Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bringing Play to Innovation: 3 Imperatives for Playing Better

Considering the challenges that many if not most organizations run into when working with innovation bringing play into the equation could make a real difference. Or rather bringing in serious play could make a real difference. Play is many things, and can be defined in many ways.

In the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY method we define serious play as:

1) an intentional gathering to apply the imagination
2) exploring and preparing not implementing and 3) following a specific language and set of rules.

Serious play is obviously an integral part of the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY method, but the focus here is why I would suggest that serious play as a form of play could contribute in innovation processes:

1. Intentionally applying the imagination.

The imagination comes before knowledge (at least that is an epistemological belief), so if we want to create something new, we need to imagine, we need to form mental images not only of what is but also of what could be.

Importantly, we need to do it together, we need to agree that this is what we are doing now, and thus the element of intention is important.

We know we are doing it and we know why.

2 Exploring and preparing, not implementing:

“What if we stopped serving meals on planes” or “why don’t we ask our clients” etc, imagining is not enough, everyone also has to feel safe, to know that whatever they have imagined can be shared.

Knowing that this is about exploring and preparing can help create this safe space.

It is not actually about stopping to serve meals, though that may be decided, it is exploring it, testing if it works and preparing, playing out what the response would be, whether from travelers, employees or shareholder. The latter part helps prepare for the ambiguity and uncertainly that we all live in, and in which the innovation has to become a success.

Numerous innovations fail, not because they were not great ideas but because how to carry them through the existing organization or into the market was not fully considered.

The exploring helps not only to find the new ideas, but also to test them.

3. Following a specific language or set of rules.

This helps create the safe space that it takes to explore and to articulate something daring. In addition, when we want to innovate, to change something, we need to break our habitual thinking; a specific and different language or rules can help us do that

Most of us do play even when at work, it is after all our brains prepared learning mode, so often it is not a question of playing more, but playing better. I encourage you to deliberately start using play


Carrying on our Innovation Book Club into the fall, we are offering one lucky blog reader an opportunity to win a free copy of Building a Better Business Using the Lego Serious Play Method by Per Kristiansen and Robert Rasmussen, courtesy of Wiley and the author. Details on how to enter below.


Per Kristiansen is a native Dane; he is partner in the boutique consultancy Trivium based in Copenhagen, which he joined in 2006. In addition to his consulting activities, he has written a number of articles and often speaks at conferences. He also serves on the board of Bonding, a global company specialized in personal development.

Per has spent a number of years working in the LEGO Group. First, as change agent in the Pre-School area, where he was the right hand of the Global Brand Director, he then joined the LEGO SERIOUS PLAY activities, initially Executive Discovery, the start-up which developed and managed the method and later as the general manager of LEGO SERIOUS PLAY when it became a business unit in the LEGO Company.

Prior to joining Trivium, he also had a brief spell at Danfoss Universe where he was part of the leadership team. Danfoss Universe is a unique science park which also offers innovation processes to organizations. The LEGO SERIOUS PLAY method was part of the parks activities.

Per has master degree in intercultural business and has spent his career helping companies accelerate change and innovation, and in developing robust strategies. He has been based and worked in Italy, Scandinavia and in the UK. He now lives in Copenhagen with his partner Christina and their two sons.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 29, 2014

Ways to Cultivate a More Creative Mindset: Dan Pink

In this Friday Flashback, we've uncovered this video from our sister event where bestselling author Daniel Pink describes how to build creativity into your daily routine. He offers some tips to begin your transformation to a more creative mindset in your role in your business.

Lesson 1: Creative Disruption from Creative Leadership on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Changing Role of the Chief Innovation Officer (CInO)

As the competency of corporate innovation continues to expand and improve, more Chief Innovation Officer roles are appearing in large, corporate organizations. This is a welcome development and recognition of the ongoing value that leadership sees innovation efforts delivering for organizations. This recognition is demonstrated by the focus on the CInO role by several conferences, including The Back End of Innovation in Las Vegas on October 6-8.

I have been reading a lot about the CInO role lately and recently spoke with Luis Solis, the author of a book titled “Innovation Alchemists: What Every CEO Should Know to Hire the Right Chief Innovation Officer” to get his perspectives on the CInO role in the context of this value generation.

What changes have you seen with the CInO role recently?

