Thursday, December 20, 2012

Top Innovation Insights of 2012 from The Front End of Innovation Blog

December is so frequently our time for retrospection and reflection. Budgets are being finalized, project postmortems are being conducted. Even as we're looking forward to taking some time off to celebrate the season, we're also looking backwards at what we've accomplished and seeing what should be replicated and what should be replaced.

Here at the Front End of Innovation HQ, we're eagerly looking forward to more great events in 2013. Front End of Innovation EMEA will be up first in March, followed shortly thereafter by the Front End of Innovation U.S. event in it's return to Boston, MA.

On the blog, we hope to continue to bring you the innovation coverage that helps you be a more well informed or inspired innovation professional, and to showcase the stories and voices of those in our innovation community. We've queued up a number of topics that we're excited to release in the coming months.

As our official "look back," here are our top 5 posts from 2012. Browse through and see what you may have missed during a busy year, and as always, let us know what you think! What were your favorite posts from this year?

Pinterest: A Dream-catcher for Creatives & CEOs
 
Color Me Creative: A Visual Trip Through Color Psychology

Innovating the Kimberly-Clark Way

The top 8 reasons I can’t seem to get anyone else at my company to embrace innovation

Nokia Innovation Breakthrough Heralds New Mobile Services Era, Part 1

To submit guest posts or content ideas for 2013, you can contact me, Michelle LeBlanc, at meblanc@iirusa.com or my co-editor Valerie Russo at vrusso@iirusa.com.

Happy holidays from the whole Front End of Innovation team!

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She is the voice of the Front End of Innovation EMEA event on twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Your annual dose of Innovation Stalwarts and Innovation Rebels

As the year comes to an end and we look toward 2013, where will you get your innovation inspiration from? Is it from best practices from the large Fortune 100 organizations known for their innovation engines? Or is it from the “next practices” of the more entrepreneurial companies on the horizon?

FEI EMEA is your annual dose of Innovation Stalwarts mixed with Innovation Rebels, giving you the opportunity to hear from the most well-known and respected leaders in innovation, as well as the up and comers and news- makers.

Innovation Stalwart Spotlight - on Revitalizing Growth

Revitalizing Growth and Innovation in the World's Oldest Innovative Company - Sir George Buckley, Executive Chairman of the Board, Retired President, & CEO of 3M

In this session, Sir George Buckley tackles current and future challenges for companies seeking to find untapped opportunities for growth, and how 3M has consistently stayed ahead of the pace of change to remain a world leader in innovation.


Innovation Rebel Spotlight - on Co-Creation
Co-Creating for a Better Society
- Christian Bason, Chief Innovation Officer, Mind-Labs

In this session, Christian Bason will share what is takes to successfully drive innovation in bureaucratic, political environments and how ethnographic research and design-led methods can help power better solutions to complex challenges.



In addition, you will get both fresh and proven perspectives from experts across 18 industry sectors, including:
• Hannes Erler, Vice President Innovation, Swarovski
• Pierre Swart, Global Head of Innovation Delivery, British American Tobacco
• Vince Voron, Head of Desgn, Coca-Cola North America
• Sangeeta Gupta, Senior Consultant, Strategy & Consumer Insight, PepsiCo India
• Rudi Broos, Innovation Director, Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent
• Jean-Michel Cossery, Chief Marketing Officer, GE Healthcare
• Carole Farvart, Kenai Design General Manager, Toyota Europe
• Mads Niper, Chief Marketing Officer, LEGO
• Kamel Chida, Associate Director, Open Innovation, General Mills
• Kirsten Keuhl, Head of Developer and Community Innovation, Nokia
• Jaspar Roos, Chief Inspiration Officer, ABN AMRO
• Bob Van Leeuwen, Innovation Manager, Strategist and Trendwatcher, Interpolis
• Ulrich Bentz, Director, Department Head Innovation & Entrepreurship Incubator, Global Business Development & Strategy, Merck Serono
• Henry Mason, Global Head of Research and Managing Partner, trendwatching.com
• Arjan Rensma, Innovation Process Manager, DSM Innovation Center
• Christian Doll, Senior Consultant, Siemens
• Steven van der Kruit, Creative Director & Visionary, Firmenich Perfumery
• Andreas Erbe, Design Thinker and Co-Creator, Swisscom
• Ignaas Caryn, Corporate Strategy & Innovation, Director, Innovation & Venturing, Air France/KLM
• Andrey Evtenko, Consumer Insights Specialist, Nestle Research Centre, Nestle
• Estratia Zafeiriou, Technology Development Assembly, Audi Production
• and many, many more. See the full speaker list.

FEI Blog readers save 15% off the standard registration rate. Mention code FEIEMEA13BLOG to reserve this rate. Register today.

We look forward to helping you "achieve the vision" next march in Copenhagen!
The FEI EMEA Event Team

Monday, December 17, 2012

Last lesson learned: Ideation for Innovation is a social networking activity



Today’s look at how to get people to engage in collaborative ideation.

In a final thought for the year, as we wrestle with getting our Innovation Strategies in line with our Innovation Climate; with getting our Innovation Technologies in place, the biggest hurdle remains adoption.  How do we get people to collaborate.  How do we get everyone to use the new idea management system?  Well here are some thoughts.

