Thursday, December 29, 2016

Our New Year’s Resolution: Focusing on Your Future

We want you to continue to be successful in 2017. In order to do that, when it comes to business, you need to think about the future beyond next year.  

We know you are under pressure from your managers to stay ahead of the curve and always be thinking of the future in your industries. So, that’s why it’s more important than ever to attend live conferences and events to hear what the future holds directly from industry leaders.

Here are the events that will keep you thinking ahead in 2017:

·         The Media Insights & Engagement Conference
January 31 - February 2, 2017
The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Use code MEDIA17BL for an additional $100 off
Learn more and buy tickets:

·         Marketing Analytics & Data Science
April 3 – 5, 2017
JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square, San Francisco, CA
Use code MADS17BL for an additional $100 off
Learn more and buy tickets:

·         FUSE Miami
April 4-6, 2017
Nobu Hotel – Eden Roc, Miami, FL
Use code FUSE17BL for an additional $100 off
Learn more and buy tickets:

·         FEI: Front End of Innovation
May 8-11, 2017
Seaport World Trade Center Boston, MA
Use code FEI17BL for an additional $100 off
Learn more and buy tickets:

·         OmniShopper
June 20-22, 2017
Hyatt, Minneapolis, MN
Use code SHOPPER17BL for an additional $100 off
Learn more and buy tickets:

·         TMRE: The Market Research Event
October 23-25, 2017
Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando, FL
Use code TMRE17BL for an additional $100 off
Learn more and buy tickets:

·         TMRE Digital
With TMRE Digital you can access 27 Sessions from the World's Leading Insights Event TMRE from the comfort of your own home or office.
Learn more and download:

Don’t get stuck in the past. Look forward to the future!  

We hope to see you at our 2017 events!


The Knect365 Team

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Pivoting Your Way to Profitability

Back End of Innovation Conference
Pivoting Your Way to Profitability

Somik Raha, SmartOrg

There are many unforeseen hazards between concept and launch. Pivoting provides a unique opportunity to learn from experience and to change course at key development stages, making the difference between attaining mediocre results and achieving astounding success.

“I define innovation as being a participant in our collective evolution,” says Somik. “The method is a way to become who we aspire to be.”

Decision analysis is key in strategic thinking. The core question is “what does value mean?” Somik says you cannot actually measure value. The purpose of having a metric is to drive “productive action,” he says.

This insight gave birth to another one: “Quantitative analysis takes complexity off the table, so you can focus on who you want to be.”

Numbers are not about measuring the value of innovation, but rather about pivoting the actual market penetration. Using modeling techniques provides a value-creation lens that helps pivot a go-to-market strategy.

Insight Two: Executives do get innovation. They just need to know handoffs and the team’s understanding of the context.

Insight Three: Finance will support innovation if you provide a path to preserve existing revenue and increase customer loyalty.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Overcoming the Innovator's Dilema: Transforming Your Own Industry

Overcoming the Innovator’s Dilemma—transforming your own industry

Heather Webb, 3M Healthcare

3M has 46 business platforms. [RE1]  Business units can use these platforms to “pull together unique solutions,” says Webb.

“I like to think of these as a chef making omelets from an omelet station, choosing from Applications and Technologies.”

The area explored in the presentation is the Central Sterile Supply Department (CSSD), which is where medical equipment is decontaminated, sterilized, packaged, and stored.

3M is the leader in sterile processing monitoring. From tape that changes color to chemical indicators that show time and temperature to the biological indicator, 3M has developed the tools that define sterilization monitoring.

“As the leader, we knew it was time to disrupt ourselves—to find such new products as a biological indicator as it gives a faster indication. If we didn’t, someone else would develop it. So, we took the concept to leadership and fought hard,” she adds. “We saw this possibility of disruption, heard rumblings of competitors developing faster indicators.”

First, the team went out into the field and listened to customers. Overwhelmingly, they were satisfied with the current offering. So, the team had to learn the holistic nature of their customers’ jobs to see how they work. “The question was, how can we add value to their job? The insight was that if we could reduce the process from three hours to one hour, it would be a value-added win.”

“At 3M we have a three-phone call rule, where someone can help me with a technical solution.” This asset was helpful.

Advice for overcoming the dilemma:

Planning: The process of planning is important, but a plan is useless. Planning gets everyone on board. Advice: be fluid and communicate.

Teamwork: Teamwork “equals friendship.” Build a strong team dynamic.

