Tuesday, February 4, 2014

FEI EMEA 2014 Day 1 (The Morning)

Day 1 started just perfectly with a very generous and authentic talk from Ian Noble (PepsiCo Europe). It set the tone for the rest of the day when addressing some of the most important topics on how to conduct innovation in real-life, real-setting companies.
Sharing tips, do’s and don’ts, some insider information here and there was actually a common underlying characteristic of all talks. 

This morning was a plain and simple illustration on how to be innovative and what kind of impact this [being innovative] really has on these companies customers experience. 
The theory around Innovation is widely available but watching how someone actually assembles the innovation funnel  from ideation to launch and consequent tangible market results was of great value.

In a Nutshell: From the Post-it Note to the Kitchen Cupboard, Creating Tomorrow’s Great Tasting Products – Today
Ian Noble (PepsiCo Europe)
Food Industry happens in a truly flat world where multiculturalism is a major source of inspiration. But also a stressor.
Of course, any of us can look for the trends, but what do they really mean?  How do you innovate for the future world & life if market constraints and its specific timeframes are happening now?
Ian proposes that studying customer needs and behavior but also looking inside and defining where do we want to go should be the major innovation driver. 
Focusing on people (either customer needs and aspirations and internal teams) and exploring the authenticity of your brand values will make the path less fuzzier. Not predictable or stable, just less fuzzier.  

Example: Look for Vanilla Haagen Dasz ingredient list… does make sense with brand identity, right? 

Lessons Learned:
- Innovation is different from optimization
- Never underestimate the unleashing power of constraints (either technical, market or other) when pushing innovation forward
- “Can you do that? [Correct answer is] Not yet”

In a Nutshell: Unlocking your Organisation’s Innovation Potential: Sensing and Creating the Future
Han Gerrits (Innovation Factory)  
Han was pretty elegant in his very straightforward presentation. 
All starts with ideas, that’s actually part of the innovators DNA so we have to pay more attention to this exercise of import/export ideas from a context to another. This import/export game may solve much of the anxiety within teams of “non-creative people”. Every good technician or executive has a in depth know-how of their working field so they just have to google it right, compile findings and associate those findings to the innovation target driven by powerful “What if” triggering questions.
Han also reminded us of a never-to-forget invisible constraint: Jargon. How can we innovate if we don’t have a common language to setup our communication flow?
Our speaker still got time to enlighten the audience about this much heard buzzword Crowdsourcing.
Just submitting ideas for a platform isn’t suitable. We would rather want more than that, so we have to be aware of the specific criteria to consider a valid idea. Pretty much of the desirable participation from the crowd can be intentionally promoted from a generative way of questioning. It has to trigger participants. 

Example: Henry Ford invited many process engineers to address improvements to his production system. From their contribution and import of knowledge was developed the famous assembly line.

Lessons Learned:
- We all have ideas, right? But there are clever tactics on how to do it more intentionally focused on the innovation target we want to.
- Import and Export: Move ideas from contexts and adapt them.
- Crowdsourcing: no doubt about the wisdom of the crowds, but you sure have to know how to ask them.

In a Nutshell: Anticipating Future Solutions: Uncovering Unmet Needs Around the Job-to-be-Done
Christopher Trauger (B. Braun)

Christopher’s presentation was massive on what comes to reveal the true potential of JBTD framework specially when it happens within a family owned company with lazy tradition on innovation.
From developing a process which re-focuses on customer jobs, filled tools and metrics and actually integrating it as an operating model what B. Braun did was developing and entirely new innovation culture.

Example: B. Braun, itself

Lessons Learned:
- A 175 year old family owned company can do it too. It just has to partner with some of the best in Business, like they did with Strategyn.

In a Nutshell: Raising the Bar at the Front End: Filling the Innovation Pipeline at 3 Levels: Platforms, Ventures, & Projects
Jorge Fernandes (DSM Innovation Center)
Recognizing that fronted looks fuzzy they set up a complete open innovation ecosystem strongly tied to a business portfolio and clear organizational and business goals.
Jorge put it quite simply: "innovation is really about growing our business and pursuing our business goals”. 
So, at DSM they know that innovation is part of bigger thing and it plays a key role to achieve the company’s revenue ambition. It was beautifully demonstrated how they’ve created the ecosystem around them focusing on identifying business opportunities and outsourcing many of the brightest solutions they later help develop and sell.
The pdf slide deck is being waited with deep curiosity. It will surely be of great value throughout the world to show how possible and feasible this articulation between Big Companies, Startups, Research Centers and Universities.

Example: DSM, itself

Lessons Learned:
- Open Innovation Ecosystems are feasible, desirable and profitable.

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