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Top 100 Innovation and Transformation Articles of 2023

Top 100 Innovation and Transformation Articles of 2023

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 2023 from our archive of over 1,800 articles on these topics.

We do some other rankings too.

We just published the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2023 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 2023.

Did your favorite make the cut?

1. Fear is a Leading Indicator of Personal Growth – by Mike Shipulski

2. The Education Business Model Canvas – by Arlen Meyers

3. Act Like an Owner – Revisited! – by Shep Hyken

4. Free Innovation Maturity Assessment – by Braden Kelley

5. The Role of Stakeholder Analysis in Change Management – by Art Inteligencia

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

7. Sustaining Imagination is Hard – by Braden Kelley

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

9. 50 Cognitive Biases Reference – Free Download – by Braden Kelley

10. A 90% Project Failure Rate Means You’re Doing it Wrong – by Mike Shipulski

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

12. Reversible versus Irreversible Decisions – by Farnham Street

13. Three Maps to Innovation Success – by Robyn Bolton

14. Why Most Corporate Innovation Programs Fail (And How To Make Them Succeed) – by Greg Satell

15. The Paradox of Innovation Leadership – by Janet Sernack

16. Innovation Management ISO 56000 Series Explained – by Diana Porumboiu

17. An Introduction to Journey Maps – by Braden Kelley

18. Sprint Toward the Innovation Action – by Mike Shipulski

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

20. Should a Bad Grade in Organic Chemistry be a Doctor Killer? – NYU Professor Fired for Giving Students Bad Grades – by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

21. How Networks Power Transformation – by Greg Satell

22. Are We Abandoning Science? – by Greg Satell

23. A Tipping Point for Organizational Culture – by Janet Sernack

24. Latest Interview with the What’s Next? Podcast – with Braden Kelley

25. Scale Your Innovation by Mapping Your Value Network – by John Bessant

26. Leveraging Emotional Intelligence in Change Leadership – by Art Inteligencia

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

28. Unintended Consequences. The Hidden Risk of Fast-Paced Innovation – by Pete Foley

29. A Shortcut to Making Strategic Trade-Offs – by Geoffrey A. Moore

30. 95% of Work is Noise – by Mike Shipulski

Build a common language of innovation on your team

31. 8 Strategies to Future-Proofing Your Business & Gaining Competitive Advantage – by Teresa Spangler

