Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Find yourself stuck when it comes to your innovation efforts?

Getting Unstuck

How and why innovation teams get stuck and proven ways to break them free.

Maddock Douglas wants to help. We are honored to announce our sponsorship and presence at the 14th Annual Front End of Innovation (FEI) conference.

At MaddockDouglas, we question how a sophisticated organization can be so committed to a life-or-death mission—innovation—but still not achieve it. This was the innovation paradox we wrote about in our book “Brand New.”

Sadly, years later, research shows that the paradox is more pronounced today than ever. Companies are still getting stuck despite 84 percent of CEOs saying innovation is critical to their strategy (a 20 percent jump since we wrote the book). The good news is that the pattern of where and how innovation teams get stuck is predictable. Better yet, there are proven and reliable ways to get your team unstuck, accelerating innovation success in your company.

Maddock Douglas is an innovation consultancy with 25 years of experience taking ideas from mind to market. Over that time, we have seen the innovation practice change and mature, and we have evolved with it. We have identified four key factors that currently hamper innovation efforts. 
1.      The ability to better justify the investment in innovation
2.      The ability to innovate faster
3.      The ability to effectively prioritize innovation efforts
4.      The ability to get the ideas from mind to market

Mike Maddock will be speaking on these topics and more. You will also have the opportunity to swing by our booth to chat with our innovation consultants, receive personally signed copies of our books and have some fun.

Mike Maddock is an entrepreneur, inventor, writer and keynote speaker. He is the founding partner and CEO of Maddock Douglas, the internationally recognized innovation consulting firm that has helped more than 25 percent of the Fortune 100 design, brand and launch new products, services, experiences and business models while also empowering an agile culture that can continually innovate. A serial entrepreneur, Maddock has launched six successful businesses and co-chairs the Gathering of Titans Entrepreneurial Conclave at MIT. Maddock is a Forbes contributor and co-author of three books about innovation: “Free the Idea Monkey...to focus on what matters most!,” “Brand New: Solving the Innovation Paradox” and “Flirting With the Uninterested — Innovating in a ‘Sold, Not Bought’ Category.”

Find out more about Maddock Douglas at FEI here: http://bit.ly/1Y5iaNa

Hope to see you in Boston!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Essential Tactics for Innovation Intrepreneurs

For authentic innovation to occur at an organization, you have to craft the culture to accept and embrace new ways of working together and being in the market.

More often than not, teams or outsourced agencies follow an innovation method, create many concepts that are new to the market and certain to create new value, but are crushed by the cultural antibodies of a place while nurturing an embryonic idea.

To mitigate this internal risk and overcome this too common barrier, risk taking should be encouraged and strategies that welcome new business models should be rewarded. Ultimately, culture is simply defined by how people express (or do not express themselves) in a given organization—the guiding norms of a place.

The guiding light of any successful innovation project is the intrepreneurs that navigate the old world of the existing business culture and the new world of possibility at the same time. Their influence can determine if a project thrives or dies.

Here are three essential tips for Innovation Intrepreneurs:

Build a multi-department team. You’ll need help from every critical discipline to manifest this work. Gather a mix of marketers, strategists, engineers, financial, regulatory, and other key departments as part of the core team. You’ll need help from different skill sets and a variety of problem solving approaches. Once gathered, go through a few exercises to eliminate the idea of role and department. Rename each person for this project. Agree to not have any rank during the tenure of this project. Finally, do an exercise to give voice to the organization’s orthodoxies you may encounter so you have to power to say, “yes, that is our current reality, but it’s not Reality.”

Form a Realization Group. Recast the roles of key stakeholders as a Realization Group. These are the people are used to saying “no” for a living—legal, brand, regulatory, etc. By changing the language and style of engagement with them, you reframe their response. Have them agree to use Appreciative Inquiry as a method of inquiry for this project, and that they must commit to exploring How to make things work instead of analyzing reasons Why they might not work. Ensure responses follow this method of communication. Reframing how these roles work and resetting their language defaults will aid your mission immeasurably.