We all continue to learn how best to get communities of individuals to work together on the challenges organizations face.  We know we need technology to get enough people to engage; to have them engage across divisions and time zones; to keep track of all the accumulated ideas and information.  We know it takes more than technology; it takes an Innovation Strategy and creation of a climate conducive to collaboration.  But we keep learning more based on both experience and ongoing social science conducted at an academic level.  

Here are some thought from the world of academia…

  • You need good examples from the top.  This should be no surprise based on our intuition.  We all sort of know that if the boss makes a contribution then everyone else get a bit more comfortable.  But recently, a study showed that a decline in prejudice was strongest when populations saw good examples in an active way. The effect was also stronger among those least likely to embrace.
  • We’ve always embraced failure out here in Innovation world but a common question I’ve heard from neophytes is “What do we do with all those old timers and conservative types who post negative comments?  They can kill a project before it starts.”  Studies have shown it is healthy for folks to post their negative thinking, but only if it is dismissed as such by consensus or the moderator of the challenge.  By writing down…then throwing it away, the community can actually reverse one’s judgment.  Contributors then tend to rely less on those thoughts to judge.  BTW, imagining the act of throwing one’s thoughts away didn’t have the same effect.
  • When we start vetting ideas by pointing out the negative attributes (like Weaknesses and Threats in a SWOT approach), we can draw attention to the catastrophes awaiting our organization by NOT following through on Innovation.  This starts opening minds making communities more open to the ideas of others; it creates a preference for diplomacy and negotiation instead of outright rejection of others notions.
  • Lastly, new research suggests that you can boost contributions merely by offering  up rewards in separate categories. In several studies, participants were asked to participate in tasks in exchange for up to two rewards, awarded in proportion to effort. In the first scenario, some contributors were told that for extra work (like ideas instead of working on their day jobs), they could pick a second prize from the same large pool of prizes; in the second experiment, the community was divided into two small groups, and collaborators were told that for extra work, they could pick a second prize from the another category. Even though the first scenario allowed participants more options in choosing rewards, the second scenario caused participants to expend significantly more effort on the tasks, because participants didn’t want to regret not choosing a reward from the alternative collection.


Of course expert advice is offered for community management, idea management and how to kick off a social network dedicated to innovation from your software vendor. 

Goldman, S., “Effects of the 2008 Obama Presidential Campaign on White Racial Prejudice,” Public Opinion Quarterly (Winter 2012).
Briñol, P. et al., “Treating Thoughts as Material Objects Can Increase or Decrease Their Impact on Evaluation,” Psychological Science (forthcoming).
Pyszczynski, T. et al., “Drawing Attention to Global Climate Change Decreases Support for War,” Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology (November 2012).
Wiltermuth, S. & Gino, F., “‘I’ll Have One of Each’: How Separating Rewards into (Meaningless) Categories Increases Motivation,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (forthcoming).
 
Please enroll now in our free webinar!
http://bit.ly/VQjSWR

Ron Shulkin is Vice President of the Americas for CogniStreamer®, an innovation ecosystem.  CogniStreamer serves as a Knowledge Management System, Idea Management System and Social Network for Innovation.  You can learn more about CogniStreamer here http://bit.ly/ac3x60

Ron manages The Idea Management Group on LinkedIn (Join Here) http://bit.ly/dvsYWD . You can follow him Twitter. You can follow his blogs at this Facebook group.  You can connect with Ron on LinkedIn.

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, Doctors without Borders, Imec, Phillip Morris, Picanol and ThyssenKrupp. CogniStreamer®

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Webinar Recording Available: Siemens Smart Grid Innovation Contest

On Monday, we were joined by esteemed Front End of Innovation EMEA speaker Michael Heiss Principal Open Innovation and Scouting, Siemens AG for one of our Front End of Innovation EMEA webinars, exploring the "Siemens Smart Grid Innovation Contest"

Over on the Front End of Innovation LinkedIn Group, a number of the members of our community shared about their experiences with open innovation contests, including key takeaways such as:

"- For participants, a much keener understanding of all facets of a product decision, not just the techie stuff (most participants were engineers).
- For management, they realized that really good ideas could come from anywhere in the organization. "
and challenges such as IP ownership. Read or join the conversation here.

Our presenter for this week, Michael Heiss, focused on what was learned over the course of the "Siemens Smart Grid Innovation Contest," check out the video of the webinar below to learn more:




If you'd like to hear more on topics like this one, visit our webinar archive or join us at FEI EMEA March 4-6 in Copehagen. Readers of this blog can save 15% off the standard registration rate. Visit our event website here.

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She can be reached at mleblanc [AT] iirusa [DOT] com with any questions about this webinar series. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Chief Creativity Officer

In my past posts, I have discussed how companies can think strategically about innovation, generate a plan for kickstarting innovation, get in a creative mindset, and bring on the right people.  The question that remains, however, is who should manage innovation in the company.

creativity
(Photo: Sean MacEntee)
I have read multiple tales of companies who have Chief Innovation Officers (CINOs), but  a recent study shows that CINO efforts tend to fall short.  By definition, CINOs focus on breakthrough innovation, and are primed to identify and manage opportunities in that realm.  I want to suggest a departure from that model and propose a different position with a different set of responsibilities: The Chief Creativity Officer (CCO)[1].

Importantly, the creation of a CCO gets creativity and innovation in the C-suite right from the start[2], and provides innovation endeavors with a champion in upper management and the chance for an operating budget to support creative works.  Using this high-level position, the CCO can initialize firm/division/department-wide endeavors to promote innovation, including conventions, retreats, brainstorming sessions[3], and FedEx Days (now called ShipIt Days).

