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Monday, March 29, 2010

Innovation Perspectives - Kill Your Innovation Champion

This is the first of several 'Innovation Perspectives' articles we will publish this week from multiple authors to get different perspectives on 'How should firms develop the organizational structure, culture, and incentives (e.g., for teams) to encourage successful innovation?'. So to kick it off, here is Drew Boyd's perspective:

by Drew Boyd

Innovation Perspectives - Kill Your Innovation ChampionHere are five things companies need to do to develop the organizational structure, culture, and incentives to encourage successful innovation:

1. Kill Your Innovation Champion: It seems like a great idea to establish an 'innovation champion' - responsible and accountable for driving innovation within the organization. In reality, it stifles innovation. Assigning a champion lets everyone off the hook. Why innovate when we have our 'champion' to do it? A study by the Association of Innovation Managers found that when companies assign innovation champions and establish separate funding, it threatens the R&D and the commercial departments.


"This kind of sponsorship opens the door for subtle forms of sabotage if the established business units believe that the innovation funding is inhibiting their ability to accomplish short-term objectives and take care of current customers. Without involvement, the commercial arm of an organization can also claim no responsibility for success or be blamed for failure."


Instead of relying on champions, a better approach is to encourage 'innovation subversives'.

If you won't kill your champion, no worry - they will go away on their own. The study also looked at what puts innovation managers at risk. Of the 15 innovation champions in the study, ten left their organizations and became consultants, four joined smaller or start-up companies, and one retired. None returned to a Fortune 500 company.


2. Don't Give Credit for Good Ideas: Tanya Menon from the University of Chicago describes the paradox of an external idea being viewed as "tempting" while the exact same idea, coming from an internal source, is considered "tainted."


"In a business era that celebrates anything creative, novel, or that demonstrates leadership, 'borrowing' or 'copying' knowledge from internal colleagues is often not a career-enhancing strategy. Employees may rightly fear that acknowledging the superiority of an internal rival's ideas would display deference and undermine their own status.

By contrast, the act of incorporating ideas from outside firms is not seen as merely copying, but rather as vigilance, benchmarking, and stealing the thunder of a competitor. An external threat inflames fears about group survival, but does not elicit direct and personal threats to one's competence or organizational status. As a result, learning from an outside competitor can be much less psychologically painful than learning from a colleague who is a direct rival for promotions and other rewards."



3. Fire the Lone Innovator: Innovation is a team sport. Keith Sawyer in his book, "Group Genius" highlights one of the most significant aspects of successful innovation - that groups of people are likely to be more creative than individuals working on their own. A properly facilitated approach with a carefully selected 'dream team' of employees yields innovation sooner, better, and bolder than the lone genius.


4. Teach Innovation: Innovation is a skill, not a gift. It can be taught using structured innovation processes and templates. Many universities offer courses and programs to learn innovation. It is unacceptable that a corporation seeking growth through innovation would not have its employees properly trained in the skill of innovating.


5. Build Innovation Muscle: The best companies see innovation as an ongoing capability, not a one time event. These companies work hard to build muscle around this capability so they can deploy it when they need it, where they need it, tackling their hardest problems. Companies do this to keep up with the ever changing landscape both inside and outside the firm. What does it mean to build innovation muscle? I think of it as the number of people trained, the frequency of using an innovation method, and the percentage of internal departments that have an innovation capability. Call it an Innovation Muscle Index: N (number of trained employees) x F (number of formal ideation events per year using a method) x P (percent of company departments with at least one employee trained in an effective innovation method). Innovation Muscle Index = N x F x P.


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You can check out all of the 'Innovation Perspectives' articles from the different contributing authors on 'How should firms develop the organizational structure, culture, and incentives (e.g., for teams) to encourage successful innovation?' by clicking the link in this sentence.
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Drew BoydDrew Boyd is Director of Marketing Mastery for Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon Endo-Surgery division). He is also Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati and Executive Director of the MS-Marketing program. Follow him at www.innovationinpractice.com and at http://twitter.com/drewboyd

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Voice of the Emergent Customer

by Drew Boyd

Voice of the Emergent CustomerAre some customers better than others at developing new concepts? Professor Donna L. Hoffman at the University of California Riverside thinks so. Emergent customers have a unique ability to "wrap their head" around a new concept and improve it. She created a scale to identify them so companies hear the voice of the 'right' customer during new product development.

Emergent customers are better at imagining how concepts address latent unmet needs. Dr. Hoffman describes it as a "unique constellation of personality traits and processing abilities that enables such consumers to engage in a synergistic process of visualization and rationalization to improve product concepts." Those characteristics are:
  • Openness to new experiences
  • Reflection
  • Experiential and rational processing style
  • Verbal (rational style) and Visual (experiential style)
  • Creativity (self perceived)
  • Creative personality
  • Optimism

The study included 1,124 respondents and compared performance of those identified as emergent customers against those of lead users, early adopters, and a control group. The emergent customers significantly outperformed the other groups.

How would you put this to use?
  • Market research firms could use the scale to screen research candidates. Emergent customers focus on improving concepts, while 'non-emergent' customers judge marketplace acceptance.

  • Companies could learn about their emergent customer's behaviors and beliefs. Do they buy more, use more, or pay more for certain products? Do they use products in a different way? Do they influence other customers?

  • Companies could set up advisory panels of emergent customers to watch for opportunities and threats.

How would emergent customers perform using a structured innovation method? It is tempting to assume they would do better using methods like S.I.T. These people are more motivated and optimistic. They are more hopeful about the output of innovation workshops and are likely to push harder. Star performers "Google" their mind to make innovative connections and associations in rapid fire fashion. This relates to Dr. Hoffman's factor of "experiential and rational processing style."

For innovation workshops, my 'dream team' would include a mix of emergent and non-emergent participants. Perhaps the ideal scenario is pairing them together. As the emergent thinker pushes ideas into new territory, the non-emergent thinker can offer quick feedback. Innovation is a team sport after all.

