Tag Archives: Twitter

Let’s Chat About the Language of Innovation

Let’s Chat About the Language of Innovation

Let’s Chat About the Language of Innovation

It was bound to happen sooner or later…

What is it you might ask?

Well, it is the recognition that the language we use (and more importantly, having a common language) when it comes to innovation, to change, or to pretty much any other aspect of business is just as important as it is in our personal lives.

Who does the recognition come from?

Well, none other than the innocats, a cool group of people who host a twitter chat at #innochat every Thursday at 5PM GMT (that’s 9AM for those of you on the west coast of the USA, Noon on the east coast, and well, 5PM for those of you in the UK).

Personally I tend to use Tweetchat.com to participate in twitter chats like this because it makes it easy to follow along real-time. If you go to the Tweetchat.com web site, just enter the hashtag #innochat as the room you’d like to enter.

So, come join me tomorrow (October 9, 2014) for an #innochat on the language of innovation. You can find the introductory post for the session here:

Sorry, link expired

UPDATE: Sorry, link to transcript expired

On that page you’ll also find links to my latest article on the topic and my latest white paper (commissioned by Planview).

If you’d like to commission a white paper, webinar, or keynote speech on innovation, social business, inbound/digital/content marketing or some other topic you think I can help people make sense of, contact me.

Otherwise, come join me for a lively Twitter discussion of the importance of a common language of innovation.

Oh, and if you’re curious what my current definition of innovation is, here you go:

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

Keep innovating!

Please note the following licensing terms for Stikkee Situations cartoons:

1. BLOGS – Link back to https://bradenkelley.com/category/stikkees/ and you can embed them for free
2. PRESENTATIONS, please send $25 to me on PayPal by clicking the button 3. NEWSLETTERS & WEB SITES, please send me $50 on PayPal by clicking the button
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Back End of Innovation Wrapup

Back End of Innovation Wrapup

I had the opportunity to speak at the Back End of Innovation (BEI) Conference recently in Silicon Valley. There was a good roster of thought leader and innovation practitioner speakers and before my speech I attended several of the other sessions and captured some quotes and insights on Twitter. If you don’t follow me on twitter where I tweet as @innovate then you will have missed my thoughts on what some of the key innovation quotes and observations were from the three days of the event, so I’ll recollect them here the best that I can.


Here is a recap of the first day of the Back End of Innovation (BEI) Conference in Silicon Valley.

The event began with Julie Anixter of Innovation Excellence and Ronald Jonash of IXL and a discussion of a new Global Innovation Certification and the need for innovation training and certification. A BETA of the innovation certification was announced and I will be providing eLearning for the Global Innovation Certification BETA beginning November 24, 2013.

We then heard about the importance of branding your technical innovations and rationalizing your portfolio from Dee Slattery of Ansell and then of cocreation with Thomas Finkle of Passenger.

Mick Simonelli (formerly of USAA) then walked us through an innovation practicum during which there were several key nuggets, including:

  • A show of hands indicated that most people in the room at #bei13 are building innovation capability, while only a few are at event level of maturity or the system level
  • “It’s sexy at the front end of innovation, but it’s the sweat & toil in middle & back end that makes it happen.”
  • “Innovation does not grow in a vacuum. You have to get your innovation approach into how people think about the way we do things around here.”
  • We had a very positive impact by moving legal input from the front end of innovation to the back end.
  • “We had five different innovation processes at USAA and different integration points for each one for best impact.”
  • “The HR people should be your best friends when it comes to infusing innovation into your performance management system.”

Then there was a great comment from a gentleman from Boeing that captured the insight about innovation success coming from idea quality not idea quantity – “Ideas of Merit.”

Ken Favaro of Booz & Co. focused on talking about why innovation doesn’t work and had a few interesting tidbits, including:

  • “To think outside the box, you must look into other boxes.” – Prof William Duggan of Columbia
  • For innovation success, involve people required for back end implementation in the front end – early buy-in & engagement

Mike Hess of Medtronic talked about how they balance between customer-led and economic-led innovation with tech-led innovation, and some of the logical traps organizations fall into, such as stealing resources from longer-term, higher-risk innovation projects to staff shorter-term, lower-risk ones.

Finally, the day closed with Dennis Hong of Virginia Tech (and soon UCLA) talking about the evolution of humanoid robots, and Vivek Wadhwa talking about women in innovation. Vivek Wadhwa talked about his women innovator’s book project and the controversy he stirred up by pointing out that Twitter has an all male management team and all male board. Meanwhile, Dennis Hong focused on his philosophy for why robots in the home should have humanoid form and that is because robots in the home need to adapt to human-centered designs. So instead of asking why do we need humanoid robots, we should ask what robotic tasks require a humanoid form? This is leading them to focus on robots for firefighting and other hazardous situations, to help save human lives.

If you were at the conference, what did you take away from Day One?


