Thursday, August 25, 2016

Recruiting for Teams: A New Methodology Revolutionizes the Industry

By: Ciaran Nagle, Global Marketing Manager, OND LLC

1st in a 5 part series on Human Capital Management: 2 Employee Engagement, 3 Performance Management, 4 Retention, 5 Conflict Management

Precision Recruitment

We have had an explosion of progress on the technology and process dimensions over the last 30 years. Now it's the turn of the people dimension (our talent). CEOs around the world are beginning to realize that talent management is the next big competitive battleground. Because of low birth rates there simply are too few talented people in the market and corporations are recruiting from an ever-diminishing pool. And the most important stage of talent management to get right is the first one, recruitment.

Two further forces have combined to bring about this focus on talent.

The first is the recognition in boardrooms around the world that highly talented people are frequently recruited only to subsequently perform at 40% efficiency. Something seems to go wrong when people are placed in their new teams.

The second is the emergence of a new science that can build predictably high-performing teams, every time. It's based on a ground-breaking insight into peoples' natural strengths and talents. This teaming science has emerged out of research in businesses that shows that peoples' natural strengths and talents are of far greater importance than anyone ever realized in determining whether or not we will be effective at our jobs. It is able to map our natural strengths and talents in a manner that can be read by any manager, not just HR.

Three forces driving the need for precision recruitment:

1. Low birth rates
2. Talented individuals performing poorly in teams
3. Emergence of teaming science

By combining people who possess complementary natural strengths and talents for the team's mission, a successful team can be virtually guaranteed (99.7% accuracy) at the outset. It is impossible to overstate the importance of the new teaming science. For the first time ever, managers are able to put together individuals knowing that they will combine effectively. Not only that, they will display measurably high levels of employee engagement (job satisfaction) while corporate retention rates will skyrocket. The old cycle of constant churn is already changing out of all recognition.

Recruitment is the Start

Recruitment is clearly the first stage of the human capital management process. Teaming science allows line managers to specify the natural strengths and talents they want candidates to possess (along with skills and experience) for the role. A sophisticated but remarkably swift screening process assesses the candidates and allows the line managers to measure the candidates' match to the perfect model precisely. The process can be likened to one of those nursery toys where the toddler must choose the right shape piece for the hole. All of us have a certain 'shape'. Our shape and the shape of the team vacancy must match.

Employee Engagement

It is important to emphasize that this process is as beneficial to the candidate as it is to the organization doing the recruiting. Too many of us (80%, according to the Deloitte Shift Index) hate our jobs and long to be somewhere else. This is as much the fault of recruiters as it is of candidates. A precision recruitment process will see candidates join their new organization and become engaged, confident employees who look forward to coming to work.

Team Talent Management

Teaming science has a twin focus. The natural strengths and talents of the individual are the prime driver. But, just like a jigsaw puzzle, the individual must be placed in a team that has a talent gap of the same 'shape'. Clearly, to match the two together, it is imperative to possess and be able to use the correct tools to measure and calibrate the shape of the individual and the shape of the gap. This, in essence, is what the new teaming science has achieved.

Recruitment Comes of Age

Science has improved our health, our technology, our environment and many other areas of our lives. Now, the hit and miss affair of recruitment stands to benefit from science's gentler side. In a few years' time, intuition bolstered by a CV and combined with the occasional psychometric tool will be seen as the recruitment equivalent of the blunderbuss. In other words, far too inaccurate far too often.
Talent management based on teaming science that recruits for mission-perfect teams is where the next explosion of progress lies.

About the Author: Ciaran was introduced to Method Teaming, OND's ground-breaking science for effective business team formation four years ago. Realizing that his marketing skills, honed at GE over 10 years, could help OND break out of their narrow client set (HPE, Big Four Consultancies) into the wider corporate world he was excited to become their world marketing head. He is based in London and can be reached at

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Earn a FREE Pass to Foresight & Trends 2016: Become a Guest Blogger

Earn a complimentary all-access pass to this year’s Foresight & Trends conference taking place September 27-29th in Miami, FL by serving as a Guest Blogger at the event. As a Guest Blogger, you’ll have access to FT’s comprehensive agenda attracting attendees from all functions and disciplines who are responsible for identifying and translating future opportunities. Whether you are in strategy, marketing, trends, research and insights, innovation and/or brand strategy and design, FT has something to meet your needs. Learn more about the conference here:

As a Blogger, you will get a pass to the 3-day annual event, which includes breakfast and lunch every day, plus exclusive access to a networking community and on-demand webinars, to help you grow and learn throughout the year.

