Category Archives: Social Media

Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2022

Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2022After a week of torrid voting and much passionate support, along with a lot of gut-wrenching consideration and jostling during the judging round, I am proud to announce your Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2022:

  1. Robyn Bolton
    Robyn BoltonRobyn M. Bolton works with leaders of mid and large sized companies to use innovation to repeatably and sustainably grow their businesses.

  2. Janet Sernack
    Janet SernackJanet Sernack is the Founder and CEO of ImagineNation™ which provides innovation consulting services to help organizations adapt, innovate and grow through disruption by challenging businesses to be, think and act differently to co-create a world where people matter & innovation is the norm.

  3. Greg Satell
    Greg SatellGreg Satell is a popular speaker and consultant. His first book, Mapping Innovation: A Playbook for Navigating a Disruptive Age, was selected as one of the best business books in 2017. Follow his blog at Digital Tonto or on Twitter @Digital Tonto.

  4. Mike Shipulski
    Mike ShipulskiMike Shipulski brings together people, culture, and tools to change engineering behavior. He writes daily on Twitter as @MikeShipulski and weekly on his blog Shipulski On Design.

  5. Braden Kelley
    Braden KelleyBraden Kelley is a Human-Centered Experience, Innovation and Transformation consultant at HCL Technologies, a popular innovation speaker, workshop leader, and creator of the Human-Centered Change™ methodology. He is the author of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons and Charting Change from Palgrave Macmillan. Follow him on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

  6. Teresa Spangler
    Teresa SpanglerTeresa Spangler is the CEO of PlazaBridge Group has been a driving force behind innovation and growth for more than 30 years. Today, she wears multiple hats as a social entrepreneur, innovation expert, growth strategist, author and speaker (not to mention mother, wife, band-leader and so much more). She is especially passionate about helping CEOs understand and value the role human capital plays in innovation, and the impact that innovation has on humanity; in our ever-increasing artificial/cyber world.

  7. Douglas Ferguson
    Douglas FergusonDouglas Ferguson is an entrepreneur and human-centered technologist. He is the founder and president of Voltage Control, an Austin-based change agency that helps enterprises spark, accelerate, and sustain innovation. He specializes in helping teams work better together through participatory decision making and design inspired facilitation techniques.

  8. John Bessant
    John BessantJohn Bessant has been active in research, teaching, and consulting in technology and innovation management for over 25 years. Today, he is Chair in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Research Director, at Exeter University. In 2003, he was awarded a Fellowship with the Advanced Institute for Management Research and was also elected a Fellow of the British Academy of Management. He has acted as advisor to various national governments and international bodies including the United Nations, The World Bank, and the OECD. John has authored many books including Managing innovation and High Involvement Innovation (Wiley). Follow @johnbessant

  9. Shep Hyken
    Shep HykenShep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times, bestselling business author. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

  10. Pete Foley
    A twenty-five year Procter & Gamble veteran, Pete has spent the last 8+ years applying insights from psychology and behavioral science to innovation, product design, and brand communication. He spent 17 years as a serial innovator, creating novel products, perfume delivery systems, cleaning technologies, devices and many other consumer-centric innovations, resulting in well over 100 granted or published patents. Find him at pete.mindmatters@gmail.com

  11. Build a common language of innovation on your team


  12. Geoffrey A. Moore
    Geoffrey MooreGeoffrey A. Moore is an author, speaker and business advisor to many of the leading companies in the high-tech sector, including Cisco, Cognizant, Compuware, HP, Microsoft, SAP, and Yahoo! Best known for Crossing the Chasm and Zone to Win with the latest book being The Infinite Staircase. Partner at Wildcat Venture Partners. Chairman Emeritus Chasm Group & Chasm Institute

  13. Soren Kaplan
    Soren KaplanSoren Kaplan is the bestselling and award-winning author of Leapfrogging and The Invisible Advantage, an affiliated professor at USC’s Center for Effective Organizations, a former corporate executive, and a co-founder of UpBOARD. He has been recognized by the Thinkers50 as one of the world’s top keynote speakers and thought leaders in business strategy and innovation.

  14. Steve Blank
    Steve BlankSteve Blank is an Adjunct Professor at Stanford and Senior Fellow for Innovation at Columbia University. He has been described as the Father of Modern Entrepreneurship, credited with launching the Lean Startup movement that changed how startups are built; how entrepreneurship is taught; how science is commercialized, and how companies and the government innovate.

  15. Arlen Meyers
    Arlen MyersArlen Meyers, MD, MBA is an emeritus professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, an instructor at the University of Colorado-Denver Business School and cofounding President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at www.sopenet.org. Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ameyers/

  16. Jesse Nieminen
    Jesse NieminenJesse Nieminen is the Co-founder and Chairman at Viima, the best way to collect and develop ideas. Viima’s innovation management software is already loved by thousands of organizations all the way to the Global Fortune 500. He’s passionate about helping leaders drive innovation in their organizations and frequently writes on the topic, usually in Viima’s blog.

  17. Alain Thys
    Alain ThysAs an experience architect, Alain helps leaders craft customer, employee and shareholder experiences for profit, reinvention and transformation. He does this through his personal consultancy Alain Thys & Co as well as the transformative venture studio Agents of A.W.E. Together with his teams, Alain has influenced the experience of over 500 million customers and 350,000 employees. Follow his blog or connect on Linkedin.

  18. David Burkus
    David BurkusDr. David Burkus is an organizational psychologist and best-selling author. Recognized as one of the world’s leading business thinkers, his forward-thinking ideas and books are helping leaders and teams do their best work ever. David is the author of five books about business and leadership and he’s been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, CNN, the BBC, NPR, and more. A former business school professor turned sought-after international speaker, he’s worked with organizations of all sizes and across all industries.

  19. Diana Porumboiu
    Diana PorumboiuDiana heads marketing at Viima, the most widely used and highest rated innovation management software in the world, and has a passion for innovation, and for genuine, valuable content that creates long-lasting impact. Her combination of creativity, strategic thinking and curiosity has helped organisations grow their online presence through strategic campaigns, community management and engaging content.

  20. Art Inteligencia
    Art InteligenciaArt Inteligencia is the lead futurist at Inteligencia Ltd. He is passionate about content creation and thinks about it as more science than art. Art travels the world at the speed of light, over mountains and under oceans. His favorite numbers are one and zero.

  21. Howard Tiersky
    Howard TierskyHoward Tiersky is an inspiring and passionate speaker, the Founder and CEO of FROM, The Digital Transformation Agency, innovation consultant, serial entrepreneur, and the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Winning Digital Customers: The Antidote to Irrelevance. IDG named him one of the “10 Digital Transformation Influencers to Follow Today”, and Enterprise Management 360 named Howard “One of the Top 10 Digital Transformation Influencers That Will Change Your World.”

  22. Accelerate your change and transformation success


  23. Paul Sloane
    Paul SloanePaul Sloane writes, speaks and leads workshops on creativity, innovation and leadership. He is the author of The Innovative Leader and editor of A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing, both published by Kogan-Page.

  24. Bruce Fairley
    Bruce FairleyBruce Fairley is the CEO and Founder of The Narrative Group, a firm dedicated to helping C-Suite executives build enterprise value. Through smart, human-powered digital transformation, Bruce optimizes the business-technology relationship. His innovative profit over pitfalls approach and customized programs are part of Bruce’s mission to build sustainable ‘best-future’ outcomes for visionary leaders. Having spearheaded large scale change initiatives across four continents, he and his skilled, diverse team elevate process, culture, and the bottom line for medium to large firms worldwide.

  25. Patricia Salamone
    Patricia SalamonePatricia Salamone is a career strategist having worked across the financial services, CPG, media and telecom sectors – seeking resonance with every problem she is hired to solve. Patricia sees innovation through the lens of human need, framing what is to be solved not through the problem at hand, but rather the mystery to be unraveled. Patricia is currently an Account Strategist at Gongos, Inc.

  26. Dainora Jociute
    Dainora JociuteDainora (a.k.a. Dee) creates customer-centric content at Viima. Viima is the most widely used and highest rated innovation management software in the world. Passionate about environmental issues, Dee writes about sustainable innovation hoping to save the world – one article at the time.

  27. Dean and Linda Anderson
    Dean and Linda AndersonDr. Dean Anderson and Dr. Linda Ackerman Anderson lead BeingFirst, a consultancy focused on educating the marketplace about what’s possible in personal, organizational and community transformation and how to achieve them. Each has been advising clients and training professionals for more than 40 years.