As the CInO role continues to evolve and develop, one significant change is that the previous focus on process and activity is being augmented with a serious and deep scouting function. That includes scouting for technologies, trends, and cultural insights. This means that the role is expanding into other more established corporate functions, such as Competitive Intelligence, Strategy, and HR, so these CInO’s need to better manage and shape relationships across the organization, often where there may be competing interests. More than ever, it’s a delicate balancing act.

There is also more focus on impacting the culture of an organization as a precondition for success, but not only that, it is viewed that the CInO and resources may be a better catalyst for shifting the organization towards an innovative culture, perhaps more than what has been in place until now.

How do you see the role changing going forward?

Look, the reality is that the CInO is here to stay and it’s an expanding role. We are in a macro-economic recovery and this gives companies more confidence. So I think that this and next year will be a bumper crop of CInO roles becoming available. Unfortunately I don’t think that there is a body of future leaders to take that leading role, so there is a market opportunity for that pipeline to be filled.

I have heard you talk about the importance of employee innovation networks, so how does that connect back to the CInO role?

This goes back to maturity, because the current view is that innovation takes place at the BU level. What this approach misses is connecting the effect of those project teams for intelligence gathering, practice sharing, risk reduction, speed, etc. All the benefits that come from connecting networks are missed, or at least more difficult to generate with discrete teams. So organizations are anywhere above two years in their innovation journey are, or should be, looking for something that is better than the separate projects. Innovation networks are just the natural extension beyond that.

At a certain point, leaders recognize that this is more than just about an innovation department or program, but it is a set of capabilities spread across the organization. With that perspective, the innovation program becomes the enabler of systems behaviors, rituals, and ultimately about building and managing an enhanced culture.

What has surprised you about the book’s reception, now that it has been out for a few months?

The first thing that I learned was that there is an extraordinary amount of interest in this CInO role. Leaders want to know “What it is?” “How it should be designed and organized?” “Who is qualified to fill that role?”

What I had not expected to encounter is that most leaders are not asking “if” they should have a CInO, but now it’s “who do we use and when?” It’s just a given now that this role is essential to business leaders. To me that’s a pretty big change in the past couple of years.

What are the biggest risks or conflicts that CInO’s need to manage?

One of the key issues for CInO’s is that they are impacting leaders of Strategy, Marketing, Competitor Intelligence, Digital, and R&D functions in vary tangible ways. So proper thought needs to be given to addressing the inevitable tensions that this new role generates. When designing this role, the CEO really does need to account for 2-4 years of their support, or it will be difficult to take route and grow. In my experience that has been a challenge, especially when a CEO rotates which can lead to a high rate of failure.

About the Author: Anthony is the CEO of Culturevate (www.culturevateinc.com), an organization that empowers a company’s employees to execute ideas and inspire a culture of innovation, through employee networks, a resource portal and training programs (developed in association with Professor Chris Labash from Carnegie Mellon University). Anthony is a widely read author (www.culturevateinc.com), speaker and advisor to industry leaders at organizations such as Pfizer, U.S. Postal Service, Johnson & Johnson, ADP and Fidelity. He previously led The BNY Mellon innovation program and has a Masters of Commerce (University of Sydney) and Bachelor of Economics (University of Newcastle).

Monday, August 25, 2014

Rank the Qualities Needed to be an Innovation Leader

A consistent theme in innovation research is that the people involved in the effort are the final differentiator between success and failure. However, there is little data to help guide the selection, development, and assessment of senior innovation leaders.

To close this gap, Celent and Mick Simonelli, former senior innovation executive and thought leader, are partnering to survey innovation professionals to determine their priority ranking of the qualities of successful senior innovation leaders.

The survey explores four areas: technical business skills, leadership qualities, personal attributes, and previous job experience. For each, the survey lists seven or eight characteristics. Participants are asked to rank them according to their relative priorities -- from most important to least important.

The results form a snapshot of what, for this community of practitioners, contributes the most to the success of an innovation leader.

If you would like to participate, please click on the link below:

Friday, August 22, 2014

Bryant’s Rules of Creativity

via Cartoonaday

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Innovation Execution Best Practices Revealed by Mattel, Chobani, Campbell Soup, VF Corp & More

If you've heard it once, you've heard it 100 times before - successful innovation is all about the execution and taking your ideas through to market. That's where the challenge lies, where the obstacles need to be overcome. How are you addressing these challenges?