But, in addition to interfacing with senior management, the CCO needs to interface with two other groups: human resources and the employees themselves.  On the HR side, the CCO needs to keep abreast of employee engagement[4], workforce planning (hiring talent), and promoting a strong company culture[5] that promotes opportunities for innovation.

Rather than getting into the intricate details of these matters, the CCO takes the 50,000-foot view on making sure that employees are not just passionate about their work, but working in a company that promotes passion.  The CCO also works with the head of HR to lay out the important features to seek out in future hires, and to promote in current employees (and the double-entendre of "promote" is intentional!).

While the head of HR is meant to be the person who deals with general workforce planning and employee issues on a day-to-day basis, the CCO still needs to be in the trenches constantly to get an understanding of where creativity and innovation can and cannot flow freely.  For example, this involves inviting employees to meetings to get a clear picture of how well management is facilitating the company culture and enabling employees to do their best work and seek out innovations[6].  For another example, CCO's can modify company policies and procedures to help do things like streamline workflows, give employees the resources and training they need[7], and help management keep employees happy[8].

Ultimately, the idea is to make sure that employees are able to use their creative capacities on the job both in terms of the day-to-day tasks that they do and the new ideas they are capable of generating.

Perhaps doing this many tasks seems a bit much for one person's job, but that's exactly the point!  In most companies, the tasks that a CCO should be performing are usually done halfway or not at all by lower-level people who have limited authority in the firm.  Instead of this, there should be someone whose full-time job is making sure that the company is optimally poised to be creative and innovative.  As has been noted throughout the FEI Blog, innovation must be a firm-wide endeavor that extends through the C-suite to every employee in the company.  As such, there needs to be someone to manage the entire process, namely the Chief Creativity Officer.

Orin's Asides

1) While some entertainment and other creative-based product companies have a Chief Creative Officer (instead of a "creative director"), and it is abbreviated CCO, the role is more about project management than promoting creativity.  I aim to build upon the entertainment industry's conception and propose an expansion of the construct with a slightly-altered name for the adjusted idea.
2) As Peter Koen noted, this is critical.
3) Gregg Fraley has a great set of articles about brainstorming (and see the related articles at the bottom of his posts).
4) There are a bunch of ways to define this, but John Gibbons's two papers with The Conference Board are some of the best pieces on employee engagement that I have seen to date.
5) Which I discussed in detail here.
6) You might say that part of this is about enforcing Bob Sutton's No Asshole Rule.
7) This includes things like flex-time and telecommuting options!
8) I would be remiss if I did not mention the brilliant idea of having a Chief Happiness Officer (for example).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Orin C. Davis is the first person to earn a doctorate in positive psychology. His research focuses on flow, creativity, hypnosis, and mentoring, and it spans both the workplace and daily life. He is the principal investigator of the Quality of Life Laboratory and a freelance consultant who helps companies maximize their human capital and become better places to work.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Top 4 Most Significant Trends: 2012 The Year in Innovation

It has been a big year in innovation, and in innovation management systems, as well.  A couple obvious phenomena popped up and deserve to be noted.  Perhaps, it will give others food for thought as they close out the year and get ready for 2013.  Here are some trends I’ve picked up by talking to those responsible for innovation at large organizations over this past year.

1.    The short term challenge.  Although there is a general acceptance of social networks to serve as the technology backbone supporting innovation (with strong idea management attributes), short burst challenges to collect ideas on a given topic are in more demand.  

Companies may not be able to commit to a long term strategy but feel fine embracing the notion of asking their employees for ideas on a certain topic.  “How can we do this one thing better?”, “How can we best redesign this control panel?” or just a general idea box have appeal.  These programs have finite cost, require little training and are likely to produce tangible results.

2.     Crowd Sourcing combines with Open Innovation and Idea Management.  

Social media has the potential to provide free labor.  Organizations find there are parties interested in their topic because they are consumers of the company’s products; the company’s product has an effect on the civilization folks live in, or just to participate in the intellectual exercise.  Companies have always tapped into groups with a vested interest like vendors, partners or paid academics, but now the public will willingly participate with the right incentive and call to action.  This exercise dovetails nicely with the short term challenge listed above and can take the form of a joint internal employee/client campaign, or just an intriguing question posed on Facebook (and everything in between).


3.     Finally the analysts are coming to terms with innovation.  

Perhaps this is because the CIO offices are asking for guidance, but after a few fits and starts, the analysts out there are finally producing Innovation Technology segment overviews.  They are looking at the top software vendors, trying to compare and contrast them, and trying to rate them based on the traditional criteria applied to other areas.  Innovation isn’t CRM or ERP yet, but we’re getting started.

4.     Managed Services are maturing and in demand.  

A number of idea management software vendors began offering “innovation as a service” by the beginning of last year to mixed results.  The essential flaws in these program’s approaches were the nature of the “service”.  

Software vendors offered either the same Innovation Experts they always bring to the table in any deployment or they assigned Community Managers.  In both cases it seems the consultants knew innovation, but they could never learn the vertical industry or the specific company as well as the user community.  But this offering eventually evolved to a successful hybrid.  

Companies can assign in house experts to be the moderator of a challenge, while the software vendor provides experts to operate the back end functionality of the software.  A perfect blend especially when coupled with the short term challenges discussed above in section number 1.

