Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Planning for Success while Innovating for and with Emerging Markets

At the Front End of Innovation 2013, Sameer Desai, Commercial Director-Asia, GlaxoSmithKline, spoke to us about his session on Planning for Success while Innovating for and with Emerging Markets.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What's Your Definition of Innovation?

With the Front End of Innovation conference just weeks away, I’ve been reflecting on the many different definitions and meanings for the word innovation. Here’s a snapshot of a few of my favorites. Take a look and let me know what you think. Is the right answer A, B, C, or some/none/all of the above?
Innovation is...
A)     Seeing and connecting the dots (by David Brier, Branding Expert and Fast Company Blogger). What I like about David’s definition is its simplicity. Some people see dots and some don’t. For those who see the dots, it’s about exploring, questioning, and connecting them. While the definition is simple, its broadness may be a shortcoming. When so many things can be considered innovation, perhaps nothing is really innovative anymore. Hmm. Read more on the Fast Company Blog.
B)      A taxonomy of activities including Novelty, Creation, Invention, and Innovation (by Horace Dediu, Technology Analyst). Horace saw a problem and he coined the term “innoveracy” to describe it. Innoveracy is the misuse of the word innovation and the inability to tell the difference among Novelty, Creation, Invention, and Innovation. In Horace’s definition, Novelty is something new, Creation is something new and valuable, Invention is something new and having potential value through utility, while Innovation is something new and uniquely useful. In this way, the taxonomy is hierarchical and Innovation is the product of Novelty, Creation, and Invention. While the definition is brings a bit more clarity, I wonder if the formulaic nature holds true in all cases? Does innovation really = Novelty + Creation + Invention (etc.). Hmm. Read more on the Asymco Blog.

C)     When a large group of people change what they used to think, know, or do for something fundamentally different (by Dean Kamen, Entrepreneur and Inventor). In Dean’s definition he takes into consideration behavior change. What I like about this is that innovation doesn’t really matter unless it is embraced. Out of the three definitions, I gravitate towards Dean’s the most. It could be that I like the bias towards action, as well as, the rational + emotional insight. Read more on the Discovery Blog.
D)     Some/None/All of the above

Regardless of your definition of innovation, there’s one thing certain – FEI 2014 will surely offer an eye opening experience. Hope to see you there!
Alicia Arnold holds a Master of Science in Creativity, Innovation and Change Leadership from the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College and an M.B.A in Marketing from Bentley University. She enjoys writing about creativity and innovation and is published with Bloomberg Businessweek, the Huffington Post, The National Association of Gifted Children, and iMedia Connection. In her role as an award winning, digital marketer, she uses her passion for creativity and innovation to develop breakthrough digital and social experiences. You can connect with Alicia on Twitter @alicarnold.

Call for Presenters Now Open: Front End of Innovation EMEA 2015

 The Institute for International Research (IIR) is currently seeking presenters for: 
March 11-13th, 2015 
Vienna, Austria 

Due to the high volume of submissions, we suggest you submit your proposal early and no later than 9th May to Kelly Schram, Conference Director. To submit your proposal, please email Speakers receive FREE admission to the entire 3 day conference. 

We are currently looking for client-side case studies ONLY (*for consultants, vendors, and solutions providers, please see additional information below) on the key content areas (below). PRIORITY WILL BE GIVEN to interactive sessions that allow hands-on participation in a 1.5 hour workshop format. 

• Business Model Innovation 
• Return on Innovation 
• Execution & Organizational Strategy 
• Culture & Leadership 
• Innovation Education 
• Thriving in Emerging Markets 
• Industrial Design 
• Innovation Networks 
• Design Thinking 
• Future Trends 
• Open Innovation 
• Co-Creation 
• Partnering 
• Innovation Funding 
• Creativity 
• Entrepreneurial Thinking 
• Change Management 


 If you are interested in sponsorship or exhibit opportunities please contact Liz Hinkis at  

