Ten Reasons You Might Suck at Innovation

Ten Reasons You Might Suck at InnovationIn a popular previous article we looked at the Top 10 Reasons Not to Innovate. In this article we will look at Ten Reasons You Might Suck at Innovation as we explore the following question:

Do you need an innovation intervention?

Unless you feel that your innovation program is a runaway success and exceeding your expectations, the answer might very well be…

yes.

Ten Reasons You Might Suck at Innovation

  1. Nobody can articulate your definition of innovation (or you don’t have one)
  2. Nobody can articulate your innovation vision/strategy/goals (or you don’t have them)
  3. People struggle to tell the story of one or more innovations launched to wide adoption by the organization
  4. Most of what passes as innovation inside the organization would actually be classified as improvements (not innovation) by people outside the organization
  5. The organization no longer makes external innovation perspectives available to a wide audience
  6. Nobody takes the time to participate in our innovation efforts anymore
  7. Your organization is unable to accept insights and ideas from outside the organization and develop them into concepts that can be scaled to wide adoption
  8. Innovation program leadership has difficulty getting time on the CEO’s calendar any more
  9. Your innovation team is trying to do all of the innovating instead of helping to accelerate the innovation efforts of others
  10. Your pace of innovation is slower than the organizations you compete with for market share, donations, votes, etc.

What is an innovation intervention?

An innovation intervention is a professionally directed, education process resulting in a face to face meeting of consultants, leaders and/or managers with the organization in trouble with innovation. People who struggle with innovation are often in denial about their situation and unwilling to seek treatment. They may not recognize the negative effects their behavior has on themselves and others. Intervention helps the person make the connection between their use of innovation and the problems in their organization. The goal of intervention is to present the innovation user with a structured opportunity to accept help and to make changes before things get even worse.

This may be a somewhat tongue in cheek adaptation of a definition from the substance abuse context*, but it’s almost scary how much I didn’t have to change in the switching of contexts. To make it easier for people to accept help, I came up with the Ten Reasons You Might Suck at Innovation above, and a service offering to hopefully fit within your purchasing authority and your budget (especially if you split it up into two installments of $4,999.99).

Purchasing an Innovation Intervention for $9,999.98 + expenses (or two payments of $4,999.99 + expenses) will get you a three day engagement including:

  • A cross-functional and/or cross-site innovation maturity study using my 50 question innovation audit, including analysis of the results, and presentation of the findings
  • One or two days on-site:
    • Seeing where and how your innovation happens
    • Conducting interviews to understand the structure of your innovation programs, processes, and other key elements of your innovation infrastructure
    • Walking through past innovation successes and failures
  • The balance of the three days will then be spent analyzing the on-site observations and creating a set of actionable recommendations
  • Up to five (5) copies of my book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire for you and your leadership team
  • Up to ten (10) sets of my Nine Innovation Roles cards for you and your leadership team
  • Up to five (5) copies of my book Charting Change for you and your leadership team
  • A 10% discount on any future keynote speeches or innovation training sessions for your organization
  • A 10% discount on any Change Planning Toolkit™ site license purchases for your organization
  • A 10% discount on any Disruptive Innovation Toolkit™ site license purchases for your organization

Together we’ll get your innovation efforts back on track towards success and build a foundation capable of sustaining continuous innovation. Forward-thinking organizations that haven’t begun an innovation program or a focus on innovation and want to get off to a strong start will be able to leverage the Innovation Intervention service too.

Free Consultation with Braden Kelley

OR

Click here to purchase an Innovation Intervention with a single payment

OR

Click here to begin a purchase of an Innovation Intervention in two easy installments

Image credit: calbaptist.edu

*Thanks to the NCADD (National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.) for the inspiration

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What’s Next – The Disruptive Innovation Toolkit™

What's Next - The Disruptive Innovation Toolkit™… and a new Innovation Intervention service.

People have been asking me recently – What’s next?

I think managers and leaders are wondering now that I’ve written two popular books (Charting Change and Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire) and a chapter in a third (A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing), if I’ll ever write another book.

But, they’re also curious given all the great tools in the Change Planning Toolkit™ that can fundamentally transform how we plan our projects and change initiatives, helping individuals and organizations move beyond theory to practice, whether I’ll ever create anything similar to help companies increase their innovation success.

