Thursday, February 16, 2017

FEI 2017 Chief Innovation Officer Forum Just Announced - IBM, Intuit, AARP, Avon, Xerox, Clorox & More

In theory, innovation should be everyone’s job, but when push comes to shove, successful organizations realize that innovation direction, leadership and accountability must have a direct seat at the executive table.

FEI 2017 brings together a unique, cross-industry mix of 15+ Chief Innovation Officers to share stories from the trenches at leading innovation organization. At the all-new Chief Innovation Officer Forum, you’ll hear current and former CIOs discuss the role of today’s Chief Innovation Officer, how they create systematic innovation programs linked to growth improvements and the ideal structure for innovation teams of the future.

Chief Innovation Officer Forum Program Highlights:

·         IBM on How Culture, Innovation and Technology are Critical Elements for Enterprise Innovation Success
·         Inuit reveals the Key to Corporate Longevity… Disrupting Yourself
·         ACT shares how to Design for Sustainable Innovation
·         AARP explores the Relationship between the CIO and Innovation Team
·         AVON on Leveraging Innovation Business Models to Reinvent an Iconic Brand
·         Plus more from CIOs at Transamerica, New Jersey Devils, Xerox, Dell, Clorox, USAA and Brookstone!

View the full Chief Innovation Officer Forum agenda here:

Use exclusive LinkedIn discount code FEI17BL for $100 off the current rate. Buy tickets:

We hope to see you in Boston this spring!

The FEI Team


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Modern Bicycle – The Progress of Innovation

By: Jamie Singer

The bicycle has a near perfect design. 

Interestingly this hasn’t always been the case though.  Although progress has been slow, the bikes we recognise today found their origin in the early 15th Century - the designs we know today are far from what the original pioneers were riding.  Fortunately, construction has been streamlined and the weight reduced in order to meet the functional demands of modern athletes.

 The first revolution was to ditch the ridiculously large front wheel and equally ridiculous small back wheel.  Since then the technological evolution of the bicycle has been more notable for its sluggishness rather than a stellar trajectory of advancement.

Indeed, the loudest voices debating technological advancements were often Cycling Luddites saying ‘No’.  No to new frame materials, no to new braking systems, no to new ways to change gears.  The drive train has stubbornly remained cogs and chains, gears persist with mechanical cables.

But there have been pioneers. 

In 1989 Greg LeMonds bolt on aero-bars revolutionised time trialling, designed by former US national ski team coach - Boone Lennon, they allowed LeMond to adopt a wind cheating aerodynamic position that famously snatched the Tour de France from Laurent Fignon by an 8 second hairs breadth.

Chris Boardman’s Mike Burrows designed, Formula 1 inspired, Lotus engineered, wind tunnel perfected, carbon fibre monocoque frame that carried Boardman to Olympic Gold in 1992 (before British Cycling systematically hoovered up Olympic track gold for fun) was banned by the UCI.  In 1993 Hour Record legend Graeme Obree’s “Old Faithful” with its “Superman” riding position was so revolutionary that the UCI promptly banned it too. 

We remember them because they are relatively isolated innovations, often initially laughed at then outlawed before (becoming the future that we all must have).  All of them have one thing in common, they are innovations imagined by outsiders to cycling.  None more so than the early Mountain Bike pioneers of Marin County, California in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Whilst road bike technology and innovation has been held back by UCI regulations and the purists, the same can’t be said of mountain biking which being true to its revolutionary origins never stands still.  Suspension, disc brakes, wheel size, even handlebar width are experimented and innovated. 

Ironically from the young upstart much of the current innovation in road cycling is mountain bike inspired.  What is driving this growing tidal wave of change?  What's changed?  In the UK, Wiggins, Pendleton, Hoy have made Lycra acceptable and inspired a nationwide leisure pursuit that whilst cheaper than a mid-life crisis sports car, has created a lucrative market that is fuelling technological advancement.

Since 1996, the UCI’s post Lugano Charter has heavily influenced and arguably restricted bike frame design, the open double triangle rule that sounded the death knell for the monocoque frame; but more profitable cycling manufacturers means a subtle shift in the balance of power.  It’s no  coincidence that the UCI has decided (or been pressurized into) dropping its infamous 3:1 rule. 

