Monday, January 31, 2011

FEI Europe 2011 Speaker Spotlight Bracken Darrell

FEI Europe 2011 Speaker Spotlight Bracken Darrell

Bracken Darrell
President, & Executive Vice President, Whirlpool Corporation

Keynote: Looking at Extremes to Capture the Big Picture: Economy, Sustainability, Innovation and Life

Bracken Darrell was named president, Whirlpool Europe, and executive vice president, Whirlpool Corporation, effective January 1 2009.

He was named senior vice president Operations Whirlpool Europe in September, 2008. Darrell joins Whirlpool Europe with vast general management and marketing experience in consumer durables, including appliances and consumer packaged goods. He was president of Braun, a Procter and Gamble division, based in Germany and served as a general manager of General Electric’s major appliance business. He also held positions of increasing responsibility in Procter and Gamble, Pepsi and Arthur Andersen.

Darrell holds an MBA from Harvard business school, and is a certified Six Sigma leader.

Here is a short video where Bracken talks about innovation at Whirlpool:



Largely credited with having given Braun "their mojo back", Bracken Darrell is now doing the same thing at Whirlpool Corporation. Currently leading Whirlpool's push to ensure that by 2015 every electronic product in the company is smart grid compatible, the move will allow energy companies to smartly measure the rate of each use of an electrical appliance.

Bio courtesy of http://www.whirlpoolcorp.com/leadership/executives/executivebio/brackendarrell,1.aspx

Make sure not to miss Bracken's Keynote: Looking at Extremes to Capture the Big Picture: Economy, Sustainability, Innovation and Life at FEI Europe 2011 in Berlin March 2-4, 2011. Hope to see you all there!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Experiencing the best from the front end through commercialization at FEI US and FEI Europe

For the past 8 years, FEI has been your trusted partner in bringing together the best and brightest authors, practitioners, academics, and experts in innovation, product development, and R&D. Join us in Berlin and Boston for two unique conference experiences filled with innovation, inspiration, practical takeaways and invaluable networking opportunities. 
 
FEI US // May 16-18, 2011 // Boston, Massachusetts
Innovate in a Networked Ecosystem

Themes pushing innovation forward include:
- Business Model Adjacencies … Seize the White Space
- Needs Based Design … Creativity that Creates Value
- The New Open Innovation Ratio … Win With Mass Customization
- Leading Great Ideas Forward … Ensure Your Best Initiatives Succeed
- Innovation Culture … Create a Beautiful Corporation
- Technology, Trends & Society … Creative Transitions into a New Economy
- Experience Driven Innovation … Build it with Them


Download the Brochure
http://bit.ly/dO0yUh

Visit the FEI US homepage
http://bit.ly/i94F9h

Register for FEI US by this Friday, January 28 & Save $700 off the standard rate. Mention code: FEILINK0125  http://bit.ly/g4gKjW 


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FEI Europe // March 2-4, 2011 // Berlin, Germany
New Ways to Deliver Value through Innovation

The 2011 Innovation Imperatives & Focus Areas
- Innovation Culture … free up organizational creativity
- Open Innovation … when meaningful ideas collide
- Customer-Driven Innovation … grasp unarticulated needs
- Social Innovation … the move to sustainable solutions
- Business Model Innovation … reset for growth
- Design Innovation … a catalyst for re-definition


Download the Brochure
http://bit.ly/ePZOWy

Visit the FEI Europe homepage
http://bit.ly/eFGHen

Register for FEI Europe, Mention code:
FEILINK0125 & Save 15% off the standard rate.
http://bit.ly/fmCcUJ
 


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Call for Bloggers for FEI Europe

That’s right, we’re offering a few exclusive all-access complimentary passes (a £ 2,350.00+ value) to FEI Europe – March 2-4 in Berlin! We’re looking for experienced bloggers who are well-versed in innovation to begin blogging now and also at this year’s event. In return for your posts, you’ll be able to attend educational sessions and training seminars delivered by industry thought-leaders and corporate practitioners on the content areas of innovation.

To apply to be a guest blogger, simply send your name, title, company and a few writing samples (a link to your blog is recommended) to jpereira@iirusa.com no later than Tuesday, February 15, 2011. We will review the submissions and contact all winners directly with more details. This opportunity doesn’t come often and we encourage you to apply and join us in March in Berlin!

