Tag Archive for: innovation management

Rethinking innovation from the ground up.

Enterprises around the world have been challenged with becoming genuinely innovative, trying to elevate their effort from improvement to innovation. With over 90% of groundbreaking innovation coming from startups, enterprises are trying to understand what startups do differently. Turning an enterprise into a truly innovative business has been globally one of the biggest challenges across all industries. It is time to completely rethink the act of innovation from the ground up – starting at the very top. Innovation is a CEO mandate because only CEOs together with their board can make the important decisions about TIME, CAPITAL, and STRUCTURE.

Time

The time it takes to get to new innovation. This is a paradigm shift we all need to be aware of. With the new data and processes, we know that in five years from now, you will need to completely start from scratch again, referred to as the innovation continuum. Think of discovering the next innovation opportunity, and find again new ways to satisfy customers. It is a continuum for building one innovation after the other and becoming a Generation Project that is set forward for the next leadership generation. Each time it takes five years to achieve broad market acceptance. That means you have a maximum of five years to innovate and compete or be out. The new mantra: innovate fast or get out. Once that innovation hits the market, there is a five to ten-year timespan, from idea to recognized market leadership. Important long-term decisions to continue investing in those innovations and the innovation continuum require the CEO and their board.

Capital

The capital market has radically changed in the past ten years. Companies such as Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Tesla, and Uber were considered overhyped but then achieved global market domination. Competitors could not compete because they did not know why those companies took over their market share. It is becoming more and more difficult to catch up with the market. Conventional companies are trying to fight their competitors with legal attacks, just because they don’t know how to compete with their innovation. The old game was competing with new improvements, which no longer works. Capital markets, its savvy investors, analysts, and fund managers have long understood that fighting innovation, when not even knowing how innovation works and how much is required to invest, is a very bad position to be in. Hundreds of millions of investments are necessary to get an innovation from early concepts to success in a global market. Successful innovations consumed more than $100 Million in funding. Unicorns, per definition, consumed roughly a billion dollars, some reached into two-digit billion-dollar investments. Only the CEO together with the CFO and the board can make financial commitments of that magnitude.

Structure

The pressure to innovate has risen dramatically in the past 10 years. Managers look at startups and think they can learn how innovation works. Innovation centers ended up becoming kindergarten-like playgrounds, an esoteric group of “thinkers and tinkers’’, hunting for the inspiration they hoped would come their way. Random experimentation and hoping to find a great idea never leads to groundbreaking innovation. Innovation is an outcome – not a desire. Without exception, the most innovative solutions were created to solve a specific and very present problem. Innovation success is not about an idea creation team and taking it to market by the existing organization. It is about creating an innovation center independent of the corporate organization that is responsible for identifying a viable innovation opportunity and bringing it successfully to market. This independent innovation center requires a highly diverse team of exceptional innovation talents that will get the job done. The team and a decision to create a separate innovation center independent of the corporate organization can only be made by the C-Level.

 

In conclusion, the innovation mandate is the strategic decision from the CEO to become innovative with certain guidelines regarding the long-term goals and designated audience for the innovation. The mandate is typically addressing innovation management and other corporate management functions with time, capital, and structure all taken into consideration.

 

For more information and how to set innovation in motion, download the latest whitepaper, “Innovation is a CEO Mandate.”

Enterprises around the world are struggling to create groundbreaking innovations, watch the latest Innovative Minds Event from Thurs. Oct. 21 “Innovation is a CEO Mandate” and hear from leading organizations about their struggles and why they feel it requires a top-down approach to be successful. Available to watch here.

The different innovation flavors and terms are confusing and oftentimes are only used to distract from an inability to innovate. But what is the meaning and how can you focus on genuine innovation.

Groundbreaking vs. Disruptive innovation

Those two flavors of innovation are rather close. Yet, when looking under the hood, there is a slight difference.


1) Disruptive Innovation assumes creating a new market that will eventually disrupt existing players in related existing market segments. Indomie noodles for instance created an all-new market in Africa. The automobile is another example of disruptive innovation, creating an entire market that displaced coaches and other transportation. On the one hand, the opportunity to create a new market is becoming smaller and smaller. On the other hand, disrupting existing markets is exponentially growing as most technologies or products reached an age that it is time to completely rethink what is out there.

2) Groundbreaking Innovation does not necessarily create a new market but breaks new ground in an existing market as well as possibly create a new market. Groundbreaking Innovation is always disruptive whether it is in a new or existing market. Tesla is a great example as the car market existed but is newly defined by Tesla. Same with Space-X. It existed and was developed by NASA and others, but was newly defined through disruptive technologies by Space-X. Apple’s iPhone is another example. The phone market existed but Apple disrupted that market with groundbreaking innovation, the iPhone. Groundbreaking innovation is always disruptive. Groundbreaking innovation is simply not limiting innovation to a specific case but genuine innovation in general. The personal computer did not disrupt the computer industry, even though it thought it would. Instead, it created an all-new computer market. Groundbreaking innovation addresses innovation needs to disrupt a market or create new markets. A nap cafe for a 20 min sleep for instance would not disrupt anything but create an additional and new groundbreaking business segment.