For consideration, please e-mail with the following information by 9th May. 
 • Proposed speaker name(s), job title(s), and company name(s) 
• Contact information including address, telephone and e-mail 
• Title and objective of presentation 
• Please indicate which topic you plan to address and please indicate what is NEW about the presentation 
• Summary of the talk 
• What the audience will gain from your presentation (please list 3-5 key "take-aways")

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Cathedral and the Bazaar Webinar Encore

If you missed our live Web chat earlier this year with Tribeca Film Festival Co-Founder Craig Hatkoff and Rabbi Irwin Kula, who together, with Harvard Business School’s Professor Clayton Christensen, originator of disruptive innovation theory, founded the Disruptor Foundation in 2009, on The Cathedral and the Bazaar: How Next-gen Disruptive Innovation will Encourage Cathedrals (incumbents) to Learn How to Dance with the Bazaars (two guys in a garage), and Invite more Disruptions of Consequence, we invite you to revisit it here.

We'll cover:

• The Linux, Open Source, and Eric Raymond Story
• The Need for a New More Permeable Ethos
• GE and Quirky as Metaphor


Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Flashback: Venice, An idea will never – or rarely – sell itself

Creating new ideas is an essential step towards innovation, that’s obvious. But it is not sufficient these days. In order for an idea to thrive in the market, brands need to generate excitement and support for their new opportunity. Don’t be fooled: an idea will never – or rarely – sell itself. That is where the power of storytelling comes in. Using storytelling throughout the innovation process – and embracing it as an essential tool to either capture or understand the hearts and minds of your target audience – will increase the relevance of an idea and therefore ensure that it stands out.

Numerous examples can be quoted of how storytelling is becoming mainstream in the business world. At Nike, senior executives are called ‘corporate storytellers‘. 3M banned bullet points and replaced them with writing ‘strategic narratives‘. Procter & Gamble hired Hollywood directors to teach its executives storytelling techniques. Business schools have added storytelling courses to their curriculum.

R&D alone does not buy innovation, nor is it open innovation. At least not all the time anymore. It is clear that we need to rethink the innovation process beyond mainstream innovation processes, which sometimes solely rely on technical capabilities or evolutions. This can happen by embracing the consumer right from the start in the process and create the right environment for a consumer to tell his/her story. This is an alternative approach to the standard innovation processes. Alternative is not always better, I admit, but better is most often alternative.

Some weeks ago, I attended the Front End of Innovation (FEI) congress in Venice. The setting was mesmerizing. This was my first visit to Venice and it completely lived up to my expectations. The congress itself was hosted by the Ca’ Foscari University, right in the heart of this magnificent city. One could argue that the setting of an innovation congress in Venice, a city where art and history combine with old trades and the beauty of the sea, is not ideal. However, the congress proved that tradition and innovation can be like hand in glove.

Jaspar Roos talked about The Offline Glass as a great example of how consumer storytelling and the correct interpretation of the message encapsulated in the story can spark inspiration for innovation. The story is clear: consumers often talk about digital information overload. The Salve Jorge bar in São Paulo correctly interpreted this story and understood that people want to be rescued from the online world – at least for a while – and talk face-to-face rather than being hooked on their smartphones.

The Offline Glass is an invitation for people to turn off the online world, chat with friends and live in the reality around them, at least for a few hours. The Offline Glass definitely has some weaknesses – What if the phone starts to vibrate? What about condensation? What about accidental spills? – but it is brilliant in its simplicity.

Sameer Desai, Director Consumer Healthcare at Mundipharma, shared the Solar Bottle Lights as another example of how deep an understanding of the consumer reality through storytelling can boost innovative thinking. It took the entrepreneurship of Alfredo Moser in Brazil and the right interpretation of the stories from people living in underprivileged houses without access to electricity to develop the Solar Bottle Lights – one of the best innovations of all times if you ask me.

The invention is simple. It involves filling up a 1.5L PET bottle with purified water and bleach and installing it ‘in / through’ the roof of a house. The water in the bottles refracts the sunlight during the day and creates the same intensity as a 55-watt light bulb. The power and relevance of the initial idea cannot be ignored. It indicates that deep cultural and consumer understanding, based on trivial consumer stories, is of paramount importance and can sparkle life-changing innovations.

