Friday, September 19, 2014

This Week In Innovation: 9/15/14 - 9/19/14

Why creativity should become one more value of the business culture of any innovative company so that innovative processes are encouraged along all parts of the value chain.

Shell and Pele team up to create first player-powered soccer field in Rio favela: Using kinetic energy to power lights

How big egos destroy creativity

Five Roles to consider for Your Innovation Team

Transit Innovation: San Fransisco's BART cars getting a facelift and being reimagined

5 Steps for Success In Consumer Immersion

Disruption vs. Optimization - Driving Agility With Big Data

Augmented Reality in the NFL: Chris Kluwe explains how its closer than we think

These studies show is that there is more to the rise of Chinese companies than simply an ability to do things on the cheap. They are developing management techniques that help them create things faster.

Seven stages to eco-innovation

Intel Shows Off Jimmy, a Pollution Detecting Robot: Dealing with fears of robots

Can innovation be "managed" without jeopardizing creativity? Kalypso covers some of the most common innovation challenges, their impact on the business, and pragmatic approaches to implementing innovation management processes and tools.

Printing a car?!!?! Using 3D printing to print a car

Careful planning and organisational structure will provide an environment in which the often chaotic business of innovation can flourish, writes Mhairi McEwan.

The changing role of the CTO: It is not unusual for companies nowadays to post technical challenges online and receive bids from other companies to accomplish some of their technological needs, as P&G did with its ‘connect & develop’ strategy. The strategy was not to get rid of P&G’s scientists, but to better leverage them.

Boardroom Metrics' releases a Corporate Innovation Assessment

Driving Fundamental Innovation: The Siemens Mobility IDEA Contest

Innovation managers who adopt a risk-based approach to radical innovation strategies will see its value in the marketplace.

Why your company might fail at crowdsourcing

About the Author:

Ryan Polachi is a contributing writer concentrating his focus on Marketing, Finance and Innovation. He can be reached at

Unlocking Innovation Insights: A Special Message from Trend Hunter, Jeremy Gutsche

Jeremy Gutsche is a Canadian innovation expert, author, co-host of Trend Hunter TV and founder of He has asked us to share this very special secret video message on his behalf, where he talks about his excitement about his Front End of Innovation Toronto Keynote and the Trendhunter Offices Tour, as well as a sweet offer he has for you.

If you'd like to learn how top-tier innovators at Adidas, Nestle, Pepsi, Samsung and Target rely on Trend Hunter's science to find better ideas, faster, here's your chance to connect with him.

Hint: You will receive over $1,000 of free stuff. Go here to check it out!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Canadian Innovation solution (hint: it’s not consumers)

Thank God there is a bottomless pit to mine for answers to Canadian innovation challenges. The proposals so far are as many as there are lobbies and hobbies. And every one of them has merit. But every one of them is doomed.

The focus of well-meant public counsel tends toward specific, actionable, and obvious drivers to solve the problem. The result? There ought to be more public and private investment at every stage; better training and skills; government intervention; coordinated geographic clusters; stronger commercialization; more creativity and risk taking; a focus on entrepeneurs; or a focus on enterprises.

And on and on.

Less considered, probably because they make crystal clear causal arguments cloudy, are the softer facets of the innovation ecosystem. These are one or more steps removed from the direct “this-then-that” connection between action and outcome. Moreover, innovation tends to be diagnosed discretely from other economic and social challenges, such as productivity decay. This is the result of a schooled-in reductionism that segregates systemic problems into constituent parts as if complex problems can always be solved in pieces and work when reassembled. But that’s not how complex systems work.

Setting aside my cynicism about the motives of those voicing positions, each contribution adds valuably to the discussion. But that discussion remains isolated and mired in detail. Consider innovation and productivity as a holistic pair.

Everyone who has sat through an executive discussion of new revenue contrasted with reduced cost knows that the latter goes straight to the bottom line. And yet, productivity is in decline in Canada.


Among the reasons is a “waste not, want not” ethic that would make a Puritan blush. There is also the discount sticker given to Canadian businesses by our chronically weak dollar. Let’s not forget government subsidization/protection. All of this cuffs the market’s invisible hand that might otherwise force competitive price drops, in turn demanding greater productivity—perhaps through innovation?

