Thursday, October 31, 2013

FEI EMEA Trenz®Walk: Predict the Future with us in Munich

"Trends"... It's not a buzzword. It's a powerful innovation tool. Are you using it to its full competitive advantage?

The power of trends is in the application of deep cultural insights to real business challenges and solutions. To succeed in today's consumer landscape, we must blend art and science to spot the trends and quickly translate the trends into actionable strategic opportunities.


Join the Trenz®Walk at next year's FEI: Front End of Innovation EMEA, where you become a "cultural anthropologist", generating actionable trend insights that result in new business opportunities as you embark on a Trenz®Walk around Munich's most cutting edge areas. Exploring retail environments from restaurants to unique boutiques to graffiti art, while incorporating our tracking skills of slowing, looking down, and expanding perceptions to generate new insights and creative thinking.


All Trenz®Walking sessions were among the participants most-memorable experiences, and the session WILL sell out. So if you'd like to participate, make sure to register early.  

Other conference options:  

Monday Trend Summit & Innovation Management Summit  
Summit 1:Future Trends: Foresight to Action
Summit 2: Innovation Excellence at the Fuzzy Front End: Strategy, Organization, & Culture
Summit Workshop: Innovation Excellence: Benchmarks and Best Practices

Monday Workshop - Half-Day Workshop:
Master new visual innovation tools and create your personal action tool-kit for making innovation happen. The workshop is a powerful, hands-on, learning experience.

Many events compete for your attention. What makes FEI EMEA Unique?

The opportunity to immerse in shared experiences amongst a community of innovators resulting in new ideas, accelerated relationships and divergent thinking. FEI is more than three days. It's transformational. Don't miss out, register today!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Putting the Solution Cart Before the Innovation Horse

By Jeffrey Phillips

So, here it comes again. Another blog post using an old standby as a way to make a point. Today’s old standby is the adage about placing the cart before the horse. In the fast paced world in which we live, there is great pressure to skip ahead to activities or actions that seem to provide value, or to assume we know enough information to skip over the humble act of understanding what people want and need. To that end I see far too many clients putting solutions and technologies ahead of innovation.

What’s worse, they are calling the selection of a new technology or solution “innovation” before they’ve done any customer insight work or research, or worse, in lieu of doing any trend spotting or customer insight work. Many clients are simply declaring a solution or technology and then using “innovation” as a way to validate their selections. This is problematic on a number of levels.

Reversing the order

The first problem is in reversing the order of the process. While everyone likes closure, the selection of a tool, technology or solution before investigation of the underlying problem doesn’t guarantee you’ve got the right solution. The solution chosen may be the right one, but if so don’t dress up the presentation in “innovation” clothes. You’ve simply made a management decision to select and implement a tool or technology based on gut feeling, pressure from a manager, customer or vendor, or some other reason. Choosing a new technology without understanding customer needs may lead to the right outcome, but it’s not innovation. Innovation starts by understanding evolving trends and unmet customer needs, acts of discovery, then defines potential solutions and identifies the best one based on gathered insights. This places discovery before selection, not in service of the act of validating the selection.

Innovation as a cover for decisions rather than a basis

Innovation should help create insights that lead to informed decisions, not provide a cover for decisions you planned to take anyway. There is already far too much cynicism and fear associated with implementing anything new or different. Innovation faces far too much cultural and change resistance, why create new reasons to doubt innovation and its potential outcomes? Everyone recognizes that true innovation outcomes (growth, differentiation) are important. Why water down the innovation possibilities through defining a selection of a solution or technology as innovation, rather than doing the work that’s necessary to discover whether or not the solution is the right one?


Image via InnovationExcellence.com

Short cuts often lead to poor outcomes

Ultimately, teams or managers that select technologies or solutions and implement them under the cover of “innovation” are taking short cuts. They are skipping over important and necessary discovery work, which speeds up the decision process and moves to implementation. But the cost of the short cut is that often a solution or technology chosen in this manner doesn’t provide the benefits customers want, and fails to deliver the benefits the firm wants. Short cuts almost always lead to solutions that are less than what was possible or achievable. Often the work of discovery isn’t expensive or time consuming. That work is rejected because of a rush to get to an answer – any answer, rather than admit that we don’t know or can’t be bothered to learn. If you are clairvoyant and know the answer in advance, you belong in Vegas. Can you and your team be humble enough to work with customers to discover needs, rather than triumphant enough to select based on your own intuition or preference?