Researchers have long noted that the "voice of the mainstream customer" is not that useful in developing new products. Instead, finding the 'Voice of the Emergent Customer' could be a new source of competitive advantage.


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Drew BoydDrew Boyd is Director of Marketing Mastery for Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon Endo-Surgery division). He is also Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati and Executive Director of the MS-Marketing program. Follow him at www.innovationinpractice.com and at http://twitter.com/drewboyd

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Innovating to Compete

by Drew Boyd

Innovating to CompeteInnovating is a form of competitive behavior. When we innovate, we compete with someone or something. We innovate to survive. We innovate for glory. We innovate to win. Leaders of organizations need to understand and leverage this competitive aspect of innovation to embed it into the organization.

Innovating to compete occurs at many levels:
  • At the national level, governments compete with other nations for trade, economic power, and global political influence.

  • At the municipal level, cities compete aggressively to attract investment, firms, and employees to stimulate jobs and economic growth.

  • At the industry level, competition among sectors is fierce. Industries want to attract customers, investment, talent, and favorable government treatment.

  • At the company level, firms want to be more competitive by differentiating themselves in the marketplace.

  • At the business unit level, franchises compete with one another for budget resources and manpower.

  • At the individual level, peer rivals compete with each other for promotion and bonuses.

  • At the personal level, we compete with ourselves to achieve a new "personal best" when overcoming challenges.

Here are suggestions of what leaders can do to embrace competition and drive innovation:
  1. National: Governments need to create a National Innovation Policy. The policy should outline a vision, identify opportunities, create guidelines for investment, coordinate partnerships, and nurture the development of human talent. Here is an excellent example of an innovation policy from the Czech Republic. Countries that pursue these policies will thrive.

  2. Municipal: Cities compete just as nations do. At the city level, government leaders can further the state of innovation by coordinating activities between firms, entrepreneurs, venture funds, and universities. Many cities spark innovation by sponsoring innovation contests.

  3. Industry: To be more innovative, firms within the same industry need to band together and form trade groups to facilitate and coordinate programs that sustain the vitality of the industry. Trade groups can no longer focus just on government lobbying. They need a coordinated approach to technology transfer and scientific investment. They need to address the systemic flaws in their industry that stifle growth.

  4. Firm: Companies need to train their employees how to innovate using systematic tools and processes. Firms need to "innovate on demand" and maintain a healthy flow of new projects into the pipeline. Most importantly, innovation strategy must be pursued within the context of competitive strategy.

  5. Business Unit: The business unit is where innovation happens. Innovation is a team sport, and franchise leaders need to deploy teams using facilitated workshops to create new products and services. Leaders should allocate resources disproportionately to those who systematically produce new pipeline concepts...organically.

  6. Individual: People succeed through innovation. An employee's value and vitality is sustained by the ability to generate novel ideas day in and day out. People need to see innovation as a skill, not a gift, that can be learned through university or corporate training programs.

  7. Self: At this level, it starts with a simple question: "Am I an innovator?" Says Steve Banhegyi, "Your self image controls your level of personal innovation. Your ability to innovate rests largely on who you think you are. You are as innovative as your narrative allows you to be."

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Drew BoydDrew Boyd is Director of Marketing Mastery for Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon Endo-Surgery division). He is also Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati and Executive Director of the MS-Marketing program. Follow him at www.innovationinpractice.com and at http://twitter.com/drewboyd

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Reputation and Innovation

by Drew Boyd

Reputation and InnovationSustainable innovation requires structured methods. But it also requires collaboration and information sharing among colleagues. Innovation is a team sport - groups produce better results than the lone genius. So how do you create a more favorable context for collaboration and sharing in your business unit?

Reputation is what matters. The degree to which a technical worker will share information with a colleague depends on that colleague's reputation for returning the favor. The rule of reciprocity states that people give back to those in the form they have received from others. It is a social rule taught by every human society to its members - you give back to those who have given to you. But the key is: to make the first move. You have to be seen as someone who gives and shares information with others, and has a reputation for returning the favor when others give to you.

Dr. Prescott Ensign and Dr. Louis Hebert investigated this phenomena by surveying more than 200 pharmaceutical scientists working in the R&D operations of 63 different companies in Canada and the United States. They found that technical workers often hold critical information privately without fear of sanction or consequence. What motivates them to share with others is when they see the other person as likely to give back - the other person has a well-deserved reputation for giving information back to the other person that is meaningful. The complete results and analysis of the study are described in the book "Knowledge Sharing Among Scientists."

Here are the key findings (from Sloan Management Review, Winter 2010, Vol. 51 No. 2, pp 79-81):
  • Past behavior by individual scientists, and the groups they belong to, influences whether knowledge is shared.

  • Longer duration of interaction positively influences the flow of information.

  • Quality matters more than quantity of information shared.

  • Pre-existing personal and professional relationships increased the likelihood of knowledge sharing.

  • Individuals who were already obliged to another person were less likely to be helped by that person that someone who was less obligated, not obligated or owed a favor.

Organizations who want to be more innovative need to do two things. First is co-location of knowledge workers and team building. Putting people in close proximity to one another and getting them to socialize will make them more likely to have the day-to-day, random encounters where they can share critical tidbits of knowledge and information. The second is training. Companies are recognizing a key gap in the skills of influence. People can be trained how to systematically and ethically influence and align their co-workers. Six universal principles of persuasion such as Reciprocity are well-described by Dr. Robert Cialdini in his book, "Influence: Science and Practice." Companies are even conducting formal training courses in the practice of influence to make their knowledge workers more effective.

For individual innovators:
  • Make the first move. Share critical information with others even if they have not given anything to you. Make sure the information is meaningful and customized to that specific individual so that they feel especially obligated to return the favor.

  • When you receive information from others, reciprocate in kind. Build a reputation as a person who is willing to give back to others who give to you.

  • Develop informal social relationships and networks within - and outside - your work group.

