Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Live from #insights2innovate: Transforming Ideas into Innovation through Open Collaboration

Simon Olivier of GE Canada, spoke today at FEI Toronto & Consumer Insights Canada about how to transform ideas to innovation through open collaboration.

What's really key are partnerships. In June they launched  with a $1 million ecomagination open innovation challenge to help accelerate technology development in Canada’s oil sands. 

Acceleration is acceleration. Entrepreneurs need resources and time, GE tries to buy them time by funding their research and ideas. Start fresh every day, collaboration is a way to buy time and reset every day.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  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.


Live from #Insights2Innovate: 6 Secret Steps to Outsmart, Out-Innovate, & Out-Adapt your Competitors

This morning we kicked off FEI Toronto and Consumer Insights Canada with a keynote from eremy Gutsche, CEO & Chief Trend Hunter, TRENDHUNTER.COM, Author, Exploiting Chaos and forthcoming Better & Faster who shared his Six Secret Steps to Outsmart, Out-Innovate, and Out-Adapt your Competitors.

He presented 6 examples of companies that found something successful but didn't leverage it to the fullest and then the market got disrupted to their loss:

Blackberry
Smith Corona!
Blockbuster
Encyclopedia Britannica
Kodak
Microsoft

3 Traps:

Complacency
Repetitive
Protective

3 Hunter Instincts:

Insatiable
Curious
Willing to Destroy

Amancio Ortega - Zara, example of Hunter Instinct

To get human psychology, you need to study individuals, not corporations.

Once we reach success our inclination is to repeat the process to the point were we become trapped in the status quo, perfecting it to the point we become irrelevant.

Hunt for overlooked opportunity. Knock on doors, competitors are lazy.

How to spot trends and innovate: Look for ways to apply these principles:

Convergence
Circular
Acceleration
Reduction
Divergence
Redirect

Opposing the mainstream, fuels your success.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 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, September 29, 2014

The Gold Left on the Table



I always feel bad for clients of a full-cycle innovation project. After the many ideation and co-creation sessions, there are far too many viable concepts to pursue. In many cases, millions of dollars of market expansion, new products with tested, validated appeal, and new licensing opportunities get swept aside just because there are too many possibilities.

While we have formulas for figuring out the right mix for a product line portfolio, far too many concepts never get their stage time on the market. 

Sometimes the products would transform the business from selling in one channel to selling in a different one. Other times a service brand could enter the market selling a hard product. Yet other times it is a revolution to a business model with investment risks—for example, a product-based company had a viable and feasible way to pilot test a service-based store that sold products. This move could have been the beginning to a franchising event that would have the potential to more than triple the growth. In another case a strong licensing partner could have taken a whole suite of new, branded products to a new market. Product concepts and sell to others in adjacent markets. 

In all of these cases, gold is left on the table. All of the examples above hail from the myriad of our client mix, but it could equally well represent any firm with a serious innovation discipline. 

Here’s the question: who is responsible for the gold left of the table, the aftermarket of valuable ideas? Because if no one is, they will wither away in a Final Report and your organization will never harvest the total value of its innovation efforts. 

Should Innovation-centric firms create a new role? A Gold Sweeper. This person would work with all the various departments to see that the most viable ideas get the stage time and consideration not allotted at most organizations. Furthermore, they can formally document all of the gold left on the table. 

The amount of value that never sees the light of day can be the catalytic driver of growth, if there is a process and person dedicated to seeing tested and viable concepts make it to the market. 

Live from #insights2innovate: Creating Systematic Societal Change through Insights Driven Innovation

Ken Sim, Co-Founder, NURSE NEXT DOOR, kicked off the Front End of Innovation Toronto event today, where he shared When Business is Personal: An Entrepreneur's Journey to Creating
Systematic Societal Change through Insights Driven Innovation.

Ken Sim went from doing odd jobs to being in investment banking at KPMG. But felt like a prisoner, in the finance industry. Eventually, he quit his job and went snowboarding, meanwhile his pregnant wife held it down Toronto but was put on bedrest. He wanted to start a company so they hired someone to look after his wife. He wasn't thrilled with who they sent over so they launched Nurse Next Door.

It was incredibly successful, it was difficult but not impossible.  Eventually he hit a rough patch, and so he started a new company, Rosemary Rocksalt. The one thing he does not want to do in his deathbed is wonder, "what if?"

The only non renewable resource we have is our time. Take the risk, follow your passion. The magic does not happen within your comfort zone.

via http://gapingvoid.com/linchpin/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  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.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Only a Few Days to Go: FEI Toronto & Consumer Insights Canada 2014 #insights2innovate

There's still time to register to attend FEI Toronto: The Front End of Innovation Conference and our new event, Consumer Insights Canada taking place in Toronto, Ontario, Monday through Wednesday, next week (walk-ins are welcome) but if you can't join us, we will be covering the event live here, on The Market Research Event TMRE Blog and via Twitter #Insights2Innovate.

Hope to see you there!

Live coverage begins Monday, Sept. 29th



Thursday, September 25, 2014

Innovation requires non-MBAs

A while back there was a journalistic leitmotif about whether we (Canada) were adequately training our grads for our collective future well-being. The gist was a lament for non-practically trained university graduates (i.e., not business (under)grads or engineers) being shunted from productive higher-paying jobs in favour of those MBAs and engineers, and other professional school finishers.

