Monday, December 23, 2013

2013 Innovation Reads in Review

We've gathered our most read posts to share with you while we take a holiday break from blogging for the remainder of the year:

 (Photo: masondan)
1. Trend Spotlight: Humanity (A visual journey)

2. The 5 Trends that will Disrupt EVERYTHING: Macro Forces Shaping the Future

3. The Myth of Hiring Passionate Employees

4. Why "Instant Entrepreneurship" May Be Crucial in 2014

5. Color Me Creative: A Visual Trip Through Color Psychology

6. Live from FEI 2013: Delony Langer-Anderson and Cristin Moran on Finding the Next Big Idea in the Corporate Jungle

7. Call for Presenters: Future Trends

8. Value Innovation: Improving the Buyer Utility Map

9. The 6 Most Important Steps to Building an Internal Innovation Culture

10. Front End of Innovation 2013 Media

Thank you for another amazing year at The Front End of Innovation and bringing us over 49,000 pageviews. May all you have a great holiday and a happy new year with lots of endless innovation!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Here's Our 2014 Innovation Line-up

We all get into ruts where we start going through the motions. But as innovation executives, we need to rekindle the innovation fire… to seek out avenues that will inspire, motivate, and push us to think and act differently.

FEI: Front End of Innovation event brand is recognized as The World Leader in Advancing Innovation because it does just that. With 3 unique conference experiences, the FEI brand has been empowering innovation executives around the world for over 12 years, fueling the creation of future value.

4-6 February 
Marriott Hotel * Munich, Germany

17-19 March
Ca’ Foscari University * Venice, Italy

May 13-15
Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center * Boston, MA


FEI Supply Chain Innovation 2014 
May 14-15
From Functional Manager to Strategic Innovation Partner at the Front End 
Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center * Boston, MA

FEI OPEN Innovation 2014 
May 14-15
Open as an Enabler to Inclusivity, Frugality, and Agility
Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center * Boston, MA

FEI Manifesto! 2014 
May 14-15
Talent Matters: Understanding and Developing Leaders as People
Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center * Boston, MA

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How Intuit Innovates

Suzanne Pellican, chief design strategist for Intuit Small Business Group, presented at a Back End of Innovation 2013 field trip a few weeks ago in Mountain View, California.

Over the last five years Intuit has knitted innovation into the core fabric of the company using Intuit’s innovation driving process “Design for Delight” aka “D4D.” Using design theory as an innovation process through their D4D approach, the company has created an organic innovation culture.

D4D doesn’t just give customers what they ask for, it aims to go far beyond their expectations – seeking inspiration from many different places, from comparable industries to extreme perspectives. Training over 180 Innovation Catalysts within their organizations where these sparks of innovation has helped facilitate the D4D behaviors across Intuit’s 10, 000 employees all across the globe.

Check out Pellican’s BEI 2013 presentation below:

Back End of Innovation 2013: How We Innovate from Intuit Inc.

About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 
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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Save the Date: FEI: Front End of Innovation 2014

It's the artful combination of perspectives that makes FEI so unique. It's a platform where stories of the truly remarkable collide with the everyday realities of those championing innovation in the trenches. FEI is based on the premise of cohesiveness and cumulative intelligence. It's a facilitated exchange where EVERYONE is a contributor. It's a place where what YOU bring to the table truly adds value towards creating new solutions to shared challenges.

Who will you trade secrets with at FEI's a sneak peek:

Save the Date & Lock in the Lowest Rates to Attend!

May 13-15, 2014 
Seaport World Trade Center Boston 
Boston, MA

Mention your FEI Blog Reader code FEI14BL to save 15% off the standard rates when you register here.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Three Insights Into The Process Of Asking For Help When Collaborating

One of the tasks a moderator of an innovation social network needs to concern themselves with is how to put different people together to facilitate the collaborative process.  Sometimes those with shared interests find each other serendipitously.  Other times the moderator needs to make the introduction.  Ultimately the person most responsible for the selection of their collaborator is the person seeking help.

I’ve been reading some of the studies by Vanessa K. Bohns of the University of Waterloo - Department of Management Sciences.  She is doing remarkable work helping predict how collaboration works.  Her work also informs the notion of what type of partner you need during the collaborative process.

I don’t know about you but when people ask for my advice or assistance I’m usually flattered and try my best to be of service.  It’s been my experience that when I ask others for assistance, they’re generous with their contributions. 

Now that we’re all engaged on collaborative social networks, we work with a variety of different people we might not otherwise be exposed to in or our normal work day.  There is a claimed advantage of innovation social networks:  We don’t have to know everyone intimately, but we can find an expert when we need one.  They’re identified based on their previous contributions.
Studies tell us we’re only capable of managing about 50 real personal relationships tops.  Yet, there are over 7500 people I’m connected to in my social networks.  When I ask for help the choice to collaborate must be based more on human psychology than the good times we’ve spent together.   