  • Learn the principles of influence and how to deploy them in the workplace and increase the level of knowledge and sharing.

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Drew BoydDrew Boyd is Director of Marketing Mastery for Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon Endo-Surgery division). He is also Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati and Executive Director of the MS-Marketing program. Follow him at www.innovationinpractice.com and at http://twitter.com/drewboyd

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Language and Innovation

by Drew Boyd

Language and InnovationLanguage and innovation are inseparable. Language puts meaning to our ideas, be it spoken, written, or symbolic. We convey ideas to others which is essential in corporate innovation. Innovation would be nearly impossible if we did not have language.

If you want to improve your innovation effectiveness, improve your use of language. Structured innovation methods help regulate our thinking and channel the ideation process. At the moment immediately before we innovate, we hold in our minds a pre-inventive form or structure that has yet to be understood. It is at that exact moment we conjure up words and associations to attach to the pre-inventive form. It is this process of linking objective facts and judgments to the pre-inventive form that transforms it to an inventive form - an idea.

Here is a step-by-step approach how language is used in innovation:
  1. Generate Pre-Inventive Forms: Use a structured process such as S.I.T. or Geneplore to create novel, divergent, and ambiguous forms.

  2. Match Forms to Facts: Take the ambiguous forms inside your head and connect them to objective facts outside your head. This yields an idea. Better ideas are created when we strive for facts that are both clear and true. A bad idea stems from weak or assumed facts swimming around inside our head and not validated or developed. As D.Q. McInery notes, "No idea, even the most bizarre, can completely sever its ties with the objective world, but ideas can become so remote from that world that their relation to it is difficult, if not impossible, to see." It is not "thinking outside the box," but rather thinking outside your head that matters here.

  3. Match Ideas to Words: Take the ideas created in Step 2 and associate them with words or symbols. "As we have seen, first comes the thing, then the idea, then the word. If our ideas are sound to the extent that they faithfully represent the thing, they will be clearly communicable only if we clothe them in words that accurately signify them." "Putting the right word to an idea is not an automatic process, and sometimes it can be quite challenging. We have all had the experience of knowing what we want to say but not being able to come up with any words for it."

  4. Match Words to Value: Take the words and symbols that describe the idea and search for the value it creates. Identify the benefit it generates and for whom. If you have trouble at this step, go back and check the objective facts that sourced the idea to begin with. Or try different word and symbol descriptors to see if it triggers different insights about the value. Use a software program like Goldfire to search semantically for knowledge and information within the domain.

  5. Articulate Value With Demonstration: Take the insight around value creation and try it out. Build a prototype, drawing, model or other representation that you can test with the target audience. Demonstration enables evaluation. Testing discloses areas for improvement. Here again, the use of the right language in the form of words and symbols is essential. Using the wrong language may lead to the wrong conclusion.

Here is an example:
  1. This pre-inventive form is generated using the Task Unification template of the S.I.T. method: "A surgical instrument has the additional task of seeing through a small hole in the operating field."

  2. This form is matched with facts: the only way to see through an object is to make it transparent or to bend light around it. An idea!

  3. The idea is matched to words: "Use mirrors like a toy periscope to see around the surgical device and into the small opening."

  4. The value derived is in being able to do accurate surgery in small spaces. It saves time because the surgeon does not have to peak around or withdraw the instrument to see inside the opening.

  5. A prototype is built and tested, ultimately leading to a patentable product.

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Drew BoydDrew Boyd is Director of Marketing Mastery for Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon Endo-Surgery division). He is also Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati and Executive Director of the MS-Marketing program. Follow him at www.innovationinpractice.com and at http://twitter.com/drewboyd

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Saturday, January 02, 2010

An Out of Body Innovation Experience

by Drew Boyd

An Out of Body Innovation ExperiencePeople are fascinated with the idea of human cloning after researchers cloned a sheep in 1997. The debate about the risks and benefits of human cloning rages on. What if you could clone yourself in a virtual sense? Even better, imagine cloning yourself into another person's body? What would you feel? What would you learn? How would your life be better?

Dr. Henrik Ehrsson, a neuroscientist from Karolinska Institute in Sweden, has pioneered a method of allowing us to get out of our bodies and into the body of someone else...virtually...so that you sense whatever the other person senses. We "clone" ourselves everyday with simple technologies like a mirror or camera. But this is different. This technique clones you into another form so you can experience life from that point-of-view. From CNN:





This is an example of the innovation template, Multiplication. It works by taking a component of a product or service, then creating copies of it that are different in some way. Using SOLUTION-TO-PROBLEM innovation, we imagine potential benefits of the hypothetical solution. Dr. Ehrsson believes this technique could help us improve our self-esteem. It might help amputees put a sense of feeling into a prosthetic limb. Or it might help us identify with other cultural, racial, or gender groups by "living" in their bodies.

This last idea is particularly intriguing. Imagine you had the ability to mandate when someone else uses the technique to become YOU. You would use this is critical situations when it is essential the other person understands your point-of-view: spouse, lawyer, negotiating partner, customer, boss, etc. The ultimate cloning experience is not making another copy of yourself, but rather having others clone to become you.



Drew BoydDrew Boyd is Director of Marketing Mastery for Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon Endo-Surgery division). He is also Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati and Executive Director of the MS-Marketing program. Follow him at www.innovationinpractice.com and at http://twitter.com/drewboyd

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Innovating the Hockey Stick

by Drew Boyd

Ice Hockey InnovationIce hockey is big business. But it lags behind other professional sports - soccer, football, baseball, and basketball. As with all industries, the key to growth is innovation. Equipment manufacturers such as Reebok are taking this seriously with the creation of the Hockey Research and Innovation Center. In this month's LAB, we will focus on the equipment side of hockey, specifically on: the hockey stick.

Hockey has been around a long time with evidence of its origins dating to the sixteenth century. The first organized indoor game was played in 1875. Since then, many innovations have been introduced. Let's see how a systematic, corporate innovation method can be applied to drive new sales opportunities.

