Tag Archives: research

The Personal Touch Should Not Be Faked

The Personal Touch Should Not Be Faked

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

One of the most powerful customer service and CX tactics is personalization. We interviewed more than 1,000 consumers for our CX research, and 71% said a personalized experience is important to them. When personalization is used correctly, customers feel as if you recognize them. Using their name, remembering their past purchases, their buying patterns and more can build confidence and trust.

While personalization is nice, it is not required, and if you decide to do it, there are some mistakes you must avoid. For example, if you’ve ever talked to a customer service agent who uses your name repeatedly to the point that it seems disingenuous, the effort to personalize fails. Another example came in the form of an email I recently received from a sales rep. It started out like this:


I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to discuss upgrading your current technology …

Obviously, my name is not “Not Provided.” I could tell the mail-merge field didn’t work. It took about two seconds for me to delete the email.

What made it worse was the next day, I received a phone call from the salesperson who sent the email. He didn’t ask for me by name. He asked for “the person in charge of technology.” So, this guy has my phone number and email address, but can’t get my name? His “personalization” strategy failed. As always, I’m polite to every salesperson who calls, but the conversation and relationship were over in less than a minute.

Shep Hyken Personalization Cartoon

There are some pretty easy ways to create a personalized experience. Here are three of many to consider:

  1. Use the Customer’s Name – As already mentioned, be sure to use it correctly.
  2. Know the Customer’s Buying History – With the right software, you can track what the customer bought, how often and more.
  3. Make Appropriate Recommendations – Knowing your customer’s buying history can give you insights into up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. This isn’t a traditional sales pitch. It’s based on what you know about the customer. And if you know a customer can use something and don’t tell them about it, that is actually bad customer service.

While there are many more ideas, let’s wrap up with this. Personalization is about connecting with your customer. Be sure to do it right, whether it is as simple as using the customer’s name or as sophisticated as using data to understand your customer’s needs. No personalization is better than personalization done wrong.

Image Credits: Shep Hyken, Pexels

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“I don’t know,” is a clue you’re doing it right

“I don’t know,” is a clue you’re doing it right

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

If you know how to do it, it’s because you’ve done it before. You may feel comfortable with your knowledge, but you shouldn’t. You should feel deeply uncomfortable with your comfort. You’re not trying hard enough, and your learning rate is zero.

Seek out “don’t know.”

If you don’t know how to do it, acknowledge you don’t know, and then go figure it out. Be afraid, but go figure it out. You’ll make mistakes, but without mistakes, there can be no learning.

No mistakes, no learning. That’s a rule.

If you’re getting pressure to do what you did last time because you’re good at it, well, you’re your own worst enemy. There may be good profits from a repeat performance, but there is no personal growth.

Why not find someone with “don’t know” mind and teach them?

Find someone worthy of your time and attention and teach them how. The company gets the profits, an important person gets a new skill, and you get the satisfaction of helping someone grow.

No learning, no growth. That’s a rule.

No teaching, no learning. That’s a rule, too.

If you know what to do, it’s because you have a static mindset. The world has changed, but you haven’t. You’re walking an old cowpath. It’s time to try something new.

Seek out “don’t know” mind.

If you don’t know what to do, it’s because you recognize that the old way won’t cut it. You know have a forcing function to follow. Follow your fear.

No fear, no growth. That’s a rule.

Embrace the “don’t know” mind. It will help you find and follow your fear. And don’t shun your fear because it’s a leading indicator of novelty, learning, and growth.

Image credit: Pixabay

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Five Key Findings – 2023 State of CX Report

Unlock The Secrets To Exceptional Customer Service

Five Key Findings - 2023 State of CX Report

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

Are you looking for a competitive advantage to keep your customers coming back? I have the answer. The 2023 Achieving Customer Amazement (ACA) study, sponsored by Five9, uncovers the current state of customer service and customer experience (CX). This customer service and CX research is vital to anyone in any industry (B2B or B2C) who has customers—and that’s everyone!

Each year we survey more than 1,000 consumers about what they like, dislike, want and more to find out what it takes to get customers to come back. Regardless of the type of business or industry you are in, your customers will compare the experiences they have with you to the best customer experience they have had with any type of business—not just your direct competitors. In other words, customers are smarter and expect more because of the “rock star” companies that are setting a higher benchmark.

To kick off the new report, I have compiled a list of five of the most important findings:

1. Bulletproof Yourself From Your Competition

Okay, maybe you can’t completely bulletproof yourself from competitors, but creating a good service experience can give you an amazing competitive advantage. Seventy-six percent of the more than 1,000 American consumers we surveyed are willing to go out of their way to do business with a company that provides better customer service. Furthermore, a great service experience makes prices less relevant. We asked, “Is customer service more important than price?” Almost half (48%) said, “Yes!”

