Friday, February 29, 2008

Oklahoma: The Sooner State……Or is that the Creativity State?

In a recent blog post at Creativity and Innovation blog, they recently posted on one state’s mission to become known as The Creativity State. When one thinks of the state of Oklahoma, that’s not usually what comes to mind, usually it’s football, tornadoes, cowboys, or vast amounts of land. That will be no more if the Governor Brad Henry has can change the course of his state. This initiative is not only supported by the governor, but also the businesses and schools of the state. Sir Ken Roberts is the brain behind project, which focuses on creativity in schools, businesses and the culture of the state. They believe that if creativity is started from a young age, their state has the opportunity to flourish.

According to the Creativity Project webpage, the goals for the project are:

1. To leverage existing creativity and elevate the creative potential of Oklahomans;
2. To empower all Oklahomans to develop their capacity for creativity and innovation;
3. To facilitate the growth of an entrepreneurial economy that will stimulate new careers,
companies and industries; and
4. To facilitate the further development of world-class cultural and educational opportunities.

Check out the official State of Creativity webpage here. This project amazes me. I think that it will get more recognition as time goes on, because look at all the minds that are working together to create something great. What do you think?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Listen to Your Customers!

Why do companies stall? According to the latest post on FutureLab, it is a result of the following six reasons:

  • Core assumptions about the marketplace and company capabilities to exploit it are undocumented

  • Market definition boundaries are out of date

  • Definition of core market is out of date

  • Infrequent testing of customers' valuation of product attributes

  • Ineffective translation of customer insights into products

  • Core customers no longer are willing to pay a premium for the product

Companies have fallen too deeply in love with their products and have neglected customer needs. Satisfying customer needs will in turn improve the strengths of a company’s offerings. Organizations need to take a step back, relax, and rethink their value propositions offered to their customers

To have success, failure must come first

In a recent article in Research World *entitled, “The glorious paradox of success if you need failure to achieve it,” by John Kearon, Chief Juicer - founder and CEO of BrainJuicer, Inc. he spends time discussing the importance of failure when it comes to innovation and how our current system of management does not allow us to fully fail before we can succeed. Failure. That seven letter word is dreaded by everyone. But those who strive call themselves inventors or creators know that an idea is not perfect on the first try, yet comes after many times of facing failure.

Since we don’t allow the natural progression of things, we ignore natural progression such as trial and error or survival of the fittest. So how are we supposed to get to that final version of our innovative process without failing times before?

John Kearon points out that our culture is naturally against innovation. Instead of stumbling upon business failures, we instead turn to acquisitions and consolidations, not allowing innovation to take its proper course. Companies completely skip over the trial and error process. Our challenge is to learn how to speed up the mistake process. Therefore it is essential that we take more risks and learn from them in a smaller amount of time.

* this is a .pdf file that will download if you click on it; you’ll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Captain Planet’s next goal: Electronic Cars

One of the hardest things to miss these days is now global warming is influencing our lives. What is the media giving as the reason? The majority of the time, it’s carbon emissions. So why is no one working harder to develop vehicles that run on electricity? Green innovation is receiving a huge push from all around the industry, in addition to all around the world. At Innovating to Win, they recently wrote an post on this.

The current problem right now is the amount of power a battery can hold. There are some innovators out there donating money and energy into the innovation process, but will anything ever come out of this? I think the biggest thing to fear in this whole situation is the oil companies. They’re at a loss if a better method other than fuel is found to give power to machinery. So why aren’t they the ones working on innovation for this?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Unique Experiences across the Front End of Innovation

With the launch of this blog, our focus is to bring to you examples of how different organizations approach innovation, applying well known techniques or developing their own to handle the unique circumstances they are facing. Recently we received these recorded webinar presentations taking a look at what these companies faced. We hope you’ll find these of interest:

How Sprint Uses Value-Based Management to Innovate

In this 45 minute Webinar recording you’ll learn how Sprint Nextel used Value Based Management techniques to quickly and confidently identify commercialization and product opportunities that would maximize return on investment.

How HP Uses Value-Based Management to Maximize New Product Value - Two Case Studies

In this Webinar featuring Dr. Michael Menke, former Chief Portfolio Advocate and Business Strategist Strategic Planning and Modeling, Hewlett Packard, you'll follow the journey of two products through the new business creation decision process.

