Fix the Problem or Design it Out?

Fix the Problem or Design it Out?

Let’s start with the problem.

According to The Plastic Pollution Coalition (January 3, 2017) – “It’s National Drinking Straw Day! Each day, more than 500 million plastic straws are used and discarded in the U.S. alone. Plastic straws consistently make the top ten list of items found, according to Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup data. In the last three years, plastic straws have climbed the list to the Number 5 spot.”

The Paper Straw Movement

In response to this growing problem, in January California made it illegal to give customers plastic straws unless they expressly request one.

Another way some restaurants have tried to to fix this problem has been to replace plastic straws with paper straws.

Or then there is the tasty fix to the problem, the cookie straw.

Starbucks Cookie Straw

But there is another way to approach problem solving, and that is to design out the problem instead of trying to fix it.

Recently a barista at Starbucks accidentally gave me a lid on my water cup that I wasn’t expecting.

I had heard that Starbucks was planning to reduce their use of the iconic green plastic straw, but I kind of assumed that meant they were shifting to paper straws like some other quick serve restaurants, but that is not what they have in mind at all.

Starbucks is instead planning to eliminate the plastic straw.

Instead of focusing on the straw they instead chose to focus on the lid and design it in a way that a straw isn’t even necessary.

Starbucks Sippy Cup

So, next time you’re wrestling with a problem and trying to solve it, look at it in a slightly different way just for fun, try asking yourself how you could design the product, service, or experience (or all three) in order to design out the problem.

You may or may not get to a more viable, desirable, and feasible solution than trying to fix the problem.

But, looking at the problem from a range of different perspectives is always worth the effort.

Keep innovating!

Change Planning Toolkit Million Dollar Value

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Challenging Orthodoxies – Flying High

Challenging Orthodoxies - Flying High

With a new Top Gun movie coming out soon, I thought this might be an appropriate share.

It used to be in the early days of military aviation that a pilot’s head only served as some level of protection during a crash or a battle. Then with the introduction of radio communications an additional function was added to allow the pilot to communicate with the ground and then eventually with other pilots. The arrival of jet airplanes necessitated the integration of breathing capabilities via a facemask attached to the helmet.

Things remained relatively unchanged for many years until miniaturization and advancing computer science and display technologies made it possible to introduce heads up displays for pilots, first into the cockpit and then into the visor of the pilot, allowing pilots to see key flight data in their field of vision without having to find the relevant instrument on their instrumentation panel.

But pilots still had to look out all of their different windows and event turn the airplane in order to see what was going on around the aircraft.

The latest helmet for pilots of the F35 changes all of that now however. Designers have challenged this orthodoxy that a pilot has to look out the window or turn the airplane to see what is going on outside the airplane AND the orthodoxy that a pilot must put on night vision goggles to see what is going on at night by creating a helmet that uses sensors on the outside of the airplane and feed the visual data to the pilot in their new $400,000 helmet for the F35 that allows them to see in every direction just by looking around, day or night. The pilot can now effectively see right through the walls and floor of the airplane with this helmet.

This helmet challenges orthodoxies, but it also leverages two other lenses from Rowan Gibson’s Four Lenses of Innovation to achieve the solution – harnessing trends (sensors, etc.), and understanding needs.

Despite Lockheed Martin holding the primary contract for the F35 Lightning, the helmet will be manufactured primarily in Israel by Elbit Systems with some final assembly work done by Rockwell Collins in the United States.

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Cars Don’t Have to Be Beige and Boring – Nobe 100

Cars Don't Have to Be Beige and Boring - Nobe 100

Estonia is known for pushing the boundaries as it tries to establish itself as a haven for innovation, and out of Estonia comes the latest in a string of interesting electric car projects. This one is super sexy for those of us that think that cars have gotten BORING. Check out the video to see what I mean.



Below you’ll find a second video that digs a little deeper into the project and provides more of an editorial.

But before you check it out you might want to investigate a bit more about what Estonia is trying to do to make itself an innovation powerhouse.