2. The Top Three Most Important Things When It Comes to Customer Service

This may seem like common sense, but unfortunately, it’s not as common as it should be. What customers want is simple. The top three “customer wants” are: (1) Employees who are helpful; (2) Being able to reach the right person in customer support; and (3) Knowledgeable employees.

3. The Top Three Reasons a Customer Will Leave You

Once again, you will probably say, “That’s common sense.” If so, why do so many companies fail on these three? They are: 1. Rudeness; 2. Inconsistent information; and 3. The inability to connect with someone from customer support. What’s interesting about “rudeness” being the top reason a customer leaves is that back in the 1980s—40 years ago—the White House commissioned a study with the Technical Assistance Research Program (TARP) which found that the top reason a customer would leave to do business elsewhere was rudeness or apathy. Basically, an employee being impolite or indifferent toward the customer. And here we are, decades later, and nothing has changed.

4. If You Want Your Customers to Trust You More, Deliver a Great Customer Service Experience

There is an old saying that people like to do business with people (and brands and companies) they know, like and trust. It’s easy to get people to know and like you, but it’s much more difficult to earn their trust. When you do, customers come back. You can’t have loyalty without trust. Here’s the finding: 82% of customers say great service increases their trust in a company.

5. Customers Love a Convenient, Low/No Friction Experience

You can’t ignore the impact of a convenient experience. Eighty-eight percent said convenience was important when deciding where they wanted to do business. Fifty-three percent would pay more if they knew they would receive a more convenient experience, and 69% say a convenient experience alone will make them want to come back. All things being equal, it’s the company that is easier to do business with that will win over its customers.


Of course, there are many more stats, facts and findings in this report, but these should give you an idea of just how important customer service can be to your organization. The findings will help you make better customer-focused decisions and make a case for investment in new technologies and customer service training to unlock the competitive advantage you’ve been looking for.

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com

Image Credit: Pixabay

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Is China Our New Sputnik Moment?

Is China Our New Sputnik Moment?

GUEST POST from Greg Satell

When the Soviets launched Sputnik, the first space satellite, into orbit in 1957, it was a wake-up call for America. Over the next year, President Eisenhower would sign the National Defense Education Act to spur science education, increase funding for research and establish NASA and DARPA to spur innovation.

A few years ago, a report by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) argued that we are at a similar point today, but with China. While we have been steadily decreasing federal investment in R&D over the past few decades, our Asian rival has been ramping up and now threatens our leadership in key technologies such as AI, genomics and quantum information technology.

Clearly, we need to increase our commitment to science and innovation and that means increasing financial investment. However, what the report makes clear is that money alone won’t solve the problem. We are, in several important ways, actually undermining our ability to innovate, now and in the future. We need to renew our culture of innovation in America.

Educating And Attracting Talent

The foundation of an innovation economy is education, especially in STEM subjects. Historically, America has been the world’s best educated workforce, but more recently we’ve fallen to fifth among OECD countries for post-secondary education. That’s alarming and something we will certainly need to reverse if we are to compete effectively.

Our educational descent can be attributed to three major causes. First, the rest of the world has become more educated, so the competition has become stiffer. Second, is financing. Tuition has nearly tripled in the last decade and student debt has become so onerous that it now takes about 20 years to pay off four years for college. Third, we need to work harder to attract talented people to the United States.

The CFR report recommends developing a “21st century National Defense Education Act” to create scholarships in STEM areas and making it easier for foreign students to get Green Cards when they graduate from our universities. It also points out that we need to work harder to attract foreign talent, especially in high impact areas like AI, genomics and quantum computing.

Unfortunately, we seem to be going the other way. The number of international students to American universities is declining. Policies like the muslim ban and concerns about gun violence are deterring scientific talent coming here. The denial rate for those on H1-B visas has increased from 4% in 2016 to 18% in the first quarter of 2019.

Throughout our history, it has been our openness to new people and new ideas that has made America exceptional. It’s a legitimate question whether that’s still true.

Building Technology Ecosystems

In the 1980s, the US semiconductor industry was on the ropes. Due to increased competition from low-cost Japanese manufacturers, American market share in the DRAM market fell from 70% to 20%. The situation not only had a significant economic impact, there were also important national security implications.

The federal government responded with two initiatives, the Semiconductor Research Corporation and SEMATECH, both of which were nonprofit consortiums that involved government, academia and industry. By the 1990s. American semiconductor manufacturers were thriving again.

