How to Hire and Manage Consultants

While you might be lucky enough to survive in business with little or no advice from others, you will certainly not maximize your potential for success by doing so. All CEOs and entrepreneurs need advice in a wide variety of constantly changing areas…That said, I’m always somewhat perplexed as to why people hire certain professionals. The nature of my business is that I often succeed other advisors who have failed in their assignments, and I have witnessed first hand the carnage that can occur from unsuccessful engagements/implementations with third party professionals. So, in today’s post I’ll share some thoughts on both selecting and managing outside advisors… Even though many of the CEOs and entrepreneurs reading this next sentence won’t agree with my conclusion, I am nonetheless obligated to share the reality of what is most often times the harsh truth…When you engage a professional advisor, the outcome you receive will … Continue reading

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Four Kinds of Innovation Time

We innovation consultants often talk about the value of ideas. Good ideas, well managed, in time can become new products and services that drive new growth, revenue and profits. But while ideas are valuable, the input that really matters is time. Even if you have the best ideas in the world, if you don’t have the time necessary to work them effectively, they don’t matter. Today’s insight is brought to you by your wristwatch, your calendar and your annual planning cycle, all of which are different ways to measure different blocks of time. I believe there are at least four different kinds of innovation time, which can make it difficult to innovate regularly, if at all. 1. Right Time The first time barrier that many firms struggle with is “when is the right time” to innovate? I guess when product life cycles were longer and customer demand less …

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Get Your Innovation Request Onto One Page

With manufacturing change is easy – lean this, six sigma that, more with less year-on-year. With engineering, not so much. Why? Manufacturing is about cost, waste, efficiency, and yield (how to make it), and engineering is about function (what it does) – fundamental differences but not the why. The consequence of failure is the why. If manufacturing doesn’t deliver, the product is made like last year (with a bit more waste and cost than planned), but the product still sells. With engineering, not so much. If engineering mistakenly designs the Fris out of the Frisbee or the Hula out of the Hoop, no sales. That’s the why. No function, no sales, no company, this is fear. This is why it feels dangerous to push on engineering; push on engineering and the wheels may fall off. This why the organization treads lightly; this is why the CEO does not push. As … Continue reading

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The Economics of Co-Creation

Will Local Motors replicate the success of microbreweries in the auto industry? by Idris Mootee A lot of talk and interest around the concept of co-creation. It is no question that this is going to have lasting implications of how products and experiences are designed, developed and marketed. In 3-5 years, customer co-creation will be the part the norm of everyday business. Much like early days of ecommerce when people struggled with the legal, technical, operational issues. Slowly these issues will work their way out and we would look back and say “that’s simple…. makes perfect sense.” What’s a great example of co-creation? Let’s first try to define it here as sometimes people refers it to anything from idea crowd-sourcing to technical expert groups to simple product/service/marketing customization. One good example of real co-creation is a company called Local Motors. I met Jay Rogers (founder and CEO) at the PDMA … Continue reading

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A World Upside-Down - Apple and Google Launches

In a world where Apple can do no wrong and Google has had some product flops, this week their roles have reversed. Google launched its most ambitious social initiative yet with Google+. It is getting very good reviews from GigaOM, TechCrunch, Mashable and others. Due to “insane demand“, Google had to shut down invites to manage a slower rollout. (Even further proof that the world is upside: one of the original Apple Macintosh designers was the lead designer for Google+). Beyond the smart design though was also a smart strategy. First, Google is unifying its services and pushing Google+ with a consistent toolbar across all of its properties. Second, Google is providing seamless syncing of photos taken from an Android phone to your Google+ cloud storage, where the photos can then be easily shared with family and friends. It is a smart strategy …

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Last year I experimented with a Top Ten list at the beginning of each month, profiling the ten posts from the previous month that generated the most traffic to Blogging Innovation, and people seemed to like it. So, without further ado, here are June’s ten most popular innovation posts with a couple of bonus social media posts (each receiving 2,500-6,000 page views): Google versus Apple – by Nicolas Bry Amazon’s Innovation Philosophy – by Braden Kelley Motivating and Retaining Innovative Employees in a Bureaucracy – by Melba Kurman 7 Important Creative Thinking Skills – by Mike Brown Innovation Requires Breaking Out of Your Network – by Jorge Barba DMAIC for Innovation – by Braden Kelley The Power of Cognitive Diversity on Innovation – by Mark E Miller Culture is King at Zappos – by Chris Dolan KISS – Keep Innovation Simple, Sweetheart – by Jeffrey Baumgartner Do Universities Matter for … Continue reading

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Innovation is Swimming in Uncertainty

Innovation is very often swimming in uncertain waters that rise and fall just like the waves in a sea: they are choppy, demanding and exhausting to fight against. As uncertainty constantly arises as we discover more, expend more energy, the very nature of our original starting point set down in a well-thought-out, well crafted strategy actually begins to suddenly drop away and we are left with more ‘open-ended’ questions than answers. Welcome to real innovation where faith and belief play an important part . There often seems to be constantly arising critical unknowns and sometimes all you are left with as your innovation emerges is just actually and simply a new starting point. A new starting point as the concept is so different to cause you to rethink dramatically. Innovation and its journey of discovery takes you into so many new areas you never expected, when you first thought of … Continue reading

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