Friday, July 31, 2015

This Week In Innovation: 7/27/15 - 7/31/15

This week, Forbes released an article about “The 5 Types Of Innovation For The Future Of Work.” Sounds intriguing right? Throughout the article, the author essentially lists these “5 types of innovation” and starts by discussing the 1st type: employee innovation. Here, we explore how every single one of your employees is a valuable asset to your organization and how they can be vital to the health of the organization. “The logic here, is why rely on the intelligence of a few when you can tap into the collective wisdom of many?” The cool part about the layout of the article up is that this will be the first in a series of articles that explores each one of the 5 types of innovation. In other words, stay tuned!

Never did I think I would be using a Foreign Policy article in an innovation week summary, but alas… This week Neel V. Patel wrote an article for Foreign Policy on how vehicle innovation is on the rise and what that means for a true clean-energy car. To provide some background, there are a bunch of car companies investing loads of money into building zero emission and hydrogen-powered cars. However, the current models are extremely pricey due to the large size of the hydrogen storage unit. The article follows a man by the name of Joseph Wang, a nanoengineer for the University of California, who may have just discovered a cheaper and more compact alternative to the hydrogen storage model. Through a recent article in the German journal Angewandte Chemie, Wang and his team describe a system that stores the hydrogen as a space-saving liquid rather than storing it as bloated gas. “The researchers’ method produced more than nine times as much hydrogen gas as liquid reactions…” Well folks, the future of innovation is here!

We all know that feeling. In that moment when you need the most creativity your brain appears to fail you and any semblance of inspiration is lost. No, not anymore! Entrepreneur released a catchy infographic this week that’s main purpose is to reveal 21 ways to get inspired. “Consider this list of tricks and strategies your roadmap, all planned out with the benefit of the latest research and expert advice.” Among the many “tricks” and strategies to find inspiration for innovation are “Say Maybe: Be open to possibility,” “Imagine Distance: Psychological distance boosts creativity,” “and “Start Over: Scrap everything. Think Fresh.” The infographic features many similar concepts and strategies that, to me, seem useful and applicable. So what are you waiting for? Check it out!

Did you ever think you’d hear the CTO of Amazon say “We still consider ourselves a startup”? Amazon and the cloud computing business “surged 49 percent last year, drawing $4.6 billion in revenue.” Nin Zipkin of Entrepreneur was able to sit down with Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon, and discuss why the cloud is becoming essential for startup success. One of the questions asked by Zipkin was, “How is the cloud solving everyday problems?” In response to this question, Vogel states that in everyday life people are feeling the benefits of the cloud. The example he gives is this device that you on your water meter and it can tell you where in the home you use up the most amount of water. Interested in learning more about Amazon’s innovation practices and what it means for your life? Entrepreneur has more of the details.

Nichole Dicharry, is a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Marketing and Finance Divisions, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Official Call for Presenters: Front End of Innovation 2016

The Institute for International Research (IIR) is currently seeking presenters for:

May 10-12, 2016
Boston World Trade Center & Seaport Hotel

On the heels of our largest and most successful FEI to date, we have just opened the first round call for presenters period for our 14th annual event taking place next May 10-12, 2016 at the Boston World Trade Center.

We will be reviewing early submissions now through Friday, August 28th . Due to the high volume of submissions, we suggest you submit your proposal early to Kelly Schram, Program Director at

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

FEI is all about the Experience. We are looking for the following types of sessions, in order of priority (TOP CONSIDERATION will be given to interactive sessions).

·         Mini-Workshops: Collective intelligence is the key to innovation. We are looking for expert speakers to conduct collaborative 1.5 hour activities where attendees are taken through a process to get hands on.
·         Exploration Leaders: Speakers who are willing to get "outside the conference walls" and take smaller groups of attendees to local areas to explore/discuss various innovation ecosystems.
·         Interactive Discussions: Excellent facilitators who can give a short presentation and then lead the group in interactive roundtable discussions- with actionable outcomes.
·         Case Studies: We will only consider NEW case studies that haven't already been shared at another event.

