Tag Archives: marketing

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of October 2022

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of October 2022Drum roll please…

At the beginning of each month, we will profile the ten articles from the previous month that generated the most traffic to Human-Centered Change & Innovation. We also publish a weekly Top 5 as part of our FREE email newsletter. Did your favorite make the cut?

But enough delay, here are October’s ten most popular innovation posts:

  1. Bridging the Gap Between Strategy and Reality — by Braden Kelley
  2. How Do You Judge Innovation: Guilty or Innocent? — by Robyn Bolton
  3. Scaling New Heights – Building Resilience — by Teresa Spangler
  4. What Great Transformational Leaders Learn from Their Failures — by Greg Satell
  5. Your Brand Isn’t the Problem — by Mike Shipulski
  6. What’s Next – Through the Looking Glass — by Braden Kelley
  7. Don’t Blame Quiet Quitting for a Broken Business Strategy — by Soren Kaplan
  8. The Ways Inflection Points Define Our Future — by Greg Satell
  9. How to Use TikTok for Marketing Your Business — by Shep Hyken
  10. Making Innovation the Way We Do Business (easy as ABC) — by Robyn Bolton

BONUS – Here are five more strong articles published in September that continue to resonate with people:

If you’re not familiar with Human-Centered Change & Innovation, we publish 4-7 new articles every week built around innovation and transformation insights from our roster of contributing authors and ad hoc submissions from community members. Get the articles right in your Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin feeds too!

Have something to contribute?

Human-Centered Change & Innovation is open to contributions from any and all innovation and transformation professionals out there (practitioners, professors, researchers, consultants, authors, etc.) who have valuable human-centered change and innovation insights to share with everyone for the greater good. If you’d like to contribute, please contact me.

P.S. Here are our Top 40 Innovation Bloggers lists from the last two years:

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

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of June 2022

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of June 2022Drum roll please…

At the beginning of each month we will profile the ten articles from the previous month that generated the most traffic to Human-Centered Change & Innovation. We also publish a weekly Top 5 as part of our FREE email newsletter. Did your favorite make the cut?

But enough delay, here are June’s ten most popular innovation posts:

  1. An Innovation Action Plan for the New CTO — by Steve Blank
  2. The Lost Tribe of Medicine — by Arlen Meyers, M.D.
  3. What Can Leaders Do to Have More Innovative Teams? — by Diana Porumboiu
  4. Transformation Insights — by Bruce Fairley
  5. Selling To Generation Z – This is What They Want — by Shep Hyken
  6. It is Easier to Change People than to Change People — by Annette Franz
  7. Leading a Culture of Innovation from Any Seat — by Patricia Salamone
  8. Harnessing the Dragons of your Imagination for Innovation — by Braden Kelley
  9. Successful Asynchronous Collaboration — by Douglas Ferguson
  10. Four Reasons the Big Quit Exists — by Braden Kelley

BONUS – Here are five more strong articles published in May:

If you’re not familiar with Human-Centered Change & Innovation, we publish 4-7 new articles every week built around innovation and transformation insights from our roster of contributing authors and ad hoc submissions from community members. Get the articles right in your Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin feeds too!

Have something to contribute?

Human-Centered Change & Innovation is open to contributions from any and all innovation and transformation professionals out there (practitioners, professors, researchers, consultants, authors, etc.) who have valuable human-centered change and innovation insights to share with everyone for the greater good. If you’d like to contribute, please contact me.

P.S. Here are our Top 40 Innovation Bloggers lists from the last two years:

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

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

At What Point Does Smart Become Stupid?

At What Point Does Smart Become Stupid?

In addition to 2020 being the year of the Coronavirus COVID-19, some would also say that it was the year of the voice-activated smart device. Sales of smart speakers in 2019 reached 146.9 million units and 2020 will likely approach 200 million units or more. The final number depends on how many showed up under Christmas trees as the 4th quarter. In addition, during 2020 we started to see Alexa advertised for other contexts, including in Buick automobile advertisements. Which brings up a couple questions.

Question 1: Is the advertisement below a real advertisement or an April Fool’s Day fake advertisement?

Question 2: At what point does the trend that smart speakers began reach the point of stupidity?

To answer that question I recommend that we revisit my definition of innovation:

“Innovation transforms the useful seeds of invention into widely adopted solutions valued above every existing alternative.” — Braden Kelley

The one thing that many product managers often forget is that invention and innovation are not the same thing, and so at some point product managers are likely to invest past the invisible line on different value dimensions beyond what people are willing to pay for.

This leads to products being designed and launched that while they might be revolutionary and inventive, they actually end up being unprofitable and not innovative at all because the foundations of the new offering never reach wide adoption.

Are we approaching this point with smart devices?

Let’s try and answer this question by answering the first question about the video.

YES – This is in fact a real product.

Now, how many of you are going to rush out to your home improvement store and purchase one of these faucets to replace your existing kitchen faucet?

What if I told you that it would cost you $800-1,000 compared to very nice kitchen faucets that can cost under $100?

Very few people are likely to replace their kitchen faucet unless it stops working or starts leaking profusely.

At the same time, Moen will definitely sell some of these faucets to people who must have the latest gadgets.

If you were the product manager or innovation manager involved with this product, before launching it you should ask:

  1. Will we sell enough of this smart faucet to justify the cost of developing and marketing it?
  2. Will this smart faucet create enough of a brand halo to help us sell more of our traditional faucets?

The answers to these questions may very well be – yes.

But if not, then we have reached a point where SMART starts to become STUPID.