Is the design so sexy that you’ll want to lick it? I’ll leave that for you to decide, but I do like the idea of a removable battery. I’m surprised this is the first electric car that I’ve seen that touts this as a feature. I always assumed that the gas pumps at service stations would be replaced by racks of batteries eventually, but that has yet to happen and it is kind of hard for such a transition to start taking place if none of the electric car manufacturers are making cars with removable batteries. Whether or not it was necessary to go to the extreme of making the removable battery look like a nostalgic leather suitcase I’m not quite sure, but it does keep the experience consistent.

This is a crowdfunding project so if it excites you, check out their investment page.

So, only one question remains… Innovation or not?

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Delivering Pizza to the Homeless

Delivering Pizza to the HomelessInnovation can come from a number of different potential sources of inspiration and insight. The most typical source of course is understanding customer needs. This is the source for the whole design thinking movement, but there are still a number of other potential sources of inspiration and insight for potential innovations. But, in this case we will be examining a potential innovation building not only on an unmet customer need, but one that iterates on previous attempts by a company to address the same unmet customer need – the desire to have a pizza delivered when you’re not at home.

In the world of pizza delivery, the process has always had at its core, a street address, because the context for both the pizza ordering system and the delivery driver was linked to the world of the street map. But sometimes customers want to enjoy a hot delivered pizza in a place that doesn’t have a street address and companies like Domino’s Pizza had no way to address this scenario. The street address had become an orthodoxy.

By understanding this unmet customer need and challenging this orthodoxy, Domino’s arrived at the concept of the pizza door on a beach in the Netherlands back as early as 2009 (if not earlier). The phone number for the local Domino’s Pizza was on the door and after the order was placed the Domino’s Pizza delivery person would bring the pizza(s) to the door and ring the doorbell to let the customer know when they have arrived.

A creative solution to the unmet customer need, an interesting invention to challenge the street address orthodoxy, but definitely NOT an innovation as it can’t scale to replace the street address centric approach to pizza delivery.

But, Domino’s Pizza hasn’t given up iterating on this unmet customer need and recently launched their latest approach to solving it which they call Domino’s Hotspots.

Domino's Hotspots

The concept is simple:

Stop defining delivery locations by street addresses, and instead define them by GPS coordinates.

As soon as you stop limiting potential delivery locations to places with street addresses and instead view it through a mobile-centric lens (including GPS coordinates and location-based services) then you can start mapping popular locations without street addresses to GPS coordinates that both customers and delivery drivers can use to get pizzas to customers, while also sending customers text updates of both the progress of the order and the pizza’s ultimate arrival at the chosen location.

It’s all driven out of the Domino’s Pizza mobile app, which also makes it a great way to create customer loyalty, to gather customer behavior data, and to drive repeat business.

So, what do you think?

Innovation or not?

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Flash Sale – Change Planning Toolkit™ Lifetime License

Flash Sale - Change Planning Toolkit™ Lifetime License

You can now get a Lifetime Commercial License for the Change Planning Toolkit™!

Thank you to everyone that has already:

1. Gotten the 10 Free Tools to sample the power the toolkit
2. Purchased my book Charting Change and gotten 16 more tools to use
3. Considered purchasing a license to all 50+ tools in the Change Planning Toolkit™

Previously there were three options for using the Change Planning Toolkit™ to make money:

Option 1 for companies — $99.99 per year per user
Option 2 for companies — $299.99 + $2 per employee per year*
Option 3 for cities/states/countries — $0.01 per resident per year ($1,000 minimum)*

* These special licenses give full access to every person in the company or in the region.

BUT,

Now I’m super excited to announce the availability of a fourth option for people – the Lifetime Commercial License!

Available now for only $999.99
(a $36,999.00 value)

FLASH SALE!