I used the Attribute Dependency template of Systematic Inventive Thinking. Attribute Dependency differs from the other templates in that it uses attributes (variables) of the situation rather than components. Start with an attribute list, then construct a 2 x 2 matrix of these, pairing each against the others. Each cell represents a potential dependency (or potential break in an existing dependency) that forms a Virtual Product. Using Function Follows Form, we work backwards and envision a potential benefit or problem that this hypothetical solution solves.

Here is my attribute list:

Hockey Stick Attribute InnovationInternal Attributes:
  • length of stick

  • curve of stick

  • flex of stick

  • friction of stick (bottom)

  • weight of stick

External Attributes:
  • game situation (even strength or penalty situation)

  • condition of ice (smooth or rough)

  • type of shot (forehand or backhand)

  • force of shot (slap shot, wrist shot, snap shot)

  • use of stick (blocking, hooking, checking, etc)

Here are five innovations for the hockey stick using combinations of these attributes (underlined for emphasis):

1. "Extenda-Stick:" The hockey stick changes length depending on the game situation. If the player is in a defensive mode, the stick can be extended to its maximum allowable length to allow better blocking of shots. When the player transitions to the offensive puck handling mode, the stick reverts to its optimal length as determined by the height and preference of that player. This would be great for situations when your team has a player in the penalty box where defensive play is called for. The stick length could be changed, perhaps, with a push button and spring-loading within a certain range.

2. "Curve-Switcher:" Hockey sticks are either right-handed or left-handed as determined by the direction of the curve of the stick. The challenge occurs when a player wants to take a backhand shot with the back, convex side. It is difficult to control direction and speed of the puck with the back of stick that is curved the wrong way. With this new innovation, the direction of the curve changes depending on the type of shot the player is about to take. Like the "Extenda-Stick," the curve direction changes with the push of a button or a squeeze of the stick. The would be particularly useful on the "wrap-around" attempt (demonstrated here by my son, Ryan, at age 14). This would increase goals, game interest, attendance, etc.

3. "Feel-the-Ice:" The friction on the bottom of the stick adjusts to the smoothness of the ice. Hockey players want to "feel the ice" with their stick as they handle the puck. Early in the game, the ice is freshly prepared and very slippery. That is when the stick bottom needs to have more friction. Later, as the ice surface gets rough and snowy, the stick bottom needs to be slippery. Perhaps the stick has a pad that is added to the bottom at the beginning of a period and it changes over a 20 minute time frame, going from sticky to slippery, adjusting passively to the change in ice surface.

4. "Flex-Flex:" The flexibility of the stick changes with the type of shot the player is taking. If the player "winds up" for a hard slap shot, the shaft of the stick stiffens to maximize the power applied to the puck. If the player takes a shot with the stick at a low angle to the ice (in other words, a wrist shot), the shaft becomes more flexible allowing the player to transfer power with the spring action of the stick.

5. "Whistle-Blower:" Hockey players use their sticks for lots of things, but some of them are illegal. Hooking, tripping, and spearing are examples. With this innovation, the stick alerts the referee when it is being used improperly, causing a penalty. For example, if a player holds the stick parallel to the ice with the blade turned sideways and hooks the body of another player (placing pressure on the top of the blade), the stick would send a signal to the referee indicating a foul.

Perhaps the stick could detect when it draws blood!



Drew BoydDrew Boyd is Director of Marketing Mastery for Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon Endo-Surgery division). He is also Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati and Executive Director of the MS-Marketing program. Follow him at www.innovationinpractice.com and at http://twitter.com/drewboyd

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Innovating Your Wallet

by Drew Boyd

Wallet InnovationInnovation puts cash in your wallet. But what about the wallet itself? For this month's LAB, we will apply the corporate innovation method, S.I.T., to create new and useful concepts for the wallet.

Wallets are the most personal items we own. They carry our money, credit cards, identification, licenses, photographs, and other memorabilia. Your wallet says a lot about you. As with food, we try to stuff more inside while staying thin. Wallets have been around a long time. Today, the wallet industry is a multi-billion dollar market fueled by new designs and innovation.

Here are six unique wallet concepts invented using the five templates in the S.I.T. method. They were created by graduate students at the University of Cincinnati as part of their course requirements in "Applied Marketing Innovation."

Financial Wallet Innovation1. FINANCIAL WALLET: "A complete personal financial guide to assure financial success." This concept features an online portfolio manager, a stock ticker, account summary, Forex calculator, and Quicken integration.
  • Benefits: stay alert to changes in your financial situation so you can make better, real-time decisions to manage your personal finances.

2. ARMOR WALLET: "The most secure wallet on the planet! Helps protect and manage your critical information." This concept features titanium casing, fingerprint scanner, auto-lockdown, missing card alert, and a data manager.
  • Benefits: keep your financial instruments secure, get easy access to your important information, and be alerted when something is not right.

3. TRENDSETTER WALLET: "Always keeps you high on fashion. The ultimate style statement." This concept features color changes according to your mood, attire, and occasion. It stores and displays pictures on an LCD screen to capture memories, plays the most hip music, gets real time fashion updates, gives you full body views with an advanced zoom in and zoom out mirror.
  • Benefits: helps you match your fashion to your state of mind.

Shopping Wallet Innovation4. SHOPPERS PARADISE WALLET: "The most convenient shopping companion that always gets you the best deal." This concept features credit card select (the appropriate credit/debit card pops out while shopping), then alerts you until the credit/debit card is back in the wallet. It manages your to-do list and shopping lists, and it gets graphical information on your expenditure with tips on money management. The wallet searches for the best discounts, and it controls cash flow with an online budget tracker. It has an aisle navigator to help you shop more efficiently.
  • Benefits: gives you an enjoyable shopping experience while saving you money.

5. GLOBETROTTER WALLET: "The ultimate travel guide that makes you feel right at home anywhere in the world." This concept features built in GPS, trip management, food/tip management, weather watch, language translator, and current Forex rates.
  • Benefits: helps you get the most out of your travel experience by staying informed about what is going on around you.

