Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Facebook Knocking at Your Door

Facebook has come up with an innovative way to get users to do something else other than stare at their screen for hours. Jonathan Baskin discusses on his latest post on dimbulb how Facebook has announced that it will run “engagement ads”, which will prompt individuals to vote and comment on news items, movies, and other popular items. Once they vote, a short ad will then appear or some sort of widget will be placed on the user’s homepage.

An issue that many marketers face on social media and social networking sites is relevance. No one wants to get pitched to, but Jonathan explains if an advertisement taps into a user’s passion then perhaps it might create a good response. One thing is for sure; Facebook is taking ads beyond clicks and looking for new ways to engage its current customers.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Latest Innovation Poll Results

We’ve recently asked the question “Do you think the court ruling on "business method" patents will hurt innovation?” in our latest poll on this blog. The results show that 70% of respondents believe that the ruling will hurt innovation and its practices. I’m interested to hear your thoughts on the results.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Top Quartile Practices in the Front End

Here’s your chance to view Peter Koen’s presentation if you were not able to make it for the live event. Koen, who is an Associate Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology presented on best practices, methods and tools used in the Front End which will consistently increase the value, amount and success probability of high profit concepts entering the new product development funnel. The archived webinar recording is approximately an hour long.

Watch the archive here:

Friday, November 21, 2008

USA: Chairman Gordon Re-elected, Lays Out Vision For House Science and Technology Committee


On Thursday, the Democratic caucus re-elected Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN) as Chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology for the 111th Congress.

"I am honored and excited to continue our work at the Committee on Science and Technology. I am very proud of the progress we made in the 110th Congress. We enacted the America COMPETES Act, to maintain and regrow America's economic competitiveness by supporting education and innovation. We reauthorized NASA, reaffirming our commitment to a balanced, robust program of science, aeronautics, and human spaceflight and exploration. And our contributions to the Energy Independence and Security Act expanded research, development, and demonstration of energy technologies and promoted renewable energy, energy efficiency, and clean coal technologies," said Gordon. "But there is much more work to be done, especially in light of our country's current economic problems. The major challenges facing our country--a foundering economy, a changing climate, a growing need for clean energy we produce at home--will be solved by science, technology, and American innovation. It's more important than ever that we are looking at how we can grow new sectors of the U.S. economy and ensure our long-term competitiveness."

Chairman Gordon was first elected Chair after Democrats gained the Majority in the 2006 elections. He joined the Committee as a freshman in the 99th Congress, and became Ranking Member in the 108th Congress.

For the rest of this article, please click here.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

GSMA Annouces Innovation Winners

The GSM Association (GSMA), the global trade group for the mobile industry, today announced the winners of the APAC leg of the 2009 Mobile Innovation Global Award Competition. The winners were announced at the GSMA's Mobile Asia Congress, Asia's leading mobile communications event, that's taken place in Macau, China this week.

For a list of winners, please click here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Learn New Online Research Approaches to Product Naming in the Ideation Process

Join us for a free webinar. Please note the different times to accomodate European and United States attendees.


Join us for a Free Webinar
Thursday, December 4th from 3:00 to 4:00pm GMT

Please mention priority code: MWS0016Buzz
Space is limited.Reserve your Webinar seat now at:


Join us for a Free Webinar
Thursday, December 4th from 2:00-3:00 EST

Please mention priority code: MWS0016Buzz

Space is limited.Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

About the web seminar:
Naming can be a particularly challenging part of the new product development process and there are different research needs depending on what stage you are at in the process, e.g., ideation, evaluation or selection. In this webinar, using case study examples, we will explore three innovative online techniques that address the different challenges in each of these stages.
IDQ, an online interactive ideation process in which consumers create and evaluate names in real time in response to a product concept. We’ll demonstrate how we generated and sorted hundreds of names in a very short period of time.
·eCollage, a highly engaging online quantitative exercise in which respondents create an online collage that communicates what a name means to them and the imagery and associations it evokes. This enables us to go beyond a name’s obvious descriptive and feature-focused characteristics to its underlying emotions and associations.
Configurator, a unique building platform for gaining quantitative understanding of naming options in context. Using this technique, names are presented in an online interactive exercise where respondents select the preferred name, icon, color and other packaging elements. Respondents decide which are most appealing and meaningful to them when imagining the products on shelf and then provide insight into why they prefer those elements.
What you will learn by attending:
New, fast and effective research methodologies that address different types of research goals in naming.