First FIVE (5) people get a special price of $249.99
with coupon code 250LIFETIME

Next FIVE (5) people get a special price of $499.99
with coupon code 500LIFETIME

AND as a special bonus,

  1. I will credit any educational license investment towards the purchase of a commercial or city/state/country license
  2. If you refer a company or a city/state/country to me and they purchase a bulk license, I will share 20% of the year one revenue with you

** Lifetime refers to lifetime of the individual person

Thank you for continuing to support the change revolution!

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Join Me Online Now at the FREE Change and Innovation Summit

Change and Innovation Summit

I have exciting news!

I was recently interviewed for the Change and Innovation Online Summit! As a featured guest I’m able to share FREE passes to the Summit.

Whether you are a leader who is experiencing change in your organization, an HR professional who is dealing with change, or someone looking to reinvent how you show up everyday, you may benefit from conversations with some of the brightest thinkers in Change and Innovation around the world.

The Summit provides tools, strategies and concepts on how to best lead change and navigate the future of work. Whether you’re leading a Fortune 500 organization or looking to reinvent yourself, this Summit is packed with insights and practices to promote innovative ideas and successfully implement change.

Other speakers include:

Greg McKeown
Daryl Conner
Stephen Shapiro
Adrian Gostick
Chester Elton
Tim Creasey of ProSci
… and several other great speakers!

Click the link below for your FREE Pass and be sure to catch my session:

http://changeandinnovationsummit.com/?orid=39&opid=3

Join Braden Kelley at the Change and Innovation Summit

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Introduction to the Change Planning Toolkit™

Introduction to the Change Planning Toolkit

The business world is showing an increasing interest in the people side of change, and there is a very real reason for this…

Companies are spending an increasing amount of their budget on technology and working to transform their operations to be more digital in order to provide a better experience for customers, employees, partners and suppliers while simultaneously creating a more efficient and effective business.

Everyone knows that a lot of technology projects fail to achieve their intended objectives, timings, and budgets. This fact and the increasing investment levels are causing more executives to look for ways to de-risk these technology investments in digitizing the business.

That’s why we’re seeing an uptick in the hiring and certification of change management professionals, which is great, but companies are still thinking about the relationship between project management and change management backwards.

In most cases change management is brought to bear as an afterthought, a bolt on to project management when the reverse should be true. Managing a change is a bigger endeavor than managing a project, and in fact you could say that because every project changes something, that every project is a change initiative.

It is thinking about managing projects in this way that I sat down to begin managing a new project several years ago and like many project managers, I found myself sitting at my computer by myself starting at an empty Microsoft Word template for a project charter knowing the uphill battle I’m going to face trying to route this document around via email and succeeding at both getting any responses at all and at getting meaningful input and a diversity of perspectives to make my project charter a really strong document that anyone will actually look at after week two of the project. I also found myself thinking that there has to be a better to plan and execute change initiatives and projects.

ACMP Standard Visualization

And sure people like pull ADKAR (a modified version of AIDA from the marketing world) and the ACMP Standard for Change Management (see the visualization I created above and download it for free here) and John Kotter’s change leadership approach, but they all fall short of making the planning and execution of change initiatives and projects a more visual and collaborative process, so I found myself starting to create new tools to help people (intended to link up with the PMBOK and ACMP Standard for Change Management).

These tools started to collect until they formed a comprehensive and new visual, collaborative approach to planning and executing change initiatives, and yes projects. This collection of tools became known as the Change Planning Toolkit™ and was first introduced in my latest book Charting Change which pairs nicely with my first book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire. Both are designed to pack more insights into each chapter than most books contain in the entirety of their pages. Two of the most important frameworks introduced in the book are the Five Keys to Successful Change:

Five Keys to Successful Change 550

And the Architecting the Organization for Change framework:

Architecting the Organization for Change

Both frameworks are designed to help people challenge the way they think about organizational change. They are designed to help people think about more than change management and to think differently about how organizations are transformed and how change management and project management relate to each other.