It has been a big year for Innovation Management.  All the software vendors have enhanced their product offering with new features, stronger security, more flexible dashboards, mobile access and much more.  Companies have appointed additional Chief Innovation Officers and have given them budget and people (although these have sometimes been migrated from existing departments like New Product Development, Lean Six Sigma or R&D).  

Most importantly, large organizations have recognized the benefits of supporting their Innovation Strategy with technology and are working hard to create climates where an employee’s contribution toward something more than what is associated with his day job, is respected.  


Please enroll now in our free seminar in London!

Ron Shulkin is Vice President of the Americas for CogniStreamer®, an innovation ecosystem.  CogniStreamer serves as a Knowledge Management System, Idea Management System and Social Network for Innovation.  You can learn more about CogniStreamer here 
http://bit.ly/ac3x60
Ron manages The Idea Management Group on LinkedIn (Join Here) http://bit.ly/dvsYWD . You can follow him Twitter. You can follow his blogs at this Facebook group.  You can connect with Ron on LinkedIn.
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, Doctors without Borders, Imec, Phillip Morris, Picanol and ThyssenKrupp. CogniStreamer®


Friday, December 7, 2012

Anticipate the Future with Front End of Innovation EMEA

In a fast-paced dynamic environment, you need to anticipate the future in the face of uncertainty, disruptions and chaos. Having foresight into emerging trends helps to define strategy and ensures execution of business results.

Back by Popular Demand, with all NEW presentations for 2013:
Future Trends Summit: Connecting Future Scenarios to Corporate Decision Making
• From Command and Control to Connect and Collaborate: The Future of Work is Blobby
Dr. Nicola J. Millard, Customer Experience Futurologist, BT
• What Trend Will Disrupt Your Industry?
Bob van Leeuwen, Innovation Manager, Strategist & Trendwatcher, Interpolis
• Macro Trends: Building Blocks for Imporovisation
Heather Moore, Design Strategist and Visionary, Group R&D, Vodafone
• New Methodolosgies to Guide Long Term Visions
Carole Favart, Kensai Design General Manager, Toyota Europe
• Public Thinking – “Believe in the Resolute Urgency of Now”
Lorenzo Catellini, Co-Founder and President, Esterni
• Want to learn more about these sessions? Visit our website.

Also back for 2013, with all NEW presentations:
• Aligning Innovation Ecosystems: Cultivating the Environment for Innovation
Featuring Christian Bason, Chief Innovation Officer, MindLab
• Business Model Opportunities: Delivering Growth through Innovation
Featuring Sir George Buckley, former CEO, 3M
• Design as an Early Influencer in the Innovation Process
Featuring Vince Voron, Head of Design, Coca-Cola
Download the full brochure now to see full session descriptions

We look forward to helping you "achieve the vision" next march in Copenhagen!
The FEI EMEA Event Team

Readers of this blog save 15% off the standard rate. Mention code FEIEMEA13BLOG to reserve at this rate. Register here:

Online: http://bit.ly/QWFSc9 
Email: register@iirusa.com
Phone: 1.941.554.3500 

FEI EMEA 2013 Webinar Series:
In our continuous efforts to create original and quality content to our FEI community, we are pleased to announce the FEI EMEA 2013 Webinar Series.
Next webinar in the series:
Siemens Smart Grid Innovation Contest
-Michael Heiss, Principal, Globally Responsible for Open Innovation Networks, Siemens AG 10 December, 2012 | 10 AM EST / 3:00 PM GMT
Register now: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/3eb6lkk4s4v8 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Reminder: Explore Open Innovation Contests In This Webinar

So far in our Front End of Innovation EMEA webinar series, we have explored growth through "organisational breathing" and learned about Social Product Innovation with Marcel Baron of IBM.

Up next in our series, Michael Heiss Principal Open Innovation and Scouting, Siemens AG. Heiss spoke on this topic at FEI EMEA 2012 and we're excited to bring him to our global online stage in this session.



This webinar will cover an open innovation contest that was performed in two phases:
Phase 1: the public idea contest: everything was visible to everybody in the world;
Phase 2: the Call-for-Research- Proposals for Universities only: confidential “closed-room”.

Register here to join our live webinar, which will take place Mon, 10 December, 2012 at 3 PM GMT/10 AM EST: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/t4myk3vqcfbo

To view the other web seminars in our complimentary series, or to register for the 7th annual Front End of Innovation EMEA conference, visit our event website here. Readers of this blog save 15% off the standard rate. Mention code FEIEMEA13BLOG to reserve at this rate.

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She can be reached at mleblanc [AT] iirusa [DOT] com with any questions about this webinar series.   

Monday, December 3, 2012

Webinar Recording Available: Organisational Breathing: Embedding an Innovation Rhythm

Last week we were joined by esteemed Front End of Innovation EMEA speaker David Thomas, Global Innovation Leader, MOS Program Manager (Innovation for Growth), Mars Incorporated for one of our Front End of Innovation EMEA webinars, "Organisational Breathing: Embedding an Innovation Rhythm."

Thomas discussed the power of building an innovation team over time, and the influence of organizational storytelling within a company to increase tribal knowledge, reminding us that "by repeat performance we can improve our performance level."

Develop the "lung capacity" of your organization by giving a team room to "breathe" into and out of projects, building up expertise and ability to collaborate and innovate over time. Watch the recording of this webinar here:





Join us for our next session "Siemens Smart Grid Innovation Contest" presented by Michael Heiss, Principal, Globally Responsible for Open Innovation Networks, Siemens AG live on Mon, 10 Dec, 2012. Details here.

