Posts

 

The Innovation Master Plan, a blueprint for innovation success. 

After building four innovative businesses, two growing into the billion Dollar revenue range and later helping several hundred startups to become innovative; we decided to create this Innovation Master Plan as a blueprint for innovation success.

The foundation of this Innovation Master Plan is the Deep Innovation Design method. The method is highly influenced by neuroscience, how our brain composes ideas. Creativity and innovation are done laterally in our brains. Lateral thinking and lateral processes are becoming of strategic importance in empowering teams to create the disruptive concepts, businesses need to stay competitive.

The full details and additional insights can be downloaded as a Whitepaper.

(1) Pillars of Innovation

When having a chance to learn from neuroscience how ideas get created in our brain and extrapolate the impact of that learning, we also see several aspects of innovation like purpose to innovate, the time and finance to innovate as well as the overall outcome in a very different light. Also, the entire innovation process can be seen in a very different light and the necessity for a stringent process is rising. The least used but biggest power of our brain is lateral thinking. When putting the key learnings together, the pillars of innovation become an important part of innovative thinking.

(2) Preparation for Innovation

When preparing for innovation there are several key components to take into consideration, starting with an Innovation Readiness Check. By completing a simple checklist you can determine if your top executives are on board, understand your current access to customers, and grasp your readiness to create groundbreaking innovations.

Leadership buy-in is key to your success. Genuine Innovation is a long-term engagement. It usually takes less than six months to create an innovative solution, but on average 5 to 10 years to be recognized as an innovation in the market. Innovation is a CEO mandate. Without a dedicated innovation strategy that comes from the very top of an organization, no innovation is realistically possible.

Next, craft an innovation mandate and an innovation strategy. An Innovation Mandate is similar to a declaration, mission statement, or manifesto. It is therefore not just the wish to be more innovative but building an entirely new operation within the company that may be able to compete and disrupt an existing business for the benefit of the market and the benefit of staying highly competitive. Once the executive team agrees on becoming an innovative business an innovation strategy needs to be crafted. Such a strategy is not focused on a certain innovation target, product, audience, or technology but the strategic position of the company, the fact that innovation is not a single event but a continuum, and what value the company sees in innovating.

Finally, assemble an innovation dream team and establish an innovation culture. Every business starts with a team. Our research and our own experience have shown that a highly diverse team will always beat a team of specialists. Make very clear what the goal and objectives are. The team must know the magnitude of that venture and make sure there are unique rewards for the team. Intelligent people argue with logic and facts, not ego and self-interest. The smartest people don’t work for money but for self-fulfillment. Have a base innovation culture statement ready before you attract talents. Then shape it together with the team you hire.

Innovation is the duality of brilliant ideation and relentless execution.

(3) Innovation Life Cycle

An innovation effort is a long-term engagement that deserves thorough planning. None of the highly innovative disruptors has hit the billion-dollar mark within just a year or two. The complete innovation life cycle is best described with an innovation journey map. That map shows the very origin or starting point of an innovation effort and all the major episodes of the innovation life cycle, all the way to global market acceptance. Even the greatest idea ever is no innovation unless it is recognized as such in the designated market. Like every journey, innovation has a destination. However, in our case, the destination is “Innovation Continuum”.

To help navigate the journey, BlueCallom created a methodical approach that starts at a point where a team may have no idea where to start, includes getting market feedback, from that point creates an innovative concept. From there the concept gets verified in the market and with positive feedback, it is much easier to finance. Then we are building prototypes that we call MVPs (Minimum viable Products) and bring those to market. After the market introduction, we spend a lot of effort in scaling the innovative business and go global. We purposefully do not go step-by-step through that journey but work in episodes and may jump back to an episode as needed. It’s part of the lateral thinking process. This is why the Innovation Journey map is not a linear path from one activity to the next but allows the freedom to go back and forth.

Putting the Innovation Master Plan to work

To implement a successful innovation master plan be PREPARED:

  1. Complete an Innovation Readiness Assessment
  2. Get the buy-in from the CEO
  3. Develop an innovation strategy
  4. Assemble your Innovation Dream

Finally, EXECUTE the entire Innovation Life Cycle. Start with the Innovation Opportunity Discovery all the way to bringing the innovation to market. There are many good reasons why the conventional sales and marketing teams cannot successfully bring disruptive innovation to market while working on the conventional and main solution offering.

Time is money – literally, execute relentlessly and focus on a 1% growth rate per day, creating exponential growth.

To download the complete whitepaper, please visit here.

 

What can be done to make your organization more innovative?