Join us at BEI: Back End of Innovation this October for a program 100% Focused on Execution. BEI covers the entire innovation process - process & design, culture & structure, through to commercialization, paying close attention to the impact on execution.

Download our new, updated conference agenda for full program details here:  http://bit.ly/1pIqd3P

Back End of Innovation
October 6-8, 2014
The Cosmopolitan
Las Vegas, NV

At BEI, you'll hear how some of the most respected companies in the industry have successfully made innovation happen:

Process & Design from Mattel
Martin Elliott, Senior Director, New Business Ventures will share how innovation leaders at Mattel secure funding to commercialize ideas. Mattel's funding plan has been inspired by funding models of start-up and venture companies, replacing traditional budget requests and capital allocation processes with VC-style pitches. 

Organizational Culture & Structure from VF Corporation
Soon Yu, Global VP of Innovation knows that successful innovation starts and ends with people. Find out how VF Corporation has developed a program to direct the analytical side and motivate the emotional side to win with innovation.

Commercialization from Campbell Soup & Chobani
Michael Goodman, Director Innovation Commercialization at Campbell Soup will share Campbell's new approach to bringing breakthrough innovation to market - an approach that's helped them develop and commercialize products faster than ever before. Plus, you'll hear from Chobani's VP Global R&D, Kai Sacher, as he reveals how Chobani found the right focus, grew the brand and how they kept the understanding that "how" something is produced matters.

And that's just the beginning. BEI 2014 features 35+ inspirational case studies arming you with the insight, processes and tools you need to successfully executive innovation. Plus, you'll be joining over 250 innovation professionals from Insurance, Financial Services, Pharmaceutical & Healthcare, Packaged Goods, Telecommunications, Chemicals, Automotive & Transport, Manufacturing, Education and more. Download the updated agenda:  http://bit.ly/1pIqd3P

PLUS! Be sure to secure your spot in our limited availability offsite learning sessions - you'll have the opportunity to visit a few of the most innovative companies in Las Vegas and see how they make innovation happen. Click here for more information:  http://bit.ly/1sSuN28
Mention code BEI14BL and save 15% off the standard rate. Register today: http://bit.ly/VDXktU

We hope to see you in Las Vegas in October!

The BEI Team

P.S. We're excited to share new content with our BEI subscribers. Check out Strategy&'s article on Warfare, Software & Industrial Design: http://bit.ly/1rTKW33 and SmartOrg's study on Innovation Portfolio Management:  http://bit.ly/1n6wOAp

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Top 10 Living Futurists in 2014

Over at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging TechnologiesTed Kupper and Jon Perry recently hosted a Review the Future podcast that examined their nominations for the top (living) futurists today. Their conversation is definitely worth a listen and offered a lot of ideas to explore about leadership in foresight, prediction, trends, innovation and the rapid face of change we are facing today.

I would like to share the top 10 living Futurists they selected here and invite you to nominate others who you think deserve a place on the list, please share your thoughts in the comments below:

1. Ray Kurzweil 

Raymond "Ray" Kurzweil is an American author, computer scientist, inventor, futurist, and is a director of engineering at Google.

Known for Book: The Singularity Is Near

2. Vernor Steffen Vinge 

Vernor Steffen Vinge is a retired San Diego State University Professor of Mathematics, computer scientist, and science fiction author.

Known for The Coming Technological Singularity

3. Aubrey de Grey 

Aubrey David Nicholas Jasper de Grey is an English author and theoretician in the field of gerontology and the Chief Science Officer of the SENS Research Foundation.

Known for ideas on how medical technology may enable human beings alive today to live to lifespans far beyond what has been conceived before

4. Nick Bostrom

Nick Bostrom is a Swedish philosopher at St. Cross College, University of Oxford known for his work on existential risk and the anthropic principle. He holds a PhD from the London School of Economics.

Known for transhumanism-related topics, such as artificial intelligence, superintelligence, mind uploading, cryonics, nanotechnology, human enhancement, and the simulation argument

5. Alvin Toffler

Alvin Toffler is an American writer and futurist, known for his works discussing the digital revolution, communication revolution and technological singularity.