The second day began with Vijay Govindarajan. Here are some Vijay’s key quotes and insights:

  • “Strategy = Innovation”
  • “If you want to lead in the future, you must do innovation”
  • “Strategy is not about competition for the present, it’s about competition for the future”
  • “Common sense is not necessarily common practice.”
  • “We say there is no innovation in education but none of the Top 10 universities in the world are in Top 10 today.”
  • Vijay talked about his box 1,2,3 thinking model. Personally, I think the error is tasking one person with success in all three boxes.
  • “Companies over-emphasize idea generation and under-emphasize idea execution when it comes to innovation.”
  • My reaction – People hype business model innovation WAY too much. Most Business Model Innovation examples started with the innovation, not other way around.
  • My reaction – The business model canvas is a useful tool for innovation, but it is not by itself the source of it.
  • My reaction – Ugh. I am so tired of hearing about fail fast, success comes not from failing fast, it is about LEARNING fast.
  • “You can ask your performance engine to do MORE work, but not DIFFERENT work.”
  • “For Box 3 experiments you must create a dedicated team with permission to create its own culture”
  • “CEO must recognize that there will be tensions between performance engine & Box 3 experiments that they must manage”

I then attended a panel with Rachel Birney of Exxon Mobil, Jon Fredrickson of Innocentive, and Julie DiSandro and Kurt Scherer of Booz Allen Hamilton. Here are the most interesting things I came away with from this session:

  • “Innovation = change with impact” Simple. Powerful. Elegantly stated. – K Scherer
  • “Don’t communicate something about your innovation program until you have a real story to tell.” – J DiSandro
  • “When it comes to managing an innovation community, you must stimulate people with a variety of things to react to.” – J Fredrickson
  • “Recognize and fight the two antibodies that will kill innovation: corporate antibodies and personal antibodies” – Unknown

The third session I attended of the day, was with Maria B Thompson of Motorola Solutions and here are some of the key insights and quotes from that session:

  • People tend to come back from ride alongs not with problems, but solutions.
  • When people come back from ride alongs with solutions, you end up with incremental innovation instead of breakthroughs you seek
  • To get to innovation you need to get people to park in the problem space and refrain from jumping to solutions
  • When you are observing customers, look for the BUTs and the unexpected workarounds
  • Look for the important contradictions that customers seem to want “I want long battery life but low weight”
  • “Park in the problem space and force yourself to stay there and reframe it in multiple ways.” Yes!
  • “Engineers love questions”
  • Problemstorming or Provocation Sessions should have at least 8+ people, but she prefers 20+ people to get more dots to connect
  • Interesting that Maria B Thompson mentioned that she switched from going to FEI to BEI. I wonder if that might be a trend?
  • “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change” – Albert Einstein
  • Interesting idea that for innovation, instead of brainstorming ideas, you should focus on assumptionstorming and problemstorming”
  • Directed Innovation model being discussed is a good example of peer-to-peer collaboration – Motorola Solutions & Medtronic
  • Maria gave a shoutout to Conceptual Blockbusting
  • You might be on to something if your engineers tell you you’re asking them to violate the laws of physics.
  • Rule #1 to ideation sessions, don’t give the lawyer the pen for the whiteboard!
  • Contribution from audience – for remote people trying to participate in assumption, problem, or idea storming – partner them up
  • Demise of Motorola Mobility? The success of the RAZR – People reassigned from smartphone work to RAZR work because of its success.
  • “Vision without execution is hallucination.” – Thomas Edison

The fourth session I attended of the day was with Michele R Westlander, Chief Technology Officer (Public Sector) and Innovation Evangelist from Google. The presentation was heavily skewed towards evangelism, but here were some of the interesting bits from my tweet stream:

  • Google doesn’t call it HR, they call it People Ops. “It’s all about the people, and the corporate culture.”
  • Google Corporate Philosophy – “If you give people freedom, they will amaze you.”
  • People ask us about expense of Google cafeterias, but think about expense of lost time & collaboration of people going off-campus.
  • Google’s offices have a Tech Stop for hands on computer issue repair. Time is money.
  • My question – Some people would say that Google is great at invention (Microsoft too), but not so good at innovation. What do you think?
  • My reaction – Google’s new collaboration model they are touting isn’t new though, this was whole Lotus Notes model available twenty years ago. Just saying.
  • “At Google, failure is expected, if you’re not failing you’re pushing hard enough or reaching far enough.”
  • Love that – “Don’t take ‘No’ from someone who can’t give you a ‘Yes’ in the first place.”
  • My reaction – Happy to see Google is the first one to talk about learning fast being more important than failing fast – my mantra
  • Three biggest barriers to innovation – culture (people) aka resistance to change, policy (business processes), and technology

The fifth session I attended of the day was with Steve Garguilo and Matt Kane of Johnson & Johnson. They spoke about their efforts to bring the TEDX model into the Salon events that they were helping to organize within J&J:

  • They wanted the Salon events to be very local and how they spread to Brazil and China and other J&J places
  • Their Salon format was based on TEDX format and had a goal for 75% internal and 25% external speakers
  • They told a story about how an employee created art out of styrofoam waste & how that evolved into an effort to reimagine waste at J&J
  • They talked about how powerful it can be to change people’s experience – used accordion & post-its under people’s chairs to make point
  • They focus not just on compelling content on main stage, but chances to connect & explore, and to experience something new
  • My reaction – I like what they are doing with their Salon experiences, ties in nicely with the first of the Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation
  • My reaction – It’s becoming more common to have a Chief Innovation Officer, but do you have a Chief Inspiration Officer? Inspiration drives innovation…
  • They told a powerful story about how someone installed a “Before I die, I want to…” picture on the wall and how people engaged with it, and how it evolved into a “Before the end of 2013…” campaign within the company
  • They talked about how the TED library is being translated into other languages and how this can be leveraged for global event rollout
  • They started their events informally because they were passionate about it, and it has grown into a corporate funded event series.
  • We are not only ones doing TEDX kinds of events, Google, Disney, Intuit and others are doing too & can be learned from
  • They used a nomination process, required rehearsals, and had people who could help shape presentations & evaluate whether people were ready
  • Part of how we convinced people to conform to the TEDX style was to reinforce how they were going to help people look good
  • My reaction – Interesting to see how the TEDX format has spread from expanding to additional cities, and now expanding into inspiring employees
  • My reaction – Must say that by making employee inspiration investment in right way, you will not only increase innovation but employee engagement too
  • It is worthwhile work to contribute towards getting people to bring their authentic selves to work…
  • Their efforts were off the side of the desk of their full time jobs until it grew to a keep doing or stop doing moment…