Leave the building. Get out of your head and go out into the world. Begin with the intention of deeply understanding the context of those from whom you’ll be solving problems. Go into people’s homes, their closets, and go shopping with them. You will be surprised how much this seemingly little action can add value to the process. As one world-renowned chemist told me after visiting a few contact dermatitis sufferers in their home and understanding their routines, rituals, and struggles, “we need to start every project this way or we are just creating for ourselves.”

These three essential tactics will empower any innovation intrepreneur and create a culture of engagement and encouragement. 

Remember, work is an ecosystem, what's good for the hive is good for the bee and what is good for the bee is good for the hive.


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 www.southerngrowthstudio.com or Michael Graber to learn more.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Corporate Goes Agile at FEI 2016: Corporate/Startup Partnerships

Large organizations are under fire to be more agile- but that's easier said than done for an innovation team entrenched by bureaucracies and red tape.

FEI 2016 is here to help by bringing you a jam packed itinerary live from the head office of MassChallenge Accerator, where you'll experience corporate/startup partnerships in action, followed by a special startup mixer with corporate innovation leaders and MassChallenge Alumni startups.
Building a Startup Environment In-House:

Corporate Goes Agile

Iterating on the model forged by independent accelerators and incubators, leading corporate innovation units have built working environments structured to accelerate the growth of internal product teams and external startups. Learn how 5 corporate innovation leaders changed the culture of their organizations through physical, strategic, and programmatic engineering.

·         Vijay Patel - Director, Strategic Partnerships & Innovation (Digital) @ CVS Health
·         Rick Rundell - Senior Director, Technology and Innovation Strategist @ Autodesk
·         Lauren Van Heerden - Chief Innovation Officer @ Brookstone

Build, Barter, or Buy: The Ultimate Dilemma

As startups flourish in every industry, corporate innovation and development teams are being asked to make difficult decisions on how to engage with these disruptors. This conversation will focus on how four experienced innovation leaders make decisions on new technologies and services that could drive investment returns, launch new company verticals, or enhance current business lines.

·         Luba Greenwood - Vice President, Global Mergers and Acquisitions and Business Development @ Roche Pharmaceuticals
·         Sam Bastia - Executive Director, Strategy, Planning, and Innovation @ Verizon
·         Rishi Daing - Vice President, Innovation and Emerging Brands @ PepsiCo

The afternoon at MassChallenge is just one way FEI empowers and facilitates real life exploration to innovative Boston companies. Check out the field trips to Samuel Adams Brewery and Fidelity Labs: http://bit.ly/1TeqCpz

Download the brochure for the full program: http://bit.ly/1qXQDST

Use code FEI16BL for $100 off the current rate. Buy tickets here: http://bit.ly/1qXQDST

All the best,

The FEI Team


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Fruitful Failing - Are You Using These 6 Rules?

"Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day." 
- Jim Rohn

One of those disciplines is Fruitful Failing.  Incorporate these 6 rules into your product development efforts and you'll be on your way to success.

1. Practice being curious about why things fail.  Ask questions, observe, taste, feel, smell.  If you can’t explain something in the failure, if something seems odd, follow up!  (This is more of a disposition than a step in a process.) 

2. Can this failure actually be used?  In other words, is it truly a failure? Maybe it's an entirely new entity - what alchemists would call a tertium quid.

3. Can some aspect of the failure be used?  If the failure doesn't result in something totally  new, perhaps there is a subsystem/component that is useful in its failed form.

4. What did I do? How did I get here?  Understand the full width and breadth of what was done to create the failure.  Look at the ingredients that went into the failure, the tools and fixtures, the timing, the context/environment.  Understand what truly caused the failure. (In contrast to Rule #1, this is investigation and analysis.)

5. Document it!  Jot it down, put it into your phone, take pictures, make recordings. At the very minimum, commit what you can to memory.  Be conscious about remembering what happened so that it doesn’t happen again.