We’re on the cusp of exciting times, as engineers ‘forget the UCI’ and push the boundaries of materials, geometries and CAD we can expect to see more bikes like the scintillating Cervélo P5X or the crazy Diamondback Andean, with its superbike style fairings and aerofoils, just more radical. 
That’s just on the outside.  Whilst bikes have been slow to evolve, the bolt-ons like bike computers, power meters and apps have raced ahead.  The next generation of bikes will incorporate these technologies within their wind cheating graphene frames.  Stop Press: Bikes like the SpeedX Unicorn and the Argon 18 Smart Bike already are.

About the Author: He loves to ride his Cube Stereo Hybrid 120 and in his spare time blogs at where he reviews the latest cycling gear.  You can reach him at Facebook or Twitter. 

Image credits:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with $200 Off an Innovation Conference You Love!

Dear Innovation Community,

Roses are red…
Violets are blue…
It’s Valentine’s Day…
So here’s $200 off a conference just for you!

As valued readers of our blog, in true Valentine’s Day fashion, we want to share the love! So please take your pick of our 2017 conference lineup and take $100 off using the blog discount code, plus an additional $100 just for Valentine’s Day:

1)      FUSE Miami
The Best in Branding and Design share their vision for the future, reveal the challenges you must be prepared to face and provide you with strategies needed to succeed in this new reality.
April 4-6, 2017
Miami, FL
Use code FUSE17BL for an additional $100 off
Buy tickets:

2)      FEI: Front End of Innovation
Let’s get beyond the idea. FEI takes you through the entire innovation process- from ideation through to execution. Get the tips you need for creating fast, agile & opportunistic innovation teams to turn a great idea into a market winning product.
May 8-11,2017
Boston, MA
Use code FEI17BL for an additional $100 off
Buy tickets:

3)      FEI: Front End of Innovation Europe
Transformative Innovation: Stay relevant in rapidly changing times. Go to market faster, anticipate customer needs, and enable breakthrough thinking across your organization. FEI Europe covers the full innovation spectrum: ideation, trends, culture, leadership, and strategy.
June 13-15, 2017
London, England
Use code FEIEU17BL for an additional $100 off
Buy tickets:


The KNect365 Marketing, Insights & Innovation Team

Monday, February 13, 2017

Innovation Starts with Why

What difference can you make? How can you make life easier for others? When was the last time you took a stand against something you believed was not acceptable? How does your business serve your clients? When was the last time you created useful change within your business or organisation? 

It is widely accepted and scientifically proven that we actually feel good when we do good. And there are so many moments in the day when we can selfishly make ourselves feel good through acts of kindness towards others. 

But what does this have to do with business? Or Innovation? Well, a lot really! Finally, we are realising that the whistle blower may not be the troublemaker but rather the hero that finally speaks out against inequity or unethical behaviour. We are recognising the benefits of empowerment and self-regulation in a workplace. We are seeing more examples of businesses where a KPI isn’t measured by a dollar amount but by acts of generosity and kindness. 

And, as Simon Sinek puts it, it all Starts With Why. This movement has pushed the traditional vision statement to new limits. Businesses such as Zappos, Apple, Atlassian and Google are clear on their raison d’etre. Zappos exists to deliver the best customer service, Apple to challenge the status quo and Google to organise the world’s information. 

According to Gallup Strategic Consulting reports, engaged employees are more productive, more customer-focused and less likely to leave the organisation. And the best way to ensure employee engagement is to have everyone aspiring to the same vision – the same corporate ‘Why’. 

We also know that in order for a company or business to be truly innovative, the support needs to come from the top down, employees need to feel empowered, and time and resources need to be allocated. Your team need to feel valued, respect and they need to be challenged.

Every day brings a new opportunity to tilt the world a little closer to love and to humanity, equality and equity, and peace and kindness. Especially in business. Leave your mark on today and show you colleagues, friends and family how much you care.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Four Pharma Business & Life Sciences Strategies to Put You Ahead of Competitors

In a bit of a pharma identity crisis? You’re not alone.

