Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Best Front End of Innovation Reads of 2014

We're on hiatus for the holidays but here's a look at the top Front End of Innovation articles that resonated with readers all over the world this year:

  1. This year at FEI we not only championed innovation but celebrated women in innovation. Revisit our list of 40 Women in Innovation.
  2. Ivy Eisenberg, founder of Our IdeaWorks, on What is Design Thinking? Is This Innovation’s Panacea?
  3. Looking back at #FEIEMEA 2014 and staying ahead: Your future innovation tools: Strategy Tools for the Next Generation
  4. More from Christian Rangen & Elisabeth Ovstebo: Why we need new strategy tools – and how to use them
  5. The Top 10 Living Futurists in 2014
  6. Per Kristiansen on Bringing Play to Innovation: 3 Imperatives for Playing Better
  7. Rick Wielens, the CEO of NineSigma Europe, on the new model to achieve disruptive innovation
  8. Marilyn Gorman, an executive development leader at GE, on how Change Management Is Key to GE's Innovation Initiative
  9. On the Gamification of Trendhunting: Scoring an Amazing Innovation Culture
  10. William Greenwald discusses how Creativity Can be Taught and Systemized

Monday, December 22, 2014

This Week In Innovation: 12/15/14 - 12/19/14

Jumpstarting The Innovation Process: Finding the next big thing via AdAge

Why Commercial Real Estate Is Ripe for Disruption in 2015: The sheer size of the industry makes it a hotbed for entrepreneurship

IBM Radically Simplifying the Cloud Computing: Making it easier to understand in contracts

Brand and Marketing Trends for 2015: 15 Trends to look out for

Innovation and Investment Surging for 3D Printing: The money invested will rise to $21 Billion by 2020

3 Trends That Will Drive Innovation in 2015

Pay TV Disruption Doesn't End With Unbundling: Premium content may drive, but pay TV owns the road

Have a Business Idea? 6 Ways to Research Your Indsutry

10 Predictions for Enterprise Collaboration in 2015

Bloomberg Gives 14 Cities Innovation Team Grants

About the Author:

Ryan Polachi is a contributing writer concentrating his focus on Marketing, Finance and Innovation. He can be reached at rpolachi@IIRUSA.com.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Real Time Marketing or Video Marketing?

The flow of social media and digital trends for the year are leading to the synergy (or battle?) of two trends: real time and video. Which one is set to prevail?

Real Time Marketing

Is almost as if something is memory, vintage, expired or extinct on its maiden voyage. As the antithesis to traditional advertising which worked on repeat value, real time marketing is more than just the hype of being current, but is more agile, in the moment. As social media experts have it, its not a project but a process, and is thus fluid, ongoing, instead of a one shot advertising campaign. For marketers, this obviously means that the content marketed as real-time needs to be brand relevant and not just a hype driver.

Video Marketing

Instagram introduced videos as competition to Vine, despite both evolving into separate uses of video: one for viral marketing and the other for personal sharing. Even Snapchat enabled video, as Facebook improved its platforms. Video marketing is likely to wrinkle out any glitches it may have, since while mobile and tablet markets embrace video happily, apps have improved video platforms as an enabler. Owing to a visual medium that is a step further in than still images, video will become the biggest trend of the year, owing to its visual prowess. And watch for a photo video fusion with the likes of Flipagram catching on.

As marketers, the key pieces of interrelated advice are as follows: beware and be aware… both of evolution and change

Sourabh Sharma, Senior Manager and Communication & Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an boutique marketing research consultancy, has a background in engineering, marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting, he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer, and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called 3FS. He may be reached at s.sharma@skimgroup.com. Follow him on @sssourabh.

Monday, December 15, 2014

This Week In Innovation: 12/8/14 - 12/12/14

Eco-Innovation: Going beyond creating technology for technology's sake

Real Innovation Disrupts Markets: Shaking up markets and changing people's lives

DirecTV: Channeling Gamification and Crowdsourcing to Spur Development

IBM Capitalizing On Cloud Disruption: Shaking up the software and hardware marketplace

Magic 8 Ball For Students? Algorithms that can predict students grades

How Big Companies Can Accelerate Innovation: Companies need to keep inventing new business models

How the Cloud Transforms Business: Beyond Cost Saving via Forbes

Top 10 Fintech Trends for 2015

Has The Disruption Metaphor Outlived Its Purpose?