Begin with the end in mind

Stephen Covey often talks about his seven habits, one of which is “begin with the end in mind”. What is the “end” you want? Fast completion of an activity based on the selection of a tool or technology that may or may not meet customer needs? Is the “end” implementing solutions that meet or exceed customer expectations? What are you willing to commit to achieve those benefits? Are you willing to put the act of discovery in front of the selection of a tool or technology, even if the act of discovery exposes your lack of knowledge about customer needs? Can you partake in discovery without demanding a specific tool or technology be defined as the logical outcome?

This post was brought you by InnovationExcellence, the online home of the global innovation community, building a growing network with thousands of members from over 175 countries – thought leaders, executives, practitioners, consultants, vendors, and academia representing all sectors and industries. Its mission is to enhance innovation by providing a forum for connection and conversation across this community.

Like this topic? Attend BEI Back End of Innovation 2013 with InnovationExcellence in Santa Clara, CA in November! Learn more about the event here:  http://bit.ly/17fKhSi


About the Author: Jeffrey Phillips is a senior leader at OVO Innovation. OVO works with large distributed organizations to build innovation teams, processes and capabilities. Jeffrey is the author of Relentless Innovation and the blog Innovate on Purpose. 
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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Paul Ruppert of GlobalPointView selected as "Official Blogger Analyst" covering Back End of Innovation (BEI) conference

Accelerate your Innovation Aptitude

I'm thrilled to have been selected by IIR to be an Official Blogger Analyst for the Back End of Innovation (BEI)  Conference held November 18 -- 20, 2013 in Santa Clara, CA !

If you're not familiar with me I'm a long standing mobile industry executive, consultant, innovator
and analyst who has grown significant global revenues and product innovation in the mobile communications industry. I've been commenting on innovation since 2007 at mobilepointview, now re-launched www.globalpointview.com.

Behind every great idea there's a battery of work and execution that needs navigating to sell that idea and make it profitable.
  
BEI will be focusing on the discipline and process of the execution of innovation.  The conference covers the breadth of the innovation process--from leadership and organizational structure, optimizing your idea portfolio, the strategy and process of developing the platform for commercializing new ideas and driving bottom line profitability. It's a topic I've been studying and implementing throughout my career. The conference taps into a variety of industry innovations as case studies.

Keynote Speakers -- I plan to interview -- and companies participating include:

Vijay Govindarajan, regarded as one of the world's leading experts on strategy and innovation, professor of International Business at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business and author of numerous breakthrough books on innovation discovery and delivery (I've read three of them). He's one of the big brains knowing how to turn breakthrough ideas into breakthrough growth.

Michele Weslander Quaid, CTO-Federal and Innovation Evangelist for Google, Michele has leveraged her experience in the national security realm to transforming businesses and government.

Lisa Marchese, Chief Marketing Officer for The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas. Adept marketing visionary bringing just the dash of wrong in marketing right and Esquire Employee to Emulate.

Dustin Garis, "Chief Trouble Maker" and long standing innovation leader at Procter & Gamble. Noted disruptor for his understanding of consumer choice, product development and employee creativity.

Speakers representing Eli Lilly, Chevron, Xerox Parc, PBS, Medtronic, Coca Cola, Motorola, Genentech, Lockheed Martin, as well as visits to Xerox Parc, Intuit and Paypal are part of the agenda.

I'm keen to meet these breakthrough thinkers and practioners in delivering innovation.  Stay close here and at globalpointview for great content and follow me on Twitter, @mobilepointview 

See you at BEI ! 
Paul Ruppert

Experience Intuit’s Innovation Space Live & In-Person

Every company likes to think they promote a culture of innovation. It's easy to talk the talk. But is your organization really taking action?

Next month, BEI: Back End of Innovation is uniting some of the biggest names in innovation to share how their organization's physical innovation space has fueled their innovation culture - igniting collaboration and inspiration.
Go Behind the Innovations: A Backstage Tour of Intuit - Second Field Trip Just Announced!

Intuit has been delighting customers through customer understanding and innovation for 30 years. Now, we're pulling back the curtain so you can see where it all happens. Suzanne Pelican, Director of Design Innovation will guide you through the remodeled campus designed to promote collaboration and experimentation.