  28. Brian Miller
    Brian MillerBrian Miller is the senior VP, strategic development, at BMNT Inc., an internationally recognized innovation consultancy and early-stage enterprise accelerator that is changing the future of public service innovation.

  29. Phil McKinney
    Phil McKinneyPhil McKinney is the Author of “Beyond The Obvious”​, Host of the Killer Innovations Podcast and Syndicated Radio Show, a Keynote Speaker, President & CEO CableLabs and an Innovation Mentor and Coach.

  30. Tom Stafford
    Tom StaffordTom Stafford studies learning and decision making. His main focus is the movement system – the idea being that if we can understand the intelligence of simple actions we will have an excellent handle on intelligence more generally. His research looks at simple decision making, and simple skill learning, using measures of behaviour informed by the computational, robotics and neuroscience work done in the wider group.

  31. Ralph Christian Ohr
    Ralph OhrDr. Ralph-Christian Ohr has extensive experience in product/innovation management for international technology-based companies. His particular interest is targeted at the intersection of organizational and human innovation capabilities. You can follow him on Twitter @Ralph_Ohr.

  32. Jeffrey Phillips
    Jeffrey Phillips has over 15 years of experience leading innovation in Fortune 500 companies, federal government agencies and non-profits. He is experienced in innovation strategy, defining and implementing front end processes, tools and teams and leading innovation projects. He is the author of Relentless Innovation and OutManeuver. Jeffrey writes the popular Innovate on Purpose blog. Follow him @ovoinnovation

  33. Get the Change Planning Toolkit


  34. Shilpi Kumar
    Shilpi KumarShilpi Kumar an inquisitive researcher, designer, strategist and an educator with over 15 years of experience, who truly believes that we can design a better world by understanding human behavior. I work with organizations to identify strategic opportunities and offer user-centric solutions.

  35. Robert B Tucker
    Robert TuckerRobert B. Tucker is the President of The Innovation Resource Consulting Group. He is a speaker, seminar leader and an expert in the management of innovation and assisting companies in accelerating ideas to market.

  36. Norbert Majerus and George Taninecz
    Norbert Majerus and George TanineczNorbert Majerus is a popular keynote speaker and consultant. His latest book, Winning Innovation – How Innovation Excellence Propels an Industry Icon Toward Sustained Prosperity, is available now. Follow him on LinkedIn or visit leandriveninnovation.com. For more than 20 years, George, as president of George Taninecz Inc., has helped executives publish award-winning books that illustrate applications of lean thinking. He also supports companies and associations with white papers, articles, and case studies on the deployment of lean in manufacturing, healthcare, and other industries.

  37. Farnham Street
    Farnham StreetFarnham Street focuses on helping you master the best of what other people have already figured out.

  38. Scott Anthony
    Scott AnthonyScott Anthony is a strategic advisor, writer and speaker on topics of growth and innovation. He has been based in Singapore since 2010, and currently serves at the Managing Director of Innosight’s Asia-Pacific operations.

  39. Anthony Mills
    Anthony MillsAnthony Mills is the Founder & CEO of Legacy Innovation Group (www.legacyinnova.com), a world-leading strategic innovation consulting firm working with organizations all over the world. Anthony is also the Executive Director of GInI – Global Innovation Institute (www.gini.org), the world’s foremost certification, accreditation, and membership organization in the field of innovation. Anthony has advised leaders from around the world on how to successfully drive long-term growth and resilience through new innovation. Learn more at www.anthonymills.com. Anthony can be reached directly at anthony@anthonymills.com.

  40. Paul Hobcraft
    Paul HobcraftPaul Hobcraft runs Agility Innovation, an advisory business that stimulates sound innovation practice, researches topics that relate to innovation for the future, as well as aligning innovation to organizations core capabilities. Follow @paul4innovating

  41. Jorge Barba
    Jorge BarbaJorge Barba is a strategist and entrepreneur, who helps companies build new puzzles using human skills. He is a global Innovation Insurgent and author of the innovation blog www.Game-Changer.net

  42. Nicholas Longrich
    Nicholas LongrichNicholas Longrich is a senior lecturer in evolutionary biology and paleontology at the University of Bath. He is interested in how and why the world is the way it is and studies dinosaurs, among other things—pterosaurs, fossil birds, lizards and snakes.

  43. Rachel Audige
    Rachel AudigeRachel Audige is an Innovation Architect who helps organisations embed inventive thinking as well as a certified Systematic Inventive Thinking Facilitator, based in Melbourne.

If your favorite didn’t make the list, then next year try to rally more votes for them or convince them to increase the quality and quantity of their contributions.

Our lists from the ten previous years have been tremendously popular, including:

Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2015
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2016
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2017
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2018
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2019
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2020
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2021

Download PDF versions of the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2020, 2021 and 2022 lists here:


Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2020 PDF . . . Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2021

Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2022

Happy New Year everyone!

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The Role of Instagram in Customer Experience

The Role of Instagram in Customer Experience

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

Part of what fuels a good customer experience is the content experience. That’s where companies and brands serve up content in numerous ways, which could include (but is not limited to) articles, blogs, text messages, newsletters, YouTube videos, podcasts, TikTok content, Tweets, LinkedIn posts and the subject of this article, Instagram. (Note: Check out this recent article about TikTok for business. TikTok has become the No. 1 visited social platform in the world, even bigger than Google!)

Customer behavior has dramatically changed as technology has allowed us to deliver content in numerous ways. There are plenty of platforms, such as the ones mentioned above, so which one should a brand focus on? The short answer is any platform you know your customers are on. That said, as new platforms evolve, some companies and brands aren’t quick to adopt them, although maybe they should be.

Who would have thought that Facebook would become a marketing machine for some brands? And it’s the same with other platforms. And that brings us to the topic—and platform—that is the focus of this article.

Instagram started out as a photo- and video-sharing social media platform in 2010 when Kevin Systrom (co-founder) uploaded a picture of a dog with the caption “test.” Over the past 12 years, it has evolved into much more, including an opportunity for brands to incorporate the platform into their content and marketing strategies.

A recent Passport-Photo.Online study surveyed more than 1,000 Instagram users to find out how the Instagram content experience is influencing their buying decisions. Here are some stats (followed by my commentary) to get you thinking about the power of Instagram and how this social media platform can work for you and your organization.

  • Instagram has 1.4 billion users each month, making it the fourth most popular social network. The potential to be seen is huge! Take advantage of another social media channel that gives you great exposure.
  • Ninety-two percent of Americans who use Instagram follow a business, with most following six to ten business accounts. The majority of Instagram users are Millennials and Gen-Z. According to a Hootsuite survey, ages 18-44 make up just under 88% of the Instagram audience. If that’s the age range of your target audience, this is a place for you to be.
  • Of those Instagram users who follow businesses, 26% typically visit business profiles every day. Another 27% visit business profiles every week. Daily or weekly visits from customers and potential customers are high. This is genuine marketing gold. Creating content that gets followers to come back again and again—daily or weekly—is something you don’t want to miss.
  • Seventy-one percent of Instagram users feel more connected to brands they follow on Instagram. Feeling connected to any company infers there is a sense of loyalty. Furthermore, 93% of people on Instagram are likely or very likely to buy from a business they feel connected to over a competitor. Some presence is better than no presence. Don’t miss the opportunity to engage and create a stronger connection with your customers.
  • Replying to the question, “Did Instagram ever inspire you to shop from businesses even when you weren’t looking to do so?,” 79% said, “Yes.” Do you need any more proof? Can you afford not to participate in an Instagram content strategy?
  • Eighty-nine percent of Instagrammers prefer short-form content (less than 1,000 words) over long-form content (1,000+) when it comes to text posts from brands specifically. Here is where the content marketing strategy comes into play. A 1,000-word post is still long. Consider experimenting with shorter posts, 400-500 words. Follow some of your favorite brands and notice their content strategy. Look for length, frequency, etc.

Content marketing is a powerful customer experience strategy. While it may cost to produce content, it costs nothing to post. And good content can be repurposed across all social media platforms. A good article on Instagram can work on LinkedIn. A few compelling sentences out of the article can become several tweets. One piece of content can be repurposed in numerous ways.

As you look at the stats and findings from the survey, you can immediately recognize the opportunity that Instagram offers. As the fourth most popular social network, this is a marketing channel you can’t afford to ignore.

