Innovation in Practice Blog

March 20, 2017

Segmentation is Killing Your Brand: Five Reasons To Find Your Unicorn Customer

by Deb Gabor A store is a place you go to buy stuff, usually out of convenience or habit. In contrast, brands inspire irrational loyalty and […]
March 13, 2017

Getting the Right Talent for Innovation

Perhaps the most important role of the innovation leader is creating a competent team. For that reason alone, it’s one of the most challenging. It’s a constant […]
March 6, 2017

How Innovation Affects Brand Loyalty

A company that retains a high percentage of its customers must be doing a lot of things right. That’s why Retention Rate is the best indicator […]
February 22, 2017

Marketing Innovation: Don’t Fight Water and the Inversion Tool

Jacob Goldenberg, in his book, “Cracking the Ad Code,” describes eight creative patterns that are embedded in most innovative, award- winning commercials. The tools are: 1. […]
February 14, 2017

Valentine’s Day: Creative Gifts and Most Popular Picks

A new national study by Pollfish [www.pollfish.com], reveals this year’s most coveted brands, products, and restaurants for Valentine’s Day 2017. According to the Pollfish Valentine’s Day National Survey, […]
February 7, 2017

Learn to Gain a New Perspective

During my career, a lot of my senior marketing colleagues would come to me and complain about some of their newest staff members. They were frustrated […]
February 1, 2017

Innovating to Attract the Multi-Brand Loyal Customer

For many categories of products and services, consumers buy from a number of brands. Take the clothing category, for example. I’m willing to bet that every […]
January 25, 2017

Innovation: The Ultimate Team Sport

A fast way to boost your creativity is to harness the brainpower of others. Creativity is a team sport, and you’ll generate better ideas if you […]
January 16, 2017

Registration Open: Design Your Innovation Blueprint

I am pleased to announce that Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT) – has opened registration for their upcoming flagship executive program, “Design Your Innovation Blueprint.” The event […]
January 10, 2017

Breaking the Barriers to Creative Thinking

What holds people back from being creative? Is it a lack of time? Do you not have a budget for doing creative work? Perhaps you work […]
March 12, 2012

Innovation Storytelling

Creating new ideas is the first step to innovation, but it is not enough these days. Marketers need to generate excitement and support for their new opportunity. Don't make the mistake of thinking "the idea will sell it self." Just the cleverness of the concept and the revenue forecasts are not enough to sway others. Leaders have many investment choices to create growth, so you need to position your investment opportunity properly.
February 6, 2012

The Patterns in Super Bowl Commercials

Super Bowl commercials capture our attention because they tend to be highly creative and well-produced. At $3.5 million dollars for a thirty second spot, Super Bowl advertisers need to create the best, most innovative commercials possible. To do that, they use patterns. Professor Jacob Goldenberg and his colleagues discovered that 89% of 200 award winning ads fall into a few simple, well-defined design structures. Their book, "Cracking the Ad Code," defines eight of these structures and provides a step-by-step approach to use them. Here are the eight tools: 1. Unification 2. Activation 3. Metaphor 4. Subtraction 5. Extreme Consequence 6. Absurd Alternative 7. Inversion 8. Extreme Effort Let's see how yesterday's 2012 Super Bowl ads fit these patterns.
December 5, 2011

Marketing Innovation: Pants on Fire and the Metaphor Tool

Insurance companies continue to battle it out as the industry emerges from the global financial crisis. They are spending huge sums on national advertising to establish brand loyalty and earn trust. But consumers have a hard time distinguishing between the many undifferentiated insurance products. They tend to shop on price as a result. So insurance advertisers have to walk a fine line acknowledging the importance of price while slipping in their value propositions around service and other features. Here is an example from the long-running Progressive campaign featuring the lovable character, Flo. It uses the metaphor tool. The Metaphor is the most commonly used tool in marketing communications because it is a great way to attach meaning to a newly-launched product or brand. The Metaphor Tool takes a well-recognized and accepted cultural symbol and manipulates it to connect to the product, brand, or message.
November 28, 2011