The final session I attended was with Ken Perlman of Kotter International. Here are some of the key insights and quotes from that session:

  • “Too often we deprive people of something to take home to show that they matter.”
  • “We don’t have the time to work on the stuff that is truly important because we’re working on the things we have to do.”
  • “Leaders should lead with a question. Leaders should be asking WHO and WHY to drive innovation.” – Are you?
  • “Most people are good at self managing. Most people are focused on the WHEN, WHERE, and HOW. Leverage this!”
  • “Leaders ask people to take ownership.” – If nobody responds, then it is on you & your framing.
  • Our hierarchical approach to management is really all about risk management – Not built for speed.
  • “Employers are competing for employees’ time.”
  • “Simple is not equal to easy. Clarity creates speed.”
  • “It is human nature that when pushed, we push back.”
  • “Hierarchy needs the network to innovate.”
  • “Organizations become more hierarchical as they grow and networked organization shrinks.”
  • “We argue about the what when we should be focused on agreeing on the why.”

If you were at the conference, what did you take away from Day Two?

Coming up next, highlights from Day 3 of BEI…

P.S. Don’t forget to register for the FREE Beta of the Global Innovation Certification and the FREE Innovation eLearning BETA for the Global Innovation Certification BETA for Innovation Catalysts.


The third day began with Lisa Marchese of The Cosmopolitan Hotel of Las Vegas. Here are some Lisa’s key quotes and insights:

  • When we created the Cosmopolitan brand we did so with the knowledge that most visitors came from LA, SF, NYC, etc.
  • “When we launched The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, room occupancy and room rates were low. This created a can’t lose environment.”
  • “We’ve out Belagio’d the Belagio. We’ve got the best view of the fountains.”
  • “We looked at ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ and we had a different insight – people want to take constraints of their normal life off”
  • “We arrived at the Curious Class ™ as a target – help curious, creative people leave with a story to tell.”
  • “We saw Vegas mystique slightly differently. People want to be constraint-free self and have memorable experience.”
  • “It is very difficult to keep a passionate, innovative culture where people feel that we are doing something different”
  • RT @virtualdavid – Innovators lose mojo over the years. It is hard to keep burning passion that we are doing something different going.
  • When innovation is in play, if people avoid conflict, the outcome is affected. It is not always a pleasant experience.
  • RT @RominaAK – Innovative Marketing – It’s emotive. It makes you want to learn more
  • “Look for friction, and push innovation focus all the way through to marketing. Even marketing people go back to what they know.”
  • We created something new with the Cosmopolitan, and then we had several other people competing in us in white space we created.
  • Lisa described how their team keeps creating innovation only to have other people knock us off, again and again, it’s exhausting
  • We innovate in creative and channel – We buy where they don’t buy – As soon as someone comes where we are, we leave
  • We don’t want to be seen as at parity with the competition
  • We know we are in a saturated market & we have less money to spend, so we try to own channels we use – figuratively or actually
  • Because we must maintain agility in our marketing and advertising & not appear in cluttered channels, we are running out of channels
  • Because we are running out of channels, now we have to start thinking about owning the channels
  • Flipping things on their head is how we stay fresh as a marketing-led organization
  • People who in the innovation industry are “openers” are not necessarily “operators” and a lot of the creators are leaving
  • It is a big challenge to keep things fresh, and we have had some cultural and service challenges, things haven’t been perfect
  • RT @virtualdavid – Mutation is progress. Correct is a mistake. Just right amount of wrong. From Cosmopolitan Hotel ad via Lisa Marchese
  • RT @thehealthmaven – Agility! When your competition zigs YOU zag.
  • When you get one win under your belt is helps you get future boundary pushing work approved.
  • We create a lot of content for our property and this all has to be curated in order to ensure the success of brand and hotel
  • “Trying to be like someone is not innovative, even if it’s Apple.”
  • If you want to create a great brand, you can’t live in the middle, you must firmly plant your feet on one side or the other.
  • It is okay to piss people off or not have them like you. A strong brand can’t be for everyone.
  • How do you keep people motivated in innovation? Have them look at more stuff. – Love it – Agrees with inspiration as center!

I then attended a session with Kenneth Klimpel of Colgate Palmolive. Here are the most interesting things I came away with from this session:

  • With the exception of pet nutrition, all our products are driven by four core technology innovation spaces
  • We can make exactly the same thing as anyone else for less because all of our plants are optimized for purpose
  • Amazing! A Colgate-Palmolive toothpaste plant can make 700 tubes of toothpaste – wait for it – PER MINUTE! That’s a lot of toothpaste
  • When we looked at electric toothbrushes we didn’t have the competencies to succeed there, but we wanted to do it, now what?
  • KK just showed an ad for the Colgate 1500 electric toothbrush via a partnership with Omrom – Looks like a smart toothbrush. Cool!
  • Colgate 1500 was outcome of Colgate looking at a mature market where they wanted to enter, but didn’t have competencies.