Today, we have similar challenges with rare earth elements, battery technology and many manufacturing areas. The Obama administration responded by building similar consortiums to those that were established for semiconductors: The Critical Materials Institute for rare earth elements, JCESR for advanced batteries and the 14 separate Manufacturing Institutes.

Yet here again, we seem to be backsliding. The current administration has sought to slash funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership that supports small and medium sized producers. An addendum to the CFR report also points out that the administration has pushed for a 30% cut in funding for the national labs, which support much of the advanced science critical to driving American technology forward.

Supporting International Trade and Alliances

Another historical strength of the US economy has been our open approach to trade. The CFR report points out that our role as a “central node in a global network of research and development,” gave us numerous advantages, such as access to foreign talent at R&D centers overseas, investment into US industry and cooperative responses to global challenges.

However, the report warns that “the Trump administration’s indiscriminate use of tariffs against China, as well as partners and allies, will harm U.S. innovative capabilities.” It also faults the Trump administration for pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which would have bolstered our relationship with Asian partners and increased our leverage over China.

The tariffs undermine American industry in two ways. First, because many of the tariffs are on intermediate goods which US firms use to make products for export, we’re undermining our own competitive position, especially in manufacturing. Second, because trade partners such as Canada and the EU have retaliated against our tariffs, our position is weakened further.

Clearly, we compete in an ecosystem driven world in which power does not come from the top, but emanates from the center. Traditionally, America has positioned itself at the center of ecosystems by constantly connecting out. Now that process seems to have reversed itself and we are extremely vulnerable to others, such as China, filling the void.

We Need to Stop Killing Innovation in America

The CFR report, whose task force included such luminaries as Admiral William McRaven, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and economist Laura Tyson, should set alarm bells ringing. Although the report was focused on national security issues, it pertains to general competitiveness just as well and the picture it paints is fairly bleak.

After World War II, America stood almost alone in the world in terms of production capacity. Through smart policy, we were able to transform that initial advantage into long-term technological superiority. Today, however we have stiff competition in areas ranging from AI to synthetic biology to quantum systems.

At the same time, we seem to be doing everything we can to kill innovation in America. Instead of working to educate and attract the world’s best talent, we’re making it harder for Americans to attain higher education and for top foreign talent to come and work here. Instead of ramping up our science and technology programs, presidential budgets regular recommend cutting them. Instead of pulling our allies closer, we are pushing them away.

To be clear, America is still at the forefront of science and technology, vying for leadership in every conceivable area. However, as global competition heats up and we need to be redoubling our efforts, we seem to be doing just the opposite. The truth is that our prosperity is not a birthright to which we are entitled, but a legacy that must be lived up to.

— Article courtesy of the Digital Tonto blog
— Image credit: Pixabay

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Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of February 2023

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of February 2023Drum 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. Did your favorite make the cut?

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

  1. Latest Innovation Management Research Revealed — by Braden Kelley
  2. Apple Watch Must Die (At least temporarily, because it’s proven bad for innovation) — by Braden Kelley
  3. Unlock Hundreds of Ideas by Doing This One Thing (Inspired by Hollywood) — by Robyn Bolton
  4. Using Limits to Become Limitless — by Rachel Audige
  5. Kickstarting Change and Innovation in Uncertain Times — by Janet Sernack
  6. Five Challenges All Teams Face — by David Burkus
  7. A Guide to Harnessing the Power of Foresight (Unlock Your Company’s Full Potential) — by Teresa Spangler
  8. Creating Great Change, Transformation and Innovation Teams — by Stefan Lindegaard
  9. The Ultimate Guide to the Phase-Gate Process — by Dainora Jociute
  10. Delivering Innovation (How the History of Mail Order Can Help Us Manage Innovation at Scale) — by John Bessant

BONUS – Here are five more strong articles published in January 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 three years:

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Rise of the Chief Trust Officer

Rise of the Chief Trust Officer

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

Do your customers trust you?

Are you sure?

According to PwC’s 2022 Consumer Intelligence Series Survey on Trust, 87% of executives think customers highly trust their companies, but only about 30% of customers do. That’s a 57% gap!

The PwC survey also found 71% of consumers say they’re unlikely to buy if a company loses their trust, and 71% of employees say they’re likely to leave if they lose trust. The lack of trust can result in huge problems.

Deloitte reports that of more than 260 C-suite executives surveyed, 61% claimed their organizations would work to improve trust with customers and employees. However, just 19% have a leader in the C-suite to oversee the effort, and less than 14% have a way to track trust. Ashley Reichheld, principal and trust leader at Deloitte Consulting LLP, says, “Building trust is among the most powerful ways brands can earn loyalty, drive differentiation and create competitive advantage.”

