Stop in the Name of Innovation

Not enough innovation efforts include a discussion about resource allocation and what to STOP funding. Continue reading

Posted in Innovation, Management | Leave a comment
Visual Brainstorming

“Brainstorming verbally frequently does not work. Visual brainstorming , that is brainstorming with images, objects and actions frequently works spectacularly well.” Why Verbal Brainstorming Fails The ugly truth about brainstorming is that more often than not it leads to mediocre results. In fact, if you’ve been involved in brainstorming sessions, you’ve probably experienced more than your share of events in which few truly creative ideas were suggested. There are several reasons why a brainstorming session might fail to generate great creative ideas. Badly formulated challenge. Any proper brainstorming event starts with a creative challenge that is the focus for idea generation. Unfortunately, few people appreciate how important a well formulated challenge is. They’d rather go right to the idea generation part of the brainstorming. Unfortunately, if you get the challenge wrong, the best ideas in the world probably will not solve your problem. Poor facilitation. Even trained facilitators who do … Continue reading

Posted in Creativity, Innovation | 1 Comment
VW Driving Concept Car through Shrinking Window of Opportunity

At a corporate conference I attended earlier this year, a top-executive keynote speaker used the term “shrinking windows of opportunity” to describe a world where change is happening at such a fast pace on such a large scale that there is less and less time to think before you jump: if you think a minute too long, others will have already gone through the window of opportunity and closed it behind them. Example: Apple’s iPad redefines the market for tablets, within 6 months Samsung and a few others follow suit, another 12 months and a few more competitors join in, but we’re rapidly nearing end-game: those who haven’t taken a share of the market within 18 months are out, the window is closed. Last week, under the headline Car chiefs face up to oil price challenge, the Financial Times (FT) was echoing fears amongst auto manufacturers that “higher fuel prices … Continue reading

Posted in Design, Leadership, Strategy, marketing | Leave a comment
The Clorox Approach to Open Innovation

I have often argued that companies need to develop their own definition of open innovation and I was thus pleased to learn that Clorox agrees with this approach while watching a video presentation on their open innovation efforts (at the bottom of the post). The slides in the presentation showed that Clorox views open innovation as: More Capabilities and Expertise: Using others to deliver meaningful innovation More Find: Developing external networks to exponentially increase the source of new ideas Clorox wants to use open innovation to: Find ideas, technologies and products Outsource entire chunks of product development License / sell internal ideas and technologies to others Hmm, I do not hear number two that often. Interesting… Clorox says that for open innovation to work, need: Strong internal and external networks Clear choices in corporate strategy that direct the “find” activities Capabilities, teams and processes to find more ideas AND capabilities, … Continue reading

Posted in Open Innovation | Leave a comment
5 Ways to Get Your Strategic Plan to the Finish Line

I focus a lot of my time and energy on helping clients remember the importance of ongoing communications as their strategic plan unfolds. Keeping employees informed on a regular basis helps to keep the finish line in sight and ensures that everyone runs the same race. But getting from where you are now to where the organization needs to go can often feel like running a marathon. How do you keep people motivated and inspired when the finish line seems miles away, and when some days, it is unclear what race you are in? At the beginning of a marathon race, the runners are pumped and ready to go. Muscles are loose, the adrenaline is flowing, and everyone envisions themselves crossing the finish line in front of cheering crowds. But as the miles add up, the mind weakens and the body tires. As each step grows more difficult, some people … Continue reading

Posted in Leadership, Management, Strategy | Leave a comment
Importance of Discovery to Innovation

Last week I wrote about becoming a “fast discoverer”, which was primarily about using experimentation to find new ideas. What struck me as I contemplated the need for more experimentation is how frequently many businesses will ask for new ideas and accept them because “experts” said they were correct. As innovators, you need to experience these needs and participate in the discovery first hand. Here’s why. One question I like to ask my clients is “what new insight have you learned and how did you learn it”. We can’t create interesting new products and services without learning something new about customers or prospects. If you don’t learn something new, all you have to offer are the same products and services to meet the same needs. Alternatively, you can decide that actually understanding needs is less important than creating and then solving a new need that you …

Posted in Innovation, marketing | 1 Comment
Why Steve Jobs Couldn't Find a Job

Business people keep piling onto the innovation and growth bandwagon. PWC just released the results of its 14th annual CEO survey entitled Growth Reimagined. Seems like most CEOs are as tired of cost cutting as everyone else, and would really like to start growing again. Therefore, they are looking for innovations to help them improve competitiveness and build new markets. Hooray! But, haven’t we heard this before? Seems like the output of several such studies – from IBM, IDC and many others – have been saying that business leaders want more innovation and growth for the last several years! Hasn’t this been a consistent mantra all through the last decade? You could get the impression everyone is talking about innovation, and growth, but few seem to be doing much about it! Rather than search out growth, most businesses are still trying to simply do what …

Posted in Innovation, Leadership, Management, Psychology, Strategy | 2 Comments