Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Future is How: For Innovation, Implementation Matters

By: David Franke, Director, Innovation

Autonomous cars will shepherd us safely from point A to point B. Genotyping and smart drugs will allow for more personalized treatments. Advanced robotics will introduce an entirely new genre of companionship that is just as real and fulfilling as the companionship we find in people and pets, though with the added benefits of agelessness and upgradeability.

And this could be considered the beginning of a new period of disruption that will fundamentally alter the way people and companies organize, operate, and innovate.

The World Economic Forum describes this period as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which, according to the organization’s founder and executive chairman, Klaus Schwab, “entails nothing less than a transformation of humankind.” Driven by advances in and collaborations across diverse disciplines – from artificial intelligence to biotechnology – it’s easy to see this transformation as progressive and inevitable.

This all sounds well and good, though perhaps a little one-sided. If innovation is, at its simplest, invention plus implementation, the conversation around the transformative potential of innovation in this Fourth Industrial Revolution has largely focused on the invention half of the equation. The risk we face – as individuals, as companies, as a society – in failing to prepare for and manage the implementation half is that innovation stalls or, worse, results in net regress rather than progress.

Good ideas are abandoned due to lack of consensus or unaligned interests. Consumers continue to suffer under antiquated systems – from cable providers to health care organizations – until these systems eventually, finally, mercifully, collapse and are replaced by something new.

To succeed in this era of rapid transformation, we don’t just need to modernize our things, we need to modernize our ways. In their report, The Future of Jobs, the World Economic Forum declares that “social skills – such as persuasion, emotional intelligence, and teaching others – will be in higher demand across industries than narrow technical skills, such as programming or equipment operation and control.” And, according to Adobe and Accenture, business leaders have started to take note by placing new emphasis on cross-functional collaboration and fluid, project-based team structures.

Modernizing the ways in which we implement an innovation will create a seismic shift in business. And customers are the epicenter. However, the reality for most businesses today is that they are massive, siloed giants. Offices span oceans. It therefore becomes easy to lose touch with the customer perspective. The conversation shifts to brand strategy or operational capabilities, and soon enough you’re solving for business needs rather than customer needs.

The key to overcoming this challenge is to engage with the right people -- customers and internal stakeholders -- continuously (rather than episodically) throughout the end-to-end innovation process. Weaving their ideas, opinions, feedback, and experiences into the fabric of the organization ensures that it all gets represented at the decision-making table. This cultivates a customer-inspired culture – one that is fixated on innovating for the needs of the people you serve, from invention to implementation.

With the perspectives and needs of everyone – including customers – as your instrument for implementation, we can become more than collaborators. We’re conductors orchestrating a score of diverse talents and ideas – from customers to executives – to create new value at the intersection of shared interests. And, we can find what my friend and artist Aithan Shapira calls “the music in the middle” – the hidden opportunities within the competing, and at times conflicting, points of view. This is the harmony of invention and implementation, a modern innovation masterpiece.

About the Author: David Franke helps companies find and develop great ideas that work. With nearly 20 years of experience in strategy and innovation consulting throughout the US and Asia, David has partnered with leading companies and organizations in health care, financial services, CPG, consumer technology and more to develop and launch new products, services and experiences that deliver against the needs of customers and businesses alike. Prior to joining C Space, David led insights and innovation consulting with firms in Asia and the U.S. He holds a master’s degree in applied linguistics with post-graduate certificates in strategy and negotiation from Harvard.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Insights, Marketing & Innovation 2016 Event Line-up

Designing Brands with Purpose
April 4-6, 2016
Nobu Eden Roc, Miami, FL
The pressure to connect consumers and brands is more meaningful than ever before. Those who can make the connection are thriving and those who cannot are fading away. FUSE is the only event focused on design as a strategic force in your quest to build brands and businesses that connect beyond compare with consumers.
Use code FUSE16BL for $100 off the current rate.

Insight Immersion: NYC
The New Value
April 20-21, 2016
Join a select group of brand and agency leaders, and dive deep into an experience of consumer culture that will inform, inspire and energize you.  We take you into the vibrant streets of New York City to explore current marketplace trends, discover buzzworthy brand spaces, interact with insightful experts, participate in unexpected experiences and uncover valuable insights that will dramatically benefit your business. 

FEI: Front End of Innovation
Inspiration Needs Execution
May 10-12, 2016
Seaport World Trade Center, Boston, MA
FEI is a conference that senior level R&D, Innovation, and Product Development executives rely on to thwart the growing threat of disruption by non-traditional competitors. Large organizations are under fire to be more agile and opportunistic in their approach to innovation, adaptation, and disruption. That's why the 2016 curriculum is designed to help systematically tackle the innovation process- from ideation through execution- in order to capture immense innovation.
Use code FEI16BL for $100 off the current rate.