If you'd like to hear more on topics like this one, join us at FEI EMEA March 4-6 in Copehagen. Readers of this blog can save 15% off the standard registration rate. Visit our event website here.

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She can be reached at mleblanc [AT] iirusa [DOT] com with any questions about this webinar series. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Drive Successful Innovation at the Front End through Consumer Co-Creation

The consumer is the ultimate judge of every new product/service offering - and yet the consumer is often absent from the development process. Consumer participation is critical to ensure you drive successful front-end innovation.

Introducing the all NEW FEI EMEA Customer Driven Innovation Summit: Co-Creating for Innovation, By Demand

Featuring sessions on:

• CO-CREATE: The Collaborative Innovation Process
Pierre Swart, Global Head of Innovation Delivery, British American Tobacco
• Innovation through Global Collaboration: Nokia’s Ideas Project
Kirsten Kuehl, Head of Developer and Community Innovation, Nokia
• From Value Chain Business Logic to Brand Eco-System: Consumers Are Not Just Consumers Anymore
Tormond Askildsen, Senior Director, LEGO Group
• Dealing with Customer Centric Innovation: How to Fuse the Entrepreneurial Spirit with the Desire to Control Risk in the Corporate Environment
Pamela Pauwels, Director Customer Insights and Innovation, Philips Healthcare
• Customer Driven Innovation at Nestle Research Centre
Andrey Evtenko, Consumer Insight Specialist, Nestle Research Centre, Nestle

Take a look at this year’s program to see how some of the world’s leading companies are successfully introducing customer co-creation into their innovation cycle.

Readers of this blog save 15% off the standard rate. Mention code FEIEMEA13BLOG to reserve at this rate. Register here:

Online:http://bit.ly/SoxOCm
Email: register@iirusa.com
Phone: 1.941.554.3500 

P.S. Don't forget to join us for our upcoming webinar series! Details here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Reminder: Embedding an Innovation Rhythm

For many organisations, innovation is an engaging strategy for growth, pivotal to future success and prosperity. Unfortunately though, it comes with few guarantees, is loaded with risks of all kinds, and whatever you do, and however well you do it, you will be wrong (somewhere).

This is not necessarily always a problem, and through learning we can correct the mistakes. Innovation and learning are not separate entities, they are, an inseparable rhythm, just like breathing. With this in mind, Mars Incorporated has set about embedding new innovation approaches in the organisation.

David Thomas, Global Innovation Leader, MOS Program Manager (Innovation for Growth), Mars Incorporated will be joining us on Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 3 PM GMT/10 AM EST to discuss this topic in a live webinar.

Thomas spoke on this topic at the 2012 Front End of Innovation EMEA event in one of the most well attended and highly rated sessions, so we're pleased to revisit the session for our online "stage". 

Guest blogger Frauke Lohr covered the session for the Front End of Innovation blog here . Get your own glimpse of our Front End of Innovation EMEA offerings by registering for this webinar here.

To register for the other web seminars in our complimentary series*, or for the 7th annual Front End of Innovation EMEA conference, visit our event website here.

*Please note, we've unfortunately had to cancel our webinar session "How to Take Advantage of the Sustainability Trend and Innovate into the Future" featuring Faith Taylor, SVP Sustainability and Innovation, Wyndham Worldwide. We hope to reschedule the webinar soon, stay tuned for an updated time. 

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She can be reached at mleblanc [AT] iirusa [DOT] com with any questions about this webinar series. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Webinar Recording Available: Social Product Innovation with Marcel Baron, IBM

Last week we were joined by esteemed Front End of Innovation EMEA speaker Marcel Baron of IBM for a webinar update on his 2012 presentation "Socially Synergistic Enterprise: Balancing Internal and External Collaboration to Improve Innovation."

Baron discussed the fact that businesses are currently facing several challenges:
Consumer demand is constantly evolving requiring better analysis of insights.
Customers need products to meet requirements as they develop.
Long lead times of raw materials / parts require tighter integration of development and manufacturing teams.

Companies can develop differentiated products and services faster and cheaper through Social Product and Service Innovation

For a replay of the webinar, view the video here:
 

Or view on the ReadyTalk site here: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/yj2aw559g47u

To register for the other web seminars in our complimentary series, or for the 7th annual Front End of Innovation EMEA conference, visit our event website here. Readers of this blog save 15% off the standard rate. Mention code FEIEMEA13BLOG to reserve at this rate.

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She can be reached at mleblanc [AT] iirusa [DOT] com with any questions about this webinar series. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Save on Front End of Innovation EMEA Conference

We just want to remind you that as a reader of the Front End of Innovation blog, you can save 15% off registration for the 2013 Front End of Innovation EMEA Conference. Register now so you don't miss out on the lowest price this year!

Here is a quick glance at this year's program:

KEYNOTE PROVOCATEURS.
• George Buckley, Executive Chairman of the Board, retired President & CEO, 3M • Christer Windelov-Lidzelius, Director, The Kaos Pilots – International School of New Business Design & Social Innovation
• Jean-Philippe Deschampes, Professor of Technology & Innovation Management, IMD Business School
• Mads Nipper, Chief Marketing Officer, LEGO
• Jean-Michel Cossery, Chief Marketing Officer, GE Healthcare
• Jason Foster, Founder & Chief Re-User, Replenish
• Vince Voron, Head of Desgn, Coca-Cola North America
• Christian Bason, Chief Innovation Officer, Mind-Labs
• See the full list of speakers.

