Innovation Balancing Act


r On June 15th of this year, Nik Wallenda became the first person ever to walk across the roaring Niagra Falls on a 2-inch wire. After battling wind swells, and thick mist, Wallenda completed his walk crossing from the United States into Canada.   He was greeted by a Canadian customs agent who asked, “What is the purpose of your trip sir?”  Wallenda’s response: “To inspire people around the world to follow their dreams and never give up”. There are many possible roads... Read more »

I.N.N.O.V.A.T.I.O.N : Creating a Culture of Innovation


Innovation in business is the development of new customer value through solutions that meet new needs, inarticulate needs, or current needs in new ways. Innovation in and of itself is the key to a company’s survival. It is the lifeblood of a company. That said, innovation is not always easy, and it does not come by itself. It requires a culture and desire to deliver that needs to be nurtured and reinforced by its leadership and a backed by a structured process approach. The ten imperatives in Robert’s... Read more »

Measure Innovation Efforts in Leading and Lagging Indicators (KPI)


How will you measure success? Innovation is ultimately about Return on Investment. It’s critical to use leading and lagging Key Performance Indicators, and observe and measure time spent on each segment of the new product development (NPD) process to see how it’s progressing. Leading Metrics used in the industry can include ideas generated, ideation sessions held, number of patents filed, and for lagging new products released, and percentage of sales due to new products. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srpyLoPp1JE&feature=share&list=UUxXhckNtVpjkJDNlR-GEYaA  Read More →

Supporting the “R” in R&D


When it comes to Research and Development (R&D), a majority of the new product development process involves the “D” from concept to launch. However, the “R” is where most breakthroughs come from – and it is in jeopardy due to recessionary cuts and the short-term pressure for monthly and quarterly results. When companies are laser focused on delivering monthly bottomline goals, research can be left on the back burner. What are you doing to support research? Are you... Read more »

Challenging Open Innovation


Open Innovation is an effective method for gaining ideas from outside an organization, but in order to achieve long term sustained Innovation, companies need to establish a structured repeatable process. Breakthrough innovations still have to come from within the company through hard work and consistent efforts. A great example of this is Procter & Gamble Co., which successfully introduced its Open Innovation program to seek help from outside partners in everything from product design to packaging.... Read more »

Innovation Myths Debunked


Innovation is key to a company’s survival, regardless of the size or type of organization. But there are many myths and common misconceptions when it comes to how innovation is achieved. Many people think innovation is all about generating ideas, or ideation. While it’s true that every innovation must start with an idea, it is actually the delivery and execution of processes that lead to sustained Innovation. In fact, when it comes to achieving a culture of innovation, execution may be... Read more »

Innovation in a Reinvented World, + Website: 10 Essential Elements to Succeed in the New World of Business


A step-by-step guide to the 10 essential and practical skills a business needs to innovate and thrive in uncertain times The reinvented world of business will profoundly impact America’s leaders and workers in the decade ahead. Companies capable of transforming their organizations during this period of “Great Disruption” will thrive in the reinvented world however, the reverse holds true as well. Innovation in a Reinvented World reveals how transformation occurs when business leaders... Read more »

Gauging Your Organization’s Training and Coaching Program


For creating a company culture and mindset focused on innovation, it starts with proper training and coaching from the high ups of an organization. Team members need to be trained and coached to constantly improve their skill set, and this attitude should be continuously reinforced. It’s important for the entire company to be innovative, and not just a designated “Department of Innovation.” Successful, sustainable innovation depends on a natural curiosity and open-mindedness from... Read more »

Innovation is Creativity x Risk Taking


Innovation is impossible to achieve without taking a necessary amount of risk. In a world where the success rate of new product entries in the grocery business is 1 in 100, it is inevitable that every success sees failures along the way. An effective innovation leader should encourage creativity and risk taking, while also practicing a tolerance for failure. In order to foster initiative and innovation, ask yourself these questions. * Do you allow free research and development (R&D) time? * Do... Read more »

Let’s Bring Back Accountability


From customers’ and suppliers’ viewpoint, Company X is fast growing, exciting, and high-energy. Inside, though, it’s a tornado. Fighting fires, arguing over who committed to what, why it didn’t happen, and noticing things that fell through the cracks in just enough time is normal. How can this happen when they have weekly departmental meetings, keep track of action items, and post projects and timelines everywhere? Easily! There is no accountability. They don’t hold... Read more »

Can Innovation Be a Structured Repeatable Process?