But space is limited, we've already sold one trip out! Register today to secure your spot: http://bit.ly/1akPOaW
BEI: Back End of Innovation
November 18-20, 2013
Hyatt Regency
Santa Clara, CA

Download the brochure for full details:  http://bit.ly/1akPOaW
Mention code BEI13BLOG & Save 15% off the standard rate. Register today: http://bit.ly/1akPOaW

Cheers,
The BEI Team
@BEI_Innovation

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Capture the Future

Attention Brand Strategists, Designers, Futurists, Trend Spotters, Directors of Insight, Foresight, Innovation, Marketing, and Market Research - your chance to join a New World Re-Imagined is slipping away.  

In less than a month, all those charged with Future Planning will unite at Foresight & Trends 2013 (FT'13) to embark on a career changing journey that will translate visionary knowledge and exploratory experiences into future business opportunities and growth.   FT'13 has already achieved record breaking attendance. Register today to secure your spot.



It's all about the HOW not the what.  Find out how FT'13 is relevant for you: Download the agenda to see the speaker faculty along with full detail on Contextualization sessions, Implementation workshops and Exploratory experiences which cater to the specific needs of YOUR role: Market Research and Insights, Innovation, Trends and Futuring, Brand Strategy and Design, Marketing and Strategy.

EXCITING NEW ADDITIONS TO THE PROGRAM

- Macroforces & Trends: Shaking Up the Rules for Success 
Tom LaForge, Global Director, Human & Cultural Insights, The Coca-Cola Company
- Better, Not More: How Foresight Can Help Unlock New Value
Manoj Fenelon, Futurist, PepsiCo
- Cocktail Reception hosted by The Ipsos SMX Salon Session, immediately following the Downtown Art Walk 
- Leveraging Social Analytic Technology to Solve Global Humanitarian Issues.  Michael Kim, Managing Director, Ferrazzi Greenlight
- Plus, a special dance performance from: Deena Thomsen of Axiom and Nina McNeely of WIFE

Take your conference experience to an intimate level, brainstorm and network with industry thought leaders during this invitation only lunch. Join Tom LaForge, Global Director, Human & Cultural Insights, The Coca-Cola Company; Richard Weiss, Global Brand Anthropologist and Futurist, Geometry Global; and others - Space is very limited please be sure to register and RSVP today!

FT'13 - The antidote to conventional learning.  This is YOUR invitation to uncover and capture new opportunities and ensure future business relevance.



Friday, October 25, 2013

Lean Startup vs. Lead-User Research

I’ve spent more hours than I care to admit considering a good tag line for what I do. Customer-centered innovation? Customer-driven innovation? Customer-led innovation?  Customer research? User-centered design? User Experience? User-centric innovation?  Participatory innovation? Participatory design?  All or some of the above?  I have an “elevator pitch” for what I do, but it requires an elevator ride in a very, very tall building.

Whatever you call it, my work and passion have always been about engaging customers and users at the front end of innovation, at the back end of innovation, and throughout product development, testing, launch and beyond. Eric Ries’s “The Lean Startup” and its inspiration, Steve Blank’s “Customer Development Model,” have been steadily increasing in popularity among startups and enterprises alike. My particular area of activity is Lean Customer Research™, connecting to customers and users early, iteratively, and continually to validate assumptions about what they need and want, and how they use and buy products and services.

But what about tapping into customers and users earlier on, while generating ideas vs. validating them?  Years before my fangirl obsession with the Lean Startup, I was one of the original Lead-User Research method proponents. Based on Eric von Hippel’s groundbreaking work on the sources of innovation, the Lead-User Research method is a way for companies to discover and adapt innovations from lead users.  As I wrote in “Lead-User Research for Breakthrough Innovation” in the January-February 2011 issue of Research-Technology Management

The lead-user research method goes beyond other customer-centered approaches, seeking insights not only from customers but from “lead users,” users who are so far ahead of the industry that they see no choice but to invent solutions to meet their needs.

I mentioned to a colleague I’d love to do a “Lead-User Research” presentation.

“You mean LEAN User Research? Like in the Lean Startup?”

 “No, LEAD-User Research.  It’s about discovering the problems and invented solutions of leading edge users and applying that to your business,” I added. “There’s a hyphen in between ‘lead’ and ‘user’.  They’re lead users. With Lean User Research, they’re not lean users. It’s the research that’s lean, not the users.” 

“You lost me there.”

That’s when I always lose ‘em. Both methods are about getting out and connecting to customers and users. Both methods straddle the three worlds of innovation, market research and user experience. And both should be part of every customer-centered innovator’s suite of tools.  