This article originally appeared on Forbes

Image Credit: Shep Hyken

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How to Use TikTok for Marketing Your Business

How to Use TikTok for Marketing Your Business

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

If you think your business isn’t right for TikTok, you may want to think again. If you’re like most businesspeople, TikTok is not what you think. It’s not just 20- to 30-second videos of kids dancing, dogs doing tricks and influencers showing off the latest fashions. It’s become a serious contender for online/digital advertising dollars from all types of businesses, both B2C and B2B.

Most of you reading may still believe that the TikTok audience is made up of 20-somethings and younger. Again, it’s not what you think!

Dennis Yu is the CEO of BlitzMetrics and co-author of The Definitive Guide to TikTok Advertising. Yu’s company has placed more than a billion dollars’ worth of ads for its clients on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google and others, using ads and algorithms to drive sales. And now he’s focusing his efforts on TikTok.

I had the chance to interview Yu on Amazing Business Radio, where he said, “TikTok in 2022 is Facebook in 2007. It’s now the largest property on the Internet. It has more traffic than Google. It has a higher average watch time than Facebook or Netflix. People are spending more time watching short 15- to 30-second videos than two-hour-length feature films.”

Yes, TikTok has more traffic than Google! In 2021, TikTok was ranked No. 7 on social media platforms. In 2022, just one year later, it is now ranked No. 1. In Q1 2022, TikTok became the most downloaded app in the world.

According to the Search Engine Journal, TikTok is becoming a search engine. SEJ staffer, Matt Southern, posed the question, “What if people started using TikTok as a search engine?” In his research, he found people treating the app as a search provider, some even preferring it over Google. So, his question turned from “What if …?” to “What now …?”

The point is that as a business, you can’t ignore TikTok as a viable marketing and sales channel. TikTok does an amazing job of understanding what the user is watching and will quickly start serving up content that is exactly what the user is interested in. That means that as soon as a customer watches a company’s TikTok video, the platform will start serving up more of the company’s content for the user to enjoy.

I asked Yu how businesses can use TikTok. Knowing that the podcast focuses on customer service and experience, he related his first tip to digital customer care. Today’s customers turn to the Internet, specifically social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, to ask for help or complain to a company. And more and more, they are turning to TikTok. “Whether you are on TikTok or not, your customers are there talking about you on TikTok,” Yu said. “Remember the early days of Twitter when many brands said, ‘We’re not ready to be on Twitter?’ And then they think that somehow not being on Twitter means that people can’t talk about them.”

As more customers turn to TikTok for customer care, it’s imperative that you (your company or brand) be the one posting the answers, not other customers. Your company must control the narrative even if customers are sharing correct information. You must be visible on this extremely popular channel. And you don’t need to spend a lot of money doing so. Posting simple, non-professionally edited videos are just as effective as highly produced videos.

Going beyond customer service and experience, whatever your company does or sells, B2B or B2C, just create a short video with tips and ideas that would interest your customers. Shorter is better. Keep it under a minute—even 30 seconds. TikTok rewards you for videos that are watched in completion. The likelihood of someone watching a 30-second video to the end is much higher than a video that lasts four or five minutes. And while not necessary, if you can make it funny or entertaining, that’s always a bonus.

Yu’s advice is simple. Just create content. Then let TikTok’s algorithm do its job and find people (your customers and potential customers) interested in whatever you’re posting. Yu quoted the famous line by Ray Kinsella (played by Kevin Costner) from the movie Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.” I’ll quote a famous shoe and apparel manufacturer, Nike: “Just do it!”

This article originally appeared on Forbes

Image Credit: Shep Hyken

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What’s Next – The Only Way Forward is Through

What's Next - The Only Way Forward is Throughby Braden Kelley

The world needs you. The United States needs you. Your family needs you.

Both your heart and your mind are needed to work on potentially the greatest innovation challenge ever put forward.

What is it?

We must find a solution to the division and lack of meaning that has become the American experience.

I’m not sure about the country you live in, but here at home in the United States we are more divided than we have been in a long time – if ever. People are feeling such an absence of meaning and purpose in their lives that they are finding it in opposing ‘the other’.

In the most extreme cases, we are so divided that brothers and sisters, and parents and children are no longer speaking with each other or getting together for holiday meals.

We speak often about the importance of diversity of thought, diversity of group composition for innovation, but when a society reaches a point where people cannot productively disagree and debate their way forward together, innovation will inevitably begin to suffer.

When there is no dialogue, no give and take and a culture begins to emerge where opposition is mandatory, progress slows.

As long as the current situation intensifies, there will be no progress on other areas in desperate need of innovation:

  • Climate change
  • Gender equity
  • (Insert your favorite here)

We all need your help creating the idea fragments that we can connect as a global innovation community into meaningful ideas that hopefully lead to the inventions that will develop into the innovations we desperately need.

The innovations that will move social media from its current parallel play universe to one which actually encourages productive dialogue.

The innovations that will help people find the renewed sense of meaning and purpose that can’t be found making Sik Sok videos, watching other people play video games on Kwitch or investing in cryptocurrency pyramid schemes.

Meaning of Life Quote from Braden Kelley

Our entrepreneurs have made a lot of cotton candy the past couple of decades and people are starving, people are hangry.

There are certain constants in the human condition, and when we as a species stray too far away, it creates huge opportunities for innovators to create new things that will bring us back into balance.

But we can’t ignore where we are now.

We must acknowledge our current situation and fight our way past it. The only way forward is through.

As a thought starter, here is an ad campaign from Heineken from 2017:

We need everyone’s help to address the meaning crisis.

We need everyone’s help to bring America (and the rest of the world) back into productive conversation and connection – to end the division.

Are you up to the task?

Are you ready to help?

Let’s start the dialogue below and get that pebble rolling downhill in the winter, gathering snow as it goes.

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments on:

  • other great thought starters
  • good idea fragments to build on
  • the way through

Image credit: Pixabay

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Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2021

Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2021After a week of torrid voting and much passionate support, along with a lot of gut-wrenching consideration and jostling during the judging round, I am proud to announce your Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2021:

  1. Janet Sernack
    Janet SernackJanet Sernack is the Founder and CEO of ImagineNation™ which provides innovation consulting services to help organizations adapt, innovate and grow through disruption by challenging businesses to be, think and act differently to co-create a world where people matter & innovation is the norm.

  2. Greg Satell
    Greg SatellGreg Satell is a popular speaker and consultant. His first book, Mapping Innovation: A Playbook for Navigating a Disruptive Age, was selected as one of the best business books in 2017. Follow his blog at Digital Tonto or on Twitter @Digital Tonto.

  3. Braden Kelley
    Braden KelleyBraden Kelley is a Human-Centered Experience, Innovation and Transformation consultant at HCL Technologies, a popular innovation speaker, workshop leader, and creator of the Human-Centered Change™ methodology. He is the author of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons and Charting Change from Palgrave Macmillan. Follow him on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.


  4. Jesse Nieminen
    Jesse NieminenJesse Nieminen is the Co-founder and Chairman at Viima, the best way to collect and develop ideas. Viima’s innovation management software is already loved by thousands of organizations all the way to the Global Fortune 500. He’s passionate about helping leaders drive innovation in their organizations and frequently writes on the topic, usually in Viima’s blog.

  5. Robert B Tucker
    Robert TuckerRobert B. Tucker is the President of The Innovation Resource Consulting Group. He is a speaker, seminar leader and an expert in the management of innovation and assisting companies in accelerating ideas to market.

  6. Rachel Audige
    Rachel AudigeRachel Audige is an Innovation Architect who helps organisations embed inventive thinking as well as a certified Systematic Inventive Thinking Facilitator, based in Melbourne.


  7. Howard Tiersky
    Howard TierskyHoward Tiersky is an inspiring and passionate speaker, the Founder and CEO of FROM, The Digital Transformation Agency, innovation consultant, serial entrepreneur, and the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Winning Digital Customers: The Antidote to Irrelevance. IDG named him one of the “10 Digital Transformation Influencers to Follow Today”, and Enterprise Management 360 named Howard “One of the Top 10 Digital Transformation Influencers That Will Change Your World.”

  8. Paul Sloane
    Paul SloanePaul Sloane writes, speaks and leads workshops on creativity, innovation and leadership. He is the author of The Innovative Leader and editor of A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing, both published by Kogan-Page.