What started with one plastic bottle has now evolved into the foundation ‘Liter of Light’. To date, Liter of Light has brightened up 28,000 homes and the lives of 70,000 people in Metro Manila alone. The project has spread from the Philippines to Indonesia, India and Switzerland with the goal of installing one million ‘solar bulbs’ by 2015.

Connecting with consumers and listening to their stories will spark inspiration for innovation. Everyone involved with innovation – researchers, marketers, engineers… – should allocate time and resources in order to listen to consumer stories. It will change your perspective, you will potentially hear what no one else is hearing and it will set your innovation spirit on fire.

* Published by permission of the author from the original at 


 Tom Goderis is the Business Director FMCG, at InSites Consulting, in Belgium.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Call for Presenters: Foresight and Wellbeing

The Institute for International Research (IIR) presents:

Foresight & Wellbeing
November 11th, 2014
Location: Los Angeles, California

Due to the high volume of submissions, we suggest you submit your proposal early and no later than Friday May 5th, 2014 to Romina Kunstadter, Conference Producer at


Regardless of the Role or industry you are in; Wellness, Lifestyle, & Wellbeing has become top of mind

Join the conversation as we take a holistic approach to wellbeing, exploring what it means through a variety of lenses so that we can create a more integrated strategy and brand.

Wellbeing is no longer isolated to personal health, it spans across industries and roles as its effects on productivity, product line, innovation, leadership, growth, and brand health are linked to creating a sustainable company and driving the bottom line.

Specific Topical Discussions Include:

The program is divided into three stages: Starting with redefining what wellbeing means, explaining its impact on a company, a brand, and its consumers, and finally showing you how Foresight in these areas can create positive change that will drive the bottom line.

Redefining Wellbeing: A holistic approach to Wellbeing

Explore what wellbeing's links is to a variety of areas including:
1. Emotion & Psychology
2. Corporate Culture & Structure
3. Technology's Effect on Wellbeing
4. Your Brand & It's Growth
5. The Future Consumer

Wellbeing's Impact on your Company & Brand: Creating Productive & Organic Growth 
1. Creating a More Engaged Staff & Consumer
2. Wellbeing ROI: Generating Growth
3. The Creativity Impact: Driving Innovation

Creating Change: Foresight that Impacts the Bottom Line
1. Social Responsibility
2. Establishing a Long Term Vision
3. Partnerships Around Wellness Initiatives
4. The Humanization of Data to Create Change: Motivating  through the use of technology

****Please see below for what topics our audience said are top of mind for them***

As a Speaker

Speakers receive FREE admission to the conference and the ability to connect with though leaders and create change for yourself, your company, and your consumers. We are currently looking for client-side case studies ONLY (for consultants, vendors, and solutions providers, please additional information below*).

Sponsorship & Exhibition Opportunities
If you are interested in sponsorship or exhibit opportunities please contact Jon Saxe, Business Development Manager at or 646.895.7467.

Interested in Becoming a Media Partner or Featured Event Blogger?
Contact Maria Orlova, Marketing Manager, at

For Consideration

For consideration, please email with the following information by Friday, May, 5th, 2014. Please make sure each of the items below accompany your submission.

Proposed speaker name(s), job title(s), and company name(s)
Contact information including complete address, telephone and fax numbers and e-mail
Talk title
The main theme you plan to address
Summary of the presentation (3-5 sentences max - If selected this is what will print in the conference brochure)
Please indicate what is NEW about the presentation
What the audience will gain from your presentation (please list 3-5 key "take-aways")
Of the Audience above who would this most appeal to?
Previous conference experience
Short bio
Due to the high volume of responses, we are unable to respond to each submission. All those selected to participate as speakers will be notified shortly after the deadline.

Thank you for your interest in Foresight & Wellbeing. We look forward to receiving your proposal!

