Tag Archives: Process

Creating Innovation with Hardcore Soft Skills

Creating Innovation with Hardcore Soft Skills

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Yadira Caro on the Hardcore Soft Skills Podcast.

In the episode I define what innovation really is, how people, process and technology come together to create innovation and where people go wrong.

The conversation includes a discussion of how to craft successful innovation teams because it’s such a crucial factor for successful innovation.



I also speak about the peril of idea fragments and the importance of respecting your employees by putting funding and execution capabilities in place BEFORE you ask your employees for even a single idea.

We talk about top-down innovation…

We talk about bottom-up or middle-out innovation…

And, we also speak about many different innovation misconceptions.

So, I encourage you to check out the episode!

You can listen to the embedded podcast above or click this link to go to the podcast page.

Image credit: Pixabay

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Taking Four Different Paths to Innovation

Taking Four Different Paths to InnovationInterview with Gijs van Wulfen

I had the opportunity recently to interview fellow Innovation author Gijs van Wulfen to talk with him about his new book The Innovation Maze, which is a follow-up to his great first book The Innovation Expedition.

1. In the book you cite a study saying companies reported a drop in breakthrough ideas between the mid 1990’s and 2010. What do you attribute this drop to?

The share of breakthrough new products has been halved in the last decades from 20.4% in the mid-1990s to only 11.5% in 2010. Companies tend to prefer incremental innovations in small steps over breakthrough innovations in big jumps as they can be implemented faster with less perceived risk and fewer resources needed. Just take a look at how innovation budgets are spent: 58% of R&D spending is directed at incremental or renewal innovations, 28% at new or substantial innovations, and only 14% at breakthrough or radical innovations. It seems there’s a growing dislike for risks what causes incremental innovations to dominate. I like to quote the CEO of BMW AG, the German luxury car producer, Dr. Ing. Norbert Reithofer. When asked why BMW started the risky E-car project with the BMWi-3 and i-8 he responded very openly: “Because doing nothing was an even bigger risk.”

2. At the beginning of your book you highlight “15 Obstacles Hindering Innovation At Its Start”, if you could only eliminate three, which three would you choose?

Actually my personal goal is to eliminate all 15 obstacles which hinder innovation at the start, Braden. With the right approach, I even think it’s possible too. That’s why I’ve written The Innovation Maze. If I could eliminate three, I would choose the ones which are hindering people in organizations the most:

  1. No priority for innovation. This is relatively easy to solve, as you only have to pick the right moment. Never present a new radical innovation project to your board when business is going up fine.
  2. No market need. The biggest problem for start-ups or R&D-projects in big firms is that they provide solutions without a problem. Connecting to customers and matching potential solutions with relevant customer frictions at the start of innovation is essential. With out a customer need there is no market.
  3. No business model. Innovations are not viable without a business model. Experimenting with pretotypes or prototypes in the early phases of the development process is essential to test if your business model is viable.

Gijs van Wulfen3. Google no longer does 20% time, why do you think that is?

In 2013 Google began cutting back on their policy to give employees 20 percent of their work time to pursue projects they are passionate about, even if it is outside the core job or core mission of the company. They replaced it with a more focused approach to innovation instigated by CEO Larry Page. It resulted in more tightly targeted innovation activities, rather than the ‘scattergun’ innovation approach that was created by Google ‘20% time’. I am a fan of focused innovation, as this will increase the chance of success as less projects will get better people and more funds. It fits better Google, as a big company, with more than 60.000 employees.

4. People love to ideate and often equate ideation with innovation (which they shouldn’t). What tips would you offer to help people have a great ideation session?

Well, I have found 25 elements which are necessary creating a perfect ideation session:

Highly relevant
— Define a relevant innovation assignment, which is a challenge for the organization and the people you invite.
— Make the assignment concrete and s.m.a.r.t.
— Create momentum for ideation. Something important must happen now!

Diverse group of participants
— Invite people for whom the assignment is personally relevant.
— Invite people for both content as well as decision-making capabilities.
— Include outsiders and outside-the-box thinkers.
— Include an even mix of men and women, young & old, et cetera.
— Invite the internal senior problem-owner (CEO or vice president) to participate.

Special setting
— Look for a special and harmonious venue, fitting your innovation assignment.
— Create an (emotionally) safe environment where you can be yourself.
— Don’t allow smartphones and iPads to ring or flash.
— Never- and I really mean never do any brainstorming at the office.

Effectively structured process
— Allow at least two days for effective ideation to reach concrete new concepts.
— Spend twice as much time on the convergence process as on the divergence process.
— Plan and prepare an effective combination of idea-generating techniques.
— Be open to suggestions from the group to adapt the process.
— Make sure it is enjoyable. Fun promotes good results.
— Time box. Make sure everybody is aware of the time limits- and sticks to them.
— Hire a visualizer or cartoonist to visualize the results
— Keep up the pace; otherwise it becomes long-winded and boring.

Facilitated by a professional
— Appoint an (internal) facilitator, who stays in the background and exercises light control.
— The facilitator should reflect the opposite energy of the group. If the group is too active: exert calmness.
— The facilitator mustn’t lose sight of sub groups; constantly monitoring their progress.

Concrete output
— Make the output very concrete and clear to anybody.
— Creating concepts together with your colleagues generates maximum internal support.

The experience of sharing ideas in a structured process and drafting concrete concepts from the best ideas has a great impact on group dynamics. At the end the whole group feels ownership of all the concepts. That is essential. New ideas need a lot of ‘parents’ to survive the product development process in a corporate culture.

4 Different Paths to Innovation

5. Where do you stand on breakthrough innovation vs. incremental innovation debate?

Should you focus on incremental innovations, radical innovations, or both? This depends on your role and situation. Startups mostly enter a market with a radical innovation. Facebook, and Twitter created new markets with new-to-the-world offerings. Tesla, Uber and AirBnB broke into existing markets surprising the incumbents with their new-to-the-world offerings. Existing organizations are mostly reactive innovators, which puts them in the situation where they have to quickly come up with innovations as the urgency is high. For them, incremental innovations are faster to develop with less risk. However, that won’t be enough in the long term as they also have to come up with radical innovations in order for their organization to grow again in the longer term. It’s essential that you find a good balance between incremental innovations, improvement of present products and services, and radical innovations focusing on big ideas which are outside the present comfort zone of your organization. With incremental innovations you prove to your customers and staff that you indeed can innovate and thereby build the confidence you will need to make bigger strides, once your radical innovations hit the market later.