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Did you miss the Webinar: Will Mark Zuckerberg Reinvent Insurance? A 2011 Prediction

The insurance industry is ripe for a "Napster Moment", and the question is "who will be responsible for revolutionary change?" Maria Umbach, VP of Financial Services Innovation at Maddock Douglas will walk you through the steps that lead her to this conclusion, and why Facebook may be up for the challenge.

Click here to view the archive now: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/565286696

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Pop-Tart is a Pop-Tart, Or Is It

C. Engdahl
The Big E of Big E Toys

If we want to know the meaning of a term, we should not ask what it stands for: we should instead examine how it is actually used.” – from Wittgenstein’s Poker (2001) by David Edmonds and John Eidinow, referring to philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein’s metaphor of language as a tool.

The existential question of the day is this: at what point, after altering a product’s fundamental characteristics should that product no longer be considered what it originally was? Is a car a car if it doesn’t have wheels? Is ice cream ice cream is it doesn’t have fat? Should Taco Bell be allowed to call its “beef tacos” beef tacos if the meat is only 35% beef?

I was eating some Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts® the other day. Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts to be exact. Although perhaps not the healthiest breakfast (or snack time) choice in the world, I must admit I think they’re pretty tasty. My favorite parts are the sugary fruity-like substance in the center and the frosting. Go figure. I’m a sucker for an occasional shot of sweet goodness.

As I was biting into the first of two Pop-Tarts I thought to myself that they didn’t seem like the fruity goodness I once remembered. A simple visual inspection made me realize the reason was obvious. These Pop-Tarts seem to have more crust, less fruit and frosting. I’m not a big fan of the crust. I usually break it off and discard.

I cannot say for certain whether Kellogg’s has changed its production process. I’m not privy to their product formulation meetings. Perhaps it’s just me. Perhaps it just appears to me that the Pop-Tart has less fruity volume and frosting. And even if they have changed the relative balance of fruitiness and frosting to crust, I have no idea why they did it. Could be customer feedback, or cost considerations, or something else. If based on customer feedback in order to increase satisfaction and revenue, good move. Maybe I’m simply in the minority. Maybe more of Kellogg’s customers like the crust than I. If it’s simply a cost-cutting measure to bolster the short-term bottom line though, from an innovation perspective (and as a consumer of Pop-Tarts) I’m less enthused.

Altering a product’s fundamental characteristics through cost-cutting measures raises the existential question of the day. In the case of Pop-Tarts, at what point, after taking away more of its fruitiness and frosting, should a Pop-Tart no longer be considered a Pop-Tart?

As an innovator, you need to make sure you’re mindful of the core characteristics around which you’re innovations derive. You wouldn’t want to mess anything up. If you want to know the meaning of your brand, don’t simply ask what it stands for. Instead examine how your brand gets used and referred to by customers. Do your customers still think your brand is what it is?

Call for Bloggers for FEI Europe

That’s right, we’re offering a few exclusive all-access complimentary passes (a £ 2,350.00+ value) to FEI Europe – March 2-4 in Berlin! We’re looking for experienced bloggers who are well-versed in innovation to begin blogging now and also at this year’s event. In return for your posts, you’ll be able to attend educational sessions and training seminars delivered by industry thought-leaders and corporate practitioners on the content areas of innovation.

To apply to be a guest blogger, simply send your name, title, company and a few writing samples (a link to your blog is recommended) to jpereira@iirusa.com no later than Tuesday, February 15, 2011. We will review the submissions and contact all winners directly with more details. This opportunity doesn’t come often and we encourage you to apply and join us this March in Berlin!

Monday, January 24, 2011

FEI Europe 2011 Speaker Spotlight Carlos Haertel


FEI Europe 2011 Speaker Spotlight Carlos Haertel

Carlos Haertel
Managing Director, GE Global Research Center Europe

Keynote: Balancing Risks and Opportunities in Collaborative R&D
GE Global Research

Carlos Haertel is the Managing Director for the Global Research Center in Europe, GE’s multidisciplinary research facility in Munich, Germany. Dr.-Ing. Carlos Haertel was named as the new Managing Director of the GE Global Research Center Europe in June 2007. In his previous position, Dr. Carlos Haertel managed the Laboratory for Alternative Energies at the Global Research Center Europe. He joined the company in 2003 and established a research team consisting of 25 employees.