For your reference listed below are SOME of the Topics attendees said are top of mind for them- You are not limited to these areas. If you have an area you would like to suggest that is not include in the list below we encourage you to submit those.

Redefining Wellbeing: A holistic approach to Wellbeing

1. Wellbeing: Emotion & Psychology
Topic: Positive Psychology What this Means for your Company, your Brand, Your Consumers
Topic: Finding a Balance between Executing and Making meaningful connections in service based businesses
Topic: Behavioral Economic Approaches to Changing Consumer Attitudes & Shopper Behavior (Understanding the Emotional Connection)

2. Wellbeing: Corporate Culture & Structure
Topic: Keeping a Productive, Creative, healthy Workforce- It's impact on the bottom line
Topic: Disrupting the Workplace & Being Innovative
Topic: Creating Engagement from all levels within a the company

3. Technology's Effect on Wellbeing
Topic: The Importance of A Digital Presence to your Patients
Topic: Awareness Creation & It's Impact
Topic: Creating Disruptive Partnerships that Inspire Wellness within a Corporation
Topic: Curating Information & Data Visualization: Using Quantified Self to Tell a more personal and effective Story

4. Wellbeing: Your Brand & It's Growth
Topic: Sustainability and Protecting the Environment
Topic: Becoming a part of solution: Looking at Nutrition & Wellness
Topic: Ideals & Social Responsibility: The Effect on Brand Loyalty & Engagement & Growth
Topic: Creating Organizational Energy
Topic: Brand Evolution: Functional+ Emotional+ Social Attributes

5. Wellbeing: What It Means to The Future Consumer
Topic: Steps to Reduce the Healthcare Burden & Cost to Society
Topic: Identifying Emerging Shifts in Human Motivation that will impact how companies operate
6. Relaxation Tips & Tricks
7. Mindfulness What Does it Mean in a Corporate Environment

Wellbeing's Impact on your Company & Brand: 

1. Creating a More Engaged Staff & Consumer
Topic: A Holistic Approach to Wellness & Wellbeing: Beyond ROI
Topic: Creating Corporate Engagement through workplace meaning
Topic: Identifying the Barriers that keep employees engaged in their wellbeing

2. Wellbeing ROI
Topic: Looking at ROI on Wellness Programs
Topic: Non-Traditional Methods to Foster Productivity
Topic: Creating a balanced Company & Better Balanced Portfolio
Topic: New Tools & Methodologies for Tracking & Evaluating Wellness Programs
Topic: Leadership and Company Growth and Sustainability

3. The Creativity Impact: Driving Innovation
Topic: Applied Creativity: How to Become More Creative
Topic: How Wellbeing Impacts your ability to innovate
Topic: The Healthy entrepreneurial or innovation habits

Creating Change: Foresight that allows you to change how you do business
1. Social Responsibility
Topic: Corporate Social Responsibility: Investing in the Community
Topic: Creation of New Departments That Value ROI differently
Topic: Collaboration as an Industry to create a healthier population & consumer base
Topic: Building Better Relationships with NGO's, Countries, & Civil Society

2. Partnerships Around Wellness Initiatives
Topic: Corporate & Government Partnerships to Create Change
Topic: Wellness & Diversifying Your Product/ Service Portfolio

3. The Humanization Of Data to Create Change: Motivating

Monday, April 21, 2014

Disrupting Disruptive Innovation Theory: Lessons from the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards Webinar Encore

Earlier this year, we launched a live web chat in partnership with Innovation Excellence. If you missed our first webinar here's your chance to revisit it.

Disrupting Disruptive Innovation: Lessons from the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards, with Tribeca Film Festival Co-Founder Craig Hatkoff and Rabbi Irwin Kula, who together, with Harvard Business School’s Professor Clayton Christensen, originator of disruptive innovation theory, founded the Disruptor Foundation in 2009.