The answer to both questions is a resounding YES!

I am pursuing, in parallel, the Define, Design, and Develop phases on a number of different tools to form the basis of a Disruptive Innovation Toolkit™ for organizations to leverage in pursuit of my evolution of value innovation.

If you’ve attended one of my innovation keynotes or workshops you’ve seen how my innovation viewpoint (Innovation is All About Value) leads to all types of innovation, including disruptive innovation, and how it links to LEAN methodologies so that organizations can organize and execute across the entire spectrum of improvement and innovation possibilities.

Some of my most recent clients, including The Bank of Montreal and OSF Healthcare, have received an advance preview of some of the early components of the upcoming Disruptive Innovation Toolkit™.

At the same time, I am also finishing efforts to define a new Innovation Intervention service offering to help organizations who have started an innovation effort or built an innovation program, only to see it go off the rails. I will work with organizations in an Innovation Intervention to help them get back on track towards success and build a foundation capable of sustaining continuous innovation. Forward-thinking organizations that haven’t begun an innovation program or a focus on innovation and want to get off to a strong start will be able to leverage this upcoming Innovation Intervention service too.

Finally, when I do write a third book, it will probably dig deeper into how to build an organization wired for continuous change, including successfully executing a digital transformation and sustaining full spectrum innovation and improvement excellence.

So, this is what’s next.

If you’d like to find out more about my Innovation Intervention or Disruptive Innovation Toolkit™ in advance of their launch, in order to get a jump on your competition, please contact me.

Stay tuned for more information on these efforts soon!

Click here to take the Free Innovation Audit

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Interview with Change Management Review

Interview with Change Management Review

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Theresa Moulton of the Change Management Review™ Podcast, about my work as a popular keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, and thought leader on the topics of continuous innovation and change, and some of my work with clients to create innovative strategies, digital transformations, and increased organizational agility.

But mostly in this information-packed interview, I reveal key lessons from the Change Planning Toolkit™ and my book Charting Change, including what’s hard about change, and how the visual, collaborative approach of the Change Planning Toolkit™ can revolutionize how we plan our projects and change initiatives.

1. Click here to visit the Change Management Review interview page

2. Click here to get your copy of Charting Change

3. Click here for more information on the Change Planning Toolkit™

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2017 Thinkers50 Nominations Now Open

2017 Thinkers50 Nominations Now OpenEvery two years Suntop Media ranks the top 50 management thought leaders and bestows the Thinkers50 Global Ranking of Management Thinkers. The ranking relies on nominations and voting from the community, meaning that the public decides who is selected.

Click here to nominate me by entering the following information:

Your Name
Your Email
Your Global Ranking Nominee: Braden Kelley
Notes (optional): Braden Kelley is an in-demand workshop leader and keynote speaker on the topics of innovation, digital transformation and organizational change. He is the creator of the revolutionary Change Planning Toolkit™ and the author of two popular books, ‘Charting Change’ from Palgrave Macmillan and ‘Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire’ from John Wiley & Sons. Braden has written hundreds of articles for publications including The Washington Post, Wired, and The Atlantic. And, in his spare time he created the site that became http://innovationexcellence.com – the world’s most popular innovation web site, and tweets from @innovate.

Click here to nominate me by entering the above information.


In addition, they are taking nominations for Distinguished Achievement Awards in the following categories:

  • Breakthrough Idea
  • Digital Thinking
  • Ideas Into Practice
  • Future Thinker
  • Innovation
  • Leadership
  • Strategy
  • Talent

The INNOVATION category is where I would greatly appreciate your nomination, but I also firmly believe the Change Planning Toolkit™ qualifies me for the BREAKTHROUGH IDEA and IDEAS INTO PRACTICE categories, but I’ll leave that up to you!