6. Why is ‘checking for fit’ so important? What do people risk if they skip this step?

When you (and your innovation team) have come up with great ideas the question is how to make them reality. In practice, I have learned that if they don’t fit your personal goals as a start-up founder or your organizational goals as a corporate innovator, nothing will materialize in the end. It is essential to check this fit as early as possible in your innovation journey. If you skip this step you can almost be certain that someone will stop you later. The best excuse ever for risk-avoiding-bosses is “it doesn’t fit the strategy”.

7. Understanding customers is of course important, so what are your favorite tools for achieving customer understanding?

My three favorite tools for understanding customers are: customer journey mapping, identifying customer frictions and lead-user research. With the first one you identify all the factors influencing the customer experience from the customer’s perspective in a customer journey map. This is a great technique to use in service innovation, as a service is often so intangible and the user experience is actually your offering. The second technique identifies customer frictions via focus groups. This is a very practical technique which you can use in any innovation project to get to know a better understanding of your customers likes and dislikes. The third one is lead user research. Identifying the behavior of lead-users and co-creating with them is intensive and time-consuming and especially useful when you want to discover unmet latent needs and create more revolutionary ideas.

8. What is the best way for people to document the business case for an idea?

For more than 10 years, I have been using and giving instructions on a handy, practical framework for a new business case. My advice is to just use PowerPoint (or keynote) instead of writing a full written report, as nobody will read it anyway. Here’s the framework of a seven (7) page new business case, which you can present in 20 minutes at the most.

Slide 1. The Customer Friction.
— The customer situation.
— The customer need.
— The customer friction (problem/challenge).

Slide 2. Our New Concept.
— The customer target group (qualitative and quantitative).
— The marketing mix of the new product, service or business model.
— New for…. (the world, the market, our company).

Slide 3. This Makes our Concept Unique.
— Buying arguments for the customer.
— Current solutions and competitors.
— Our positioning.

Slide 4. It will be Feasible.
— We are able to develop it.
— We are able to produce it.
— The development process.

Slide 5. What’s in it for us.
— The number of customers (in year three).
— The projected revenues (in year three).
— The projected profits (in year three).

Slide 6. Why now?
— Why to develop it now.
— What if we say no.

Slide 7. The Decision to Proceed.
— The major uncertainties.
— The development team,
— The process, costs and planning.

Thanks for the interview Braden. I wish everybody great – and successful journeys through the innovation maze.

Thanks to you Gijs for sharing your insights with our global innovation community!

To learn more about Gijs’ four paths to innovation, grab yourself a copy of his new book his new book The Innovation Maze.

Build a Common Language of Innovation

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Service Redesign – Lost T-Mobile Smartphone

Service Redesign - Lost T-Mobile Smartphone

Given the health risks of carrying a smartphone (or any kind of mobile device) too close to the body for extended periods, I try to always remove electronic devices from my pockets whenever I can. For ten years this has never caused a problem until Saturday. This marked the first time in more than a decade that I walked off and forgot my smartphone.

Now I’ve had the joy of reporting my lost phone to T-Mobile and getting a less than helpful response. Not because the agent I spoke with didn’t try to be helpful, but because the customer service representative was trapped inside of a service experience that wasn’t designed to meet the goals of the customer.

First I must mention that I don’t have a find my phone type app installed on my phone because I don’t like the idea of someone tracking me all the time. Second, yes, I know that even with location awareness or GPS turned off that my phone is being tracked anyways, but I still like to maintain the illusion that my every move isn’t being tracked. So, please humor me.

The fact is that T-Mobile could tell me exactly where my phone is even without such an app, but then they would have to breach the illusion and admit that they’re always tracking where every phone is at all times. Not such a good customer experience.

Redesigning the Lost Smartphone Experience

I’m only one person so this list won’t be as good as if I was working on this with a small team and prototyping with customers, but let’s ignore that for now and try to come up with a list of customer goals (and thus opportunities to delight) in the lost smartphone scenario:

  1. I don’t want someone to use my phone after I lose it to make calls that I’ll have to pay for (international calls, premium calls, etc.)
  2. I don’t want someone to buy anything (apps, music or other content that I’ll have to pay for)
  3. I don’t want someone to call my contacts
  4. I don’t want someone to use my apps and make in app purchases
  5. I don’t want someone to use my texting function (SMS) – read, send, etc.
  6. I don’t want someone to use my email – read, send, etc.
  7. I don’t want someone accessing my photos
  8. I don’t want someone to steal information about my contacts
  9. I want to be able to call my phone to try and speak with the person who found it so I can try and get it back
  10. I want the person to be able to call me or T-Mobile to let me know that they’ve found my phone

In short, I don’t want someone who finds my phone to be able to do anything other than contact me to let me know when and where I can come pick it up.

But, when I called to T-Mobile to report my phone lost the only option was to have the phone disabled. Prior to doing so, calling my phone was going straight to voicemail, and maybe I should have left a voicemail, but I didn’t, I thought I would try again later. After they disabled my phone, instead of getting voicemail I got a message saying the phone has been reported lost and that I wouldn’t be able to leave a voicemail. This is partially helpful, but not completely. Now I can’t call the phone and if someone has found the phone, they can’t try to contact anyone to arrange a pickup.

T-Mobile has met goal #1 (and possibly #2-4), but likely they could access #5-8 (able to read but probably not to send).

But, there are many other goals that have not been met. Most importantly, T-Mobile has actually made it less likely that I will get my phone back because I have no way of communicating with the person who may have my phone.

What could T-Mobile do to make this experience better?

Simple.

When a phone is reported lost, T-Mobile should make it so that the phone can only call T-Mobile. If the person calls, then T-Mobile knows which number is calling, can get information from the caller to connect the two parties to arrange a pickup, and pass on the contact details to the subscriber via pre-arranged methods.

Second, T-Mobile should allow designated numbers to call the phone, so that the subscriber can try to get in touch with whoever found the phone.

Third, T-Mobile could call the phone every 15-30min with a robot until someone answers and connect them with a T-Mobile representative.

These three small changes to their lost phone service design would make an immediate positive impact in the customer experience for thousands of customers.

How else could T-Mobile make the experience better?

Image credit: easyhacker.com

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Digital Transformation versus Digital Strategy

In my last article, Digital Transformation Matters, we looked at the accelerating pace of change, the case for digital transformation, and our evolving interactions with technology. We also asked a simple question:

Are you ready to do business in a digital way for the digital age?

