Innovation speed or perfectionWhat is time to innovate?

The time between the day when the need to innovate is recognized to the day the first version of a prototype is in the market. Innovation speed or perfection? Go for speed any time.

For instance: The need or the dream to have an internet connection in any place in the world, land, or water is as old as the Internet itself. But in 2015, Elon Musk had an idea how to solve it. In Feb 2018, he created a company called StarLink. Today in 2021, we have full coverage, and in the next few years, it will be a standard. By 2025 people will realize that over 30,000 satellites are in orbit and connect all of us any time from anywhere. Look back and wondering how this could happen. Very much how we wonder why there is only one search engine to be considered serious, one computer operating system, one super large social network, one shopping platform, and soon one internet provider. We all heard of StarLink; but so far, nobody dares to compete. Is California or Silicon Valley a time capsule in itself? Time seems to run much faster – but only because we don’t hear a lot from China, in particular Shenzhen.
Only a few decades ago, Shenzhen was a collection of quiet farming and fishing villages. Today, the city is among the world’s leading innovation hotspots—in other words, the perfect location for our Airbus China Innovation Centre (ACIC).

If you want to innovate on Shenzhen speed you got to be even faster. Does it feel impossible? Yes, it does but only due to our massive overhead. If we don’t watch it, we will end like the britsh empire in 1900 or the Roman Empire in 1600 or Egypt or Mesopotamia or or or.

Western innovation labs, where are your results?

Innovation speed or perfection. In the past 20 years, several hundred innovation labs had been incepted. Yet, the outcome is more or less nonexistent. Yes, there had been nice improvements, some fun stuff, and maybe a few marketing Giggs. But nearly no groundbreaking innovation. They came all from startups. Something major may have gone wrong in those “Lost 20 years,” as one of the top Japanese executives told me recently. Everybody looked at startups because they seem to do something right. However, we all know 90% fail, and if you look at them, you will fail too. We all heard it “Innovation needs amazing creativity, and you can’t enforce it” – ok, so make innovation playgrounds with meditation, lego play games, sing together, and do sports together.  Hmmm – the unicorns show relentless execution, amazing speed; they work under enormous pressure. TIME seems to be a silver bullet. Very much like Elon Musks demonstrates it every day. When I founded my companies and watching my peers and the hundreds of startups we worked with, the best of the best were constantly full of adrenaline.

Groundbreaking Innovation in 40 days

We wanted to know:  What is the Innovation speed limit? The answer: 40 days right now. We can create groundbreaking innovation and validate the concept and bring it to market in 40 days. While most people are driven by their schedule, which is driven by others, who drive other agendas, and so forth, we need to put a stake in the ground NOW. The Nespresso Capsul took 15 years from idea to market success. The Tesla automobile took 15 years from inception to market success. Facebook took less than 10 years, Starlink probably less than 7 years. And the upcoming generation will be even faster. The western world already lost the first race against the red dragon in China. But we are used to not give up, to not surrender – to get up and compete.

Dare to compete

Some people use pacemakers to keep their heart beating – what is your business using? In a few days, we start with the global Ingenuity Cup. The promise is to get to groundbreaking innovation in 40 days. So far, most contestants are startups. While under huge pressure to deliver a real innovation for the first time, enterprise teams are struggling to make quick decisions, get approvals, find ways to put all the other administrative work to the side, and are fearful of failing. We MUST break through that barrier.

Dare to break all barriers and walls

  • You have no time? Never say this again. Take the time for what is most important.
  • You need approval? I don’t think so, because you have a mission.
  • You have other e important things to do? Stop innovating – it’s a waste of time doing it on the side.
  • You worry about your career? 5 years without success in an innovation lab is 25% of your career wasted already.
  • The next company won’t take you !!!!

Mr CEO, tear down that wall

Make your innovation teams play by the rule of global markets, global timelines, global competitors, global speed limits, and compete against everything and everybody. Innovation playground time is over. Every unicorn on earth competes with relentless execution, other nations have no rules and no limits. If you spend more time protecting what you have than investing it into future solutions, you, your board, and investors declare the limits of your abilities.

 

Dare to join the Ingenuity Cup even last minute.