Weak demand for productivity innovation weakens the drive toward technologies, processes, and business models that address these challenges. Only among a few exceptions, such as mining, are businesses innovating—or investing in innovation—for productivity gain. In other cases, such as oil & gas, their cups have spilleth over so much that being unproductive is inconsequential.

That leaves the glory of consumer-directed innovations. Consumers want cool technological toys that may (the jury is still out) make them more productive. It’s true—or at least it’s said, which is the same thing apparently—that mobile devices make business people more productive. It’s also true that many consumers are also business people. But is WhatsApp or FaceBook or the iPod creating productive commercial capacity? The argument for “yes” is dubious at best.

Consumers reward these innovations though, or the successful ones anyway, explicitly with revenue or use and less explicitly through the idolatry of consumer products and the business people associated with them. Investors reward such innovations with easier and more valuable rounds of financing, and grand payoffs at Initial Public Offering. This, despite many of the longest-lived and profitable technology businesses, such as Microsoft and Oracle and Salesforce and SAP, innovating around commercial/management productivity. But they’re not Facebook or LinkedIn are they?

Defocus consumer innovation!

Blackberry (RIM) lost its edge and lead not primarily because of threats in the consumer space but because it chased that space and forgot that its lead and advantage was due to its impact on industrial productivity. Also consider that while it’s true Henry Ford made the automobile a mass consumption product, his enduring legacy is the conveyor belt: the productivity innovation that allowed for the consumer delight.

So what’s the point?

Simply this: all of those many answers to the innovation problem could be instrumental elements of a successful change to Canada’s innovation trajectory. Maybe… in some combination… or in some sequence…. But merely refocusing toward innovations that genuinely address how to make Canada’s businesses more productive, first at the edges then at the core, would set the stage for solving multiple economic challenges, including productivity and innovation, and fabricating a virtuous cycle updraft to raise all parts of the economy.

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 and can be reached at @graysonicles.

Editor's Note

We invite you to join Timothy at FEI Toronto 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.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Innovation: McCartney Style

Photo: Street sign for Abbey Road, in Westminster, London, England. This work was released into the public domain by its author, Liftarn.

Innovation. Paul McCartney. When I saw the article, "Paul McCartney's Innovative Style" by Peter Cook, I knew I had to read it.

Paul McCartney and John Lennon were an innovative song writing team. In this article, Peter analyzes Paul's and John's personalities using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®(MBTI®) personality inventory. Using this system, he says Paul would be classified as an adaptor and John an innovator.

As Peter puts it, "Often we need both innovators and adaptors to produce sustainable innovations: The innovators to produce the hard-to-copy ideas and; the adaptors to help bring the ideas into a practical market focus."

This year's Back End of Innovation (BEI) event, Oct. 6-8 in Las Vegas, Nevada is 100% focused on execution.

Don't miss strategic innovation thought leader Nadim Yacteen as he presents "Strategic Intuition: How Innovation Really Happens and What That Means for Digital Innovation." The way most of us believe we generate killer ideas is the opposite of what actually works. Come to this session to find out how to fuel digital innovation by tapping into how innovation really happens.

To learn more and register, visit

Stay connected with BEI:
- #BEI14
- End of Innovation

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

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Meta-Marketing: Your Fast Track to Millennial Appeal

'Generation Y' is a much-researched group that has been called a lot of names -- creative, entitled, digital natives, and disloyal, to name a few. Disloyalty is one trait that is incredibly concerning to brands.

How does a brand seek to speak to a generation that is more hesitant to commit to some of the major pillars of society like a longterm job, marriage and home ownership, let alone a lifelong brand relationship?

Meta-marketing is one way that brands are succeeding in appealing to Gen Y.

The rules for meta-marketing are as follows:

1) Create an Ad About an Ad

Newcastle Brown Ale's "mega huge" Superbowl ad is a great example of this. The brand created a whole campaign about the ads they would have made if they had the budget to spend on the Superbowl and created a highly successful sub-site called

The brand ended up spending less than 1/35th of what its competitors did, but really won the Superbowl by driving over 1 billion views to their site.

2) Self-Mock

The CEO of  Dollar Shave Club isn't ashamed to talk about poop and make fun of his executive duties (no pun intended) in his latest video.