Known for Books: Future Shock, The Third Wave

6. Cory Doctorow

Cory Efram Doctorow is a Canadian-British blogger, journalist, and science fiction author who serves as co-editor of the blog Boing Boing.

Known for outspoken ideas on intellectual property, Whuffie, and sci-fi writing

7. Eric Drexler

Kim Eric Drexler is an American engineer best known for popularizing the potential of molecular nanotechnology, from the 1970s and 1980s.

Known as the founding father of Nanotechnology

8. David Brin

Glen David Brin is an American scientist and award-winning author of science fiction.
Known for Book: The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom?

9. David Pearce

David Pearce is a British independent philosopher.

Known for Book: The Hedonistic Imperative

10. Gordon Moore

Gordon Earle Moore is an American businessman and co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of Intel Corporation and the author of Moore's Law.

Known for Moore’s Law


Valerie RussoFormerly a senior copy editor at Thomson Reuters, a research editor at AOL,  and a senior web publicist at Hachette Book GroupValerie M. Russo is editor at large of The Front End of Innovation BlogThe Market Research Event BlogThe World Future Trends Tumblr, the Digital Impact Blog, and also blogs at Literanista.net. She is the innovation lead and senior social media strategist for the Marketing and Business Strategy Division of the Institute for International Research, an Informa LLC., and her poetry was published in Regrets Only on sale at the MOMA Gift Shop. Her background is in Anthropology and English Literature. You can reach her at vrusso@iirusa.com or @Literanista

Monday, August 18, 2014

What Determines the Success or Failure of an Idea?

Photo: Energy arc, central electrode of a plasma lamp by Blaise Frazier aka PiccoloNamek

It starts with the process and metrics, moves to the culture and structure of your organization and finally ends with the commercialization and product/service launch and integration, according to Back End of Innovation (BEI) Conference Producer Romina Kunstadter.

At BEI, Oct. 6-8 in Las Vegas, Nevada, you’ll hear from industry experts as they share their stories of success and struggle. In the meantime, read on as Romina explains how BEI can help your organization transform its innovation mindset and drive profitable growth.

Peggy Bieniek, ABC: What would you say makes this event unique?
Romina Kunstadter: BEI is solely focused on the execution of innovation. It goes beyond the ideation and shows you how to profit from innovation.

PB: Who should attend BEI?
RK: The event is for anyone charged with executing innovation, whether in terms of process, culture or the commercialization of a new idea/service/product. It’s for people in Innovation, Strategy, Business Development, R&D and Marketing.

PB: What is the purpose of BEI?
RK: BEI illustrates how companies are successfully executing innovation, but it also provides insight into the challenges faced along the way. You'll get an inside look at the tools and processes used by other companies that have led to innovation success. BEI also takes you outside of the conference walls to explore companies like Zappos & SuperNap that are changing the way business is done.

PB: What inspired BEI to be created?
RK: The identification of a problem. There are a multitude of great ideas, but an idea without profit is just an idea. The challenge isn’t coming up with a new idea, but actually bringing it to life.

PB: How did you come up with the event name?
The execution is truly on the back end – it’s what happens behind the curtain that defines the success or failure of a project

PB: What is most important for people to know about BEI?
RK: The three-day BEI experience will provide you with a new set of process, tools, skills and connections to help you drive your organization’s bottom line.

PB: How can BEI help organizations to innovate?
RK: BEI will help you ensure that your innovations are carried through to their final stage. It will show you how to mitigate risk and push your ideas through the pipeline.

PB: What are the main concepts you want attendees to take away from BEI?
RK: Everyone is struggling with the commercialization of innovation – to push new ideas through the pipeline and ensure they get to market. At BEI you’ll hear from people who are experiencing challenges similar to yours. BEI will give you a new perspective on how to avoid certain pitfalls and to make sure your new innovation has all the right processes in place for a successful launch.

Immerse yourself in innovation at BEI! To learn more and register, visit www.BackEndofInnovation.com

Stay connected with BEI:
- Twitter.com/BEI_Innovation #BEI14
- LinkedIn.com/Back End of Innovation
- Facebook.com/BackEndofInnovation

This article was originally featured on Starry Blue Brilliance.

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC is an Accredited Business Communicator specializing in corporate communication best practices. Connect with Peggy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and on her website at www.starrybluebrilliance.com.

Clicky Web Analytics