6. Can you recreate the failure?  At the end of the day, we should be able to recreate the failure.  If we can’t recreate it, we didn’t understand it. In that case, go back to Rules #4 and #5.

"I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed." 
- Michael Jordan

Michael Plishka is the President of ZenStorming(TM), a design and innovation consultancy.  He can be reached at michael@zenstorming.com.

Creating a Culture of Innovation: The Where, How, and Why

This post was originally published on Orcinternational.com

By Natasha Kennedy, Senior Vice President, Strategy Research and Matt Roddan, Vice President, Employee Research

A company doesn’t have to be the driving force behind one of the year’s most fascinating to demonstrate innovation, but to foster employee engagement workplace innovation must be a part of the organizational DNA. According to our research, 59 percent of HR managers say innovation is critical to business success, yet only about one-third of organizations are focused on creating an innovative culture.

Yet, any employee, in any role can harness innovation to make a difference in the company and brand. They simply have to know where, how, and why.

The Where

First we have to clear up the ambiguous, often intimidating, definition of what it means to innovate. We define innovation as doing things differently to produce better, more efficient, and valuable outcomes for the evolving needs of your business and your customer base. A common foundation that underpins successfully innovative organizations, such as these is the fostering of a culture of innovation that brings out the best in employees. They encourage disruption to the status quo and challenge employees to bring about change.

Innovation can occur on a large or small scale. It can be as simple as making a process easier, saving money with a new solution, or finding a way to make a task more productive. In other words, innovation is not limited to one group, job, or department; it can occur anywhere within the organization. The key to creating a culture of innovation is to make innovation a part of everyday work life.

Employees need to understand that they are permitted to think about making things more agile and they should consider ways to disrupt the norm.  Employees feel challenged, engaged and valued when they are encouraged to innovate, which positively impacts performance and job sustainability.
The How

Companies can foster new ideas by providing employees with time to innovate. Managers should encourage out-of-the-box thinking and challenge employees to find new ways to approach common issues. By encouraging innovation and advocating collaboration among groups and across teams, new and exciting ideas have the opportunity to take root. Put incentives in place to motivate employees. Hold employees accountable and reward the effort rather than the outcome. The goal is to create an environment for growth and change. While not all ideas will prove fruitful, an environment where employees feel free to think and create will foster engagement.

The Why

Innovative ideas can take a company to the next level, foster relevance, and create an environment where employees are excited and enthusiastic to work. Take sportswear manufacturing company Nike as a stellar example. To foster innovation, all Nike employees work within a framework called “The Nike Maxims.” We’ve highlighted four of the maxims making it clear that innovation is a priority:

·         It is our nature to innovate
·         Simplify and go
·         Be a sponge
·         Evolve immediately

By introducing these maxims to new hires from day one, employees know exactly what is expected of them, and they understand the importance of innovation in the workplace.  

There is a definitive link between innovation culture and employee engagement.  Engaged employees tend to be loyal and committed and will advocate for the brand. When engaged employees are also encouraged to innovate and when the very culture of the organization commends new ideas, the result can lead to significant impact on business performance.

For more information on ways to create a culture of innovation, download our whitepaper“Creative Employee Engagement Through Innovation.”

Thursday, April 21, 2016

FEInsights: The Challenge of Change

By: Howard Tiersky 

It’s not crazy to think that today’s large, pre-internet enterprises might be doomed. A digital tidal wave of change is sweeping the world, and startups and tech companies keep out-innovating previous industry leaders. It can sometimes feel like today’s global giants are like Gulliver the Giant, being strapped to the ground by the tiny people around him.

You may well be struggling right now to drive some sort of change, innovation, or digital transformation within your organization. Why is it so hard? And what’s the secret to getting big companies to successfully transform?

Did you know, it takes an aircraft carrier nine miles to turn around. That’s a pretty big distance. And for the carrier to turn around that quickly, it causes a lot of disruption, throwing waves and creating a lot of noise. If you’re on that ship, you’re hanging out at a pretty steep angle, probably some people are getting seasick.
If you’ve ever remodeled your kitchen you know that the disruption it creates can be truly awful.
The bottom line is, change is uncomfortable.
Even if the result of the change sets us up for a great future, most people don’t warm up to it quickly.