To help people begin their participation in changing change I’ve made ten free tools available for download from the 50+ tools in the Change Planning Toolkit™, and people who buy a copy of Charting Change get access to 26 of the 50+ tools (including the Visual Project Charter™ and the Change Planning Canvas™). The book does a great job of helping to explain the philosophy behind the toolkit and how to get started with the tools, but people who purchase access to all 50+ tools (including tools to help people think through their Digital Transformation) also get a QuickStart Guide to explain each tool.

But if we are going to truly work together to change how change is planned and executed I thought it would make sense to give people a more in depth sneak preview into what’s inside the toolkit and so I’ve created the following Introduction to the Change Planning Toolkit™ webinar recording:



I encourage you to reflect upon your own experiences planning and executing both projects and change initiatives and what you’ve found lacking in the tools you call upon from ProSci, PMI, ACMP or others and then check out the book and the webinar and then let me know if there are any tools that you feel are still missing – and if it makes sense, I’ll create them!

My goal in creating all of these tools for you after all is to help you beat the 70% change failure rate, so let’s work together at changing change so our organizations are capable with more capably transforming themselves as the environment changes around them.

You can let me know if there are any change tools that you still need (or if you’d like me to come show you and your team personally how to use them) via the contact form.

Let’s change change together!

Change Planning Toolkit Million Dollar Value

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Outcome-Driven Change (ODC)

Outcome-Driven Change (ODC)

When it comes to business, many people would say it is outcomes that truly matter, especially investors on wall street. Investors don’t care what kind of software you’re running or what your stack looks like, or how you do what you do, as long as you deliver the financial outcomes they are looking for in order to earn a return on their investment.

Doctors also focus on outcomes and insurance companies are becoming obsessed with them, forcing doctors and customers into Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). In healthcare, the outcomes obsession is called Outcomes-Based Management or Outcomes-Based Healthcare. In education, the outcomes obsession has led to an obsession with standardized testing and a practice called Outcomes-Based Education (OBE).

And in the innovation space, Tony Ulwick and Strategyn created Outcomes-Driven Innovation (ODI). In the innovation space this approach can be very beneficial as it helps companies move away from asking questions like “What can this technology do?” to questions that create better outcomes and more value, questions like “What is the customer trying to do?” or “What is the job to be done (JTBD)?”

Whether it is healthcare, education, business, or innovation, a focus on outcomes can be very helpful, but in these contexts we are looking at managing to a certain set of outcomes, or improving a certain set of outcomes, at a fixed point in time.

In the area of organizational change however, the focus often is not on outcomes, but on behaviors. Far too much of the literature and practice focuses on behavior change, which could also be described as “what people do.” And this focus on behaviors instead of aligning thoughts, feelings, behaviors and outcomes is part of why up to 70% of change efforts fail.

Too many people are jumping in head first and not approaching organizational change holistically, having the tough conversations around not only around how behaviors (doing) need to change but also how the how the outcomes need to change, along with how people’s thoughts and feelings need to change.

And when it comes to organizational change, we are not trying to achieve a certain set of outcomes or optimize a certain set of outcomes, but instead to ascertain what the relevant outcomes are in the current state and what we want them to become in the future state.

To help change leaders work though these incredibly necessary conversations and to help change managers achieve alignment within the organization around how all four components need to change (outcomes, thinking, feeling, doing) as part of a planned and coordinated effort, I have created the Outcome-Driven Change (ODC) Framework and worksheet to add to the Change Planning Toolkit™ v7 for existing subscribers and new subscribers alike.

Change is Possible

Thinking, feeling, doing…

People have been linking these terms together since at least 1895 when E.W. Scripture released an interesting book titled Thinking, Feeling, Doing on how scientists conduct research affecting these three parts of our humanity. Many people have added to the conversation since then speaking about how we are of three minds (Merriam-Webster dictionary definitions below), which are the:

1. Cognitive

Of, relating to, being, or involving conscious intellectual activity (such as thinking, reasoning, or remembering)

2. Affective

Relating to, arising from, or influencing feelings or emotions

3. Conative

An inclination (such as an instinct, a drive, a wish, or a craving) to act purposefully

Not coincidentally, these match up with the three domains of learning, defined as early as 1956 by educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom.