Guest Blogger responsibilities will include writing at least 2 posts for the Front End of Innovation Blog between now and the conference and attending specifically assigned sessions at the event and blogging live or same day. 

Apply today by sending your name, title, company, short biography and links to your blog or writing samples, along with a few sentences about why we should choose you to be our 2015 Guest Blogger to Amanda Ciccatelli at . We will review your submission and contact the chosen Guest Bloggers directly with more details.

Additional blog post guideline include:
•                     Blog Posts must be original content or a list of curated resources not easily found elsewhere.
•                     Titles ideally should be provocative and about 6 words in length.
•                     Post must contain at least one large image or rich media (logo, shutterstock, video, etc.,) and credit must be given.
•                     Content must be practical, entertaining, informative and timely but must holdup over time (does not need to tie-in to any event).
•                     Ideal length is somewhere between 300-500 words or a 5-7 minute read.
•                     Must include an author byline with bio, contact and photo add credibility to each post.
•                     Please share your posts with your own networks and LinkedIn groups.
•                     Bonus points for backlinks and keywords use.
•                     No promotional or selling, marketing content ever – A quick tie-in at the byline or editor’s note level is okay but we don’t to use our platforms as a marketing channel, instead we want to offer thought leadership and informative POVs.

Guest Bloggers are responsible for their own travel and lodging.

All readers of our blog receive an exclusive 100 discount off the current registration rate with code FT16BL:

Monday, August 22, 2016

The 6 Principles of Strategic Portfolio Management: Inclusive, Collaborative Process

By: Don Creswell, Co-founder and Vice President, SmartOrg Inc.

While many companies do a reasonably decent job of involving project managers and department heads in making decisions that will affect their teams, the process of portfolio management for some companies has focused on the needs of the C-suite executives and management first. Decisions that affect the teams working on project may be made behind closed doors with little thought put into how those decisions would impact those teams. Access to the data that is used to make decisions is limited to a privileged few, and project leaders are then handed these decisions, given no voice in the process and given the daunting task of disseminating them to their teams, whether anyone likes it or not. By handling portfolio management in this way, stakeholders, project managers – and, indeed, all participants – are left feeling disconnected and disenfranchised from the process. The work is often viewed as large-scale drudgery and overall morale I s negatively impacted.

In the strategic portfolio management model, key stakeholders participate in the process and have a voice. Those people who are most invested in the decisions and motivated to seek the best possible results find the process useful in guiding their work. And the rationale of the final decisions that was made is stored (rather than ignored) and becomes a repository of knowledge for supporting ongoing decisions throughout development and commercialization. It’s the difference between facts and knowledge and it has a profound effect on every aspect of a company’s operations.

Strategic portfolio management process and the software that supports it, creates a forum for all stakeholders to participate and for the decision-making process and strategy to be communicated openly. All participants have a voice and are able to contribute to the final decision, which promotes individual investment in the outcome. An inclusive process is understood by all, eliminates paralysis through analysis and reliance on spreadsheets that need to be reworked and intelligible.

You want everyone who will be impacted by the outcome of your decision-making process to benefit from it. The more involvement that stakeholders have in the process, the more infested they will be in implementing decisions and the more likely they will be to engage in ensuring success.

This is the sixth in a series of blogs on The Six Principles of Strategic Portfolio Management. Subsequent blogs will address each of the six principles in detail. For further information about SPM processes and decision-support software, visit or contact

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Why Best Selling Author Dan Shapiro is Excited About BEI

Dan Shapiro, Ph.D., recently sat down with us to talk about why he’s so enthusiastic about speaking at our upcoming BEI: Back End of innovation conference this fall in New Orleans.

Dan is Founder and Director of the Harvard International Negotiation Program, Associate Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School/McLean Hospital, and Affiliate Faculty at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.

He will be speaking about the topic of collaboration in his session “The 5 Keys to Successful Collaboration” at BEI.

“Just think about the number of people who you must collaborate with on a daily basis to get your ideas off the ground,” he told us. “Everyone from managers to suppliers, your partners, your family, your spouse. Successful commercialization requires effective collaboration.”