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

Due to the high volume of submissions, only accepted proposals will be notified. For consideration, please email with the following information August 28th, 2015.

·         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)

For more information about FEI 2016, visit our website:

Monday, July 27, 2015

Ask the Innovation Expert: Ted Frank

The back end of innovation is the make or break point for ideas in the innovation process. It’s where great ideas will either flourish or die. This is your reality check. What you take to market and how you execute on innovation determines your ROI and growth.

This year, The Back End of Innovation Conference unites cross-industry leaders sharing challenges, lessons learned and best practices on commercializing new ideas and profitably executing your go to market innovation strategy. Move beyond incremental product and service improvements and discover the lessons of ground breaking innovation – meaningful disruption across categories, value chains and markets.

That’s why we recently sat down with BEI 2015 speaker and Story Strategist at Backstories Studio Ted Frank.  He talked to us about best practices to support successful innovation execution and the challenges that come along with it.

Here’s what Frank had to say:

“The two biggest roadblocks I see with innovation teams are lack of confidence when they present to executives and not documenting their process. Because innovation and design become very personal, it can feel like going before a judge, and they forget that they are there as contributors to the company’s strategy, and therefore, as valuable as anyone.”

Frank also shared some best practices for innovation teams when it comes to crafting the story of a project:

“Get the objectives for the project written so you can reference them later. That helps them use the words that management uses, a technique that will help them resonate with the executive at their presentation.”

“Document the process by shooting video of the innovators in action: as you research, as you brainstorm, as you sketch, as you create. These will later make the innovators look heroic.”

“Get an outside person or team to craft the narrative. The team is usually way too close to it and, therefore, keeping it simple becomes very difficult.”

“Always, always, always, present visually, and if you can, experientially. If you can get the execs to feel the problem from the customer’s point of view and the journey as you explain it, they’ll be so much more present and ideas will make so much more sense.”

Want to hear more from Frank? Attend BEI 2015 in San Jose, CA this fall. To learn more about the event or to register, click here:

Friday, July 24, 2015

This Week In Innovation: 7/20/15 - 7/24/15

Gone are the days when innovation was frowned upon or something to be muttered softly. Unlike the 17th century where you could get imprisoned for life for even speaking of the word “innovation,” today that’s how business runs. In an article released this week by The Telegraph, Oliver Pickup discusses how vital and important innovation can be to keep a business afloat. “Today is it the most important buzz word [innovation] for tech businesses, whose leaders are keeping their ears attached to the ground in order to seek out new ideas…” Tata Communications’ CEO Vinod Kumar is cited in the article explaining how curiosity stimulates dialogue and is essential for growth at any organization. The article offers an excellent explanation and inside look into the benefits of forward thinking innovation.

If there was ever a time innovation most needed, now would be that time. According to an article by the New York Times published Wednesday, the latest assessment from the International Energy Agency forecasts an extremely bleak outlook as far as climate control goes. “Even under the more optimistic assessments of humanity’s technological capabilities, limiting the atmosphere’s warming to two degrees Celsius above the average…seems to be slipping out of reach.” Innovation with regard to climate change appears to be fighting an uphill battle that is expected to only get harder from here. It will be interesting to follow this story and see how innovation can continue to progress sustainability.

We all know the story behind Steve Jobs and Apple’s major success story. But do any of us know where the PC industry started? Some may tell you IBM, and those individuals would be wrong. In an article written for Fast Company on Wednesday, two women by the names of Lore Harp and Carole Ely were revealed to be the individuals responsible for launching the PC industry. The story goes, that during the same time Jobs and Wozniak were developing the Apple brand, bored housewives Lore Harp and Carole Ely were given the opportunity to launch Bob Harpe’s (Lore Harp’s husband) improved Altair memory board. How's that for a "humble beginnings" story?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Be a Trend Activator: Accelerate Business Strategy and Growth

We see it everywhere.

