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Introduction to Thought Leadership

The creation and use of intellectual capital


For more information: http://www.artkleiner.com http://www.strategy-business.com Art Kleiner Booz & Company 101 Park Avenue, New York NY 10178 212-551-6425

Working assumptions
Most business leaders have something to say that is worth saying We want vehicles with impact: An article that is read A story that is heard The individual comes away a little bit different!. more capable! Each piece has its own integrity We are here to recognize and realize that integrity The experience of the producer is not anything like the experience of the consumer !so we need some craft!.

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

Reality is circular, but consuming media is linear


Every effective piece of work translates ineffable reality into a step-by-step flow!. Without losing the impact of ineffable reality!. We have to attune ourselves to dance up to the edge of reductionism without falling into the abyss

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

Four orientations for creative work


What is the explicit objective of this piece of work? What will it get you? What will that get you? What is its unfulfilled potential?

Purpose

Story
Is the piece of work compelling? Does it resonate with the blood? Does it speak to our whole selves? Does it build our awareness?

Audience
Who is this piece of work aimed at? Is it timely and relevant to their needs? Are they prepared to hear it? What do they expect and how will you meet those expectations?

Research
What is the validity of this piece of work based on? Who will see it as credible, and why? How might its substantiation be challenged? How will you meet those challenges?

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

Four orientations for creative work


What is the explicit objective of this piece of work? What will it get you? What will that get you? What is its unfulfilled potential?

Purpose

Story
Is the piece of work compelling? Does it resonate with the blood? Does it speak to our whole selves? Does it build our awareness?

Audience
Who is this piece of work aimed at? Is it timely and relevant to their needs? Are they prepared to hear it? What do they expect and how will you meet those expectations?

Research
What is the validity of this piece of work based on? Who will see it as credible, and why? How might its substantiation be challenged? Are you prepared to openly test your validity?

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

What is the explicit objective of this piece of work? What will it get you? What will that get you? What is its unfulfilled potential?

Purpose

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

Typical examples of a purpose


!! Help sell work: produce platforms for new business and revenue !! Build a brand: Enhance your reputation and legitimacy !! Increase knowledge: Incubate and improve ideas; contribute to the evolution of thinking !! Develop relationships: Create connections with more people !! Express what you see !! But whats YOUR purpose? (Or your purposes?) ! What would be the optimal outcome? ! If you had it, what would that get you? ! And if you had THAT, what would that get you? ! Why put all the trouble in to creating this work?

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

Pick a single piece of work you want to produce. Write down: 1.! Its title 2.! The explicit objective of this piece of work: What will it get you? What will that get you? What is its unfulfilled potential?

Purpose

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

Research
What is the validity of this piece of work based on? Who will see it as credible, and why? How might its substantiation be challenged? Are you prepared to openly test your validity?

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

Thought leadership research orientation


!! The credibility of every piece of work is based on the validity and quality of its research. !! Research is the seed corn you draw on and keep replanting. !! You can only be valid by recognizing the traditions of validity. (I am tall because I stand on the shoulders of giants.) !! The right process is the process that gives you validity ! Primary sources (interviews, unpublished work) ! Secondary sources (published work) ! Broad sources (surveys, statistical data) ! Observation ! Etc.

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

Types of validity checks


! Cause-and-effect vs. correlation: How do you know your data supports the relationship you claim to exist? Too much risk-taking by banks created the financial crisis!. ! Internal consistency: Does the theory make logical sense? Can you find any counter-examples? Behind every great fortune there is a great crime. ! Category correspondence: Does the theory actually cover the system you are trying to portray? Based on my survey of 300 people who answered the phone!.. ! Universality: Can this theory apply to the world at large, or just to one place? We put in a change leadership process here and it worked! ! Face validity: Does it just feel right enough, in a ballpark-kind of way? Too much risk-taking by banks was part of the financial crisis!
DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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Research
1.! What research supports your piece of work? 2. Is it enough? 3. How might its substantiation be challenged? 4. Are you prepared to openly test your validity?

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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Audience
Who is this piece of work aimed at? Is it timely and relevant to their needs? Are they prepared to hear it? What do they expect and how will you meet those expectations?

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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You are always trying to reach a particular audience


!! They live somewhere !! They have professions, specializations, proprietary bodies of knowledge !! They have a reading level and an educational level !! They start out with expectations !! They are prepared to have those expectations challenged but only in some ways !! They can always turn the page or click away!. !! But they need you just as much as you need them. !! How are you going to test your perceptions of what they expect and what they need?

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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Audience
I am your audience -! Here is who I am -! Here is what I expect -! Here is what you need to do to reach me

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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Story
Is the piece of work compelling? Does it resonate with the blood? Does it speak to our whole selves? Does it build our awareness?

