Managing the Uncertainty of Open Innovation

One of the hottest topics in business management today is open innovation. The concept uses an open business model for companies to “co-innovate” with their partners, suppliers, and customers – in order to accelerate the rewards of innovation. For example, a small or midsized company develops a game-changing new idea and works with a larger company to bring the product to market. Through the collaborative relationship of open innovation, companies are able to leverage new ideas... Read more »

Top Ten Tips for Selling Your Idea to Executives

Besides possessing creativity and resilience, the best innovators are the ones who can effectively communicate and “sell” their ideas to upper management. Innovators often have to get executive approval for support on a new product or venture. No matter how good an idea is it will not sell itself. The most important aspect of communication is to know your audience. In the case of an organization, know the structure, who the decision maker is, and who their influencers are. An innovator... Read more »

How to Build an Innovation Leader

Every organization needs an Innovation champion. This very important role requires exceptional people skills and communication skills, and the ability to be a master consensus builder among all players in the organization. Innovation champions come in a wide range of styles of interaction. Renowned psychologist Michael Kirton developed the Kirton Adaptive Innovation Inventory (KAI) as a profiling tool to measure problem-solving styles. The general characteristics of innovators are as follows: * Ingenious,... Read more »

Audio Book Release of “Robert’s Rules of Innovation”

“Robert’s Rules of Innovation: A 10-Step Program for Corporate Survival” by Innovation guru Robert Brands is now available as an audio book in a 4 CD set or downloadable at In his book Robert Brands provides a step-by-step guide to implementing and sustaining Innovation in the workplace. His ideas are distilled from over 25 years of hands-on experience as an Innovation leader. Brands has successfully delivered on his goal of bringing “at... Read more »

2012 Innovation Resolution: Turning Ideas Into Money

Innovation is an indispensable force that turns ideas into money. It is the lifeblood of any organization. In order to implement sustainable Innovation in 2012, you need to define innovation in a manner that makes strategic sense for your organization, and have the know-how to properly construct and use a process, plus the will to keep the process on course. The task may seem daunting at first, but it’s possible to develop a disciplined strategy that delivers Innovation time and time... Read more »

Happy Holidays

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Innovation & Best Practices, Then & Now

Antarctica Thrives as Hub of New Thinking Exactly 100 years ago December 17, an explorer found glory upon the Antarctic continent. One month later, his rival met a bitter, sad end. Yet, both share lessons in the power of innovation built on best practices – and the pitfalls borne of haste and poor planning. Today, for those looking for rationales behind the need for innovation in pursuit of excellence, the race to the South Pole offers both cautionary tales and textbook examples of success... Read more »

5 Tips to Innovate in 2012

Essential elements to get Innovation going As the New Year approaches, it is the perfect time to reexamine the Innovation efforts for your organization. A strategy for sustainable innovation is key to any company’s survival, and if executed successfully, will lead to profitable growth and increased shareholder value. With a new year and starting with a blank slate, it’s important to set your goals for 2012. What changes would you like to see within your organization? How do you plan... Read more »

Innovation Democratization: How to Get the Most Out of Your Team

One of the first steps of achieving Innovation in the new product development process is to assemble a team. While the organization’s leader may be tempted to call in “the usual suspects”, people with a history of success in that field, it is important at this point to include fresh faces in the group. Dr. Harlan Weisman, chief science and technology officer of Medical Devices & Diagnostics at Johnson & Johnson suggests connecting people who wouldn’t normally work together* – people... Read more »

Set the Stage for Action: The Innovation Audit

As a leader in your organization, you know how important sustainable Innovation is for increasing profit and shareholder value. It is time to take action and begin building that culture of Innovation – especially when there are competitive forces in the picture. Some signs that it may be time for an Innovation Audit The percentage of total sales from your new product introductions is stagnant or has slipped. Profitability has softened and/or costs are spiraling. Recent product development... Read more »

The Innovator’s DNA

Are Innovators born or made? That is the question authors Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen and Clayton Christensen address in their new book, “The Innovator’s DNA”. Through an eight-year study with data collected from 500 innovators and 5,000 executives in 75 countries including leaders from Amazon, Apple, Google, Skype and Virgin Group, the authors attempt to find the common denominator of what makes an Innovation leader. They unearthed a key finding: that innovation is not just a product... Read more »