What's The Next Tech Battlefield? Your body, specifically your wrist

About the Author: Ryan Polachi is a contributing writer concentrating his focus on Marketing, Finance and Innovation. He can be reached at rpolachi@IIRUSA.com.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Podcasting Phenomena: 12 Innovation Podcasts You Should Hear

In the past month, I've read a dozen articles on Podcasts. Yes, Podcasts are apparently having a moment as we like to say in the industry. What's interesting about this phenomena is, at least for me, layered.

Something Like A Phenomena

You see podcasting became popular when the iPod made Mp3 a mainstream term over a decade ago.

We've been offering podcasts as far back as four years ago on the FEI platform and I can still recall my first (nerve-wracking) production, which was a live chat with authors and marketing rock stars Mitch Joel, Chris Brogan & Julien Smith back in 2009.

So it is rather fascinating from an anthropological standpoint, this evolution or renaissance as it's being called.

Don't Call It A Comeback

Yet for those of us, who have been podcasting for years if not decades now, this juncture, if not bittersweet, seems both fantastic and irksome. Podcast listening has always been on an upward trajectory, to the point that one Pew Report, noted a growth of almost 100% in people listening to online radio in their cars VIA A CELLPHONE in 2011 alone. So this rise in popularity is not news to anyone in the know, it's been ongoing and consistent.

But Podcasting has always had a sad sort of stigma. For many years, it was considered the realm of men and nerds, (way before Nerdism/geekdom was chic) reflecting a larger pattern of gender disparity, seen throughout all media production and technology, i.e., T.V., Music, and film. And, while Forbes made some predictions about the growing podcast market back in January of 2014, Ad Week made some of the same calls all the way back in 2005!

So what's spurred this auricular Flash-point? Some are saying, it was brought on by Serial, a new podcast spin-off of This American Life, which has set Buzzfeed, Slate and Reddit ablaze. Even I am hooked and apparently, I'm not even the right demographic for it, podcasting has gone mainstream.

But anyhow, enough of the Podcasting rhetoric. This whole podcast phenom was what spurred the idea to pack, bundle and offer you, our trove of innovation podcasts that you may have missed. Especially after someone came up to me and said you know what you guys should look into? Podcasting! Bah!

They are listed below in no particular order but most are short (about 10-12 minutes long) and packed full of tips on Innovation Management and Leadership from the world's best and brightest, Innovation (unsung) Heroes.


12 Innovation Podcasts You Should Hear:

1. Dagmar Chlosta, Adidas Group’s SVP of global project and process management on Virtual Value Chain Trek 

2. Jeremy Myerson, the Director of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the Royal College of Art, interviewed by Sean O'Connor, Global Director at Smart Design.

3.  Julie Anixter, Chief Innovation Officer, MAGA DESIGN GROUP and Executive Editor, INNOVATION EXCELLENCE talks about her background in Design, trends in innovation and more.

4. Scott Trowbridge, Vice President of Creative and Research & Development at Walt Disney Imagineering on ways that Disney Imagineering meets the challenges of evolving technology and customer trends.

5. Pamela Mead, the Director of User Experience at Telefónica Digital, interviewed by Global Director at Smart Design, Sean O'Connor, on how design can be used as a Pathway to Innovating the Organization.

6. Laura Bissmeyer, Corporate Innovation Manager, Corning Incorporated, offers Tips from an Innovation Process Pro to Get a Minimum Viable Product Faster.

7. Bill Greenwald, Founder, Windsor Leadership Group, Formerly Humana, talks about how Creativity can be systematized.

8. Marilyn Gorman, Executive Development and Education at GE Crotonville, explains how Change Management Key to GE Innovation Initiative.

9. Denise Morrison, CEO of the Campbell Soup Company, shares her innovation recipe.

10. Nelson Farris, Global HR Talent Development at Nike, Inc., expands on the strategic way Nike Sustains A Heritage of Innovation.

11. Moises Norena, Global Director of Innovation for Whirlpool Corporation, Shares Strategy for Building a Culture Awash in Innovation.