Calculating the value of an innovation

BlueCallom Equation IntroductionOne of our early objectives was to easily describe the value of our work. It is not easy as Innovation has so many moving parts and the fact that enterprises around the world are feverishly trying to find better ways to achieve groundbreaking innovation and not just improvement is a testimony for its complexity. We tried to distill our value contribution down to neuro ideation, innovation opportunity discovery, innovation-to-market method, innovation financing, reporting, Innovation KPI framework, multi-user digital canvas technology, genetic computing technology AI usage, and a few other things. One aspect recently rose very prominently in conversations with users and customers: a very close relationship between brilliant ideation and relentless execution. However, there was an inner conflict: It is described in a blog post written a few years ago: The Initial value of an idea is zero. How could something of no value sparked multi-billion dollar businesses and disrupts entire industries if it has no value? It just needed to turn on of course but what value is it then? It reminded me of something I learned in quantum mechanics, that I quantum state can be seen as having two states at the same time. Every idea can too. As we learned from neuroscience, an idea is a clearly defined “object in our brain that is composed of past experiences”.  The trick is to use it or not. Unused its value is zero and used its value turns into one. The value of one is still not a lot but multiplied with execution that leads to exponential growth makes the one incredibly valuable.  Let’s not get deeper into quantum physics as it is just an analogy but look how this concept changes our understanding of innovation.

The two key aspects, that make or break groundbreaking innovation:

  1. Finding a brilliant idea that leads to innovation

  2. Making the idea a reality and bringing it to market with relentless execution

Harnessing the duality of ideation and execution is where BlueCallom makes the biggest difference. Moreover developing the BlueCallom Equation, paved the way for making innovation predictable, creating Innovation Forecasts, calculating an Innovation Lifetime Value, and an Innovation ROI. Groundbreaking Innovation (G)  = Ideation (I) * Execution(E)².

G = I * E² 

The meaning of G

For the development of innovation processes, we needed to make a statement of what we understand by the term INNOVATION, in particular groundbreaking or disruptive innovation is not Improvement. It became even more important when trying to find a way to calculate an innovation value. There are hundreds of different definitions of what innovation means. The following definition is made to make our methods and technology clear, and also what our equation is addressing.

Innovation is the introduction of a
groundbreaking elevation in the way
people do things and ensuring
a successful global distribution.

It often results in disruption, how
industry segments conduct business.

Innovation is not the same as Improvement. For more clarity, we use Groundbreaking Innovation (G)

The creation of I

To get to groundbreaking innovation you need an amazing idea. And since we know, thanks to neuroscience, how innovative ideas get created, we can go one major step further: Making the innovation a reality. Not only by building a prototype but bringing that innovation to life in global markets. Some years ago I wrote a provocative blog post: “The initial Value of an Idea is ZERO” and that has not changed. There have been many known cases where people bought an idea for $1. With that payment, the idea had legally changed ownership. So we can assume that the buy-in of a team developing such an idea has the value of one – assume any currency. The idea is the must-have ignition to innovation, yet has no big value to anybody – yet. The value is created through execution. Every startup knows – it gets embossed in their neurons by every investor. And there is an important effect to be observed: Any successful innovation – ever created – was following an exponential growth rate. Hence the E².  But with no execution: 1 * 0 = 0 – in other words, the lack of execution makes the innovation value zero.

The significance of

  1. Innovation Timeline
    Innovative solutions take quite a while to get accepted in the market. And there is no shortcut. The larger part of the market participants is rather careful and conservative. It took a few years until the name Tesla even made it to News. It took even longer until Amazon became a household brand. The first two years, Computer 2000 and TechData had a tough start. But 10 years later both bypassed 8,000 competitors which never understood the level of disruption our business models had. Today the merged and combined company is doing nearly 40 Billion in revenue. The inflection point when the so-called “Hockey Stick” kicks in and turns the slow start is recognized as part of an exponential growth curve, it is too late for many companies to seriously compete.
  2. Innovation Management
    Managing an “Innovation to Market” process is an ART and a SCIENCE. One of the key aspects of the science part is the understanding that innovative products will never be purchased by conservative customers, which is the largest audience. One of the arts to get it to scalable results is to know when the broader audience is ready to engage. Today the function of “Innovation Management” is widely underestimated or even completely misunderstood. Innovation management could also be called “Innovation Value Management”. It is all about creating value from a disruptive innovation that has usually the DNA of a unicorn – no matter whether it is a corporate or startup unicorn.
  3. Equation
    * An idea, as a result of any kind of ideation, has a fixed initial value of zero.
    * Once a team is intending to use the idea and make it a reality, the value of such an idea becomes one (1).
    * As soon as the innovation is given to users and they see a value for them and start using the product, the value increases above 1. Here it can potentially grow exponentially based on the energy somebody puts into execution. The energy that is put into execution should become proportional to the value growth of the innovation if the execution is done right.

