susan Osbourne C.B.E. and Professor Eddie Obeng led a higly challenging and dynamic session for leading Civil Servants. The session sponsored and organised by Phil Rycroft of BIS (Department for Business Innovation and Skills) showcased Design-led Innovation using the "Design Bugs Out!" demonstration project which significantly impacted the infection rates of MRSA and C. Difficile in a target hospital. Eddie used the R.A.B.B.I.T. model to set the context and explained how the four types of innovation Sparq - (Push vs Pull, Human vs Technology - are best executed). David established the role of the Design Council in enabling the process and providing safe spaces for Open Innovation, Richard explained how design could help in process innovation and Susan provided a 20:20 vision from the user's perspective.
The country's top 200 civil servants participated actively making the session releveant, practical and useful. David Lomas made it memorable by creating a 'Book' of concepts as a follow-up memory jogger.

Ascending to the Start

Exactly a year ago Eddie Obeng had the chance to work with the participants of the innovative ASCEND programme On that occasion he was speaking of the NewWorld as the financial system shuddered and ground to a halt. Now one year on, the Programme aimed at Talented Women in Johnson and Johnson, and co-directed by Liz de Wet, moves on strongly. As always, the build up is a team effort. Christophe Gillet runs the first leg of the NewWorld aspects of the programme spending a module working with the participants in detail on how the new world creates opportunities and possibilities for their businesses. Eddie then rounds this of with the session involving the participants line managers...

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Autumn Leaves Fall

The start of Autumn in Beaconsfield means one thing. The Pentacle Tutor Network bi-annual get

together to learn by sharing. This time the agenda was packed with old favourites and new ideas. Christophe Gillet led the journey for learning whilst Eddie Obeng explained in detail how Pentacle plans to revolutionise Change, Project and Programme management through its new E-S-P offer. And there were some very large Rabbits...

Your Country Needs You.... To Innovate

The Chairman of the Design Council Sir Michael Bichard and the entire council spent a couple of days of creative and challenging thought at the newly opened Institute for Government. The venue, with its blue plaque to Lord Kitchener, is a superb location for engaging top executives and leaders in pushing at the edges of their thought processes.

The council were provoked and facilitated by Professor Eddie Obeng, himself a councillor. The next few years will show the impact of the retreat on design and innovation in the UK. The slogan should probably be " Your Country Needs You... To Innovate."

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Hair Yesterday Gone Today

Overlooking Dublin, Toby Scott and Eddie Obeng of Pentacle recover from a tough session working in collaboration with Enterprise Ireland and Duke Corporate Education on the Leadership4Growth programme. The Programme conceived by Enterprise Ireland is for Executives from the Irish Construction Industry to respond to the 60 - 80% decline in the market. About 100 members of executive teams from across the industry gathered for a practical module on identifying Possibilities and transforming them into Opportunities to exploit. Like these two who are standing 'beyond the pale' (outside the city limits) it seems as if to reach growth the leaders of the industry have to venture outside conventional areas.

Mailing Your Colours to the Mast

Royal Mail L&D are reinventing themselves and Pentacle, Know Innovation and other partner organisations are helping. Based on an ingenious colour coded plan created by Karen Lord the L&D diaspora are exploring the key capabilites needed to support Royal Mail. The process kicked off with a one day event in Rugby for 150 key L&D managers and executives.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

A Standard above and beyond

Standard Bank is driving towards a distinctive strategy for growth. As part of this strategy it has invested in one of the leading learning centres in the world. Eddie Obeng had the chance to work with a large group of cross-course/ cross functional managers from Standard bank to explore "How to deliver more with less resource?" A copy of the presentation can be found here

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Yammer it out!

Pentacle has been experimenting with what has been billed 'the twitter for business.' Yammer is an attempt to bring facebook-style networking to organisations. Unfortunately at this stage the model yammer uses for an 'organisation' is a 17th century hierarchy! It is impossible to represent your business relationships as a project or process based organisation let alone a virtual organisation. That said, the product is simple and addictive enough to use. To learn more about the 21st OrganoWeb and how you can increase (quadruple) your productivity or (knock 75% off your costs) by organising as if the world around you was changing and getting more complex rather than as if you employ obedient, non-creative, clones click here... To read a global case study of successful implementation click here... More cases here...

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Stone me! What about virtual?