Their first video for razor subscriptions got over 16 million views, going viral and exploding their client base from 1,000 members to tens of thousands of orders during the first week of their video's launch.

3) Be Authentic

With ad agencies like DDB Tribal creating apps to help consumers spot "BS" in advertising, the flowery advertising of the past isn't going to cut it in the modern age.

With the purchasing power of Millennials not yet at its peak, brands are clamouring to find way to find a brand voice that speaks to their consumer and creates a cultural connection.

Ad BS Bingo App has seen many trends in the realm of Meta-Marketing, all crowdscored by a virtual focus group of over 100,000,000 people.

To check out more on marketing to Millennials and to see how we're helping hundreds of other brands find better ideas, faster, check out Trend Reports.

About the Author

Shelby Walsh is the President and Head of Research at Trend Hunter.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

This Week In Innovation: 9/8/14 - 9/12/14

Innovation is Harder Than It Looks: "Innovation fails you if you think you can just hire someone with digital in their job title"

How Starbucks Keeps Innovating - Now the challenge for Starbucks is to keep innovating as a dominant player in the industry. via Bloomberg

The human resources department may not be the first department in a health system that comes to mind in the transition to value-based care, but it is increasingly being seen as a source for potential innovation via Healthcare Finance News.

The world holds far more opportunity for everyone with women fully vested in science, technology, and innovation; that success is not a zero sum game via HuffPo

Crowdfunding Sites, 3 trends to Watch: The Future of how people donate their money to entreprenuers

Braden Kelley on how extracting accurate customer insights for the present is difficult enough. Doing it for the future present is even harder.

Football and Finance: 7 Lessons Fantasy Football Can Teach Investors

Innovation at Facebook... Did they just copy Snapchat?

Workplace Innovation: Tips to running a smooth business via Huffington Post

Controlling The Flow of Social Media: Keeping the waves from tipping your ship

Using Distractions to Manufacture Creativity: Catching Your Attention in the Right Context

3Doodler Allows More Creative 3D Printing: "3Doodler looks something like a hot glue gun mixed with a novelty color-changing pen"

Why the "i" is not used in the new Apple Watch: Why you won't be wearing an "iWatch"

Competition is for Losers: Analyzing Google's Monopoly on the search market

About the Author:

Ryan Polachi is a contributing writer concentrating his focus on Marketing, Finance and Innovation. He can be reached at

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Foresight is the Secret Weapon of Success

Today, without foresight, we can’t prepare for what the future has in store for us. This concept has always been important, but now more than ever, it is more difficult to come by because everything in our world is constantly changing. Our technologies, jobs, institutions, even some of our treasured values and ways of thinking are shifting radically, making it very difficult to prepare for future challenges and opportunities.  I caught up with Nicole Baker, Associate at Kedge to discuss this rapidly growing importance of using foresight and trends in business.  

Baker will be speaking at the upcoming Foresight & Trends 2014 conference in Los Angeles this November.  This year, Foresight & Trends unites the most forward thinking, creative and innovative people from across the globe to discuss macro trends disrupting how business gets done. This unique event synthesizes trend insights, consumer insights, foresight, brand strategy, design thinking, human science and innovation into a clear vision for capturing future opportunities with a unique blended learning curriculum. It unleashes valuable knowledge, contextualizes the knowledge into relevant examples for you to apply back to your business, and then empowers you to connect with the future in hands on translation sessions and immersion techniques centered on core themes.

Here’s what Baker had to say:

IIR: How do you challenge the status quo? 

Baker: Strategic Foresight can be its own business case for change.  In other words, sharing an analysis of trends and patterns (which result from the intersection of trends) will often create the impetus for change.  Beyond that business case creation, leveraging assumption and bias tools which are integral to Strategic Foresight is a powerful way to challenge conventional thinking.  Diving deep below the surface of an issue and examining its root causes helps organizations overcome the “it’s always been done this way” inertia, paving the way for long-term change.

IIR: How does understanding and implementing foresight and trends ensure commercial success in business?

Baker: Working with the Senior VP in Labor Relations, we crafted several scenarios depicting the future of unions which were used to make profitable decisions regarding talent and focused legislation.

IIR: How do you get your organization to align with your vision of taking action on foresight? 