The third session I attended of the day, was with David Davidovic of PathForward (formerly Genentech) and Sara M. Roberts of Roberts Golden Consulting and here are some of the key insights and quotes from that session:

  • RT @Smartorginc – David Davidovic says you can’t understand a company’s innovative-ness by only looking at its products and services.
  • Volatility is the new normal – Must focus on the Volume, Velocity and Variety in your innovation efforts
  • RT @Smartorginc – Sara Roberts says we hire for diversity but incentivize conformity
  • Sara Roberts told story behind Blockbuster demise through the lens of a change in CEOs and switch from online to retail focus
  • My reaction – I would argue that Blockbuster was not innovative because their board was not innovative & ultimately they run show. With public companies, if a board lacks innovation vision, they can kill an otherwise innovative company. Be careful who you pick for your board!
  • Sara Roberts says we’ve been asking for ideas when we need to be asking for involvement – we must empower the crowd
  • Most nimble & innovative companies ask employees not just for ideas but also to drive business planning process with predictions

The fourth session I attended of the day was with Bill Demas of Turn. Here were some of the interesting bits from my tweet stream:

  • Bill Demas talked about their pivot from an ad network to a completely different business model
  • Talked about their employee recognition award of burning a plastic boat in their honor instead of an employee of the month
  • Bill Demas talking about their pivot from an ad network to a self-service platform and how they had to let people go and hire new ones
  • Bill Demas talked about how they really try to build in transparency into what they do in what was a very obfuscated market
  • Bill Demas talking about how the advertising market has become so much more fragmented across a plethora of channels and devices
  • @BillDemas talked about how their turn software creates a Bloomberg-like system for tracking advertising spend
  • He talked about how their new vision was moving forward and then suddenly Google bought their biggest competitor
  • “I kept reinforcing that smaller companies move slower than big companies, and so our advantage was speed.”
  • They started hiring software folks and teaching them digital advertising – We’re a SaaS company first
  • @BillDemas talked about their use of traditional forming, storming, norming, performing framework as they went through tech pivot
  • They have a one pager that they use to track their future strategy and the things that are important to management
  • Sorry, had to leave a bit earlier to set up for my speech…

The final session of the event was my talk on Building Effective Innovation Teams. I spoke about several different tools, techniques and understanding that are important when it comes to building better innovation teams. Some of this content can be found in FREE innovation eLearning available from Innovation Tutors, including in the two following BETA eLearning modules:

If you were at the conference, what did you take away from Day Three?

P.S. Don’t forget to register for the FREE Beta of the Global Innovation Certification and the FREE Innovation eLearning BETA for the Global Innovation Certification BETA for Innovation Catalysts.

Build a common language of innovation on your team

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Pull Marketing – Upside Down Social Web Design

Pull Marketing - Upside Down Social Web DesignPicking up where my hugely popular article ‘Rise of the Social Business Architect‘ (PDF) leaves off, I thought I would examine the world of web design in a world where the tools of social media are becoming increasingly important and integrated into how business gets done (and even how searching and search results are done).

When it comes to putting up a web site, most entrepreneurs and marketers unfortunately look at it from their perspective (what do I want to say?) instead of from their potential customers’ perspective (what do they want or need to know?). This causes most entrepreneurs and marketers to start building web sites for their new product or service in the same basic way (a push marketing approach).

First, they go out and hire a web designer to build them a web site, only to have the web designer ask them three main questions:

1. What kind of visual design are you looking for? (…and what are your favorite web sites and why?)

2. Do you need the web site to run on any particular technology platform?

3. What kinds of content do you have? (…and what is your menu structure going to be?)

The third question often provokes a deer in the headlights kind of response – “Oh shoot, we have to write something” – and then after the entrepreneur or marketer recovers from the shock they think about what they want to say.

The entrepreneur or marketer hastily runs off and sketches out a set of pages that they want to have (or they use another site as a template) and then they write (or hire someone to write) copy for each page, and when the copy is written and the design is complete they have someone build the web site using the design and content as a guide.

The end result is a web site that stands alone as a new domain in the digital wilderness, disconnected from the rest of the digital world. This may be great for putting on business cards and email signatures, but the chances are low of someone finding the new web site and actually caring about the product or service.

Frustrated that nobody is coming to the new web site, maybe the marketer or entrepreneur creates a Facebook page or a Twitter account, but then those likely sit there – lacking a clear purpose or a point of conversation.

Still trying to provoke activity on their web site, maybe the marketer/entrepreneur starts to create deeper level content that their potential customers might actually care about, with the potential of moving them along the customer purchasing journey, and put it on the site. When few people find the new content that the marketer/entrepreneur created at great time and/or expense, maybe they buy some pay-per-click advertising (PPC) to drive people to it, wondering when the financial bleeding will stop.

Finally, maybe they place the content off-site in places where potential customers actually gather and might find it (and find the new web site as a result).

What would happen if you flipped the traditional push marketing web design paradigm around and used a pull marketing approach instead?