12. Mikel Cirkus, Global Director, Conceptual Design, Firmenich Flavors, discusses trend spotting.


  Valerie RussoFormerly a senior copy editor at Thomson Reuters, a research editor at AOL,  and a senior web publicist at Hachette Book GroupValerie M. Russo is editor at large of The Front End of Innovation BlogThe Market Research Event BlogThe World Future Trends Tumblr, the Digital Impact Blog, and also blogs at Literanista.net. She is the innovation lead and senior social media strategist for the Marketing and Business Strategy Division of the Institute for International Research, an Informa LLC., and her poetry was published in Regrets Only on sale at the MOMA Gift Shop. Her background is in Anthropology and English Literature. You can reach her at vrusso@iirusa.com or @Literanista.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

This Week In innovation: 12/1/14 - 12/5/14

4 Ways to Empower Sustainable Innovation

Innovation and the Unknown: 5 tips for start-ups

Who Should Control Innovation? Should it be just the IT department or should everyone contribute

IDC's Top 10 Technology Predictions for 2015

How The Internet of Things Can Encourage Business Collaboration: Embracing partnerships to survive in a world of integrated systems

Sleep Tracking Faces Potential Disruption From Gaming Industry: Nintendo Switching into the World of Sleep

10 Trends In The Future of Mobility 

Collaboration Kinks That Can Cost You: Communication and tech hassles are top reasons collaboration breaks down

5 Trends Shaping the Future of Work

Nonprofits: Don't Be Afraid to Collaborate With One Another: Collaboration polarizing the nonprofit industry

About the Author:

Ryan Polachi is a contributing writer concentrating his focus on Marketing, Finance and Innovation. He can be reached at rpolachi@IIRUSA.com.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Dan Pink on Learning to Think More Like a Designer

Digging back in our vaults, we uncovered this video from one of our sister events, where Dan Pink,  NYT and WSJ Bestselling Author of Drive, discusses creative transformation and offers tip on learning to think more like a designer

All around you are design decisions brought to life, some good, some bad. Learn to think more creatively by thinking about the design decisions you encounter, and the ways that they could be different.

Dan Pink on Learning to Think More Like a Designer from Creative Leadership on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

This Week In Innovation: 11/17/14 - 11/21/14

Innovation Requires Humility and Courage: Creating differentiating value propositions

Dealing With Digital Disruption: Riding the digital disruption wave 

Can An Algorithm Be Creative? Algorithms are already a big part in the creative industries

Innovating Money: Venmo updated its sign-up process for iPhone and Android users

Disruption of Leadership: 3 Implications for female entrepreneurship

There's More Than One Way to Kill a Fly: Innovation vs. Disruption

The 5 Food Trends of the Future

Improving Your Team's Social IQ: 5 Creativity Hacks

Innovation and Disruptive Necessity: Is the world getting smaller or are we seeing further

The Future of Energy: Are you walking on it?

About the Author:
Ryan Polachi is a contributing writer concentrating his focus on Marketing, Finance and Innovation. He can be reached at rpolachi@IIRUSA.com.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Collaboration & Chaos: How to Manage Innovation & Leadership in Complex Systems?

Many of our past Front End of Innovation (FEI) attendees in the US and the EMEA have been fortunate enough to hear a keynote from Christer Windeløv-Lidzélius, Director, The Kaos Pilots – International School of New Business Design & Social Innovation.

Photo Credit: Øystein Eugene Hermstad

As one of our most popular and though-provoking past speakers, we are so excited to be able to support him in the next phase of his innovation journey. We invite the FEI community to partake in his PhD study around innovation and leadership in complex systems - seen through the lens of leadership, strategy and organisation.

There is so much emphasis on innovation as the solution to our pains and hopes - but in fact we do not a have an agreed upon system for it (like TQM for instance), indeed there is still quite some confusion and disagreement in the mere term innovation.

Christer is keen on asking a very fundamental question:

How do organisations actually innovate in these times?

  • Does it correspond with popular management books or other more academic theories? 
  • And, does it pay off? 
  • Is it possible to find new approaches that can help organisation be more effective in their pursuit of innovation, here-under better ways of organizing, leading, and/or developing and implementing strategies for innovation?   

FEI members are exclusively invited to fill out this survey, which asks about innovation within your organizations (it takes around 10 minutes). We ask that you please support this important work and look forward to sharing the results with all of you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Does Your Organization Really Want Disruptive Innovation?