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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We are always feeling our way through stories


Remember the way that powerful stories make you feel. Or the way they make you think. Does anything in this episode remind you of that feeling? Sit with the episode a bit! Imagine that it is a play, and you are in the audience!. And the curtain goes up!. What is on the stage? Whats going to happen next? What do you feel about it?

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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Story
You are the writer and producer of a play about this piece of work. It is the opening scene. The curtain goes up. What is on the stage? What happens next?

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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Putting it all together Critiquing

Curtain raiser Nut graf Exposition

Ending
Is the piece our awareness?

Plot

Writing?

Closing

Publishing
DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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Putting it all together Purpose

Curtain raiser Nut graf Exposition

Story
Is the piece our awareness?

Plot

Audience?

Closing

Research
DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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A six-step procedure for writing an article first draft


1.! 2.! Gather notes Write the opening, or curtain raiser (an anecdote or set of facts that draws the reader in) Write the thematic nut graf (the heart of the story) Write the closing (What song do you want the audience to be humming when they leave the theater? What do you want them to do or think about?) Write any exposition (necessary facts about your study, research, or how this article came to be, usually in one paragraph) Compose a plot and fit your notes into it, discarding what doesn t fit
Curtain raiser

3.! 4.!

Nut graf Exposition

5.!

Plot

6.!

Closing
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DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

Nut graf
Imagine you have only one paragraph. One floors worth of conversation in an elevator. No catalog or precis, but the message itself To get across as best you can in 500 words. Write that paragraph.

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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1. The initial stage of gathering notes is meant for capturing preliminary hypotheses, observations, and insights
!! As in brainstorming, this is a time for exploration instead of judgement !! Summarize data as it comes in, along with potential implications !! Include key quotes from interviews and conversations !! Case studies, possible examples, or solutions should each get at least one note of their own !! Keep a computer file of what you see, hear, think; raise ideas in conversation and get responses !! Make notes of outliers and unexplained connections !! If you catch yourself saying or thinking, This probably isnt worth anything, but! be sure to capture it; some of the most important insights seem implausible or unimportant at first !! Dont worry if it isnt yet obvious how to use them; you will synthesize or discard later

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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2. The curtain raiser drawing the reader in


Qualities of good Curtain Raisers ! They tell a story ! They get fairly quickly to a punchline ! They give people a starting point for the article ! They don t try to be comprehensive or tell the whole story (this is not a nut graf or executive summary) ! They are evocative
At a research meeting in late 2010, a primatologist studying monkey genetics took a tour of a universitys digital fabrication shop. She mentioned that her field research had stalled because a specialized plastic comb, used in DNA analysis of hair tissue, had broken. The primatologist had exhausted her research budget and couldnt afford a new one, but she happened to be carrying the old comb with her. One of the students in the shop, an architect by training, asked to borrow it. He captured its outline with a desktop scanner, and took a piece of scrap acrylic from a shelf. Booting up a laptop attached to a laser cutter, he casually asked, How many do you want? From A Strategists Guide to Digital Fabrication, by Tom Igoe and Catherine Mota, strategy+business, Autumn 2011
DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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3. The nut grafthe basic overall message


!! The nut graf (nut paragraph) is journalistic jargon for the elevator speech or core theme: If you had only 500 words (or one minute in an elevator) to explain your idea, what would you say? !! Questions to answer in the nut graf: ! What is going on? ! Why is it important? ! What has changed? ! Broadly, what should I do differently? !! Write this first. Putting this together may take more time than writing the rest of the paper !! But once youve written the nut graf, its easier to write the rest of the paper !! This is not a precis. It doesnt say, In this article, we will tell you!. It tells you the whole story !! In academic writing, you put the nut graf at the end. You admire the problem first, and gradually work your way to the solution. But in business writing, the audience wants to see the whole picture at the start and then get into the details !! Therefore, put the nut graf toward the front usually by the third or fourth paragraph. Alternatively, it might be the opening paragraph

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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The exercise of writing a nut graf helps you clarify the message
An effective nut graf The rapidly evolving field of digital fabrication, which was barely known to most business strategists as recently as early 2010, is beginning to do to manufacturing what the Internet has done to informationbased goods and services. Just as video went from a handful of broadcast networks to millions of producers on YouTube within a decade, and music went from supergroups to GarageBand and Bandcamp.com, a transition from centralized production to a maker culture of dispersed manufacturing innovation is under way today. Millions of customers consume manufactured goods, and now a small but growing number are producing, designing, and marketing them as well. As operations, product development, and distribution processes evolve under the influence of this new disruptive technology, manufacturing innovation will further expand from the chief technology officers purview to that of the consumer, with potentially enormous impact on the business models of todays manufacturers. - A Strategists Guide to Digital Fabrication

