Editorial Results (free)
1. Tethering the Void to Moonshot Ideas
- Tuesday, May 31, 2016
This talk was given by Donna Sturgess, executive in residence, Carnegie Mellon University, at the annual Front End of Innovation Conference in Boston this month.
“I’ve been spending a lot of time in the future,” is how Sturgess opened this evocative session. “Things get funded at Carnegie Mellon for big, breakthrough ideas, exponential innovations.”
2. Innovation From The Inside-Out
- Tuesday, May 24, 2016
A talk from Karen Hersherson, clay street project leader, Proctor & Gamble. Innovation for P&G is about platforms and pipelines that create long-lasting value. To get these types of results, the company had to build an incubator for project teams, named “clay street.”
3. Better, Faster Insight-Based Innovation
- Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Better & Faster Workshop at the Front End of Innovation Conference
A masterclass with Jeremy Gutsche, the CEO of Trend Hunter and the best-selling author of “Better & Faster: The Proven Path to Unstoppable Ideas.”
4. What’s Your Innovation Definition?
- Tuesday, May 10, 2016
So many organizations set out to innovate but lose their way close to the finish line. All of the time, money and energy invested loom over them like an ominous shadow of failure ready to overtake the whole scene.
5. Essential Tactics For Innovation Intrepreneurs
- Tuesday, April 26, 2016
For authentic innovation to occur at an organization, you have to craft the culture of a place to accept and embrace new ways of working together and being in the market.
More often than not, teams or outsourced agencies follow an innovation method, create many concepts that are new to the market and certain to create new value, but are crushed by the cultural antibodies of a place while still an embryonic idea.
6. Radical Team Dynamics for The Highly Productive
- Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Investing in people means the conventional and expected things. You can send high performers to leadership development, provide access and time for seminars and online learning. You can reward with money, praise and attention. Yet, three aspects of people investment tend to get overlooked, leaving the most driven and brightest unmotivated and rudderless, looking for the door.
7. The Evolving Role of Design, Part Two
- Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Editor’s note: Part two of a two-part series. We are talking about Big Design, Big D, Meta D. Designing the energetics, level of interaction, the culture of work, and the methods of inquiry, creation and production – the invisible infrastructure of how all pieces and parts of an organization and the world interrelate.
8. The Evolving Role of Design, Part One
- Tuesday, April 05, 2016
Editor’s note: Part one in a two-part series. The role of design evolves at the speed of innovation, the dizzying, dynamic speed of the market. Design now has a seat at executive and board tables across the globe. More than ever, a holistic sense of design is valued as a legal means of significant competitive advantage.
9. Lip Service or Real Metamorphosis?
- Tuesday, March 29, 2016
When we get called into a company it is often because a very expensive innovation effort failed.
One of the huge global innovation firms was called in to create a new platform and what happens next is very much like a bad action movie – you know the story. No surprises.
10. Storytelling, The Brain & Work Culture
- Tuesday, March 22, 2016
I love the quote by the poet Muriel Rukeyser that says, “The universe is made of stories, not atoms.” Humans live for stories. We learn from stories at home, school, from friends and also very compellingly at work.
11. Toward a Better Definition Of ‘Innovation Process’
- Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Innovation is one of those words that means something different to each person that hears it. When you describe the whole framework as an innovation process, the confusion compounds exponentially. The word process is more misleading than the word innovation.
12. Birth of A Product Company, Part 4
- Tuesday, March 08, 2016
Editor’s note: Part four in a four-part series. “After you have a solid business plan and actual market feedback on your product concepts, including revenue,” I continued, “you’ll want to think about raising capital.”
13. Birth of a Product Company, Part 3
- Tuesday, March 01, 2016
Editor’s note: Part three of a four-part series. At this point in the dialogue, I felt the need to break down the conversation into helpful actions in two main categories: test marketing and business planning.
14. Birth of a Product Company, Part 2
- Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Editor's note: Part two in a four-part series. In the last column I profiled a too-common scenario. A person with passion, drive and talent created a handful of products without considering the many factors of launching a new company in a complex, overcrowded market.