In our digital age all companies must change how they think, change how they interact with customers, partners, and suppliers, and change how the business works inside. Customer, partner, and supplier expectations have changed and a gap is opening between what they expect from their interaction with companies, and what those companies are currently able to deliver. Companies must immediately work to close this expectation gap or the entire business is at risk.

There are groups of digital natives out there that are extremely capable, have greater access to capital than ever before, and are very likely to re-imagine your business and your entire industry from the ground up if you don’t start making the necessary changes in your business to eliminate the opportunity.

If they attack, they will do it with a collection of digital strategies that utilize the power of the digital mindset to more efficiently and effectively utilize the available people, tools and technology, and to design better, more seamlessly interconnected and automated processes that can operate with only the occasional human intervention.

To defend your company’s very existence, you must start thinking like a technology company or go out of business. Part of that thinking is to fundamentally re-imagine how you structure and operate your business. You must look at your business and your industry in the same way that a digital native startup will if they seek to attack you and steal your market. To make this easier you can ask yourself five questions:

  1. If I were to build this business today, given everything that I know about the industry and its customers, and given all of the advances in people, process, technology and tools, how would I design it?
  2. From the customers’ perspective, where does the value come from?
  3. What structure and systems would deliver the maximum value with the minimum waste?
  4. What are the barriers to adoption and the obstacles to delight for my product(s) and/or service(s) and how will my design help potential customers overcome them?
  5. Where is the friction in my business that the latest usage methods of people, process, technology, and tools can help eliminate?

There are of course potentially other questions you may want to ask, but these five should get you most of the way to where you need to go in your initial strategic planning sessions. If you have other key questions that you think I’ve missed, please add them in the comments.

Digital Strategy vs. Digital Transformation

But how much appetite for going digital do you have?

This is where the question of digital strategy versus digital transformation comes in.

The two terms are often misused, in part by being used interchangeably when they are in fact two very different things.

A digital strategy is a strategy focused on utilizing digital technologies to better serve one particular group of people (customers, employees, partners, suppliers, etc.) or to serve the needs of one particular business group (HR, Finance, Marketing, Operations, etc.). The scope of a digital strategy can be quite narrow, such as using digital channels to market to consumers in a B2C company, or broader, such as re-imagining how marketing could be made more efficient through the use of digital tools like CRM, marketing automation, social media monitoring, etc. and hopefully become more effective at the same time.

Meanwhile, a digital transformation is an intensive process that begins by effectively building an entirely new organization from scratch utilizing:

  • All of the latest DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES (artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, BPM, crowd computing, etc.)
  • The latest TOOLS (robotics, sensors, etc.)
  • The latest best practices and emerging next practices in PROCESS (continuous improvement, business architecture, lean startup, Business Process Management (BPM), crowd computing, and continuous innovation using a tool like The Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation™)
  • The optimal use of the other three to liberate the PEOPLE that work for you to spend less time on bureaucratic work and more time imagining the changes necessary to overcome barriers to adoption and obstacles to delight through better leadership methods, reward/recognition systems, physical spaces, collaboration and knowledge management systems, etc.

And ends with a plan for making the transformation from the old way of running the business to the new way.

The planning of the digital transformation is of course all done collaboratively on paper, whiteboards, and asynchronous electronic communication (hopefully not email, but more on that later). The goal is to think like a digital native, to think like a startup, to approach the idea of designing a company to utilize all of the advances in people, process, technology and tools to kill off your own company (at least as you know it). Because, if you don’t re-invent your company now and set yourself up with a new set of capabilities that enable you to continuously re-invent yourself as a company, then some venture capitalist is going to see an opportunity, find the right team of digital natives, and give them the necessary funding to enter your market and re-invent your entire industry for you.

It’s All About the Interfaces

People are fascinated with startups like Uber and with good reason because they have changed the lexicon and the way that we think about entire categories of products and services. Whether or not you believe there is causation, the fact remains that Yellow Cab in San Francisco filed for bankruptcy, and that Uber has placed an immense amount of pressure on taxi and airport limousine companies. But you should also be looking at what established technology companies like Amazon are doing because established technology companies are looking for growth and new markets too, and they might decide yours looks attractive, so you have to think like a technology company or go out of business.

One way that technology companies differ from non-technology companies is that they naturally focus on the interfaces, because that is where complex systems often fail. And so, if you are pursuing a digital strategy on your way to a digital transformation, you must first pick an interface, and then optimize the experience at that interface. It could be the interface between the company and customers, it could be the company to employee or employee to employee interface, or even the company to partner or company to supplier interface. Whatever interface you choose, your goal is to ultimately look at that interface with a fresh modern lens, and then utilize all of the latest (and emerging) approaches from a people, process, and technology perspective, to create a more efficient and more effective (aka better) experience.

The better job you do as an organization at removing friction at the interfaces, the more likely you are to become a partner of choice, supplier of choice, employer of choice, and/or a brand of choice. The value of becoming any or all of these could be the difference between the survival and growth of the organization, and a slow, agonizing death at the hands of a new, digital entrant or a digitizing incumbent that completes a digital transformation before your leadership team can agree it’s even necessary.

Architecting Your Organization for Change

One thing that both a digital strategy and a digital transformation have in common is that they will inflict change (in varying amounts) upon the organization, and with a more visual, collaborative approach to planning that change – like that enabled by the Change Planning Toolkit™ that I introduce in my new book Charting Change (available February 24, 2016) – you will increase your odds of beating the 70% change failure rate and of successfully achieving your digital change goals.

As you plan your change efforts it helps if you keep in mind the Five Keys to Successful Change™ and that you consider Architecting Your Organization for Change. Below you will see visualizations of both concepts and both are available as free downloads from the Change Planning Toolkit™, which is a collection of frameworks, worksheets, and other tools (including the Change Planning Canvas™).

Five Keys to Successful Change 550

Architecting the Organization for Change

Click to access these frameworks as scalable 11″x17″ PDF downloads

These two frameworks will help you take a more holistic view of organizational change wider than just change management or change leadership, and helps organizations:

  1. Visualize a new way to increase organizational agility
  2. Integrate changes in the marketplace and customer behavior into the strategy
  3. Create a new organizational architecture that integrates all five elements of organizational change
  4. Make project, behavior and communications planning and management a central component of your change efforts
  5. One thing that should immediately jump out as you look at the Architecting the Organization for Change framework is that The Five Keys to Successful Change™ are embedded it.