The nut graf is journalism jargon for the paragraph with the nut of the story. What makes a good nut graf? ! ! ! ! It expresses whats important and why. (Who, what, when, where, why for a news story, but it varies for other purposes) It provides the core message, and if its counterintuitive why it still matters It is conscious of the stakes how this message might change what you do. It is precise, but not too comprehensive (details to follow in article)

!!Note: Writing a nut graf can take a lot of time, but by clarifying your message, it will save you time later

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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4. Write the closing early so you know where you re going


Qualities of good closings: ! They sum up the direction of the piece but don t repeat points that have already been made ! They bring the point of view back to the reader and prospective client ! They provide opportunities and starting pointsa call to action ! They are optimistic and inspirational, without being unrealistic or sentimental !!Note: Imagine the target reader: What song do you want them to be humming when they leave the theater ?

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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5. Most articles need some exposition


General principles for exposition: ! Put all this background material in one paragraph, rather than spreading it through the Viewpoint ! This is the place to name research partners, or describe the timing and breadth of a study ! Exposition can also be used to quickly summarize methodology ! Keep it as brief as possible !!Note: Lengthy exposition (such as methodology) could sometimes be handled in a sidebar or endnotes

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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6. There are many possible plots; pick one that flows well
!! Problem and solution: (1) a burning platform needs urgent attention; (2) diagnosis of the problem and how it came about; (3) actions needed! !! List of solutions: Very brief problem statement followed by, To fix this, here are the measures that must be taken! !! Developmental path: Few companies have taken advantage of this opportunity, because they are stuck in their old practices. Here is your step-by-step path to changing this situation! !! Counterintuitive argument: At first glance, this solution may appear unlikely. But consider this fact about our industry. Based on that! therefore! therefore! we reach our conclusion! !! Multiple options: A variety of companies have found solutions to this problem. Each has its pros and cons. Spell them out, then: Each company must determine which solution will be most effective! !! Multiple causes: To reach a solution, you must understand how we got here! !! It hasnt worked before, but you can make it work: Banks tell their call center staffs, Act like bankers and sell more. But only a few have made this work. This is why!
DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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Make sure the tone is direct, to the point, concise, and clear
!! Conversational tone !! Active, not passive voice ( The team decided rather than It was decided that ) !! Short paragraphs (One theme or concept per paragraph, with the top sentence stating the overall point) !! Short sentences (break long sentences into two) !! Short, common words (equal not equivalent, vague not evanescent) !! Precision in phrasing (make sure the phrase says exactly what you want it to say) !! Front-load your ideas: key ideas at the beginning of sentences, topic sentences at the front of paragraphs, main paragraphs at the start of sections, biggest point as the first section in the article !! Bury the disclaimers. This is nothing new or To be sure, some disagree belong after you make your point !! All of these are guidelines, not rules. There are always exceptions, but if you make an exception, be conscious of why you re making it !! When in doubt, read your text aloud and imagine that you re the target audience member listening to it

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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Five factors that make an idea powerful


!! Timely originality: It answers (in a new, compelling way) an emerging key issue, e.g., ! Supply chain management became popular at the dawn of a wave of globalization and larger-footprint distribution ! The fortune at the bottom of the pyramid appeared just as middle-class markets emerged globally !! Explanatory power: It reveals the hidden patterns that determine results that conventional have not yet been fully explained, e.g., ! System dynamics shows why small incremental growth suddenly accelerates! then stops ! Behavioral economics addresses the mysteries of market results !! Pragmatic value: It can be put into place to produce results, e.g., ! Organizational learning showed how to build management capabilities sustainably ! Lean production showed how to cut waste & costs in a holistic, rather than a scattershot, fashion !! Robust foundation: It can be tested empirically and survive theoretical challenge, e.g., ! Social network analysis is confirmed through rigorous analysis of email and meeting patterns ! Elliot Jaques seemingly bizarre conclusions about human growth are borne out through data !! Natural constituency: There is a group within organizations ready to hear it, e.g., ! Human capital strategies fit the interests of a growing number of business unit leaders ! Profit-driven marketing (Marketing ROI) has an emerging constituency among marketing executives and CEOs

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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Thinking about your nut graf: Three analytic ways in


1. Develop the elevator speech: if you only had one minute in an elevator to explain your idea, what would you say? ! What is the core point? ! Why is that point important? ! How are things going to change? 2. Conduct a five whys analysis ! First, look closely at the phenomena you observed. Why did it happen that way? Whats the root cause? Was the cause universal or situation-specific? ! Having identified the root cause, why does that root cause exist? ! Repeat this exercise (perhaps up to five times) ! Which of the identified root cause(s) would resonate with your audience? 3. Conduct competitive research ! Whats the story as seen by conventional wisdom (or by others)? ! How do they explain it? ! What are they missing? ! Whats going on here that nobody else sees?