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the rules for conducting business. Now more than ever, innovative behavior is one of the essential characteristics that a company needs to develop in order to stay competitive in the changing economic landscape and new trends in consumer behavior. In order to keep your customers happy or attract new customers, the introduction of new business services, products, or processes will be the key to ensuring your organization’s future success. So, how do you foster a working environment that supports innovation within your organization?

In this post, I’ll discuss four proven strategies to enhance the innovative dimension of your company.

1) Embrace a ‘Freedom to Fail’ Culture

Let’s consider 3M, a multi-billion dollar American company, as a shining example of an enormously successful company that is known for fostering an innovative work culture by allowing employees the Freedom to Fail. As pointed out by Art Fry, the inventor of the Post-It Note at 3M, companies that wish to empower the innovative minds within the workplace need to provide freedom to employees: the freedom to fail and freedom to learn from the missteps.

The lesson that freedom can open the door to innovativeness can also be applied to the design of job roles. 

As research shows, flexible job roles can engender more participation in innovation. For example, If you are in the position to hire, instead of creating a bulleted and rigid job description, consider providing room for the next person you hire to mold their responsibilities as they grow into the role. When given the space to think outside-of-the-box of a job description, people will notice opportunities for innovation that they might not have recognized otherwise. The idea is to support everyone in your organization on the quest to identify areas of innovation and provide the space for exploration. 

2) Promote Cross-Functional Communication

When it comes to innovation, cross-functional collaboration in the workplace leads to a greater exchange of thoughts and expertise that can spark the creation of novel ideas. As Gary Hamel said, “too many companies define themselves by what they do rather than by what they know”. Bringing cross-functional teams together to solve company problems is one excellent way to tap the innovative potential of your organization. 

Multi-disciplinary collaboration and coordination are necessary for a new business idea to succeed in concept development and become an innovation. Companies with siloed business departments face an extra challenge in implementing new business concepts since the responsibility to produce innovation is split across different units. If these units experience poor communication, the odds that a new product or service is quickly (or successfully) brought to market are marginal. Both cross-functional and open communication are critical to fostering a culture of innovation in the workplace.

Next, we’ll dive deeper into the importance of differing perspectives when it comes to innovating. 

3) Spark Creativity through Diversity

Creativity includes more than innovation, but innovation inherently includes creativity. At BlueCallom, creativity is treated as the ability to compose ideas by searching the mind for correlations between various lived experiences. Being creative allows us to develop novel concepts. In order to foster an innovative workplace, individual creativity should be celebrated as an organizational resource. It is no secret that when people of different backgrounds and skill-sets are brought together, they can collectively generate great new ideas.

But, what is actually happening through this exchange that enables the creation of potentially breakthrough ideas? Creative abrasion, which is described as a process where different, sometimes clashing, perspectives are integrated (Source: HBR). In a nutshell, this means that in order to cultivate a working environment that leads to innovation, it’s absolutely critical to avoid an innovation monoculture of experts.

At BlueCallom, the Innovation Dream Team is a stage in the Innovation Journey which supports your team to assemble a diverse group of people to support your innovation vision. BlueCallom’s neuro innovation management software will help guide you through this team assembly process with a focus on diversity. 

Regardless of how innovation is handled in your organization, whether it’s a separate unit or a decentralized program, ensuring that people with diverse backgrounds and starkly different approaches are included in the innovation generation process is a productive step towards building a culture of innovation. Unleashing creativity through the diversity of thought is key.

4) Implement an Innovation Management Process

How do you get from a great idea to a tangible innovation?  The answer lies in designing a process that supports innovation within your organization, in other words: innovation management. It’s proven that having a structure and a set of common guidelines in place supports innovation. 

While most existing innovation process models are catered to producing incremental innovations, meaning modest improvements to existing products or services,  BlueCallom has developed a twelve-step innovation methodology with the goal of generating breakthrough innovation. The core of the BlueCallom innovation methodology lies in the ideation process and a technique called Neuro Ideation. Neuro ideation is a brain-stimulating ideation process that unlocks ideas by harnessing collective creativity from individual experiences. To learn more about neuro ideation, you can check out this webinar or this blog post

Are you interested in more actionable insight into managing innovation? We welcome you to explore our Deep Innovation Design online course

Thank you for reading! Is there any strategy that has worked well for your company that was not mentioned here? If so, please add your comment.

The name Deep Innovation Design Training indicates the difference: DEEP. Far deeper than any other innovation method so far. And instead of being more complicated, the Deep Innovation Design model makes innovation actually more easy and far better to manage, finance, and execute.