The New Face of Consumer Insights: TMRE in Focus
Are You Ready for the New Face of Consumer Insights?
May 23-25, 2016
Ritz Carlton, Marina Del Ray, CA
The producers of TMRE: The Market Research Event arm you with the new processes, procedures, frameworks and skillsets you need to remain competitive and relevant. Rethink how your insights teams are structured, how the back end and operations of research must evolve and harness game-changing skills to deliver value both internally and to end customers.
Use code INSIGHTS16BL for $100 off the current rate.

Marketing Analytics & Data Science
Unlock Opportunity and Growth
Jun 8-10, 2016
Hilton, Financial District, San Francisco, CA
The Marketing Analytics and Data Science conference is an inaugural conference that demonstrates how to deploy marketing analytics and data science to drive business forward. The conference offers a unique platform for experts across industries to learn, collaborate and share best practices in data science, IoT, marketing analytics, and more.
Use code MADS16BL for $100 off the current rate.

Insight Immersion: NYC
The Internet of Everything
June 15-16, 2016
Join a select group of brand and agency leaders, and dive deep into an experience of consumer culture that will inform, inspire and energize you.  We take you into the vibrant streets of New York City to explore current marketplace trends, discover buzzworthy brand spaces, interact with insightful experts, participate in unexpected experiences and uncover valuable insights that will dramatically benefit your

Insight & Activation Strategies that Define the Future of Retail
July 10-13, 2016
Radisson Blu, Chicago, IL
OmniShopper 2016 is a world-class experience focused on how to translate shopper insights into dramatic growth opportunities for your business - anticipate and predict the future, generate fresh insights, create seamless and connected brand experiences along the complex shopper journey and increase basket growth at every opportunity - in-store, mobile and online.
Use code OMNI16BL for $100 off the current rate.

Foresight & Trends
Save the Date: September 27-19, 2016
Foresight and Trends is for those within innovation, strategic planning and insight that are charged with setting the vision for their department and the overall business. FT explores macro trends that are/will impact all industries and reveals how companies are converting these trends and global shifts into something ACTIONABLE.

TMRE: The Marketing Research Event
Connecting You to the Best in Insights from Around the World
October 17-20, 2016
Boca Raton Resort & Club, Boca Raton, FL
Translating insights into bottom line impact and demonstrating the NEW business value of research is the holy grail. Level up your skillset and ensure insights remain indispensable to your business. Seismic shifts are banging at your door. Drive your future and shape the industry’s future at TMRE: The Market Research Event.
Use code TMRE16BL for $100 off the current rate.

We hope to see you at one of our conference in 2016!


The IIR Insights, Marketing & Innovation Team

Saturday, March 26, 2016

World Changing Innovations Start with Awe

In a world of high technology, it is all too easy to be preoccupied with the screen, absorbed in the worlds of our making...absorbed in ourselves.    Needless to say, that world is often filled with stress, anxiety and a sense of powerlessness.

The solution?

A slight twist on powerlessness: A sense of awe.

Researchers have found that experiences of awe, not only get us out of our egos, but instill concern for others, and other prosocial behaviors.  The best part?  Awe can actually be healing and make us healthier.

Awe is an experience of more, of greatness, of wonder.  Albert Einstein wrote in Living Philosophies:

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."

Since awe can literally create a sense of wholeness in the individual, and similarly bring humanity together, creating awesome experiences is good for humanity!

How do we do this?

Innovations toward awe can be accomplished passively or actively.

Passive experiences of awe are largely accomplished by not inhibiting experiences of awe. 
Example: Just two minutes ago I realized I had left some flowers in my car, and as the temperatures will be tickling freezing tonight, I figured I should bring the daffodils inside.    I stopped typing, put my shoes on, walked into the blackness of night and looked up at the stars.  I saw the constellation Orion in the west, the planet Jupiter in the south east, and I stopped and simply stared...


This experience would have been diluted, if not totally impossible, had the streetlights not been shielded and focused on the road as opposed to beaming unconstrained in all directions.  Innovative street lighting technologies should not get in the way of  experiences of awe.

This passive innovation (shielding of high intensity, energy efficient street lights) can be contrasted with an active innovation: creating realistic (and more costly!) experiences of the night time sky in a planetarium.  While both innovations help instill awe, one takes a much more passive approach, permitting a more widespread experience at a lower cost.  It's an innovation that doesn't diminish the experiences of wonder that cross our paths every day. While these low costs experiences of awe in the outdoors might be preferred, getting people outside, especially children, is itself a challenge.

