Innovation in Practice Blog

March 11, 2013

Marketing’s Seat at the Innovation Table

Where does your marketing department fit when it comes to innovation? In an article1 titled, "Improving Marketing's Contribution to New Product Development," these author's offer a dismal view: "The prevailing view in most companies is that marketing is not a distinct function, and therefore, everyone can do marketing. As a result, the status of the marketing department is in a steep decline, which is especially observable within the NPD process. This development is surprising because it seems that top innovators strongly involve the marketing department in the NPD process. Hence, strengthening the marketing department's position with respect to NPD should be a priority to improve innovation performance." I agree. But I believe the authors fall way short of what is needed to do that. "The prevailing view in most companies is that marketing is not a distinct function, and therefore, everyone can do marketing. As a result, the status of the marketing department is in a steep decline, which is especially observable within the NPD process. This development is surprising because it seems that top innovators strongly involve the marketing department in the NPD process. Hence, strengthening the marketing department's position with respect to NPD should be a priority to improve innovation performance." I agree. But I believe the authors fall way short of what is needed to do that.
March 4, 2013

Start at the End

Dave Lavinsky is a serial entrepreneur who built his own company from the ground up. His book, Start at the End, was a #1 Bestseller on Amazon just one week after it was released. The goal of the book is to learn how to work fewer hours and be efficient when working at a new job or starting a business. For innovation practitioners, here are his top 12 tips:
February 25, 2013

Too Much of a Good Thing

Can you innovate too much? After all, new ideas fuel organic growth. One would think an organization would be happy to have as many ideas as possible. But not always. Here are scenarios where over-innovating might be considered too much of a good thing.
February 18, 2013

Innovating the Weakest Link

Responding to an article on why innovation is difficult, Tim Josling from Leura, Australia, wrote this to the editor of The Economist (January 26, 2013): Another useful insight is provided by something akin to Amdahl’s law in computer design, which holds that even if some components of a system are improving, the parts that are not improving will eventually dominate the performance of that system.For example, for flights that are under 2000 miles a person will spend more time traveling to and from the airport, checking in at the airport, going through security and waiting for his bags than time spent up in the air. Increases in aircraft speed would have less benefit that shortening the other bits of the journey time.
February 11, 2013

Marketing Innovation: The Metaphor Tool Using the Division Pattern

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. 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. The tools are:
February 4, 2013

The Fabulous Five: Loyalty Factor

Loyalty is defined as a strong feeling of support or allegiance. Companies fight for it because it correlates well to product sales. The Fabulous Five (Google, Amazon, Apple, Samsung, and Facebook) are waging a spectacular battle against each other to earn customer loyalty. A key to winning is to understand the types of loyalty. Professor Christie Nordhielm describes three types as part of her marketing strategy framework, The Big Picture:
January 28, 2013

Innovation Sighting: Apple’s Smart Shoe

A tell-tale sign of the Attribute Dependency Technique is the word "smart" in any product description. Apple's new patent for 'smart shoes' is a case in point. As reported by PSFK:
January 21, 2013

The Fabulous Five and the Scramble for Territory

Google, Apple, Facebook, Samsung, and Amazon are in a mad scramble to enter new territory and cover gaps in their strategies. The one that gets ahead and stays ahead will earn bragging rights in what may be the most significant business battle of all time. These companies are the Fabulous Five. Let's look at how each company is placed in the following domains: hardware design and manufacturing, software development and integration, consumer retailing, mobile, voice and digital communications, social, search, and entertainment. Why these? I believe the company that covers the biggest footprint across these domains and integrates them in a way that touches the most consumers will become the dominant lifestyle company. Notice I did not call it B2B, B2C, or even the dominant tech company. The battle being fought here is to become a part of the consumer's life in a way that allows the company to learn key insights that can be monetized. It is the battle for the consumer subconscious in a way.
January 14, 2013

Master the Method: Innovation Suite #11

SIT's Innovation Suite is a platform for you to network with your peers, while learning how to develop self-sustaining innovation for your organization.
January 7, 2013

The Fabulous Five

Five companies are slugging it out in what may be the most competitive and unique business battle of all time. It is larger in scale with more at stake than battles in other industries including transportation, energy, and finance. More remarkable is how different the combatants are from one another. Instead of similar companies competing (Toyota versus General Motors, for example), these companies hail from different business bases: an electronics manufacturer, a lifestyle computing company, an online retailer, a search engine, and a social network. In order: Samsung, Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook. I call them the Fabulous Five.
June 1, 2017

Solution-to-Problem Innovation

Innovation is the process of taking an idea and putting it into practice. Creativity, on the other hand, is what you do in your head to […]
July 24, 2017

Should Innovators Reveal How Much They Let Technology Make Creative Choices?

Is it true? Do the most creative people generate ideas straight out of their heads without any outside help? That’s what most people would tell you. […]
August 21, 2017

How a Case of Laryngitis Helped Me Find My Voice and Grow as a Leader

By Deb Gabor As a brand strategist, author, and public speaker, I rely upon my voice and storytelling ability to make a living. I’ve observed that […]
July 9, 2018

Breaking Fixedness: Saving the Boys of the Thai Soccer Team Trapped in a Cave

News of a boys soccer team trapped in a cave in Thailand brought back memories of the Chilean miners trapped 2,300 feet underground in August 2010. […]
July 23, 2018

Swiping the Blank Slate: Accelerate Your Career Success by Jumpstarting Innovative Thinking

By Nurit Shmilovitz-Vardi We’ve all been there. Your manager assigns your next project, handing you the relevant materials along with the following demand: “This needs to […]
September 10, 2018

Now Live: Value Proposition Surgical Robotics Simulation on Harvard Business Publishing Website

This valuable simulation was recently published by my friend and colleague, Marta Dapena-Baron, of The Big Picture Partners. This multiplayer training simulation brings to life the […]
September 17, 2018

Creating a Culture of Innovation

There have been times I sat down with a client and I told them, “your organization is very innovative”, but they don’t believe me. I tell […]
November 5, 2018

Introducing Switchers

I am excited to announce a new book that was just released by my friend and colleague, Dawn Graham. Switchers is the first book written specifically for the career changer, to help them to […]
November 12, 2018

Launching My Latest Book

I’m thrilled to let you know my new book, So You Want to Be a Professor: How to Land Your Dream Job in Academia, just launched! […]