15. Birth of a Product Company, Part 1
- Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Editor’s note: Part one of a four-part series. A friend of mine is a stylist to the stars. If there is a movie or TV show shooting in the region, she’s on the set, making hair magic. She gets flown around the world at times. She’s in demand.
16. Innovation: A Journey Of Discovery
- Tuesday, February 09, 2016
Innovation gets defined so many ways that it can be confusing. While there is a repeatable framework for creating new value, the iterative nature of front end discovery work can perplex those who believe that work should be linear.
17. For Whom Do You Create New Products?
- Thursday, February 04, 2016
According to AcuPoll more than 95 percent of new products fail each year. This harrowing statistic should sound an alarm, one that says, the way we approach the conceptualization and launch of new products does not work.
18. The Gift Of Writing A Book
- Thursday, January 28, 2016
Running any business day-in and day-out can bring active contemplation to halt. The pace of work stays at such a staggering speed, leaving you inspired, exhausted and bewildered.
With such demands on your time, it’s hard to make sense of life and work, and even harder to extract wisdom out of the many experiences that constitute a workday.
19. Value Stream Discovery & True Grit
- Thursday, January 21, 2016
Aaron Eden, former Innovation Catalyst at Intuit before founding Moves the Needle.
Value Stream Discovery is a framework for unlocking value for enterprises, in a scalable manner.
Lean Innovation: How do we eliminate waste in the discovery of new value?
20. Practices For Today’s Consumer Reality
- Thursday, January 14, 2016
Sandra Kang, Director, Brand Insights, Digital Insights & Consumer Affairs, Clorox
Not so long ago, we could take out a TV ad, take out a newspaper ad – and win with consumers. Now, it’s all different for the CPG industry. The, retailers led.
21. How To Innovate Like A Startup
- Thursday, January 07, 2016
Ann Thompson, The Garage Group; Kristi Zuhlke, Knowledge Hound; Tarrae Schroeder, Kellogg; Kristine Greiwe, LYFT; Luana Nichifor, Proctor & Gamble
Ann Thompson began the talk about her big company background, at Proctor and Gamble. Then, switched to her life now at a startup. The garage group helps enables corporations to innovate and grow like startups.
22. Thrive in The Expectation Economy
- Thursday, December 31, 2015
Maxwell Luthy’s keynote begins with a warm-up. Luthy, director of Trends and Insight, showed two innovations and asked if they were good or bad. The first has a real-time countdown of your life expectancy. The second innovation is an emoji-based room service.
23. Q&A With Seth Godin
- Thursday, December 24, 2015
Seth Godin is the author of 18 books. His blog is one of the most popular in the world. After a keynote about the Connection Economy, Godin made time for a Q&A for 50 people.
At the foundation of the Connection Economy lies weirdness and art, an authentic humanness.
24. The Hearts And Minds Of Unicorns
- Thursday, December 17, 2015
A Back End of Innovation 2015 Talk
Porter Gale, Former VP of Virgin America
Porter started with a few questions, “Is it easy or hard to innovate in your company?” “Can you recognize unicorns?”
25. Why Relationships Are Essential To Research
- Thursday, December 10, 2015
Beth Werner, Head of Retail Research and Vision at Bose
So, why are relationships essential for research? Let me begin by telling you a little about myself, and then tell you about why relationships are scary for Bose.
26. Accelerate Growth By Integrating Research
- Thursday, December 03, 2015
Stephanie Cunningham, Associate Director, Global Insights Business Lead – Specialty Division, The Clorox Co.; Jody McInerney, Senior Vice President, Burke Inc.
27. New Consumer Research & Brand Measurement
- Thursday, November 26, 2015
New Frontier of Consumer Research, Olga Diamandis, Senior Manager, Open Innovation, Mattel. Three key things are happening that are changing research: Crowdsourcing, big data and artificial intelligence. We will mine these dimensions, but first let’s take a brief look at the history of marketing research.
28. Two Innovation Talks That Noted Telemedicine
- Thursday, November 19, 2015
A Journey Toward Commercialization: A Case Study in Xerox’s Venture into Telemedicine, a talk given by Denise Fletcher, Xerox
29. Overlooking the Obvious: Why Innovation Fails
- Thursday, November 12, 2015
This column was based on a presentation by Scott Jenkins, SVP of Innovation and Product Development of Deckers.