Change Maintenance forms the foundation of a change-centric organization, ensuring that the changes necessary to ensure a healthy firm continue to persist (or are “maintained”), while the top of the organizational pyramid is driven by a conscious strategy that evolves over time, informed by changes in customer behavior and changes in the marketplace.

The strategy of the firm then determines the appropriate business architecture, and as the organization’s strategy changes, the business architecture may also need to change. Any necessary changes in the architecture of the business (new or updated capabilities or competencies) then will lead to modifications to the portfolio of change initiatives and projects (and remember every project is a change effort). These projects and initiatives will consist of innovation initiatives and efforts to create positive changes in the operations of the business.

The change efforts and projects identified as necessary and invested in as part of the change portfolio then represent projects that impact the innovation and operations for the firm, and in order to successfully execute them in the short term includes change planning, management, and leadership, and in the longer term the maintenance of the required changes.

And for the change efforts and projects to be successful the organization must also focus on project planning and management, behavior planning and management, and communications planning and management. The related projects, behaviors, and communications must all be effectively planned and managed in a way that keeps all three in sync.

I hope you see that by increasing your focus on the Change Planning discipline and through increased use of tools like the Architecting the Organization for Change framework from the Change Planning Toolkit™, your business will be able to more collaboratively and visually plan change efforts as large as a digital transformation or as small as a digital strategy and to increase your organizational agility.

More on organizational agility soon, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, please get yourself a copy of Charting Change as a hardcover (ebook coming soon) and get your free downloads from the Change Planning Toolkit™ (or go ahead and purchase a license now).

Buy the Change Planning Toolkit™ NowNow you can buy the Change Planning Toolkit™ – Individual Bronze License – Advance Purchase Edition here on this web site before the book launches.

This article originally appeared on Linkedin

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Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation – Revisited

Eight I's of Infinite Innovation

Some authors talk about successful innovation being the sum of idea plus execution, others talk about the importance of insight and its role in driving the creation of ideas that will be meaningful to customers, and even fewer about the role of inspiration in uncovering potential insight. But innovation is all about value and each of the definitions, frameworks, and models out there only tell part of the story of successful innovation.

I’ve been talking for a while now in my innovation keynotes how crucial value is to innovation. It is no consequence as a result that value sits at the center of my definition of innovation:

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

In this definition you will see that I draw a distinction between useful and valuable, and I develop it further in Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire.

“Often usefulness comes from what a product or service does for you, and value comes from how it does it. If you’re looking to truly deliver innovative products and services into the marketplace, then once you succeed at the designing and developing the ‘what’, don’t forget to also focus on achieving excellence in the ‘how’.”

One of my favorite examples of the useful versus valuable distinction is the mousetrap. Despite the hundreds or thousands of patent applications submitted every year for new mousetrap designs, most people still purchase the same simple snapping mousetrap that you see in cartoons and that has been around for a hundred years. The mousetrap is a great example of how easy it is to generate innovation investment opportunities and how difficult it is to create something that is truly valuable.

This distinction between useful and valuable is one that you must seek to understand and by turning this into a lens through which you can look at the potential of your innovation investment opportunities, the higher the return you will have from your innovation portfolio.

Innovation is All About Value

Speaking of which, maybe we should stop talking about idea generation, idea management and idea evaluation and instead begin thinking about ideas as innovation investment opportunities. Just changing the language we use in talking about innovation can change the way we think about things and the outcomes that we are able to generate. The images we choose and the language we use is incredibly important and we’ll discuss this in more detail here in a moment. But first I would like to share my innovation equation to counter the popular (innovation = idea + execution) equation. I like to say that:

Innovation = Value Creation (x) Value Access (x) Value Translation

Now you will notice that the components are multiplicative not additive. Do one or two well and one poorly and it doesn’t necessarily add up to a positive result. Doing one poorly and two well can still doom your innovation investment to failure. Let’s look at the three equation components in brief:

Value Creation is pretty self-explanatory. Your innovation investment must create incremental or completely new value large enough to overcome the switching costs of moving to your new solution from the old solution (including the ‘Do Nothing Solution’). New value can be created by making something more efficient, more effective, possible that wasn’t possible before, or create new psychological or emotional benefits.

Value Access could also be thought of as friction reduction. How easy do you make it for customers and consumers to access the value you’ve created. How well has the product or service been designed to allow people to access the value easily? How easy is it for the solution to be created? How easy is it for people to do business with you?

Value Translation is all about helping people understand the value you’ve created and how it fits into their lives. Value translation is also about understanding where on a continuum between the need for explanation and education that your solution falls. Incremental innovations can usually just be explained to people because they anchor to something they already understand, but radical or disruptive innovations inevitably require some level of education (often far in advance of the launch).

Done really well, value translation also helps to communicate how easy it will be for customers and consumers to exchange their old solution for the new solution. My favorite example of poor value translation and brilliant value translation come from the same company and the same product launch – The Apple iPad. It’s hard to believe, but Apple actually announced the iPad with the following statement:

“Our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price.”

iPad BillboardThis set off a firestorm of criticism and put the launch at risk of failure. But amazingly Apple managed to come up with the Out of Home (OOH) advertisements with a person with their feet up on a couch and the iPad on their lap (see above) by the time the product shipping. If a picture is worth a thousand words, this particular picture will probably end up being worth billions of dollars to Apple.

Never Forget!

Value creation is important, but you can’t succeed without equal attention being paid to both value access and value translation…

Because innovation is all about value…

Value Creation (x) Value Access (x) Value Translation = Success!

Creating a Continuous Innovation Capability

To achieve sustainable success at innovation, you must work to embed a repeatable process and way of thinking within your organization, and this is why it is important to have a simple common language and guiding framework of infinite innovation that all employees can easily grasp. If innovation becomes too complex, or seems too difficult then people will stop pursuing it, or supporting it.

Some organizations try to achieve this simplicity, or to make the pursuit of innovation seem more attainable, by viewing innovation as a project-driven activity. But, a project approach to innovation will prevent it from ever becoming a way of life in your organization. Instead you must work to position innovation as something infinite, a pillar of the organization, something with its own quest for excellence – a professional practice to be committed to.