It could be the flash of an exotic gray pattern belonging to a dress, or the solar panels glistening atop every office building. Maybe it's the child in your neighborhood who refuses to separate from social media.

So what do we see everywhere? Trends. Sure we see them, but what are they really if all we ever do is simply observe them. Had Martin Cooper only observed the trend of humans being more mobile, would we be living in a world without cell phones?

Trends are nothing more than mere behaviors without activation. At Foresight and Trends 2015 you won't just discover trends, you will learn to activate them and shape the future. Visit our website:

You won't want to miss our various Case Studies/Workshops dedicated to guiding you activate trends:

·         Built For Clarity: Standing up a Trends Program
Michael Mitchell, Manager of Trends Insights, Lowe's Home Improvement
Mitchell will discuss the challenges and opportunities in setting up a cross-functional trends program.
With some false starts about the program, Mitchell was tasked with creating a framework for defining trends, leveraging existing knowledge, and recruiting an internal team of established trend experts. The team's findings? The program added clarity and confidence about how to think about the future of the home improvement consumer.

·         Using Microsoft's Digital Trends Framework
Natasha Hritzuk, Microsoft
In this workshop you will use Microsoft's Digital Trends framework in order to explore eight different trends in small groups of 5-6. This workshop will discuss possible opportunities with these trends and why brands should pay attention to them. After brainstorming in small groups, individuals will present their ideas and vote on groups with the most creative approach.

Download our brochure for the complete list of Case Studies and Workshops to attend:


Come and tour Revolt TV's studio Wednesday September 30th from 3:00 - 5:30. The tour will include an overview of how new and old media can work together as well as explore the key to the future of consumer engagement. You might even get a chance to see them taping a live show!

Are you ready to press that "red button" and activate? Of course you are! Due to limited space, special tours and explorations are limited to 25 people, so don't wait any longer!

Register now and lock in $100 savings when you use code FT15BL:

Can't wait to see you there!

The #FT15 Team

Friday, July 17, 2015

This Week In Innovation: 7/13/15 - 7/17/15

How best to advance women in Silicon Valley you ask? Former Google Exec, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy would answer you by inserting that women should be present on every startup board. The thinking behind this answer is that rather than focusing on expanding the diversity for boards of large companies, why not start seating women at “young startups”? To assist in the board member search which, let’s be honest, can take a lot of time, Singh Cassidy is launching “The Board List.” In essence this will be a database of more than 600 women who could potentially serve on private company boards. Each candidate is sorted by expertise and nominated through an inaugural group consisting of 60 Silicon Valley influencers. How’s that for disruptive innovation?

What is successful employee engagement and how do you drive a comfortable workspace? This question, more often than not, receives a ton of attention every year at organizations trying to implement a fully engaged workforce. Fast Company, this week, released six shocking insights related to employee engagement. Among the six insights? The organization Quicken Loans as an example case study of what full engagement looks like. An executive VP for engagement research at the Conference Board, explains that few companies have really given themselves to the mission of “creating a positive and enabling workplace.” Employees of Quicken Loans have in fact frequently written letters to detail how much working for the organization has aided them in turning their lives around. Overall, the article provides key insights that are extremely valuable to the standards of any organization. 

Finish the sentence: College gives the next generation… 

According to a recent article by the Smithsonian, universities like Stanford are developing and molding the next great innovators by offering courses on design and entrepreneurship more frequently. “…to continue to groom some of the country’s leading entrepreneurs and thinkers, it (Stanford) and other academic institutions are realizing that college, in some ways, needs to become a four-year incubator, approaching higher education in a fundamentally new way.” The article then goes on to explain Stanford’s method of applying the design thinking skills across fields in order to equip students with the mindset to overcome various global issues spanning from healthcare to energy. It’s safe to say that programs such as the one offered at Stanford, enable the next generation of innovators.  

Nichole Dicharry, is a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Marketing and Finance Divisions, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at 

Clicky Web Analytics