We'll cover:

• The Power of Pop Culture
• Disruptive Innovation as the Lens for Change
• Cultural Transformations: Pope Francis as Epic Innovator
• Insights from the Lives of TDIA Winners


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Frugal Innovation: Lessons from Emerging Markets

At the Front End of Innovation 2013, we had a chance to chat with Navi Radjou, Co-author of the best-seller Jugaad Innovation and From Smart to Wise, about his session on Frugal Innovation: Lessons from Emerging Markets.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Creativity Can be Taught and Systemized. Here's How...

Boosting Creative Capacity: A Misunderstood Method, Team Sport and Teachable Skill

By Marc Dresner, IIR

Innovation. It’s no luxury. It’s an indispensable cost of staying in business today.

The average lifespan of a Fortune-class company has been dropping at an alarming rate. Categories and industries have been decimated almost overnight.

Lean Six Sigma, Agile and other methodologies can slash inefficiencies and speed us up, but they don’t drive innovation; they only support it. 

And speed alone can get us nowhere fast.

No. Excepting the happy accident, creativity is the fount of all innovation and genuine progress in almost every field of human endeavor. 

William J. Greenwald
And for companies, creative aptitude has become a matter survival.

The good news, according to William Greenwald, is that creativity isn’t so squishy or ethereal as we’ve been led to believe. Creativity can be systematized.

Furthermore, he says it needn't and shouldn't be the exclusive domain of agency-type specialists and hipster magicians with quirky titles like “Senior Idea Juicer.”

As it happens, Greenwald's own job title, Chief Neuroleaderologist,” kinda screams “I am creative,” and he's an authority in the field.  

His consultancy, the Windsor Leadership Group, specializes in executive development and peak performance leadership coaching using an approach steeped in neuroscience.

“Creativity should be everyone’s job, because every business needs that creative muscle to compete.” 

“Creativity should be everyone’s job, because every business needs that creative muscle to compete in today’s environment,” Greenwald told Forward Focus.

He's not alone here. Business leaders recognize the power of hybrid and interdisciplinary thinking, and many top companies are aggressively exploring new ways to increase the creative output in their organizations.

Even MBA curricula are incorporating design thinking ("Strategic Design MBA" isn't an oxymoron at Philadelphia University, for instance).

Nonetheless, Greenwald says that many of his clients struggle with creativity—what it is, how to “do” it—and they often engage him to help them sort it out.

Greenwald insists that contrary to popular myth, creativity can be acquired.

“Creativity is not a talent that we’re born with; it’s a learned skill.”

“Creativity, like leadership, is a choice,” said Greenwald

“We choose to be creative or we don’t. It’s not a talent that we’re born with; it is a learned skill.”

In this podcast with Forward Focus—the official interview series of FEI 2014—we'll demystify creativity:

• Dispel  misconceptions

• Identify common stumbling blocks

• Provide a blueprint for organizations to systemize creativity and much more…

Editor’s note: William Greenwald will conduct a special workshop—“The Neuropsychology of Creativity and Design Thinking”—at the 12th Annual Front End of Innovation Conference May 13-15 in Boston.

For more information or to register for FEI 2014, please visit us at 

Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s sr. editor and special communication project lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at Follow him @mdrezz.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Integrating Open Innovation with Frugal Innovation

Navi Radjou, 2013 Thinkers50 Innovation Winner, Co-Author of Jugaad Innovation, recently notified us that Frugal Innovation can be seen as a new approach pioneered in the Global South:

Jugaad is the resilient art of detecting opportunities in the most adverse situations and resourcefully improvising ingenious solutions with limited means. Jugaad goes by different names in various emerging markets: Brazilians call it jeitinho; the Chinese refer to it as jiejian chuangxin (in contrast with shanzhai, which means copycat); the Kenyans call it jua kali. Whatever the name of its regional variants, the jugaad spirit shows that developing nations can devise original solutions on their own to solve local problems.
The frugal innovation model – enabled by an ingenious jugaad mindset – pioneered in African, Latin American and developing Asian countries debunks “the North invents, the South copies” myth by providing a cost-effective and sustainable alternative to the West’s resource-intensive and increasingly limited innovation model. In striking contrast with the expensive, rigid and elitist Western approach to research and development, frugal innovation minimizes resource use, allows for greater flexibility, and facilitates greater collaboration and engagement by local communities.


