Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Why Innovators Should Really Be Called “Chief Troublemakers”

According to a shocking study, "over 99.7% of employees and consumers are human." So why are our approaches to innovation often so impersonal?

Dustin Garis (former Chief Troublemaker, Procter & Gamble, Founder, LifeProfit and FEI 2015 keynote) has ventured to over 40 countries to not only preach innovation, but to seek it out, and to live it. Throughout his disruptive career he has been known to begin his meetings with the help of opera singers, use an elevator as an office, and fetch well-water with low-income women in rural India. By helping organizations expand innovation capabilities that drive consumer passion, he at the same time has driven unreasonable business success.

FEI 2015
The World Leader in Advancing Innovation
May 18-20, 2015
Boston World Trade Center & Seaport

Download the brochure for full details: http://bit.ly/1CHOwp1

Hear how Dustin has sparked a global uprising against the ordinary approach to business and life in his recent TEDx talk: http://youtu.be/nLe-8y7Tddk

FEI: Front End of Innovation 2015 delivers what you need to not only practice innovation, but live it. Re-ignite your organization's innovation passion and deliver the products your customers are looking for. In additional to Dustin, you'll connect with 75+ speakers, including:

·         The Hershey Company - Building an Enterprise Capability for Innovation
·         Bumble Bee Foods - Using Insights as Ammunition to Align Stakeholders and Focus the Business
·         3M - Lean Startups in Large Companies
·         Mattel - Open Innovation: Harnessing the Power of Crowdsourcing
·         Altria Client Services  - Illuminating the Consumer: The Difference Between Active & Passive Data
·         Colgate Palmolive - Understanding Tomorrow, Today: A Virtual Trends Tour of the Next Decade
·         LEGO Serious Play - Exploring the Business Model Canvas with the LEGO Serious Play Method

Register today to lock in the lowest rate and start an innovation movement. Mention code FEI15BL and get $100 off the current rate: http://bit.ly/1CHOwp1

All the best,
The FEI Team

Friday, March 27, 2015

This Week In Innovation: 3/23/15 - 3/27/15

3 Ways To Find Forgotten Innovation

Amazon's Customer Centric Focus: Looking at the customer and innovation

Is Innovation More Than a Buzzword? Consumers are willing to pay 21% more for innovative brands

Building a Culture of Innovation: Innovate or die

Making Design Thinking Work: Dealing with the pressures of growth and innovation

8 Ways To Establish An Innovation Culture In Your Business 

Consumer and Finance Industries Are Ripe For Disruption: Industries that are long overdue for disruption

Open Innovation: The fast track to leveraging new technology to provide customers with better service

Fusion: Blending ideas to come up with innovation via Huffington Post

10 Trends Shaping The Future of Branded Content

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, March 25, 2015

Why Big Companies Fail at Acting Like Start-Ups

How to Save Top Corporations from Themselves

By Marc Dresner, IIR

It’s well known that the average lifespan of major corporations has been declining at an alarming rate.

In fact, in 2012, Innosight—the innovation consultancy co-founded by Clay Christensen—published a report estimating that at the current rate of churn, 75% of the S&P 500 just over a decade from now will be companies we’ve probably never heard of.

Little wonder, then, that many of the world’s biggest and oldest companies have been scrambling to emulate the start-ups potentially poised to supplant them.

Steve Blank
Anecdotally, we also know that most such efforts aren’t meeting expectations, primarily because these big, successful corporations can’t seem to get out of their own way.

That’s according to Steve Blank—Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur and co-author of “The Startup Owner’s Manual”—who says what has made great corporations great may today be their greatest liability.

“The ‘Jack Welch rules’ no longer work.”

“The ‘Jack Welch rules’ no longer work in the 21st Century,” Blank told me in an interview.

“Everything we knew about corporate innovation has been disrupted,” he added. “The challenge of innovation in the 21st Century has a whole set of issues that the old business school books or even the current ones don’t even begin to describe.”

“Companies dealing with continuous disruption need continuous innovation. Not innovation by exception, but innovation by design.”

“Companies dealing with continuous disruption need continuous innovation,” Blank emphasized. “Not innovation by exception, but innovation by design.”

“The good news is that we are just beginning to understand how. The bad news is that we are just beginning to understand how,” he noted.

Blank—whose Customer Development Methodology is credited with igniting the Lean Start-Up movement popularized by his most famous pupil, Eric Ries—says the problem is that the competencies necessary to behave like a start-up run counter to the cultures of most large, successful corporations.