Others like to ascribe these three elements of humanity into Mind, Body, and Soul.

The key thing to remember from all of this discussion is that we are speaking about three very distinct things:

  1. Thinking
  2. Feeling
  3. Doing

IT IS possible, and happens with surprising frequency, that all three are not in agreement when you are dealing with human beings. Which the obvious truth of course is that in any change effort, or project for that matter, you are. People are fully capable of thinking one thing, feeling another, and end up doing something totally incongruent with either OR both whatever they are thinking and feeling. Confused yet?

Author F. Scott Fitzgerald once famously said:

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”

This is one reason why change of any kind, organizational or personal, is so hard. Because, in order to be successful you must achieve alignment between all three elements of human reaction to the change in order to achieve the outcomes you seek.

Hopefully I’ve captured all of this in this single image of the Outcome-Driven Change Framework and this single quote from it:

“When what people do aligns with what they think and feel, then and only then, will you achieve the outcomes you’re looking for.”

Outcome-Driven Change Framework by Braden Kelley

In the Change Planning Toolkit™ v7 paying subscribers will find 11″x17″versions of this framework and the Outcome-Driven Change™ Worksheet to help your change planning team guide the conversations with change leaders that will help you surface the outcomes you’re currently achieving and what people in the organization are thinking, feeling, and doing to create the current outcomes and what members of the organization will need to think, feel, and do in order to achieve the new set of outcomes that you determine are necessary for the change to be successful.

People purchasing a commercial license and organizations or governments purchasing a site license or city/state/country license will get access to a poster size version (35″x56″) of the Outcome-Driven Change Worksheet.

This is just a taste of the kinds of frameworks, worksheets, and other tools you will find in the Change Planning Toolkit™ that I introduced in my latest book Charting Change along with a lot of great case studies and other next practices shared by some of the leading minds in the areas of organizational change and innovation.

So what are you waiting for?

  1. Get started using the Outcome-Driven Change Framework to spark dialogue among your change planning and leadership teams
  2. Download the 10 free tools from the Change Planning Toolkit™
  3. Grab your copy of Charting Change and get access to even more tools for free from the Change Planning Toolkit™ (including the Change Planning Canvas™)
  4. And then when you’re ready, get a license to all the rest of the 50+ frameworks, worksheets and other tools, and beat the 70% change failure rate!

Still have questions about how the Change Planning Toolkit™ can help your organization get better at change?

Then please contact me!

Or check out the Introduction to the Change Planning Toolkit™ webinar below:



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Send Me Your Questions About Change or Digital Transformation

Send Me Your Questions About Change or Digital Transformation

I’m planning on recording a webinar in the next couple of days titled An Introduction to the Change Planning Toolkit™ and before I do I would throw out an open call for questions:

  1. What have you always been curious about when it comes to organizational change?
  2. Where do you get stuck when it comes to achieving successful organizational change, adoption, or project completion?
  3. What do you think should be in the Change Planning Toolkit™?
  4. What have you always been curious about when it comes to the Change Planning Toolkit™ and how it helps you beat the 70% change failure rate?
  5. What have you always been curious about when it comes to digital transformation?

So, let me know what questions you have related to any of these five questions by Midnight (PDT) on Monday, April 9, 2018 in Seattle, WA (GMT -8:00) and I will do my best to answer them when I record the webinar.

Click here to send me your questions

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Building an Innovation and Insights Group from Scratch

Building an Innovation and Insights Group from Scratch

Many of you reading this have created or operated innovation or insights programs for organizations of a variety of sizes, or are curious about how to go about it.

Operating an innovation program or leading an insights group is definitely much different than creating one. In some ways it is easier, because things are already in place, but inheriting processes and expectations different than your preferences can also make things more difficult.

The folks at Aperio Insights are conducting research for a large utility company doing business in several states in the United States with a focus on electricity, natural gas, renewables, and ancillary services. Their research project is looking for a variety of perspectives from practitioners with experience in setting up a more formal and centralized innovation program or insights program (or ideally both), from scratch, where ad hoc and informal efforts occurred previously.