Asking Someone To Collaborate
You might be surprised to learn it’s easier to get people to help you on a project; to collaborate on your idea, than you suspect.  We’re busy worrying about taking up the time of the person we’re considering to ask.  Our targeted helper is usually more concerned how they’ll look if they refuse.

In studies by Bohns and her colleagues, most people underestimated by as much as 50% the likelihood that others would agree to a direct request for help.  It seems potential helpers appreciate the social costs of refusing a direct request for help, while help seekers consider instead the instrumental costs of helping.

Wanting Someone To Ask Us To Collaborate
If you’re interested in providing your expertise, let people know your door is open instead of selling the benefits of your skill set.

People in a position to provide help tend to underestimate the role that embarrassment plays in decisions about whether or not to ask for help.  They don’t realize the angst the help seekers are going through preparing to solicit assistance. 

As a result, potential helpers may overestimate the likelihood that people will ask for help.  And helpers may misjudge the most effective means of encouraging help-seeking behavior - emphasizing the practical benefits of asking for help, rather than attempting to assuage help-seekers’ feelings of discomfort.

Who to ask for help depends on what stage you’re in the process
When you do decide to ask for a collaborative partner, you might want to give some thought to what that partner brings to the table, depending on where you’re at in your process.  If you’re at the formative stages of the project, someone with complementary skills might be the most helpful.  While you can address the portions of the project you’re most expert with, the other folks can focus on the parts in their wheelhouse.

This is because there is a distinction between the two types of interpersonal compatibility in determining partner preferences for joint tasks.  When the collaborative effort requires folks to work on the early stages, or strategic moments, complementary disciplines are most useful.  You two can “divide and conquer”.

When you’re getting to the end of the project and you’re focused on outcomes, a similar collaborative partner is a better choice.  Your work effort serves as additive and you march more productively toward a finished project.

Wrap Up
We’re all learning how to collaborate better within social networks.  We don’t have to be afraid to ask for help as others are likely inclined to jump in rather than be judged poorly.  For those of us who are interested in collaborating on interesting projects, with sharing our accumulated expertise, we should let others know it’s no big deal to be asked, rather than tout the skills we have on offer.  Lastly if you’re in the thick of a project you should be looking for someone with a complementary skill set.  If you’re in the home stretch perhaps someone just like you is the best collaborator.

“Liking the Same Things, But Doing Things Differently: Outcome Versus Strategic Compatibility in Partner Preferences for Joint Tasks”, Bohns, Higgins, Social Cognition, 2011
If You Need Help, Just Ask: Underestimating Compliance with Direct Requests for Help”, Flynn, Bohns, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 95, No. 1, pp. 128-143, 2008
'Why Didn’t You Just Ask?' Underestimating the Discomfort of Help-Seeking, Bohns, Flynn, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 2010

Ron Shulkin blogs, researches and writes about enterprise technology focused on social media, innovation, voice of the customer, marketing automation and enterprise feedback management.  You can learn more about Ron at his biography web You can follow him Twitter. You can follow his blogs at this Facebook group.  You can connect with Ron on LinkedIn.   

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. CogniStreamer has been rated as a “Leader” in Forrester’s recent Wave report on Innovation Management Tools. You can learn more about CogniStreamer here . Ron also manages The Idea Management Group on LinkedIn (JoinHere).

Coke, P&G, & LEGO Share Innovation Strategy

We are thrilled to announce the inaugural Front End of Innovation: Venice. Visionaries from across Europe will join forces with Italy's most innovative at CA' Foscari University, 17-19 of March for the all new FEI: Venice Event.

For over a decade, The FEI: Front End of Innovation brand has been the trusted source in congregating the smartest, most accomplished thought leaders from across industries and functions.  These pioneers turn to FEI each year to engage in powerful narratives and help solve each other's greatest challenges- from the front end through the back end- by immersing themselves in shared experiences and showcasing best and next practices.

2014 Keynote speakers include:

Vince Voron, Former Designer at APPLE, COKE, AVP of Creative Excellence and Global Design, DOLBY

Frank Stephenson, Legendary Designer, Design Director, MCLAREN

Alberto Alessi, Legendary Designer, Founder, ALESSI SPA

Heather Moore, Design Strategist and Visionary, Group R&D, VODAFONE

Frank T. Piller, Professor of Management and Director, Technology & Innovation Mgmt. Group, RWTH Aachen & MIT MEDIA LAB

Giuseppe Morici, Chief Marketing Officer, Group Director, Brand Development, Innovation, and Marketing, BARILLA

Christer Windelov-Lidzelius, Founder, THE KAOSPILOTS

Jaspar Roos, Chief Inspiration Officer and Dialogues Incubator, ABN AMRO, Founder, FUTUREIDEAS

Mauro Piloni, VP, Advanced Development and Cross Product Categories, President, Whirlpool R&D,WHIRLPOOL CORPORATION

And more!  Download the brochure for the complete speaker line-up and full conference agenda.
Core Content Areas: 
Innovation Management
Cultivating the Innovation Environment
Design & Trends as Early Influencers
Foresight and Trends Driven Innovation
Aligning Innovation Ecosystems
Business Model Opportunities

We hope you will join us as we fuel the creation of future value at FEI: Venice.