Baker: The fact is that we are all creating the future with the actions we take or do not take today.  Most organizations (and individuals); however, make these decisions without actually thinking about the future (either consciously or collaboratively).  With Strategic Foresight running in the background (as your company’s operating system), the process of aligning action to long-term vision is seamless.

IIR: Why are trends so important in order to make strategic choices for your business? 

Baker: Trends are a critical element of building a foresight competency; however, they can also be our worst enemy.  Trends represent what is already here, and without training on how to interpret trends, organizations can be blinded to what’s next.  Instead of focusing solely on trends, we must look at the value shifts under girded the trends as well as the impacts and implications resulting from the trend that are actually shaping the future.  In addition, trends (like everything else in our current environment) do not exist in isolation, as a result, organizations must develop the skill of pattern and sense-making in order to capitalize on the collision of trends.

IIR: What advice do you have for others trying to create a strategic plan for capturing future opportunities?

Baker: Think in multiples. To be effective, strategic plans in the 21st Century cannot be linear extrapolations of the past.  We must challenge our current mental maps, make sense of the emerging issues and create multiple, divergent future worlds to allow for robust and transformative strategy development.

IIR: What do you think will be the biggest trend affecting the future of business? 

Baker: Rather than a solitary trend, I think a pattern or cluster of trends will be most impactful.  In the future, open-source talent sharing will soon become so common that there will be a “People Cloud” where work is shared, collaboration is instantaneous, and “cloud” employees work for multiple enterprises simultaneously. Boundaries between internal and external networks will begin to blur, as organizations embrace the wisdom of crowds to execute strategy.

IIR: What would the world be like without foresight and innovation? 

Baker: It’s actually not hard to imagine since there are many places and organizations in the world that ignore the future.  Governments, associations and firms that hold steadfastly to the past in hopes that it will one day return.  The result is as painful to watch as it is to be a part of.

IIR: Have you ever been wrong about a foresight or future trend? 

Baker: We are careful to advise our clients that no one can predict the future. Instead, we show them how to map it, creating multiple, divergent and provocative scenarios that allow us to test our current strategies while creating new ones. 

IIR: What is the biggest thing you hope to get out of Foresight & Trends 2014 this fall?

Baker: I hope to engage with like-minded partners that seek to create more than a foresight division and instead are looking to create a culture of future thinkers in their organization.

Want to hear more from Nicole? Hear from her at Foresight & Trends 2014 this November 11-13 in Los Angeles, CA. For more information about the event or to register, click here:

About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1stDigital Impact, STEAM Accelerator and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at Follow her at @AmandaCicc.   

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

If You Give an Innovator an Idea, He’ll Want to Launch It

When my kids were little, we used to read bedtime stories. We had a number of favorites. The classics of course were always in demand – books like Goodnight Moon were perennial favorites. Another set of books that has really stuck with me were also favorites, and they’ve been in my mind lately because they illustrate issues with innovation so well that are so often overlooked.

You may be familiar with the book If you give a mouse a cookie, or perhaps If you give a moose a muffin. These books open with farcical but funny conundrums. For example, if a mouse were to show up in your kitchen and ask for a cookie, you might be inclined to give him one. That’s just kindness. However, that act of kindness will lead to unexpected consequences. Because, as the book points out, if you give a mouse a cookie, he’ll want a glass of milk to wash it down. And, being the kind individual you are, once you give the mouse a glass of milk and he finishes it, he may want to check his appearance in the mirror to ensure he doesn’t have a milk mustache. But when he views his visage in the mirror, he decides he needs to trim his mustache, and so on. The book is filled with these If, Then statements that lead on to more or less logical next actions.

How does this illustrate something about innovation?

From my experience, it seems that everyone thinks about innovation, but they think about it in very discrete, disconnected ways. R&D folks think about innovation as creating a new polymer. Marketing folks think about innovation as changing a marketing channel or delivering a new product. Finance folks think about innovation as driving new revenue or perhaps modifying a business model. What very few people think about are the knock-on effects, consequences and series of events that are required to unfold when you innovate.