According to David Horsager, global authority on trust, “A lack of trust is your biggest expense in business.” His research has found that when a leader is untrusted, both employee and customer satisfaction decreases. Conversely, if a brand is trusted, revenue and employee retention increase.

The goal is to narrow the trust gap. Ideally, you want to eliminate the gap altogether. Here are ten ways to make that happen:

  1. Be Transparent – Being open and honest about your policies, delivery times, processes and more builds trust and confidence with your customers. You want them to know you and how you operate.
  2. Do What You Say You Will Do – Deliver on whatever you promise. There are many ways to lose a customer’s trust, but the fastest may be to break a promise. In short, a broken promise is a lie.
  3. Provide Excellent Customer Service – Our customer experience research found that 84% of consumers trust a company or brand more if it provides an excellent customer service experience.
  4. Protect Your Customer’s Privacy – Data protection is a hot topic. With all the data breaches, customers need to know you make a great effort to protect any information they share with you.
  5. Don’t Abuse Your Customer’s Data – This goes right along with protecting your customer’s privacy. If they are willing to give you information about themselves, even if it is just payment information and an email address, don’t abuse it by spamming the customer or selling the information to others.
  6. Be Reliable – A customer expects that what they buy from a company does what it is supposed to do. Products must be reliable and dependable. In addition, they also expect the company to stand behind what it sells with the right level of customer service.
  7. Fast Response – Customers have different tolerances for how long they will wait on hold, wait for a return phone call, an email response, etc. When it comes to customer service, fast means meeting a customer’s expectations.
  8. Be Accessible – Start with being easy to reach. Easy-to-find contact information on a website is important. Hours of operation, at least for customer service, must also meet your customer’s needs and expectations.
  9. Act on Customer Feedback – It’s one thing to gather feedback. It’s another to act on it. And once you act on the feedback, let the customers know they were heard. Always thank customers for their feedback, and follow up if it is appropriate to do so.

Create a Chief Trust Officer Role (or Something Similar) – This goes back to the finding from Deloitte at the beginning of this article. Just 19% of companies have a leader in the C-suite to oversee the effort of creating trust with customers.

Now that we understand more about the importance of trust, we might say those companies with a dedicated “trust officer” are a step ahead, taking advantage of a somewhat overlooked aspect of customer service. Seems like a great opportunity for any company to step up and focus on building trust—and the business that is sure to follow.

This article was originally published on Forbes.com.

Image Credit: Pixabay

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Latest Innovation Management Research Revealed

The Latest Read on the Evolution of Innovation Management

by Braden Kelley

Recently I had the opportunity to get a preview of InnoLead’s latest research report sponsored by KPMG. The report is now available to members, and I would be really interested to hear your thoughts on its findings:

Benchmarking Innovation Impact 2023

Please let me know where you agree and where you disagree by sounding off in the comments below or over on Twitter (@innovate).

Here are some of my key takeaways after rifling through the report:

1. A shift from transformational innovation to incremental innovation

There are several comparisons of data gathered for this report to data gathered for a previous edition in 2020. One might think that perhaps between 2020 much of the low hanging innovation fruit might have been picked and that companies might be shifting more of their innovation attention towards transformational/radical/disruptive innovation, but the report shows that the opposite is true. Check out the interactive chart here:

The data shows that between 2020 and 2023 respondents have shifted their mix of incremental, adjacent and transformational innovation away from transformational innovation and towards incremental and adjacent.

Some of other areas that you will find in the report include:

  • Team Characteristics
  • Budget & Resources
  • Collaboration & Spaces
  • Focus & Activities
  • Challenges & Enablers

2. The Greatest Innovation Challenges are somewhat predictable

Both of these embedded graphics have tabs that you can click back and forth between to compare the two data sets. In this case we’re comparing large and medium size organizations versus small organizations. There are few surprises here, other than the fact that politics/turf war/alignment and lack of budget are top of the list for organizations of all sizes.

3. Five Other Key Observations From Elsewhere in the Report

  • The vast majority of innovation work does not happen in person
  • Most innovation teams consist of people that could be counted on one or two hands
  • Most innovation budgets are set annually – reducing the ability of organizations to respond to new insights and technologies quickly
  • Organizations are more likely to engage in innovation training and internal idea challenges than running an innovation lab or working with accelerators
  • Leadership support continues to be the top enabler for innovation success

All of the detail, and many more insights live within the pages of the Benchmarking Innovation Impact 2023 report.