PRE-CONFERENCE OPTIONS.
• 2 full-day Summits - the Future Trends Summit and the new Customer Driven Innovation Summit;
• OR the Half-Day Workshop on Sparking Strategic Innovation;
• OR the Half-Day Copenhagen TrenzWalk: A Revolutionary Approach to Predict the Future. *TrenzWalk is available to the first 20 registrants.
• Download the brochure for full descriptions.

MAIN CONFERENCE.
• Business Model Opportunities: Featuring speakers from Alcatel-Lucent, Air France/KLM, P&G, Siemens, and LEGO Serious Play.
• Aligning Innovation Ecosystem: Featuring speakers from General Mills, Coloplast, Unilever, and Swisscom.
• Thriving in Emerging Markets: Featuring speakers from Ericsson, Reliance Industries, Pepsico India, Unilever, and Columbia University
• Design as an Early Influencer in the Innovation Process: Featuring speakers from Nestle Nespresso, The Kaos Pilots and Heineken.
• Innovation Execution: Featuring speakers from Swiss Post, Merck Serono, DSM Innovation Center and Erasmus University
• Download the brochure to see session descriptions.

Plus! New Connect Meaningfully Through a Challenge Activity. Four team-based challenges put you and your peers to work on-site to create solutions to your biggest obstacles to making innovation happen. The top teams (as voted by your fellow attendees) compete on stage to identify the ‘winning’ idea.

Readers of this blog save 15% off the standard rate. Mention code FEIEMEA13BLOG to reserve at this rate. Register here:

Online: http://bit.ly/QWFSc9 
Email: register@iirusa.com
Phone: 1.941.554.3500

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Reminder: Socially Synergistic Enterprise: Balancing Internal and External Collaboration to Improve Innovation

We're excited to be kicking off our Front End of Innovation webinar series this week with our first session.



This Wednesday, 14 Nov, 2012 at 3 PM GMT/10 AM EST please join us in welcoming Marcel Baron,Senior Marketing Manager, Innovative Marketing, IBM for "Socially Synergistic Enterprise: Balancing Internal and External Collaboration to Improve Innovation"

Product and services development have evolved, this presentation explains how IBM integrates clients, customers and other stakeholders in the development of products and services. It provides examples on how new product development strategies are influenced to support innovation that matters, for the company and for the world.

Baron presented one of the most highly rated sessions at FEI EMEA 2012, don't miss this chance to join us for further innovation insights. Register for the session here.

View all sessions in our complimentary FEI EMEA webinar series here.

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She can be reached at mleblanc [AT] iirusa [DOT] com with any questions about this webinar series.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Creative Mindset: COFFEE

It's great news for us coffee drinkers that researchers are starting to notice the health benefits of the breakfast of champions.  Me and my cup of dark roast have enjoyed many a productive morning, and it's a serendipitous accident that one morning my coffee accompanied me into an email discussion about getting into a creative mindset with innovation consultant Gregg Fraley.[1,2]
Description: Coffee cortado (An latte art exam...
(Photo: Wikipedia)
 It occurred to me that coffee is a great mnemonic for some of the key items needed for getting into a creative mindset:

Connection
Openness
Focus
Fearlessness
Embracing
Encompassing

Connection is about putting things together, and looking for ways that they may fit.  Many items seem like they have no relationship, and yet a prodigious number of innovations have been a combination of two disparate items.  For example, cars and restaurants had nothing in common, until the concept of drive-thru turned a vehicle into a patron's "table."[3]  As an exercise, find pairs of items (and eventually triplets, etc.) that do not seem to go together, and find ways to relate them.  Some ideas  may seem silly, but some will be surprisingly piquant!

Openness requires one to be willing to consider ideas that may not seem valuable or relevant immediately.  This also involves being in a constant state of readiness for a new idea to pop up and be woven into the fabric of one's thoughts.  Most importantly, this involves being able to listen to people and their ideas, even if they may be unlikely candidates for an idea.[4]  Many car companies have made significant improvements to their manufacturing processes by being open to input from front-line employees.

Focus involves the diligence and concentration required to attend to the problem at hand.  It is a balance with openness that keeps one centered on the particular puzzle under consideration while still allowing items to enter from the periphery.  Focus means staying on task, removing unnecessary distractions, and not doing things checking your email while you are working on something.  Be open to whatever comes along, but make sure that it can be linked to whatever you are doing -- try making the link first, but dismiss the item otherwise.

Fearlessness pertains to not being afraid of failure.  When failure is perceived as an actual threat, creativity goes down the tubes as people shoot for conservative, risk-free, tried-and-true solutions.  Consider how many inventions were flops on their first go-round.  Fulton, Edison, and Darwin are just some of the many famous creators of products and ideas who failed multiple times (and/or needed several go-rounds to succeed), and who would not have invented anything if messing up were as costly as it can often be in this day and age.  Moreover, such fearlessness is a key element of a flow experience, which is often associated with more creative and high-quality products.[5]

Embracing is a complement to openness, and is about harnessing the power of "Yes-And".  Ideas can sometimes be dismissed rather quickly and/or judged to be of little importance or relevance.  Yet, as noted in the post on "Yes-And"  Instead of insisting that everything conform to limited specifications, and instead of merely considering something new or different, embrace new ideas, even if their value is not immediately apparent, and try to integrate them into your current train of thought by using "Yes-And."  As Michelle James put it, "Yes-And is the new No-But."