And, there is a practical science to collaboration. Watch the full video below to hear more about that science:

Don't miss Dan’s session at BEI in New Orleans this November. BEI provides a strategic road map to successful commercialization. Learn how to bring new products to market and commercialize them for maximum impact on the bottom line. Uncover new ways to solve problems we all encounter in today's dynamic business world. Learn more here:

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Removing Barriers for Idea Submission: Ideas, Where They Come from and Why They Matter

By: Steven Telio, Director of Product Management at ideaPoint

What is Idea Submission and Why Does It Matter?

Idea submission is the act of articulating a proposal and getting it into the hands of people who might be interested in it. It is among the first steps of any innovation process and plays a pivotal role in the overall success of the process, since the quality of your downstream work depends on what happens early on.

Where Do Ideas Come from?

There is no shortage of places to look for ideas. They could come from the person sitting next to you, people in your department, those co-located with you or everyone within your organization. Many of the most innovative ideas are likely to come from outside of your organization, from others within your marketspace or industry, or from subject matter experts a world away. Another rich source of ideas? External partners, trusted people who work for another company or organization and can bring unique skills and expertise to bear.

No matter where the ideas originate, one fundamental decision point you will face is whether you prefer quantity or quality. In other words, do you want to establish an ideation and idea submission process which makes it easy to submit ideas even if they are not fully formed, or would you prefer to receive only the highest quality, most well-rounded submissions?

Lean towards the former and you may receive a higher volume of ideas, yet the onus will be on the organization to effectively review and vet all of them to find those of consequence. You may also need to follow up directly with the submitter to fill in any gaps in their submission.

Alternatively, leaning towards the latter by raising the bar on what information is required before a submission can even be made, shifts the burden back to the submitter. This may also involve providing visibility into your internal corporate “areas of interest” so that the submitter has insight into what ideas or opportunities would be most likely to receive consideration. Providing these things increases the odds that ideas will align with your strategy and may make it easier for you to vet ideas. 

Yet, in the process you may miss out on any diamonds in the rough, ideas which may not yet be complete enough to meet your process benchmarks or concepts for new market opportunities that may not be on your immediate strategic horizon. Or worse, you may never learn about an idea because the potential submitter may have been deterred by the submission process itself.

Regardless of which approach you choose, align the process with your organization’s goals and ability to evaluate submissions.

This is the second post in a series of blogs titled “Removing Barriers for Idea Submission.” Each blog will address different barriers and challenges that innovation programs are faced with. For further information about a software solution to streamline your process for gathering ideas and accelerating innovations, visit or contact Pat McWilliams (

Monday, August 15, 2016

Enter to Win a Free Pass to The Future of Food Summit

Food connects all industries and all people across the world.

The future of food movement has the potential to be the most significant and meaningful trend of our time.  Through exploring the dramatic changes in how we produce, consume, interact with and understand food, companies can have a major competitive advantage. 

The Food movement encompasses all trends including local and organic movements, technology, product development and ingredients, health and wellness, world hunger, environmental change and more. The Future of Food Summit in Miami next month will provide a platform for industries to unite to learn about these changes, grasp the impact on their industry and understand how it will continue to evolve.  

At The Future of Food Summit, become better prepared and inspired to meet the challenges the future holds. Find out how to spot new trends, bring foresight to strategy, and engage with your future consumer.

Enter to win a free pass here:

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Innovation: The most potent form of leadership development

Innovation is the most potent form of leadership development.

You can't outsource the important things. After working with more than 100 clients, we have noted one of the most critical factors in the success of an innovation project: if you outsource all of the work on your innovation projects, they will fail.

It doesn’t matter if you use our humble Studio or a 7-figure firm from Palo Alto or London. Many good innovation firms can generate consumer insights and craft a winning portfolio of concepts that have the nature to change your top-line growth. Yet, without training your team on the methods and tools of innovation, the breakthrough thinking will be resisted. The concepts will die on the vine.
Train Your Team
Therefore, you have to train your team to vet new growth without preset filters, especially if this growth is outside of your current business model. Training a core team of innovators at your organization has many benefits. Here are several:
  • Learn the tools that create new value
  • Generate consumer and customer insights
  • Break down silos by having multidisciplinary teams train together 

Innovation now demands to be a centerpiece of any professional training and development program. If you aren’t teaching these core practices, your competitors are.