This also explains why some of the innovative products are perceived as “Overhyped” in the eyes of normal observers.  Only after carefully analyzing the innovation’s growth path and rate, capital markets react and may look unrealistic. This was experienced with almost every Silicon Valley IPO and afterward, those technological advances became the new normal and ever more often dominating entire markets. The   in the BlueCallom Equation can now also explain that behavior of seemingly hyped values that turned out to be valuable over time. The BlueCallom Equation is represented in the BlueCallom Deep Innovation Design model as well as in the architecture of the BlueCallom Innovation Management Software (code name ‘deep’).

 

Debunking 100+ Innovation Methods

G=I E² is more than just a formula for groundbreaking innovation, describing the duality between ideation and execution.  It is describing the foundation of any successful innovation effort or process.

* Innovation Team Structure

Brilliant innovation and relentless execution is not a job that a person can do on the side. It’s the opposite – innovation development is one of the most demanding engagements in any business anywhere in the world. The equation also makes clear what the innovation management’s responsibility is.

* Execution – Execution – Execution
It demonstrates the value relation between the idea itself and the execution process after the idea was created. It’s all about execution and that has never been even a consideration in innovation management.

* Time is of essence

It shows the importance of the factor time in the execution from zero to the max. In conventional innovation playgrounds, teams had infinite time. The outcome was zero. Unicorns ran like crazy and that made a huge difference.

* Innovation KPIs
How innovation teams achieve probability calculations, ROI, etc. to develop more robust innovation plans.  Only robust KPIs can indicate performance. The number of idea contributions, the value of the contribution, market validation, innovation confluence data, timelines, budgets, degree of disruption, adoption rates, growth pattern, and more. The number of projects can’t be one of them.

* The end of Innovation Kindergarten
The equations expose why empirical experimentation, pivoting, random brainstorming, and other “exercises” just could never lead to groundbreaking innovation. Lego games and dancing, meditation, and other relaxation is really nice – but cannot be the core of the top job of any industry leader.

 

The end of brainstorming – it never led to groundbreaking innovation.

This post was inspired by a direct question for me on Quora. Over a year ago, I was asked a similar question.

Question: “How do successful companies manage the influx of ideas and choose top-notch ideas for inventing new products?

The answer “forced” us to build the first Neuro Innovation Management Software, BlueCallom! We realized it will be the end of brainstorming.

The end of brainstorming - opening up to an all new perspective

Hubble-Telescope Credit: Nasa

A loaded question. Almost like “how do we deal with the size of the universe and select where we want to do research?” We had amazing telescopes – but thinking outside the planet earth and building Hubble was a major breakthrough in many ways.

Answer: The influx of ideas and its selection.

Who says we have to make a selection? Think Hubble – look from the outside. We have to realize that all disruptive businesses we come across were built from pieces of ideas. If we select only a few – it will probably never survive just because we limit ourselves. More detailed questions needed to be answered:

Do we really know how to create a disruptive idea?

Once I realized that I couldn’t answer the following question: “How do you determine if there is an innovation at the end of the process?” we ended up building a Hubble for Innovation. We needed to leave the comfortable sessions, talking about thinking outside the box, thinking big, bold, open blah blah blah… and find our Hubble – Neuroscience.

The pictures we saw were more than spectacular!

We took the ideation process even further and deeper and stimulated an avalanche of idea pieces. In one project, we worked with 25 executives of a large airline, producing 25 x 30+ idea pieces = 750 idea pieces in one process (2 weeks of Neuro Ideation). Since we wanted to assess all ideas and use as many as we could, we ended up needing the computer and a few algorithms to help sort and rank it. Another project consisted of 600 managers from a large pharmaceutical company. We estimated that we aggregated roughly 18,000 idea pieces, of which we also want to take as many as we could. We had to admit, neither our idea collection mechanism nor our algorithm would be good enough for that task; so we decided to build a “machine” (software) to run the show.