i. Name ideation: IDQ engages respondents in an exercise that generates hundreds of new name possibilities - and provides an initial evaluation and stratification of those names.

ii. Name Imagery and Communications: eCollage helps you understand emotions, images and associations that respondents have to certain names.

iii. Name selection: Configurator engages respondents in an inactive exercise that requires them to select one of several name options and then build other packaging elements around that name.

About the speaker

Brendan Light, SVP, Research and Product Development, BuzzBack Market Research

Brendan leads research development and best-practices for BuzzBack. In addition to continually improving the quality of the quantitative and qualitative methodologies and analytics of BuzzBack's research offerings, he pioneered BuzzBack's award-winning and patent-pending eCollage and Verbatim Viewer and leads the future development and research strategy for BuzzBack. He continues to focus on leveraging the transformative powers of the Internet to evolve respondent engagement, operational efficiency, and visualization of analytics and insight. Brendan has over 15 years of client and research supplier side experience, having also served as Research Director for Grey Interactive and as the Global Director of Ipsos-ASI Interactive.
Privacy Notice: IIR is dedicated to bringing you valuable information services such as this free Webinar. By registering for this event, you acknowledge that IIR may contact you electronically or by any other means regarding IIR's events and services. You may opt out of subsequent communications if you prefer to no longer receive them.

This web seminar is presented to you by:

Please visit our blog at for additional industry news and commentary.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Top Quartile Practices in the Front End

We'd like to remind you about the web seminar "Top Quartile Practices in the Front End." It will be tomorrow morning from 11AM to 12PM EDT with FEI Europe Keynote Speaker Professor Steven Koen of the Stevens Institute of Technology.

Sign up here:
And mention priory code: m2150w1Blog

About the web seminar:
What are the best practices, methods and tools used in the Front End which will consistently increase the value, amount and success probability of high profit concepts entering the new product development funnel? (The front end is that part of the innovation process which precedes formal development – typically prior to gate 3 in the traditional Stage Gate process.) Working with Cabot, Dow Corning, Ethicon, ExxonMobil, International Flavors and Fragrances, Johnson & Johnson, Rohm and Haas, Valvoline and WelchAllyn under a project funded through the National Science Foundation, under the auspices of the Industrial Research Institute, a large cross-sectional survey of medium to large companies was done in order to determine best practices in the front end. The results of this landmark study, which will be discussed in this web seminar, bring together practices from over 205 companies in order to provide clear statistical justification (i.e. evidenced based methodology) for “best” practices.

We hope you'll be joining us!

China and England Meet to Discuss Innovation


Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandongon Monday met with the British secretary of state for innovation, universities and skills for talks on bilateral cooperation on education and technology.
During the meeting, Liu spoke highly of the development of Sino-British comprehensive strategic partnership relations.
In recent years, the two countries have witnessed frequent high-level exchanges and deepening political trust. They also have made remarkable achievements in cooperation on various fields, said Liu, adding that the bilateral relationship maintains good momentum.

For more information, please click here.

How do you think this will impact Chinese-British relations? Share your thoughts!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Vodafone Americas Foundation Launches Wireless Innovation Challenge

From MarketWatch:

The Vodafone Americas Foundation today launched its Wireless Innovation Challenge, an initiative that seeks to identify and fund the best innovations using wireless related technology to address critical social issues around the world.
This new competition will award three winners prizes of $300,000, $200,000 and $100,000 for unique, late-stage wireless innovations that offer the best potential for creating social change in the areas of education, health, economic development, the environment and access to communication.
"Wireless has the potential to change the world," said June Sugiyama, Director of the Vodafone Americas Foundation. "By leveraging Vodafone's expertise in wireless and our worldwide commitment to furthering social good, the Wireless Innovation Challenge is a unique way to discover and invest in groundbreaking technological innovations with the potential for global impact."