Here’s a quick comparison: 


Lean Startup vs. Lead-User Research


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.

Opportunity requires a village, a vanguard, and then some!

Exclusive First Read. Our final short excerpt from our Summer Innovation Book Club Pick: Killing Ideas - You can kill an idea, you can't kill an opportunity By NewEdge CEO, Dr. Pam Henderson

We are each part of many opportunity ecosystems, overlapping, interacting, blending, and separating. For all of these opportunities that we participate in, one thing is true . . . opportunity is not something one person can take credit for. It is the result of countless efforts of discovery and creation.

The opportunities described in “Killing Ideas” each have their own ecosystems—the companies named and consumers unnamed, influencers, observers and, in many cases, we at NewEdge have been involved.

We have touched the growth journeys of the majority of companies whose stories you have read. That said, we haven’t called out our role because the truth is that everything good which has happened has been a combined effort of ours, the ecosystem, and our clients.

All growth is a team sport, all opportunity part of an ecosystem, and all big ideas the result of many contributions. - Killing Ideas, Little Epilogue


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Innovation Execution from Coca-Cola, Colgate, EMC, J&J, Medtronic

Next month, BEI: Back End of Innovation is uniting the best of the best in innovation to answer your greatest innovation challenges. You'll hear how: 
  • An improved pipeline predictability and speed of decision making helped Medtronic preserve flexibility across the portfolio
  • Insight and a disciplined innovation process created a significant new category for Coca-Cola
  • Johnson & Johnson established an open forum for employees to discuss new ideas and concepts which led to tremendous change
  • Partnerships allowed Colgate Palmolive to bring a new product from need to shelf in record time
  • EMC launched an internal crowdsourcing contest that has generated over $100 million in revenue and a myriad of IP

And so much more.

Download the brochure for the full agenda and speaker line up:

We've already seen a record-breaking response to BEI: Back End of Innovation. Check out just a sample of those who will be in attendance:

3M
Accenture
ACT
AdvancePierre
Aemetis
Alamo Community College District
Altria Group
American Family Insurance
Anadolu Efes
Ansell Healthcare
Appvion
AutoTrader.com
BigVisible
Booz Allen Hamilton
Brandtrust
Brightidea Inc
Calliopae Reims
Campbell Soup Company
Carhartt Inc
Catamaran
Chevron
Chrysler
Coca Cola
Colgate Palmolive
Colt Technology Services Group
Corning Incorporated
Covanta Energy
Davis Wright Tremaine
DSM Innovation Center
Eastman Chemical Company
Eli Lilly & Company
EMC Corporation
Energizer Company
Entel
Exelon Corporation
ExxonMobil Research & Technology
Fexco
Frisa Forjados
Genentech Incorporated
GlaxoSmithKline
GNP Company
Golden Roberts Consulting
Google
Great Place to Work Institute
HACEB
Hazelden Foundation
Herbalife
Hewlett Packard Company
Hype
Imaginatik
Ingersoll Rand
InnoCentive
Innospired
Innovation Excellence
InnovationEdge
Inovo Group LLC
Intuit
Irving Oil Marketing
ISPIM
IXL Center
J&J
James Hardie Building Products
John Deere Company
John Wiley & Sons Inc
K+S Ranch
Kalypso
Kimberly Clark
Kotter International
KPMG SECOR
Leo Pharma
Little Rapids Corporation
Lockheed Martin Corporation
Marsh & McLennan
Mary Kay
Medtronic
Molson Coors Canada
Motorola
Nalco Champion an Ecolab Company
Nationwide Financial
Nestle Purina PetCare
NPPC
ODL Inc
Passenger
Pediatrix Medical Group
Pepperidge Farm
Planning Innovations
Product Development Technologies
Providence Health & Services
PSCU Financial Services
QuantumPM Inc
R/GA
Repsol S A
Roche
SABIC
Samson Rope Technologies
Sanitarium
SickKids Research Institute
SmartOrg Inc
Smithers Oasis
Southern Growth Studio
SSL
Starkey Hearing Technology
Tampere University of Applied Sciences
Tata Consultancy Services
Tempur Sealy
The Boeing Company
The Clorox Company
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
The State of Nebraska
Thrivent Financial
TiVo Inc
Traction Labs
Tuck's Center for Global Leadership
Turn
University Of Sao Paulo
US Cellular
US Endoscopy
USAA Enterprise Innovation
Velcro USA Inc
Virginia Tech
Vision Insights Group Inc
WD-40 Company
Wellspring Worldwide
xerox PARC