Innovation as Leadership and Professional Development
The primary objective of Leadership and Professional Development is to cultivate emerging leaders who show nascent traits of greatness—and to harness their value they bring to their organizations. Innovation training teaches many of the most valuable skills in an immersive, hands-on, non-theoretical way.

The hard skills including learning empathy for potential users of their product or service, a contextual understanding of the market, methods for analyzing primary market research data, tools for reframing business issues, mastering the creation and facilitation of ideation sessions, rapid prototyping, market testing of prototyping, incorporating adaptive market-feedback inspired changes to prototypes quickly and inexpensively, and practice of narrative-style communication skills that evoke and motivate.

Soft skills include expanding mindsets so they look for market potential even if it exists outside of the current business model, rank-less and multi-disciplinary collaboration training, deep listening, respect for others, creative confidence and conviction, an in-depth understanding of the human factors and psychology guiding the invisible forces of the market, adaptive thinking, iterative and non-linear approaches to problem solving, critical thinking, pattern recognition, and abductive reasoning.

As a veteran of many training programs, I can attest that there is no more engrossing of a leadership development process than attending an innovation bootcamp or workshop. The lessons work upon both the external work processes and relationship skills and internal, personal growth. More important, as you learn by doing, there is a sense of the lesson adding value outside of the sometimes solipsistic category of personal development.

You cannot outsource innovation without missing the most seminal opportunity of a lifetime, including the new value you can create for your organization and the most holistic leadership training on the market.

Michael Graber is the managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic growth firm based in Memphis, TN and the author of going Electric. Visit to learn more.

 P.S. New from an innate innovator:

Monday, August 8, 2016

The 6 Principles of Strategic Portfolio Management: Embracing Uncertainty & Dynamics

By: Don Creswell, Co-founder & Vice President, SmartOrg Inc.

In the business world, we strive to make sound decisions. We want to be confident that we have done all of our research and that by the time we are launching a new product, we have addressed every aspect of it to ensure its success. During the product development cycle, things change that make updating and tracking our assessments a vital part of the process. It requires that we address the uncertainties that arise. Whether we are experiencing fluctuations in our market, there is instability in the economy, or consumer trends are changing before our product reaches them, we must carefully examine all of the uncertainties. By embracing uncertainty rather than fighting against it, we put ourselves in a better position to achieve successful outcomes. This is what we mean when we refer to dynamics.

A Case Study

A Fortune 100 company acquired several smaller companies that each had good products in the market, but there was an apparent lack of new concepts in the R&D pipeline. The company established a new R&D lab with the goal of researching their way to become a world-class firm. Since the lab was new and the technical areas they were researching were cutting edge, they picked easy targets to fast-track their way onto the map. But was that sustainable? Was the lab on track? Would that method generate the hits they needed to fill the pipeline?

A quantitative evaluation of the lab’s procedures revealed they had a lab full of “white elephants” (refer to chart) and “bread-and-butter” product projects.” They lacked “oysters” to give them a chance to create breakthrough products (“pearls”). Given this knowledge, they developed a strategy to identify additional valuable, though risky targets, redirected or killed the white elephants and re-balanced their portfolio to improve the overall odds of winning.

Dangers of Deterministic Thinking

In mathematics and physics, a deterministic system is a system in which no randomness is involved in the development of future states of the system. A deterministic model will thus always produce the same output from a given starting condition or initial state.

When we allow deterministic thinking and aversion to risk to drive the quest for certainty, assumptions tend to be made to defend a position and the ability to confirm information is suppressed. This leads to assumptions comingling discussions about knowledge, commitments and aspirations into point estimates.

However, when we embrace uncertainty and dynamics, and address the uncertainties explicitly over time, we create an opportunity for robust thinking about upsides, downsides and options. There is more of a willingness to take prudent calculated risks. Discussions around uncertain factors area separated from discussions about commitments and aspirations. Information is represented in terms of ranges and probabilities, with supporting rationales for the assessments.

Even the best researched decision making can result in failure. No matter how you try to control uncertainty, things do not always work out. If you are intolerant to uncertainty, you may create unnecessary stress and anxiety for yourself and your colleagues. If, instead, you recognize that uncertainty is a normal condition, factor it into your analyses and adapt as changes arise, you will find that you are in a better position to make and defend your decisions.

This is the fifth in a series of blogs on The Six Principles of Strategic Portfolio Management. Subsequent blogs will address each of the six principles in detail. For further information about SPM processes and decision-support software, visit or contact

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