32. The Nine Innovation Roles – by Braden Kelley

33. The Fail Fast Fallacy – by Rachel Audige

34. What is the Difference Between Signals and Trends? – by Art Inteligencia

35. A Top-Down Open Innovation Approach – by Geoffrey A. Moore

36. FutureHacking – Be Your Own Futurist – by Braden Kelley

37. Five Key Digital Transformation Barriers – by Howard Tiersky

38. The Malcolm Gladwell Trap – by Greg Satell

39. Four Characteristics of High Performing Teams – by David Burkus

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

41. 39 Digital Transformation Hacks – by Stefan Lindegaard

42. The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Future Employment – by Chateau G Pato

43. A Triumph of Artificial Intelligence Rhetoric – Understanding ChatGPT – by Geoffrey A. Moore

44. Imagination versus Knowledge – Is imagination really more important? – by Janet Sernack

45. A New Innovation Sphere – by Pete Foley

46. The Pyramid of Results, Motivation and Ability – Changing Outcomes, Changing Behavior – by Braden Kelley

47. Three HOW MIGHT WE Alternatives That Actually Spark Creative Ideas – by Robyn Bolton

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

49. Where People Go Wrong with Minimum Viable Products – by Greg Satell

50. Will Artificial Intelligence Make Us Stupid? – by Shep Hyken

Accelerate your change and transformation success

51. A Global Perspective on Psychological Safety – by Stefan Lindegaard

52. Customer Service is a Team Sport – by Shep Hyken

53. Top 40 Innovation Bloggers of 2022 – Curated by Braden Kelley

54. A Flop is Not a Failure – by John Bessant

55. Generation AI Replacing Generation Z – by Braden Kelley

56. ‘Innovation’ is Killing Innovation. How Do We Save It? – by Robyn Bolton

57. Ten Ways to Make Time for Innovation – by Nick Jain

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

59. Back to Basics: The Innovation Alphabet – by Robyn Bolton

60. The Role of Stakeholder Analysis in Change Management – by Art Inteligencia

61. Will CHATgpt make us more or less innovative? – by Pete Foley

62. 99.7% of Innovation Processes Miss These 3 Essential Steps – by Robyn Bolton

63. Rethinking Customer Journeys – by Geoffrey A. Moore

64. Reasons Change Management Frequently Fails – by Greg Satell

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

66. AI Has Already Taken Over the World – by Braden Kelley

67. How to Lead Innovation and Embrace Innovative Leadership – by Diana Porumboiu

68. Five Questions All Leaders Should Always Be Asking – by David Burkus

69. Latest Innovation Management Research Revealed – by Braden Kelley

70. A Guide to Effective Brainstorming – by Diana Porumboiu

71. Unlocking the Power of Imagination – How Humans and AI Can Collaborate for Innovation and Creativity – by Teresa Spangler

72. Rise of the Prompt Engineer – by Art Inteligencia

73. Taking Care of Yourself is Not Impossible – by Mike Shipulski

74. Design Thinking Facilitator Guide – A Crash Course in the Basics – by Douglas Ferguson

75. What Have We Learned About Digital Transformation Thus Far? – by Geoffrey A. Moore

76. Building a Better Change Communication Plan – by Braden Kelley

77. How to Determine if Your Problem is Worth Solving – by Mike Shipulski

78. Increasing Organizational Agility – by Braden Kelley

79. Mystery of Stonehenge Solved – by Braden Kelley

80. Agility is the 2023 Success Factor – by Soren Kaplan

Get the Change Planning Toolkit

81. The Five Gifts of Uncertainty – by Robyn Bolton

82. 3 Innovation Types Not What You Think They Are – by Robyn Bolton

83. Using Limits to Become Limitless – by Rachel Audige

84. What Disruptive Innovation Really Is – by Geoffrey A. Moore

85. Today’s Customer Wants to Go Fast – by Shep Hyken

86. The 6 Building Blocks of Great Teams – by David Burkus

87. Unlock Hundreds of Ideas by Doing This One Thing – Inspired by Hollywood – by Robyn Bolton

88. Moneyball and the Beginning, Middle, and End of Innovation – by Robyn Bolton

89. There are Only 3 Reasons to Innovate – Which One is Yours? – by Robyn Bolton

90. A Shortcut to Making Strategic Trade-Offs – by Geoffrey A. Moore

91. Customer Experience Personified – by Braden Kelley

92. 3 Steps to a Truly Terrific Innovation Team – by Robyn Bolton

93. Building a Positive Team Culture – by David Burkus

94. Apple Watch Must Die – by Braden Kelley

95. Kickstarting Change and Innovation in Uncertain Times – by Janet Sernack

96. Take Charge of Your Mind to Reclaim Your Potential – by Janet Sernack

97. Psychological Safety, Growth Mindset and Difficult Conversations to Shape the Future – by Stefan Lindegaard

98. 10 Ways to Rock the Customer Experience In 2023 – by Shep Hyken

99. Artificial Intelligence is Forcing Us to Answer Some Very Human Questions – by Greg Satell

100. 23 Ways in 2023 to Create Amazing Experiences – by Shep Hyken

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

101. Why Business Strategies Should Not Be Scientific – by Greg Satell

These are the Top 100 innovation and transformation articles of 2023 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 2023.

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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9 of 10 Companies Requiring Employees to Return to the Office in 2024

9 of 10 Companies Requiring Employees to Return to the Office in 2024

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

Happy employees mean more engaged and productive employees. I’ve written many times that what’s happening inside an organization will be felt on the outside by customers. A good employee experience (EX) will positively impact the customer experience (CX). And of course, the opposite is true. A “ripple effect” of employee satisfaction or dissatisfaction will inevitably reach your customers, impacting their overall experience.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced a shutdown, many companies and organizations realized—or at least thought—their employees could work remotely. Many companies walked away from their offices and didn’t renew their leases. This shift in the traditional in-office, five-day-a-week schedule was either eliminated or modified, and many workers discovered they enjoyed working from home. However, it looks as if this “experiment” didn’t work out as planned, and many companies will start requiring RTO (return to office) in a schedule that looks similar to pre-pandemic office hours and attendance requirements.

In August, ResumeBuilder surveyed 1,000 corporate decision-makers about their RTO plans. Here are the main results:

    • 90% of companies will return to the office by 2024.
    • only 2% say their company never plans to require employees to return to work in person.
    • 72% say RTO has improved revenue.
    • 28% will threaten to fire employees who don’t comply with RTO policies.

The Opportunity

Why return to the traditional office environment? The answer is something we already know. Because companies potentially make more money.