Susan Ross represented Pentacle at the launch of The Stone Club. Face-to-face and 'touchspace' it may be but Carol Stone has managed to connect her 30,000 friends to begin a journey of networking at an amazing scale.
If you're good at spotting people you'll see Susan here at the start...

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Winds of Change Blow Through City For The First Time

In collaboration with our partners Duke Corporate Education, Pentacle's Eddie Obeng has been working with key members of the Finance Function of HSBC in a Finance Academy course in Chicago. The Academy sponsored by Ian Mackay and led by Peter Mansell has been working to develop leaders in one of the worlds strongest banks to take on the challenges of our New World.

Having rashly sworn not to go to the USA whilst the the USA maintained Guantanamo Bay as a detention centre, this trip was the First that Professor Eddie Obeng has made to the US for a very long time. Let's hope that the concepts, tools and ideas he shared don't just blow through but stick in the city!

Monday, 23 March 2009

Switching Over without Switching Off

The BBC is very serious about making sure that when the digital switchover happens none of the most vulnerable people in the country are 'left behind' without services. The level of professionalism the organisation has put in place is being supported by Pentacle which is working with the managment team on this very significant programme.

Snow Falls Whilst the Construction Industry Rises

Pentacle has been working with Duke Corporate Education on a programme with Enterprise Ireland designed to help the key leaders of the construction industry explore and develop concrete ways of re-inventing themselves and their businesses for the challenges of the downturn. The Leadership 4 Growth programme is a new incarnation of a programme previously run by Stanford Graduate School of Business

Eddie Obeng introduced the CEO's to a number of foundation New World concepts and frameworks including the RedAntMan TM FutureMapping TM and FutureFamiliar TM on the day of the heaviest fall of snow in the UK for eighteen years. If nothing else the piles of snow will make the day memorable for the participants.

When it comes to Gaming, Insight is better than Foresight or Hindsight

One of the world's leading leisure groups, Rank, has begun to stretch its capability to deliver services and brands developed and driven from customer insights. Pentacle introduced the Mecca, Grosvenor and Rank Interactive teams to several of its most effective models and frameworks. Starting from the overarching and popular R.A.B.B.I.T. TM model managers were taught how to slow-down and observe through FiveEyesTM, how to check the relevance of insights by jumping the five BunnyHopsTM to using the P.O.I.N.T. TM framework for capturing and storing insights....

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Sixty Six Tigers Loose in Hospital Wards!

No, not really. But sixty six marketing, sales and supply chain executives supporting Tygacil let their brains run riot in a session titled What's the BIG idea? in Montreux. The session led by Professor Eddie Obeng was aimed at one of the worlds most effective and relevant antibiotics Tygacil. Tygacil with its tetracycline-based molecular structure has the ability to really get under the skin of bacteria and stay there, This makes it very effective across a broad spectrum. For troublesome bugs like MRSA, and for a selection of patients who need an early result, it becomes the first, second and final line of defence being effective where other antibiotics have been rendered less useful due to the bug's ability to shrug them off.

The team of tigers worked at breakneck speed, through three stages of the Pentacle R.A.B.B.I.T. model, Creating the Opportunity (through creativity techniques from the Pentacle Magic Box of Tricks including Back-to-Front, Calling in Other Professions, Excursion Thinking & Random Connections) Engaging Commitment (understanding resistance to change by publicly de-risking using Hopes&FearsTM, engagement through IDQB TM) to Making it Happen (GapLeapTM and StickyStepsTM)

So beware. If you're a bug and you think you're tough your hours are numbered, the Tyga's going to get you!

Friday, 2 January 2009

The New World is your Oyster...

For 2009, we have launched a project designed to help all our clients, customers, collaborators and (ex)course participants deal effectively with the combined challenges of the credit crunch, climate change and corporate competition and globalisation. The project called Oyster means that we will be trying really hard to make our New World approach and learning available to as many people as possible,

Among consultancies, business schools and coaching organisations we have the unique distinction that we have always focussed on complex change challenges. The NewWorld assumption has always been to take nothing for granted, to assume all 'respectable' and 'traditional' theories, concepts and methodologies are already obsolete or well past their sell by date.

To participate in Project Oyster you need to let us know what specific challenges you are wrestling with. We've begun the dialogue by releasing a nine minute video - World After Midnight and started a conversation called 'LetsTalk' You can join the conversation here

Pentacle also invites you to submit topics you'd like to hear for this year's Inspiration Monthlies. You can influence the topic selection by clicking here