BEI: Back End of Innovation
November 18-20, 2013
Hyatt Regency
Santa Clara, CA

Download the brochure for full details:  http://bit.ly/1byzfY6

Mention code BEI13LINK & Save 15% off the standard rate. Register today: http://bit.ly/1byzfY6

Cheers,
The BEI Team
@BEI_Innovation

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Voices from Last Year: The Takeaway

A good innovation strategy takes a lot of rigorous thinking, backed up both qualitative and quantitative data. That said, the questions that drive strategy are fairly straightforward. If companies seek to innovate sustainably over time, they need to understand who they focus on, what they should make, and how they develop new products. When an innovation strategy succeeds, it does so because it helps a company play to its strengths. This is a topic that BEI: Back End of Innovation is centered around.

At BEI 2012 Jeizel Rosenthal, Business Development Management at Stlyus.com, a company that analyzes how consumer lifestyle and trends impact product design and consumer engagement across industries, discussed what she took away from the conference.

BEI gave her a window into the true challenges that organizations face every day in innovation. Additionally, Rosenthal learned many different approaches to innovation created by experts in the industry.

Check out the video below:



This year, BEI 2013 is all about the strategy and execution of innovation. It’s a conference where the entire innovation process comes to life- from leadership & organizational structure, to optimizing the idea portfolio, to process and strategy, to commercializing new ideas, ultimately driving bottom line profitability. We hope to see you there!

Join us at BEI 2013 in November. To register, click here!


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 aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc.



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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ingenuity is the New Innovation Currency

We could tell you why FEI is the World Leader in Advancing Innovation... but we'd rather show you. We invite you to take a tour of last year's Front End of Innovation EMEA event  to catch a glimpse of what makes the FEI experience unlike anything you've ever experienced before - the "outside the conference walls" experiences, the collaboration in action, the industry-leading speakers, and the local inventors showcase.

Don't take our word for out- hear it directly from your peers:


For 2014, we have the leading industry experts who will deliver expertise through storytelling.

Our Keynote Provocateurs include:
"The New and It's Enemies: Not Innovating is Unacceptable... But, We Don't Execute"  -Gunter Dueck, former CTO, IBM

Making an Impact: The Transformation from "Classic Philanthropy to Social Innovation - Gabriele Zedlmayer, Vice President, Sustainability and Social Innovation, HP

The Attack of the Unexpected: Where the Future Begins - Magnus Lindkvist, Trendspotter, Futurologist, and Author, Everything We Know is Wrong

Want To Get Your Next 10 Million Users? - Dr. Lidia Oshlyansky, User Experience Research Lead, Emerging Markets, Google

The Four Lenses of Innovation: A Powerful Tool for Breakthrough Thinking - Rowan Gibson, Author, Innovation to the Core

Fast Innovation - Why the Hare Really Won - Luke Mansfield, Head of Innovation, EU, PIT-EU, Samsung Electronics

Frugal Innovation: Creating Greater Value in an Age of Austerity - Navi Radjou, Author, Jugaad Innovation

The Anatomy of Legendary Design - Frank Stephenson, Legendary Design Director, McLaren

A Sideways Look at Innovation - John Bessant, Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of Exeter

Interested? Join us at the 2014 FEI EMEA, taking place 4-6 February, 2014 in Munich, Germany and leave with new ideas, accelerated relationships and divergent thinking. FEI is more than three days - it's transformational!

* Mention FEIEMEA14BL to save 15% off the standard rate


Monday, October 21, 2013

How Conversational Intelligence Inspires 21st Century Innovation - Complimentary Webinar

How Conversational Intelligence Inspires 21st Century Innovation

Judith E. Glaser
Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 1:00 - 2:00 PM (ET)

Presenter:
Judith E. Glaser, Organizational Anthropologist

Reserve your webinar seat now at:
https://cc.readytalk.com/r/2zfkl3f1esf7&eom

Please mention priority code: M2604W1BL
Join Judith E. Glaser, Organizational Anthropologist and pioneer in the field of Conversational Intelligence (C-IQ) and Innovation Excellence Executive Editor, Julie Anixter, Wednesday, October 30 to explore Judith's newest research, and its implications for individual innovators, teams and organizations.

Whether you're working on creating ideas on the front end or implementing on the back end, Conversational Intelligence, says Dan Pink  "may be just what you need to produce results."