  9. Pete Foley
    A twenty-five year Procter & Gamble veteran, Pete has spent the last 8+ years applying insights from psychology and behavioral science to innovation, product design, and brand communication. He spent 17 years as a serial innovator, creating novel products, perfume delivery systems, cleaning technologies, devices and many other consumer-centric innovations, resulting in well over 100 granted or published patents. Find him at pete.mindmatters@gmail.com

  10. Nicolas Bry
    Nicolas BryNicolas is an International Innovation Executive, expert in corporate innovation programs, and innovation labs, designing place where good innovation thrives! He currently helps the 20 innovation managers of Orange Africa to develop their projects locally. In 2019 he wrote The Intrapreneurs’ Factory, a practical guide to leverage intrapreneurship for your company, and is the writer of the innovation blog RapidInnovation.fr.

  11. Build a common language of innovation on your team


  12. Arlen Meyers
    Arlen MyersArlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at www.sopenet.org

  13. Linda Naiman
    Linda NaimanLinda Naiman helps executives and their teams develop creativity, innovation, and leadership capabilities, through coaching, training and consulting. She brings a multi-disciplinary approach to learning and development by leveraging arts-based practices to foster creativity at work, and design thinking as a strategy for innovation.


  14. Anthony Mills
    Anthony MillsAnthony Mills is the Founder & CEO of Legacy Innovation Group (www.legacyinnova.com), a world-leading strategic innovation consulting firm working with organizations all over the world. Anthony is also the Executive Director of GInI – Global Innovation Institute (www.gini.org), the world’s foremost certification, accreditation, and membership organization in the field of innovation. Anthony has advised leaders from around the world on how to successfully drive long-term growth and resilience through new innovation. Learn more at www.anthonymills.com. Anthony can be reached directly at anthony@anthonymills.com.

  15. John Bessant
    John BessantJohn Bessant has been active in research, teaching, and consulting in technology and innovation management for over 25 years. Today, he is Chair in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Research Director, at Exeter University. In 2003, he was awarded a Fellowship with the Advanced Institute for Management Research and was also elected a Fellow of the British Academy of Management. He has acted as advisor to various national governments and international bodies including the United Nations, The World Bank, and the OECD. John has authored many books including Managing innovation and High Involvement Innovation (Wiley). Follow @johnbessant

  16. Mike Shipulski
    Mike ShipulskiMike Shipulski brings together people, culture, and tools to change engineering behavior. He writes daily on Twitter as @MikeShipulski and weekly on his blog Shipulski On Design.

  17. Scott Anthony
    Scott AnthonyScott Anthony is a strategic advisor, writer and speaker on topics of growth and innovation. He has been based in Singapore since 2010, and currently serves at the Managing Director of Innosight’s Asia-Pacific operations.


  18. Jeffrey Phillips
    Jeffrey Phillips has over 15 years of experience leading innovation in Fortune 500 companies, federal government agencies and non-profits. He is experienced in innovation strategy, defining and implementing front end processes, tools and teams and leading innovation projects. He is the author of Relentless Innovation and OutManeuver. Jeffrey writes the popular Innovate on Purpose blog. Follow him @ovoinnovation

  19. Phil McKinney
    Phil McKinneyPhil McKinney is the Author of “Beyond The Obvious”​, Host of the Killer Innovations Podcast and Syndicated Radio Show, a Keynote Speaker, President & CEO CableLabs and an Innovation Mentor and Coach.


  20. Gijs van Wulfen
    Gijs van WulfenGijs van Wulfen helps organizations to structure the chaotic start of innovation as author, speaker and facilitator. He is the founder of the FORTH innovation method and author of the innovation bestseller The Innovation Expedition. He was chosen by LinkedIn as one of their first 150 Influencers. Follow Gijs @gijsvanwulfen


  21. Kate Hammer
    Kate HammerKate Hammer is a joint founder of KILN, working with large-scale companies in the USA and Australia to transform their internal innovation processes. Kate works as a business storyteller. In 2012, she created StoryFORMs to help others articulate their commercial & organisational stories. Kate offers workshops & 1:1 coaching.

  22. Accelerate your change and transformation success


  23. Phil Buckley
    Phil BuckleyPhil Buckley is an award-winning author and change management strategist with over 32 large-scale change initiatives, including co-leading global change management for the $19.6 billion Kraft Foods acquisition of Cadbury. He is the author of two books: Change on the Run and Change with Confidence. You can find Phil’s podcast and monthly newsletter at www.changewithconfidence.com.

  24. Tamara Ghandour
    Tamara GhandourTamara Ghandour of GoToLaunchStreet is a TED speaker and entrepreneur. From building and running multimillion dollar businesses, advising Fortune 500 like Disney, Procter and Gamble and RICOH on fostering innovative ideas and people. Tamara’s life is about breaking through the status quo for game-changing results, and that’s what her keynotes, online programs and assessments can do for you.

  25. Tom Koulopoulos
    Thomas KoulopoulosTom Koulopoulos is the author of 10 books and founder of the Delphi Group, a 25-year-old Boston-based think tank and a past Inc. 500 company that focuses on innovation and the future of business. He tweets from @tkspeaks.

  26. Michael Graber
    Michael GraberMichael Graber is the cofounder and managing partner at Southern Growth Studio, a Memphis-based firm that specializes in growth strategy and innovation. A published poet and musician, Graber is the creative force that complements the analytical side of the house. He speaks and publishes frequently on best practices in design thinking, business strategy, and innovation and earned an MFA from the University of Memphis.

  27. Yoram Solomon
    Four Rules to Snap Judge a New VentureDr. Yoram Solomon is the author of The Book of Trust and 12 more books, a TEDx and keynote speaker, the founder of the Innovation Culture Institute, and an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship. You can follow him everywhere on @yoramsolomon.

  28. Shilpi Kumar
    Shilpi KumarShilpi Kumar an inquisitive researcher, designer, strategist and an educator with over 15 years of experience, who truly believes that we can design a better world by understanding human behavior. I work with organizations to identify strategic opportunities and offer user-centric solutions.

  29. Shawn Nason
    Shawn NasonShawn Nason, founder and CEO of MOFI, lives his life with a commitment to make everyone he meets a part of his family. Armed with the gift of discernment, he has the uncanny ability to walk alongside people as they struggle to connect with their deepest passions and engage their most debilitating demons. He challenges the world around him to be fully present, get real, and knock down the barrier that separates the various compartments in their lives.


  30. John Carter
    John CarterJohn Carter has been a widely respected adviser to technology firms over his career. John is the author of Innovate Products Faster: Graphical Tools for Accelerating Product Development. As Founder and Principal of TCGen Inc., he has advised some of the most revered technology firms in the world.

  31. Jeff Rubingh
    Jeff RubinghJeff Rubingh is a technology innovation expert, consultant and analyst. Focused on the intersection between technology and business, Jeff helps clients identify ground-breaking solutions that maximize ROI across existing and emerging technology disciplines.

  32. Ludwig Melik
    Ludwig MelikLudwig Melik is CEO of Planbox, whose mission is to help organizations thrive by transforming the culture of agile work, continuous innovation, and creativity across the entire organization… Connect with him on LinkedIn or join the conversation by following Planbox on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


    Get the Change Planning Toolkit


  33. Soren Kaplan
    Soren KaplanSoren Kaplan is the bestselling and award-winning author of Leapfrogging and The Invisible Advantage, an affiliated professor at USC’s Center for Effective Organizations, a former corporate executive, and a co-founder of UpBOARD. He has been recognized by the Thinkers50 as one of the world’s top keynote speakers and thought leaders in business strategy and innovation.

  34. Shelly Greenway
    Shelly GreenwayShelly Greenway is a front-end innovation strategist and partner at The Strategy Distillery – a brand innovation consultancy that specialises in opportunity hunting and proposition development. Their success rates are driven by their proprietary consumer co-creation IP. Follow @ChiefDistiller

  35. Eric Eskey
    Eric EskeyEric Eskey is a Managing Director at Strategyn, an innovation consultancy. Eric is in the business of creating the future. I aim to use the resources he has – his work, investments, voice, and imagination – to encourage innovation and defeat the hidden forces that resist it.


  36. Mick Simonelli
    Mick SimonelliMick Simonelli is an innovator with 20+ years of implementing change and positive disruption at USAA. As a military veteran, he held transformation roles in numerous military organizations; and as a business executive, he purposely hired vets to help launch numerous innovations as the Chief Innovation Officer for a Fortune 500 company. Mick currently serves as an innovation consultant and can be found at www.micksimonelli.com Follow @MickSimonelli


  37. Mitch Ditkoff
    Mitch Ditkoff is the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions and the author of “Awake at the Wheel”, as well as the very popular Heart of Innovation blog.