30. Creating A Commercialization Culture
- Monday, November 02, 2015
How to Create a Culture Where You Can Capitalize on Innovation: A presentation by Jay Morgan, VP Global Innovation Bayer Consumer Care, given at the Back end of Innovation Conference, October 2015.
31. Strategic Foresight For Key Projects
- Monday, October 26, 2015
Here are notes from the back end of Innovation conference 2015, in San Jose, California. These tips come from a workshop led by Tamara Carleton, Innovation Leadership Board LLC.
32. Design Thinking As Worldview
- Monday, October 19, 2015
Design thinking is considered a human-centered framework for problem solving, used in formal innovation work in many fields: health care, consumer products, software, medical devices, durable goods, services and city planning. Design thinking has been perhaps the most lauded innovation method. In brief, the phases include empathy, define, ideation, prototyping, testing and storytelling.
33. Culture is The Key Indicator Of Innovation
- Monday, October 12, 2015
An odd dynamic is taking place among the C-suite of many companies. They demand more innovation from the organization without really knowing what that means and the implications it has for the organization.
34. Six Sets Of Eyes For Innovation
- Monday, October 05, 2015
To successfully foster an innovation, you have to look through at least six different sets of eyes.
First, you have to unlearn everything you know. Admit it. You are biased, preprogrammed, and your bonus is tied into business results. Apply sincere empathy with people who do not know as much as you.
35. Leadership Lessons From Design Thinker Max DePree
- Monday, September 28, 2015
The former CEO of Herman Miller, Max DePree said, “I’ve got so many MBAs, but what I need is a poet. Poets are the original systems thinkers.”
36. Situational Medicine, Purpose and Innovation
- Monday, September 21, 2015
Encouraged by 1000s of Leadership Training workshops, books and sessions, I took a time to contemplate and draft my purpose. The idea is that if you know your driving purpose, this knowledge will guide and attune all future growth. The purpose will act as a point of inspiration, a decision filter, and also an endless surplus of renewal.
37. Denying Apoptosis or Atrophy? Unhealthy Corporate Ailments.
- Monday, September 14, 2015
With situational irony firmly in tact, the first definition of “corpus” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary reads, "the body of a human or animal especially when dead.”
Corpus, of course, is the root word of corporation. The concept of work far precedes the birth of the corporate structure.
38. Four Elements of a Successful Innovation Boot Camp
- Monday, September 07, 2015
After working with more than 100 organizations – from leading nonprofits to Fortune 500 companies – this hard-earned mantra about innovation has emerged: Concepts and culture are two critical factors necessary for successful innovation.
39. When Did We Stop New Thinking?
- Monday, August 31, 2015
Human evolution is a complex topic. Personal growth may be more perplexing even to the best psychologists. The theme that really defies reason is when a whole organization or market segment falls into the trap of formal rigidity, as in “it’s just the way it is.”
40. Use Driving Insights To Bolster Growth
- Monday, August 24, 2015
The lifecycle of an innovation project uncovers far more insights than can be filtered, harnessed or used.
Those new to an innovation discipline can get intoxicated from this endless wellspring of insights.
41. Equity Firms Should Leverage Innovation
- Monday, August 17, 2015
On the strategy side of our business, we work with many private equity-backed companies. We get called in when the growth trajectory and investment thesis aren’t being realized as projected.
We complete a diagnosis, based on a holistic evaluation of the market, competition, culture, marketing and operations of the firm. Applying a variety of in-depth primary and secondary forms of research and analysis, we develop a roadmap of real, organic growth.
42. Why Hesitate? Innovate.
- Monday, August 10, 2015
Often there is so much anxiety about innovation. Is it just a fad, or is it a viable, potent form of value generation?
Is it something that needs to be outsourced, set up as a skunk works, or can I add it to the existing responsibilities of our employees?