But, don’t stop there. You should also ask yourself questions like:

  1. Does it take longer to get a glass of water using the smart method than the easy manual way?
  2. Could my grandmother install and use it without reading the directions?
  3. Is this new capability valuable enough to drive replacement?

If you are an inventor or a product manager, these kinds of questions are the type that you must always be asking yourself – even if you don’t like the answers.

If you still decide to go ahead with a product that will be unprofitable, you will at least do so with open eyes – and for the right reasons.

For more on this topic, please be sure and check out my previous article – Innovation or Not – Amazon Echo Frames

Keep innovating!


Accelerate your change and transformation success

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

Looking at Healthcare Innovation from the Inside Out

Taking a Swing at Healthcare InnovationAfter working for the last decade helping organizations from the OUTSIDE IN:

  • Build innovative marketing strategies
  • Manage multiple, simultaneous, cross-functional business projects
  • Optimize complex processes
  • Create an enterprise-wide innovation-focus

I thought it was time to flip things around and go native, and work with an outstanding organization to make some of these things happen from the INSIDE OUT.

I thought it was also time to dig deeper into an industry, get my hands dirty, and really come to know a particular vertical. And what could be more interesting in this time of rapidly escalating costs and innovation than the healthcare industry?

[Especially with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) going into force here in the USA]

It is with all of this in mind that I am happy to announce that I have taken an internal consulting position with Premera, one of the largest health plans in the Pacific Northwest.

Premera serves 1.5 million people—from individuals and families to Fortune 100 employer groups. Premera’s mission is to provide peace of mind to their customers about their healthcare.

As a result of joining up with Premera, I must also announce for this post and all future posts that the views here (and elsewhere) are mine and mine alone, and do not in any way represent the views of Premera.

This isn’t the end of my publishing here on BradenKelley.com or on Innovation Excellence (now Disruptor League) or the other places that I contribute. In my spare time I will still be writing, and doing the occasional innovation keynote or workshop in various places around the globe.

So, please keep in touch, and stay tuned for more to come!


Build a common language of innovation on your team

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

Innovation Quotes of the Day – June 2, 2012


“Visionary people are visionary partly because of the very great many things they don’t see.”

– Berkeley Rice


“To innovate for the future present, you must maintain the flexibility to tweak branding and messaging (and even the product or service itself) should some of the forecast customer insights prove to be inaccurate and require updates.”

– Braden Kelley


“Ideas must work through the brains and the arms of good and brave men or they are no better than dreams.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson


What are some of your favorite innovation quotes?

Add one or more to the comments, listing the quote and who said it, and I’ll share the best of the submissions as future innovation quotes of the day!

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

Innovation – Marketing versus Engineering

What are the roadblocks and critical relationships between marketing and engineering in the cause of advancing innovation?

Let me start off by recommending that you watch the movie I’ve embedded, as it does a great job of describing how there is often an engineering solution to a problem and a marketing solution to a problem. This in part explains why there is often a tension between marketing and engineering when it comes to new product development – they see different solutions, assign value differently, and view success in divergent ways. So, please enjoy the video, and my article will continue below it:

So in the future, with the problem at hand, you might want to ask yourself – “Is the problem best solved by changes to the real value, redefining the intrinsic value provided, or a bit of both?”

Of course it is very hard for people to ask these questions honestly as they have a default response, but asking them in a cross-fuctional environment may yield a more holistic and informed response. And after all, many of the barriers that people tend to erect in the achievement of something are often because they didn’t feel involved in the decision-making process.

So, what are some of the barriers that people erect in a sometimes tension-filled environment?

  1. Isolation – You just avoid communicating with the other side as much as possible
  2. Stonewall – You just do what you would do anyways and ignore the input from the other side
  3. Passive Aggression – You consciously choose to behave in a way that will cause the effort to fail, so that ideally you get your way instead
  4. Build a Fortress – You build complex written rules of engagement for your department saying that it has to be this way because you’re too busy and these rules will help you be more organized
  5. Omission – You take the inputs but then you don’t do anything with them (marketing doesn’t promote a feature, or engineering doesn’t fully develop it

Working TogetherThe biggest danger to the cause of advancing innovation when it comes to the engineering and marketing departments is that the relationship develops into one without constructive conflict and without healthy collaboration. For innovation to be repeatable in an organization these two sides must share openly, have their perspectives valued, and contribute to a conversation. Marketing and engineering hear different aspects of the voice of the customer in their interactions with them, and they approach solutions to problems in different ways.

I would even argue that there is probably no more important set of cross-functional relationships than those between marketing and engineering, and that their health will determine the future success or failure of the organization. The executive team should consciously monitoring the health of these relationships, because when they start pulling in opposite directions, the entire organization could be ripped apart.

What directions are these two organizations pulling in your organization?


Build a Common Language of Innovation on your team

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

Free Innovation Keynote May 1st in Tacoma

Come Join Me May 1st in TacomaOn May 1st I will be the keynote innovation speaker for the Invista Performance Solutions launch event in Tacoma, WA. Invista is a partnership of Northwest Colleges dedicated to providing high quality workforce training to meet and exceed client expectations. Formed in July 2011, Invista has a strategic mission: To help companies gain a competitive advantage in the global economy by increasing the skills of their workforce.

I will be speaking about the attributes of highly innovative companies amongst many other innovation topics. Praveen Gupta will also be speaking, so two great speakers for the price of one, and that price is one that you can’t refuse – FREE.

If you live in the Seattle/Tacoma area, come join me on May 1st.

Register Now

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