The competitive landscape for big businesses, including pharmaceutical and life-science companies, around the world is changing rapidly. And with the growth of the digital era, allowing companies to reach new targets, in real time, those shifts are likely to accelerate. It’s no surprise that company executives are exploring ways to be innovative and apply new strategies to better understand market trends and meet demands --- positioning them as thought-leaders and ahead of the competition.

This exclusive whitepaper highlights four strategic identities, each with their own capabilities, to help pharma and life science companies stay ahead of their competitors.

Who are they?

1)Breakthrough Science Developers
2) Disease Outcome Enabler
3) Commercial Value Optimizers
4) Disciplined Portfolio Managers

Learn which of these four identities will deliver the most value for your business. Download the exclusive whitepaper.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Innovation Interview: Transforming Ideas into Winning Market Strategies

Innovation Interview: Transforming Ideas into Winning Market Strategies

In our Innovation Interview series, each week we talk to thought leaders, inspirers, and innovators in the industry to pick their brains about the state of innovation, trends, and what’s in store for the future. This week we caught up with Peter Murane, Founder & CEO, Brandjuice, to discuss the keys to transforming ideas into winning market strategies.

What is the key to transforming ideas into market winning strategies?
Murane: Only move your best ideas forward. The ones that excite consumers and customers. The ones that are deeply rooted in unmet marketplace needs and category trends. The ones that are connected to your company's competencies and that will build both revenue and margin. 

How does design thinking improve innovation?

Murane: We live in the experience economy so thinking deeply about how the lives of potential customers ​would be enhanced through innovation must be job one. With innovation, we can't adopt the mindset of "I'm here to sell you things" but rather "I'm here in service to you." That service mindset requires deep listening and observation to feed a thoughtful and inspired design thinking process built around both possibility and problem-solving. 

Why are customers key driving factors in the market success or failure of new products and services?
Murane: Customers have strategic objectives too. But manufacturers often don't include them in the innovation process until it's time to "sell". That's a mistake. Your best customers want to be involved. They want you to help them grow their categories versus being treated as "gate keepers" to the consumer. ​We encourage co-creation of innovation strategy and concepts with select customers. 

How can innovators learn how to work alongside the technologies that will shape their product/service/experience innovations of the future?

Murane: The most successful innovators embrace new technologies and are always hunting for connections. This requires an ongoing commitment to exploring adjacent categories, to building "farm systems" of technology partnerships rooted in idea sharing and open innovation principles. And it requires getting out of the office to simply explore through methods like BrandJuice Passport Days.

How does leadership, teams, and the environment help empower and accelerate innovation?

Murane: Innovation strategy has to be aligned all the way to the top of the organization and back down so that it can efficient and successful. This means innovators and innovation teams must have executive sign off on an Innovation Charter. This is an agreement that defines fundamentals of innovation success including, size of prize, definitions of risk appetite, capital investment parameters, ​role of acquisitions, brands of focus, categories of interest and, most importantly, a definition of time frame. Too many innovation teams are whipped around by changing strategy driven by financial success. They may be innovating too close-in or too far out to meet the strategic objectives of the company. 

Why is business model innovation a powerful way to breakthrough? How can companies stop conventional business models from impeding innovation?

Murane: Companies cannot stop new business models from entering the market. In fact, of the biggest problems established companies face is being slow to see and then adjust to new models and new forms of competition. Think of Marriott facing Airbnb. Or Dannon and Yoplait taking years to respond to the Greek Yogurt trend led by Chobani.

Software technologies like Brand VO2 can help companies identify shifts in the market. ​Monitoring word-of-mouth conversations is definitely a starting point. More sophisticated companies invest in innovation structures that allow them to partner their way into new business models or even have adjacent business created with the express purpose of doing business differently than the mothership. 

How can open innovation leaders de-risk external collaborations and usher in more efficient pathways into their organization?