43. Ethnography Alone Cannot Generate Transformative Insights
- Monday, August 03, 2015
Consumer anthropology offers such refreshing insights into the marketplace, re-humanizing the relationship between people, things and stores in very profound and moving ways. This movement also has helped stores get their noses out of spreadsheet and theories and keep their eye on the customer experience.
44. The Corporate Inquisition Of Intuition
- Monday, July 27, 2015
While there are clear benefits of data and analytics when applied to growth efforts, a widespread, unhealthy dependence on a purely analytical approach to business cripples too many corporations.
While small- and mid-sized organizations still welcome some calculated risks backed by and bet on a team of spirited rising leaders, corporations appear more risk averse to their approach to launching new products in the market. In fact, the gestalt is that we’ve entered a second age of enlightenment where nothing gets signed into action unless analytic models, predictive tools, and others first bless it with a numerical score.
45. Spotting Your Organization’s Orthodoxies
- Monday, July 20, 2015
Often the very factors of success around which you launch, build, and manage an organization can turn on you like a venomous snake. The framework that worked so well, for so long, now limits the growth of the place. At some points the factors have turned into choke points.
46. The Objective Leader’s Vision
- Monday, July 13, 2015
“Once in a while you get shown the light/In the strangest of places/If you look at it right” – The Grateful Dead
To celebrate the iconic lifestyle brand of the Grateful Dead and their recent sold out 50th anniversary reunion stadium run, let’s talk about vision and its shadow side, blind spots.
47. Culture Trumps Concepts
- Monday, June 29, 2015
When many people hear the word “Innovation” they think of a service that created a category: Xerox or FedEx. Or, they think of one that made bold, brilliant moves to earn a leadership position in an emerging space: Google, Facebook, Uber and Airbnb.
48. When Less Means More
- Monday, June 22, 2015
Anxiety floods the boardroom, the conference rooms, every decision. Costs are rising. Returns are flat. Margins are thinning. Now, private label competitors are beating us in every area: technology, price, placement, design and sales. Worse, they have turned the category that we invented into a commoditized war zone and keep us in a rigid box that controls every factor of our influence and gives them every advantage.
49. Talent-Supporting Structures
- Monday, June 15, 2015
A fallacy about organizational management prevents many firms from getting the best out of their best people: the notion that everyone who excels in their jobs will eventually become managers, directors, etc. True, some may have a talent for management, while others flourish in active roles that have nothing to do with managing.
50. Once Upon A Time at Work
- Monday, June 08, 2015
In business and daily life, we are wired for stories as a species. One creation myth begins by saying God created humans because he needed good stories. Stories bind us together, creating an emotionally connected narrative through which we make sense of the world. I want to share a “Here’s What I Love About My Career” story with you.
51. Job Search Advice: Care Enough to Prepare
- Monday, May 25, 2015
So, you want a job? We’ve been on a hiring frenzy at the Studio. Sadly, the drudgery of the interview process has wasted too much time and energy.
More than 90 percent of the time, we end up playing a role that seems more like a professional coach, friend or therapist, trying to help the candidate figure out their core strengths and where they may potentially make a good fit in our culture. Then we stop being so nice, realizing this is their job, their ticket to the meeting.
52. The Real Benefit of Design Thinking
- Monday, May 18, 2015
Many days I catch myself uttering “thank you” to the universe, which the mystic Meister Eckhart claims is a prayer sufficient enough to carry an individual through an entire life.
Unlike a policeman or a bartender, I have the radical blessing to work in-depth with people doing inspiring exercises, which bring out the best side of their humanity. Being human is an incredible birthright. Our senses, instincts, and capacity for wonder can evoke awe upon contemplation.
53. Successful Ideation: Mindset and Methods
- Monday, May 11, 2015
Define what ideation means to your organization. Many companies practice some form of brainstorming or ideation. While it can be freeing to withhold restraints such as costs and technical matters and enter into the unchartered frontiers of “What If,” a lack of focus and too few creative restraints make it a fun but fruitless experience.
This is what we call idling instead of ideating. Thrilling, but a waste of time and money – incapable of generating the volume and range of ideas that make a difference.