The Remaking of Netflix

Netflix needs urgent change to stop the bleeding and rebuild its business model. It is running out of cash and losing support from customers and shareholders. Management must re-establish its credibility with bold moves. Here is a series of steps and techniques to do that.
November 21, 2011

The Voice of the Brand

Most people are surprised to hear that five simple patterns explain the majority of innovative products and services. Jacob Goldenberg and his colleagues discovered this surprising insight. It is similar to the notion of TRIZ which is a set of patterns for solving problems. Innovative products share common patterns because their inventors unknowingly followed them when generating new product ideas. These patterns become the DNA of products. You can extract the DNA and implant it into other products and services to create new innovations. We call it The Voice of the Product.
October 24, 2011

Academic Focus: John Hauser and the MIT Team

This month's Academic Focus features Professor John Hauser and the highly-regarded team at MIT. Perhaps no other university in the world stands for innovation as much as this one. MIT is an innovation powerhouse because of the way the faculty looks at innovation through multiple lens and collaborative approaches. MIT is great blend of innovation research, technology research, and commercialization research.
October 3, 2011

Marketing Innovation: Sharks to the Extreme

Great television commercials convey the right message in a creative way. They are memorable. The longer customers remember your commercial, the more cost effective the campaign. One way to make ads memorable is to make them funny and vivid. The Vividness Effect causes people to recall experiences and images that stand out in their minds. For example, sharks are scary, so they tend to be good choices to create vividness. But just showing sharks in a commercial is not enough. They have to be fused to the core marketing message - the value proposition. That is where you need a structured innovation process to channel the creativity process and regulate your thinking. Jacob Goldenberg and his colleagues describe eight such tools in their book, "Cracking the Ad Code," and provide a step-by-step approach to using them. The tools are 1. Unification 2. Activation 3. Metaphor 4. Subtraction 5. Extreme Consequence 6. Absurd Alternative 7. Inversion and 8.Extreme Effort.
September 26, 2011

The LAB: Innovating a New Product Launch Campaign (September 2011)

Innovation methods are not just for inventing new products. Savvy marketers also apply structured innovation methods to the “big event” – the product launch campaign. Companies spend millions of dollars to get a product off to the right start. The launch of a new product can make or break it. Some companies excel at this. Memorable campaigns include Apple's launch of the iPhone, Microsoft's launch of Windows 95, and my all time favorite - Tickle Me Elmo - by Fisher Price. But a lot can go wrong with product launch, so marketers need ways to stand out from the crowd. Whether you have a big budget or small one, the use of a structured innovation method can take those dollars further and perhaps make the difference between success and failure. For this month’s LAB, we will demonstrate the use of Systematic Inventive Thinking to this critical aspect of marketing: the product launch.
September 12, 2011

Marketing Innovation: The Activation Tool Using Smartphones

The Activation Tool is one of the most effective but underused tools in advertising. Commercials based on this tool work well because they make your marketing message stand out in the sea of advertising. They engage the viewer to participate in the advertisement, either mentally or physically. Instead of just reading, watching, or listening to the message, the viewer is required to take an active part. This causes a dynamic sensory experience so memorable that the viewer is more likely to remember the commercial's main message. The tool is one of eight patterns embedded in most innovative commercials. Jacob Goldenberg and his colleagues describe these simple, well-defined design structures in their book, "Cracking the Ad Code," and provide a step-by-step approach to using them.
August 8, 2011

Innovation and Brand Coherence

A quick and effective way to sort ideas generated during an innovation workshop is to apply brand coherence. This means grouping ideas around relevant themes that support new or existing brands. Ideation sessions can overwhelm you with hundreds of opportunities. Teams struggle with evaluating and selecting the best ideas if they do not apply this simple step first. Here is a suggested way to do it.