Dr. Haertel played a key role in establishing partnerships with universities and companies and developed the scientific cooperation with various divisions of GE.

Prior to joining GE, Dr. Haertel held positions as scientist and manager in the development of gas turbines at Alstom (Schweiz) AG. He studied mechanical engineering at RWTH Aachen and at the Technical University of Munich. He received a doctorate from the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (German Aerospace Center), Göttingen, and spent several years in research at ETH Zurich, where he qualified as a university lecturer in 1999. Dr. Haertel owns several patents and has published over fifty scientific papers.

As Managing Director, Dr. Haertel’s main areas of activity will be the continued expansion of the research center, as well as the growing collaboration and interaction with European research partners

Here is an interesting video where Carlos explains a new collaboration that puts GE's waste-heat recovery technology in the field.





Bio courtesy of http://ge.geglobalresearch.com/about/leadership/carlos-haertel/

Make sure not to miss Carlos's keynote session Balancing Risks and Opportunities in Collaborative R&D GE Global Research at FEI Europe 2011 in Berlin March 2-4, 2011. Hope to see you all there!

Friday, January 21, 2011

“Innovation Destination-Europe” Podcast Series Debuts!

Episode One: What You Don’t Know About Innovation: Four Key Trends


Download the podcast here.

To drive innovation tomorrow, you may need to forget what you think you know about innovation today.

That’s the conclusion Julian Birkinshaw, professor of strategic and international management, has reached after five years at the helm of London Business School’s prestigious Management Innovation Lab (aka MLab).

Based on Birkinshaw’s real-world MLab experiments with Fortune-class multinationals, it appears that much of the conventional wisdom around how genuine innovation really happens is at best fairly flawed, if not completely backward.

Birkinshaw estimates that roughly a third to one-half of top corporations have realized they need to radically rethink their approach to innovation; the rest are mired in antiquated paradigms and stifling processes.

“Stage gates,” for example, “are actually very good mechanisms for taking the life out of the process,” he says, adding that the EVP of a major investment bank once told him, “If I want to kill an idea, I put it into our formal innovation process.”
In a frank interview for IIR’s new podcast series, “Innovation Destination-Europe,” Birkinshaw outlines four key trends of portent to the changing face of innovation, and delves into such topics as doing more with less, ROI, reverse innovation, open innovation and how to cultivate an “innovation aptitude.”

Birkinshaw also debunks a great deal of western world innovation orthodoxy, pointing to the flood of ideas coming from emerging markets…

To listen to the podcast or download the transcript, click here!

Author’s note: Julian Birkinshaw will present a keynote on “Making Innovation Everyone’s Job” at IIR’s 5th Annual Front End of Innovation Europe conference taking place March 2nd through the 4th in Berlin, Germany.

For more information or to register, please visit http://www.iirusa.com/feieurope


About the Author/Interviewer
Marc Dresner is an IIR USA communication lead with a background in trade journalism and marketing. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at mdresner@iirusa.com

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Innovation Resolutions

C. Engdahl
The Big E of Big E Toys

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." – Albert Einstein (attributed)

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions. I don’t know that I’ve ever actually made one. It’s not that I’m against change, new ideas, or doing things in my life differently. It’s just that the timing of New Year’s resolutions seems a bit arbitrary to me. I figure people should implement change whenever it becomes necessary. It shouldn’t really matter what time of year it is.

In all my years working for and with senior executives from organizations big and small, never have I heard a single one say “our organization isn’t interested in innovation.” Never have I heard a single one say “our organization isn’t trying to be innovative.” Never have I heard a single one say “innovation is overrated.” Although innovation may be a means to a financial end, we all strive for it.

What do you do though when you’re stuck in an innovation rut? What do you do when your innovation effort isn’t getting the anticipated results?

Fire the CEO? Get different employees? Sell the business? Acquire an innovation? Such approaches are all pretty straight-forward and simple to understand. And all are somewhat drastic. But all are viable options. In each instance though, you’re basically saying when it comes to innovation “my people can’t get the job done.” Don’t get me wrong, sometimes drastic is what’s needed. Sometimes a certain collection of people in fact can’t get the job done. In most instances though, I’d say people aren’t the culprit.

I prefer to look at processes and systems. Processes being the “how” we get things done (from how we generate and develop ideas, to how we decide which innovations are any good, to how we launch new stuff) and systems being the “what” we use to get things done (from which software apps do we use to organize ideas, what mechanisms do we use to communicate with one another, etc.).