For those of you who have already read the report, where did you agree and where did you disagree with the findings?

And for those of you who haven’t had a look at it, you can download the report on the linked name above.

Image credit: Pixabay

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Today’s Customer Wants to Go Fast

Today's Customer Wants to Go Fast

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

Customers don’t want to wait. Specifically, they don’t want you to waste their time. If you do make them wait, you risk losing them. Making your customers wait sends the message that you don’t respect them or their time.

Jay Baer, a customer experience and marketing expert, proves this in his latest study, The Time to Win, which measures the impact of speed and responsiveness on customer experience and loyalty.

Just how important is speed? Consider these findings from Baer’s report:

  • Two-thirds of customers say speed is as important as price.
  • More than half of the customers surveyed hired the first business to respond to their requests, even if it was more expensive.
  • Half of all customers will not wait more than three minutes in a store.

I had a chance to interview Baer on Amazing Business Radio, where he shared some important insights that should be considered. Here are six of my favorites, followed by my commentary:

  • Speed is the most important component of customer experience and the only one that never pauses or goes backward – Calling it the most important component of the customer experience is bold, but consider a key finding from the report: 50% of customers are less likely to spend money with a business that takes longer to respond than they expect. Baer says, “Customers’ expectations for speed and responsiveness escalate every year without fail.”
  • Everyone has the same amount of time, 1,440 minutes a day, and there is nothing we can do to get more – Time is the same for everyone. Nobody gets more than anyone else. It has nothing to do with being rich, poor, young or old. And once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. Starting with that premise, business leaders should ask themselves, “What can we do to make sure we’re not to blame for wasting our customers’ time?”
  • Age makes a difference – In our interview, I was surprised when Baer shared the generations that were most and least patient. I would have thought Baby Boomers (the older generation) would have been more patient, but I was wrong. Gen-Z is the most patient generation. Boomers are the least patient. The point is to know your customers. Who do you cater to? Understand the demographics and improve your response time accordingly.
  • The first company that responds to a customer has an incredible advantage – If your company is the first to respond, you could win the customer’s business, regardless of price. Specifically, 53% of consumers hired the first business that responded to them. Customers want to make decisions and move on. If you give them what they want, they can skip the hassle and time of comparing all the competition.
  • Fast response impacts your bottom line – Just as customer service and convenience make price less relevant, so does quick response or fast service. The research found that customers would pay an average of 19% more for “always immediate service,” which includes no waiting in line, not waiting on hold, etc. In other words, customers put a premium on speed. It’s about convenience. Furthermore, 27% of customers are more likely to spend money when the brand responds faster than expected.
  • Right now is not really right now – As customers’ expectations and their need for speed increase, the concept of “right now” can seem daunting. According to Baer, the concept of “right now” is the optimal amount of elapsed time in every customer interaction throughout the entire customer journey. If that sounds technical, here’s a simpler way of putting it: “Right now” is simply slightly faster than the customer expected.

With only 1,440 minutes available each day, customers want to devote as few minutes as possible to waiting, as Baer’s research proves. This is so important that people will pay more for it. The security lines in airports are perfect examples of this. If you’ve taken a flight in a major U.S. airport, you’ll notice three lines to get through security. The TSA security line is for most passengers. This is free. Then there is TSA PreCheck. For a small investment of $78 (which covers you for five years), you can get pre-qualified to use a shorter line where you don’t have to take your computer out of your bag, take off your shoes, and more. And for a bit more money, you can sign up for CLEAR, which allows you to jump to the front of the TSA lines.

Baer’s research makes an important point. If you want a competitive edge in business, respect your customer’s time. Don’t make them wait. Respond quickly to their questions, requests, and problems. Find ways to incorporate speed into your customer experience and you’ll reap the benefits of returning customers who spend more and say, “I’ll be back!”

This article was originally published on Forbes.com.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Top 100 Innovation and Transformation Articles of 2022

Top 100 Innovation and Transformation Articles of 2022

2021 marked the re-birth of my original Blogging Innovation blog as a new blog called Human-Centered Change and Innovation.

Many of you may know that Blogging Innovation grew into the world’s most popular global innovation community before being re-branded as InnovationExcellence.com and being ultimately sold to DisruptorLeague.com.

Thanks to an outpouring of support I’ve ignited the fuse of this new multiple author blog around the topics of human-centered change, innovation, transformation and design.

I feel blessed that the global innovation and change professional communities have responded with a growing roster of contributing authors and more than 17,000 newsletter subscribers.

To celebrate we’ve pulled together the Top 100 Innovation and Transformation Articles of 2022 from our archive of over 1,000 articles on these topics.