Building “OUR” Innovation Hubble

There is no way I can describe all our insights from Neuroscience. However, our core discovery was: “Every idea ever created by a human being, was composed of past experiences.” Meaning we can’t “create any genuinely new idea.” In other words, hoping for ideas to compete in the innovation race is like dancing around a fireplace and hoping for rain. But that is what innovation labs do today.
The day we began to question all that, was the day we realized that innovation could be a logical, manageable and highly success-oriented process.

We’re almost there – currently beta testing. First, “self experiences” almost killed us, putting our own long-term vision on its head. It was even beyond our own expectations.

Neuro Innovation Management and the end of Brainstorming

1) No more limitations – The end of Brainstorming

Don’t limit your golden nuggets (ideas) because we all have been conditioned to a process called “Brainstorming.” While brainstorming was a great start, it never created groundbreaking innovation, and today we know why. Get your team from Brainstorming, yellow Post-Its, and whiteboards to a deep dive into Neuro Ideation. The depth of your ideas will be as different as the depth of the view from Hubble. Instead of ending a brainstorming session with a few “best ideas” leverage them all. Instead of making brainstorming the core of your ideation process, give your brain time to take a deep dive into past experiences, and come up with far more relevant concepts. Neuro Ideation is a two to three-week process and requires a needs and dreams analysis with your market to be prepared. The results will be stunning no matter how creative you may think you are.

2) Tools for things we can’t handle

Remember that we all built tools to overcome our physical limitations. So we need to build amazing tools to extend the limits of our idea process. It brings a truckload of valuable idea pieces. And when we think in that direction, it opens up a whole universe of innovation relevant aspects. We call it Deep Innovation Design.

3) Never forget the innovation purpose

You need to ask yourself some of the old questions: “What problem do you want to solve? Who do you want to innovate for? What value will you provide? 100% of the answers to those questions come from our customers. With Neuro Innovation Management, we can stimulate groundbreaking Innovation on Demand. Our “Innovation Hubble” already showed us pictures that we couldn’t imagine seeing before. We eventually realized that we have to start every innovation project with an “Innovation Opportunity Discovery” project.

P.S.
We feel like Pythagoras when he explained that earth is no disk – when we say “Innovation management is no serendipity,” declaring the end of brainstorming and the beginning of a logical, manageable innovation process.

I hope it gives you some inspiration.

In a recent research project, interviewing or discussing the entire innovation process in mid-market to global enterprises,  we found a high concentration in 7 areas of counter-intuitive behavior. We have been aware of 5 of them but No. 2 and 7 were also new to us. We will continue expanding our research effort.

1) RESEARCH TRAP

Having trouble analyzing your market to discover real innovation opportunities or risks to get disrupted?

STATUS QUO
Today we ask questions hoping to hear that our customers tell us what they need and how you can improve. We ask far too many questions. The results are at the very best improvements for the hear and now – never innovation.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
Using a methodical approach for a needs & dreams analysis leads to current and future visions. There are only two times one question. What is the best possible product for you? And in a different interview another question about their dreams. Then it’s all about the analysis of that two times one question.


2) EXPERTS TRAP

Are you still working with innovation teams that are loaded with experts and only a few market-facing minds?

STATUS QUO
The majority of innovation labs are assembled with top experts. If you add more, you get more of the same but it is impossible to get to groundbreaking innovation.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
Assemble a highly diverse Innovation Dream Team with carefully selected talents – not skills. It’s all about intelligent team compositions.


3) BRAINSTORMING TRAP

Are you still using yellow post-its, whiteboards, and brainstorming as your top ideation tools?

STATUS QUO
Ideation is done in one, two, or three brainstorm meetings. But our brain is not releasing deeply rooted groundbreaking innovations. Because it is structured to work very differently.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
Learn all about Neuro Ideation, how our mind composes thoughts and ideas, and how we can stimulate it to release amazing concepts in just a few weeks – yes, it isn’t just a brain dump.


4) CREATIVITY TRAP

Do you feel you are super creative only the infrastructure and organization is not up to par?

STATUS QUO
The majority of innovation center members reported that they feel they are exceptionally creative but are limited by the organization, infrastructure, or otherwise.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
Review the degree of impossibility of the idea and conduct a methodical market validation. You will know in just two weeks if organization and infrastructure are the biggest limitations. In most cases, it is a natural misperception.