One study found that one-third of the children in the UK spend less time outdoors than prison inmates.  Another found that children in Australia spend more time indoors than ever before.  These numbers aren't simply due to an over-reliance on technology.  They are also due to fear of what can happen outdoors:  a fear of crime.   The outdoors is a place where we all are taught to look out for number one, to focus on ego.  Our cultures even elevate the need for this recognition through social media.

Contrast this with the thoughts of professor Paul Piff and colleagues who described religious institutions as places that, “elicit, organize, and ritualize awe.” 

Perhaps that should be the focus of entrepreneurs and innovators everywhere: Elicit, Organize and Ritualize Awe.

Innovations have the potential to elevate and inspire or indulge the ego.  We can help people feel connected with others, help them ponder, provide opportunities for awe that inspire acts of kindness and social good, or we can design innovations that, as Einstein says, close our eyes to mystery and wonder. 

The choice leading to a better world is there for the making...

Michael Plishka is the President of ZenStorming(TM), a design and innovation consultancy.  He can be reached at

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Call for Presenters: Foresight & Trends 2016


Sept 27-29, 2016 in Sunny Miami, FL

Due to the high volume of submissions, we suggest you submit your proposal early and no later than Tuesday March 15, 2016 to Romina Kunstadter, Conference Producer at


*Please note this call for papers is ONLY for Client side companies. If you are a consultant, solution provider, vendor interested in speaking on the 2016 program please scroll to the bottom of this email for details on how to submit.

We are currently seeking client-side presenters for the 2016 Foresight & Trends Event. Please see below for details on how to submit a proposal. Prior to submitting please make sure the event dates work with your schedule (Sept 27-29). Also please note that as a speaker you will receive a complimentary 3 day pass to the event. You would be responsible for additional travel and expenses. If you have any questions about this please feel free to email Romina directly:

About Foresight and Trends:

The Foresight and Trends event has been running for over 20 years. FT explores macro trends that are/will impact all industries and reveals how companies are converting these trends/global shifts into something ACTIONABLE. See how they are using trends to innovate- whether it’s new products, services, how they structure internally or use trends to inform the overall strategy of the business to ensure future success. Visit the website here:

Please see below for a look at topics that will be covered on the FT’16 program. If you have a story to share on one of these topics or an additional trend/ story that you feel would be a fit please submit no later than Wednesday March 15, 2016. Details on how to submit are included below.

Future of Food
·         Global Issues around Food: Waste, Scarcity- what might the future look like- what is the current state – Food distribution- how will this change and effect retail
·         Health & Wellbeing’s Impact on Food- How major corporations are preparing, Partnering to have diverse offerings
·         Vertical Farming: How will this effect layout of cities, how people consume, what are the major implications?
·         Smart Kitchens
·         Wearables and Food
·         Food and Prevention
·         How are consumers consuming?
o   How are they shopping? Retail space- How people shop? On-line vs off-line

The Home & The American Family
o   Home in US/ Home in Asia
o   Future of Family
o   Lifestyle in Home
o   Education
o   How are traditions changing
o   LGBT
o   Effects of Digital and Social on Family Dynamics and changes in how we communicate with each other
§  Geographical sense what’s changing? Where are people moving too- what does this mean for us? How will it change their behavior?
§  How will transportation change?

The Future Consumer/ Future of Consumption
o   How are habits changing: Neuro/ emotions/attitudes/ patterns
o   How are people consuming- what are they consuming?
o   Mobile lifestyle—What’s happening in mobility- seamlessness—What are new opportunities in mobile space
o   Entertainment Industry – Innovation/ Changes/ Trends
o   Trends in Language (How do you speak to diff segments/when labeling a product)
o   Luxury Experiences/ Defining Luxury: what are consumers looking for as far as new types of engagement
o   The new consumer on and offline – how do you create a seamless experience- creating  a seamless relationship with a brand with the initial purchase and then when repurchasing
o   Consumer Lifestyle
o   Next Gen: How is next gen different expectations, life attitude- their attitudes and expectations of the world and life in general
o   Personalization
o   Future of Payment and Finance: bitcoin and digital currencies

Future Workforce
o   Freelance economy- how is government regulation effecting this? How will companies adjust to this change?
o   The Gen Z – How to hire? How to keep them engaged?
o   Passing down knowledge
o   Office Space- Remote offices, Designing for wellbeing, for serendipity
o   Collaborative Economy/ Sharing Economy
o   Automation of work – robots
o   What will the work landscape look like in the future and how tech is impacting this

Wellbeing/ Health
·         Tech implications on health and wellness
·         Measurement/ Self Diagnosis
·         Robotics:  What are the implications and effects on people?
·         Precision Medicine—genome sequencing and then tailoring the medicine—What’s happening in this space? What are implications?