Financial acumen: Financials are a team matter. Everyone should understand the financial implications of every choice.

Vision: “Vision is the most important factor.” Your team must have a vision of how your customer is going to use your product. If you cannot see it, go see your customer more. Vision serves as a guidepost.

Triple constraint in Project Management: Remember, “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes, you get what you need.”

We manufactured two indictors and challenge packs, and it was a commercialization success. The team reduced the actual time from 3 hours to thirty minutes.

What made the project a success: intimacy with customers, knowing what customers most wanted (time saved, usability, tethering to standards), and the technical team’s belief that the problem could be solved. Also, the products fit into our existing go-to-market strategy. Enrolling the business and the marketing teams meant that we got the help we need to complete and launch the new products swiftly and effectively.

Seven key to success in summary:
·      Communication
·      Persistence
·      Know when to ask for help
·      Planning
·      Friendship
·      Financial acumen
·      Vision

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Using gamification to motivate and manage your intrapreneur community

Back End of Innovation Conference
11/16/16: Day Two
Using gamification to motivate and manage your intrapreneur community

Kit Haines-Bornheimer, Vodafone

Vodafone uses innovation as a business driver. Our innovation program is largely focused on creating innovations with b-2-b customers.

We have four fulltime innovators in the enterprise business and sustain this work with a network of intrapreneurs across the globe, whom “we call innovation agents and innovation champions.”

We have seven, iterative steps:

1.     Define the vision
2.     Make the plan
3.     Find the seeds
4.     Create the space
5.     Nourish
6.     Enable Growth
7.     Take Stock

We have gamified the work paths of the innovation champions. In a good game, many people don’t know they are even playing a game. By applying game theory an emotional state is produced. Therefore, Vodafone is beginning to use the Octalysis design framework on gamification developed by Yu-kai Chow.

Our innovation leads take a scientific approach to motivate internal motion. We identify core drivers, define users, discern win state, find triggers and feedback cues, and discover meaningful incentives or rewards.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Love Is The Answer

“Love Is The Answer”

Engaging your own Associates to be your Best Brand Advocates

An Institute for Employment Studies reports that organizations increasing investment in engagement by just 10% can increase profits by approximately US$2,100 per employee, per year. Engaged employees are far more likely to put in the extra effort when dealing with customers, working on projects, and adapting to the changes affecting all organizations today.
Building engagement, Brand love, and Advocacy among your workforce is a challenge that Coca-Cola has taken on, with its “Coca-Cola Ambassador” program. 
Christy's presentation will discuss the opportunity for organizations to build internal engagement programs, as they build their business, it will briefly review the Coca-Cola Ambassador program and its outcomes, as well as offer insights on; 
  • Understanding the business case for Employee Engagement
  • Some practical examples from a successful program
  • Tips for developing a program for their business/market
The case for engaging your employees to tell your story. What is so innovative about love? Love is the most motivating and epic emotions that any of us will feel.

Because we live in an increasingly disengaged world, love matters more. This symptom hits the workplace harder than anywhere else.

There is a real cost to disengagement. $350 Billion dollars hits the economy because of disengaged U.S workers each year. How can employees be innovative and inspired if they are not engaged?

Why we feel disengaged? Here are the major loses:
·      A lack of respect
·      A lack of connection to company goals
·      A lack of positive leadership
·      A lack of training and career opportunities
·      A lack of appropriate pay/benefits

There has to be a North star, a way—and it must be communicated.

So, what can we do about it? Here’s what Coke does. First, it declares that love and pride are its foundation.

While the Coke brand is loved, our associates need to feel love, too. “Being told you’re appreciated is one of the most simple and yet incredibly uplifting things you can ever hear.”

Harvard Business Review says appreciation is the “single higher driver of engagement.”

Where does love and appreciation start? It comes from pride, genuine pride in your brand and company.

When associates feel love and pride they’ll share the brand story. Think about Coke. “We have 700,000 associates. If each person talked to 300 Facebook friends, they would touch 210,000,000 positive messages in the world. That is a movement.”

What is Coke’s love story? “Refresh the world, inspire moments of optimism and happiness, create value and make a difference.”

Let this question linger: What is your company’s love story? Can you name it? Then once answered, what programs do you have in place to tell your love story?

 [RE1]A lack of appreciation?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Conflict Resolutiom: It's not about personality

By: Ciaran Nagle, Global Marketing Manager, OND LLC

Personality Clash. It's an unscientific term for something we see very often and yet understand very little. It's a major cause of firings and the second-biggest factor in resignations (the biggest factor is neglect, but that will be covered in another post).