“Large companies are masters of pristine execution with efficiency,” said Blank. “But innovation requires very different processes and procedures and incentives than execution.”

“Cultural issues around execution really make it easy to strangle innovation.”

“Cultural issues around execution really make it easy to strangle innovation on day one via the existing processes,” he said.

Big companies have somewhat embraced this idea, hence the proliferation of skunkworks and other initiatives designed to run independent from and parallel to their existing operations.

So why do these efforts continue to fall flat?

In this podcast for Forward Focus—FEI’s special interview series—Steve Blank discusses why so many attempts to act like start-ups fail and what companies need to do differently to achieve a state of continuous innovation in an era of continuous disruption.

Editor’s note: Steve Blank will be delivering the keynote, “Dealing with Disruptive Innovation,” at the 13th Annual Front End of Innovation taking place May 18-20 in Boston.

For more information or to register for FEI 2015, please visit www.frontendofinnovation.com

Ps. REGISTER TODAY with code FEI15BL and SAVE $100!

Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s sr. editor and special communication project lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a publication for market research and consumer insights professionals. He may be reached at mdresner@iirusa.com. Follow him @mdrezz.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

This Week In Innovation: 3/16/15 -3/20/15

4 Innovation Lessons From The History of Warfare 

Trends In Online Advertising: Mobile will be key in the future

Disruption Does Not Define Success: 5 Principles that do

Future or Fad? Tech Trends That Shouldn't Be Ignored: Transforming the retail landscape

Innovating Through Design Thinking: It's less abstract than it sounds

Best Brand Ideas of The Week: Top 5 for creatvity via AdAge

5 Future Focused Tech Trends of SXSW Interactive

Bitcoin Technology May Power Your Next Financial Transaction: If IBM's plan comes to fruition

The Link Between Leadership and Process Improvement: It's not an easy task to achieve

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, March 18, 2015

Keynote Michele R. Weslander Quaid (Google): Creating a culture of innovation

Keynote given by Michele R. Weslander Quaid, the Chief Innovation Evangelist at Google.

Executive Summary: Google cares for people, the startup mentality and technology.

Constant Innovation is key to Google's success but Michele describes three barriers to Innovation: 
  1. 1. Culture
  2. 2. Policy
  3. 3. Technology
In order to create and maintain an innovative culture within Google, the organization has formulated a clear goal: Organizing information and making it universally accessible. To get there, Google fosters an atmosphere of creativity and challenge. People must be able to thrive in the environment, otherwise there can be erosion and good people leave. Thus, when hiring people, make sure they are passionate, can act as a change agent, have a bias for action and are a fit for your company.

This culture is also reflected in the office space. Offices have few walls and such a setup helps to create a "start-up" environment in which different people have the chance to meet and talk more often.In Michele's own words: "give people freedom, they will amaze you"

This idea is also reflected in Google's policy, as they allow their engineers to spend 20% of their time on passion projects. For example, the world's biggest webmail application "Gmail" started as a 20% Project. But while open spaces and the freedom to do different things are a great basis for innovation, Google made sure that support structures exist to facilitate the freedom.

Being a startup at heart, Google has maintained the basic tenants of a company that needs to continuously innovate. This includes: Collaboration, sharing
failing fast and making decisions based on data and not politics. Michele further describes Google's focus on the user. While making sure that the user is happy is not always the best decision for the bottom line, happy users will be beneficial in the end.

Looking at the technology challenges ahead, Google is investing in X ProjectsThese are projects that are dedicated to making major technological advancements. While Google supports efforts to go to the moon, other projects are closer to home. Internet computing in terms of new cloud services and the ability to crowdsource ideas using google moderator are just two examples of the many frontiers Google is looking at. 

Michele then shared a lot of quotes, boiling down to:
  • - Challenge existing structures and policies (i.e. bureaucracy) 
  • - Assume significant risk must be taken in order to be successful.
  • - Trust People until proven otherwise
  • - Networking is working
  • - Trust your gut instinct
  • - Stay true to yourself and your convictions
  • - Have the courage to speak truth to power
In closing Michele speaks about the importance of transparency and she advises Managers to tell people what you know when you know it. If you don't, other things (rumors etc.) will fill the void. Thus, if you don't stay transparent, you will lose a lot more energy and time doing damage control and fighting nasty rumors.

Conclusion: Think different.

Dr. Jonathan Mall is the Big-Data Brain behind Zeitgeist Horizon, providing deep insights into current trends and innovation opportunities. He is also the founder and CEO of recommend.to, a recommendation marketing tool to enable your customers and clients to recommend you to their friends. He may be reached at JonathanTMall@gmail.com. Follow him @CognitiveTwo

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Profit Share Strategy, Part 2: Profit Share Examples

By: Tony Ulwick

In Part 1 I discussed how the profit share strategy works and why it puts companies in a very attractive financial position.