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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How to conduct an interview


!! People like being interviewed even very senior people can be open to the idea !! Interviewing can be a great relationship-building tool. It establishes an in-depth conversation with people who would not talk as freely (or meet at all) in a sales-related situation !! To draw out anecdotes and observations, ask a set of questions that get them out of the analytic mindset and into the storytelling mindset. ! How did all this start for you? ! What happened next? (repeat until the story is concluded) ! What were you thinking at the time? ! (And only at the end) What do you make of it now? !! Play back the interviewees ideas: Are you saying that!? !! Spend some time thinking through the interview questions and provide the interview guide to the interviewee well in advance of the interview (some interviewees prepare the answers and get them cleared by their legal or communications department) !! Always record the interview, using a digital recorder. Transcribe the voice recording or have it transcribed. This makes writing the article much easier and preserves the true voice and the intent of the people interviewed !! Say as little as possible yourself. !! No, really. Say as little as possible yourself.
DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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When dealing with jargon, put the terms interpretation or meaning into the passage or else delete the jargon entirely
!! Audiences understand much less jargon than you think they do. !! Even insiders who are familiar with the word may not know exactly what you mean. Jargon often carries a variety of interpretations, which can render it imprecise !! The first time you use a specialized word, insert a short definition or an example to let you and your readers know you understand each other !! Example of putting in a definition: During the past decade or so, marketers have grown accustomed to the trend known as premiumization : Each year, consumers sought out higher-priced and more distinctive products. Sales went up for such premium goods as custom-blended cosmetics, microbrewed beer, antioxidant-laden breakfast cereals and soft drinks, and cars in every price range that featured amenities like video screens and extra cup holders. A Breakaway Opportunity for Inferior Products (Booz & Company)
DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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Dealing with discomfiting data

I ve already deleted all references to it in the article. This group will never be open about this topic.

What is our intent in raising this issue?

If we talk about this topic we ll be shut out. Nobody here wants to talk about that topic.

How can we test our assumptions safely?

The topic makes this official uncomfortable.

He coughed after I mentioned a particular topic. A senior official coughed in a meeting.

How do we raise this topic in a deliberate and helpful way?

Booz & Company 21 May 2008

Archive 34 number

Clichs and buzzword speak on the page can suggest incoherent or sloppy thinking
!! Look out for common English clichs: ! Companies should look before they leap into an alliance with emerging nations. ! It s a buyer s market for acquisitions right now, and buyers have an embarrassment of riches to choose from. !! Avoid business phrases that have rapidly become clichs: ! Analytic skills are table stakes when you build a new marketing team. ! Beware of boiling the ocean when designing an IT solution; look instead for the low-hanging fruit. ! In researching your competition, remember: It is what it is. !! Some verbs (often those adapted from nouns or technology) come across as weak euphemisms: ! Optimize (replace with make the most of, ! Utilize (replace with use ) ! Leverage (replace with take advantage of, apply, or deploy ) use the best, etc.)

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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Watch out for ambiguous passages that the reader may interpret differently from your intent; reword them to be more precise
!! Stable companies are more focused on cutting costs across the board and conserving cash than on the opportunity they have to strengthen their competitive positions. ! Does this mean To be stable, companies should be focused on cutting costs! or Even stable companies are too focused on cutting costs! ? !! As we write these lines, in Autumn 2008, a number of financial-services companies in the West have collapsed or are collapsing. ! Does this refer to banks in California and Nevada or the leading financial institutions in North America and Europe? !! The millennial generation (ages 21 to 32) is entering the workforce, with demands fundamentally different from those of prior generations. ! Does this mean the work demanded of them is different or the rewards they are demanding are different ?

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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Great writing has a set of distinct qualities


!! To the point: Within the first few paragraphs, the reader knows what the article is proposing, what the authors (and the firm) believe, and why this will make a difference !! Proactive: The article doesnt merely cover the topic. It proposes an approach, and recognizes why some readers might find that approach controversial !! Pragmatic: The implications are actionable. The reader knows what to do, and how to make the necessary changes !! Respectful: The article doesnt blame the reader or say, You have failed. It recognizes that most readers will already understand the issue to some extent, and that there are reasons that readers havent put the articles prescriptions into practice !! Distinctive: The article says things the reader hasnt heard before or brings in ideas from unexpected quarters; at the conclusion, the reader will see the world a little differently !! Clarity: You know what every paragraph is about. You can understand every exhibit without a specialized education or an interpreter

DATE 2009 Art Kleiner and Booz & Company Do not reproduce without permission art.kleiner@booz.com

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