  38. Peter Cook
    Peter CookPeter Cook leads Human Dynamics and The Academy of Rock, providing Keynotes, Organisational Development and Coaching. He is the author of seven books on business leadership. His three passions are science, business and music, having led innovation teams for 18 years to develop life-saving drugs including the first treatments for AIDS and the development of Human Insulin. Peter is Music and Business editor at Innovation Excellence. You can follow him on twitter @Academyofrock.


  39. Mukesh Gupta
    Mukesh GuptaMukesh Gupta is Director of Customer Advocacy, SAP India Private Limited. He also served as Executive Liaison for the SAP User group in India, and as a Global Lead in Sales & Business Development. He blogs, and shares podcasts and videos, on his site rmukeshgupta.com


  40. Paul Hobcraft
    Paul HobcraftPaul Hobcraft runs Agility Innovation, an advisory business that stimulates sound innovation practice, researches topics that relate to innovation for the future, as well as aligning innovation to organizations core capabilities. Follow @paul4innovating

  41. Ralph Christian Ohr
    Ralph OhrDr. Ralph-Christian Ohr has extensive experience in product/innovation management for international technology-based companies. His particular interest is targeted at the intersection of organizational and human innovation capabilities. You can follow him on Twitter @Ralph_Ohr.

  42. Randy Pennington
    Randy PenningtonRandy Pennington is an award-winning author, speaker, and leading authority for helping leaders deliver positive results in a world of uncertainty and change. To learn more or to engage Randy for your organization, visit www.penningtongroup.com, email info@penningtongroup.com, or call 972-980-9857 (U.S.).

If your favorite didn’t make the list, then next year try to rally more votes for them or convince them to increase the quality and quantity of their contributions.

Our lists from the ten previous years have been tremendously popular, including:

Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2015
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2016
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2017
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2018
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2019
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2020

Download PDF versions of the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2020 and 2021 lists here:


Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2020 PDF . . . Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2021

Happy New Year everyone!

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Rise of the Evangelist

Chief Evangelist Braden Kelley

What is an evangelist?

When many people hear this term, their minds used to picture Billy Graham or Pat Robertson, but this is changing. Why?

Our perceptions of evangelists are transforming as the pace of change accelerates to construct a new reality faster than most human brains can process the changes.

This creates a chasm in understanding and change readiness that evangelists can help bridge in a number of different ways.

Let us look at what an evangelist really is…

Oxford Dictionaries say an evangelist is a “zealous advocate of something.”

Nine Innovation Roles EvangelistIn business, the evangelist is a role that any of us can take on (with varying levels of success). Evangelism is very important to innovation success, which is why the evangelist is one of The Nine Innovation Roles™. This is how I define this particular role:

“The Evangelists know how to educate people on what the idea is and help them understand it. Evangelists are great people to help build support for an idea internally, and also to help educate customers on its value.”

Notice at this point we are talking about an evangelist as a role that can be played by one or more people, and not as a job that one or more people hold. Evangelism normally will be a role and not a job, but there are inflection points where this must change.

Outside of an innovation context, evangelism often falls on the shoulders of CEOs, business owners and product managers within organizations. When the need for evangelism is small, this can work. But for most organizations, this is no longer the case.

When should you hire an evangelist?

The time to cross over from evangelism as a role to evangelism as a job is when:

  1. The pace of internal change is accelerating faster than employees can grasp without help
  2. The pace of external change is accelerating faster than customers can understand without help
  3. Your company is facing disruption by new entrants or existing competitors
  4. You’re considering a digital transformation
  5. You’ve already embarked upon a digital transformation
  6. You’re using Agile in product development
  7. Your brand essence is being shifted by you or your customers
  8. You need a more human and personal presence in your marketing efforts to better connect with customers

When one or more of these conditions are true, you’ll find that it isn’t possible for CEOs, business owners and product owners to meet the needs for evangelism in the short spurts of time these people can dedicate to the necessary activities.

As highlighted by Agile Product Development’s presence in the list, organizations leveraging Agile to develop software-based products will find that their product managers are always engaged with the backlog with little time to focus on evangelism. They’re always focused on shipping something.

Some organizations will resist adding evangelists to their team, feeling that such a role is superfluous, but having one or more people focused on evangelism delivers value to the organization by executing a range of incredibly important activities, including:

  • Growing awareness
  • Building a community around the company and/or plugging the company into pre-existing external communities (potentially taking the brand to places it has never been before)
  • Generating interest
  • Working with customers and the marketing team to identify the stories that need to be told and the themes that need to be introduced and/or reinforced
  • Creating desire
  • Building and maintaining conversations with the community that cares about your products/services/brands
  • Engaging in an open and honest dialogue to help gather the voice of the customer
  • Facilitating action
  • Practicing a human-centered design mindset to continuously elicit needs and surface wants and desired outcomes

Depending on the size of the organization you may decide to have a single evangelist, or some larger organizations have more than one type of evangelist, including:

  1. Chief Evangelist
  2. Brand Evangelists
  3. Product Evangelists
  4. Service Evangelists
  5. Innovation Evangelists

This specialization occurs when the evangelism an organization needs become too big for one evangelist to handle. At that point a Chief Evangelist creates the evangelism strategy and manages the execution across the team of brand, product, service and other evangelism focus areas.

So what makes a good evangelist?

Evangelists arrive from a range of different job specialties, but key knowledge, skills and abilities include:

  • Empathetic
  • Passionate About the Company’s Mission, Products/Services, and Customers
  • Comfortable Public Speaker
  • Efficient and Effective Writer
  • Human-Centered Design Mindset
  • Experienced with Social Media, Audio and Video
  • Skilled Content Creator
  • Continuous Learner
  • Self-Directed and Comfortable with Ambiguity

… and ideally your chosen evangelists will already have some presence in the communities important to you, or the knowledge of how to establish a presence in these communities.

Customer buying journeys are notoriously unpredictable, meandering, long and non-linear. Evangelism is a critical part of helping to build relationships with potential buyers and increasing the chances that your brand will be top of mind when a non-buyer finally becomes a potential customer of your products or services.

It’s a long-term non-transactional investment, one that will pay dividends if you see the wisdom in making the expenditure.

Has your organization already invested in evangelists? What learnings would you like to share in the comments?

Are you ready for the evangelists to rise in your organization?

Or do you need help with evangelism? (contact me if you do)

Share the love!

p.s. I wrote a follow-up article for InnovationManagement.se that you might also enjoy — Increase Your Innovation Reputation and Velocity with an Innovation Evangelist


Accelerate your change and transformation success

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Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2020

Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2020After a week of torrid voting and much passionate support, along with a lot of gut-wrenching consideration and jostling during the judging round, I am proud to announce your Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2020:

  1. Janet Sernack
    Janet Sernack is the Founder and CEO of ImagineNation™ which provides innovation consulting services to help organizations adapt, innovate and grow through disruption by challenging businesses to be, think and act differently to co-create a world where people matter & innovation is the norm.

  2. Tom Koulopoulos
    Thomas KoulopoulosTom Koulopoulos is the author of 10 books and founder of the Delphi Group, a 25-year-old Boston-based think tank and a past Inc. 500 company that focuses on innovation and the future of business. He tweets from @tkspeaks.

  3. Braden Kelley
    Braden KelleyBraden Kelley is a Design Thinking, Innovation and Transformation Consultant, a popular innovation speaker and workshop leader, and helps companies plan organizational changes that are more human and less overwhelming. He is the author of two five-star books, Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire and Charting Change, and the creator of a revolutionary new Change Planning Toolkit™. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter (@innovate).

  4. Greg Satell
    Greg SatellGreg Satell is a popular speaker and consultant. His first book, Mapping Innovation: A Playbook for Navigating a Disruptive Age, was selected as one of the best business books in 2017. Follow his blog at Digital Tonto or on Twitter @Digital Tonto.

  5. Mike Shipulski
    Mike ShipulskiMike Shipulski brings together people, culture, and tools to change engineering behavior. He writes daily on Twitter as @MikeShipulski and weekly on his blog Shipulski On Design.

  6. Phil McKinney
    Phil McKinneyPhil McKinney is the Author of “Beyond The Obvious”​, Host of the Killer Innovations Podcast and Syndicated Radio Show, a Keynote Speaker, President & CEO CableLabs and an Innovation Mentor and Coach.