For more information click here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The True Innovation Potential of Employees Lies Outside the Perimeter of Their Job

Linda Hill, Professor at the Harvard Business School, recently discussed how companies that have demonstrated successful innovation practices have used strategies to engage innovators on a more personal level in this post on the Unstructure blog. When employees are put in an environment where daily routines, performance pressures, and workloads are present it seems to limit the quality of the innovative work flow.

I’m interested in hearing some success stories of breakthrough innovation by breaking the traditional employer-employee relationship?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Addressing Customer “Pain Points”

During an economic downturn, companies must really show that they are attuned to customer needs in order to bring innovative solutions to old-age problems. This post on Endless Innovation highlights two examples of how FedEx and have listened to their customers and have come up with new ideas to address these customer “pain points”.

Since the holiday season is approaching, many consumers will face the problem of opening up gifts. Some gifts are so tightly shrink wrapped it becomes a mission to penetrate gift wrapping. Amazon has decided to alleviate this problem by introducing “frustration-free packaging.” These gifts will now be easy and safe to open, with packaging that is recyclable.

FedEx has introduced a new baggage handling service in coordination with United Airlines to help consumers avoid carrying bulky materials through airports. For $149, consumers can have door-to-door baggage handling, instead of going through pesky check-in screening processes at the airport.

What are innovative solutions your organization has come up with to address customer “pain points” this holiday season?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Innovation is Leading the Way Even Through a Rough Patch

The results are in from the latest economics and innovation poll from the Innovating to Win blog. Just as I suspected, the majority of companies are still looking to innovation to lead the way through turbulent times, and so there are increasing investment.

Only 15.5% of companies are pulling back while a whopping 47% are increasing investments. Astounding numbers…

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Innovators Can Take a Page from Obama’s Book

How has the unlikeliest of candidates risen above and won the presidential election despite the fact that many conservatives argue that he has no executive experience? The answer here is that Barack Obama is a leader in radical innovation, as this article on Business Week explains. He has ran a political campaign like no other before, including participation from mountains and mountains of volunteers and the effective use of social media such as Facebook, blogs, and even Myspace.

Business Week has created a list of seven lessons for radical innovation that Barack Obama has brought to the table through this political campaign. Here’s the list:

  1. Have a self-organization design. Obama’s campaign broke new boundaries when it decided to think 3 dimensionally instead of the 2-dimension concept of tall and flat. His campaign included many volunteers, donors, and participants which helped balance asymmetries in marketing, finance, and distribution, unlike McCain’s campaign.
  2. Seek elasticity of resilience. Obama’s campaign was built for resilience instead of maximizing outputs. When McCain attacked Obama with negative ads, the Obama campaign did not retaliate and instead they held massive fundraisers.
  3. Minimize strategy. The Obama campaign wasted little time on strategy as they felt that strategy too often destroys credibility and corrupts valuable meaning.
  4. Maximize purpose. Obama’s goal was more than just to win the election. The “Yes we can” campaign proved that he wanted to change the world.
  5. Broaden unity. Instead of segmenting and targeting over and over like traditional marketers, Obama’s campaign succeeded through getting through to all markets with a unifying message that would hit home.
  6. Thicken power. Thin power relies on beating people into subjugation by instilling fear. Obama concentrated on “thick power”, which is true power. Obama was able to inspire, lead, and create a strong belief among people.
  7. Remember that there is nothing more asymmetrical than an ideal. The last lesson proves that an ideal is revolutionary and innovative. Barack closed out his election speech by saying, “let's go change the world.”
The article mentions that the 7th lesson is the starting point for tomorrow’s radical innovators, and I fully agree. I hope this revolutionary campaign has inspired businesses to use these seven lessons to think 3-dimensionally in their innovation practices.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I ran across this today, gave some hope for innovation in a bleak fiscal environment.