Encompassing means considering all of the angles, viewing the problem in an all-encompassing fashion.  Sometimes this requires making the strange familiar, and the familiar strange[6].  In other cases, these means taking the perspective of different stakeholders, and as many as possible at that!  An alternative is trying on the viewpoint of someone who thinks differently.  For example, as a psychology researcher, I have gotten a lot of mileage out of working with engineers and asking how they view the research questions I am working on.  Similarly, it can be helpful to include the opinion of detractors and naysayers, all of whom may see the issue differently, and may have caveats that, when considered fully, may lead to a more satisfying and effective solution.

As with all prescriptive solutions, creative mindset COFFEE is easier expressed than imbibed.  It can take a lot of work to maintain both openness and focus, and to be embracing as well.  Creating an environment that fosters the fearlessness and boldness to be creative can require a large investment, and sometimes some sacrifice.  Connection, too, takes a lot of practice, especially among those who have been encouraged to play it safe.  It likewise takes significant effort to put on another mindset, or to refrain from taking it as a threat or personal affront if someone else has a better idea.  Yet, as bitter and difficult as some of these items are to swallow, it is a taste that can be readily acquired.  After all, COFFEE can have major benefits -- and don't forget the milk and sugar![7]

Orin's Asides

1) I strongly recommend reading Gregg's blogg about creativity and innovation.  He has a ton of great ideas and insights, and is one of the bloggers I tweet most often.
2) For the curious, this webinar on creativity and innovation was the result.
3) For those who like seeing this show up in math, Euler's Formula (in complex analysis) is another great example.  It's a brilliant way of connecting i, e, pi, 1, and 0 in one equation.  Understand this one and you'll seriously impress your R&D people!  (proof)
4) This holds triple for managers who should be making sure to listen to their employees and customers.  There's a great article in the Harvard Business Review that touches on this.
5) See Csikszentmihalyi's books on the subject: Flow, Finding Flow, Creativity.  (Disclosure: Csikszentmihalyi was also my graduate advisor.)  Some of my own research (forthcoming) explores this topic further, and also highlights some of the benefits of flow in the workplace.
6) See Gordon's work on synectics (Wikipedia has a good overview with links to sources).
7) For a more extensive review of these concepts, see the last chapter of Teresa Amabile's Creativity in Context.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Orin C. Davis is the first person to earn a doctorate in positive psychology. His research focuses on flow, creativity, hypnosis, and mentoring, and it spans both the workplace and daily life. He is the principal investigator of the Quality of Life Laboratory and a freelance consultant who helps companies maximize their human capital and become better places to work.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Congrats to our Front End of Innovation EMEA All Access Pass Winner!

A few weeks ago, the Front End of Innovation team announced a unique chance to win a free all-access pass to the 2013 Front End of Innovation EMEA event. Thanks to all who participated!

We are excited to announce the winner for the contest:

Marcel Bogers

Marcel, we will be contacting you shortly with details about claiming your prize!


As a reminder, all of our blog readers can save 15% off the standard rate! Mention code FEIEMEA13LINK when registering to reserve this rate.

Registration Information:
Online: http://bit.ly/RKSi8h
Email: register@iirusa.com
Phone: 1.941.554.3500


We look forward to seeing you in Copenhagen!
The FEI EMEA Event Team


Stay in Touch: Find us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/fei_innovation
Hashtag: #FEIEMEA
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FrontEndofInnovation

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bringing in the Talent: How an Innovating Company Can Get the Right People in the Door

(Author's introduction: This post is an abridged version of a longer essay posted on my website.)

Despite the high levels of unemployment, many companies are constantly complaining that they can't find top talent. Since having great people on board is an integral part of being an innovative company, it is important to understand why it is so hard to recruit them.  While it is easy to blame education, parenting, social milieu, and a host of other factors, the most obvious culprit, and the one that organizations can control, is the hiring process.  Here are some of the best ways to get hot talent in the door.

Describe the position using goals, not skills

The first question to ask is: what are you looking for?  Typically, job descriptions are based on the last person who did the job, and the hiring manager is looking for that person's clone, which results in a long list of requirements that can box the role into a narrow space that can inhibit creativity, innovation, and (most importantly) initiative.  Instead, scrap the old view of the position, and rebuild it, starting with the goals inherent in the position.  Consider each of the following questions:

Questions for Designing a Job Description

1) What must the person in that job accomplish?  What would constitute meaningful progress on a day-to-day basis in that job?[1]

2) How does that person's role integrate with the department/division, the company, the clients, and/or the mission/aims of the firm?

3) What constitutes doing a good job in that role? (Remember: do not start with the person who occupied it previously!)

4) How do you want/expect the person in that role to grow with respect to knowledge, skills, attitudes, and capabilities?

5) In what ways do you hope the person will expand his/her role, and what career trajectory(ies) would (s)he be able to take?

6) What freedoms can you afford the new hire for defining his/her role?[2]

7) What opportunities are there for the person to find meaning and fulfillment in the position?[3]

From there, write the job description in the least-restrictive way possible.  Show the answers to the questions above, and include the essentials for the position.  Rather than asking for a standard cover letter, ask applicants to describe: a) their plans and vision for the position, b) how they intend to make a unique contribution to the company, and c) what excites them about the position, the company, and its mission.  While some might contend that such is the purpose of a cover letter, most organizations prevent that by posting laundry lists of skills and capabilities that need to be checked off using the resume and cover letter.