We do some other rankings too.

We just published the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2022 and as the volume of this blog has grown we have brought back our monthly article ranking to complement this annual one.

But enough delay, here are the 100 most popular innovation and transformation posts of 2022.

Did your favorite make the cut?

1. A Guide to Organizing Innovation – by Jesse Nieminen

2. The Education Business Model Canvas – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

3. 50 Cognitive Biases Reference – Free Download – by Braden Kelley

4. Why Innovation Heroes Indicate a Dysfunctional Organization – by Steve Blank

5. The One Movie All Electric Car Designers Should Watch – by Braden Kelley

6. Don’t Forget to Innovate the Customer Experience – by Braden Kelley

7. What Latest Research Reveals About Innovation Management Software – by Jesse Nieminen

8. Is Now the Time to Finally End Our Culture of Disposability? – by Braden Kelley

9. Free Innovation Maturity Assessment – by Braden Kelley

10. Cognitive Bandwidth – Staying Innovative in ‘Interesting’ Times – by Pete Foley

11. Is Digital Different? – by John Bessant

12. Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2021 – Curated by Braden Kelley

13. Can We Innovate Like Elon Musk? – by Pete Foley

14. Why Amazon Wants to Sell You Robots – by Shep Hyken

15. Free Human-Centered Change Tools – by Braden Kelley

16. What is Human-Centered Change? – by Braden Kelley

17. Not Invented Here – by John Bessant

18. Top Five Reasons Customers Don’t Return – by Shep Hyken

19. Visual Project Charter™ – 35″ x 56″ (Poster Size) and JPG for Online Whiteboarding – by Braden Kelley

20. Nine Innovation Roles – by Braden Kelley

21. How Consensus Kills Innovation – by Greg Satell

22. Why So Much Innoflation? – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

23. ACMP Standard for Change Management® Visualization – 35″ x 56″ (Poster Size) – Association of Change Management Professionals – by Braden Kelley

24. 12 Reasons to Write Your Own Letter of Recommendation – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

25. The Five Keys to Successful Change – by Braden Kelley

26. Innovation Theater – How to Fake It ‘Till You Make It – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

27. Five Immutable Laws of Change – by Greg Satell

28. How to Free Ourselves of Conspiracy Theories – by Greg Satell

29. An Innovation Action Plan for the New CTO – by Steve Blank

30. How to Write a Failure Resume – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

Build a common language of innovation on your team

31. Entrepreneurs Must Think Like a Change Leader – by Braden Kelley

32. No Regret Decisions: The First Steps of Leading through Hyper-Change – by Phil Buckley

33. Parallels Between the 1920’s and Today Are Frightening – by Greg Satell

34. Technology Not Always the Key to Innovation – by Braden Kelley

35. The Era of Moving Fast and Breaking Things is Over – by Greg Satell

36. A Startup’s Guide to Marketing Communications – by Steve Blank

37. You Must Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable – by Janet Sernack

38. Four Key Attributes of Transformational Leaders – by Greg Satell

39. We Were Wrong About What Drove the 21st Century – by Greg Satell

40. Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire – by Braden Kelley

41. Now is the Time to Design Cost Out of Our Products – by Mike Shipulski

42. Why Good Ideas Fail – by Greg Satell

43. Five Myths That Kill Change and Transformation – by Greg Satell

44. 600 Free Innovation, Transformation and Design Quote Slides – Curated by Braden Kelley