In Part 2, I’d like to show how some of today’s leading companies have earned their reputations by successfully executing the profit share strategy. Let’s first take the most obvious of the profit share examples: Apple. In the fourth quarter of 2011, Apple had just 11.7 percent of unit sales (market share) while securing a whopping 68% of the profits in the handheld market. In the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple’s market share grew to 21.7 percent while its profit share increased to 72 percent. Samsung secured the remainder of the profit share. Amazingly, no other player profited at all. This strategy helped to put more than $130 billion in cash on Apple’s balance sheet.

Although Apple has been very successful with this strategy, it’s not the first to employ it.
Consider Dyson. Until the first quarter of 2002, more than half of all vacuums sold in the United States cost $95–$125 or less, according to NPD. With prices ranging from $399 to as much as $650, Dyson’s vacuum cleaners cost as much as five times more.

And it turns out that 27% of the market—Dyson’s market share—are willing to pay that price premium. By controlling the high end of the market, Dyson has been able to claim 59% of the profits in the vacuum market. Worldwide, vacuums costing more than $200 are at least a $5.5 billion market.
And there are many other winning profit share examples. Consider Nest, which recently took a significant amount of profit share away from other players in the thermostat space by targeting homeowners who were so underserved by traditional thermostats (which cost $35 on average) that they were willing to pay $250 for a product that promised to get the job done significantly better. By January 2013, Nest was shipping 40,000 to 50,000 of its learning thermostats a month. Recently acquired by Google for $3.2 billion, Nest is now looking at other markets in which to employ the same strategy.


Companies like Apple, Dyson, and Nest implement a profit share strategy, and they use it to best advantage: rather than targeting a segment of overserved customers who are willing to put up with poorer performance so long as they can pay less (which is how a low-end disruption strategy works), they instead target customers who are willing to pay a lot more for products that will get the job done significantly better. If your goal is revenue growth and profitability, creating more value for the underserved segment makes more sense—but you must discover if you have one, and how big it is.


To discover if you can use the profit share strategy to target overserved customers, we follow a three-step process: (1) Using outcome-based segmentation methods, we determine if an underserved segment exists. (2) We determine the size of that segment. (3) We determine how much they are willing to pay to get the job done better.

If a profit share strategy is an option in your market, then recognizing that fact and taking action before a competitor does can be the fastest path to accelerated growth and market dominance.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Innovation Process: Why Most Get It Wrong and How to Do It Right

Prototyping, Iteration, Brainstorming…Misunderstood, Misused and Abused

By Marc Dresner, Senior Editor, IIR

John Crombie
What most people think they know about best practice in the innovation process is probably wrong.

That’s according to John Crombie, Co-Founder and CEO of UpStart Product Development and former R&D principal engineer with Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon.

Crombie says a lot of conventional wisdom around the innovation process today—not just with regard to medical devices, but in general—is flat out backward.

“One of the most inefficient processes you can have is an iterative one.”

Take iteration, for example…

“One of the most inefficient processes you can have is an iterative one,” Crombie told me in an interview.

“People like to tout how iterative their approach to innovation is, when in process excellence and process improvement you want to minimize iteration because it’s waste,” he said.

“The purpose of prototyping is not to make iterations of a product in order to refine it.”

Moreover, Crombie says prototyping may be the most misunderstood and misused tool in the innovation tool box today.

“Prototyping is abused,” said Crombie. “The purpose of prototyping is not to make iterations of a product in order to refine it; the purpose of prototyping is to define your requirements and get to true specs.”

In episode one of Forward Focus 2015—FEI’s expert interview series—John Crombie corrects some major misconceptions around the process of innovation and outlines an elegant approach to make it work.

Check it out here on FEI's YouTube Channel or simply watch below!

Forward Focus is a special interview series featuring thought leaders and experts at the forefront of innovation.

Forward Focus is brought to you by FEI 2015—the 13th annual Front End of Innovation conference—taking place May 18-20 in Boston.

For more information or to register, please visit www.frontendofinnovation.com

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

Thursday, March 12, 2015


The morning for the 2015 FEI EMEA conference started well with everyone turning up on time. A full day workshop was running in parallel with the Opening and morning presentations, and yet the room filled to capacity with more than 120 attending, and extra chairs were needed to be brought in to cater for the enthusiastic attendance.