It's commonly evinced in phrases like 'I don't get on with him/her', 'we don't see eye to eye' or the brutally honest 'they can't stand each other'.

So why is it that two, often very talented and highly-motivated people, can't work together in the same team? Some people think it's an inevitable 'Alpha Battle' in which the office's dominant characters vie for supremacy and control. But we've all witnessed dozens of situations where ambitious execs work co-operatively too. These are by far the majority. Something else must be going on to cause the type of hostility we see in these internecine clashes between otherwise civilised people.

Science can throw a light on this. Method Teaming is a science that understands how different people's 'Intellects' combine to form the perfect team. In this context 'Intellect' is not how intelligent you are. It is how your intelligence is channelled. We each have one of only four primary Intellects and these will stay with us throughout our life. If we are lucky, we will find ourselves in a work team where our unique Intellect (our primary Intellect plus all the secondaries) is a natural fit with the Intellects of our colleagues. But if not, we may find that our Intellect jars with others and there are two of us who are trying to do the same job. This is a natural cause of conflict.

According to Method Teaming the problem with a 'personality clash' between two employees is not that they can't stand each other. It's that they can't understand each other. A Method Teaming Intellect Profile (MTIP) carried out on both of them would illuminate how and why they are trying to occupy the same space. Once they understand each other's Intellect and natural motivations - the unseen drivers that fuel our sense of purpose - they would realise that the other one is not trying to be competitive, but is simply being pulled in a particular direction by their underlying strengths and talents. Cue a tearful meeting to work things out and distribute responsibilities.

Method Teaming in Action                                

We are rarely able to report on occasions when Method Teaming is used within a corporation to resolve conflict. But one of our trainers recently brought Method Teaming into play in the course of some long-running family tensions. Here's her story. If you don't speak Method Teaming, skip over the technical detail and absorb the rest:

A Tale of Two Brothers. How Method Teaming® healed a breach in a critical relationship, making a team stronger.

Our subject is a large, close-knit family. It is a team bound by blood and a commitment to help one another.  A series of minor misunderstandings, layered with frustration allowed mistrust to fester.  From mistrust rose factions threatening the family health. Sound like a team you’ve been on? What to do?

Central to our story are two brothers, Juan and Tomas. I had the opportunity to create a Method Teaming® Intellect Profile for each.  What I learned, then shared with them and the family, changed everyone’s perception of one of the brothers, for the better.  The trust gap was closed.  Going forward, decisions were made differently. 

The brothers were close in age and temperament.  Both highly intelligent and driven.  They chose the same profession.  Though not competitors in business or even in the family, neither aimed to best the other.  But on one issue they continued to butt heads: meeting the needs of the extended family.

Juan was seen as unreservedly generous.  Whatever was needed, calendars were cleared, wallets opened, no questions asked. Tomas was seen as resistant, less responsive and generous. The timing wasn’t convenient, he always seemed to say. He was known to grumble, “You’re making me look bad.”  Did he want to help or not?  It was hard to tell.

Siblings and spouses talked quietly behind the scenes, albeit never maliciously, as this was against family code. Their objective: find a productive way to deal with this divide. Their informal decision? Ask less of Tomas. Strife lessened, though an uncomfortable, unspoken undercurrent survived.

Was it an accurate read of Tomas’ intentions?  Could the trust gap be closed with deeper understanding? Small fissures can crack open big objects under stress. How many small, misunderstandings result in preventable blow-ups that threaten or derail critical work in our teams?

Let’s consider their profiles.  As a Method Teaming consultant, what did I see?

Since Tomas’ behavior was perceived more negatively, let’s begin there. 

  1.  Motivators.  The SOC is above the horizontal bar and above the Ind.  Tomas puts the needs of others ahead of himself.  The IND is above the bar, as is the TRA, indicating Tomas is highly motivated to ‘make a difference.’ These are supported by the evidence.
    1. His profession requires consistent empathy.  He was highly regarded, garnering many awards and a large, loyal clientele.
    2. He served as President or Executive Board member of his company, a large school as wellas multiple national and international professional societies.  He taught classes around the world and wrote chapters in textbooks.
  2. Natural Behavior.  Right facing C means Tomas likes to have structure, systems and plans.  The evidence:
    1. His calendar, combining family, social and professional obligations is planned over 18 months in advance.  Given the variety of highly responsible roles he manages, this is critical to his success and our story.
    2. His profession is a regular target for lawsuits.  Repeatable systems are critical.
  3. Cognitive Structure:
    1. Combining Intuitive C+2, attentiveness to people and their needs, with his Motivational pattern, Tomas will be concerned when he can’t meet his commitments to others. When asked to juggle plans or resources on the fly, he is convinced he will look bad to someone.
    2. Combining Pragmatic C-2 with Conceptual C+2 magnifies things.  Tomas is hyper attentive to creating detailed plans to ensure success.  He hates problems, which must be dealt with now especially those causing his intricate plan to derail.  
Knowing this, are you surprised that Tomas seems unresponsive when asked to ‘drop everything,’ to help a member of the extended family?  Couldn’t you predict it?