Use Blog Reader Code: FEIV14BL to save 15% off the standard rate when you register to attend here.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Directed Innovation Methods--Motorola's Secret Sauce

Those of us who came to the Back End of Innovation Conference, #BEI13, looking for

strategies and techniques for successfully implementing innovative ideas were rewarded with Maria B. Thompson's comprehensive and generous talk on “Directed Innovation Methods to Successfully Move from Ideation to Implementation.”  Thompson, whose LinkedIn profile reads "Innovation Instigator | Inventor Mentor | Creativity Coach | Patent Professional | Change Champion | TRIZ Tipster," shared Motorola's complete soup-to-nuts innovation process, which they call "Directed Innovation."

Directed innovation is a process that combines a number of innovation practices at each step. Thompson shared a wealth of techniques for each phase, drawing on a number of innovation methods, but combining them into an organized workflow.

The nine steps that Thompson laid out are: 
1. Get senior management sponsorship
2. Use an experienced Directed Innovation (DI) facilitator
3. Identify high-value problems of the future
4. Conduct problem storming
5. Generate questions bank
6. Select diverse participants for ideation
7. Use the question bank to ideate in pairs
8. Combine, evaluate, and eliminate ideas
9. Generate metrics

A key component of Motorola’s innovation model, one that is too often overlooked, is the identification high-value problems. Motorola uses design thinking and user observation, including ride-alongs and other qualitative techniques to truly identify problems from the user perspective. Thompson spoke about the importance to articulating problems and not rushing to solutions. Acknowledging that we all love to solve problems, Thompson shared with us a powerful Einstein quote: 
"The mere formulation of a problem is far more essential than its solution, which may be merely of mathematical or experimental skill. To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advances in science.”   --Albert Einstein

Imagination comes from reframing the problem multiple ways as well. “People weren’t coming back with problems; they were coming back with solutions,” said Thompson “We all want to solve problems.” The practice is known as “problem storming” and includes tools such as TRIZ, which is the acronym for “Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatel’skikh Zadach” or the "Theory of Inventive Problem Solving." G.S. Altshuller and his colleagues in the former USSR developed the method between 1946 and 1985. TRIZ is an international science of creativity that relies on the study of the patterns of problems and solutions. 

Generating questions is also known as “Assumption Storming.”  The Questions bank is all about assumptions and limitations. Question Banks are organized topical collections of questions that inspire diverse, creative and innovative thinking to achieve goals, overcome  challenges, or solve problems.  Thompson shared a wealth of tools for generating questions, including a copy of the “Provocation Tool,” a fishbone-diagram-like worksheet that encourages participants to continue probing with questions.

TRIZ includes 40 inventive principles that can be used to look at problems/questions in new ways to generate ideas. One of the major activities researchers should focus on is looking for contradictions and design-arounds. What are the contradictions that consumers face? For example, in looking at purses (an example Thompson used), a contradiction would be “I want a small purse, but I want to carry a lot of things.”  A design-around might be—“I need ready access to my smart phone, so let me add an external pouch to my purse with Velcro.” Inventors don’t accept compromises; they resolve contradictions by the equivalent of having their cake and eating it too. This is also known as “busting constraints.” 

Ideation, which happens during face-to-face sessions, consists of the “triplet” of a problem statement, constraint, and opportunity space.  Participants in Thompson’s sessions have helpful worksheets to record ideas. Once several worksheets are filled out, the team will look for themes that resonate or are especially compelling. Thompson finds that handwritten inputs and outputs are more effective during sessions than capturing insights online. During these sessions, the innovators are scribes, and subject matter experts ( SMEs) as well as patent attorneys are on hand for concept evaluation. [Note: Thompson directed participants to her LinkedIn profile, which includes presentations that can be viewed or downloaded.] 

Breakthroughs come at the very end of the day when they are exhausted. Thompson’s final words of advice were “If you want to become an inventor, read the patents. Everyone wants to describe their idea. What they need to do is describe the problem they are solving.”  

Ivy Eisenberg is founder of Our IdeaWorks, an Innovation and Lean Customer Research™ consultancy that helps companies connect to customers and other stakeholders to discover business opportunities, accelerate growth, and build and deliver successful products and services.  Ivy has more than 25 years of experience in the Front End of Innovation, user interaction design, and software product and project management. She has worked in healthcare, financial services, B2B, consumer goods, and telecommunications sectors.  Ivy is also an award-winning humor writer and storyteller, with an MBA in Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Innovation from NYU’s Stern School of Business.

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