Fitness Wallet Innoation6. FITNESS WALLET: "The perfect personal trainer to suit all your work out needs." This concept features a heart rate monitor to check workout intensity, digitized locker key, first aid kit, stopwatch, distance and time, calorie watcher, MP3 player, sports updates, and a fitness scheduler.
  • Benefits: helps you maximize the time spent staying in shape.

Check out this and the other Dream Catalogs at the Innovation Wiki.



Drew BoydDrew Boyd is Director of Marketing Mastery for Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon Endo-Surgery division). He is also Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati and Executive Director of the MS-Marketing program. Follow him at www.innovationinpractice.com and at http://twitter.com/drewboyd

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Dream Catalog

by Drew Boyd

The Dream CatalogFor many companies, the catalog of products is the strongest statement of brand positioning a company can make. It is your arsenal of commercialization. So imagine you could peek into the future and see a copy of your company's product catalog five years from now. What would it look like? What if you could design it now? What would you put into it? These are the questions that confront you when you use a clever innovation tool called the Dream Catalog.

The Dream Catalog is a hypothetical company catalog from the future...well into the future, beyond the next business cycle. It is far into the future so that it captures the innovative thinking and imagination of today's managers. It stretches a company's thinking about its future, and it provokes a healthy discussion about possible company direction. A good Dream Catalog causes tension.

A Dream Catalog helps a company in several ways. It sets direction. It suggests how the company is going to add and remove products from the line over time. It forces the marketing team to reconcile product line strategy. It provides placeholders for new discoveries, inventions, and even acquisitions. It provides a sense of prioritization of what should be developed and in what order. It can even help forecast revenues.

Best of all - it rewards and encourages innovation. The Dream Catalog serves as the focal point for company-wide innovation efforts. Employees strive to come up with product and service ideas that "make it" into the Dream Catalog. As the catalog takes shape, employees see how their future is taking shape. It guides their innovation efforts even more. Leaders can use the catalog as a motivational tool. "Let's turn this dream into reality...for our customers and our future." A good Dream Catalog creates excitement and a sense of purpose.

I teach MBA students how to create a Dream Catalog in a full credit course called "Applied Marketing Innovation." Here is a quick snapshot of how to do it. Create a slew of new product embodiments over your current product line as well as products in your industry you wish you had. Do this using an efficient method such as Systematic Inventive Thinking. Mix the ideas together with your current product line. Put yourself five or ten years out and envision what product offering would make your company the most amazing market leader in your industry. Using your "palette" of ideas, pull in those that, taken together, create that kind of company. Strive for product line coherence. Strive for differentiation. Strive for a customer centric solution. Then, make an actual catalog with product photos, prices, features, and benefits. Make it seem real.

Here is a neat trick. Take all of your company's catalogs as far back as you can and lay them side-by-side chronologically. Study the product offerings each year and note the changes over time. Note the new products, deleted products, and changed products. Do you see an evolutionary theme? Revolutionary? Stagnant? Now place your Dream Catalog five or ten spots ahead of the most recent catalog. Where will your Dream Catalog take you? How far, how fast, how cool?

Think about Fortune 100 companies that might have a Dream Catalog of sorts. Think about former Fortune 100 companies that have since perished. Did they have a Dream Catalog? Would you buy stock in a company if it did not have a Dream Catalog?

Dream on.



Drew BoydDrew Boyd is Director of Marketing Mastery for Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon Endo-Surgery division). He is also Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati and Executive Director of the MS-Marketing program. Follow him at www.innovationinpractice.com and at http://twitter.com/drewboyd

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Innovation Perspectives - Fixedness

This is the eighth of several 'Innovation Perspectives' articles we will publish this week from multiple authors to get different perspectives on 'What is the most dangerous current misconception in innovation?'. Now, here is Drew Boyd's perspective:


by Drew Boyd


"It's not what you don't know that will get you. It's what you know that ain't so." - Will Rogers


FixednessThe most dangerous misconception about innovation today is not about innovation at all. It is about everything surrounding our innovation efforts that gives us trouble. It is rooted in a concept called fixedness. Fixedness is the inability to realize that something known to have a particular use may also be used to perform other functions. When one is faced with a new problem, fixedness blocks one's ability to use old tools in novel ways. Psychologist Karl Duncker coined the term functional fixedness for describing the difficulties in visual perception and problem solving that arise when one element of a whole situation has a (fixed) function which has to be changed for making the correct perception or for finding solutions. In his famous "candle problem" the situation was defined by the objects: a box of candles, a box of thumb-tacks and a book of matches. The task was to fix the candles on the wall without any additional elements. The difficulty of this problem arises from the functional fixedness of the candle box. It is a container in the problem situation but must be used as a shelf in the solution situation.

Roni Horiwitz of S.I.T. puts it this way: "It's almost impossible for the human brain to produce a really fresh and unique thought. Every thought, opinion or idea is somehow connected to previous concepts stored in the brain." Because of this, we are often unable to see the solution to a problem although it stares us in the face. We are too connected to what we knew previously. We not only can't let it go, but we try very hard to anchor around it to explain what is going on.

Fixedness is insidious. It affects how we think about and see virtually every part of our lives. At work, we have fixedness about our products and services, out customers and competitors, and our future opportunities. The most damaging form of fixedness is when we are stuck on our current business model. We cannot see past what is working today. We stop challenging our assumptions. We continue to believe what was once true is still true. In the end, it is this perpetual blind spot that is most dangerous to our innovation potential.

Customers have fixedness, too. Customers have a limited view of the future, they have well-entrenched notions of how the world works, and they suffer from the same blind spot we do. Yet we continue to seek the "Voice of the Customer" as though a divine intervention will break through this fixedness so they can spew new ideas.

Fortunately, there is a way to address it. The way to break fixedness is to use structured innovation tools and principles that make you see problems and opportunities in new ways.