So, if we take a lot of the best practices of innovation excellence and mix them together with a few new ingredients, the result is a simple framework organizations can use to guide their sustainable pursuit of innovation – the Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation. This new framework anchors what is a very collaborative process. Here is the framework and some of the many points organizations must consider during each stage of the continuous process:

1. Inspiration

  • Employees are constantly navigating an ever changing world both in their home context, and as they travel the world for business or pleasure, or even across various web pages in the browser of their PC, tablet, or smartphone.
  • What do they see as they move through the world that inspires them and possibly the innovation efforts of the company?
  • What do they see technology making possible soon that wasn’t possible before?
  • The first time through we are looking for inspiration around what to do, the second time through we are looking to be inspired around how to do it.
  • What inspiration do we find in the ideas that are selected for their implementation, illumination and/or installation?

2. Investigation

  • What can we learn from the various pieces of inspiration that employees come across?
  • How do the isolated elements of inspiration collect and connect? Or do they?
  • What customer insights are hidden in these pieces of inspiration?
  • What jobs-to-be-done are most underserved and are worth digging deeper on?
  • Which unmet customer needs that we see are worth trying to address?
  • Which are the most promising opportunities, and which might be the most profitable?

3. Ideation

  • We don’t want to just get lots of ideas, we want to get lots of good ideas
  • Insights and inspiration from first two stages increase relevance and depth of the ideas
  • We must give people a way of sharing their ideas in a way that feels safe for them
  • How can we best integrate online and offline ideation methods?
  • How well have we communicated the kinds of innovation we seek?
  • Have we trained our employees in a variety of creativity methods?

4. Iteration

  • No idea emerges fully formed, so we must give people a tool that allows them to contribute ideas in a way that others can build on them and help uncover the potential fatal flaws of ideas so that they can be overcome
  • We must prototype ideas and conduct experiments to validate assumptions and test potential stumbling blocks or unknowns to get learnings that we can use to make the idea and its prototype stronger
  • Are we instrumenting for learning as we conduct each experiment?

Eight I's of Infinite Innovation

5. Identification

  • In what ways do we make it difficult for customers to unlock the potential value from this potentially innovative solution?
  • What are the biggest potential barriers to adoption?
  • What changes do we need to make from a financing, marketing, design, or sales perspective to make it easier for customers to access the value of this new solution?
  • Which ideas are we best positioned to develop and bring to market?
  • What resources do we lack to realize the promise of each idea?
  • Based on all of the experiments, data, and markets, which ideas should we select?

You’ll see in the framework that things loop back through inspiration again before proceeding to implementation. There are two main reasons why. First, if employees aren’t inspired by the ideas that you’ve selected to commercialize and some of the potential implementation issues you’ve identified, then you either have selected the wrong ideas or you’ve got the wrong employees. Second, at this intersection you might want to loop back through the first five stages though an implementation lens before actually starting to implement your ideas OR you may unlock a lot of inspiration and input from a wider internal audience to bring into the implementation stage.

6. Implementation

  • What are the most effective and efficient ways to make, market, and sell this new solution?
  • How long will it take us to develop the solution?
  • Do we have access to the resources we will need to produce the solution?
  • Are we strong in the channels of distribution that are most suitable for delivering this solution?

7. Illumination

  • Is the need for the solution obvious to potential customers?
  • Are we launching a new solution into an existing product or service category or are we creating a new category?
  • Does this new solution fit under our existing brand umbrella and represent something that potential customers will trust us to sell to them?
  • How much value translation do we need to do for potential customers to help them understand how this new solution fits into their lives and is a must-have?
  • Do we need to merely explain this potential innovation to customers because it anchors to something that they already understand, or do we need to educate them on the value that it will add to their lives?

8. Installation

  • How do we best make this new solution an accepted part of everyday life for a large number of people?
  • How do we remove access barriers to make it easy as possible for people to adopt this new solution, and even tell their friends about it?
  • How do we instrument for learning during the installation process to feedback new customer learnings back into the process for potential updates to the solution?

Conclusion

The Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation framework is designed to be a continuous learning process, one without end as the outputs of one round become inputs for the next round. It’s also a relatively new guiding framework for organizations to use, so if you have thoughts on how to make it even better, please let me know in the comments. The framework is also ideally suited to power a wave of new organizational transformations that are coming as an increasing number of organizations (including Hallmark) begin to move from a product-centered organizational structure to a customer needs-centered organizational structure. The power of this new approach is that it focuses the organization on delivering the solutions that customers need as their needs continue to change, instead of focusing only on how to make a particular product (or set of products) better.

So, as you move from the project approach that is preventing innovation from ever becoming a way of life in your organization, consider using the Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation to influence your organization’s mindset and to anchor your common language of innovation. The framework is great for guiding conversations, making your innovation outputs that much stronger, and will contribute to your quest for innovation excellence – it is even more powerful when you combine it with my Value Innovation Framework (which I’ve done here in this article). The two are like chocolate and peanut butter. They’re powerful tools when used separately, but even more powerful when used together.

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Announcing a New Lean Innovation Series

Announcing a New Lean Innovation SeriesI’ve started working with a local healthcare insurance company in a role focused on driving improvement and innovation in its membership and billing operations. The company has a big focus on LEAN throughout the company and always has some sort of value stream mapping (VSM) or rapid process improvement workshop (RPIW) going on through the Kaizen Promotion Office (KPO). Despite this only being my second week on the job, I have already been involved in the company’s LEAN efforts. Having gone through Six Sigma Green Belt training and with my focus on innovation, this of course has been very interesting so far.

Some of you may recall my popular DMAIC for Innovation article for iSixSigma magazine.

In the spirit of the linkage I made between Six Sigma and Innovation in this article, I thought I would create a series of articles looking at the relationship and connections between LEAN and Innovation.

To anchor us all in the same frame of mind about what innovation is, my definition of the word is:

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

One of the key intersection points between LEAN and Innovation is that both are focused on value. LEAN focuses on activities in a process that add value and removing those that introduce waste, while innovation is focused on value creation, value access, and value translation. This I introduced in my often referenced article – Innovation is All About Value.

Innovation = Value Creation (x) Value Access (x) Value Translation

Now you will notice that the components are multiplicative not additive. Do one or two well and one poorly and it doesn’t necessarily add up to a positive result. Doing one poorly and two well can still doom your innovation investment to failure. Let’s look at the three equation components in brief:

Value Creation is pretty self-explanatory. Your innovation investment must create incremental or completely new value large enough to overcome the switching costs of moving to your new solution from the old solution (including the ‘Do Nothing Solution’). New value can be created by making something more efficient, more effective, possible that wasn’t possible before, or create new psychological or emotional benefits.

