Companies can reduce the risk of adopting new innovation methods by testing them first. A short, pilot program that addresses a specific product or service line helps you understand whether a new method is right for your company. Pilot programs help keep your costs in line, and they help you reduce resistance to adopting new methods.
To organize an innovation pilot program:
AOL succumbed to the myth that creating an eclectic workspace makes employees suddenly more innovative. The headline from USA Today reads: “It’s engineers gone wild at AOL: Quirky office space inspires app innovation.”
“The space you work in is a reflection of the kind of company you are,” says Brad Garlinghouse, AOL’s president of the Application and Commerce Group. “You get innovation,” he insists, from “working in a space that’s very open and doesn’t have offices…where people can work together and play together.” Further, the company believes letting workers draw on the walls helps creativity.
AOL is in more trouble than I thought.
Corporate training is a $60 billion dollar industry and growing as the economy recovers. As with any industry, significant changes are occurring. Companies spend less on fixed internal resources and are outsourcing more. Learners are changing in the way they learn, perhaps due to the generational shift. And of course, technology has made the social side of learning more available and effective. Training executives, those who manage company training resources and programs, must continue to innovate to address these changes to stay relevant.
For this month's LAB, we will apply the corporate innovation method, S.I.T., to a training program. Our goal is to find new-to-the-world concepts that improve a company's training efforts. The method works by applying one of five innovation patterns to components within the training environment. The pattern has the effect of morphing the component into something that seems unrecognizable or ambiguous. We take that "virtual product" and work backwards to uncover potential benefits or markets served, a process called "Function Follows Form."
Private equity firms can boost the value of their investment portfolio by applying a systematic innovation method along the entire investment value chain - before, during, and even after the investment.
Private equity firms are collections of investors and funds that put money into privately-held companies. Private equity investments provide working capital to a target company to nurture expansion, new product development, or restructuring of the company’s operations, management, or ownership. Private equity firms are betting on their ability to take control of the target, clean it up, make it more competitive, and then sell it for a higher price. It is like "flipping" a home in the real estate market.
Here is how a private equity firm could apply systematic innovation in their portfolios:
SIT will hold its 7th Innovation Suite in Berlin, Germany from October 24-26, 2011. Participants will learn the tools and principles of the SIT method step-by-step. They will also learn how to implement an innovation program within their companies.
Congratulations to the Columbia Business School for hosting the 2011 Social Enterprise Conference. Six hundred enlightened attendees witnessed a unique lineup of keynote speakers and breakout sessions. Social enterprises are challenged to create new business models to capture social, economic and environmental value. The conference focused on supporting innovation, promoting sustainability, advancing technology, and building communities.
Key Takeaways from my breakout session, “Designing a Better Social Enterprise,” were:
DnaYou may be surprised to find many of your products and services conform to the five innovation patterns of Systematic Inventive Thinking. If so, it means your employees are predisposed to use innovation patterns when developing new products. Like many innovators, they are using patterns probably without realizing it. Given this predisposition to using innovation templates, a company can realize huge gains in innovation effectiveness by taking the next step.
I invite you to join me at Innovation Suite 2012 in New York City February 27 to 29. Innovation Suite is a 3-day premium training course that teaches:
* How to apply SIT innovation tools on your specific business issues
* How to facilitate innovation sessions
* How to develop an innovation culture in your business
My favorite part about this course: every participant gets a personal SIT facilitator to coach them before and after the course! Whether you are an experienced SIT practitioner or completely new to the SIT method, this course helps you develop critical new skills on your road to innovation mastery.
Read this partial list of core competencies for a particular firm and try to guess what industry it is in:
1. Consumer insights: understanding what consumer want
2. Design: making things easy to use
3. Innovation: coming up with new ideas routinely
4. Systems integration: making things work together
5. Customer relationships: forming and maintaining customer loyalty
From this list alone, you could imagine this firm being part of virtually any industry. In fact, the firm with these core competencies would likely be the leader of that industry. Which company owns these skills?
In 2008, managers at Kodak cited these skills as their core competencies. Less than four years later, Kodak is on the verge of bankruptcy, ending the reign of a once proud and legenday 120 year old brand. It is now forced to sell its massive patent estate to raise operating cash.
What happened? Many will cite the familiar reasons: failure to innovate, slow to move into digital photography, poor execution of digital photography, and so on. Yet none of these reasons are correct. Kodak was a highly innovative firm. It invented digital photography long before it wiped out its paper film business. Kodak was a marketing powerhouse. It could execute marketing campaigns and brand building with the best of them.
Executing and launching new products takes financial and human resources. But there is a hidden cost, one which often goes unnoticed, when the project is delayed. Poor execution postpones the revenue stream from a new innovation. Given the time value of money, that financial loss can be staggering. Consider one of the most famous innovative product - the Post-it® Note.