The stories were directed to the economics and so on of why this is a terrible situation not only for those underemployed but also for Canadian society at large, which ultimately funds higher education, and for the employers passing up these people.  For the employers, the argument is that these folks—the arts grads, for clarity--bring with them everything that employers say they want except for instant work-readiness--something that business training provides allegedly.

My take was a little different.

While the authors made good points and arguments, I think that there is much more damage going on by this practice, especially as it applies to the MBA-holding candidate bias. Let me make one entirely different argument for why the bias toward business grads (read: MBAs) and against arts or music or science grads is regressive and suboptimal.  It has to do with innovation.

The syllogism is straight-forward.

Premise:  Innovation is based on the unusual connection of disparate pieces into combinations that unlock new value.  This can be by both bringing new knowledge into the system/situation or by perceiving the system/situation differently.

Premise:  MBAs in particular and representing those favoured “business” education programs, are given high-level trade training (which is what makes them job-ready), which is consistent with the best practices of the trade.

Premise:  It is alleged that post-secondary students are all taught to think (even business students), but the ratio of critical thinking training to trade training in the desirable programs is well below one. To the contrary, in the arts and sciences the ratio exceeds 1, sometimes nearing infinity.  (In other words:  in some arts programs there is NO trade training, only training to think for yourself.)

Conclusion:  Therefore, if innovation requires high doses of both different thinking and critical thinking the most likely candidates to achieve that would be anybody but the graduates of the more favoured programs such as MBAs.

QED.  And I would hope the reasoning is obvious.

So, not only would looking harder at archeology and biochemistry graduates keep them from behind the espresso maker, it would also raise the potential for innovation by the employer's organization.

Just a thought.


About the Author

Timothy Grayson, is the Author of "The Spaces In Between" and Director of Digital Product Development at the Canada Post Corp Management. He blogs at blog.timothygrayson.com and can be reached at @graysonicles.

Editor's Note

We invite you to join Timothy at FEI Toronto this month where he lead a Learning Lab on how to go From Systems Thinking to Artful Innovation: Assessing the Unknown and Believing in the Invisible

As innovators, we wants "systems" to be both creative and manage the process. We want structure and predictability in a business where none can exist. The paradox of innovation is that it's based on unknowns. 

Many tools and frameworks promise that if you follow their rules you will be more successfully innovative. Right! You will be more methodical and may be more innovative around the edges. Breakthrough innovation relies on assessment of the unknown and belief in the invisible. 

There is art in identifying value in the unknown. 

In this session, we will Explore the few common ways that analytic techniques let you down as an innovator; Learn how to blend art with the science to identify opportunities to innovate in ways that can't be easily quantified today; and reveal the stubbornly secret oxymoron that innovators and entrepreneurs know about vision, luck, and persistence. 

During the session the group will go through one or two simple interactive processes for identifying the hidden "x-factors" that could make a good idea great; a good product a hit; a good campaign outstanding.

Map Your Customer’s Journey for Customer Experience Innovation

Today’s customers own multiple technology devices and use them to interact with companies and brands like never before.

People’s preference for—and reliance on—technology to perform everything from initial research to the final transaction means that companies must understand the modern customer experience and integrate cross-organizational support for it as part of their overall customer service strategy.

When customers engage with an organization through a specific channel, they don’t differentiate between the “e-mail channel” and the “social media channel.” Rather, they interpret their interactions as an overall customer experience—a customer journey.

Companies must design and deliver customer experiences seamlessly across many channels: retail, web, mobile, sales and service operations, to name a few. Organizations need to take a comprehensive view of the current experience, understand the customer’s physical and emotional journey, and design ways to improve it. “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back towards technology,” says Steve Jobs.

Customer Experience Journey Mapping

A customer experience journey map is a representation of all the steps a customer takes as he or she tries to achieve a particular goal. It is an excellent way to understand how customers interact with an organization because it follows the journey from the customer’s perspective.

A customer journey map is a valuable diagnostic tool. Since it incorporates graphics, pictures and visual cues to represent every interaction a customer has—or could have—with a company and brand, journey mapping provides a proven framework to uncover high-priority barriers and opportunities to WOW customers.

It also reveals how efficiently and effectively different departments work together to interact with the customer, recognizing that customer-facing processes and people are not the only influencers of the end-to-end customer journey.

Traditional customer service improvement methods can’t accommodate the complexity and scope of modern-day customer interactions. As customers and technology become more sophisticated, so too must the tools to track them. Customer journey mapping is quickly becoming a critical tool for companies that want to take a holistic approach to understanding and enhancing the customer experience.  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Janet LeBlanc is a leading authority on customer value and experience management and president of Janet LeBlanc + Associates Inc.






Editor's Note:

Janet LeBlanc will share examples of how to help drive client-centricity through back-office innovations at FEI Toronto taking place Sept. 29-Oct 1.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Why Corporate Innovation Activities Fail

Photo by paul bica

"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." - Steve Jobs

According to Column Five Media's infographic What Really Fosters Innovation in "How to Foster Innovation" by Zach Bulygo, "innovation is increasingly viewed as critical to sustaining a competitive advantage in the changing global marketplace. Yet many people also indicate that their innovation efforts are lacking."

Why can't large companies execute on innovation? What are the structural challenges that most companies fail to overcome? Find out at this year's Back End of Innovation (BEI) event in Las Vegas, Nevada, Oct. 6-8.

Iliya Rybchin, Strategy & Business Development Executive at Bloomberg, will focus on a handful of controversial changes corporations should consider if they want to increase their chances of successfully delivering growth from innovation.

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













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.

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