You might need some new blood in your organization to get innovation rolling again. You might need to acquire an innovation to keep your organization on top or your industry. Or you might simply need some better processes and systems. Maybe it’s time to invest in a particular software program. Maybe it’s time to alter the workflow and feedback mechanisms for developing ideas. At the very least, resolve to do something different. And the next time you’re in a rut, don’t wait until the new year to implement a little change.

Webinar Will Zuckerberg’s Facebook Reinvent Insurance? A 2011 Prediction

Webinar: Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The insurance industry is ripe for a "Napster Moment," and the question is "Who will be responsible for revolutionary change?" Maria Umbach, VP of Financial Services Innovation at Maddock Douglas will walk you through the steps that lead her to this conclusion, and why Facebook may be up for the challenge. This session promises to be very engaging, inspiring and perhaps even controversial with opportunity for Q & A.

This webinar will highlight:

  • Key signals of an industry on the brink of a ground-breaking change
  • The difference between revolutionary and evolutionary innovation
  • Hypotheses about what the future of insurance could look like and why




Join us for a Webinar on Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Title: Will Mark Zuckerberg Reinvent Insurance? A 2011 Prediction

Date: Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Time: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST



Register Now

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Do I stay or do I go now?


Yup, it seems it's "do or die" time in the innovation space.

With the New Year here I’ve touched bases with those companies I’ve had discussions with most of last year. We’ve been talking about Innovation and, of course, idea management systems, because that’s my topic. It seems like this is a moment of truth.

Organizations are making the decision either to

Drop the innovation system topic and move on. (There’s no budget and no support).

Or… Let’s get serious, see what’s out there, and get going with an innovation program with teeth.

Those groups that will not embrace innovation this year.

The problem is many organizations are frightened by the state of the economy. And the recession’s longevity is being even more persuasive: requiring senior people to pull in and act conservatively. “Let’s not squander budget”.

These companies recognize they don’t have the resources to run a new collaborative system. There are no “Innovation Managers” out there. The Executive VP of Innovation they hired may not be long for this world because the companies not only didn’t give him any people, they didn’t give him any budget. If that senior person is going to get something going they’re going to have to borrow both people and money from other department heads.

The companies dropping the innovation topic don’t know who on their team should be in charge of the system. Is it HR’s responsibility because it’s a tool on the internet that lets everyone talk? Is it R&D or New Product Development people, meaning mostly engineers that should be in charge of the system, because the breakthrough innovations we want are likely going to be new products that allow us to compete effectively in a difficult economy? Is it the Head of Sales or the Head of Marketing, for almost the same reason: New Products; More Revenue? How about the Head of Operations because we’re looking for ways to operate more effectively and that means we’re trying to figure out how to save money. I’d be kidding if I heard the Facilities guy was in charge because they’re hoping to be more innovative in order to get the company “more green” but I won’t be surprised when I hear it.

It’s even worse for those companies without senior advocates of innovation. They’ll just complain that American children are not getting enough math and science in school and that’s why the Chinese are eating our lunch in the marketplace.

Those companies ready to dive into Innovation this year.

On the other hand, there are just as many companies I talk to making the other decision: “This is the year we’re going to get an Innovation System up and running”. In fact they want it in the first or second quarter of this year.

1. These companies are ready to embrace innovation and are each going at it for different reason. Some can easily cost justify a collaborative tool designed to enable teams with common areas of interest to find a place to communicate and to share. Our manufacturing company has experts with certain chemical compounds. We’re flying them all in once a year from all over the world to talk about their topic. With the collaborative tool replacing travel, our budget can pick up twenty five to fifty thousand dollars in ROI right there.

2. Innovative companies know a collaborative tool for the front end of innovation is required to move forward successfully. They realize they can’t conduct research for new ideas with email. A collaborative idea management system can enable people with common interests (even if they’re in different time zones or company divisions) to assemble, compare information, challenge each other and develop solutions to common obstacles in their work.

3. When companies roll out the collaborative system it will signal to everyone (employees, partners, customers, and the public) that “our company has a culture of innovation”. These innovative organizations can challenge their teams by asking for help when needed; they can set the times required for the responses. They can encourage creativity by rewarding ideas that yield workable solutions and their organization will operate more efficiently.