As an innovator, you might have a blind spot in understanding the idea that most people are averse to change, because you probably like to change! You have to remember that you’re in the minority, and to make change happen, you’ll need to influence the majority (who don’t have the natural enthusiasm for change that you do.)

And it’s critical that you do influence the majority, because it isn’t just that people don’t like change, they actively resist it. They create rationalizations that it isn’t needed, warn against its dangers and, if a change is approved, will go so far as to sabotage it. Why? People fear change that will threaten their jobs. For company management, who have built their empires using the status quo, progress doesn’t sound great in comparison.

I learned this the hard way while working with Blockbuster. Ten years ago, when they were in their prime, my team and I were asked to help lead a digital transformation effort to define the future of their business. The vision that we crafted looked a lot like Netflix looks today, including on-demand video and original programming. But the people in charge of the stores, who held most of the power, were very resistant. They believed the key to the future was to invest in and improve the store experience. Without their support, the change couldn’t succeed. The transformation died and, unfortunately, Blockbuster along with it. 

The upside? My team and I learned many things during this process that has enabled us to help other companies avoid similar fates.

So, if people don’t like change, but change is essential to survival, how do you get them to change?

To successfully drive change, you need to:
1.      Create a burning platform for change, so that failing to change is more painful than the change itself.
2.      Create a compelling vision of the future, after the change is complete.
3.      Give people the confidence that they will be successful
4.      Give people the opportunity to help create the change, and not be a victim of it

IIR has asked me to talk to you about digital transformation at the Front End of Innovation Conference in Boston this May, because of the work from has done in helping large enterprises achieve successful, ambitious digital transformation projects. At the conference we’ll be providing a lot more detail around how to execute on these strategies as well as other challenges to enterprise innovation.

I’d love to hear your biggest challenges in this area – leave them in the comments! And if you connect with me on Twitter (@Tiersky) or send an email, I’ll send you a discount code to use for your Front End of Innovation conference registration.

About the Author: Howard Tiersky is a Digital Transformation Consultant, Keynote Speaker, and Founder of FROM, The Digital Transformation Agency. FROM helps clients develop and optimize digital experiences for shopping, banking, travel and entertainment – online, on location, and everywhere you need to be to engage the next generation of digital consumers.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Innovation Interview: Every Customer Pain Point is an Opportunity for Growth

In our Innovation interview series, each week we talk to thought leaders, inspirers, and innovators in the industry to pick their brains about the state of innovation, trends, and what’s in store for the future.

This week we caught up with Christina Gerakiteys, CEO & Creative Director, Ideation at Work. Check out our interview with her below:

Why is customer-centered innovation so important now more than ever?

Gerakiteys: In an internet connected world, where we are moving more and more to services in many countries, and away from manufacturing as we know it, smart businesses can develop a global customers set. In order to attract the interest and trust of customers we need to find the cohort that we can best serve. 

At every customer pain point, there is an opportunity for innovation. Identify what you can do to make your customers' lives easier/better/more profitable, and you have a service or product that is marketable. A close study, where you observe your client, walk in the shoes so to speak, will soon have you discovering where they pause/grimace/guess what to do next. Eliminate that problem and you are being customer-centered. It is also good customer service.

Identify a gap in the market and you have version two of customer-centricity. This is what happened when Seniors Housing online went searching for aged-care accommodation for their father. They couldn’t find the information they were looking for quickly and easily, so they created a website and business around a gap in the aged-care market. Check them out...

How can a company create a culture of innovation?

Gerakiteys: This is at the same time the easiest thing and the hardest thing to do. There is a plethora of research (Terese Amiable, Dan Pink) that has proven in order to create a company culture of innovation, you must truly engage your workforce, and to do that you need to empower them. What does that mean? It means giving them permission to do things. Notably; 1. Try new things 2. Feel safe failing a number of times in order to realize success.