I was recently at lunch with an innovation leader of a Fortune 500 organization. He is a super smart guy and also a great person to “chew the fat” on strategic issues with. We were talking about the desire from his leadership to focus on supporting the development of disruptive ideas.

While this is a really valid topic and there is much talk of the value of disruptive organizations and their ideas, we debated the ability of large, complex organizations to support disruptive thinking.

As you are likely aware, disruptive innovation has been the holy grail of success for corporate leadership over the past 20 years, in part driven by evangelists like Clayton Christensen and his consulting firm Innosight. Of course, since Clayton Christensen wrote his seminal book on disruptive innovation (The Innovator’s Dilemma) in 1997, the business world has drastically changed. The book has also come under scrutiny in a recent New Yorker magazine article that critically examined the underlying research of the book. In the article, Jill Lepore pulls apart certain elements of Clayton’s theory with focus on the motivators of disruptive innovation and an analysis of case studies that were used.

Despite these criticisms, the thinking around the value of disruptive innovation continues. In fact, it has become even more of a priority for leaders of mature businesses, as they see a steady stream of new entrants lining up to destroy their existing business models. In the past these leaders could rely on their scale and reach to crush upstarts. However, now (perhaps justifiably) they are seeing that technology, social and economic circumstances have converged to the point where challenger businesses can rapidly overtake incumbents.

It is only natural for leaders of established businesses to determine that they want to pursue disruptive innovation. Sure, in the right circumstances (e.g. desperate and in fear of imminent collapse), I think truly disruptive innovation can be a valid path to the long-term survival and growth of large, mature organizations. However, most organizations that I deal with are more stable. I feel that they talk about changing market dynamics, competitive landscape, and margin pressures as mid-term concepts, rather than immediate, burning needs that threaten the ongoing existence of their business. As a result, they talk (a lot) about pursuing disruptive innovation, but the reality is that they don’t really want, or are able, to support it.

The reasons for this are complex, but at its heart it is just easier in a large organization to say “no”, rather than a risky “yes”. Ironically “no” as a response rarely has any negative repercussions. Further, as a leader there is an infinite variety of ways to say “no”, without actually uttering the words. Ask for more details, direct the idea to another group, say “yes”, but with an impossible budget or timeline. It’s easy to kill an idea. Saying “yes”, can be risky and time consuming.

So we started talking about how these incumbent organizations can truly support disruptive ideas.

One option is to separate the ides out from the (possibly toxic) culture of the “mother ship” business and grow them through an incubator. The issue here is that the ideas eventually need to come back into the organization to generate the necessary returns, which is when the real problems start.

Alternatively, HR and innovation groups can partner and set up systems to encourage the development of new ideas, but small changes in set HR policies rarely make a long-term difference to how a company operates. We talked about open innovation as an opportunity, but once again, as that thinking is introduced into an organization, they are often shot down (it is generally far easier to say “no” when the idea came from outside).

In the end we both agreed that the only way for a large organization to develop disruptive ideas is to build a broad base of support from within the organization. Short-term steps won’t cut it in terms of developing ideas that seek massive change within an organization. It just makes sense when you think about it.

I have written about building this base of support in the past, but in short, it revolves around the need to build networks of employees within organizations that are connected with innovative thinking and approaches. Some companies choose to call individuals within these networks “Innovation Catalysts”, “Innovation Champions,” etc. Whatever they are called, it is important to note that there are a bunch of variables and approaches to growing these resources, but what is very important is that a full strategic framework to guide the development of the network going forward. Short-term thinking around these networks just won’t work.

So that was lunch. In retrospect I wish it was easier for large organizations to be disruptive, but like I said, it’s just a tough situation and requires a hell of a lot of energy to work well.

I will let you know what we talk about next time around.

About the Author: Anthony is the CEO of Culturevate (www.culturevateinc.com), an organization that empowers a company’s employees to execute ideas and inspire a culture of innovation, through employee networks, a resource portal and training programs (developed in association with Professor Chris Labash from Carnegie Mellon University). Anthony is a widely read author (www.culturevateinc.com), speaker and advisor to industry leaders at organizations such as Pfizer, U.S. Postal Service, Johnson & Johnson, ADP and Fidelity. He previously led The BNY Mellon innovation program and has a Masters of Commerce (University of Sydney) and Bachelor of Economics (University of Newcastle).

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