Value Access could also be thought of as friction reduction. How easy do you make it for customers and consumers to access the value you’ve created. How well has the product or service been designed to allow people to access the value easily? How easy is it for the solution to be created? How easy is it for people to do business with you?

Value Translation is all about helping people understand the value you’ve created and how it fits into their lives. Value translation is also about understanding where on a continuum between the need for explanation and education that your solution falls. Incremental innovations can usually just be explained to people because they anchor to something they already understand, but radical or disruptive innovations inevitably require some level of education (often far in advance of the launch).

Done really well, value translation also helps to communicate how easy it will be for customers and consumers to exchange their old solution for the new solution. My favorite example of poor value translation and brilliant value translation come from the same company and the same product launch – The Apple iPad. It’s hard to believe, but Apple actually announced the iPad with the following statement:

“Our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price.”

iPad BillboardThis set off a firestorm of criticism and put the launch at risk of failure. But amazingly Apple managed to come up with the Out of Home (OOH) advertisements with a person with their feet up on a couch and the iPad on their lap (see above) by the time the product shipping. If a picture is worth a thousand words, this particular picture will probably end up being worth billions of dollars to Apple.

Never Forget!

Value Creation is important, but you can’t succeed without equal attention being paid to both Value Access and Value Translation…

Because innovation is all about value…

Value Creation (x) Value Access (x) Value Translation = Success!

Lean versus Innovation

The graphic above highlights that LEAN and Innovation intersect on Value Access. Now let’s have a quick look at some of the key principles of LEAN from the web site of the Lean Enterprise Institute:

PRINCIPLES OF LEAN

The five-step thought process for guiding the implementation of lean techniques is easy to remember, but not always easy to achieve:

  • Specify value from the standpoint of the end customer by product family.
  • Identify all the steps in the value stream for each product family, eliminating whenever possible those steps that do not create value.
  • Make the value-creating steps occur in tight sequence so the product will flow smoothly toward the customer.
  • As flow is introduced, let customers pull value from the next upstream activity.
  • As value is specified, value streams are identified, wasted steps are removed, and flow and pull are introduced, begin the process again and continue it until a state of perfection is reached in which perfect value is created with no waste.

Key LEAN Principles

The second part of the above graphic highlights the seven sources of waste:

  • Inventory
  • Motion
  • Defects
  • Transportation
  • Processing
  • Overproduction
  • Time

While developed for the manufacturing context, LEAN can be (and is) used in service industries like health insurance as well. As you can see, LEAN is really focused on improvement and optimization of the status quo, while innovation in contrast is focused on the introduction of something new that disrupts the status quo. As a result, one is not better than the other, but instead both methodologies can be used side by side, and in future articles I will share more of my musings on how innovation and LEAN can be used together.

Stay tuned!


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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!


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Announcing the Crowd Computing Revolution

Designing Work for Man and Machine to Do Together

Announcing the Crowd Computing RevolutionI am proud to bring you a downloadable PDF of a piece I created on The Crowd Computing Revolution and the redesign of work that is now possible thanks to new technology tools and business architecture thinking that will allow man and machine to work more efficiently together than ever before.

Anyone who has read even one or two science fiction books or watched one or two SciFi movies inevitably finds themselves dreaming of a day when machines will free of us of some of the mundane tasks in our lives. Companies dream of this too. Witness the eagerness of companies to outsource entire job functions (or even more recently whole business processes) to third parties either onshore or offshore. Hackers and spammers have become quite adept at programming their machines to send emails to people or attempt to break through security around the clock, around the globe. We have built automated factories, interactive voice response systems, and devised all kinds of ways to put machines to work for us.

Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School at the University of Toronto has a simple framework from his treatise on Design Thinking titled The Design of Business, that shows how as we learn more about a knowledge (or work) area, our understanding and abilities allow us to move the piece of knowledge (or work) from something that is mysterious and performed in an ad hoc way by experts, to a level of maturity where we start to observe the patterns (or heuristics) in the knowledge area (or piece of work), to a stage where the work or knowledge is well-understood and can be reduced to an algorithm (or set of best practices) performed by lower skilled employees, and possibly even implemented as a piece of code to be executed by a robot or computer.

Knowledge Funnel

Source: The Design of Business by Roger Martin

But, as alluded to earlier, companies have not only become more comfortable with designing work to be executed by machines instead of employees, but also more amenable to many different sizes and shapes of work being completed by people outside the organization, including:

  1. Entire job functions (Contractors or Outsourcing Firms – Global Outsourcing Market was $95 Billion in 2011)
  2. Whole business processes (Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Firms – 2011 Market in excess of $11 Billion)
  3. Projects or initiatives (Outside Consultants)
  4. Discrete tasks (99Designs, Crowdspring, etc.)
  5. Micro tasks (Amazon Mechanical Turk, etc.)

Task and Micro-Task Division

Task and Micro-task Division

Over time the human race has moved from building simple machines that function as tools (like a forklift), allowing a man to do more with the help of the machine, to building machines and robots capable of completing a whole task (like painting a car or making an exact copy of a document). Has anyone seen a help wanted advertisement for a scribe lately? Meanwhile, our fully automated manufacturing and packaging plants use machines to complete an entire process. But machines aren’t suitable for every kind of work. They are appropriate for tasks that are well-defined and repeated continuously as part of a standardized process, but not a proper fit for tasks where judgment is required, particularly tasks with numerous exceptions, variability, or personalization.

As a result, typically machines and robots have been relegated most often to the production areas of a business, places where it has been easy to define specific tasks or even whole processes that can be designed for machines or robots to own and complete 24/7/365 if necessary.


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Rethinking Who (or What) Does the Work

Crowd Computing Part 2Rise of the Crowd

There is another growing trend that is now rivaling the growing power of robotics and automation – crowdsourcing. It all started with prizes like The Longitude Prize, but now thanks to the power of the Internet, companies and individuals all around the world are breaking down their projects and processes and tapping into the power of the crowd using loosely-organized, non-employee workforces like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to execute micro-tasks, getting whole tasks completed through sites like Top Coder and Crowdspring, or calling upon the crowd to solve difficult challenges using sites like Innocentive, NineSigma, and Idea Connection. Sites like these enable organizations to access knowledge, expertise, perspectives, or capacity that they don’t currently have in their organization (or to possibly to get a task or challenge completed at a lower cost). Check out my white paper Harnessing the Global Talent Pool to Accelerate Innovation to learn more about this topic and some of the strategies for successfully leveraging external talent.