Julie Anixter
We know that innovation is one part imagination, and two parts enrolling; that collaboration, innovation's most profound verb and the key to creating new stuff, is one part getting the right people in the room or online, and much more about creating an environment where ideas can really be heard and built upon, or said another way, developed in a climate of trust, where it's less about being right, and more about producing breakthroughs.



 Join us for a dialogue and to hear some of Judith's lessons learned over 5 decades of research and consulting with the C-suite - captured in her newest book Conversational Intelligence.

SAVE THE DATE! FEI US 2014: May 13-15, Boston

FEI is a global event brand that has become the annual meeting place of the most seasoned innovators across the globe.  FEI is recognized as the world leader in advancing innovation™ because it’s a brand innovators trust- with a reputation for facilitating exchange and accelerating best practices. The mission of FEI extends far beyond a three day event – with year-round networking, lively tight-knit online community – it is the quintessential physical meeting place for driving purposeful change.

Introducing FEI Manifesto!

The common thread across innovative organizations lies in strong leadership, the finest teams and an environment that empowers, promotes and accelerates internal and external collaboration, a risk culture and contented employees. Research demonstrates the key difference between being future-forward and left behind lies in people. Attracting top talent demands that a company is a recognized innovator.

Retaining the right talent correlates to generating an exceptional culture. Building the right talent calls for a business to invest in its people…. because it fundamentally understands and accepts that at its core it’s people are the key to achieving the vision. Manifesto! is a unique “rising stars” program for understanding and developing LEADERS AS PEOPLE. Manifesto! is a holistic approach to addressing the development needs of the whole person.







Friday, October 18, 2013

Front End of Innovation USA 2014: Call for Submissions Deadline Ext to 10/22

INDUSTRY ALERT: OFFICIAL CALL FOR PRESENTERS
The Institute for International Research (IIR) is currently seeking presenters for:

The 12th Annual Front End of Innovation US
May 13-15, 2014 
Boston World Trade Center & Seaport Hotel

Because of the incredible response, we have extended the FEI 2014 Call for Presenters. We will be reviewing submissions now through October 22nd. Due to the high volume of submissions, we suggest you submit your proposal early to Kelly Schram, Program Director at kschram@iirusa.com.

PRIORITY WILL BE GIVEN TO SUBMISSIONS FOR OUR NEW CO-LOCATED Events for 2014
In addition to the great core content you've come to expect from the flagship FEI event, we've expanded FEI 2014 to include the following co-located events:

FEI OPEN: 
Open Innovation as an Enabler to Inclusivity, Frugality and Agility
FEI Supply Chain: 
From Functional Manager to Strategic Innovation Partner at the Front End
FEI Manifesto!
Manifesto is a unique "rising star" un-conference program for understanding and developing leaders as people.  

Only corporate/client-side speakers will be considered. If you are a consultant or a solution/technology provider, please see contact details below for sponsorship/exhibit opportunities. Speakers receive FREE admission to the conference.

Sponsorship & Exhibition Opportunities
If you are interested in sponsorship or exhibit opportunities please contact Liz Hinkis, Business Development Manager at 646.616.7627 or ehinkis@iirusa.com.

CALL FOR PRESENTERS

Due to the high volume of submissions, only accepted proposals will be notified. For consideration, please email kschram@iirusa.com with the following information by October 22, 2013:

Proposed speaker name(s), job title(s), and company name(s)
The main theme you plan to address
Which format you'd like to present
Please indicate what is NEW about the presentation
What the audience will gain from your presentation (please list 3-5 deliverables)


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Innovation is A Lot Like Stand-up Comedy

Innovation is serious business. The lifeblood of your company depends on your ability to serve the changing world with new products and services while continuing to generate profits. What does this have to do with comedy? Turns out there are a lot of similarities.

There is, after all, a process….
In creating a stand-up comedy act, you follow a process. There are comedic formulas to help you create jokes as well as a process for shaping and filtering jokes, assessing your audience, building your act, planning your debut and charting a path to potential comedic success.

In innovation, you follow a process. You likely have a set of practices for generating and filtering ideas, assessing your market, building your product, planning your roll-out, and forecasting potential success.