Uncovering why truly groundbreaking innovation was so hard and so rare:
1) Not really knowing how innovative ideas can be created.
2) Then, being forced to random experimentation, pivoting, and failing.
3) Not realizing that the relationship with users holds one of the most important keys to innovation.
4) Therefore, not really knowing what the ideal innovation team composition should look like.
5) Failing to create a robust, market-based concept validation.
6) Lacking the skills to present groundbreaking concepts for c-level approval.
7) The first 6 items makes it nearly impossible to create KPIs that allow creating a genuinely manageable process.
8) Mistakes are resulting in a large portion of projects being dismissed
9) And if not, disaster strikes when the go-to-market strategy started with the usual top customers due to lacking the understanding of early adopter dynamics.
10) As a result, corporations are failing to create disruptive innovation in 99% of the cases and settle with improvements or copying the new leaders.

Immense knowledge explosion in neuroscience has led to a new understanding of how ideas get created. This advancement resulted in innovation management processes, KPIs, and IMS systems. You can learn it all in the upcoming Deep Innovation Design Training.

Education leaders from the University for crafts and arts in Lucerne helped design the Deep Innovation Design Champion Training.

Here are the core elements of the one-week online training with live instructors.

1) Innovation Opportunity Discovery

Innovation Opportunity Discovery - BlueCallom Method Instead of random idea development, countless experimentations, and other activities, we developed a targeted innovation opportunity discovery method that involves customers and the market in general to the degree that has never been done except by highly innovative startups. It involves counterintuitive yet logical steps to observe the market and analyze the highest potentials and risks to get disrupted.

2) Innovation Strategy

Innovation Strategy - BlueCallom Method With the results of a targeted Innovation Opportunity Discovery, a team can craft an Innovation Strategy for the first time. You will describe the innovation strategy goal, who you will innovate for, budgets and resources, and the anticipated outcome.

3) Innovation Dream Team Assembly

Innovation Dream Team Assembly - BlueCallom Method Once a direction for the innovation is discovered, and a strategy is created, we can assemble an innovation dream team that looks different than 99% of all corporate innovation labs, centers, and teams.

4) Needs and Dreams Analysis

Needs and Dreams Analysis - BlueCallom Method The first step of such a team is to identify the needs and, most importantly, the DREAMS of their customers’ users. Getting to the customers’ dreams is not exactly an intuitive process, but Neuroscience is also here was extremely helpful.

5) Neuro Ideation

Neuro Ideation - BlueCallom Method Conventional brainstorming, stickers, and whiteboards have been the most sophisticated tools we had to let our brain spit out ideas. After understanding how ideas get processed, it was a shocking realization that those ideas were always exciting but never even nearly innovative – rarely if a major improvement. The human mind is the most complex object in the known universe but also the most effective. Knowing how ideas get composed from past experiences, how they get started, and composing new ideas changed everything. No drugs, no special training. It’s all about experiences, the right team, the right inputs, and the right details. Neuro ideation leads to a super logical process that we never need to understand in all details but in its behavior.

6) Disruptive Business Model Development

Disruptive Business Model Development - BlueCallom Method Disruptive technology, products, devices are the classics and rather fast to emulate. Disruptive Business Models a difficult to copy and, in connection with disruptive technologies and experiences, almost impossible to catch up. See Amazon, Apple, Google, IKEA, Microsoft (never invented anything), Tesla, and others. It’s clearly part of the innovation development process.

7) Market-Based Idea Validation

Market-Based Idea Validation - BlueCallom Method Instead of testing the product and showing it to a small group of insiders, fearing the competition could copy it before it is out, make massive in-market validation. Never use an agency for that. The innovation team needs to get out and ask roughly 20 – 30 clients in a personal interview. A team of ten can easily get feedback from 250 people. Part of the trick is the selection of the interviewee. Ask highly visual and vocal people, who you find on the web, in your support department’s records, and so forth. A methodical process and carefully crafted the questions – no more will do the magic.

8) Staged Innovation Financing

Staged Innovation Financing - BlueCallom Method Probably one of the most strategic acts of the entire innovation process. While startups may sack in a hundred million or more, how will you get the funding from your CFO? How can you convince an executive who perfected cash management, profitability, capital expenditures, and market cap – to make substantial investments into a future they cannot see. The “Staged Innovation Financing” model helps far beyond the monetary aspects but took a deep dive lesson from neuroscience. It explains why somebody not actively involved in a genuine innovation process will under no circumstances approve a substantial investment in groundbreaking innovation unless you use a methodical path, making them part of the process despite their busy days. An estimated 95% of corporate innovation projects fail because of that.