The move to return to the office started in 2021, just after the lockdown. That year, 31% of companies required employees to return to their offices, 41% in 2022 and 27% in 2023. Most of the respondents to the survey claimed they saw an improvement in revenue, productivity and worker retention.

And for those companies that plan to demand RTO in 2024, 81% say it will improve revenue, 81% believe it will improve the company culture and 83% say it will improve worker productivity.

These decision-makers aren’t making an arbitrary determination. They recognize the negative impact an RTO policy can have. Many of them (72%) said their company would offer commuter benefits, 57% would help with child-care costs and 64% would provide catered meals. But are the perks enough?

The Danger

There is concern that a shift back to full-time office hours could cause a company to lose good employees in a hiring environment in which candidates are “calling the shots” and working for companies that not only give them a steady paycheck and traditional benefits, but also a work schedule and in-office policy that aligns with their need for work/life balance. Even so, according to the survey, 28% of the decision-makers surveyed claimed they would fire employees for not complying with their RTO policies.

As we navigate the complexities of a post-pandemic working world, companies face a tough choice that will shape and impact both the employee and customer experiences. Suppose a company decides to require a 100% return to the office. It must recognize and weigh the opportunities—primarily, increased productivity and revenue—with the negatives—less-than-enthusiastic employees and the potential (even probable) loss of employees.

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com

Image Credits: Shep Hyken

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Are Your Customers Actually Happy?

Are Your Customers Actually Happy?

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

Are your customers happy, or not? How do you know? How often do you ask them? If you do ask them, and they tell you, what do you do with that information?

This is all about customer feedback. If a customer is willing to take the time to give you feedback, good or bad, it’s a gift. Treat it as such. It’s an opportunity to know what’s working and what’s not. And there are many ways to get that information.

A common way to seek feedback today is through a survey emailed after the customer interacts with the company or brand. Unfortunately, some companies go to the expense of designing and sending the survey, asking the customer to spend their precious time completing the survey, and then don’t act on the customer’s suggestions. Our annual customer experience research found that 57% of customers assume the company won’t make any changes based on their responses to a customer satisfaction survey. And some customers will stop doing business with a company or brand because of their surveys. Our research found that 20% of customers stopped because they sent too many surveys, and 18% stopped because the surveys were too long.

Recently I had my car in for its annual service, which included an oil change, fluid checks, filter replacements and more. Within an hour after I picked up my car, I received an email requesting feedback. From past experiences, I knew this would take five to 10 minutes to complete. I chose not to respond, because I had many other things to do in the short time I had left in the office that day. I don’t know what percentage of customers complete the survey, but maybe there is a different way to get feedback.

Notice I said a different, not necessarily better, although I’ll let you decide whether it is better. When I picked up my car, there could have been a tablet with four buttons to select from, asking me if I was very happy, somewhat happy, somewhat not happy or not happy. It would have taken me three seconds—probably less—to tap on one of those buttons. By the way, there could also be an option for me to leave feedback if I wanted to take a moment to do so. Regardless, the quick press of a button is much easier than a 10-question emailed survey with quantitative and qualitative feedback questions.

I recently interviewed Miika Mäkitalo, the CEO of HappyOrNot, one of the leading customer feedback solutions used by more than 4,000 brands in over 100 countries, on Amazing Business Radio. There’s a good chance you’ve seen HappyOrNot feedback technology in a store, restaurant, stadium or airport. It is a small tablet or kiosk with four large buttons as I just described in my auto repair center example. This simple technology gives you fast and actionable feedback that can be used and taken advantage of almost immediately—and at the same time, it respects your customers’ time.

And as powerful as that instant feedback is for customers, Makitalo suggests his HappyOrNot technology is also a perfect solution for employee feedback. Imagine a terminal or tablet in the breakroom where employees can anonymously (unless they want to share their names) leave a simple “I’m happy or not” message with the quick push of a button. Consider all the feedback you could gather, such as, “How happy are you with the new personal time (PT) policy?” Or, “How happy are you with the new food vendor in the cafeteria?” You get the idea. Get feedback from employees. Their happiness will be felt by customers. And the opposite is true. Unhappy employees will taint the customer experience. As I often say, “What’s happening on the inside of an organization is felt on the outside by customers.”

So, if you want to know what your customers—and employees—are thinking but aren’t sure where to start, this simple solution could be the answer. Ask one question at a time … and don’t forget to act on the feedback!

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com

Image Credits: Shep Hyken

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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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