Click here to nominate me for the Distinguished Achievement Award by filling in the following fields with whatever information you would like (I’ve included some thought starters):

Your Name
Your Email
Your Nominee for Breakthrough Idea Award: Braden Kelley
Your Nominee for Ideas Into Practice Award: Braden Kelley
Your Nominee for Innovation Award: Braden Kelley

Notes (optional): Braden Kelley created the revolutionary Change Planning Toolkit™ to help organizations plan their projects and change initiatives in a more visual, collaborative way so that teams stand a better chance of beating the 70% change effort failure rate. He is the author of two popular books, ‘Charting Change’ from Palgrave Macmillan and ‘Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire’ from John Wiley & Sons, and continues to be an insightful innovation voice for publications including InnovationManagement.se, SAP’s Digitalist magazine, ProjectManagement.com, and Innovation Excellence. In his spare time he tweets from @innovate.

Click here to nominate me for the Distinguished Achievement Award by filling in the above fields.


There is also a short form at http://www.thinkers50.com/scanning/identify-new-thinkers/ that you can use for identifying new thinkers (and all of the above info works). 😉


I am deeply grateful for your continuing support.

Sincerely,

Braden

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What is your level of Innovation Maturity?

Introduction

When it comes to innovation, no two companies are likely to be pursuing innovation in the same way, and they are also likely to be at different stages of innovation maturity. Because of this, even if you found out what your competitor’s innovation strategy was, it would be of no use to you. It is necessary for an innovation strategy to be tailored to your organization’s level of innovation maturity, your corporate strategy, and your innovation vision.

Free Innovation AuditAn organization’s innovation maturity level is important because you must first master a certain set of basic innovation capabilities before implementing more advanced innovation approaches into your strategy. For example, an organization just getting started on their innovation journey would be foolish to try and implement open innovation in their organization. Every organization should get their idea generation (including evolution), idea evaluation, and idea commercialization policies and processes working well with their employees first before opening themselves up to the outside world. Your organization’s innovation strategy must be appropriate to your level of innovation maturity for your innovation efforts to be successful.

I developed the graphic below to explain the different levels of innovation maturity based on some thinking from Wharton professors Christian Terwiesch and Karl T. Ulrich, and I think it allows executives to determine at a glance where their organization is across the spectrum. I hope you find it useful.

Free Innovation Audit

Special OfferTo help people evaluate their level of innovation maturity against the above graphic, I am sharing the 50 question innovation audit I use with clients. The innovation audit is most powerful when answers are gathered at multiple levels of the organization across several groups and several sites, but you can also fill it out yourself and get instant feedback – for FREE.

To get even more out of the innovation audit, for a nominal fee, I can help you organize a multiple group and/or multiple physical location survey of people in the organization to capture not just your level of innovation maturity, but also to provide preliminary innovation diagnostics on the areas of innovation challenge and opportunity in your organization.

I can set up a research study to capture a baseline innovation maturity level and analyze the data to unlock insights about the relative health of your innovation efforts. For a limited time, I will provide this service for the special introductory price of $499.99.

Click here to purchase the innovation diagnostic service
(Get help using the audit across multiple sites and job functions and analyzing the results)

Innovation Maturity Model

Innovation Audit Scoring Key (showing level of innovation maturity)

Point totals are translated to the innovation maturity model as follows:

  • 000-100 = Level 1 – Reactive
  • 101-130 = Level 2 – Structured
  • 131-150 = Level 3 – In Control
  • 151-180 = Level 4 – Internalized
  • 181-200 = Level 5 – Continuously Improving

Click to begin the Innovation Audit here online
(We’ll email your score with the maturity model and scoring key)

Instructions

1. Read each statement and determine how much you agree with each one, using this scale:

  • 0 – None
  • 1 – A Little
  • 2 – Partially
  • 3 – Often
  • 4 – Fully

2. Select the answer for each question that is most appropriate.

The form will score the audit and return a result to you via email along with the SCORING KEY and the Innovation Maturity Model graphic. Store the result as a baseline and come back annually and re-take the audit to measure your progress!

Click to begin the Innovation Audit here online
(We’ll email your score with the maturity model and scoring key)

Click here to purchase the innovation diagnostic service
(Get help using the audit across multiple sites and job functions and analyzing the results)

* Graphic adapted from the book Innovation Tournaments by Christian Terwiesch and Karl Ulrich

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Help Support Gender Equity on May 10th

Help Support Gender Equity on May 10th

I am excited to announce on behalf of Innovation Excellence friend Tiffany Shlain that 50/50 Day is less than a month away and we can’t wait for this global conversation about gender equality! For those of you who haven’t signed up yet to host an event at your company, school, organization, or home, there’s still time. Watch a 2 minute trailer and sign up here.