When Innovation comes to mind, the first thing people may think of is creativity, spontaneity, or a momentary stroke of genius. But can innovation occur out of a structured, repeatable process? The answer, in short, is yes. In fact, in order to build a long-term culture of sustained innovation, a structured process must be put into place especially in idea generation or ideation. Although it sounds counter intuitive to say “structure” and “ideation” in the same sentence, organizations... Read more »

New Intellectual Property Exchange Streamlines Patent Trading


In the research and development industry where innovations build on top of other innovations, obtaining patents to protect intellectual property is of the utmost importance. It is critical to ensure that patents being are utilized, especially within big corporations like IBM or organizations like the Unites States Navy. Not only do patents protect newly developed products or processes, they contribute to unrealized value creation, or assets that can be explored and sold. The latest development besides... Read more »

Innovation Workshops : Eight key pitfalls to avoid


Is your organization about to run a design or innovation workshop? If so, what follows are cautionary tips and lessons learned collected from my experiences both as a participant in and a leader of various flavors of innovation and ideation workshops, in the States as well as various European countries. http://uxmag.com/articles/problems-with-innovation-workshops  Read More →

Innovation and the Individual


Although we need teams to make things happen, innovation can occur on an individual basis. For an individual to create innovation, he or she must think creatively and understand the market as well as consumer wants and needs. An example of this took place during my early hands-on innovation days as marketing manager at Sylvania Lighting. Philips had developed the Long Life Soft White light bulb strategy, competing against GE Lighting. Consumers wanted soft white light bulbs and ideally longer life,... Read more »

What Do Innovators Have in Common?


In the Innovator’s DNA we discussed whether innovators are born or made. Research has shown that creativity is not a genetic predisposition but a result of a pattern of behaviors – so it can be concluded that all innovators must share a certain set of characteristics that have lead them to success. While innovators speak different languages, come from different cultures and various industry backgrounds, they all have fundamental traits in common. Robert’s Rules of Innovation suggests... Read more »

Innovation: 3M’s lessons to be learned


While Apple is often the most highly touted company for its innovation success, 3M is a global innovation company that has remained under the radar for its long-term innovation plans and succeses. With $30 billion in sales and products sold in nearly 200 countries, 3M has made significant contributions to the health care, communications and office business – including bringing the world’s most recognizable brands Post-it Notes and Scotch tape to market. The root of 3M’s success... Read more »

Five Questions to Ask Before Mapping Out an Innovation Plan


By focusing effort in the right places, companies can avoid oversight and increase their chances of innovation success. There are plenty of reasons to innovate. Especially now more than ever before, sustained innovation is the means to developing marketplace showstoppers that lead to profitable growth. Innovation is not a luxury that can be placed on the back burner, even for today’s successful companies. So before beginning your next innovation effort, here are some key questions to consider... Read more »

Tax Innovation: The Path to Long-Term Prosperity


By Robert Brands and Martin Kleinman We Americans need to wake up – now – and stop acting like spoiled, immature children.  Elected officials need to put aside partisanship – now – and do what’s in the best interest of our country and speak the truth to the electorate.  And we all must do this without fostering and perpetuating certain convenient misconceptions and without coddling us like soft, over-indulgent parents afraid to say “no.” We are in an economic... Read more »

Finding and Applying Serendipitous Innovations


Innovation is all around us, and if you see it, observe and learn from it so that you can use the idea elsewhere. A classic example of serendipity or success after failure is the story of 3M Post-it notes. In 1974, Stephen Silver at 3M research laboratories was trying to develop a strong adhesive and instead created a new adhesive that was not too strong, could stick on all surfaces and be removed easily without causing damage or leaving residue. Not knowing what to make of this, it was four years... Read more »

Five Key Innovation Questions to Ask


There are plenty of reasons to innovate. Especially now more than ever before, sustained Innovation is the means to developing marketplace showstoppers that lead to profitable growth. Innovation is not a luxury that can be placed on the back burner, even for today’s successful companies. So before beginning your next innovation effort, here are some key questions to consider for mapping out an effective innovation plan. 1. What type of innovation does your organization need? The key to implementing... Read more »

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