I would contend that is exactly what you should do if you want to build a social business, and to prove it, over the next couple of months I will flip the traditional web site design model on its and head and use an upside down social web design model for my new domain in the wilderness – http://b2bpull.com – which will be the home of a new digital agency focused on b2b pull marketing strategy and execution services.

So what does an upside down social web design approach look like?

Well, the first key is to keep the customer at the center of your plans, not the product or service you plan to offer. My current web site – https://bradenkelley.com – is all about me – my thinking, my services, my creations, etc. I am the product, and I sit at the center. The web site in this evolving case study – http://b2bpull.com – will be built with b2b marketing managers at the center, and now I’ll lay out what the steps in a pull marketing approach to social web site design should be.


Here are the 21 steps to building an Upside Down Social Web Design:

  1. While you are exploring what product or service to offer to potential customers, also explore how they shop for the kind of product or service you are going to offer. Seek to understand where their areas of confusion are, and what kinds of information they seek out to help them make the decisions about which companies to consider and which products or services they are interested in learning more about.
  2. Create a simple landing page that tells people what is coming soon, and that contains a simple form asking people what they’d like to know more about. If you go to http://b2bpull.com now you will find not a web site, but a landing page asking people what they’d like to know about b2b pull marketing. So, please let me know what you’d like to know about using content to drive an increase in inbound sales leads, and I’ll work to build answers to share with the world.
  3. Create a simple logo (you can change this later) that is a square image (this is for use as a profile photo in any profiles you create – i.e. Twitter/Facebook)
  4. If your prospective customers are on Twitter, then create an account on Twitter – if they are not, then skip this step. At a minimum, populate your profile with a description of your product or service, a profile image, the URL of your landing page, and a background image to make your profile more visually engaging and distinctive. Send a tweet or two letting people know what you’re planning to do and inquiring what people would like to know more about (as it relates to your specialty area). Do research to find out who else tweets interesting things about your specialty and start following them. Retweet one or two interesting things that they share (every day) – be sure and use appropriate #hashtags in your re-tweets to help people find them.
  5. If your prospective customers are on Facebook, then create a Facebook page and at a minimum populate it with a profile photo, a cover image, and an about us. If your prospective customers do not spend time on Facebook, then skip this step. Add links to the one or two interesting things that you find on Twitter each day that relate to your specialty area. That will start giving you some interesting content on your Facebook page (instead of it staying blank), feed it into your fans’ Facebook content streams, and give people an idea of what to expect in the future.
  6. Look for interesting groups on Linkedin that focus on your specialty area and join them. Consider starting your own Linkedin group. See what people are sharing in the groups you join. Consider sharing some of what you find on Twitter in the discussions area of the groups that you join (or create) to add value.
  7. Scour the web for sites and blogs in your specialty area that are ideally independent of any one company, publish interesting content, and have multiple contributing authors. Ask your friends and network connections in your specialty area for recommendations too. Use Alexa, Compete, and other tools to identify which of the sites get the most traffic.
  8. Refer to your research in step #1 to identify which topics in your specialty area that customers look for information on the most to help them further their progress along their purchasing journey. Hopefully one or more of these topics you will have deep knowledge and expertise on. Commit to writing a white paper on one of these topics.
  9. See if one or more of the sites in step #7 will allow you publish an article announcing your research effort for this white paper on their web site in order to build interest and hopefully participation in this effort.
  10. Write the white paper (ideally with contributions from current or prospective customers), and when complete, create one or more articles for digital publication from each white paper.

  11. Book a Nine Innovation Roles Group Diagnostic Workshop

  12. Add another simple form to your landing page for people to fill out with name/company/title/email/phone in order to download the white paper (make phone optional) and ask their permission (with a check box) to send them information about an upcoming webinar to discuss its findings.
  13. Create an electronic presentation to share the findings of the white paper you’ve created. Be sure to embed contact details in it and a link to your landing page (which will become your web site later).
  14. Create accounts on presentation sharing sites like Slideshare and Scribd and share the presentation you’ve created. Be sure that you fill out your profile on these sites and include a link to your landing page as part of your profile if possible.
  15. Inquire with the most promising sites identified in step #7 to find out if they accept article submissions and submit one or more of the articles you created from your white paper.
  16. Identify short snippets from the white paper and articles that work well as quotes or insights and will fit into status updates on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, or other communities where it makes sense to share them. Be sure and include a shortened url (bit.ly, su.pr, ow.ly, etc.) to the article, presentation, or white paper.
  17. Look for professional associations and complimentary vendors in your specialty area that conduct regular webinars and ask if they would be interested in doing a webinar with you to share the findings of your white paper with their members or current/prospective customers. If you do a webinar, be sure that they record the webinar and share the link with you to the recording (and hopefully the email list of attendees). Check to see if they can provide a recording of the webinar in a video format that you can share. If you can’t find someone to do a webinar with to share your findings, consider doing one yourself. While having a large number of people attend live is helpful, what is more important here is the recording (you can help potential customers find this 24/7/365).
  18. Add the link to the webinar recording to your landing page.
  19. Create an account on YouTube and possibly also on Vimeo and populate your profile in a similar manner to Twitter (not neglecting to link to relevant assets). Upload the video file from the webinar (if you were able to get one), plus add it to your Facebook page if you’ve created one. If you are comfortable in front of the camera, consider recording a separate video segment highlighting the key findings from your white paper to upload to your video channels.
  20. Be sure and share links to the white paper, the webinar, the webinar recording, and any articles you created from the white paper through your Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and any other communities linked to your subject matter.
  21. Repeat as many times as necessary until you have enough content to build your web site.
  22. Last but not least, design and build your web site, incorporating all of the content elements that you created. Not only will it be easier to build the web site because you have already built a lot of the content required to populate any design your web designer might come up with, but the quality of your web design may improve and be more social because the designer will have a clearer idea of what you are selling and the goals you are trying to achieve with your new web site.