They’re looking for people who have been there and done that, tripped over the unseen obstacles in the dark, stubbed their toes, and are willing to share their perspectives on what they wished they had never done in setting up an innovation and insights program and what they would definitely do again.

OR, if you’ve inherited leadership of an existing innovation and insights program and were magically given the opportunity to start over and set it up from scratch, how would you go about it?

To jump start the thinking of those who get paid for your advice, let’s look at what a hand-picked group of guest experts have to say on the subject:

The Tony Ulwick Perspective:

Tony UlwickWe have worked with Fortune 500 companies and other organizations over the past 26 years deploying Outcome-Driven Innovation (ODI), a proven innovation process with an 86 percent success rate. From my perspective, there are 5 major barriers companies must overcome before replacing luck with predictable innovation.

Across an organization, key managers and stakeholders must:

  1. Recognize that innovation is a process.
  2. Stop executing the innovation process backwards.
  3. Stop cobbling together incompatible innovation tools and methods.
  4. Budget the time and money needed to execute the process correctly.
  5. Recognize that new market research methods are required.

— Tony Ulwick, Strategyn founder and creator of the Jobs to be Done methodology (free pdf)

The Stephen Shapiro Perspective:

Stephen ShapiroIn setting up an innovation and insights group from scratch, first want to define how you define success. What does this group hope to achieve? What issues is it addressing? What are the barriers to success?

This should drive all of the other decisions you make. Next, I would look at the process you use. The goal of any innovation group is to move from an ad hoc approach to one that is repeatable and predictable. Although most companies start with an idea-driven approach (which is ad hoc by its very nature), I encourage something I call “Challenge-Centered Innovation(TM)” Instead of asking for suggestions, ask for solutions to well-framed, important, and differentiating challenges. This fits in nicely with an insights-driven approach which looks for wants and needs in the marketplace and looks to develop solutions to address those. Beyond measures and process, one item you need to quickly address the organization model.

In general, you want a very small, centralized innovation team that helps defines the standards (e.g., measures, process, technology, etc). But the real work is pushed into the various businesses with only support from this team. Innovation should never be the domain of one group; rather it should be done where the money resides in the business. Although some capabilities can be centralized (e.g., market research), the ultimate decisions on how to use that information needs to be determined by the business. Of course there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for this and it needs to be tailored to your specific culture and needs.

— Stephen Shapiro, Speaker Hall of Fame Member and Author of Best Practices Are Stupid

The Geoff Tuff Perspective:

Geoff TuffMany corporate innovation leaders don’t have the luxury of starting an innovation and insights function “from scratch” as they’re often saddled with the inspiring (?) vision of a senior leader, a mandate to make use of resources who don’t fit in elsewhere, or the herculean task of filling a gap in a company’s growth plan which has few degrees of freedom to actually go and try something new. So on the rare occasions when this is the starting place, here are the top five things I consider strong precursors of success:

  1. Have a crystal-clear sense for your level of ambition for the group: do you exist to advance to core business, to stretch it into adjacent spaces, to disrupt its business model, so some combination of all three? And if some combination, what proportion of your time and efforts will you spend on each?
  2. Develop clear operating procedures, rights and responsibilities relative to the rest of the company, especially regarding funding and what happens to innovation initiatives when they get to various stages of development.
  3. Start with a clean playing field and, as I write about in my forthcoming book Detonate, ignore the playbooks that have made the rest of the company successful.
  4. Focus on building complementary and nontraditional sources of insight such as ethnography that will supplement but not replace the insight machine of the rest of the company.
  5. Focus on driving economic value as quickly as possible and trumpeting it when you achieve it; a few quick, high-profile wins can help broaden your playing field and deepen your funding.