About 50/50

50/50 gives the 10,000 year history of women + power — from setbacks and uprisings, to the bigger context of where we are today. Using her signature, cinematic-thought-essay style, Emmy-nominated filmmaker & founder of The Webby Awards Tiffany Shlain brings us on an electric ride to explore, where are we really on the greater arc of history of women and power? And what’s it going to take to get to a 50/50 world — not just to 50/50 in politics and board rooms, but to truly shift the gender balance to be better for everyone?

50/50 premiered on Oct 27, 2016 simultaneously live at #TEDWomen and 275 TEDx’s globally, online on @Refinery29 and on TV on Comcast’s Watchable. It is the most viewed long form film Refinery29 has released with over 4 million views to date. It will now be the centerpiece film for a global conversation set for May 10th about what it’s going to take to get to a more gender balanced world called 50/50 Day.

Please Join Me in Supporting 50/50 Day on May 10, 2017

We’re also very excited to share the above image, which is the poster that will be included in the free discussion kits provided to participants. The kits, currently at the printer (!), include this poster as well as a deck of 44 discussion cards that go deeper into each of those circles for all age groups and all different types of environments. Organizers only have a finite number of kits, so be sure to sign up to host your event soon.

Click Here to Learn More and Sign Up for 50/50 Day

And if you just can’t wait to until May 10th to see the full movie, then here it is below, just for you:

Let’s support our mothers, sisters, and daughters in their fight for gender equality and as a result help create the conditions for maximum innovation!

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Inside the Mind of Jeff Bezos

Amazon's Innovation PhilosophyIt is not too often that the leader of a Fortune 500 gives you an insight into how their company achieves competitive advantage in the marketplace in a letter to shareholders, instead of launching into a page or two of flowery prose written by the Public Relations (PR) team that works for them. The former is what Jeff Bezos tends to deliver year after year. This year’s letter is particularly interesting.

The two key insights in this year’s letter were that:

#1 – Amazon strives to view itself as a startup champion riding to the rescue of customers
#2 – Amazon chooses to be customer-obsessed, not customer-focused or customer-centric, but customer-obsessed

Both of these are crucial to sustaining innovation, and are supported by Jeff’s other main pieces of advice:

– Resisting proxies
– Embracing external trends
– Practicing high velocity decision making

But, I won’t steal Jeff’s thunder. I encourage you to read Jeff’s letter to shareholders in its entirety, check out the bonus video interview at the end, and add comments to share what you find particularly interesting in the letter.

Keep innovating!

—————————————————————-
2016 Letter to Amazon Shareholders
April 12, 2017

“Jeff, what does Day 2 look like?”

That’s a question I just got at our most recent all-hands meeting. I’ve been reminding people that it’s Day 1 for a couple of decades. I work in an Amazon building named Day 1, and when I moved buildings, I took the name with me. I spend time thinking about this topic.

“Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.”

To be sure, this kind of decline would happen in extreme slow motion. An established company might harvest Day 2 for decades, but the final result would still come.

I’m interested in the question, how do you fend off Day 2? What are the techniques and tactics? How do you keep the vitality of Day 1, even inside a large organization?

Such a question can’t have a simple answer. There will be many elements, multiple paths, and many traps. I don’t know the whole answer, but I may know bits of it. Here’s a starter pack of essentials for Day 1 defense: customer obsession, a skeptical view of proxies, the eager adoption of external trends, and high-velocity decision making.

True Customer Obsession

There are many ways to center a business. You can be competitor focused, you can be product focused, you can be technology focused, you can be business model focused, and there are more. But in my view, obsessive customer focus is by far the most protective of Day 1 vitality.

Why? There are many advantages to a customer-centric approach, but here’s the big one: customers are always beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied, even when they report being happy and business is great. Even when they don’t yet know it, customers want something better, and your desire to delight customers will drive you to invent on their behalf. No customer ever asked Amazon to create the Prime membership program, but it sure turns out they wanted it, and I could give you many such examples.

Staying in Day 1 requires you to experiment patiently, accept failures, plant seeds, protect saplings, and double down when you see customer delight. A customer-obsessed culture best creates the conditions where all of that can happen.