For example, if your management instructs you to innovate, you are going to want some scope, instruction and definition of goals or outcomes. Lacking those you’ll create your own, or wait for someone to provide them. Once you have defined the goals or scope or had them offered to you, you’ll want to ensure your skills are adequate to the effort. You’ll acquire skills or hire them, or attempt innovation with the skills you have. If you generate ideas, you’ll want to know how to evaluate them. You’ll seek input on what matters, how to evaluate and measure ideas and what ideas matter most. Once you have good ideas that you are happy with you’ll want to know how to commercialize them. That means getting the best ideas in front of people who can make decisions about product development, prioritization and funding. If you can’t get your ideas in front of these people with a really compelling argument, all your previous work is for naught. Even if you can get your ideas in front of these people with a compelling argument, it won’t matter unless there are available resources to implement the ideas. And even if there are available resources all the capabilities or technologies may not reside internally, so you’ll need help to find and acquire the intellectual property or technologies and bring them in house.

It’s all interconnected

Like my relatives in the small rural community where I grew up, all the aspects of innovation are related. Some of the relationships are strong and evident – to get new products I need new ideas. Some of the relationships and interconnections are less obvious – to get new ideas I need to do good research to understand customer needs. Some of the obvious relationships and actions aren’t comfortable conversations – to move new ideas into production, something else has to be removed from production, or we need more production capabilities or assets.

The real problem is that the individual acts are all easy to define, and somewhat easy to conduct. The “magic” in the innovation process is defining and understanding all the strong and weak interactions, dependencies and decisions and building a – wait for it, here comes the MBA consulting word – holistic innovation approach that recognizes and understands all of the interrelationships, consequences and dependencies. If I build the best idea generation facility in the world in a large corporation but neglect to consider and rework the means of getting ideas into a product or service development process then all I create is cynicism. But idea generation tools and techniques are easy, and rethinking priorities and product portfolios and rejiggering priorities for existing products and services to make way for new product development is risky and difficult.

image credit: business growth image from bigstock

The hip bone is connected to the thigh bone

This isn’t really a mystery – everyone knows how interconnected and tightly woven an efficient, effective organization is. What most managers and executives recoil from is the work necessary to unwind 20 years of ever-increasing efficiency and capability to make room and recognize the consequences of incorporating more innovation into these processes. Introducing innovation tools like brainstorming or idea management software solutions is easy. Incorporating them into end to end processes that recognize the knock-on effects, decisions and consequences is difficult, time consuming and introduces a tremendous amount of risk. In the old song about the skeletal system we learn that bones are connected to other bones, but sometimes we forget that it is muscle that holds the bones together in the joints. Skeletons hold together through tension created by tendons and muscles that make up the joints. In a similar way we need more muscle and better design around innovation process, so that good ideas have a workflow that makes sense and considers the knock-on effects and consequences. We can’t simply string the right bones in the right sequence and expect a skeleton to stand without the muscles that link the bones together, any more than we can introduce a lot of innovation tools or techniques and neglect to link them together to lead to logical outcomes.

Building a competency versus introducing tools

If you want to sustain innovation, you need to build a competency for it, and perhaps the most significant part of that competency is a well-considered, integrated, fully thought out workflow that describes how ideas are defined, created, evaluated and converted into products and services, and that considers all of the consequences, changes in prioritization and resource allocation. Without that you have a set of tools that while powerful individually will consistently fail to deliver results.
Too many firms introduce interesting, powerful innovation tools but fail to create the linkages between the tools, and the bridges between innovation phases and product development phases. These bridges, and more importantly the consequences of the decisions within those bridges, are perhaps the most difficult component of innovation. That’s because it is in these bridges that real trade-offs and resource allocations are made.

Like this topic? Attend Back End of Innovation 2014 in Las Vegas, NV in October! Learn more about the event here:

This post was brought you by InnovationExcellence, the online home of the global innovation community, building a growing network with thousands of members from over 175 countries – thought leaders, executives, practitioners, consultants, vendors, and academia representing all sectors and industries. Its mission is to enhance innovation by providing a forum for connection and conversation across this community.

About the Author: Jeffrey Phillips is a senior leader at OVO Innovation. OVO works with large distributed organizations to build innovation teams, processes and capabilities. Jeffrey is the author of Relentless Innovation and the blog Innovate on Purpose.  Follow him @ovoinnovation.

Clicky Web Analytics