Frugal innovation – the ability to create more value with fewer resources – is making its way into Western economies through many channels. To begin with, a new generation of entrepreneurs in the U.S. and Europe are upending industry business models by providing Western consumers with alternative, affordable and sustainable products and services. Inspired in part by their peers in Nairobi, Bangalore and Sao Paulo, Western entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, New York, Paris and London are adopting the core principles of frugal innovation – that is, they design “good enough” products and services, offering them to Western consumers using a flexible pricing model through an extensive network of partners.
For instance, BlaBlaCar has rapidly emerged as Europe’s leading car-sharing community. Launched in 2004 by three young entrepreneurs, BlaBlaCar provides passengers with a less expensive and more flexible alternative to traditional means of transportation such as trains. Operating in ten European countries, BlaBlaCar transports over 700,000 passengers every month – more than the number of passengers travelling on Eurostar, the high-speed train that connects London to Paris and Brussels. BlaBlaCar estimates that its drivers save £100 million annually every year and have avoided emitting 700,000 tons of carbon dioxide.
Paul Benoit, a brilliant French engineer and another frugal innovator who creates eco-friendly solutions, founded Qarnot Computing. It is a start-up that makes digital radiators equipped with microchips that are connected to the Internet. These networked processors can perform computations much faster and cheaper than more costly electricity-hungry data centres. This makes super-computer-like processing power affordable and accessible to the masses. Even better, the energy generated by these high-performance processors gets converted into free and eco-friendly heating for the commercial buildings and houses equipped with digital radiators. The French government is keen to partner with Qarnot Computing to integrate this sustainable solution into social housing projects.
Inspired by these entrepreneurs, leaders of Western companies are realizing that they must embrace frugal innovation models or risk losing their core markets in the US and Europe to nimble rivals able to provide affordable and sustainable solutions to cost-conscious and eco-aware consumers. As a result, several Western companies have begun to develop – or invest in – frugal solutions that deliver more value at less cost to Western consumers. For example, inspired by great success in selling shampoo and tea in inexpensive single-serve sachets in India, in Spain, Unilever now sells small Surf detergent packages for only five washes and is marketing mayonnaise and mashed potatoes in tiny packages in Greece. Similarly, PepsiCo is motivating its supply chain managers in the US and Europe to do better with less by emulating their frugal colleagues in developing nations such as India, where PepsiCo’s beverage plants generate two-fifths of their energy input from renewable sources like biomass and wind turbines.


Western companies could accelerate their frugal innovation strategy by following two initiatives. First, they could recruit a new generation of engineers and managers from leading Western universities. Indeed, top US universities such as MIT, Stanford, University of Cambridge, and the Hamburg University of Technology host training programs and research centers that train next-generation “frugal” engineers and managers. These academic centers disseminate new knowledge in the field of frugal innovation for the benefit of Western corporate leaders and policy makers. Second, Western multinationals could (and must) engage emerging economies, such as India, China, Africa, and Brazil, not simply as “markets” to sell existing products, but as “sources” of inspiration for radically new frugal solutions that could be co-developed and commercialized across both emerging as well as developed markets by leveraging global innovation networks (see Figure 1).

While emerging economies have already internalized the principles of frugal innovation, Western societies are slowly learning to master the art of doing more with less. In the coming years, as the global economy becomes more integrated, cooperation between the Global North and South will likely intensify, enabling greater two-way knowledge exchanges that accelerate and deepen the adoption of frugal innovation in developing and developed economies in a synergistic fashion. Frugal innovation is poised to become the unifying force in North-South engagement in the next decade.
*Repuplished by permission of the author from the original here
Editor's Note:
We invite you to explore Integrating Open Innovation with Frugal Innovation along with Navi Radjou at the 2014 Front End of Innovation taking place May 13-15th in Boston.

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