Rise of the Business Architect

Our organizations face an innovation imperative amidst intensifying competition that is forcing an increasing number of industries to become commoditized. This increasing need for a sustained level of innovation and a requirement for innovation to be a repeatable and sustainable activity, has led to an increasing number of organizations to consciously design their approaches to the new businesses that they enter. This has led to the growth of two new business disciplines – business architecture and social business architecture.

NIH Business Architecture

Source: National Institute of Health

Business Architecture, according to Wikipedia, is “a modern technology-oriented business occupation…. Working as a change agent with senior business stakeholders, the business architect plays a key part in shaping and fostering continuous improvement and business transformation initiatives. Business architects lead efforts aiming at building an effective architecture for the business process management (BPM) projects that make up the business change programme. The business architect implements business models that require business technology to work effectively.”

Social Business Intersections Social Business Connections

Social Business Architecture on the other hand, facilitates and optimizes the group dynamics and interactions inside the organization, and Social Business Architects specialize in identifying the different parts of an organization that need to interact with groups of people outside the organization, how those parts of the organization should work together to communicate with people outside the organization, and help to identify and implement communications solutions that connect the organization with the target groups so that a meaningful connection and conversation can be built, and then helps to manage the conversations and the information and learnings from their outcomes for the benefit of the organization.

Social Business Attraction Social Business Engagement

Few organizations employ or are even yet aware of the need for Social Business Architects, but there are an increasing number of help wanted postings for Business Architects. This is because not only do organizations recognize the need to architect their new lines of business for maximum efficiency and to , but also because there are so many different ways that work can be executed (employees, contractors, consultants, outsourcing, business process outsourcing (BPO), crowdsourcing, and micro-task execution, that for maximum efficiency it now increasingly requires someone to investigate all of the options, break down the work to be done into jobs, projects and processes, tasks and microtasks so that the right resources can be hired, contracted, briefed, or otherwise engaged to ensure that everything is completed as quickly and as cheaply as possible.

A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing

Investigating Examples of Crowd Computing

The Crowd Computing Revolution - Part ThreeMoving from The Design of Business to Redesigning Work

Business Architects have the opportunity to plan for the organization how work can move from mystery to heuristics to algorithms to code. Business Architects (or people filling this role in an organization) have the opportunity to redesign work in the most efficient way possible to leverage both man and machine to get the work done at the lowest cost possible. Technology now exists to allow Business Architects and managers to move beyond allocating work on a job, project, or process basis, and instead design flexible workflows that combine the use of humans and machines to complete the tasks that they are best suited for, or even for humans to augment the work of machines.

For example, imagine that you work in the purchasing department at a large multinational and every month you receive hundreds or thousands of invoices from suppliers all over the world in all different kinds of formats – electronic, mailed paper invoices, PDFs, scanned paper invoices, and even faxed invoices. Your job as purchasing (or accounts payable) manager is to track all of the invoices that you receive, get them entered into your ERP system, and ultimately make sure that they get paid. You can hire or use an existing employee or contractor to manually key them all in, or sign a big dollar outsourcing deal sufficient to support the hiring, training, and management of offshore resources by the outsourcer, or you could try and use OCR software to do the job, but it would fail because of the great deal of variability in both the input sources and formatting of the documents and you’ll end up needing human resources to interpret the OCR output anyways.

Crowd Computing Invoice Processing Example

Or, you could examine the workflow of the process and identify which micro-tasks humans are best suited to perform and which micro-tasks machines are most efficient and cost-effective at performing. Then assign the right micro-task to the right resource. In the case of human resources, this could be an employee, a contractor, an external expert, or even a resource you don’t even know or control (via a crowd workforce like Amazon Mechanical Turk, Elance, etc.). And finally for each micro-task, assign a level of confidence in the quality of the assigned resource’s output and a define a process for grading it. In situations where you have a high level of confidence in the micro-task’s output quality, you can move directly on to the next micro-task in the workflow, but if you have a low level of confidence in a particular micro-task output performed by a machine, assign an alternate process to validate that output (such as using someone via Amazon Mechanical Turk to validate that “yes, this is a purchase order number”).

But that is not all that is possible these days. It is now possible for systems that facilitate the management of this kind of atomized work structure definition and workflow management and assignment, like those from Crowd Computing Systems, to also use artificial intelligence to both learn from the corrections that humans are making to a machine-driven, micro-task execution to get more accurate in the future, but also to learn how to do micro-tasks that humans are currently performing without machine assistance and to help identify the best performing crowd resources to inform work allocation decisions and to perform overall output quality optimization.

Conclusion

In much the same way that outsourcing felt awkward 20-25 years ago and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) felt foreign a decade ago, the time has come for crowd computing to begin to be a tool that managers and Business Architects can keep in their toolbox to better allocate work across man and machine. The time is now for man and machine to work together in ways that they never have before, and to learn from each other. The time has come for businesses and work to not just be operated and executed, but designed for maximum efficiency. Should we be afraid as workers that the machines are going to take away our jobs and leave us with nothing to do?

No. In much the same way that tractors and steam shovels began freeing man and beast from back breaking work nearly two hundred years ago, there are many benefits for man to gain from the crowd computing revolution – the biggest being freedom from an increasing amount of mind numbing work. Organizations that embrace crowd computing stand to gain not only to potentially lower processing costs for many high volume processes, but also will benefit from acquiring the ability to reassign analysts and other highly-skilled and trained employees to higher value work – better leveraging their existing human resources while simultaneously increasing employee satisfaction, retention, and knowledge creation in the enterprise. Are you ready for the crowd computing revolution?

Click Here to Download The Crowd Computing Revolution PDF

Sources:

http://speakology101.com/welcome/2012/05/21/break-it-down-tasks-sequencing/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/martin-ford/job-automation-is-a-futur_b_832146.html
http://www.statista.com/statistics/189788/global-outsourcing-market-size-since-2000/
http://www.rediff.com/business/report/bpo-market-to-be-worth-14-bn-in-2011/20110412.htm


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Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation

Eight I's of Infinite Innovation

Some authors talk about successful innovation being the sum of idea plus execution, others talk about the importance of insight and its role in driving the creation of ideas that will be meaningful to customers, and even fewer about the role of inspiration in uncovering potential insight. But innovation is all about value and each of the definitions, frameworks, and models out there only tell part of the story of successful innovation.