I have witnessed the effects of fixedness in many teams across numerous companies and industries. That is usually the time I invoke the classic Will Rogers quote:


"It's not what you don't know that will get you. It's what you know that ain't so."


Or was it Mark Twain?


You can check out all of the 'Innovation Perspectives' articles from the different contributing authors on 'What is the most dangerous current misconception in innovation?' by clicking the link in this sentence.



Drew BoydDrew Boyd is Director of Marketing Mastery for Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon Endo-Surgery division). He is also Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati and Executive Director of the MS-Marketing program. Follow him at www.innovationinpractice.com and at http://twitter.com/drewboyd

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Creating Mobile Products by Division

by Drew Boyd

Mobile PhonesMobility is a good thing. As mobility increases, so does our standard of living. Mobility expands job opportunities, enriches our personal life, and boosts prosperity. For nations, mobility expands trade, creates wealth, and makes countries more competitive. Mobility even helps us live longer. For hundreds of years, life expectancies hovered around 40 years. During the 1800s they began to shoot up when road transport improved. Today life expectancies in many advanced societies approach 80 years thanks to improved mobility in transportation, communications, and network computing.

How can we use structured innovation to create more of it? How can we make the products and services we use every day more mobile? For this month's LAB, we will use the Division Template. We begin by listing the product's (or service's) internal components. Then we divide one or more of the components in one of three ways:
  • Functional (divide along functional roles)

  • Physical (cut the product or component on any physical aspect)

  • Preserving (each part preserves the characteristics of the whole)

Using Function Follows Form, we envision potential benefits of the new form and other ways to adapt the form to make it more useful. The trick is to use each type of Division with the specific intent of increasing a person's mobility. Each type of Division results in a different type of mobility. Here is how.


Functional Division

To use Functional Division, we start by listing the functions alongside the component list. In some cases, multiple components may be needed to perform one function. We imagine the function "carved" out of the total system. Then we "mobilize" it. We create access to the function away from the original product. Cellphones are perhaps the best example of that. Cellphones give us access to telephone communications away from the home or office. Mobile banking is another example. Take a look at the apps on your iPhone and you will see many examples of Functional Division. My favorite is Chord Play, and app to play guitar chords while...mobile. But notice the app itself is not a mobile guitar. Rather, just the function of playing chords has been mobilized.


Physical Division

With Physical Division, we don't just imagine carving out a component or its function. We actually cut something out along any physical dimension. For this exercise, I prefer to physically cut the function out of the original unit in a way that it can be taken with me in mobile fashion, but then returned back to the main unit at some point. Here is an example of such a product. It is from the Stout Tool Corporation. The STX-50 is a one-handed, cordless band saw. It is a mobile cutter. But snap it into place in the STX-50 Cutting Station and it becomes a traditional tabletop band saw. This product was invented by taking the core function of the original product (cutting) and making it mobile. Let's look at another example: how would we make a mobile refrigerator using Physical Division? We would have a refrigerator that would allow you to remove a compartment and take it with you. Imagine having a portable beverage container or freezer unit that lifts out of the refrigerator, allows you to keep things cool while away, then is reattached back inside the main refrigerator. I like this approach to Division because it tends to create the most novel mobile applications.


Preserving Division

A traditional way to make something mobile is to create a smaller version of the original. We make it portable. Many products fit into this category...portable chair, portable printer, portable music, portable disk drive. Without realizing it, we are using the Division Template. A six-pack of Coke Cola is a divided two litre bottle of Coke into smaller units that preserve the characteristics of the original. Going back to our refrigerator example, a small, portable cooler is a refrigerator that has been made mobile. Notice how this differs from the other refrigerator example above. In that example, we divided out an actual part of the main unit. Here, we just made a smaller main unit. This is perhaps the easiest method for creating mobile products.



Drew BoydDrew Boyd is Director of Marketing Mastery for Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon Endo-Surgery division). He is also Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati and Executive Director of the MS-Marketing program. Follow him at www.innovationinpractice.com and at http://twitter.com/drewboyd

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Innovation Sighting - Smart Floors

by Drew Boyd

Smart TextilesIn a world where gravity is ever present, floors are essential. We spend most of our waking hours standing or walking on them. But we tend to ignore them. That is a pity given the nearly constant contact we have with them. What if the floor could be innovated? What could it do for us that it doesn't do today?

Here is an innovative technology worth standing up for. Future-Shape GmbH, a German technology startup, has developed Sens-Floor, a layer of textile sensors that monitor human movement and can be installed underneath almost any type of flooring. The product works by sending a small electrical charge through a conductive fabric containing integrated sensor plates and radio modules. When someone walks over a sensor, a small change in charge capacity triggers the system. The company offers a few suggested applications such as home security, activating room lights, and monitoring the elderly.

However, to reach its full potential, innovating with the Attribute Dependency template will link this technology to many more things that take place on a floor. Imagine, for example, the floor can detect a specific person (through body weight, foot size, etc) to activate things in the room related to that person (lighting preferences, sounds, smells...anything with an "on" button). Taking it further, imagine the floor can keep track of how many people are on the floor and what they are doing (standing, dancing, sitting, etc). The floor can tell a party host when it's time to serve dinner or to enliven the party with different music. Think of the sports applications - score keeping in tennis, required elements in gymnastics, or basketball three second violations. What about retail store applications? The floor could keep track of customer movements - where they shop, where they stop, and how they go from product to product. Perhaps the floor can detect when to raise prices on popular items or drop prices on a slow ones.

The company calls its core product, Smart Textiles, and this idea is embedded in its other products. To make them truly smart, it will take a bit more work on the application side. As an investment, Future-Shape might be an excellent "ground floor" opportunity.



Drew BoydDrew Boyd is Director of Marketing Mastery for Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon Endo-Surgery division). He is also Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati and Executive Director of the MS-Marketing program. Follow him at www.innovationinpractice.com and at http://twitter.com/drewboyd

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Innovating with Task Unification and Social Media

by Drew Boyd

Embracing social media and the myriad of Web 2.0 tools is more challenging than just setting up a Facebook account or adding a "Follow Me on Twitter" link. Organizations struggle with how to take advantage of the power of Web 2.0. Where do you start? How do you tie these new tools in with your current website? How do you make sure your current constituents are happy while moving the organization to a more networked world?