Resist Proxies

As companies get larger and more complex, there’s a tendency to manage to proxies. This comes in many shapes and sizes, and it’s dangerous, subtle, and very Day 2.

A common example is process as proxy. Good process serves you so you can serve customers. But if you’re not watchful, the process can become the thing. This can happen very easily in large organizations. The process becomes the proxy for the result you want. You stop looking at outcomes and just make sure you’re doing the process right. Gulp. It’s not that rare to hear a junior leader defend a bad outcome with something like, “Well, we followed the process.” A more experienced leader will use it as an opportunity to investigate and improve the process. The process is not the thing. It’s always worth asking, do we own the process or does the process own us? In a Day 2 company, you might find it’s the second.

Another example: market research and customer surveys can become proxies for customers – something that’s especially dangerous when you’re inventing and designing products. “Fifty-five percent of beta testers report being satisfied with this feature. That is up from 47% in the first survey.” That’s hard to interpret and could unintentionally mislead.

Good inventors and designers deeply understand their customer. They spend tremendous energy developing that intuition. They study and understand many anecdotes rather than only the averages you’ll find on surveys. They live with the design.

I’m not against beta testing or surveys. But you, the product or service owner, must understand the customer, have a vision, and love the offering. Then, beta testing and research can help you find your blind spots. A remarkable customer experience starts with heart, intuition, curiosity, play, guts, taste. You won’t find any of it in a survey.

Embrace External Trends

The outside world can push you into Day 2 if you won’t or can’t embrace powerful trends quickly. If you fight them, you’re probably fighting the future. Embrace them and you have a tailwind.
These big trends are not that hard to spot (they get talked and written about a lot), but they can be strangely hard for large organizations to embrace. We’re in the middle of an obvious one right now: machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Over the past decades computers have broadly automated tasks that programmers could describe with clear rules and algorithms. Modern machine learning techniques now allow us to do the same for tasks where describing the precise rules is much harder.

At Amazon, we’ve been engaged in the practical application of machine learning for many years now. Some of this work is highly visible: our autonomous Prime Air delivery drones; the Amazon Go convenience store that uses machine vision to eliminate checkout lines; and Alexa, our cloud-based AI assistant. (We still struggle to keep Echo in stock, despite our best efforts. A high-quality problem, but a problem. We’re working on it.)

But much of what we do with machine learning happens beneath the surface. Machine learning drives our algorithms for demand forecasting, product search ranking, product and deals recommendations, merchandising placements, fraud detection, translations, and much more. Though less visible, much of the impact of machine learning will be of this type – quietly but meaningfully improving core operations.

Inside AWS, we’re excited to lower the costs and barriers to machine learning and AI so organizations of all sizes can take advantage of these advanced techniques.

Using our pre-packaged versions of popular deep learning frameworks running on P2 compute instances (optimized for this workload), customers are already developing powerful systems ranging everywhere from early disease detection to increasing crop yields. And we’ve also made Amazon’s higher level services available in a convenient form. Amazon Lex (what’s inside Alexa), Amazon Polly, and Amazon Rekognition remove the heavy lifting from natural language understanding, speech generation, and image analysis. They can be accessed with simple API calls – no machine learning expertise required. Watch this space. Much more to come.

High-Velocity Decision Making

Day 2 companies make high-quality decisions, but they make high-quality decisions slowly. To keep the energy and dynamism of Day 1, you have to somehow make high-quality, high-velocity decisions. Easy for start-ups and very challenging for large organizations. The senior team at Amazon is determined to keep our decision-making velocity high. Speed matters in business – plus a high-velocity decision making environment is more fun too. We don’t know all the answers, but here are some thoughts.

First, never use a one-size-fits-all decision-making process. Many decisions are reversible, two-way doors. Those decisions can use a light-weight process. For those, so what if you’re wrong? I wrote about this in more detail in last year’s letter.

Second, most decisions should probably be made with somewhere around 70% of the information you wish you had. If you wait for 90%, in most cases, you’re probably being slow. Plus, either way, you need to be good at quickly recognizing and correcting bad decisions. If you’re good at course correcting, being wrong may be less costly than you think, whereas being slow is going to be expensive for sure.