Create a realistic vision of whom to hire and make sure the new employee can thrive

In addition to having a clear, goal-oriented job description, it is important that the company be realistic about whether the job and employee both fit with the culture of the organization.  Companies frequently have unrealistic expectations of employees, the jobs they [can] do, and what kind of culture is necessary to support the roles and functions of the jobs.  As such, they can end up using hiring and onboarding practices that send the talent packing.

One major pitfall to avoid is "unicorn hunting"[4], which involves overloading the job [description] with so many items to check off that it will be next-to-impossible to find a suitable candidate.  One company that wanted me to recommend a candidate sent me a job description, and my response was, "This is a human being you're looking for, right?"  I know thousands of talented people (both employed and not), and not one of them was qualified to do this just-above-entry-level job -- the position required knowledge of accounting, marketing, graphic design, and web programming.  Eight months later, the company still had not filled the position.

Select for the factors that cannot be acquired on the job

While it is certainly great when companies can bring in a candidate who is ready-made for the job, this occurs far less frequently than one might expect.  There is always a certain amount of on-the-job training required, be it the tacit knowledge of the company, the specific procedures used by the organization, and/or the avenues through which the hire should channel his/her specific capabilities.

Thus, select a candidate on the factors that cannot be taught quickly and easily, like deep experience and required knowledge/skills (again, keep that list as short as possible!).  This includes factors like: a) interest in the work (do not judge by college major!), the company, and its mission; b) fit with the company's culture and people; c) a solid foundation in the meta-skills needed for the job.  The latter item is the trickiest to define, and yet it is the most important.  Meta-skills are the wherewithal to develop capabilities that fall under the same category as the meta-skill.

For example, many software companies used to pose computing problems to applicants without specifying which programming language (e.g., C++) to use.  This tests the meta-skill of algorithmic thinking, which can be applied to computing problems through the use of a particular programming language (skill) -- that is, good algorithmic thinkers are able to learn programming languages easily.

Recruit people from the places where they are likely to be

While this sounds like plain-old common sense, I would point out that most companies place a generic posting on a general job board, which results in a flood of applications with a couple of gems buried in a mountain of silt.  Other companies, looking for generically "smart" or "creative" people, tend to dig at the US News and World Report's supposed top schools, and those companies are riding on so many erroneous assumptions that they deserve the applicant pool that they get.  Still others hunt for prey at their successful competitors, hoping for a crumb that falls off due to someone getting annoyed or having to move due to life circumstances.

Instead, target potential applicants in places where you are likely to find them.  For example, figure out which universities are most represented by successful people in your company, and have them reach out to the alumni network of their alma mater.  Most especially, use internal recommendations.  Successful people in your company may know other great people to hire, or may know others who are well-connected in a given field (you might even consider rewarding people for good recommendations).

Use an open and communicative hiring process

I am continually stunned by the stories I have heard from people in the hiring process.  I know amazingly talented people who have been utterly dehumanized, and still others who were dismayed at the way they were treated.  This is bad news for a company's reputation (these stories do get out, and sometimes in public forums like Vault), and it costs them talented applicants.  It is crucial to remember that any candidate who is good enough to get onto your radar is probably good enough to be recruited by your competitor(s), too, so following these guidelines will make your company more competitive in the talent market.  If necessary, consider the time it takes to follow these suggestions to come from the marketing/branding budget, as they are all directly related to preserving your company's good name.

1) Confirm receipt of materials.
2) Create two short-lists of interviewees, and dismiss the others, in a timely fashion.
3) Schedule interviews in advance and communicate changes.
4) Make the interview experience a good one.
5) Follow up within a specified period.
6) When you have chosen the right candidate, proceed quickly and decisively.

There is plenty of talent; go get it (and keep it)!

There is enough talent out there that companies should not need to compromise .  It is important to remember, however, that talent is more related to meta-skills than actual skills, and this is why it is important to use a goal-directed job description.  Since there is enough talent to go around, but fierce competition for recruiting it, companies must engage in fair, timely, and communicative hiring processes, recruit strategically, and give every applicant a positive (or at least non-negative) experience.  Coupled with a goal-oriented job description, relevant application documents (like a targeted cover letter), and a sufficiently wide purview for seeing talent, companies should have no trouble getting great people in the door.  What remains is for the company to keep them with a strong mission, high job meaning, engaging challenges, and a great culture.[5]

Orin's Asides

1) A very large study by Teresa Amabile has shown the extreme importance of meaningful progress.  I highly recommend the book she wrote with Steve Kramer about the study: The Progress Principle.
2) Remember that creativity flourishes only when there is room for it to do so!  See research by Keith Sawyer, among others.
3) Many researchers, especially Dutton, Wrzesniewski, and Grant, have shown the importance of this matter in job performance and job satisfaction.
4) Great Wall Street Journal article on this.
5) The author thanks Scott Crabtree for his thoughtful comments on earlier versions of this post.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Orin C. Davis is the first person to earn a doctorate in positive psychology. His research focuses on flow, creativity, hypnosis, and mentoring, and it spans both the workplace and daily life. He is the principal investigator of the Quality of Life Laboratory and a freelance consultant who helps companies maximize their human capital and become better places to work.

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