Innovation Failure is a Learning Experience

Nearly every attempt at success is met with failures along the way, and properly managing those failures can actually benefit the Innovation process. As an Innovation leader, do you celebrate failure and risk-taking in your organization? Doing so will broaden horizons and lead to more valuable ideas towards a culture of sustainable Innovation. Innovation = Creativity x Risk-taking. And more likely than not, the bigger the innovation means the greater the chance of failure. In the pharmaceutical industry,... Read more »

Customer Input Essential to Innovation

Innovation is not a luxury to be placed on the back burner, but rather the lifeblood of any successful organization. Innovation builds brands, which leads to profitable growth and marketplace success. An important part of attaining that success is through creating value in the minds of customers. An example of a technological breakthrough that gained customer appeal is the Rexam Airspray mechanical foamer. Since the invention of bar soaps in the early 20th century and liquid soaps in the 70’s,... Read more »

Patently Obvious – Sept 2011 Update

A new law signed by President Obama this month could mean a speedier patent approval process for inventors across the country. The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, regarded as the most sweeping patent law in 60 years, was passed on September 16, 2011. The law awards patents to the first person to submit an application, adopting the first-to-file over the first-to-invent system. The objective is to reduce lawsuits and streamline the patent process. “Somewhere in that stack of applications could... Read more »

Innovation: You Know You Want It, Now How to Implement It?

“Successful innovation is turning ideas into money,” as Innovation expert Nic Hunt so distinctly and accurately describes. Innovation is the ability to convert ideas into value for your company, customers and shareholders. Successful innovation is not a one time deal, but a process that delivers sustained, long term profitability. Any company can develop one or two innovations over the course of time, but having a focused vision will deliver sustainable innovation – producing profitable... Read more »

Innovation + Best Practices Win Race to South Pole – and Business Improvement: Revisited

This blog was originally posted back in February, but the story of theses events was recently revisited in great detail in the September issue of National Geographic. By Robert F. Brands One hundred years ago, two men set out on a Race to the South Pole. Both Englishman Robert Falcon Scott and Norwegian Roald Amundsen were experienced explorers. They knew the polar conditions of Antarctica. They knew with reward came inherent risk. Their shared tale is one about best practices versus innovation.... Read more »

Should You Reward Bad Ideas?

Some ideas are crazy. Some are underdeveloped. Some will fail. How can you deal with them without squelching your employees’ creativity? True or false: There’s no such thing as a bad idea. Of course bad ideas exist. In retrospect, the AOL-Time Warner merger was not the wisest idea. Neither is photocopying your face. But ask any number of innovation experts and they’ll all give you a different answer. Of course there is such thing as a bad idea. Or:Every idea has its merit. Or: It... Read more »

The Wolves are at the Door: Why YOU Need to Hire an Intellectual Property Lawyer

Innovation is the lifeblood of any organization, and value creation is measured by a company’s intellectual property portfolio. As a business leader, you are responsible for protecting your company’s IP portfolio through patents. What exactly is a patent? A patent is a legal document granted by the federal government that gives the patent owner the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering to sell, and importing the claimed invention. Essentially, it is the property right... Read more »

Why America’s patent system needs to be reformed, and how to do it

From The Economist: ON AUGUST 15th Google bid $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility, a troubled American maker of mobile phones. If the purchase goes through, it will be Google’s largest ever acquisition, almost doubling the size of its workforce. The attraction for the internet giant is not the handset-maker’s 19,000 employees nor its 11% share of America’s smartphone market, but its portfolio of 17,000 patents, with another 7,500 in the pipeline. This... Read more »

Intelligence Lost: Seven Innovative Steps to Ensure Boomer Retirement Doesn’t Create Knowledge Vacuum

The U.S. business community is facing a war of intelligence attrition. Fortune 500s will see countless experienced knowledge workers walk out the door over the next two decades. The U.S. Armed Forces are losing millions of officers and key personnel to retirement. For even those companies that thrive on innovation, the numbers are daunting – and demand action. Some 900,000 white collar workers from the Executive Branch of government, and another 5,400 federal executives, will be up for retirement... Read more »

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