PROCESS/ STRUCTURE/ FRAMEWORKS: Uncovering Trends, Selecting the right ones, and converting them into new opportunities and growth.
·         Marketing Mix- Move to digital – how can you be savvier in how you do this? Challenges and successes
·         Brand reinvention
·         HOW STRATEGIC PLANNING ORGANIZATION ARE STRUCTURED AND HOW THEY EVOLVE: Discuss your company’s structure and organization and how they evolve- How do you organize to work and understand these trends - how are your resources organized to do that?
·         How do you use trends to build out every product development launch
·         Building a Future Thinking Internal Culture
·         How are you getting the insights and integrating them
·         What frameworks are you using?
·         Social Listening- Best Practices in how to accelerate findings – who is doing this well?
·         Trends in Business Models
·         Digital: How is it evolving?  How do I use it to my advantage things like Instagram and Pinterest? What vendors are helpful? Shopping on-line- If you want to order a can of bumble bee tuna on amazon how do you do that?
·         Skill: Big shift and how do you deal with the repercussions – every company is dealing with the how do you manage the conversation about yourself on social media and how and when to let it go – when do you need to pay attention- and how do you intercept it
·         HOW: How do you pull frameworks again- how are you setting up internalizing and actioning against this- How are you communicating the importance—what did you learn coming out of the back end ?
·         Incubators- how to partner with startups?

·         Tour: Have a suggestion for an off-site tour/ expedition in the Miami Area?
·         A possible Workshop that would be relevant for this group- Story telling for the Future, Scenario Planning, Rapid Prototyping?

·         Tech Panel Discussion: VR, Robotics, etc. and will happen when they become mainstream
§  How tech is impacting the consumer of the future – Tech could be in product development but also in innovation space in terms of wearable tech
§  Data Mining 
·         AUTONOMOUS WORLD Panel: 
§  Autonomous Drivers– HUMAN LED FUTURES
§  How is the government planning for this autonomous world
§  The impact on consumer behavior and across all industries

·         DIGITAL: Digital Piece—all the diff aspects of how digitization is changing the world from media to health
§  What happens if you insert food, health, luxury into the digital space? – Is anyone doing this well
§  What is the next generation of ecommerce (Eg: retailers that were off line and are now on-line- what do distribution models look like)
§  Live streaming like SnapChat- look into people’s lives- What are the implications? What has already changed as a result of platforms like these?
·         GLOBAL ISSUES: Water Scarcity – what does that world look like now- how will it look in 10 years and what does this mean for us? Waste? Food Distribution? Pollution?
·         Evolution of Trends throughout time: Trend / Counter Trend
·         The Future Consumer
·         Changes in Home: Smart Home, Geographical Changes, IOT, Family Dynamics
·         Behavioral Changes/ Psychology
·         Cultural Changes/ Pop Culture
·         Asian Consumers

Due to the high volume of submissions, only accepted proposals will be notified. For consideration, please email with the following information by Tuesday, March 15, 2016 :
  • Proposed speaker name(s), job title(s), and company name(s)
  • 3-4 Sentence Bio
  • The topic your session would cover
·         Session Title
·         Session Description (60 words or less)- What is new and unique? What will the audience gain from this presentation? (Please submit this as you would want it to appear in the brochure)
·         Your complete Mailing Address, best contact number, best email.


SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES:  All vendors, consultants, agencies and solutions providers that would like to get involved in Foresight and Trends 2016 should contact Sponsorship Director, Jeffrey Jordon at or at 646.895.7422

Monday, March 21, 2016

New Bike Innovation Just in Time for Spring

New concept bike may reveal glimpse of future bike tech

When it comes to innovation, breaking the rules is a good thing. Especially in cases like when Robert Egger, creative director of bike-maker Specialized, wanted to make a faster road bike. He even ignored the design rules of powerful international bicycle governing body the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).

Egger calls his bike FUCI. And you can probably guess what the "F" means. "FUCI ... stands for f*** the UCI," Chris Hu, Specialized research and development engineer, told CNN.

The UCI oversees races such as the Tour de France, and has the final say in the design of bicycles allowed to compete in those races and is highly influential in the design of non-racing bikes.