Murane: Innovations can be de-risked by investing in transactional learning experiments where key assumptions are validated using early-stage commerce tests. 90% of innovations are flawed in some way -- in that assumptions prove to be incorrect. That doesn't have to mean an innovation is doomed to failure however. In fact, identifying flawed assumptions in a pre-commercialization phase provides a tremendous advantage to a company's innovation portfolio and investment ROI. BrandJuice invented a transactional learning model called Wallet Testing to support this kind of success based on rapid adaptation based on how consumers are voting with their wallets. Who doesn't want less risk and more success.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Marijuana is the Future of Tobacco

Marijuana, despite being illegal for near 100 years, is incredibly pervasive, it is already bigger than wine.

Within our lifetime we will see legal global marijuana, the explosion of a new industry, and true integration in society, which will change our world like tobacco once did.

At FEI-Front End of Innovation in May, Alan Gertner, CEO & Founder of Tokyo Smoke, will share why he left his dream job at Google to launch Tokyo Smoke. See how he is creating incredibly thoughtful and deliberate interactions with cannabis - fighting typical stoner stereotypes and providing a thoughtful business approach. Learn how to create immersive retail and digital experiences, spanning multiple verticals to inspire creativity and touch hearts. Don’t miss Alan’s session on Thursday, May 11th at 2:15 pm.

FEI takes you through the entire innovation process- from ideation through to execution. At FEI, get the tips you need for creating fast, agile & opportunistic innovation teams to turn a great idea into a market winning product. View the full FEI agenda:

Watch this video about FEI 2017:

Use exclusive LinkedIn discount code FEI17BL for $100 off the current rate: Buy tickets:

We hope to see you in Boston this spring!

The FEI Team


Friday, February 3, 2017

Wake Your Sleeping Genius to Find Innovation in Your Dreams

By: Peggy L. Bieniek

Dr. Mark Freeman, Doctor of Philosophy, Counseling & Organizational Behavior, is a senior organizational development and behavioral consultant, primarily working in the academic, hospitality and healthcare industries. Mark’s research interests are in the areas of organizational excellence, change management, personal and professional development for leaders, executive coaching and team building. 

As a preview to his presentation “Wake Your Sleeping Genius: Interpreting the Meaning and Power Behind Your Dreams” at FUSE 2017 April 4-6 in Miami, Florida, Mark shares his insights on how dreams are windows into the mysteries of life that can help you find solutions to your personal and professional challenges.

What inspired you to pursue studies and work in counseling and organizational behavior?

Dr. Mark Freeman: Since early adulthood it has been my calling and passion to help people achieve their highest potential in work and life. I am a fortunate person to work in something I love with purpose.

I think the most important aspect of being human is finding out who you are; where you are going; and who shall accompany you on your journey (It is important to answer these questions in the right order). These life goals drive my work as an organizational behavior professional and a counselor. It is very gratifying to see people find their way in life and work.

How did that lead to studying dreams and their meaning?

MF: Dreams have always been a fascination of mine. As a young professional I participated in several dream sharing groups and have studied the most on that subject. Dreams are a window into the mysteries of human life, clarifying confusion, enhancing creativity and finding meaningful direction. Working with the dreams of others has been very rewarding. Nothing is more fulfilling than witnessing someone find truth, innovation and direction through understanding their dreams.

How can people make connections with what they dream and what they do in their daily lives?

MF: It is extraordinary to see the awareness people gain from reflecting on their daily lives from a day or so before a dream appears to them, then making meaningful connections with often very clear next steps for growth and solutions to life’s challenges. Learning how to interpret dreams is the key skill I teach participants in my workshops.

What role do dreams play in the creative process?

MF: Wow, so much! I teach participants how to incubate solutions for design, branding and business problems by developing partnerships with their dreams at night. You see, we have this sleeping, creative, genius inside that works at night in Technicolor to create stories and images for remarkable solutions unbeknownst to our poor, distracted and muddled brains which cannot possibly experience creativity well in the overstimulated daytime.

Dream incubation is asking that critical open-ended question you desire the answer to for clarity when you are stuck, then asking the dream to answer it for you the next day. For instance, “Where is this relationship going?” or “How can I achieve the greatest leverage with this new brand idea?” Your dream self often provides literal answers to your business and life questions in a creative way.

Want to hear more from Mark? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.

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