Intel chief: Recession can't halt innovation

There is a light at the end of the financial tunnel, Intel president and chief executive Paul Otellini said onstage at the Web 2.0 Summit on Thursday morning.

"All the smart people I've talked to in this area suggest that the U.S. is in a two- to three-quarter recession," Otellini said, although he added that the current economic slowdown is "the deepest one I've seen in my lifetime" and predicted that morale may stay low for longer because unemployment may remain high even after growth has resumed.

The point of his talk, however, was to focus on the innovation that will still be on the way regardless of how far the markets fall. "I like coming here," Otellini said of the Web 2.0 Summit. "It's a respite from...watching the stock market crash every day, and [a chance to] think about what the future is going to hold for us."

Otellini showed off two projects that Intel is working on internally.

One of them is a business-networking software product that Otellini said will make a big difference to how employees of large corporations socialize and network with one another, learn more about the company and collaborate on products.

Read the rest of the post here.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Zuckerberg’s Stand on Information: Sharing is Caring

Saul Hansell recently posted on NY Times Bits blog that Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, believes that internet users are becoming more prone to sharing information on what they’re doing, who their friends are, and what they look like over the web. Here’s “Zuckerberg’s Law”, as Saul calls it, in Mark’s own words:

“I would expect that next year, people will share twice as much information as they share this year, and next year, they will be sharing twice as much as they did the year before,” he said. “That means that people are using Facebook, and the applications and the ecosystem, more and more.”

Will teams across organizations innovate more efficiently if employers allow their workers to add social networking elements to their practices? How will the growing popularity of information sharing affect the innovation process?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Innovative Recycled Apparel

Today’s article in BusinessWeek discusses how Patagonia must tackle very daunting technical challenges in order to boost the percentage of recyclable products they offer from 47% to 100% by the year 2010.

The problem lies with the nylon fabric; unfortunately Patagonia only has one supplier of recycled nylon that meets its requirements. When the yarn from the fabric was spun, it led to unsatisfactory results. This in turn has led Patagonia to look into different fabrics to substitute nylon. They have collaborated with different partners across the globe to produce high-quality, recycled nylon filament yarn. It will be interesting to see if Patagonia will be able to boost the percentage of recycled products to 100% by their 2010 deadline.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Top Quartile Practices in the Front End

The team at Front End of Innovation has recently put together the free webinar Top Quartile Practices in the Front End which will take place on Wednesday, November 19th from 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EST. Peter Koen, an Associate Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology, will be presenting on various methods and tools used in the Front End that increase value and profitability in the new product development channels. Mention priority code M2150W1BLOG when you register. Here’s a brief description of the webinar:

What are the best practices, methods and tools used in the Front End which will consistently increase the value, amount and success probability of high profit concepts entering the new product development funnel? (The front end is that part of the innovation process which precedes formal development – typically prior to gate 3 in the traditional Stage Gate process.) Working with Cabot, Dow Corning, Ethicon, ExxonMobil, International Flavors and Fragrances, Johnson & Johnson, Rohm and Haas, Valvoline and WelchAllyn under a project funded through the National Science Foundation, under the auspices of the Industrial Research Institute, a large cross-sectional survey of medium to large companies was done in order to determine best practices in the front end. The results of this landmark study, which will be discussed in this web seminar, bring together practices from over 205 companies in order to provide clear statistical justification (i.e. evidenced based methodology) for “best” practices.

Make sure not to miss Peter Coen’s session Why do Incumbents Fail at Implementing Breakthroughs at the Front End of Innovation Europe at Fairmont Monte Carlo in Monaco from January 26-28, 2009. Register for the free webinar here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Latest Poll: Business Method Patents

With all of the excitement going on regarding the election polls, we decided to add another subject to vote on. In a recent post on this blog, we wrote about a court ruling by the US Court of Appeals, who had ruled against the ability to apply for "business method" patents. What are your thoughts, and which sided of the issue do you fall on? Make sure to vote in our latest poll!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Don't Forget the Big Picture - Innovation Shouldn't Be a 4 Letter Word

A few weeks ago we posted on a recent article with an interview with Judy Estrin, former CTO of Cisco Systems, as she discussed her new book, “Closing the Innovation Gap," as well as other topics of re-engaging the innovation process in companies and other institutions especially in regards to meeting the economic changes and demands that must be faced. Well I came across her again as she was cited in a recent article in NY Times, It's No Time to Forget About Innovation.