Third, use the phrase “disagree and commit.” This phrase will save a lot of time. If you have conviction on a particular direction even though there’s no consensus, it’s helpful to say, “Look, I know we disagree on this but will you gamble with me on it? Disagree and commit?” By the time you’re at this point, no one can know the answer for sure, and you’ll probably get a quick yes.

This isn’t one way. If you’re the boss, you should do this too. I disagree and commit all the time. We recently greenlit a particular Amazon Studios original. I told the team my view: debatable whether it would be interesting enough, complicated to produce, the business terms aren’t that good, and we have lots of other opportunities. They had a completely different opinion and wanted to go ahead. I wrote back right away with “I disagree and commit and hope it becomes the most watched thing we’ve ever made.” Consider how much slower this decision cycle would have been if the team had actually had to convince me rather than simply get my commitment.

Note what this example is not: it’s not me thinking to myself “well, these guys are wrong and missing the point, but this isn’t worth me chasing.” It’s a genuine disagreement of opinion, a candid expression of my view, a chance for the team to weigh my view, and a quick, sincere commitment to go their way. And given that this team has already brought home 11 Emmys, 6 Golden Globes, and 3 Oscars, I’m just glad they let me in the room at all!

Fourth, recognize true misalignment issues early and escalate them immediately. Sometimes teams have different objectives and fundamentally different views. They are not aligned. No amount of discussion, no number of meetings will resolve that deep misalignment. Without escalation, the default dispute resolution mechanism for this scenario is exhaustion. Whoever has more stamina carries the decision.

I’ve seen many examples of sincere misalignment at Amazon over the years. When we decided to invite third party sellers to compete directly against us on our own product detail pages – that was a big one. Many smart, well-intentioned Amazonians were simply not at all aligned with the direction. The big decision set up hundreds of smaller decisions, many of which needed to be escalated to the senior team.

“You’ve worn me down” is an awful decision-making process. It’s slow and de-energizing. Go for quick escalation instead – it’s better.

So, have you settled only for decision quality, or are you mindful of decision velocity too? Are the world’s trends tailwinds for you? Are you falling prey to proxies, or do they serve you? And most important of all, are you delighting customers? We can have the scope and capabilities of a large company and the spirit and heart of a small one. But we have to choose it.

A huge thank you to each and every customer for allowing us to serve you, to our shareowners for your support, and to Amazonians everywhere for your hard work, your ingenuity, and your passion.

As always, I attach a copy of our original 1997 letter. It remains Day 1.

Sincerely,

Jeff

———————————

If you’d like dive deeper into the mind of Jeff Bezos, then check out this interview with him conducted by Walt Mossberg of The Verge last year at Code Conference 2016:

And here is another fascinating peek inside the mind of Jeff Bezos from 1997:

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10 Free Change Planning Tools

Get Your 10 Free Change Planning ToolsHave you downloaded your ten free change planning tools?

NEWSFLASH: I’ve added sample QuickStart Guide content to the download package, so if you’ve already downloaded the 10 Free Change Planning Tools, you’ll want to download them again to get this bonus content.

Research shows that 70% of change efforts fail. There are many reasons why, including that many people find the planning of a change effort overwhelming and lack tools for making the process more visual, collaborative and human.

Following the successful launch of my latest book Charting Change and a suite of tools called the Change Planning Toolkit™, I have made several access levels available to spread the methodology and help get everyone literally on the same page for change:

Get 10 Free Downloads from the Change Planning Toolkit™I am making 10 free change planning tools from the toolkit available as 11″x17″ downloads along with JUST ADDED sample content from the QuickStart Guide,
Get 26 of the 50+ Change Planning Toolkit™ toolsbut book buyers will get access to the Change Planning Toolkit™ Basic License (26 of 50 tools) at 11″x17″ size — a $500 value,
Get all 50+ tools in the Change Planning Toolkit™and buyers of the Change Planning Toolkit™ Bronze License will get access to all 50+ tools for individual educational use at an 11″x17″ size — a $1,200 value.

Change Planning Toolkit Levels and Free Downloads

I am very excited to share with you the Change Planning Toolkit™, including the popular Visual Project Charter™, Change Planning Canvas™ and many other great tools for increasing your change success!