Yet, there is loads of failure….
Consider this. It is estimated to take 80 hours to produce three minutes of standup comedy material. Eighty hours. Out of those three minutes of material, maybe there is one “good” minute that survives the beta test in front of a live audience. That’s one minute of output for 4800 minutes of effort, or 0.02% success. A stand-up comedian puts together his or her set minute-by-minute, discarding scores and scores of failed jokes until he/she gets to the precious few that work. And they don’t always work. Jerry Seinfeld, one of the most successful comedians of all time, said in a December 23, 2012 interview “I try different things, night after night, and I’ll stumble into it at some point, or not. If I love the joke, I’ll wait. If it takes me three years, I’ll wait.” That’s a lot of failure. Most people give up.


In innovation, you generate a lot of ideas and sift through them. Only a few of them survive the initial weeding out period. A selection of ideas may be fleshed out further and even prototyped. Even fewer ideas progress to the development phase, and even after the sifting and shaping, many ideas do not pan out in the marketplace. That’s a lot of failure. Many new products bomb.


You don’t know what will work until you put it out there….
Ask any standup comic about the road to success. The answer? Two simple words: “Stage Time.” There is no training program, no tip or trick better than getting out on stage and trying out your material.

So too with launching a new product or service. You can forecast sales and adoption rates, but you never really know the true success rate until you put it out there. (That is why the “Lean Startup” approach of testing your assumptions by putting things into the marketplace makes so much sense.)


And context matters….
Your stand-up set may have the college crowd rolling in laughter, but try the same jokes at your hometown senior center and you are likely to bomb. Success depends not only on the comedic genius of your material, but also on the intersection of your unique essence with the hearts, minds, and needs of your audience, and whatever is happening out there in the world.

As with comedy, successful innovation is about context, marrying your company’s unique capabilities with your customers’ hearts, minds and needs as well as whatever is happening out there in the world. There is a great distance between a near miss and a perfect hit, and often success is a matter of timing—hitting just when the market is ripe for your innovation.

Passion and determination are key….
Hard work and discipline are givens. The ability to handle failure and keep going is crucial. Beyond all of this is the sense of passion required. In comedy, without passion there is no connection to your audience. And without connection, there is no laughter. Without laughter, there is no comedy.

Passion is important in innovation as well. Passion helps you power through even when the work is boring or taking longer than you thought, when others are giving up, or when you’ve hit a snag. Passion keeps you connected to your customers.

Success, when you achieve it after all that hard work, is all the sweeter—and that’s no joke.



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.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The “Short Pass” Approach to Winning in Business

The long bomb is one of the most exciting plays in football. Lofting a well-placed ball into the hands of a receiver streaking down the field can instantly change momentum and turn a losing effort into a dramatic win. But is it the best strategy for reaching the goal line?

In 2012, NFL quarterbacks collectively attempted more than 19,000 passes. Of these, only 175 traveled far enough through the air – 45 yards or more from quarterback to receiver – to be considered a long bomb. Of these, only 48 resulted in completions, for a success rate of less than 30%. (Stats courtesy of www.grantland.com)

Coaches understand that, when successful, long passes can lead to game-changing outcomes. But they also understand that moving their team down the field with short controlled passes will get them into the end zone much more consistently. Which is why more than 68 percent of all NFL passes target receivers either behind or within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage.

It’s the same way in business.  If you attempt to go from your own 20-yard line to the opponent’s goal line in one fell swoop, it almost never succeeds. But adopting a strategy of short, consistent gains will greatly increase the odds of getting there.

The process I recommend for implementing such a strategy is called “breakthrough modeling.”  It involves setting a transformational goal (the destination) for the organization, one that will add value to your customers in ways that put you in a market leadership position. Then create a framework of measured action steps to get there, mapping out quarter by quarter what it will take to achieve interim destination points along the way.

The process starts with evaluating the gaps between your current reality and the ultimate transformational destination. Then identify what you will do incrementally different to achieve your goals.
  • What will happen in the next three months to make progress?
  • What operating goals and strategies can you achieve in that timeframe?
  • What capabilities must be in place to support getting there?
  • Consider how much change the organization can productively manage and absorb during this timeframe, and what it will take to increase skills, knowledge or competency levels. If systems or new processes need to be created, what is a realistic timeframe for doing so?
  • Next, identify what you will do substantially different to achieve your goals.
  • What will happen after the first three months and prior to your first nine months of progress?
  • What operating goals and strategies can you achieve in that timeframe?
  • What capabilities must be in place to support getting there?
  • Finally, identify what you will do that begins to achieve the transformational goals you set.
  • What will happen after the first nine months of progress?
  • What operating goals and strategies can you achieve in that timeframe?
  • What capabilities must be in place to support getting there?
  • Keep in mind that most plans look good on paper, but they almost never unfold as expected. So let your plan sit for a day or two. Then revisit it and ask the following questions:
  • How often have our plans worked out as intended?
  • Does this plan rely on things occurring exactly as we anticipate? If not, what contingency plans do we need to have in place?
  • Is the plan created so that we can take advantage of new market developments, including unexpected opportunities?
  • Do we have a process in place for monitoring the marketplace so that we can adjust when necessary?
  • How will we make regular reality checks of what’s going well and what isn’t?