The importance of social media in the internet ecosystem is only continuing to grow, and so it is time to design web sites in a different, more social way. The way that people buy things, especially more complicated products and services with longer cycles (particularly B2B products) is changing as well. This will make marketing organizations focus more on pull marketing and less on push marketing. This will force marketers and entrepreneurs to focus less on building beautiful, flash-driven web designs and more on building valuable, socially-driven, content-rich ecosystems (of which the web site is only a part).

In short, the future of marketing belongs to marketers who are good at creating social pull.

So, how strong is your social pull?

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Who is in Your Social Media Band?

Who is in Your Social Media Band?It used to be that when you formed a rock band to seek fame and fortune, all you had to do was find a lead singer, a guitarist, a bass player, a drummer, and maybe another guitarist or a keyboard player if you wanted a richer sound. But the digital age presents a level of complexity and opportunity that John, Paul, and Ringo never had to deal with.

If video killed the radio star, or tried to, then YouTube will certainly finish the job.

In the old days (come on, rock music is less than 100 years old), bands played at their local high school, then maybe the local club circuit, recorded a demo and sent off demo tapes, and finally if they were lucky they were ‘discovered’ by a record exec and signed to a record deal.

In the digital age, aspiring rock stars need to consider the social media and marketing skills of potential band mates as much as they scrutinize their skill with a particular musical instrument. In the digital age your skills with YouTube are almost more likely to make you a rock star then your skills with a guitar.

Just look at Pomplamoose – nearly 80 million video views and 340,000 subscribers. They have more YouTube subscribers than mega-stars Coldplay.

If we look at a new song as an invention and at my Innovation is All About Value framework through a music lens, you will quickly see why social media and creativity are so important in the music business and why new singers and bands can seemingly come from nowhere on the Internet.

1. Value Creation

  • A new song (Is the song any good?)

2. Value Access

  • How easy do you make it for people to find this new song, listen to it and buy it?

3. Value Translation

  • Do you do a good job of making people want to add the song to their playlists and to share the song with others? Do you engage them and make the song a part of them?

The power of #3 is magnified on the Internet (both if you do it well or poorly). Just look at the fact that Gotye created an AWESOME song ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ and the video for it has received 600,000 page views, but a little known Canadian band Walk Off The Earth released a YouTube video covering the song and their cover has generated 83 million page views and an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.


More passion, and a better, more engaging story (ultimately better value translation that was worth sharing).

So all you teenyboppers out there putting together the next great rock band, beware. In this new digital reality we all live in, you can’t think just about guitar, vocals, bass, drums, and keyboards. You must also think about who in the band you are considering putting together (unless you actually have money to pay someone) will make you look awesome on:

1. YouTube
2. MySpace Music
3. Twitter
4. Facebook
5. Band Web Site
6. Other places (Spotify, iTunes, etc.)

Yes, I said MySpace. The site remains incredibly relevant despite being eclipsed by Facebook thanks to its understanding of how to help bands create valuable pages for fans. Facebook still sucks at this. If I were Google and didn’t want Google+ to die a slow death, I would buy MySpace and incorporate the Music capabilities into Google+. It would make a great pairing with YouTube. They might want to buy Spotify while they are at it to bolster their unfortunately pathetic Google Play offering.

One other interesting contrast to draw between the successful bands spawned by YouTube versus the successful bands spawned by the old guard. YouTube successes tend to be very human and engaging in their approach, while old guard bands tend to be very aloof, distant, and well-packaged.

What kind of musical band and social media band will you be?

Here are the two different ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ videos, starting with the original by Gotye:

Followed by the Walk Off the Earth cover:

Image Credit: Foxhound Studio

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How Not to Do Social Media

How Not to Do Social MediaDespite the fact that Twitter has been around since 2006 and Facebook has been around since 2004, social media is still the bright shiny object in the room (it’s still the current marketing fad). People still think they are being innovative if they use it, and unfortunately many people still approach it as something separate and scary instead of treating it as just one tool in the toolbox of anyone working in marketing or innovation. Yes, I linked social media to innovation in the last sentence and that’s because in the same way that social media is a tool that all marketers must learn how to use as part of an integrated marketing campaign, innovation managers must also learn how to use social media properly as part of their innovation efforts.

So let’s get to our latest case study of how not to do social media by taking a look at a poorly run Facebook contest.

Back in July I wrote an article about the effect of social media on contests called – Does Social Media Corrupt Contests?

This article was written from an outsider’s perspective looking in. Well, in December I decided to dive into the Facebook contesting world and enter a contest for an energy-efficient big screen television hosted by the NEEA in hopes of winning a 55″ Samsung LED TV. Here is a quote from their Energy Efficient Electronics micro-site about what they do:

The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) is a private non-profit organization funded by Northwest utilities, the Energy Trust of Oregon and the Bonneville Power Administration. NEEA works in collaboration with its stakeholders and strategic market partners to accelerate the sustained market adoption of energy-efficient products, technologies and practices. NEEA’s market transformation efforts address energy efficiency in homes, businesses and industry. Its mission is to mobilize the Northwest to become increasingly energy efficient for a sustainable future.