For this month's LAB, we will use the innovation template called Task Unification, one of five templates of the corporate innovation method called S.I.T.. To use Task Unification, we take a component of a product, service, system, etc., and we assign an additional "job" to it. For this exercise involving Social Media, here is how it works. Imagine your company has a large base of employees in the field. For example, suppose your company has a large sales force or an extensive network of delivery or service people. Consider the U.S. Postal Service, for example, with an army of postal workers and letter carriers at over 32,000 post offices. A key question for these organizations like the USPS is: how do we get more value out of this fixed asset? Let's use Task Unification.

Web 2.0 LandscapeI start by visiting a site that inventories all the social web tools: GO2WEB20.NET. I randomly pick an application from this list. Then I assign the internal field resources to "use" this application to increase revenue/profits for the company. Using our example of the postal service, I create this statement: "Postal delivery staff have the additional 'job' of using XXXX (web application) to increase USPS performance." This is our Virtual Product in the S.I.T. method.

The key is to use the non-obvious applications for creating new, innovative services. You have to literally force yourself to imagine the corporate resource using the inherent aspects of the Web 2.0 application to create revenue or cut costs. Here are examples I created using Task Unification:
  • ParkWhiz:

    • "ParkWhiz helps people park their cars quickly and efficiently by providing them with the tools to make an informed decision. Instead of driving around to find parking, you can use ParkWhiz to get the best parking to suit your needs."

    • Idea: The postal workers have a role to play by spotting empty parking spots and annotating this in real time using a mobile, GPS-enabled device to indicate the location of the open spot. Subscribers go online to see what parking spots might be available in their vicinity.

  • Gist:

    • "Gist helps you build stronger relationships by connecting the inbox to the web to provide business-critical information about the people and companies that matter most."

    • Idea: Postal workers have a role of feeding information about traditional mail that is sent and received to your key contacts into the Gist system to help inform you about these contacts.

  • Walkscore:

    • "Walk Score helps people find walkable places to live. Walk Score calculates the walkability of an address by locating nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc."

    • Idea: Post workers have the additional job of providing information about what to see or experience between any two walking points. The information is real-time, so it includes weather, crowd information, safety issues, etc.

  • YowTrip:

    • "YowTRIP is a social network site that connects you with other world travelers in your town or wherever you're traveling. Find people like yourself who are planning to or have traveled, live or have lived, anywhere in the world. YowTRIP's goal is to promote cultural exchange by connecting world travelers and enabling them to share their travel experiences on this online community."

    • Idea: Postal workers have the additional role of collecting and reporting tourism-related information to the YowTrip system to inform tourists of local sightseeing opportunities.

  • Orchestrate:

    • "Orchestrate is an online workforce scheduling application that allows Operations Managers to schedule qualified personnel and tasks with ease. Features include qualification requirements for staff, locations, logins for managers, staff and clients, compliance reporting and visually beautiful schedules."
    • Postal workers have the additional job of feeding in critical job site information into the Orchestrate system to allow better scheduling of crews and tasks.

Companies have an enormous stockpile of Web 2.0 business model ideas sitting and waiting to be leveraged. Their challenge is to take advantage of the discipline and structure of innovation templates to lead them to new, useful, and surprising opportunities.



Drew BoydDrew Boyd is Director of Marketing Mastery for Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon Endo-Surgery division). He is also Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati and Executive Director of the MS-Marketing program. Follow him at www.innovationinpractice.com and at http://twitter.com/drewboyd

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Conference Report - The Power to Innovate

by Drew Boyd

Invention Machine's Power to Innovate ConferenceCongratulations to the team at Invention Machine for hosting this week's conference, Power to Innovate, at the Seaport Hotel in Boston. The theme of the conference centered around the Innovation Intelligence EcosystemTM and how companies can boost performance by coordinating information, communities, and innovation activities. Invention Machine's premier product, Goldfire, is at the center of this ecosystem.


"Goldfire is a unique innovation software platform that transforms ideas into commercial products - generating and validating concepts and making innovation a sustainable process. Designed with engineers, scientists and researchers in mind, Goldfire automates every day innovation tasks - from identifying a new market to developing a new product to improving existing product offerings - and empowering users with a repeatable process. Fusing proven innovation methods for generating ideas along with advanced technologies for accessing precise concepts from corporate and worldwide knowledge sources, Goldfire stimulates creative thinking and speeds inventive problem solving—helping product development engineers, scientists and researchers to quickly conceive and validate ideas thus fueling product pipelines."


The latest release, 5.5, should greatly enhance usability of the product especially by groups outside of R&D such as marketing and M&A. Jim Belfiore, Certified Innovation Master & Senior Director at Invention Machine, demonstrated how he researched the disease, lymphoma. I was amazed at the depth and breadth of insights he created using Goldfire 5.5.

The entire conference was followed on Twitter compliments of Andrea Meyer. Check it out at #P2I09. Here are some other highlights from the conference:
  • Jim Todhunter, Chief Technology Officer at Invention Machine, shared their technology roadmap and how Goldfire will enhance research, not just search capability around a topic. He shared a sneak peak at release 6.0 and some of the new features to enhance collaboration, both internally and externally. Jim also presented an "Innovation Practice Maturity Model." This four level model helps companies understand where they need to head to increase and sustain innovation.

  • Randy Schiestl, VP Research and Development of Boston Scientific, shared their collective experience adopting Goldfire and using it across the enterprise.

  • Jim Belfiore presented "Collaborative Innovation" and how to leverage Goldfire's capabilities in team settings. Later, Jim Todhunter addressed it head on with a presentation on Open Innovation.