How about Juan?

There are interesting similarities. But there are also two material differences. 

  1.  Natural Behavior: Left facing C.  Juan doesn’t rely heavily on plans and systems, at least outside work.  He likes to respond to one-off situations with new approaches.
  2. Cognitive Behavior: Conceptual U-1.  Need a new plan?  No sweat.  Juan can create them in volume, on demand.
Need someone to devise a plan to meet an unexpected problem? Juan is a natural.

Working hypothesis:  Give Tomas more time to plan how he is going to help the family and he will do so, in equal measure to Juan. 

The result: Tomas was ecstatic that the family finally got it!  Yes, just give him some warning. He wanted to help all along.  It took time to convince the family.  Building trust takes time.  It is the hardest element to build in a successful relationship, and the easiest to destroy.  It has happened. Tomas now initiates and funds major family events.  This forces the rest of family to block their calendars much further in advance than they would otherwise.  However, they tell us, “It is always worth it.”

Do you have a 'Tomas' in your business team, someone who is high capable but never seems to give of their best? Method Teaming will help you identify the cause and show you how to fix it. It might be something very simple, but if you don't know how to look for it, it will continue to fester and cost the rest of the team dear. Build your entire team with Method Teaming. Get all the parts working together like wheels in a well-oiled machine.

(With thanks to Susan Duralde.)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Innovation Inside the Box: A Systematic Approach to Link Innovation and Marketing Strategy

Innovation Inside the Box: A Systematic Approach to Link Innovation and Marketing Strategy
By Drew Boyd, Executive Director of the Master of Science in Marketing, University of Cincinnati 

Back End of Innovation Conference Keynote: 2016
The thesis of this talk is that Creativity is a skill, not a gift. This practical advice starts with a promise from Boyd: “I’m going to teach you how to use your brain to innovate anyway you want.”
He then discussed the origin story of the “think outside of the box” mythology. When you send people outside of the box, the mind suffers anxiety. The mind works better inside the box, he says, with constraints.
He then quoted Beatle Paul about “templates” for songwriting. All artist use patterns, he claims. But the artists don’t want you to see the patterns. Patterns boost the creative output. “Innovators and inventors use patterns, too, and they are embedded in the products and services you see everyday.”
The method is Systematic Inventive Thinking—and there are only five patterns. “Innovation follow as set of patterns: Subtractions, task unification, multiplication, division, attribute dependency.” 
Using these patterns you can move from solution to problem, rather than problem to solution.
To use this method, start with an existing situation, and then apply one of the five patterns from above. This thinking tool will yield a virtual product, then vets if it is desired and feasible. At this stage, an idea is born.
Let’s we examine the Subtraction technique. Here’s the method: remove a component, then visualize the new prototype, identify user needs, and then adapt as needed based on the factors of “the closed world.” Taking each piece out and thinking about the possibilities opens up new paths of innovation.
This method forces you to create combinations that you wouldn’t create on your own.
Task Unification is the next method we explored. Here you assign an additional task to a component and walk through the remaining steps of can we and should we do it.
We used “How we can keep consumers in grocery stores longer?” as an exercise. We listed all components, chose one, and then create ideas quickly, with time constraints.
The exercise demonstrated the effectiveness of the technique. Many new ideas were generated. The constraints forced new thinking, new potential value.
Boyd then gave many examples of the five techniques. The book explaining these methods is called Inside the Box.
Many of the innovators were excited about this technique, which works backwards from the empathy-first methods so popular today. Boyd claims that these methods improve the efficacy of brainstorming exponentially.

Michael Graber is the managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic growth firm based in Memphis, TN and the author of Going Electric, and also serves as VP Innovation at Hunter Fan. Visit to learn more.