My local utility, Puget Sound Energy, is a member of this organization.

Now let’s get to why my experience with this contest makes this an example of how not to do social media.

Background: The contest organizers – MartketShift Strategies (on behalf of NEEA) – operated the contest on Facebook. It was only open to people living in a handful of states and involved submitting captions for up to five photos provided by the contest organizers for public voting and judging of the finalists. Five televisions were up for grabs as prizes. There were two example captioned pictures – one using humor, and one focused on energy-efficiency. I decided to focus on humor. The rules stated that the five entries for each picture receiving the most votes would then be considered the finalists and would be judged, and that nobody could win more than one prize.

Here is a quick chronology of my experience highlighting some of the strategic failure points:

  1. I never saw the contest mentioned anywhere – including in my utility bill – a friend of mine who enters contests as a hobby suggested that I enter – so I did
  2. In order to enter the contest I had to “like” the Energy Forward page (and allow the contest app access to my Facebook account) – which I was hesitant to do
  3. Anyone who I asked to vote for my entries would have to also “like” the Energy Forward page and then also allow the contest app access to THEIR Facebook account. This is a big hurdle, and in fact most contest entries ended up with ZERO votes or one vote – including some of the ultimate ‘winners’ – but more on that later.
  4. I’m assuming the contest was run to support of some sort of educational goal or action goal around some televisions being more energy efficient than others, but the benefits of one TV over another were not immediately clear or integrated into the contest
  5. My wife and I each voted for my entries ONCE PER DAY and I picked up a few votes from other people. Meanwhile, apparently there was a hole in the application that allowed some individuals to cheat and vote for themselves lots of times per day by refreshing the page and voting again or whatever. The end result was that on the leaderboard you could clearly see that most of the leaders had many more ‘votes’ than ‘views’ (a legitimate vote registered both a view and a vote while a page refresh vote did not increment the view counter).
  6. When the votes versus views issue was brought to the attention of the contest organizers, instead of disqualifying the offending entries they chose to hide the number of votes entries had received
  7. Tweets to @nwalliance with concerns about the contest went unanswered
  8. The gaming behavior was allowed to stand and so three of my entries did not qualify as finalists, but even with the gaming behavior two of my entries did qualify as finalists
  9. The contest organizers then chose to not even follow their own rules, and when the winners were announced there were two ‘winners’ who were not even finalists – in fact one of the ‘winners’ was not even in the Top 14 vote getters – meaning that their entry probably did not even receive any votes (most entries had zero votes). This of course caused a huge uproar.
  10. Then probably most shockingly, the contest organizers in response to the public outcry responded “NEEA has full discretion…to change the rules at any time if needed for the best interests of the Contest and the participants.”
  11. In the end the contest organizers decided to award two more televisions, but ended up awarding them to people who gamed the contest (more votes than views), so the end result was that of the seven televisions awarded, five went to people who gamed the system (more votes than views) and two to non-finalists.

So what can we learn?

The most important thing to learn from this example of how not to do social media is that when utilizing social media as a tool to help you achieve your innovation or marketing campaign goals, you must keep those goals front and center in everything you do and ask if each campaign component supports your goals and your strategy. This is also a great example of how lots of people will tell you they are social media experts, and not really know the first thing about how to utilize the tools properly to support innovation or marketing campaign goals.

You can also see from this example that contests can be a hornets nest and that more often than not people try to game the system. This is why some people who provide idea management software solutions have chosen not to have badges and other similar elements (or to allow for those components to be turned off). This is also why if you choose to have any kind of voting component, particularly where any kind of prize is involved, that you set very clear guidelines for voting and do so in a way that maximizes the chance that the voting ends up being about the quality of the submission and not about the size of the entrants’ network.

‘Viral’ doesn’t come for free. Social media experts will try and convince you to use the tool to go ‘viral’ and get the crowd involved, but when you choose get the crowd involved and let them vote, you need to be ready and willing to let their votes count, otherwise you’ll destroy trust (and even brand equity). If you choose to engage the crowd in a public way you need to use their input, otherwise you’ll suffer very public consequences. If you’re looking for a higher level of quality in your submissions from a large number of people, consider using a more expert crowd instead (Innocentive, Hypios, Idea Connection, Nine Sigma, 99 Designs, TopCoder, etc.).

And last, but probably most important in my mind is that you need to walk the experience and look for potholes. The Marketshift Strategies folks definitely fell down on the job here. There were far too many barriers to participation in this contest, very little strategic integration, they should have anticipated the gaming of the system and written the rules better, and they should have actually followed their rules and the spirit of the contest a little better so that the people who didn’t game the contest and instead legitimately gathered votes were rewarded. The good thing is that without examples to dissect of how not to do social media, we wouldn’t all be able to learn how to use this powerful but dangerous tool in our innovator’s and marketer’s toolbox.