Even the best-laid plans and goal setting processes won’t make a difference if you fail to act on them. So keep the focus on taking action and holding people accountable for what they need to do at each step along the way.  Check in at least every three months to reassess the next three and modify as necessary.

Finally, I want to make it clear that breakthrough modeling is not about settling for incremental innovation. To the contrary, it’s all about setting audacious, transformational goals that can redefine your industry. All breakthrough modeling does it break the process into short, manageable passes with high completion rates to make it easier to reach the goal line.

There’s a time and a place for incremental innovation. But if you really want to win in today’s markets, you had better aim high – and then use short, controlled passes to get there. In honor of Sunday and Monday Night Football…

Call to action: Dust off your current strategic plan and review the incremental, substantial and transformational steps you need to get there.

This post was brought you by InnovationExcellence, the online home of the global innovation community, building a growing network with thousands of members from over 175 countries – thought leaders, executives, practitioners, consultants, vendors, and academia representing all sectors and industries. Its mission is to enhance innovation by providing a forum for connection and conversation across this community.

Like this topic? Attend BEI Back End of Innovation 2013 with InnovationExcellence in Santa Clara, CA in November! Learn more about the event here: http://bit.ly/1bCAslh

About the Author: Holly is the CEO of THE HUMAN FACTOR, Inc. (www.TheHumanFactor.biz) and is a highly sought after and acclaimed speaker, business consultant, and author.
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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Voices from Last Year: What Do You Look for in an Innovator?

Innovators have shaped the world we live in. Their drive, ideas and creations have brought about things others considered impossible.

In our series “Voices From Last Year” we have been highlighting key themes that BEI Back End of Innovation attendees took away from last year’s event. At BEI 2012 Brian Romansky, Director, New Business Opportunities, Pitney Bowes, discusses the characteristics of what you should look for in an innovator.

There is no set of characteristics that by itself determines who will be an innovator, but many accomplished innovators share certain traits. Finding the people with the right skills is a major challenge for any business, so how do you spot these people, and how do you harness their ideas? 

Check out the full video below: 



This year, BEI is all about the strategy and execution of innovation. It’s a conference where the entire innovation process comes to life- from leadership & organizational structure, to optimizing the idea portfolio, to process and strategy, to commercializing new ideas, ultimately driving bottom line profitability. We hope to see you there!

Join us at BEI 2013 in November. To register, click here!


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 Design, Customers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts. 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 aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc.  


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Monday, October 14, 2013

Opportunity Thinking is about being realistic in seeing complexities and abundance

Exclusive First Read Every week through October 2013, we will post a short excerpt from our Summer Innovation Book Club Pick: Killing Ideas - You can kill an idea, you can't kill an opportunity By NewEdge CEO, Dr. Pam Henderson

Both the optimist and pessimist miss true opportunity. Optimists see it everywhere, deluding themselves into thinking markets always want what they have, their capabilities will satisfy any need, and the check is always in the mail. They live in a world of perpetual tailwinds. 

Pessimists see just the opposite. 

Their funding is never enough, capabilities inadequate or under-appreciated, and their markets are always looking the other way. They live in a world of perpetual headwinds.

Opportunity Thinking drives a new realism for growth that is independent of our predispositions and personalities. It gives us a more disciplined view of opportunity—one that recognizes both its complexities and abundance. 

 When we look at the world through the eyes of opportunity, we will see change as an opportunity creator, think in new dimensions, be sensitive to new insights, and build connections with those we meet.

When we look at our organizations through the eyes of opportunity, we will see our common purpose around the core individual we serve, view tensions as the potential for something bigger, and interact with our colleagues as the collaborators they can be.

When we look at ourselves through the eyes of opportunity, we will see that we have a role to play in opportunity—to explore, farm, or mine it. We will know that only we can play that role, no matter what our position or profession, because we are a unique part of the opportunity ecosystem. - Killing Ideas, Ch 7, Big Future

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