45. FutureHacking – by Braden Kelley

46. Innovation Requires Constraints – by Greg Satell

47. The Experiment Canvas™ – 35″ x 56″ (Poster Size) – by Braden Kelley

48. The Pyramid of Results, Motivation and Ability – by Braden Kelley

49. Four Paradigm Shifts Defining Our Next Decade – by Greg Satell

50. Why Most Corporate Mindset Programs Are a Waste of Time – by Alain Thys

Accelerate your change and transformation success

51. Impact of Cultural Differences on Innovation – by Jesse Nieminen

52. 600+ Downloadable Quote Posters – Curated by Braden Kelley

53. The Four Secrets of Innovation Implementation – by Shilpi Kumar

54. What Entrepreneurship Education Really Teaches Us – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

55. Reset and Reconnect in a Chaotic World – by Janet Sernack

56. You Can’t Innovate Without This One Thing – by Robyn Bolton

57. Why Change Must Be Built on Common Ground – by Greg Satell

58. Four Innovation Ecosystem Building Blocks – by Greg Satell

59. Problem Seeking 101 – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

60. Taking Personal Responsibility – Back to Leadership Basics – by Janet Sernack

61. The Lost Tribe of Medicine – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

62. Invest Yourself in All That You Do – by Douglas Ferguson

63. Bureaucracy and Politics versus Innovation – by Braden Kelley

64. Dare to Think Differently – by Janet Sernack

65. Bridging the Gap Between Strategy and Reality – by Braden Kelley

66. Innovation vs. Invention vs. Creativity – by Braden Kelley

67. Building a Learn It All Culture – by Braden Kelley

68. Real Change Requires a Majority – by Greg Satell

69. Human-Centered Innovation Toolkit – by Braden Kelley

70. Silicon Valley Has Become a Doomsday Machine – by Greg Satell

71. Three Steps to Digital and AI Transformation – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

72. We need MD/MBEs not MD/MBAs – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

73. What You Must Know Before Leading a Design Thinking Workshop – by Douglas Ferguson

74. New Skills Needed for a New Era of Innovation – by Greg Satell

75. The Leader’s Guide to Making Innovation Happen – by Jesse Nieminen

76. Marriott’s Approach to Customer Service – by Shep Hyken

77. Flaws in the Crawl Walk Run Methodology – by Braden Kelley

78. Disrupt Yourself, Your Team and Your Organization – by Janet Sernack

79. Why Stupid Questions Are Important to Innovation – by Greg Satell

80. Breaking the Iceberg of Company Culture – by Douglas Ferguson

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81. A Brave Post-Coronavirus New World – by Greg Satell

82. What Can Leaders Do to Have More Innovative Teams? – by Diana Porumboiu

83. Mentors Advise and Sponsors Invest – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

84. Increasing Organizational Agility – by Braden Kelley

85. Should You Have a Department of Artificial Intelligence? – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

86. This 9-Box Grid Can Help Grow Your Best Future Talent – by Soren Kaplan

87. Creating Employee Connection Innovations in the HR, People & Culture Space – by Chris Rollins

88. Developing 21st-Century Leader and Team Superpowers – by Janet Sernack

89. Accelerate Your Mission – by Brian Miller

90. How the Customer in 9C Saved Continental Airlines from Bankruptcy – by Howard Tiersky

91. How to Effectively Manage Remotely – by Douglas Ferguson

92. Leading a Culture of Innovation from Any Seat – by Patricia Salamone

93. Bring Newness to Corporate Learning with Gamification – by Janet Sernack

94. Selling to Generation Z – by Shep Hyken

95. Importance of Measuring Your Organization’s Innovation Maturity – by Braden Kelley

96. Innovation Champions and Pilot Partners from Outside In – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

97. Transformation Insights – by Bruce Fairley

98. Teaching Old Fish New Tricks – by Braden Kelley

99. Innovating Through Adversity and Constraints – by Janet Sernack

100. It is Easier to Change People than to Change People – by Annette Franz

Curious which article just missed the cut? Well, here it is just for fun:

101. Chance to Help Make Futurism and Foresight Accessible – by Braden Kelley

These are the Top 100 innovation and transformation articles of 2022 based on the number of page views. If your favorite Human-Centered Change & Innovation article didn’t make the cut, then send a tweet to @innovate and maybe we’ll consider doing a People’s Choice List for 2022.

If you’re not familiar with Human-Centered Change & Innovation, we publish 1-6 new articles every week focused on human-centered change, innovation, transformation and design insights from our roster of contributing authors and ad hoc submissions from community members. Get the articles right in your Facebook feed or on Twitter or LinkedIn too!

Editor’s Note: Human-Centered Change & Innovation is open to contributions from any and all the innovation & transformation professionals out there (practitioners, professors, researchers, consultants, authors, etc.) who have a valuable insight to share with everyone for the greater good. If you’d like to contribute, contact us.

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3 Things Politicians Can Do to Create Innovation

3 Things Politicians Can Do to Create Innovation

GUEST POST from Greg Satell

In the 1960s, the federal government accounted for more than 60% of all research funding, yet by 2016 that had fallen to just over 20%. During the same time, businesses’ share of R&D investment more than doubled from about 30% to almost 70%. Government’s role in US innovation, it seems, has greatly diminished.

Yet new research suggests that the opposite is actually true. Analyzing all patents since 1926, researchers found that the number of patents that relied on government support has risen from 12% in the 1980s to almost 30% today. Interestingly, the same research found that startups benefitted the most from government research.

As we struggle to improve productivity from historical lows, we need the public sector to play a part. The truth is that the government has a unique role to play in driving innovation and research is only part of it. In addition to funding labs and scientists, it can help bring new ideas to market, act as a convening force and offer crucial expertise to private businesses.