54. Welcome to the New Era of Automation
- Monday, May 04, 2015
When Netflix put the video rental retail stores in their coffins, there was still a sizable segment of people who missed the convenience, were suspect of a mail-order or streaming subscription service or simply didn’t have the connectivity to enjoy it.
55. What I Tell My Team
- Monday, April 27, 2015
Ask the hard questions. As a thriving consultancy, our primary vocation is providing insight that adds value to our clients. To meet this objective we have to play enlightened court jester, asking the unaskable questions those inside the company cannot ask.
We also have to set the stage, carefully constructing an atmosphere of trust where we can mine issues deeply, uncover hidden orthodoxies, serve as a mirror, and always point out reachable possibilities for growth. We also have a duty to name the obstacles. Sometimes there are “family-style” secrets inside companies and denial as thick as prison walls. Be respectful on this quest. People, especially tough people, are really tender.
56. Business Hacking
- Monday, April 20, 2015
There’s an intriguing term known as Life hacking. According to Wikipedia, “Life hacking refers to any trick, shortcut, skill or novelty method that increases productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life … anything that solves an everyday problem in an inspired, ingenious manner.
57. The Perils of Pure Advertising for SMBs
- Monday, April 13, 2015
Many first-generation small and mid-sized businesses get confused about the differences of advertising and marketing. After the founders come up with a name, marketing is an afterthought for too long.
58. Signs That You Need to Fire a Client
- Monday, March 30, 2015
A beginning of a client and consultant relationship is a lot like a romantic courtship. Each party starts in a gleeful mode, inspired by the pure potential of working together. But all relationships, including professional ones, crash down to earth after an initial high. At this point your firm can tell if the partnership is a short-term assignment or a long-term collaborative relationship.
59. Taking Off the Training Wheels
- Monday, March 23, 2015
Here’s a Studio secret. We have a natural client attrition plan inherent in our business model. We not only lead innovation projects, but also give away our practices as part of the process.
When you set up your projects as both a value-generating project and an innovation-training program, it is a great success when clients complete a project cycle and then are eager to take off their training wheels.
60. Don’t Make a Shrine of Your Success
- Monday, March 16, 2015
There is a scene in the black-and-white section of The Wizard of Oz when one of the farmers (who later transforms into the Tin Man) tells Auntie Mae, “They’re going to make of a statue of me one day!” Her response handled the ego inflation with a dose of pragmatic farm wisdom. As she pointed to his next chore, she retorts, “Don’t start posing for it now.”
61. Four Internal Benefits of Practicing Innovation
- Monday, March 09, 2015
Ultimately, innovation must be defined by the new value it creates for an organization.
Sure, there are many innovations that create nominal value by shaving costs at various points of the value chain. These incremental product or service adaptations are a positive by-product of having an innovation discipline. Sights need to be set higher to really change a category for the better and create a sustainable leadership position in the market.
62. How to Delve Further Into User Insights
- Monday, March 02, 2015
Think of it as the front end of the front end, this fusion of methods for solving problems for real people and creating a better experience for them.
By fusing Design Thinking and User Experience, you learn the socio-psychological wants and desires of your user base and understand their world, as well unpacking attitudes, reactions, and emotions about a specific tested object.
63. The Poetics Of Information Architecture
- Monday, February 16, 2015
Note: I wrote this piece 15 years ago and just rediscovered it. Sadly, the points bear repeating, and reprinting in the era of social media, client portals, and HTML5, as it seems truer than ever.
64. Lack of Innovation at Nonprofits
- Monday, February 09, 2015
Through the Southern Growth Studio, I have the great honor to work with nonprofits. Big ones. Growing ones. And ones on the verge of collapse.
There is an odd tendency for almost all of these organizations to respond to innovations in the same way; they desire them deeply but are wildly timid. It’s a dizzying and paralyzing fear-based response. “What if it doesn’t work? I don’t know. …” They yearn to roll out a new program or re-create an experience that gets better results, but something nagging in the culture keeps them from enacting the very thing that may set them apart and catalyze their potential.