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Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire on Twitter

#innochat this Thursday with author Braden Kelley

Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire on TwitterOn Thursday, November 18, 2010 at Noon EST I will be participating in a twitter chat at #innochat (6PM in Europe, 9AM on the west coast). One great way to follow along is to use this URL:


I will be discussing some of the topics in my new book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire, especially the role and importance of innovation vision, strategy, and goals. The book is being very warmly received so far and the content of the book appears to be resonating with people, both in terms of the early reviews and interviews, but also through sold out events like the recent one in Toronto. The book is very accessible and is focused on helping organizations identify and remove barriers to innovation. To find out more about what we’ll be covering in the hour, please see:


I’d like to invite you all to attend this session free of charge – and hope that you’ll enjoy the typically very informative, energetic and lively discussion and debate for which #innochat is known for.

If you’ve never attended one of these type of debates on twitter – the process is simple: At the prescribed time (#innochat meets every Thursday at Noon EST (-5:00 GMT) ) – login to your twitter application of choice (Tweetchat is popular), and do a search for posts with “#innochat” in them. By making sure that all posts have “#innochat” in their contributions, participants are able to have a mass live discussion on great topics like innovation.

I look forward to chatting with you about the book on Thursday!

Win a Signed Copy of ‘Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire’

Download 'Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire' sample chapterTo add a little fun to the mix, at the end of this chat I will give away a signed copy of my new book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire to the most interesting tweet during the #innochat. Everyone else interested can download a sample chapter from the book. I hope you enjoy it and consider purchasing the book as a way of supporting the hard work that goes into this blog.

Download the sample chapter

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Joy is BMW – Marketing Innovation or Marketing Failure?

I came across the following video of a BMW advertising installation thanks to a tweet from Blogging Innovation contributor @RowanGibson and I think it serves as a perfect case study of how one firm – in this case BMW – can succeed and fail in utilizing some of the modern incremental innovations in the traditional marketing methods (including social media) to bond itself to an emotion – in this case ‘joy’.

First, watch the video, then we’ll examine where BMW has done well and where they have failed to harness the power of social media in creating the perception that ‘Joy is BMW’.


1. BMW attempts to stake a claim to an emotion (joy) that no other car company is pursuing
2. The video has already had 115,000 views in one week
3. Lots of people are re-tweeting the video and including ‘BMW’ and ‘joy’ in their tweets on Twitter


1. If you do a search on Google, Bing, or Yahoo! for “joy” – BMW is not in the top ten search results
2. Compounding this failure is that BMW is not doing any search engine marketing on the term “joy”
3. The startup video was herky-jerky after waiting a long time for it to load on the Joy is BMW page
4. The ‘Joy is BMW’ page is boring, not search engine friendly, and not social – there is no way for people to participate – no real value to the page
5. The 3D building projection event from Singapore is not featured on the ‘Joy is BMW’ page
6. There is no way for people to have conversations about the video (other than on YouTube)
7. BMW is not active on Twitter and makes no mention of Singapore event or ‘Joy is BMW’ campaign
8. No videos or photos related to ‘Joy is BMW’ on Facebook or mention of it by any of their 679,000+ fans
9. http://www.joyisbmw.com not purchased by BMW before launching the campaign
10. http://www.miseryisbmw.com also not purchased by BMW before launching the campaign

Unfortunately the failures list could be much longer, but I will stop here in the interest of brevity. The really sad thing about the ‘Joy is BMW’ campaign is that people want to be more social with BMW, they crave it, but they are not really being provided the opportunity.

To be honest, after watching the video of the experiential event I was expecting BMW to have created this forward-thinking integrated conversational marketing campaign to go with it, so imagine my surprise when the emperor’s new clothes fell off when I started looking around the social media universe.

BMW, there is still time to save the campaign. If you need some help (which it looks like you do), let me know and I’ll be happy to jump in, line up some great creative teams around the world, and knock out a great conversational marketing strategy to salvage the campaign.

What do you think? Has BMW blown a golden opportunity to go social with ‘Joy is BMW’?

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Twitter in the Classroom

During Clayton Christensen’s talk at the World Innovation Forum about innovation in education and healthcare, Dr. Christensen made a point about how technology will move more of education out of the classroom and onto the Internet.

He was mostly speaking about augmenting home schooling, but also about school leavers earning their equivalency online, and online advanced placement courses for kids at schools who might not have the resources to provide these courses.

This sparked some humorous debate amongst those in the Bloggers Hub at the World Innovation forum about the possibility of teaching kids 140 characters at a time via Twitter.

Well, teachers are not exactly doing that, but they have been using Twitter in the classroom since at least January 2008.

At the University of Texas at Dallas, History Professor, Monica Rankin has been using hashtags for classroom discussion in the hopes that it would lead to increased student involvement. Here is a video made by film students at the university about the experiment:

Meanwhile, the University of Minnesota has been partnering with Roosevelt High School to integrate Twitter and other social media tools into the curriculum to successfully increase student engagement. Here is a video that the University of Minnesota put together about their experiment:

Out here in Seattle, National Public Radio (NPR) recently did a segment on how a local private school is using Twitter to facilitate improved communications between students and parents about what is going on in the classroom. As a parent, this is probably my favorite example of using Twitter in the classroom. You can hear the four minute audio story here (sorry, link broken) and see examples of The Meridian School‘s classroom tweets above.

For teachers considering the use of Twitter in the classroom, you should also check out this blog article on thirteen ways to use Twitter in academia (sorry, link broken).

So, does Twitter have a place in the classroom?

I think so. What do you think?

Braden (@innovate on Twitter)

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