  7. Soren Kaplan
    Soren KaplanSoren Kaplan is the bestselling and award-winning author of Leapfrogging and The Invisible Advantage, an affiliated professor at USC’s Center for Effective Organizations, a former corporate executive, and a co-founder of UpBOARD. He has been recognized by the Thinkers50 as one of the world’s top keynote speakers and thought leaders in business strategy and innovation.

  8. Eric Eskey
    Eric EskeyEric Eskey is a Managing Director at Strategyn, an innovation consultancy. Eric is in the business of creating the future. I aim to use the resources he has – his work, investments, voice, and imagination – to encourage innovation and defeat the hidden forces that resist it.


  9. Scott Anthony
    Scott AnthonyScott Anthony is a strategic advisor, writer and speaker on topics of growth and innovation. He has been based in Singapore since 2010, and currently serves at the Managing Director of Innosight’s Asia-Pacific operations.


  10. Kate Hammer
    Kate HammerKate Hammer is a joint founder of KILN, working with large-scale companies in the USA and Australia to transform their internal innovation processes. Kate works as a business storyteller. In 2012, she created StoryFORMs to help others articulate their commercial & organisational stories. Kate offers workshops & 1:1 coaching.

  11. Build a common language of innovation on your team


  12. Michael Graber
    Michael GraberMichael Graber is the cofounder and managing partner at Southern Growth Studio, a Memphis-based firm that specializes in growth strategy and innovation. A published poet and musician, Graber is the creative force that complements the analytical side of the house. He speaks and publishes frequently on best practices in design thinking, business strategy, and innovation and earned an MFA from the University of Memphis.

  13. Nicolas Bry
    Nicolas BryNicolas Bry is Orange Startups Studio Founder. He entices Orange employees in engaging as intrapreneurs, bringing their idea to life within Orange business. Nicolas is equally a passionate expert for innovation labs exploring new business. International speaker (TEDx), delivering Masterclasses @Google Academy, and Tech/Business Schools, ISPIM Prize for innovation management, Nicolas is Writer of RapidInnovation.fr, and of The Intrapreneurs’ Factory. Follow him at @nicobry.

  14. Paul Sloane
    Paul SloanePaul Sloane writes, speaks and leads workshops on creativity, innovation and leadership. He is the author of The Innovative Leader and editor of A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing, both published by Kogan-Page.

  15. Yoram Solomon
    Four Rules to Snap Judge a New VentureDr. Yoram Solomon is the author of The Book of Trust and 12 more books, a TEDx and keynote speaker, the founder of the Innovation Culture Institute, and an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship. You can follow him everywhere on @yoramsolomon.

  16. Jeffrey Phillips
    Jeffrey Phillips has over 15 years of experience leading innovation in Fortune 500 companies, federal government agencies and non-profits. He is experienced in innovation strategy, defining and implementing front end processes, tools and teams and leading innovation projects. He is the author of Relentless Innovation and OutManeuver. Jeffrey writes the popular Innovate on Purpose blog. Follow him @ovoinnovation

  17. Jesse Nieminen
    Jesse NieminenJesse Nieminen is the Co-founder and Chairman at Viima, the best way to collect and develop ideas. Viima’s innovation management software is already loved by thousands of organizations all the way to the Global Fortune 500. He’s passionate about helping leaders drive innovation in their organizations and frequently writes on the topic, usually in Viima’s blog.

  18. Robert B Tucker
    Robert TuckerRobert B. Tucker is the President of The Innovation Resource Consulting Group. He is a speaker, seminar leader and an expert in the management of innovation and assisting companies in accelerating ideas to market.

  19. Shelly Greenway
    Shelly GreenwayShelly Greenway is a front-end innovation strategist and partner at The Strategy Distillery – a brand innovation consultancy that specialises in opportunity hunting and proposition development. Their success rates are driven by their proprietary consumer co-creation IP. Follow @ChiefDistiller

  20. John Bessant
    John BessantJohn Bessant has been active in research, teaching, and consulting in technology and innovation management for over 25 years. Today, he is Chair in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Research Director, at Exeter University. In 2003, he was awarded a Fellowship with the Advanced Institute for Management Research and was also elected a Fellow of the British Academy of Management. He has acted as advisor to various national governments and international bodies including the United Nations, The World Bank, and the OECD. John has authored many books including Managing innovation and High Involvement Innovation (Wiley). Follow @johnbessant

  21. Shilpi Kumar
    Shilpi KumarShilpi Kumar an inquisitive researcher, designer, strategist and an educator with over 15 years of experience, who truly believes that we can design a better world by understanding human behavior. I work with organizations to identify strategic opportunities and offer user-centric solutions.

  22. Accelerate your change and transformation success


  23. Francesco Pagano
    Franceso PaganoFrancesco Pagano, Vice President, EMEA Head of Portfolio of Licenses Brands at Fossil Group Europe, is passionate about craft brands, innovation, brand management, brand communication and international business. He is always up for irresistible product concepts, ultimate communication via integrated campaigns and great Italian food.

  24. Dimis Michaelides
    Simis MichaelidesDimis Michaelides is a keynote speaker, author, consultant and trainer in leadership, creativity and innovation. Contact him for a workshop or a presentation at dimis@dimis.org or register for his newsletter at www.dimis.org . You can also connect with him on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

  25. Greg Heist
    Greg HeistGreg Heist is the Chief Innovation Officer at Gongos, a decision intelligence company.


  26. Gijs van Wulfen
    Gijs van WulfenGijs van Wulfen helps organizations to structure the chaotic start of innovation as author, speaker and facilitator. He is the founder of the FORTH innovation method and author of the innovation bestseller The Innovation Expedition. He was chosen by LinkedIn as one of their first 150 Influencers. Follow Gijs @gijsvanwulfen


  27. Shawn Nason
    Shawn NasonShawn Nason, founder and CEO of MOFI, lives his life with a commitment to make everyone he meets a part of his family. Armed with the gift of discernment, he has the uncanny ability to walk alongside people as they struggle to connect with their deepest passions and engage their most debilitating demons. He challenges the world around him to be fully present, get real, and knock down the barrier that separates the various compartments in their lives.


  28. Pete Foley
    A twenty-five year Procter & Gamble veteran, Pete has spent the last 8+ years applying insights from psychology and behavioral science to innovation, product design, and brand communication. He spent 17 years as a serial innovator, creating novel products, perfume delivery systems, cleaning technologies, devices and many other consumer-centric innovations, resulting in well over 100 granted or published patents. Find him at pete.mindmatters@gmail.com

  29. Tamara Ghandour
    Tamara GhandourTamara Ghandour of GoToLaunchStreet is a TED speaker and entrepreneur. From building and running multimillion dollar businesses, advising Fortune 500 like Disney, Procter and Gamble and RICOH on fostering innovative ideas and people. Tamara’s life is about breaking through the status quo for game-changing results, and that’s what her keynotes, online programs and assessments can do for you.

  30. John Carter
    John CarterJohn Carter has been a widely respected adviser to technology firms over his career. John is the author of Innovate Products Faster: Graphical Tools for Accelerating Product Development. As Founder and Principal of TCGen Inc., he has advised some of the most revered technology firms in the world.

  31. Jeff Rubingh
    Jeff RubinghJeff Rubingh is a technology innovation expert, consultant and analyst. Focused on the intersection between technology and business, Jeff helps clients identify ground-breaking solutions that maximize ROI across existing and emerging technology disciplines.

  32. Ludwig Melik
    Ludwig MelikLudwig Melik is CEO of Planbox, whose mission is to help organizations thrive by transforming the culture of agile work, continuous innovation, and creativity across the entire organization… Connect with him on LinkedIn or join the conversation by following Planbox on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


    Get the Change Planning Toolkit


  33. Rachel Audige
    Rachel AudigeRachel Audige is an Innovation Architect who helps organisations embed inventive thinking as well as a certified Systematic Inventive Thinking Facilitator, based in Melbourne.


  34. Mick Simonelli
    Mick SimonelliMick Simonelli is an innovator with 20+ years of implementing change and positive disruption at USAA. As a military veteran, he held transformation roles in numerous military organizations; and as a business executive, he purposely hired vets to help launch numerous innovations as the Chief Innovation Officer for a Fortune 500 company. Mick currently serves as an innovation consultant and can be found at www.micksimonelli.com Follow @MickSimonelli


  35. Mitch Ditkoff
    Mitch Ditkoff is the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions and the author of “Awake at the Wheel”, as well as the very popular Heart of Innovation blog.