— Geoff Tuff, Deloitte principal and senior leader of the Doblin practice. Author of Detonate coming May 8 (pdf)

The Braden Kelley Perspective:

Braden KelleyIt doesn’t matter whether your organization is B2B, B2C, a charity, a government entity, or all four. Every innovation and insights organization must begin with their customers in mind, and make sure that they have the buy-in of key internal organizations (their customers in this context) to pick up their outputs and turn them into new or renewed product and/or service offerings. Unless the rest of the organization converts your ideas into new sources of value for the organization or utilizes them to increase existing sources of value, then eventually your group will become the victim of budget cuts.

Equally important is the creation of a common language of innovation. This includes the creation of a definition of “innovation” for the organization, along with an innovation vision, strategy, and goals. But for it to be sustainable you must also address funding, staffing, metrics, communications, training, portfolio management, and have a clearly defined and visualized innovation process. My Infinite Innovation Infrastructure integrates all of this together:

Infinite Innovation Infrastructure

You will notice I’ve integrated my Nine Innovation Roles methodology from Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire into the Infinite Innovation Infrastructure because it is not whether any particular individual is innovative or not, but instead, everyone has a role to play in innovation.

Finally, innovation and insights in this context are very different, but yet complementary. Insights professionals typically focus on the uncovering new understandings at the intersection between customers and existing products and services, where innovation professionals are focused on uncovering new understandings about customers (and non-customers) that usually DO NOT link to existing products and services. Blending an optimization mindset with a creation mindset in the same organization can be a great challenge, and identifying where to keep things separate and where to create intentional overlap will be a balancing act as well.

— Braden Kelley, Keynote Speaker and Author of Charting Change and Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire

The Scott Anthony Perspective:

Scott AnthonyThe most critical thing the leader of a new insight and innovation group needs to consider in order to be successful is stakeholder expectations. Are stakeholders seeking insights and innovations that improve today’s business? Are they hoping to go build exciting new disruptive ventures? Or are they trying to create a more enabling culture of innovation? Those are distinctly different mandates, and a lack of clarity can lead a new leader to move in the wrong direction.

Embedded in this area is my second key success factor: understanding how leaders define innovation. At some companies innovation is broad, covering everything from day-to-day advancements to more disruptive approaches; other companies mean it to only mean the bigger, bolder stuff. Of course, we have both a broad general definition of innovation (“something different that creates value”) and specific categories of innovation. But without common definitions, it is easy for an insights and innovation leader to miss the mark.

That leads then to the third and final point: knowing the specific problems that innovation should solve. One of the mistakes people make is they think innovation should be unbounded, and that a good leader lets hundreds of flowers bloom. I’ve never seen that work; letting hundreds of flowers bloom leads to a lot of undernourished flowers. Focus is the innovator’s friend. Identifying the specific problems to solve, such as improved employee engagement, higher customer retention, experimenting with a new technology, or winning in a particular customer segment, improves the ability to innovate for impact.

— Scott Anthony, Innosight Managing Director and author of Dual Transformation (mini pdf)

Now It’s Your Turn to Share

So innovation and insight practitioners, now that you’ve heard some inspiration from five carefully selected thought leaders, it’s your turn to jump into the tactical details and share your thoughts with researchers about HOW you would build a successful innovation and insights program from a blank canvas.

But wait!

It gets better, not only will you be able to help fellow innovation and insights practitioners get their program started on the right foot, but people accepted into the research program will be PAID $250 for an hour of their brainpower.

Aperio Insights are interviewing experienced client-side innovation and research leaders to help gather ideas on how to setup an effective consumers insights and innovation team, including tactical things like how to inform the rest of the organization that this function is now in place and how to prioritize the objectives of diverse departments.

They’re looking for a mix of B2B and B2C client-side innovation and marketing research leaders for 60-minute one-on-one webcam interviews.

  • Each study participant will receive a generous honorarium $250 (Amazon e-gift card or PayPal) as a token of our appreciation
  • Not looking for your corporate secrets, just your advice and opinion
  • Evening and weekend times are available for your convenience
  • Study participants will be kept anonymous

Click here to sign up

Insights and Innovation Study

Image credit: spanishdict.com

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