A brief welcome from the Summit Chair, Hannes Erler (Swarovski) and a succinct introduction to our first speaker by Mike Hatrick (Climate-KIC) had us quickly move into the excellent selection of speakers lined up for the day, none who disappointed.

Separate notes are provided from the team on the speaker presentations. However with two speakers talking about Space during the day, that certainly was the topic that caught the attention of the attendees and many conversations were focused on the opportunities before us in this area. The understanding that New Space activities are shifting from science fiction to mainstream business took many of us by surprise, in a good way, and lots of excitement and discussion followed.

The other key theme for the day was about Passion & Purpose. The importance of this for both individuals and the organisation was mentioned a number of times by our speakers.

The end of the first day had us all 'getting connected' with the ChiefHumourOfficer.com team before networking and dinner. We all formed small informal groups and went off to explore Vienna to find somewhere for dinner, which was great for those who had flown in that morning and came straight into the conference.

contribution by Dr. Claire McGowan, CEO for SODA Inc. a business incubator based in NZ, and founder of www.ipmarket.com, an online community for entrepreneurs interested in IP.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mobilizing and Fueling Forward Innovation

By: Dr. Philipp Wagner, Advisory Services, EY

Tell us what you believe to be the biggest misconception about mobilizing innovation?

Applying a process is everything
Innovation quite naturally follows a certain flow of steps from the identification of a need to idea development, through to implementation and launch. Many companies have very elaborate process models in place through which they pursue all their innovation activities. But, often, the results leave room for improvement and the usual approach of refining the process does not do the job. Innovation certainly needs structure and guidance, but also room for flexibility and spontaneity.

Focusing on the product is everything
The aim of innovation is to generate products (or services) that provide better value to customers and induce them to buy. However, when trying to decide what to do differently, companies often focus too much, if not exclusively, on their existing products and ask customers what could be done better, usually resulting in small changes rather than truly new offers. As a result, innovation and growth potential are rather limited.

What is needed is to shift the focus on to the problem that the customer is trying to solve, or the jobs they are trying to do, by using the products. They don’t specifically want to use an electric drill; they want a hole in the wall. And, actually, not even that, but to hang a picture on the wall or, even further, make their home a nicer place. So, leaving the product behind and focusing instead on the problems of customers opens a whole new perspective and greater innovation opportunities.

Speed of performance is everything
Performance is the ultimate goal of all corporate activities, and innovation activities are therefore required to stand the test of KPIs and performance measurement. And rightly so. Yet, all too often, a disproportionate focus on performance leads to the application of restrictive KPIs and the expectation that innovation can happen quickly, without risk  and without bigger investments, people and financial wise. As a result, innovation, usually very nascent and fragile, is suffocated. To do it right, innovation needs endurance and commitment of resources.

What is, or has been, the most important key for fueling forward the innovation engine, in your experience?

Managing the common innovation dilemma
Companies face the dilemma of allocating their scarce resources to two kinds of innovation: incremental development of existing offers and the development of truly new, radically different offers. Systems, such as existing processes and performance measurement, are built to facilitate the first, but we often see that the more radical innovative efforts are stifled by the innovation management system. Companies need to find ways to balance both, defining strategies, systems and processes to facilitate radical, as well as incremental, innovation.

Setting the strategic direction
As much as innovation needs creativity and flexibility, it also needs strategic focus. We often see that important fields of innovation do not appear on companies’ agendas. Increasingly, innovation is stirred by disruptive technologies and business models. As long as these are not understood from a strategic point of view and do not receive a prominent place in the innovation strategy, moving from a reactive response to a more proactive mode will remain difficult.

Increasing agility in innovation management
Many of the recent developments we have seen in technology and business model innovation are very different from those that established companies are familiar with and proficient at adopting. New technological competencies are needed, and new markets need to be understood. This is hard enough. But it seems that in addition, the existing ways of managing innovation are not appropriate for dealing with these new challenges. As companies often know very little about the new technologies or business model opportunities, there is much uncertainty and risk. Going through the sequential steps of the standard innovation process seems not to work here. Rather, more agile and experimental approaches, based on trial and error, are needed to find out what works and what doesn’t. Start-ups work like that, they apply agile innovation methods and happily experiment their way forward. As hard as this may be for larger companies, management teams will need to find ways to work more like start-ups. 


“This publication contains information in summary form and is therefore intended for general guidance only. It is not intended to be a substitute for detailed research or the exercise of professional judgment. Member firms of the global EY organization cannot accept responsibility for loss to any person relying on this article.”

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