65. Leadership Lessons From the Duke
- Monday, February 02, 2015
The American Master of Music, Duke Ellington, also stands as an ideal role model of leadership for the emerging business and nonprofit world. As the global workplace moves toward open workspaces and sees the value of multidimensional team filled with hard-to-traditionally-manage creative professionals, a look into Ellington’s leadership style can inspire outstanding results.
66. Keys for Compelling Storytelling
- Monday, January 26, 2015
Most innovations fail because they are too good, too smart and too unfamiliar to the existing business to risk launching.
The last phase of a full-cycle innovation process, storytelling, was rushed. A power point deck was created using the language of the business culture, unconsciously framing the new concept in the old world of the doldrums of existing operations. The new ideas get applause for their “brave, fresh thinking," then are summarily placed on the back burner to be ignored for eternity.
67. The Real Work of Innovation
- Monday, January 19, 2015
Being creative. Generating thousands of ideas. Making employees feel heard, valued, more than a cog in a machine.
These are the superficial by-products of an in-depth discipline.
Unto themselves, these tiny crumbs of the vast buffet of genuine innovation methods are not an Innovation effort. They represent mere pacification. Any board member or C-Suite executive who believes they have the Innovation box checked because they have an online idea submission forum and a committee that ranks ideas needs to resign. Enough with lip service. Stop the confusion of New Product Development and Innovation.
68. Metrics for Front-End Innovation Projects
- Monday, January 12, 2015
“What are the metrics?” We get this question all the time from nervous directors and VPs who are struggling with the philosophical underpinnings of front-end innovation. They are eager to launch an innovation program, but want to be able to foresee the outcome before embarking on the journey of discovery.
69. Empathy For Successful Innovation
- Monday, January 05, 2015
If you unpack the stories of most successful innovations, you’ll find that a deep immersion into the user experience of a product or service is the key that often unlocks the potential of the concept.
70. Market Understanding Leads to Wins
- Monday, December 15, 2014
Unlocking Value. Why do innovations end up in a “black hole?”
Jeff Pierce states that the hubris of Market Leaders keeps them from innovating. Pierce serves as the innovation architect of Pitney Bowes’ Corporate Innovation Program. He’s on a mission to change how the company sees itself.
71. How to Gain Immunity From Funding Cuts
- Monday, December 08, 2014
Martin Elliott, senior director of Mattel Inc.’s New Business Ventures, tells innovators how to avoid the budget cut thresher. Think like a V.C.
72. Even Procurement is Innovating
- Monday, December 01, 2014
Derick Kurdy from J&J and Neel Tilak from Janssen discuss the potency of an innovation culture in the procurement department and how it works with key suppliers.
They began with a story about the Band-Aid, about how the inventor made it as an act of love for his wife. The moral of the story; innovations start with a need that is cared for and executed for a real problem.
73. Why Corporate Innovations Fail
- Monday, November 24, 2014
Iliya Rybchin of the Highnote Foundry and formally of Bloomberg discusses where innovations break down in the corporate world. He was stronger than a good cup of coffee.
He comes out swinging. Warning: "I'm going to offend some people here." The room perked up. Then, Rybchin notes the most critical points of failure.
74. Building Innovation Networks
- Monday, November 17, 2014
This Learning Lab was presented at the Back End of Innovation 2014 Conference, by Ayelet Baron, Futurist, Simplifying Work and Innovator in Residence, Roche/Genentech.
“Get out of your work building and go into the world,” says the speaker. The team she is working with at Roche have started a program called “Get Out of the Building” as a way to not only get exposed to new ideas but also to build new relationships. It’s great advice.
75. Motivating the Corporate Elephant to Innovate
- Monday, November 10, 2014
VF Corp. created a series of Bright Spots to augment their product mix and sell the innovations inside the company to ensure the innovation eggs hatched in the market. The real goal was to change the culture to accept innovation.
76. Navigating a New Era of Medical Innovations
- Monday, November 03, 2014
Executive director of Cleveland Clinic Innovations, Gary Fingerhut, discusses the emerging era of medical innovation and commercialized new inventions and platforms.