In all my research around this and in my personal experience, the saying “The fish stinks from the head down” is 100% accurate. To have a truly engaged workforce you must firstly all be 'singing the same song’ or as Jim Collins puts it, ‘all be on the same bus’. Aligned vision and values are paramount to an innovative workplace. Whenever we are asked to work with an organization to increase their creative and innovative capacity, we start with vision and values. 

In exceptionally productive organizations, there is a tendency to a more horizontal form of leadership structure. Salim Ismail’s book Exponential Organizations is a case study affirming this is the way productive and successful organizations should and will operate into the future. But even before that, in the 90’s, we can look to companies like Semco to see the growth and success horizontal management structures and self- regulation can have. I suggest taking a look at the YouTube resource, The Caring Capitalist.

Why is intrapreneurship key to innovation?

Gerakiteys: In my business, we refer to intrapreneurship when we are dealing with larger organizations and government agencies or services such as education, health, councils etc. If we take innovation at its basic definition, “small useful change”, I cannot think of one element of life to which this does not apply. Successful organizations reward their employees for their contributions of new ideas, products or services. And that reward is not necessarily monetary, it may be a share scheme or simply recognition from colleagues and direct line managers. 

Companies such as Google and 3M have benefitted greatly from intrapreneurship and the practice of giving employees time during their working hours to solve problems, be customer- centered or dream up new and better concepts. In order to keep employees engaged and motivated, allowing intrapreneurship is crucial. Just as fortuitous is the fact that everyone doesn’t want to be an entrepreneur or intrapreneur. We need followers and doers and specialists in order to make the dreams and ideas of entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs actionable and achievable… 

Want to hear more from Christina? Attend FEI – Front End of Innovation - a global event brand that has become the annual meeting place of the most seasoned innovators across the globe. Established in 2003 in the US and 2007 in Europe, the FEI event has sustained a rich history of success with corporate innovators, entrepreneurs, academics and thought leaders with events in cities across Europe, including Munich, Vienna, Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Zurich and Monte Carlo. To hear Christina speak at FEI and learn more about the conference, click here: http://bit.ly/1XH0es2

Monday, April 18, 2016

Set the Stage for Innovation with former Pixar SVP of Technology, Greg Brandeau

Greg Brandeau, former SVP of Technology, Pixar and EVP & CTO, The Walt Disney Studios recently sat down with Innovation Leader for an interview prior to delivering his keynote address at FEI: Front End of Innovation.

When asked about leaders setting the stage for innovation, Brandeau had said leaders "see themselves as stage-setters or context creators. They hire a bunch of smart, diverse people and let them have at it. It's not that the leader has the idea of what to do; the vision is an emergent property of the organization."

See the full interview here: http://bit.ly/1SfsOSW

He'll continue on the topic of Leading Innovation on the keynote stage at FEI: Front End of Innovation next month. Join us as he reveals the culture and leadership styles behind some of the most successful, innovative companies.

In addition to Greg, you'll be inspired by innovation experts like:

·         Vijay Govindarajan, Thinkers 50 Winner and Best-Selling Author, Reverse Innovation on The Three-Box Solution Strategy for Leading & Executing Innovation
·         Alexa Clay, Culture Hacker & Innovation Strategist, The League of Intrapreneurs on How Ingenuity on the Fringe Will Shake Up Mainstream Innovation
·         Karen Hershenson, Leader, clay street project, Procter & Gamble on Innovation from the Inside Out
·         Dan Heath, Best-Selling Author, Made to Stick & Decisive, on Making Smarter Decisions

And more!

Download the FEI: Front End of Innovation brochure for the full agenda and session descriptions: http://bit.ly/1YDpwHP

Company-wide innovation begins with great leadership. Join us at FEI 2016 to uncover what you need to create and lead a team where innovation thrives.

Use code FEI16BL for $100 off the current rate. Buy tickets here: http://bit.ly/1YDpwHP

All the best,
The FEI Team


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