Now I've been reading quite a bit lately on message boards and discussion forums including our LinkedIn group where there is a great deal of discussion about the state of innovation within companies. Clearly senior managers are facing an economic situation that is forcing them to make the necessary budget cuts to weather the storm. But as this NY Times' article point out there is often the danger that budgets will focus on cutting inefficiencies that are unable to produce short-term results. Unfortunately the very nature of the 'Fuzzy' Front End of Innovation is that it can appear to outsiders as inefficient path; from concept, to development, to market, to reaping profits hand over fist.

Senior managers may talk quite a bit about the importance of investing in the future and innovating to meet the future needs of their markets. But in an economic climate as this, too often the knee-jerk reaction is to cut areas that do not have the short term results that are needed to bolster the business. The article cites a cadre of innovation experts about the importance of balancing the short-term needs of the business with the long-term strategy that relies heavily on innovation and R&D. Judy Estrin discusses some critical elements companies should develop and foster to ensure that their innovation process is not damaged during this economic downturn:

She suggests instilling five core values to entrench innovation in the corporate mind-set: questioning, risk-taking, openness, patience and trust. All five must be used together — risk-taking without questioning leads to recklessness, she says, while patience without trust sets up an every-man-for-himself mentality.

In an era of Six Sigma black belts and brown belts, Ms. Estrin urges setting aside certain efficiency measures in favor of what she calls “green-thumb leadership” — a future-oriented management style that understands, and even encourages, taking risks. Let efficiency measures govern the existing “factory farm,” she says, but create greenhouses and experimental gardens along the sides of the farm to nurture the risky investments that likely will take a number of years to bear fruit.

“I’m not suggesting you only cut from today’s stuff and keep the future part untouched,” she says. “You have to balance it.”

Balance. That is at the core of many of the quotes from this article. Innovators do understand the necessity of a business to make the necessary cuts in order to survive, but at the same time, they have to stress to senior managers that without some investment in the innovation process during a downturn then the business risks missing opportunities it will need to develop once this economic climate has improved, in order to grow and expand; otherwise it will have survived only to remain stagnate and underdeveloped or worse as competitors take market-share.

There is certainly no easy answer, even when one says it is important to Balance all of these elements. But in the political process of shaping budgets for 2009 and beyond, hopefully everyone at the table will consider the repercussions of every cut, especially as it relates to their innovation and R&D areas of their companies.

Designing the Green Product Experience

One of our sister events Voice of the Customer has put together a free webinar which I thought I’d pass along on this blog. Sumi N. Cate, Group Manager of R&D of Clorox and David Pilosof, Director of Consumer Applied Technology at Clorox will be presenting Designing the Green Product Experience on Wednesday, November 12, 2008 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST. Mention priority code G1M2039W2BL when you register. Here’s a brief recap of the webinar:

The emergence of a consumer trend towards sustainable products continues to capture the interest of business leaders and many companies cite a sustainable strategy as one of the key foundations for their growth plans. Our recent consumer research at Clorox indicates that while in general consumers continue to seek “green” solutions to their needs, they want a healthy and sustainable home without sacrificing performance, value, or having to add complexity to their product use habits.

This presentation will describe a case study based on how Clorox developed tools and frameworks to analyze and leverage consumer’s total desired experiences to develop and commercialize an innovative line of natural plant and mineral based cleaning products, GreenWorksTM.

What you will learn by attending:

  • The challenges of framing the right consumer proposition
  • The difficulty of operating in an emerging area without regulatory definitions
  • The complexity of designing for a total consumer experience, beyond product performance
  • The criticality of hitting the mark in the intersect of all critical consumer drivers
As always, check back regularly as we will be posting innovation related webinars here. Register for this webinar here.

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