  36. Peter Cook
    Peter CookPeter Cook leads Human Dynamics and The Academy of Rock, providing Keynotes, Organisational Development and Coaching. He is the author of seven books on business leadership. His three passions are science, business and music, having led innovation teams for 18 years to develop life-saving drugs including the first treatments for AIDS and the development of Human Insulin. Peter is Music and Business editor at Innovation Excellence. You can follow him on twitter @Academyofrock.


  37. Mukesh Gupta
    Mukesh GuptaMukesh Gupta is Director of Customer Advocacy, SAP India Private Limited. He also served as Executive Liaison for the SAP User group in India, and as a Global Lead in Sales & Business Development. He blogs, and shares podcasts and videos, on his site rmukeshgupta.com


  38. Urko Wood
    Urko WoodUrko Wood helps clients of Reveal Growth find and capitalize on the best opportunities for innovation and growth in their markets. He is one of only a handful of people in North America who are expert practitioners in the breakthrough “jobs-to-be-done” (JTBD) innovation approach that has enabled over 400 of the Fortune 1000 to generate billions of dollars in new revenue and achieve new product success rates of over 80%.


  39. Arlen Meyers
    Arlen MyersArlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at www.sopenet.org

  40. Ralph Christian Ohr
    Ralph OhrDr. Ralph-Christian Ohr has extensive experience in product/innovation management for international technology-based companies. His particular interest is targeted at the intersection of organizational and human innovation capabilities. You can follow him on Twitter @Ralph_Ohr.

  41. David Burkus
    David BurkusDavid Burkus is a best-selling author, a sought after speaker, and associate professor of leadership and innovation at Oral Roberts University. His newest book, Friend of a Friend, offers readers a new perspective on how to grow their networks and build key connections—one based on the science of human behavior, not rote networking advice.

  42. Neil Sholay
    Neil SholayNeil Sholay is re-shaping innovation and digital experiences as a Vice President of Digital Innovation for EMEA & JAPAC at Oracle. He leads a curious, multidisciplinary team of thinkers, Ideators, strategists, designers, developers, storytellers, rebels and proud geeks, who are reshaping Innovation and digital experiences. They bring new ideas & business models to life, using co-innovation and rapid prototyping.


If your favorite didn’t make the list, then next year try to rally more votes for them or convince them to increase the quality and quantity of their contributions.

Download PDF version of Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2020 list here:

Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2020 PDF

My lists from the eight previous years have been tremendously popular:

Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2012
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2013
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2014
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2015
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2016
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2017
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2018
Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2019

Happy New Year everyone!

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

Thought Leadership Builds Firm Value

Thought Leadership Builds Firm ValueConsulting firms sell expertise, and their currency is trust. Large consultancies like Boston Consulting Group, Bain, McKinsey, Deloitte, Accenture and others make their money from being a trusted advisor to companies around the world. Why do companies trust them?

One reason is that companies always value an external perspective, and there is a large army of alumni from these firms in organizations around the world guiding their leadership to choose their former employer as that external perspective or that extra pair of hands needed in tackling a large strategic challenge.

But there are also several other considerations that factor into an organizations choice of a trusted advisor, including:

  1. Previous experience
  2. Industry expertise
  3. Area of practice specialty (Strategy, HR, Innovation, Finance, M&A, Technology, etc.)
  4. Personal relationships
  5. Thought leadership

The resulting client work creates staffing plans within consultancies to provide billable hours for project execution. And, while most consulting firms spring to life and find early success because of the strength of their thought leadership, in general, over time most consulting firms tend to under-invest in thought leadership and as a consequence they find themselves vulnerable to new entrants nibbling around the edges of their core business and see their growth slow and eventually turn negative. Thought leadership generates the initial creation and success of the firm and leads to millions of dollars, or potentially even billions of dollars, of revenue for the consulting firm, but despite this fact, most consultancies under-invest in thought leadership.

Part of the reason for the inevitable decline in the firm’s thought leadership investments occurs because thought leadership is rarely anyone’s primary focus inside most consulting firms. Thought leadership is usually seen as the responsibility of the partners and principals of the firm AFTER they meet their revenue goals. How frequently are these people likely to have the time or energy to create the kind of quality and revolutionary thought leadership that leads to the sustaining or expansionary growth that every firm desires?

What we end up with is a level of thought leadership inside most firms that in the best case leads to a maintenance of the firm’s existing business, and in the worst case either no new thought leadership is created, or that which is created, is insufficient to maintain the firm’s current level of business.

A successful partner in most firms keeps their people busy and possibly creates some growth in billable hours for the firm, but rarely will you find that partners are able to create thought leadership capable of creating whole new lines of business. Not through any fault of their own, but because they simply don’t have the time to do it all.

To make things worse, the world is changing…

It used to be that information was scarce and external knowledge was valued by the client.

Now information is freely available and knowledge can thus be created within the client.

An increasing number of companies are therefore relying on their employees to educate themselves, while also creating their own internal consultancies, and relying less on external consultancies as a result.

At the same time, companies are becoming less open to being sold consulting services and instead more focused on becoming buyers of consulting services. And where do companies turn when they seek to be educated buyers of consulting services?

To the thought leadership they can find online from the different consulting firms in their consideration set. This is part of the reason for the rising importance of inbound marketing and content marketing as part of the marketing mix in all industries, but consulting firms are struggling to identify and provide the content necessary to help them maintain (and possibly extend) their success in this new environment.

And, even with all of these changes, most traditional consulting firms still hire traditional consultants and fail to hire people with established social media visibility, great content creation skills, the ability to get published, and the ability to help traditional consultants create both sustaining and revolutionary thought leadership. Firms are still hiring round pegs for their round holes to generate thousands of dollars a year in revenue and ignoring the square pegs with these skills that could generate millions of dollars in new revenue per year for the firm.

Marketing and advertising agencies operate in a similar client-firm ecosystem, but their value proposition is more tilted towards selling creativity and execution. In these industries we’ve seen huge consolidation driven by the need to acquire the new thought leadership, creativity and execution necessary to keep their existing clients, and we’re starting to see the same dynamics in the business consulting market.

The value of thought leadership and employees capable of creating and facilitating the execution of a great content marketing strategy driven by thought leadership, cannot be underestimated.

If anyone doubts the value boost of a thought leader to a firm, even outside the consulting market, ask yourself:

How much did Steve Jobs add to the value of Apple?

How much value did Jack Welch add to the value of GE?

How much value does Elon Musk bring to Tesla Motors?

Great thought leaders and thought leadership add a tremendous amount of value to the brand equity and the value of the firm, so why don’t consulting firms pay more attention to attracting or cultivating great internal thought leaders and thought leadership facilitators within their firms?

How much is a thought leader worth to you?

Do you need one?

Accelerate your change and transformation success

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Thinkers50 – Nominations and Votes Needed

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

Click here to vote by entering the following information:

Your Name
Your Email
Your Vote: Braden Kelley
That person’s title: Author and Innovation Community Leader
That person’s organization: Innovation Excellence
That person’s email: thinkers50@bradenkelley.com

Click here to vote by entering the above information.


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

  • Breakthrough Idea
  • Digital Thinking
  • Ideas Into Practice
  • Innovation
  • Leadership
  • Social Enterprise
  • Strategy
  • Talent

The INNOVATION category is where I would greatly appreciate your nomination.

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
Nominee’s Name: Braden Kelley
Nominee’s email: thinkers50@bradenkelley.com
Awards for which this Thinker is being nominated: INNOVATION
Short biography of this thinker:

Braden Kelley is the author of the five-star book ‘Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire’ from John Wiley & Sons, a chapter in ‘A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing’ from Kogan Page, and a forthcoming book in the coming year for Palgrave Macmillan on the next practices of organizational change to complement his upcoming collaborative, visual change planning toolkit. Braden is a recognized thought leader on the topic of continuous innovation and change. He earned his MBA from top-rated London Business School and has published 650+ articles (Wired, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Social Media Today, and more) and nearly a dozen white papers while living and working in England, Germany, and the United States. He is an experienced public speaker, and in 2006 started the web site that has since become Innovation Excellence, the world’s most popular innovation web site.

Helpful resources pertaining to this Thinker’s work:

http://innovationexcellence.com
http://innovation-speaker.com


http://www.seattletimes.com/business/innovation-blogger-expands-website-in-person/

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 above).

Image credit: Thinkers50

High-resolution photo of nominee: Click here for a high-resolution photo (download and then upload on their form)


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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People-Centric Marketing

People-Centric MarketingWe live in an increasingly complex world where both the volume of change and the pace of change are accelerating. But it is not just change that is accelerating, choice is proliferating as well.