Sheila Mello's Insights
Sheila Mello shares a few words about the meaning of customer value and how to find the innovative solutions that may come from that.

Collaboration from someone who knows nothing about your situation

At the Idea Sandbox, a recent post asked a question that was very simple. However, our answer to that question may not always be.

Have a fresh problem that needs to be cracked?

Idea Sandbox’s answer is very simple. Bring in someone else who knows nothing about the company. Why? I think that this is a genius idea. Often when someone deals with only one situation, they get stuck in a box. A routine is set up, and the follow a straight line. So when a problem arises, they only see a few answers that fit in their box. So why not bring in someone who knows nothing about your problem? Collaboration is often the strongest component of innovation and fresh ideas.

What do you think?

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Long Road to Innovation

Innovation, the thing about it is everyone likes to talk about it, not many people actually put much thought into it. The catch is when someone strikes gold, everyone’s on the bandwagon. In a recent post at Innovating to Win, they wrote a piece called “The Lonely Voice of Innovation.”

A true innovator sees innovation around every corner, as well as how many simple day to day things can be improved to more efficiently work.

The four basic parts that the majority of businesses choose to focus on are:
- Intensifying global competition, economic uncertainly
- Pervasive commoditization
- Antiquation of intellectual assets
- The generational transformation of the workforce make the need for reliable

With these problems facing everyone, it’s not a surprise that 70% of CEOs have innovation as a priority in the future.

So what can you, as the innovator of your company, do? It’s simple, just keep at it. Try to explain to your employees on their terms what your goal is for your innovation. Once an idea takes off, everyone will be interested.

Kenneth Cole: Taking Innovation to New Heights

After 25 years of leading the fashion world in innovation and consistently providing us with cutting edge ad campaigns what is next for the entrepreneur Kenneth Cole? Kenneth Cole has recently embraced the blogosphere and launched the AWEARNESS blog which will address major social issues. Kenneth Cole discusses these points which are relevant to him and his company:

“I want to embrace this freshly released outpouring of opinions, loves, hates, fears and desires under four pillars of discussion that are part of the DNA of my Company and myself: Social Rights, Hard Times, Well-being and Political Landscape.”

Can we see other fashion designers and innovators follow suit with social awareness blogs? Just like the Red Campaign has sparked up interest within this generation, can fashion design do the same?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Beginning Stages of Innovation

Have you ever wondered about the introductory stages a design firm goes through when launching a new project? Before these gadgets hit the retail shelf, it spends a little more than a year in the design stages passed through a team of engineers, designers, and researchers. Here’s an interesting image on the design stages from Wired magazine. Enjoy!

How do you stay ahead?

In a recent post at Jim Carol’s blog, he lists steps and ideas to stay ahead of the global innovation game.

--Adjust to rapidly evolving markets—Every company and organization is involved in this. Not only pharmaceuticals, but management firms, accounting firms, entertainment companies are all included. You have to always be looking ahead to see what you can come up with.

-- Re-align for new workforce realities – The world’s workforce is becoming more and more specialized. The internet now allows us to explore that with extreme depth. So, get the workers that know about your field and can come into your corporation and give you the extra edge.

-- Jump on rapidly emerging trends – Because of the “global infinite idea loop,” ideas today start faster than ever before. These ideas grow fast. The time it takes the product to get to the customers is very small because of the world wide communication loop. Get in it and stay on top of your product.

-- Track the impact of fast-science on product innovation – Get into the collaboration loop. It’s world wide, work with others to come up with ideas that will help you get to your customer.

--Generate ideas through general collaboration – Instead of resisting the change of the coming generations, listen to them. They’ll be your future customers, get a head start and start innovating for them now.

--Streamline process – Organize your company for a rapid process. This is so when you get the ideas, they can be quickly developed and everyone in your company will have their job to make your company move faster.

--Continue to innovate in a time of stress – You’re an innovative organization. Even in a time of economic hardship, you’re looking for the future. Keep innovating like you are.

It’s here: The 2008 Front End of Innovation Speaker Line Up and Topics

Check it out at:

For speaking opportunities contact: Jennifer Finer
For marketing sponsorship opportunities contact: Anastasia Ioannou
For sales opportunities contact: Deborah Hatcher

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