Groundbreaking innovation is not limited to new or existing markets. Radical innovation is similar to groundbreaking innovation but is focused on addressing existing markets.

Fake Innovation Flavors & their Risk

There are floating many more flavors of innovation such as gradual innovation, architectural innovation, and improvement innovation. Breakthrough innovation is described as an innovation from within a company that pushes something to the next level and can be considered similar to gradual innovation. These flavors of innovation are a big risk to innovation because all it is just an improvement. Gradual innovation, improvement innovation, or architectural innovation do not produce genuine innovation. Moreover, they bear a high innovation risk because they make those who are trying to innovate believe that the result is a type of innovation. However, if a competitor develops a genuine innovation, stays under the radar for a while, and disrupts that market segment, the fake innovation will implode immediately and the disrupter enters the market without any problem.

Most consumers cannot differentiate between innovation types and they do not care – there is no reason to even look at it. They chose the best product for them. With large business customers, it’s a bit different but still like consumers they are not impressed.  The financial market however looks more closely than ever before at what the innovation effort is, as they calculate valuation based on the long-term effects of innovation. Fake innovation is not only immediately uncovered, it leads to extra distancing from the brand because the company either does not understand what innovation is or purposely faking innovation. Both have very negative connotations.

Recommendations

  1. Stay away from using gradual, architectural, improvement, or other fake innovation types. It does not help in any way and is not really innovation.
  2. Ask yourself what would be a possible disruption to your business and how can you pre-empt a possible disruptive attack? The answer is simple: Be the one who moves first and don’t allow a position of following others.
  3. Learn more about ideation, deep innovation design, the innovation duality of brilliant ideation, and relentless execution.
  4. Develop an innovation strategy that addresses the terminology, how to achieve innovation, c-level empowerment, team composition, budgets, and more.
  5. Reach out to the BlueCallom team and ask for free advice or even better participate in a free Innovation Readiness Assessment.

 

400 Million businesses (OECD) may look for a total of 100 Million Innovation Managers during this decade.

100 Million Innovation Managers

Of course, at first sight, it sounds ridiculous. Yet if you take the number of registered businesses around the world plus the enormous growth rate of new businesses it is relatively easy to imagine that 25% of those companies, no matter how small they are, will want at least one person that works on innovation concepts. The fortune 20,000 however, is more like hiring Millions on their own. Of course, there is room to debate the number in both directions. If we consider a 3% investment in innovation, the numbers could also move further up. Who would have thought just 10 years ago that in 2020 we will have 1.5 Billion websites live? And an estimated 100 Million webmasters are handling them.

Gameover for romantic ideation dreams

Now, since we know how the brain is actually composing, processing, and fine-tuning ideas, we can begin strategic innovation management. We know that no idea ever composed was by accident. We know that brainstorming can’t create a single disruptive business model. We know that disruptive innovation takes on average 6 weeks to create. It will not happen in a week nor will it take longer than 12 weeks. With amazing predictability comes manageability but most importantly readiness to invest. Constructing an innovative idea is no longer much different from architecting a new skyscraper. Both have a predictable outcome. All that is opening up new investments. 100 Million Innovation managers become more and more a realistic number.

Now is a good time to build up your experience.

BlueCallom launches its Innovations Management Academy with an orientation webinar on Jan 7 and Jan 18. https://bluecallom.com/certified-innovation-manager-orientation/ We will help innovators, managers, and executives to get their arms around the many counter-intuitive aspects of an innovation lifecycle. It’s already hard enough to find top talents. And that will get even harder in the next few years. Having experience will remain to be a top value in an innovation career. “How many innovation projects did you complete?” “What methods did you use?”. To compete with 100 Million others for a job is equally challenging as trying to get top talents competing with 100 Million other businesses. We interviewed shrimp farm owners in Vietnam, street dealers in Cambodia, car repair shops in Nigeria, and 50+ more businesses. The owners are on average 25, graduated from their local University, and are smart enough to understand that our world is changing very fast. The shrimp farmer considers an AI system to manage the population, the car repair shop an e-commerce system for parts sale, and the street dealer a mobile app to push their daily harvest of ultra-fresh food to sell it the same day. Each one of the innovative concepts is simple at first glance, yet powerful enough to force all their competitors to follow.

Starting January 25, the new BlueCallom Innovations Management Academy will offer four major programs:

Deep Innovation Design Champion – learning all about the methodology
Deep Innovation Design Specialist – applying the acquired knowledge in a project
Innovation Manager – learning to run a full-size innovation project
Innovation Executive – knowing what you can expect from your team

You will find all details here: https://bluecallom.com/imacad/

100 Million Innovation Managers

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.

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 or innovation traps. 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 to determine more innovation traps and what you can do.

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 here 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 are 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 with getting your executives to 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 and you can get caught in one or more of these innovation traps? 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 past brainstorming. 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 no brainstorming. And thinking 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

Unlike conventional processes, where brainstorming plays an important role, 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. You will start innovating and experience less brainstorming.

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 customers 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 are 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 on 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.