1. Treat Knowledge As A Public Good

By 1941, it had become clear that the war raging in Europe would soon envelop the US. With this in mind, Vannevar Bush went to President Roosevelt with a visionary idea — to mobilize the nation’s growing scientific prowess for the war effort. Roosevelt agreed and signed an executive order that would create the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD).

With little time to build labs, the OSRD focused on awarding grants to private organizations such as universities. It was, by all accounts, an enormous success and lead to important breakthroughs such as the atomic bomb, proximity fuze and radar. As the war was winding down, Roosevelt asked Bush to write a report to continue OSRD’s success peacetime.

That report, titled Science, The Endless Frontier, was delivered to President Truman and would set the stage for America’s lasting technological dominance. It set forth a new vision in which scientific advancement would be treated as a public good, financed by the government, but made available for private industry. As Bush explained:

Basic research leads to new knowledge. It provides scientific capital. It creates the fund from which the practical applications of knowledge must be drawn. New products and new processes do not appear full-grown. They are founded on new principles and new conceptions, which in turn are painstakingly developed by research in the purest realms of science.

The influence of Bush’s idea cannot be overstated. It led to the creation of new government agencies, such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and, later, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). These helped to create a scientific infrastructure that has no equal anywhere in the world.

2. Help to Overcome the Valley of Death

Government has a unique role to play in basic research. Because fundamental discoveries are, almost by definition, widely applicable, they are much more valuable if they are published openly. At the same time, because private firms have relatively narrow interests, they are less able to fully leverage basic discoveries.

However, many assume that because basic research is a primary role for public investment that it is its only relevant function. Clearly, that’s not the case. Another important role government has to play is helping to overcome the gap between the discovery of a new technology and its commercialization, which is so fraught with peril that it’s often called the “Valley of Death.”

The oldest and best known of initiative is SBIR/STTR program, which is designed to help startups commercialize cutting-edge research. Grants are given in two phases. In the first, a proof-of-concept phase, grants are capped at $150,000. If that’s successful, up to $1 million more can be awarded. Some SBIR/STTR companies, such as Qualcomm, iRobot and Symantec, have become industry leaders.

Other more focused programs have also been established. ARPA-e focuses exclusively on advanced energy technologies. Lab Embedded Entrepreneurship Programs (LEEP) give entrepreneurs access to the facilities and expertise of the National Labs in addition to a small grant. The Manufacturing Extension Program (MEP) helps smaller companies build the skills they need to be globally competitive.

3. Act As a Convening Force

A third role government can play is that of a convening force. For example, in 1987 a non-profit consortium made up of government labs, research universities and private sector companies, called SEMATECH, was created to regain competitiveness in the semiconductor industry. America soon regained its lead, which continues even today.

The reason that SEMATECH was so successful was that it combined the scientific expertise of the country’s top labs with the private sector’s experience in solving real world problems. It also sent a strong signal that the federal government saw the technology as important, which encouraged private companies to step up their investment as well.

Today, a number of new initiatives have been launched that follow a similar model. The most wide-ranging is the Manufacturing USA Institutes, which are helping drive advancement in everything from robotics and photonics to biofabrication and composite materials. Others, such as JCESR and the Critical Materials Institute, are more narrowly focused.

Much like its role in supporting basic science and helping new technologies get through the “Valley of Death,” acting as a convening force is something that, for the most part, only the federal government can do.

Make No Mistake: This Is Our New Sputnik Moment

In the 20th century three key technologies, electricity, internal combustion and computing drove economic advancement and the United States led each one. That is why it is often called the “American Century.” No country, perhaps since the Roman Empire, has ever so thoroughly dominated the known world.

Yet the 21st century will be different. The most important technologies will be things like synthetic biology, materials science and artificial intelligence. These are largely nascent and it’s still not clear who, if anybody, will emerge as a clear leader. It is very possible that we will compete economically and technologically with China, much like we used to compete politically and militarily with the Soviet Union.

Yet back in the Cold War, it was obvious that the public sector had an important role to play. When Kennedy vowed to go to the moon, nobody argued that the effort should be privatized. It was clear that such an enormous undertaking needed government leadership at the highest levels. We pulled together and we won.

Today, by all indications, we are at a new Sputnik moment in which our global scientific and technological leadership is being seriously challenged. We can respond with imagination, creating novel ways to, as Bush put it, “turn the wheels of private and public enterprise,” or we can let the moment pass us by and let the next generation face the consequences.

One thing is clear. We will be remembered for what we chose to do.

— Article courtesy of the Digital Tonto blog
— Image credit: Pixabay

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