During lunch the atmosphere was joyful. Some people were arriving from the field trip to BMW, others were excited because the afternoon’s visit was to Ideo’s Office. I was still overwhelmed by the morning talks and many of us were still catching up notes, discussing key concepts and sharing experiences from our companies (and countries).
At Front End Innovation EMEA people come from different regions of the world: Azim, for instance, flew from Malaysia, Villie from Hong Kong, Linda was Denmark, Australia, Portugal, Scandinavia … from everywhere! People sharing experiences, insights and know how. At FEI EMEA you get to learn as much from the keynote speakers but as well from your fellow attendees, specially during lunch.
Design is Innovation: the designer as change agent
Monica Dalla Riva (3M)
Monica Dalla Riva is a designer and works on 3M, a company that daily manages a 75000 product portfolio throughout the world. Teams at 3M have to connect, relate e collaborate even though scattered in many offices located in different continents.
How is this done? What’s a designers role on the 3M innovation pipeline?
In a Nutshell:
Monica positioned Design as a mental approach that delivers meaningful content adding value for customers and, therefore, creating innovation. Nowadays, cost reduction became a situational framework that is leading to look for new ways of doing things, thats why Design is turning into a major force of change.
Since consumers are changing their behaviors faster than corporations, these organizations rely their future and success on assembling teams truly focused on end-users reassessing challenges and requirements.
Example: Monica’s team was once asked to restyle a water filter. This was internal request. It would be ok if Monica’s team would have only make it (the water filter) look prettier. Monica believes that designers should act as solution providers and not only as product makers, or “aesthetics” artists.
What Monica’s Team did was to study what kind of job a water filter tries to get done, what the end user considers valuable and matched it with 3M’s technology. In the end, what Monica’s team delivered was an entire new product range with differentiated value wether for its end-user but also for the company.
- Design a global process grounded on local insights and excellence.
- Connect with your users. Make it meaningful for them.
- Pay attention to storytelling: the story you tell about your innovation is determinant!
- When you work on innovation, you don’t have a common sense.
- 3M doesn’t do things without studying key trends, that’s why they permanently monitor some key cities from the world.
Defining and engaging internal/external networks in the innovation process
Kevin Mobbs (InnoCentive) & Harry Rombach (Bayer)
In a Nutshell: InnoCentive practices crowdsourcing challenge driven innovation. Challenge driven innovation (CDI) is based on the intersection of idea management tools and social networks. When using this set of tools, a company can benefit from a huge number of resources, as long as it manages to create an environment that stimulates participation and participants engagement.
This may be a smart answer to a common issue: too many unfocused ideas challenge the productivity of crowdsourcing ideas. Bayer was having this difficulty and InnoCentive helped with tools and expertise.
Example: Bayer itself.
- Challenge driven innovation allows your company to crowdsource solutions.
- Top management’s culture is crucial to inspire cross-silos participation.
- Trust (within the organization) is a determinant factor, more important than throwing money to people (to get them to participate).
- Success stories are crucial to form a participation culture.
- The triggering question should limit the scope, be actionable and specify the "finish line”.
- Culture eats strategy for breakfast.
Keynote: Escaping the commodity trap: from uncovering needs to successful market launch
Anthony Ulwick (bestselling author & Strategyn’s CEO) & Martin Gschwend (Liebherr Werk Bischofshofen GMBH)
This keynote was a sort of joint venture from Martin and the legendary author Anthony Ulwick.
In a Nutshell: Martin introduced the “Problem” explaining some details about Liebherr and specifying the situational factors that were driving the pursuit of a new solution to a common trap.
Liebherr produces high end machinery being recognized as a top brand selling top quality products. Liebherr’s cash-cow is their wheel loader, a successful product range, that was trying to grow its market share without competing on price.
Instead of defining the market around products, Liebherr chose to define the market looking for the jobs that theirs customers were trying to get done.
As Tony Ulwick took the stage, this keynote turned into a Masterclass on how to use Outcome Driven Innovation to find the right jobs to be done that hold value for customers and, therefore, grounded leads.
It was really wonderful to get to follow the practice of Outcome Driven Innovation approach to innovation from a great case study like Liebherr.
Example: Liebherr L 508 wheel loader, besides having been nominated to the Red Dot Design Award, really hit the jobs customers were wanting to get done. Sales numbers clearly state the success of the project.
- Identifying the jobs to be done requires a profound focus on customers and a always challenging product zoom out.
- On measuring the most important jobs quantitative work is necessary. Looking to the data makes decision making easier.
- Define customer needs as outcomes and decide for the identified underserved customer needs. In the end, deciding which needs to target is the essence of strategy.
- Good customer segmentation will lead to better job evaluation. Segmentation should be done around unmet needs.
- Liebherr realized that their products were underserving important needs while overserving other less important needs. When they adapted product portfolio, and specifically developed Liebherr L 508, a compact loader that had special features concerning the driver’s safety and city handle they got a 30% market share at product launch and managed to get a double digit reduction on production costs.
Keynote: The anatomy of legendary design
Frank Stephenson (Design Director at McLaren Automotive)
Some people are fortunate enough to let their job speak by itself. Most of us, dream of driving some of Frank Stephenson’s cars.
Cars are a matter beyond reason, many times an object of desire but, for sure, one of the industries that have continuously looked for perfection.
Take a look at Stephenson’s work: Ford Escort Cosworth, BMW X5, Mini, Ferrari 430, Ferrari Super Enzo, Alfa Romeo MiTo, McLaren MP4C, P1 and P13… how crappy does your car look now?
In a Nutshell: The talk wrap-up here
- Who said a bike rider couldn’t be a legendary car designer?
- Frank Stephenson’s passion about his work was impressive.
- Exploring Nature’s is part of a designer’s quest for inspiration.
- Anything that functions well, looks beautifully. Form equals function.