Increase your consulting revenue or your organizational agility and get a jump on your competition!

Click here to get your 10 Free Change Planning Tools

Site licenses are available for professional or commercial use starting at $2/yr per employee*, and include access to poster size versions of many of the tools (35″x56″).

*Bronze Site Licenses have a one-time setup fee of $299. Site License fee based on total number of employees in the organization.

Below you’ll find a downloadable presentation that gives you five reasons to invest in the Change Planning Toolkit™:


Click here to get your 10 Free Change Planning Tools
Sign up for the latest news and alerts


Click on the tool name to read the article about each of the 10 Free Change Planning Tools:

  1. Five Keys to Successful Change
  2. Architecting the Organization for Change
  3. Building a Global Sensing Network
  4. Visual Project Charter™
  5. Motivation Ability Worksheet
  6. PCC Change Readiness Framework
  7. Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation™
  8. ACMP Standard for Change Management® (Visualization)
  9. Organizational Agility Framework
  10. The Eleven Change Roles™

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Get Social with Your Innovation

Get Social with Your InnovationIf your organization is struggling to sustain its innovation efforts, then I hope you will do the following things.

  • Find the purpose and passion that everyone can rally around.
  • Create the flexibility necessary to deal with the constant change that a focus on innovation requires for both customers and the organization.
  • Make innovation the social activity it truly must be for you to become successful.

If your organization has lost the courage to move innovation to its center and has gotten stuck in a project – focused, reactive innovation approach, then now is your chance to regain the higher ground and to refocus, not on having an innovation success but on building an innovation capability. Are you up to the challenge?

There is a great article “ Passion versus Obsession ” by John Hagel that explores the differences between passion and obsession. This is an important distinction to understand in order to make sure you are hiring people to power your innovation efforts who are passionate and not obsessive. Here are a few key quotes from the article:

“The first significant difference between passion and obsession is the role free will plays in each disposition: passionate people fight their way willingly to the edge to find places where they can pursue their passions more freely, while obsessive people (at best) passively drift there or (at worst) are exiled there.”

“It’s not an accident that we speak of an “object of obsession,” but the “subject of passion.” That’s because obsession tends towards highly specific focal points or goals, whereas passion is oriented toward networked, diversified spaces.”

More quotes from the John Hagel article:

“The subjects of passion invite and even demand connections with others who share the passion.”

“Because passionate people are driven to create as a way to grow and achieve their potential, they are constantly seeking out others who share their passion in a quest for collaboration, friction and inspiration . . . . The key difference between passion and obsession is fundamentally social: passion helps build relationships and obsession inhibits them.”

“It has been a long journey and it is far from over, but it has taught me that obsession confines while passion liberates.”

These quotes from John Hagel’s article are important because they reinforce the notion that innovation is a social activity. While many people give Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and the modern-day equivalent, Dean Kamen, credit for being lone inventors, the fact is that the lone inventor myth is just that — a myth, one which caused me to create The Nine Innovation Roles.

The fact is that all of these gentlemen had labs full of people who shared their passion for creative pursuits. Innovation requires collaboration, either publicly or privately, and is realized as an outcome of three social activities.

1. Social Inputs

From the very beginning when an organization is seeking to identify key insights to base an innovation strategy or project on, organizations often use ethnographic research, focus groups, or other very social methods to get at the insights. Great innovators also make connections to other industries and other disciplines to help create the great in sights that inspire great solutions.

2. Social Evolution

We usually have innovation teams in organizations, not sole inventors, and so the activity of transforming the seeds of useful invention into a solution valued above every existing alternative is very social. It takes a village of passionate villagers to transform an idea into an innovation in the marketplace. Great innovators make connections inside the organization to the people who can ask the right questions, uncover the most important weaknesses, help solve the most difficult challenges, and help break down internal barriers within the organization — all in support of creating a better solution.

3. Social Execution

The same customer group that you may have spent time with, seeking to understand, now requires education to show them that they really need the solution that all of their actions and behaviors indicated they needed at the beginning of the process. This social execution includes social outputs like trials, beta programs, trade show booths, and more. Great innovators have the patience to allow a new market space to mature, and they know how to grow the demand while also identifying the key shortcomings with customers who are holding the solution back from mass acceptance.