BEI Opening Keynote: Human Evolution of Innovation

Human Evolution of Innovation
By Kevin Ashton
Ashton opened the conference by taking a picture of the crowd and publishing it on Twitter, which he remarked was revolutionary a decade ago.
"Innovation moves from ridiculous to miraculous to monotonous at light speed because we forget how exciting the present moment can be," Ashton taunts the audience. 
The driving question is how do we get from ridiculous to monotonous so fast? How did we get to here?
This story begins with a Hand Axe, a rock, the first human tool. Early humans—“many species of humans”—made and used these tools. Axes were the first general-purpose tool. The technology didn’t change for millions of years.
Contrast that rate of innovation to all of the changes from 50,000 years ago onward. This timeline is roughly 2,000 generations of humanity.
“What happened 50,000 years ago?” Someone decided to make the hand axe better—and it was the change that changed the world. It took 20,000 develop a spear, and “10,000 after that point, we domesticated our first animals. Five thousand years ago we had the first writing—and the first iPhone came 5,000 years later.”
Is there a process that says that innovation has sped up? “The answer is no," says Ashton. Population numbers have grown from 25 thousand to 7.5 billion in the same time. "When we invented agriculture there were only five million of us, and 50 million when writing was developed.” Enter the idea of knowledge workers.
Ashton does not believe in the “myth of overpopulation,” he says, “What you see here is, the more population we have, the more we can sustain. We have more calories and more food than ever.”
“I encourage you to step back and think about innovation as how the human race thrives and survives.”
In a letter Mozart described his creative process, and here is a paraphrase: “all of my best music comes to me in a moment if I am in a good mood and by myself—and it comes to me fully formed and all I have to do is write it down.” The timing of this letter was the ideal, Romantic alternative to the rise of Darwinism, ushering in the role of the Genius (defined by Ashton with a wry grin as “a special kind of white guy who has flashes of inspiration.”)
Ashton then debunks this myth of genius—as the letter is a fake, written for sociopolitical reasons. Creativity is not magical and special. It is open to everyone who wants to work hard.
Ashton then revisited the Wright Brothers story. What is the problem of flight? “Balance.”
Then, the Wright brothers took their knowledge of bicycle balance and applied it to the problem of sustained flight, hence, “how to fly a horse.” In 1900, they fly a glider, a prototype, fly it, and made some incremental changes. They added propellers as a later phase in solving the problem.
There was no magic moment. “They took a step and then another step, and very gradually solved the many problems until they have something that works.” This is how human beings create—not in a flash of genius.
Failing is a skill—you need to find a way to mitigate risk and learn, he claims. Hence, the team that created the parachute used a mannequin to test, evaluate, and learn. “You can’t fail smart if you get fired, die, or end up in jail.” Later, another inventor demanded he demonstrate his parachute himself—and died in a bad landing. The lesson: go slowly as needed and manage the pressures for speed and glory.
“Which brings us to the iPhone, which did not appear out of nowhere,” Ashton said. The iPhone lineage goes back to touch pads, track pads, and the LG Prada. “The reality is that a whole bunch of different things converged, all of these incremental steps were taken and put together—and that is how innovation happens.”
“Each time you invent a new tool, you invent a new category—think about that. The hand axe had to happen to have the spear and the spear had to happen to lead to the domestication of animals. The same story is true in your work,” claims Ashton.
Don’t forget that “milk is a technology and cheese is a technology.” Today we have gone from a hand axe to traveling to different moons and planets, into outer space.

 Michael Graber is the managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic growth firm based in Memphis, TN and the author of Going Electric. Visit to learn more.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

BEI 16: Opening Talk by Julie Anixter, Executive Director of AIGA

Opening Talk by Julie Anixter, Executive Director of AIGA
 Back End of Innovation Conference

Julie Anixter began the conference with a slide on the innovation journey. The first step on the journey is Ignored—and goes all the way to Continuous (Here are the stages: ignored, initiated, systematized, embedded, continuous).
The questions set forth are where are you? Why did you come to BEI?
Some crowd answers: learning, networking, tips and tricks, success stories, transitions into digital, because this is the hard part (the back end of innovation), because I volunteered.
Anixter encouraged the community to get to know one another and benefit from exchanging experiences: “You have entered into a tribe of very serious people and you can really benefit by getting to know each other.”
Michael Graber is the managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic growth firm based in Memphis, TN, VP Innovation at Hunter Fans, and the author of Going Electric. Visit to learn more.

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