Fingerhut opens by echoing a recurring theme; innovation begins with empathy. A deep understanding of the humanity, the personal narratives, fears and inspirations of patients empowers better care and inspires hospital systems to treat people differently than in the past.
77. Key Tools for the Backend of Innovation
- Monday, October 27, 2014
Alekasandro Grabulou, director of innovation and development of Philips, talks about key tools for redefining the role of innovation in a fast-paced era.
Philips is a leader in health care, consumer lifestyle and lighting. And, they fused their front end and back end innovation efforts with great results and a compelling story.
78. Midnight Lunch: Innovation Insights
- Monday, October 20, 2014
Sarah Miller Caldicott, the grandniece of Edison and CEO of Power Patterns of Innovation, presents “Midnight Lunch: Building an Innovator’s Toolkit for Success.”
What was Edison’s execution process?
79. Bringing Innovation to Innovation
- Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Notes from a keynote by John Kao, BEI 2014, Las Vegas
2.6 billion Google queries were on "innovation" last month, Kao posits. The issue, there is no shared definition, or mental map, of innovation. We are creating a tower of Babel effect.
80. Financial Elements of the Innovation Process
- Monday, October 06, 2014
Innovation is a saturated field, but one with a hole in it. Many companies can generate thousands of potentially valuable ideas, but have no accepted cultural method for placing a value on them.
Many of these same companies can do Wicked Thinking, block out Business Model Canvases, and follow a Design Thinking Sprint, but they lack credible and concrete thinking about the financial side of their innovation concepts as the front-end process is progressing.
81. Soft Skills for Emerging Leaders
- Monday, September 29, 2014
As a professional, as a leader, even as a brand ask yourself this critical question: are you empathetic? Do you have the genuine ability to “understand and share the feelings of another.”
82. The Only Difference: Mindset
- Monday, September 22, 2014
The same truths not brought into action present themselves as lessons, ongoing themes. This one rings with more truth every time I encounter it. Mindset is the real pivot point, the only true sustainable, competitive advantage (other than exclusivity, which is always temporary) for organizations that want to flourish.
83. Allow Innovation to Expand Business Model
- Monday, September 15, 2014
As your innovation efforts begin to move from the ideation to the testing phase, or the co-creation with consumers or customers, outlandish and disruptive concepts present themselves. As messy as children arriving, they show up, saying, "Feed me, let me scream at the top of my lungs, I’m uncivilized,” all without speaking.
84. Regenerate Corporate Cultures
- Monday, September 08, 2014
What’s good for the bee is good for the hive. Marcus Aurelius noted that "If a thing is not good for the hive, it is not good for the bee.” This statement has profound implications for corporate cultures. In a workplace setting, anything that keeps a culture from dynamically regenerating itself is harmful to its people.
85. The Gold Left on the Table
- Monday, September 01, 2014
I always feel bad for clients of a full-cycle innovation project. After the many ideation and co-creation sessions, there are far too many viable concepts to pursue. In many cases, millions of dollars of market expansion, new products with tested, validated appeal and new licensing opportunities get swept aside just because there are too many possibilities.
86. Primary Research and Talking Sticks
- Monday, August 25, 2014
Business, organizations, and nonprofits grow with the level of firsthand experiences they have with their prospects, customers, members or donors. These entities both know themselves and also know their audience, their tribe.
87. Consumers Driving Health Care Innovation
- Monday, August 18, 2014
Everyone in the U.S complains about health care – the rising costs of insurance premiums and co-pays, the lack of innovation, the poor experience at doctor’s offices and hospitals, and price of medications.
88. Why Experts Live in Fear
- Monday, August 11, 2014
More trouble has fallen upon companies that tempt the universe with this ego-inflated statement: "We are the experts.” A sizable lack of innovation occurs in the practice of being perceived as experts instead of practicing humility in the workplace.
89. The Power of Unplugging
- Monday, August 04, 2014
I am returning from a vacation on the Forgotten Coast, a cape wedged in between the sea and a bay. The best part of the location is that my smartphone connection did not work.
All of the incessant demands of running a business, having clients, making social media updates, keeping up with news for organizations for whom I serve on boards: poof, gone.