To achieve sustainable success at innovation, you must work to embed a repeatable process and way of thinking within your organization, and this is why it is important to have a simple common language and guiding framework of infinite innovation that all employees can easily grasp. If innovation becomes too complex, or seems too difficult then people will stop pursuing it, or supporting it.

Some organizations try to achieve this simplicity, or to make the pursuit of innovation seem more attainable, by viewing innovation as a project-driven activity. But, a project approach to innovation will prevent it from ever becoming a way of life in your organization. Instead you must work to position innovation as something infinite, a pillar of the organization, something with its own quest for excellence – a professional practice to be committed to.

So, if we take a lot of the best practices of innovation excellence and mix them together with a few new ingredients, the result is a simple framework organizations can use to guide their sustainable pursuit of innovation – the Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation. This new framework anchors what is a very collaborative process. Here is the framework and some of the many points organizations must consider during each stage of the continuous process:

1. Inspiration

  • Employees are constantly navigating an ever changing world both in their home context, and as they travel the world for business or pleasure, or even across various web pages in the browser of their PC, tablet, or smartphone.
  • What do they see as they move through the world that inspires them and possibly the innovation efforts of the company?
  • What do they see technology making possible soon that wasn’t possible before?
  • The first time through we are looking for inspiration around what to do, the second time through we are looking to be inspired around how to do it.
  • What inspiration do we find in the ideas that are selected for their implementation, illumination and/or installation?

2. Investigation

  • What can we learn from the various pieces of inspiration that employees come across?
  • How do the isolated elements of inspiration collect and connect? Or do they?
  • What customer insights are hidden in these pieces of inspiration?
  • What jobs-to-be-done are most underserved and are worth digging deeper on?
  • Which unmet customer needs that we see are worth trying to address?
  • Which are the most promising opportunities, and which might be the most profitable?

3. Ideation

  • We don’t want to just get lots of ideas, we want to get lots of good ideas
  • Insights and inspiration from first two stages increase relevance and depth of the ideas
  • We must give people a way of sharing their ideas in a way that feels safe for them
  • How can we best integrate online and offline ideation methods?
  • How well have we communicated the kinds of innovation we seek?
  • Have we trained our employees in a variety of creativity methods?

4. Iteration

  • No idea emerges fully formed, so we must give people a tool that allows them to contribute ideas in a way that others can build on them and help uncover the potential fatal flaws of ideas so that they can be overcome
  • We must prototype ideas and conduct experiments to validate assumptions and test potential stumbling blocks or unknowns to get learnings that we can use to make the idea and its prototype stronger
  • Are we instrumenting for learning as we conduct each experiment?

Eight I's of Infinite Innovation

5. Identification

  • In what ways do we make it difficult for customers to unlock the potential value from this potentially innovative solution?
  • What are the biggest potential barriers to adoption?
  • What changes do we need to make from a financing, marketing, design, or sales perspective to make it easier for customers to access the value of this new solution?
  • Which ideas are we best positioned to develop and bring to market?
  • What resources do we lack to realize the promise of each idea?
  • Based on all of the experiments, data, and markets, which ideas should we select?

You’ll see in the framework that things loop back through inspiration again before proceeding to implementation. There are two main reasons why. First, if employees aren’t inspired by the ideas that you’ve selected to commercialize and some of the potential implementation issues you’ve identified, then you either have selected the wrong ideas or you’ve got the wrong employees. Second, at this intersection you might want to loop back through the first five stages though an implementation lens before actually starting to implement your ideas OR you may unlock a lot of inspiration and input from a wider internal audience to bring into the implementation stage.

6. Implementation

  • What are the most effective and efficient ways to make, market, and sell this new solution?
  • How long will it take us to develop the solution?
  • Do we have access to the resources we will need to produce the solution?
  • Are we strong in the channels of distribution that are most suitable for delivering this solution?

7. Illumination

  • Is the need for the solution obvious to potential customers?
  • Are we launching a new solution into an existing product or service category or are we creating a new category?
  • Does this new solution fit under our existing brand umbrella and represent something that potential customers will trust us to sell to them?
  • How much value translation do we need to do for potential customers to help them understand how this new solution fits into their lives and is a must-have?
  • Do we need to merely explain this potential innovation to customers because it anchors to something that they already understand, or do we need to educate them on the value that it will add to their lives?

8. Installation

  • How do we best make this new solution an accepted part of everyday life for a large number of people?
  • How do we remove access barriers to make it easy as possible for people to adopt this new solution, and even tell their friends about it?
  • How do we instrument for learning during the installation process to feedback new customer learnings back into the process for potential updates to the solution?

Conclusion

The Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation framework is designed to be a continuous learning process, one without end as the outputs of one round become inputs for the next round. It’s also a relatively new guiding framework for organizations to use, so if you have thoughts on how to make it even better, please let me know in the comments. The framework is also ideally suited to power a wave of new organizational transformations that are coming as an increasing number of organizations (including Hallmark) begin to move from a product-centered organizational structure to a customer needs-centered organizational structure. The power of this new approach is that it focuses the organization on delivering the solutions that customers need as their needs continue to change, instead of focusing only on how to make a particular product (or set of products) better.

So, as you move from the project approach that is preventing innovation from ever becoming a way of life in your organization, consider using the Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation to influence your organization’s mindset and to anchor your common language of innovation. The framework is great for guiding conversations, making your innovation outputs that much stronger, and will contribute to your quest for innovation excellence – so give it a try.

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Innovation Quotes of the Day – May 29, 2012


“If you get people to ‘freely’ talk about innovation, its importance, its impact and can ‘paint’ the future in broad brush strokes, they achieve a growing clarity and enthusiasm and that often missing critical component – a sense of shared identity.”

– Paul Hobcraft


“The United States leads the world in innovation because it has created the perfect storm of a risk tolerant citizenry, where failure is sometimes a badge of honor, and a government that invests in basic research, helps to commercialize it, and for the most part tends to go out of the way from a regulatory standpoint.”

– Braden Kelley


“Organizations love to run the aforementioned innovation processes through the middle of the enterprise which is designed to eliminate variation. Think about your metrics, hurdle rates and stage-gate systems and it becomes clear that these practices are designed to created stability through standards, policies and similar controls. Innovation moves from the outside of the bell curve, where risk and reward are reversed, and moves to middle over time.”

– Jeff DeGraff


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!

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