"I've always felt we need to break out of that box in a very fun and decisive way," Egger said, making the point that rules aren't always meant to be followed.

According to CNN, the orange and white bike aims to push the limits of possibility. Here are some of FUCI's features:

The back wheel is bigger than the front wheel. FUCI's big wheel -- which measures almost three feet in diameter -- stores energy and allows the bike to maintain speed. The big wheel takes more effort to get moving from a stop, so the bike includes a tiny motor to help the rider with that.

Additionally, the brake lights are located inside the seat – they are visible from the rear through tiny holes in the seat's backside. Brake lights, headlights and the electric features on the bike are powered by a lightweight lithium battery charged by a bike stand. The stand also has an option for a solar panel mount if you want to go off-grid.

And, the rider's smartphone acts as the bike's brain and navigation system. Plug a smartphone into the niche between the bike's handlebars, and it operates the bike's headlights and brake lights, and monitors the tires for proper pressure. The rider uses an app to program bike routes and can use real-time data to adjust his or her route to avoid traffic.

Finally, this bike has a compartment inside the seat where a rider can store a wallet, keys, a snack, or any other small items you can think of. Another cool feature: The trunk door is magnetically latched.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Powerful Women are Changing the Face of Innovation Leadership

What do love, belief and mindfulness have to do with innovation? According to P&G's Karen Hershenson, everything.

In order to create the conditions for successful innovation, you must shift your focus from what you are doing to who you need to become. With characteristics like empathy and emotional intelligence being heralded as the next generation of leadership traits, women are poised to become the leaders to deliver breakthrough innovations, highly effective teams and transformed individuals.

In honor of Women's History month, the FEI team is happy to share a spotlight on these woman innovators taking the keynote stage at FEI 2016:

·         Harvard Business School's Dorothy Leonard, William J. Abernathy Professor of Business Administration Emerita uncovers The Paradoxical Relationship of Deep Smarts with Innovation
·         Karen Hershenson, Leader, clay street project, Procter & Gamble sharing P&G's approach to Innovation from the Inside-Out...
·         Alexa Clay, Culture Hacker & Innovation Strategist, Author, The Misfit Economy, Co-Founder, League of Intrapreneurs on The Misfit Economy: How Ingenuity on the Fringe will Shake Up Mainstream Innovation...

Plus, this impressive list of women challenging your innovation assumptions in 2016:

·         Alison N. Campbell, Research Scientist, Small Molecule Design and Development, Eli Lilly & Company
·         Allisha Watkins, Shopper Marketing Lead, MARS
·         Ann Thompson, Co-Founder, The Garage Group
·         Annette Fritsch, Director of Research and Product Innovation, Boston Beer Company
·         Carrie Nauyalis, Innovation and New Product Development Solutions Evangelist, Planview
·         Cristin Moran, Front End Manager, 3M
·         Cynthia Bouthot, Director of Business Development, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space
·         Deborah Mangone, Senior Director of Worldwide Innovation, Pfizer
·         Denise Fletcher, Chief Innovation Officer, Payer & Pharma, Xerox
·         Diane M. Gayeshi, Ph.D., Dean and Professor of Strategic Communications, Roy H. Park School of Communications, Ithaca College
·         Janeen Uzzell, External Affairs & Technology Programs, GE Global Research Center
·         Jeri Andrews, Partner, Intellectual Ventures
·         Julie Anixter, Executive Director, AIGA
·         Kathy Sheehan, EVP/Global Managing Director, Consumer Trends, GfK
·         Kerry Preete, Executive Vice President, Global Strategy, Monsanto
·         Kristi Zuhlke, CEO & Founder, KnowledgeHound
·         Leslie Muller, Co-Lead of The Shop @ VSP Global, VSP Global
·         Lisa Maki, Co-Founder & CEO, PokitDok
·         Marla Hetzel, Director of Innovation, AARP
·         Nancy Go, VP Brand Marketing, Wayfair
·         Natalie Sweeney, Founder, Smuggling Innovation
·         Robin Beers, SVP, Head of Customer Experience Insights, Wholesale Internet Services, Wells Fargo
·         Sheila Mello, Product Development Consulting
·         Stephanie Porter, Senior Manager, Customer Strategic Marketing, Hasbro - Walmart
·         Vera Murton, Director of Future Innovation, Liberty Mutual

Download the brochure for the full agenda:

Use code FEI16BL for $100 off the current rate. Buy tickets now:

We hope to see you in Boston!

All the best,
The FEI Team

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