Witness the example of General Mills’ Cheerios. Introduced in 1941, there are now 13 varieties of Cheerios on the market, not including snack mixes introduced in 2008.

In its 70+ year history, General Mills introduced no variations in the first 35 years; all of the new varieties have been introduced during the second half of Cheerios’ lifespan, with eight of 13 new varieties being introduced in the last decade. The 13 current varieties of Cheerios (with launch dates) according to Wikipedia are:

  1. Cheerios (1941)
  2. Honey Nut Cheerios (1979) (see above)
  3. Apple Cinnamon Cheerios (1988)
  4. MultiGrain Cheerios (Original in the UK) (released 1992, relaunched 2009)
  5. Frosted Cheerios (1995)
  6. Yogurt Burst Cheerios (2005)
  7. Fruity Cheerios (2006) (Cheerios sweetened with fruit juice)
  8. Oat Cluster Crunch Cheerios (2007) (sweetened Cheerios with oat clusters)
  9. Banana Nut Cheerios (2009) (sweetened Cheerios made with banana puree)
  10. Chocolate Cheerios (2010) (Cheerios made with cocoa)
  11. Cinnamon Burst Cheerios (2011) (Cheerios made with cinnamon)
  12. Dulce de Leche Cheerios (2012) (sweetened Cheerios made with caramel)
  13. MultiGrain Peanut Butter Cheerios (2012) (Multigrain Cheerios with sorghum, not wheat, and peanut butter)

We have an overwhelming amount of choice in the supermarket, but we also have an ever growing roster of entertainment options as well:

  • Terrestrial, cable, satellite, and on demand television
  • Internet television (NBC.com, Comcast.com, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus)
  • Television on DVD or DVR
  • Over the air, satellite, and internet radio
  • YouTube, Vimeo, Vine and streaming music
  • Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google+
  • Console, PC, Tablet, and Smartphone gaming
  • Snapchat and Wechat
  • Live events and recordings of live events
  • and on and on

Advertising is proliferating:

  • TV and radio advertising
  • Out of Home advertising (Billboards, buildings, airplanes, buses, trucks, etc.)
  • Print advertising (Magazines, newspapers, etc.)
  • Movie and TV product placements
  • Movie theater advertising
  • Airborne advertising
  • In game product placements
  • Digital advertising (banners, videos, etc.)
  • Mobile advertising
  • Naming rights (stadiums, etc.)

Marketing is proliferating too:

  • Direct marketing (direct mail, email, telemarketing, etc.)
  • Partner marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization (aka SEO)
  • Search Engine Marketing (aka SEM)
  • Social Media marketing
  • Inbound marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Viral marketing
  • Loyalty and retention marketing
  • Spam
  • and my least favorite (contact form marketing – aka spam)

With this deluge of choice and competition for our attention, people are in fact more annoyed and less affected by advertising and marketing than ever before.

Growing Customers in a Deluge

So in today’s world, how do most effectively cultivate future customers, strengthen the relationship with existing customers, and maintain connections and grow commitment over time?

There is no single answer of course, but effective marketing in today’s world of endless choice and competition for people’s attention requires the appropriate mix of push and pull and recognizes that the ROI from marketing efforts should not all be attributed to the last click but instead is attributed to the overall customer journey and uses technology that allows you to connect together the different customer touchpoints and impressions over time to help you better understand how your holistic revenue generation system is working. Because effective marketing is not about converting leads, but instead about building relationships.

When your marketing efforts focus on building a relationship, trust, and even partnership with your customers, your organization stands to benefit more than by just seeking the quick scale. Even non-customers can be referrers and recommenders, and as companies grow, a single individual can have a customer, partner, and a competitor relationship with the same organization.

Are you living in marketing’s past?

So if marketing today is more about the customer journey, building relationships and even co-creation, then it becomes even more important to build understanding and trust. The power of the story, the power of experience, and the role of content in this new world become increasingly important in capturing and holding people’s attention. You’ll notice that I said people not customers or prospects, and their is an important reason underlying it.

Because of our increasingly interconnected and always on world, where Yelp has grown to become a more powerful engine of influence than neighbors and co-workers, it’s getting harder to tell who is an influencer and must tell a consistent story not just to prospects, but to all people. And in a world where algorithms determine whether you even appear in the places your potential customers trust, having the right content in the right places, at the right time, so that people (not just prospects) can find it at the various stops along the often long, meandering non-customer to prospective customer evolutionary path.

Embracing an expanded marketing focus on non-customers may be hard for some marketers, but others will see the importance of it in growing and maintaining the long-term health of the organization’s sales pipeline and brand equity.

How do you grow new customers?

Well, by growing the level of comfort and trust that people have in your organization and its employees. There are many ways to do this, but they require a strategy that first seeks to understand the typical paths that people take from non-customer to customer. A lot of people talk about trying to loyalize customers, or turning customers into advocates, and while that may sound logical, there is a flaw in that thinking. The flaw is that people can be influencers and advocates for your products and services before they become a customer (or who may never become a customer) if you’re doing a good job with your people-centric marketing.

When you better understand the journeys people take from non-customer to customer you can better understand what parts of the story to tell when and where. And often as you shift from a lead-generation, prospect-driven marketing focus to a people-centric one, you will start to see that in order to build the comfort and the trust and the excitement, that it will be more about barriers than benefits, more about problems than solutions.

As marketers we love to talk about benefits and solutions, but where we really need to focus is problems and barriers. Where is the friction? Where is the confusion? What are the chasms to be crossed? What are the pitfalls to be avoided?

When we start to understand these things, we will start to understand the stories and the content that need to be told and created in order to provide the jet pack to accelerate an individual from one level of comfort, trust, and purchase readiness to the next. The better we grasp what people are seeking to understand in order to evolve their level of comfort and trust, the better we can do at shaping our messages and our strategy to meet people where they are.

Who’s your thought leader?

This is where having a thought leader on staff comes into play, and why you might want to hire one or convert an existing employee or two into one. The job of the thought leader is to be a storyteller, a brand advocate, and ultimately to be the person that builds those bridges across the chasms and guides non-customers along their journey of understanding by demonstrating understanding of the problems, barriers, and pitfalls that non-customers and customers face, and helping to educate them on some of the ways that progress can be made and success created.

There is nothing wrong with trying to lead the thoughts of others. Someone has to lead, or at least to provoke. Just keep your ego at bay and focus on being a discussion leader and a facilitator within the topic area you are focusing on and key in on the transitions that you are trying to encourage. Ultimately what you are doing is growing customers, but there is no set timetable for when a non-customer might become a customer, and we’re not focused on speed as much as we are on acceleration. The closer we can draw non-customers to us, the more likely they are to want to become employees, partners, co-creators, advocates, or even aid in creating post-purchase rationalization instead of buyers remorse.

But the sad part is that most companies don’t recognize the importance of thought leaders, and the unique skillset that some people in understanding the journey and the problems, pitfalls, barriers, chasms, and transitions that matter to non-customers. Most consultancies want their consultants on the road billing every possible hour, and don’t allow anyone to focus on this important area of growing future customers. They dabble, and maybe they publish a white paper here or there that looks just like the white paper their five other competitors just put out, but they don’t commit to any marketing activities that result in immediate lead generation. There are a few consumer product companies that are doing surprisingly well in this area, but the two areas of greatest opportunity probably lie in the business-to-business (B2B) and service industries (consulting, legal services, etc.).

I’ve done a bit of work in these areas helping companies like Innocentive, Planview, Imaginatik, and Crowd Computing create single content input, multiple content output strategies to help evolve their ranks of non-customers along their journey with some informational pieces.

Thought leaders can and should play a large role in your innovation efforts as Evangelists (see my Nine Innovation Roles) and in helping your organization do a better job of value translation and value access (see my article on Innovation is All About Value). As you launch innovations into the marketplace, a people-centric marketing approach can make a huge difference in translating the potential value better for customers and non-customers alike and identifying areas of opportunity for improved value access (based on the thought leaders’ understanding of the non-customer’s journey) that can be communicated within the organization and new value access offerings that complete the core value creation of the innovation.

I hope by now you see the importance of focusing more on people-centric marketing and in understanding non-customers as well (or better) as we currently understand our customers.

But, of course in order to become a thought leader, someone must inevitably find what you have to say worth following.

So identify the thought leaders in your organization, or hire one, and start building your people-centric marketing strategy today!

Image source: bashfoo.com


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