What I’m working on: Over-used business case studies

This has been a good week. I took a break from Mosaic editing after devoting 60+ hours to it last week. I needed to step back a bit before doing the “final” round (that is, before sending it to my editor as a first draft). In that space, I’ve been doing some pitching. I had a phone call with an editor I’m excited to work with again. My column on the American Time Use Survey ran in USA Today, and I still get a thrill from driving to the Wawa to buy a copy with my byline in it. My accountability partner and I have re-established our relationship, and this time, I’m holding myself accountable to doing 5 things weekly to support Mosaic’s launch next spring/summer. I welcome ideas!

On the personal front, I’ve been running during the days and doing little “walks” around the backyard in the twilight. I love watching the fireflies and the sunset (and hey, getting more steps on the Fitbit). My husband and I did date night. The kids are having a good week with no camps, doing some reading, playdates, and ditching the diapers. So, yay on all fronts.

I’m working on a few stories that I welcome suggestions on. First, I’m working on a post on over-used business case studies. If you read enough business books and articles, you start to notice a lot of the same anecdotes. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with any of these particular ideas. Indeed, they’re really good ideas. It’s just that they’ve been written about so much.

– Google’s 20% time (where employees can work on their own projects 1 day a week — Google has actually been quietly moving away from this).

– Zappos pays people to quit after training. They want to make sure everyone really wants to stay!

– How Johnson & Johnson handled the Tylenol recall years ago.

– The Post-It note story as an example of pulling an innovative product from something that failed at its original purpose.

– Alcoa focusing on safety as a way to build better corporate communication. This is a little less overused than the others, but still gets written about a lot.

– What other example have you seen written about multiple times?

I’m also working on a piece on working from home on days other than Fridays. Friday is, naturally, the day people are most likely to ask for. It’s often a wash at the office, so would-be telecommuters perceive that their supervisors are most likely to say yes. It’s convenient if you want to cut out early for the weekend. But that’s always part of the perception — that you’re going to cut out early for the weekend. Asking for a “peak” day shows it’s about productivity. And, potentially, managing the commute (if you have a beast of a commute, it’s nice to only do it 2 days in a row). I’d love to talk with people who have regular work-from-home arrangements for a day other than Friday. As always, you can email me at lvanderkam at yahoo dot com. Thanks!

3 thoughts on “What I’m working on: Over-used business case studies

  1. Not a regular arrangement, but I like working from home on Thursdays. On Mondays I’m tempted to finish up weekend chores (like folding all the laundry I did), Friday I’m tempted to goof off (and we have multiple weekly meetings on Fridays so I have to be in the office). By mid-week the change of atmosphere helps me focus, and Thursday is the day I need to finish up most stuff for the week so I welcome the break from interruptions.

  2. For business case studies, the Oreo Superbowl tweet is still the only example brought up when people talk about “real-time” social media marketing (possibly because it’s still the only good one that reached that many people…).

  3. I work from home every day, so not sure if that is helpful, but I’m happy to chat.

    Over-used business case that I hear ALL THE TIME at work is whatever company (dodge?) came up with the minivan. About how they were supposed to design a station wagon but the designer was listening to what the customer wanted and came up with the minivan instead and OMG how awesome it is to listen to your customers and really build what they want. I don’t actually even know if that story is TRUE, but it gets repeated so often in customer-focused design classes and seminars.

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