 

5) APPROVAL TRAP

Struggling getting your executives finance and approve disruptive innovation concepts?

STATUS QUO
In particular, the most innovative ideas fail to get attention, financial support, and approval from the executive teams.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
When learning about Neuro Ideation it becomes obvious why most disruptive ideas get initially rejected, no matter from whom. “Experience Transmission” is part of the staged Financing Method.


6) EXPERIMENTATION TRAP

Are you still believing that experimentation, pivoting, and prototyping will unfold all of a sudden a magical innovation?

STATUS QUO
The idea that experimentation, pivoting, and rapid prototyping is a preferred innovation method. Fail and fail fast to try as much as possible. If we don’t know how our mind composes ideas, it is our only way to move forward.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
Build your target innovation on the needs and dreams analysis, compile the inputs, and conduct Neuro Ideation sessions, involve the management in all episodes. You will experience an unimaginable logical result that is fundable without random experimentation.


7) THE GUESSWORK TRAP

Are you still HOPING you have a great idea, HOPING your customers will like it, HOPING you get the funding, and HOPING it will be a success?

STATUS QUO
The act of innovation is largely built on hope. Even though nobody would actually admit it.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
Think through the entire innovation life cycle from finding out what and where to innovate all the way to bring such innovation successfully to market. Explore the Deep Innovation Design model. You may notice that the Neuro Ideation method has a far-reaching influence on all facets of the Innovation Life Cycle.

 


Obviously you can manage the “Status Quo” with a project management tool. But isn’t that making something dysfunctional even worse? Prior to founding BlueCallom, we did that too – and despite the love and energy for innovation, the process never really excited us. We just didn’t know why.

After learning a lot about neuroscience and how ideas are composed in our minds, we created the neuro ideation method. Little did we know that Neuro Ideation is changing the entire Innovation Life Cycle and unfolds all of a sudden a logical, natural, and manageable innovation flow.

 

Hope it was insightful.

 

A billion-dollar innovation
is not done with a few
brainstorming meetings.

We started with a big problem (see history below) and have the vision to develop technology for innovation teams to innovate like never before imaginable. Now we are ready to go.

Ready to Callomize

On Wed, Oct 15, we introduced our “Neuro Ideation” methodology. On Tue Nov 24, we will open up for Beta Teams to start beta testing the system and build groundbreaking innovations. The beginning of an amazing journey.

 

A billion-dollar innovation is not done with a few brainstorming meetings.

There is no free lunch. And reading 30 days to get rich isn’t helping you either. There is no known highly disruptive startup that got to their initial concept, product, and market validation in a heartbeat. And there has been no disruptive innovation from larger enterprises in the past 20 years.

Innovation Management Software

We changed how to interact with your computer by helping you move from linear thinking to lateral thinking. You may already know from design thinking that iteration is a big part of the process. On our multi-user digital canvas, you see the facts, research, market data, or other given or provided information on the left-hand side –  right across your logical brain hemisphere. You see your creative responses and constructs, answers, or activities to your right, across your creative brain hemisphere. And the middle field, i.e., Field-9, is the “negotiated summary” or initial outcome. Very much like the brain halves exchange and negotiate information via the Center Callom (Corpus Callosum). Going further down, you find the execution of relevant information. When you start, you will possibly find it odd that everything is so small and so much information. Over time, however, you will not want to go back to lists of data where you need to go back and forth in that linear order. It takes a bit of mind training to get familiar with it, but your thought process will not only become much faster but less distracted.

Innovation is a highly unique process.

Hundreds of thousands of innovative concepts get turned down every year by CFOs in corporations or venture investors by startups. My blog post, “The Initial Value of an Idea is Zero,” is one of my most read blog posts.  And that addresses one of the biggest counterintuitive aspects of innovation. Why spending so much time on ideation if the value is initially zero. And since many executives know that the value is created in the execution, the ideation process became a second class citizen. If we look at the full scope of the Innovation Life Cycle below, you will realize that many steps look like ordinary business activities like producing a prototype or go to market and scaling. But there is a reason we added them to the methodology toolbox of the “Deep Innovation Design” model.