90. Atkinson Joins Dermaflage Team
- Tuesday, July 08, 2014
Michael Graber asked that I write this week’s column to both announce my move to join the leadership team at our Ventures company, Silicone Arts Labs, and to reflect on the last seven years at Southern Growth Studio. We announce my departure from the Studio with a great sense of pride and accomplishment, as it is one of the ways we are meeting our mission and making a positive impact in Memphis.
91. Business Becomes Human
- Monday, June 30, 2014
After sifting through 20-plus in-depth consumer narratives of their condition, an R&D scientist said to me, “We need to always begin new product development projects this way.”
These people went into great details about their lives, their struggles, their rituals, their beliefs. As we unpacked their learnings, the scientist understood the complexities of having a rich, full contextual understanding of the people for whom he will design new, innovative solutions.
92. Necessary Disruptions
- Monday, June 23, 2014
Last week, the New Yorker published an article about how Disruptive Innovations have failed and how the theory is bogus. The long piece went into great depth about the emerging Disruption industry of consultants, the Disruption ethos prevalent in Silicon Valley and the many Disruption discussions in boardrooms across the globe. As a local practitioner of innovation methodologies, several people asked me my take on the piece.
93. Perfection vs. Petri Dish
- Monday, June 16, 2014
We live in the fastest-evolving marketplace in history, so why is it that so many companies still move so slowly bringing new products to market?
We believe it is because they are holding fast to an industrial revolution mindset where innovations are carefully devised, honed and perfected. The heft of extensive machines and expensive infrastructure mire down the collective mindset, locking in a collective fear of imperfection. There is much to learn from the nimble tech industry that focuses on speed to market over perfection.
94. Culture of Collaboration
- Monday, June 09, 2014
Despite tremendous advances in technology that yield nearly infinite access to information and the Internet’s connectivity of the world’s greatest experts, many companies continue to look inward for new product development and innovation.
95. Enroll the Skeptics Early
- Monday, June 02, 2014
After working on hundreds of innovation projects, one fact remains. If you cannot get executive sponsorship of the final concepts, they will never launch. We recommend a few steps to get leadership engaged in solving the problem with you as part of the process; therefore, they will feel invested in the outcome of the innovations in the marketplace.
96. Have Courage to Leap
- Monday, May 26, 2014
As Innovation and Growth Strategy consultants, we have methods, processes and exercises that we apply to client problems.
While tools from this vast toolbox work for any type of organization seeking to provide a better service or product (health care, nonprofit, hospitality, consumer goods, financial services, wholesalers and B2B) to generate insights and custom solutions that set them up as a category leader, what we sell is something else ultimately. This is perhaps the rarest asset in corporate America for an unknown reason, called courage.
97. How to Get Unstuck From a Rut
- Monday, May 19, 2014
Perspective is everything. In life and work life this adage proves true time and time again.
If you can see opportunity without preset lenses, you are more prone to make advantageous use of this gift. If you harness the skill to zoom out and zoom in, you see your business in many different settings, in different categories and segments, and serving different customers. We, at the Studio, cannot empathize the power of fresh thinking and a cached perspective.
98. Being Social Entrepreneurs
- Monday, May 12, 2014
There is a lot of talk these days about social entrepreneurs and social ventures but not a lot of clarity around what this really means.
It seems the term is just a new spin on not-for-profits, a new label for startup organizations that focus on social issues. However, there is a big difference – social ventures can be for-profit or nonprofit in their structure.
99. Running on Autopilot?
- Monday, May 05, 2014
With the first quarter behind us, it is time to evaluate your business performance and start assessing the effectiveness of the tactics in your growth strategy. At the end of each quarter it is imperative to run a series of diagnostics to attain a deeper understanding of why the results are what they are, regardless of whether they are positive or negative.
100. Go Deep or Go Home
- Monday, April 28, 2014
We meet companies and nonprofits who have been marketing to the same lists for years. Often, these lists and the assumptions about the people on their lists are more than a decade old. These aged lists may have been scrubbed, but that is simply for those who have fallen off the grid, one way or another. This point should be obvious to any reader of this column: there are major problems with this scenario.