9) Prototyping Market Born Products

BlueCallom Prototyping Market Born ProductsDue to brain wiring as experts and their training, top-of-the-line engineers cannot release premature products. This is an extremely costly problem that needs to be solved. Most successful products are born and improved in the market and completed during approximately six months of market testing. Market side advocates can provide priceless support and invaluable insights.

10) Innovation-To-Market

Innovation-To-Market - BlueCallom Method Usually are new product generations, or even new products are presented to the biggest customers first. The more disruptive a product is, the harder it is to get large businesses to accept those innovations. Is it an indication that the innovation is not good? Wrong. The audience is not good for groundbreaking innovation. Any groundbreaking innovation ever brought to market took at least 3 years to gain adoption and 5 to 10 years to become mainstream.

11) Global Scaling

Innovation Scaling Globally - BlueCallom Deep Innovation Design TrainingAfter the first two or so years in the go-to-market process need to scale. Audience expansion, geographic expansion, production scaling, sales and marketing scaling and diversifying to different audiences, financial scaling, growth financing, and so forth. THIS 11th EPISODE determines if INNOVATION is happening. It is the ultimate milestone of the innovation dream team, most likely in its 5th year of the project.

12) Innovation Continuum

Innovation Continuum - BlueCallom Deep Innovation Design TrainingEven the most innovative companies fail to continue their innovation journey. Cisco is still making most of their money with communication devices, Intel with their silicon-based chips, Mercedes with their combustion engine based automobiles, Google with search, Facebook with their social network, Uber with taxi service operation fees, and so forth. There is no “we wait until we get there” innovation culture, operational guidance, financial structure, team spirit, take years to enter into an “Innovation Continuum

.”

 

Management, KPIs, and Goals

With a detailed and methodical process, innovation turns from random experimentation to a measurable and manageable process. A strategic effort calls for a goal and milestones. All that is now possible, and you can experience it in the Deep Innovation Design Training.

1) Goals: 

Most likely, one objective is a competitive advantage. But the hard goal needs to be the return on investment and profit contribution. Obviously, there may be a whole series of other strategic goals and objectives.

2) Key Performance Indicators include:

Time Management:

Obviously, trying to manage anything the factor time is one of the most critical factors. Time to complete certain project episodes, execution time compared with others and so forth. The factor time is part of a series of KPIs.

Time to innovate:

The Time To Innovate TTI is one of the strategic KPIs. It’s important to know how fast can a team get to innovation. The start and the endpoint are critical to be defined so we can measure that time span. We calculate the TTI in days from the initial “Needs & Dreams Analysis” to the market-based “Idea Validation”. It’s also important to define innovation as a disruptive or groundbreaking innovation. Everything else would be an improvement.
Benchmark for a good TTI: 6 weeks

Time To Market:

The Time To Market is the time between “Idea Validation” and first revenue during the “Innovation-to-Market” episode.
Benchmark for a good TTM: 6 months

Budget Management:

The way a given budget is used over time between Innovation Opportunity Discovery and first revenue in the market. Then from first revenue to scaling, being in at least 20 countries and 5 continents.

Financing stages:

Staged Innovation Financing is a process that manages financing from Innovation Episode to Episode until the team presents to the CFO. In the meantime, the team will present each stage in a 3-minute online meeting.
Benchmark for a good initial budget is $50,000  plus the salary for a team of 8 to 12

Innovation contribution:

Measuring the number if innovation relevant ideas, research facts, and work inputs
Benchmark for a good TIC value: 1,200 (contributions)

Degree of innovation confluence:

Measuring idea composition based on team inspiration from other members. They share who inspired them. Data show the Idea Confluence Factor ICF learning how well a team builds on each other or works in isolation. The Individual Ingenuity Driver IID shows the key driver and possible dominance.

Innovation Progress States:

Measuring the progress from episode to episode as an IPS (Innovation Positioning System) over the typical 12 episodes. Average Mean Time Between Episodes MTBE
Benchmark for a good MTBE: 2 weeks

Innovation process data consolidation:

Average corporations run between 50 to 2,000 innovation projects, distributed across the world. It’s important to consolidate and compare all the data to help teams improve and share their experiences to advance their innovation processes.
Consolidation is important to see the overall effort, overall budgets, overall cost, overall team sizes, overall ROI. For comparison purposes KPIs including TTI, TTM, Budgets, TIC, ICF, IID, and MTBE.

With a Deep Innovation Design Training,
Innovation is no longer serendipity
but a highly strategic and intelligent process!

You may want to explore the BlueCallom Innovation Management Academy.