Each of the steps that are supposed to make an innovation successful is profoundly different relative to bring an improved product to market. Market validation is not done when a prototype is created but before any penny is spent building one. Why? Because you can build a prototype of an existing but improved product, and it becomes quickly obvious if it will work or not. Not in the innovation space. With your next-generation product, you go obviously to your biggest customer s first to get this massive initial volume you need to support the massive production line you have. There is no way to do that successfully with groundbreaking innovation. To gain fast access to global markets, you will probably need very different and far more creative ways to enter the markets than the growth strategy from existing improved products. On the other hand, scaling seems to be not a big deal in your existing production environment. The scaling of groundbreaking innovation is fundamentally different because your initial customer base of early adopters is by order of magnitude smaller.

The Deep Innovation Design process superseded any current innovation processes by its width of the end to end innovation lifecycle and the depth of the neuro ideation method.

Innovation Financing

Yet another big challenge is to get funding for an innovative project. You may get paid to innovate, but the innovation will not materialize. Or, as a startup, you build an amazing opportunity, but investors turn you down. Why is that? There is a multitude of reasons, but most have to do with “communication.” It’s an interesting pattern that most highly innovative businesses did not get any funding when they started. Google was not given the tiniest chance, yet the became the global leader. Salesforce had to initially bootstrap for the longest time to get of the ground with funding. Two of my companies the same. The simple answer is:  any groundbreaking innovation is challenging to understand and hard to believe in becoming successful. Only now, when we understand how we compose ideas, going far deeper into our minds to answer, we know how difficult it was to cross the chasm of the obvious ideas and get to the impossible ideas and back to something we can start realizing. A CFO or investor needs to be taken to the very same journey to understand the concept AND its importance. Without a diverse innovation team, this is virtually impossible.

Ready to rock

We are exceptionally excited to open up the door for beta users to join us, help us shape the future of innovation, maybe even the future of learning, thinking, communicating, and a future of human collaboration. Please consider joining our Neuro Ideation intro on Wed, Oct 15, and if you like to beta test BlueCallum com to our beta test webinar on Tue Nov 24.  Or simply get in touch with us at any time. we would love to explore what YOUR ideal way to innovate would be.

P.S.   History

Interestingly, we are a groundbreaking innovation in itself. 2016 we began to help startups methodically create disruptive business models. In 2018 we went deeper into how groundbreaking innovative ideas were created with little to no findings. The entire Internet could not provide an answer – we hit the wall, BOOM. In 2019 we ran by accident into some eye-opening presentations and talks from neuroscientists about how our neural system processes experiences and associates those experiences with each other on the fly. That it helped them to solve all kinds of brain illnesses was less interesting for us. But we found a way to apply those discoveries in the research to find out how innovation is created. After our amazing discovery, how our minds compose and process ideas, we feverishly created methods to apply the newly gained knowledge to innovate like never before imaginable. During initial work with a few big clients, we hit the wall again – BOOM. The early experiments showed that the participants created so many valuable ideas that it was impossible to capture the time [when ideas had been composed], and date volume killed our canvas-based model. With 25 people, it was easy to create 250 valuable idea snippets. If we included customers, we would run into the thousands. The only option to solve the problem was to build a computer model that could capture any number of idea snippets entered at any given point in time, including outside any brainstorming meeting, and include selected customers from around the world to contribute. Mid-February, when the earth seemed to stand still because of covid-19, we started our software development project. The first lines of code were written end of February. The early Beta (more an Alpha Version) was ready 6 months later, and a month later, we had the first two pioneer customers on the system. We knew that, when dealing with the brain, we are opening a can of worms. Today we know it isn’t just a can; it’s a full-size metal oil barrel. We realize we are at the beginning of an all-new era of cognitive technology.

 

 

When understanding how our mind composes and processes ideas, we must ask how we can leverage those cognitive abilities, control them, influence them, and improve our thinking skills? The Neuro Ideation method is the first step in that direction.

0) Experiences are Innovation Silver
There is no more relevant experience owner in the market than our customers. The value of the “Open Innovation Theory” is now scientifically proven. The Innovation Opportunity Discovery method uses that knowledge and helps identify the biggest innovation opportunities and provides the inputs to turn the inputs into groundbreaking innovation. For that very reason, represent customers a strategic companion in any market-facing innovation project. We should add a diverse set of customers to our ideation process. If we compare it with climbing a big mountain, we are now at basecamp, together with our customers.