Conclusion

When it comes to insights, these three activities are not completely discrete. Insights do not expose themselves only in the social inputs phase, but can also expose themselves in other phases — if you’re paying attention.

Flickr famously started out as a company producing a video game in the social inputs phase, but was astute enough during the social execution phase to recognize that the most used feature was one that allowed people to share photos. Recognizing that there was an unmet market need amongst customers for easy sharing of photos, Flickr reoriented its market solution from video game to photo sharing site and reaped millions of dollars in the process when they ultimately sold their site to Yahoo!.

Ultimately, action is more important than intent, and so as an innovator you must always be listening and watching to see what people do and not just what they say. Build your solution on the wrong insight and nobody will be beating a path to your door.

NOTE: This article is an adaptation of some of the great content in my five-star book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire (available in many local libraries and fine booksellers everywhere).

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Ten Reasons to Hire an Innovation Keynote Speaker

Innovation Keynote Speaker Braden Kelley

Innovation Keynote Speakers are often misunderstood, maligned, and underutilized.

We have all been to many conferences, and heard many good (and bad) keynote and session speakers with a variety of styles (all of which are perfectly acceptable), including:

1. The Motivator

Say this public speaking style and most people will envision Bill Clinton, Tony Robbins, Steve Ballmer or someone like that. Notice that not all three examples are people you think of as full of boundless energy, that can be incredibly motivating. The motivator tries to connect on an emotional level with the audience and dial up the inspiration.

2. The Academic

This speaking style is nearly, but not completely synonymous with college professors and others in the “teaching” business. My personal style straddles between The Academic and The Storyteller. The Academic focuses on bringing compelling content and connecting with the intellect of the audience, bringing them tools and concepts that done well, are easy to grasp and use.

3. The Storyteller

The Storyteller makes a strong use of similes, metaphors, and stories to get their points across. Bill Clinton straddles the line between The Motivator and The Storyteller. Storytellers try to connect on an emotional level and along with The Academic, tend to dive deeper into their points than The Motivator or The Standup comedian. Personally I love good stories and funny pictures and so my personal T-shaped speaking style embraces bits of The Storyteller and The Standup Comedian as well.

4. The Standup Comedian

The Standup Comedian aims to keep the audience laughing, using humor to underscore and to make their points. Other than comedy writers or standup comedians, few speakers will rely on this as their primary style, but many will drift into this style from time to time.

As you might expect, all of these styles are perfectly valid as long as the content is solid and valuable, but the energy of The Motivator entices a lot of people and as you can imagine, this group does the most to both help and hurt people’s perceived value of keynote speakers. Sometimes The Motivator inspires people to action, and other times they are the equivalent of cotton candy, firing people up with weak content that they can’t do anything with.

So, if with public speaking, like other communication vehicles, content is king and all speaking styles are valid, then you need to find the right content, the right speaker, and have the right reasons for employing one.

With that in mind, let’s look at the Top 10 Reasons to Hire an Innovation Keynote Speaker:

  1. To begin an honest dialog around the role of innovation in your organization’s future
  2. To help build/reinforce your common language of innovation
  3. To bring in fresh ideas to inspire fresh insights
  4. To bring additional perspectives to existing innovation conversations
  5. To lay the groundwork for building an innovation infrastructure
  6. To build the foundation for an innovation workshop focused on teaching employees practical innovation tools and frameworks
  7. To help reduce the fear of innovation in your organization
  8. To reinforce your commitment to innovation publicly to your employees
  9. To increase the energy for innovation in your company
  10. To inject fresh life into an existing innovation program

This is of course, not a comprehensive list of the reasons that companies around the world find value in periodically bringing in an innovation keynote speaker to dialog with their employees. Some companies choose to achieve some of these objectives via the innovation keynote, and others by sponsoring innovation training programs, or by retaining an innovation thought leader in an advisory capacity to provide the same kind of external perspectives, input, insights, and diversity of thought.

So, whether you are a new innovation leader seeking guidance on how to get off on the right foot, or an experienced Chief Innovation Officer, VP of Innovation, or Innovation Director, I encourage you to consider having myself or another innovation keynote speaker or workshop leader as a guest from time to time. I know you’ll find value in it!

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