4. Of course leaders in large companies are inherently suspicious of too much creativity. This is because leaders don’t think that way usually; they require a different skill set. But the best leaders recognize when their team requires the innovation functionality of a collaborative tool; they respect the creative people on their team who are required to collaborate; and they reluctantly accept the serendipitous situations required to produce disruptive (yet productive) innovations.

5. Companies that specialize in chemicals, or metals or plastics or compounds (or, what the heck, raw materials) are always trying to come up with something better. Putting everyone on a collaborative software system they can reach through their browser or their smart phones just makes sense. They’ll be open minded enough to let the user community reach each other and management bets a breakthrough idea will emerge with just a little bit of guidance.

6. And companies who embrace innovative systems don’t worry about adoption either. Most of their employees are on Facebook for ten minutes in the morning and another ten minutes in the afternoon. It’s an easy leap to see them plugging into the collaborative idea management system twice a day to look up something; to find information to help them solve a problem; to find an expert somewhere in the company who can help me with what’s on my desk right now.

7. And it’s a new year, so they’ve got the budget they asked for. And enough people on their teams have been studying the innovation topic so they now want it on their resume. These eager folks will step up to be leaders and Innovation Managers.

8. When those non-social-media-adept people (you know who they are) find out what they need is on the new collaborative idea management system; that the “action” is happening on the new idea system…they’re going to want “in”. They will ask to get on to the new system. Or they’ll get an email invitation into a discussion on the system and that one experience will draw them in for good.

9. Companies will be able to tap into their partners this way too….because they’ve been thinking about how to get these “stakeholders” into the process. In fact the stakeholders keep asking, so maybe this will kill two birds with one stone and they can be invited them in (where appropriate). Their customers can be made aware they’re dealing with a company anxious to embrace a culture of innovation; that they want my ideas; that they’re listening.

10. Employees of these innovative companies will be grateful they are being heard. Instead of “suggestion box” systems where the idea goes in one end and in the trash on the other (OK, not really, but when the guy who gets to read all the suggestions arrives at his desk and there are a thousand pieces of paper sitting there, let’s face it, he has no idea how to sift through them). With the new collaborative system for ideas, unsolicited ideas can yield rapid returns. Employees can have the thrill of watching their fellows comment and shape their ideas. The best ideas and ideators can “win” contests or get a percentage of the revenue or savings their ideas help realize.

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid …. Of the Innovation Process.

Yes, it is apparently “do or die” time out there. Half the companies I spoke with in 2010 are telling me the project is now put to bed. “We’re not going to spend the money on an innovation system. We don’t have the resources of the budget to make it happen. We’ve been told we’re going in a new direction; to work with what we have in place”.

And the other half are in “giddy-up” mode. They want to answer any final questions and get pilot systems scoped and scheduled.

I’m not the only one seeing these phenomena. Greg Fraley wrote about it today. And I wrote something very similar a year ago.

And if you’re reading this, you have to ask yourself where does your organization fall on this subject? Is it time to get serious and reach out to talk to your idea management software vendor? Well you can either Google the previous sentence and look at the list of vendors or you can scroll down to my information and reach out to me. But now is a good time to do something.

Ron Shulkin is Vice President of the Americas for CogniStreamer®, an innovation management system. You can learn more about CogniStreamer here http://bit.ly/ac3x60

Ron has written a slew of articles right here on the FEI blog on the subject of idea management systems. You can find a bunch of these entries here http://bit.ly/f1GJVd. You can find an idea management software tool demonstration "check list" here: http://bit.ly/aA6Jix. Ron’s earlier writing on idea management system as published in The Examiner can be found here: http://bit.ly/b2ZEgU . Ron manages The Idea Management Group on LinkedIn (Join Here) http://bit.ly/dvsYWD .

CogniStreamer® is an idea management software tool. It is an open innovation and collaboration platform where internal colleagues and external partner companies or knowledge centers join forces to create, develop and assess innovative ideas within strategically selected areas. The CogniStreamer® portal is an ideal collaborative platform that invites users to actively build a strong innovation portfolio. In addition it provides a powerful resource for internal and external knowledge sharing. The CogniStreamer® framework is used by industry leaders such as Atlas Copco, Bekaert, Case New Holland, Cytec, Imec, Picanol and ThyssenKrupp. CogniStreamer® represents the best use of adaptive collaborative technology such to harness human skill, ingenuity and intelligence.

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