1) Brainstorming
The oldest and still not a bad starting point for innovation is Brainstorming. However, a typical brainstorming session takes about an hour and brings the most obvious ideas forward. Our energy-conscious brain does not go very deep into analogous situations, let alone into distant experiences. It also won’t weave more complex experience networks to produce rather exceptional results. At the end of most brainstorming sessions, the team is already exhausted but finds very cool ideas, and most of the team are excited. The team’s excitement stems from the fact that most of them could comprehend the best idea right away. Those obvious ideas get usually selected as the best and processed further. This means that most everybody else will understand them, and some could easily replicate those ideas. They may become nice improvements, but never true innovations. But we reached our camp 1 on our quest to go to the top of the “idea mountain.”

2) Post Brainstorming ideas
Almost everybody had already experienced that in the following days after brainstorming, participants of such meetings come with new ideas – often better ideas – in the following days.  However, most teammates consider those “latecomer” as distracting and fear that the ideation process will never get done and turns them down if more come. This is rather unfortunate because the brain continues searching for more great ideas. But since we did not know how our mind works, we turned it down.  Assuming that we are looking for truly groundbreaking innovation, we will let the brain continue to work for 48 hours and allow brainstorm participants to add those ideas into the innovation system whenever those ideas seem to be very relevant. And this is just the beginning. At this point, we reached camp 2 on our trip to the mountain top.

3) Analogous experience connections
When we have enough time to think about problems, our brain has another powerful tool: analogous experience search. It does that by taking the results from past thinking and tries to find similar but unrelated experiences. That means that our brainstorming was a good first step to stimulate the brain to find various alternative situations that would normally not come to mind. For most of the past 2 million years, we needed our brain to survive, circumvent danger, and save ourselves from far more powerful animals and other risks. Decisions needed to be made fast. And an obvious idea was just right. But there was also time to muse. In that time, the brain was able to search deeper and wider, had more time, and could come up with completely “useless” questions like what this space up in the air could be. Time to think was and still is one of the most valuable times for our minds. Today we use it to purposely reach further in our neural networks for solutions that are definitely not “obvious ideas.” The compositions of our obvious ideas with analogous ideas are producing already far better results. We can say we reached camp 3.

4) Post analogous idea development
And like with the first brainstorming result, the ideas, augmented by analogous ideas, are growing over the next 48 hours. Interestingly enough, we learned that our mind is not looking for more analogous ideas but different connections in our “past experience” repertoire from our own experience.  Our mind searches for verification during that process if the analogous ideas are really in synch with our original problem. Simultaneously, it looks for variations of the idea in the context of the analogous situation. In BlueCallum, we were using extreme sports development and how it evolved to find a parallel to our current development, understanding how our mind can become significantly more powerful when we understand how it works. At this point, we are reaching camp 4 on our ideation journey.

5) CallomBurst
We are calling the next phase “CallomBurst.” We are taking our ideas to a level where the solution is most likely impossible to realize. We are asking ourselves what would the perfect solution look like in 100 years. What would this solution look like if resources, financing, and time would be irrelevant? The word “Impossible” is banned from the discussion. We are getting to ideas that would be literally unconditionally ideal. We want to reach the limit of possible perfection. Only if we are at the limit, we know nothing can compete with our vision. And the purpose of the CallomBurst is to create the level of impossibility. It can become our vision, with the understanding that we may achieve it over the next 5, 10, or even 50 years. That vision will differentiate us and our idea and doable concept from the rest of the industry. Even if our biggest competitor uses the same technique, they cannot come to the same vision but will have a different vision. And that means a different company with a different goal. After the CallomBurst, we reached our 5th camp, and the last before the summit.

6) BlueCallum Summit Day
A few days after the CallomBurst, the team climbs the last piece of the journey and recaps all their experiences. The final and impossible idea continues to entertain our minds, and it creates a picture of where everything we have worked on could end up. BlueCallum Summit Day is where the visions are shared with everybody. On that day, it may fuse to an overall vision for the team and the company. That vision will be clearly unique and become the disruptive and innovative concept the company may want to realize. Obviously, the product would not exist on day one. But it gives the whole solution a long term direction that will be a reality one day. But everything that will be available in the first version of the new product will be an innovative and disruptive solution from day one.