I am impressed with Goldfire, and I am particularly interested in how it could intersect with other technologies such as:
  • Virtual reality like Second Life and the simulations from Visual Purple. As Edward Tufte notes, we need to escape "Flatland" and get ourselves out of two dimensional computer screens and into richer learning and sensing environments. Embedding the output of Goldfire into a three dimensional world could add context and usability.

  • Preferencing systems such as those used by Amazon, Pandora, and others that allow users to continuously refine and enhance choices by "thumbs up/thumbs down" voting.

  • Pattern recognition approaches. Marketers particularly need to see patterns emerging about their brands within the social web and within formal literature. Combining the output of Goldfire with data visualization might help marketers do this quicker and more effectively.

  • Mass scaling. Goldfire aggregates information from multiple sources, both internally and externally. Could it be used in a more domestic, non-corporate setting to enhance people's standard of living? A simple tool like Google Reader aggregates pre-selected website information using RSS feeds. Goldfire far outstrips this. Could individuals use a lighter version of Goldfire to collect their daily news given the shortcomings of traditional printed newspapers?

Invention Machine's CMO, Jeff Boehm, shared an interesting statistic about the companies participating at this conference. Those companies have outperformed the market 11.5% over the last 13 months.

Message: innovate to grow.



Drew BoydDrew Boyd is Director of Marketing Mastery for Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon Endo-Surgery division). He is also Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati and Executive Director of the MS-Marketing program. Follow him at www.innovationinpractice.com and at http://twitter.com/drewboyd

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Reinventing the Newspaper

by Drew Boyd

Newspapers are dying. Their business model is burning to the ground. They cannot fend off the Internet and other threats despite their virtual monopoly and economies of scale in printing and distribution. Advertisers are moving on. Yet while traditional newsrooms are shrinking, journalism is thriving and the consumption of news is skyrocketing. Why are newspapers shutting down? As Clay Shirky describes it:


"If you want to know why newspapers are in such trouble, the most salient fact is this: Printing presses are terrifically expensive to set up and to run. This bit of economics, normal since Gutenberg, limits competition while creating positive returns to scale for the press owner, a happy pair of economic effects that feed on each other.

With the old economics destroyed, organizational forms perfected for industrial production have to be replaced with structures optimized for digital data. It makes increasingly less sense even to talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves - the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public - has stopped being a problem.

Round and round this goes, with the people committed to saving newspapers demanding to know "If the old model is broken, what will work in its place?" To which the answer is: Nothing. Nothing will work. There is no general model for newspapers to replace the one the internet just broke."



Perhaps it is not the newspaper model, per se, that needs replaced. Perhaps it is the components of that model that need innovation: printing, distribution, and journalism. Let's examine how.


PRINTING

Printing PressGutenberg's innovation of printing multiple copies of one newspaper was a huge step forward in 1500. Today's large scale printing machines are still built on that idea. Companies like Siemens that produce these machines need to engineer new versions of large volume printers that can take custom digital content and print one unique copy of a paper, then print a different one, the next one, etc, at very high speeds. This would allow news companies to create a custom newspaper for every single subscriber. The capability is already in existence to some degree with the printing of custom mail order catalogs. That technology needs to be extended to allow mass scale customization - a unique paper for every household.


DISTRIBUTION

RSS FeedsNewspaper companies have well-established skills and resources to take the printed paper right from the presses to your doorstep. But they need to "backward integrate" distribution into how they collect content. Today, news organizations rely on their own staff as well as syndicated content from AP and other organizations. The proliferation of blogs and other content providers gives news organization a tremendous opportunity to reinvent their business model by excelling at: news aggregation and brokering. Today's consumer wants more relevant content than what is sent to them in a traditional newspaper. They use RSS feeds to aggregate their own content. Newspapers could do this for the consumer based on the use of meta-tagging and preferences much like what Pandora has done with music. Instead of a Music Genome, the news industry needs to create the "News Genome", a structured architecture of news preferencing that allows customers to pre-identify what they prefer so that news organizations can source and broker it back to them - in printed form, delivered to their doorstep.


JOURNALISM

Newspaper EcosystemJournalism has been dominated by a relatively small group of reporters who go out and collect news and content. Today, there are millions of "journalists" under The Long Tail creating content. The key is how their content is fed into the meta-tagging "News Genome" idea discussed above. To give them an incentive to feed quality, relevant content into that system, news organizations could make micropayments to a journalist for each time and only when their content is pulled in and brokered back out to a subscriber. Clay Shirky is correct when he says consumers won't pay for news because they have never paid for news. So the idea of micropayments from consumers won't work. But micropayments to the journalist when they get a "hit" on their content would create the right incentives to the system. News organizations need to establish a preferencing system of tagging for each of their subscribers, then source and broker relevant, tagged, content to them in RSS-like fashion.

What would it look like? Imagine the ultimate newspaper. It would have articles, editorials, advertising and other content that is custom tailored to your beliefs, lifestyle, affiliations and preferences. If you like to keep abreast of world news, so be it. But if you are also liberal-minded, these same articles would have a liberal bent to them. If you live in Cincinnati, but root for the Chicago Bears, your sports section would have Bears news, not Bengals. Even the obituaries would be connected to you and your world. If a great-uncle of your college roommate passes away, you would get to read about it. Your entire newspaper would be not only filled with the news and information that is relevant to you, but it is also written in a tone and orientation that matches your view of the world. For newspapers, this means instead of printing millions of copies of one version of the daily paper, they now have to print a million versions, one for each of a million different readers. Wow!

A custom newspaper has advantages for the advertisers as well. It is the advertisers, not the subscribers, after all, who subsidize journalism. With custom newspapers, advertisers could target their ads in line with the keyword tags so that the ad appeals to that subscriber's interests and values. My bet is advertisers would pay more for this with the promise of more effective ad placement. More money on the table leaves more room for micropayments to journalists. The loop is closed.

As Shirky notes:

"No one experiment is going to replace what we are now losing with the demise of news on paper, but over time, the collection of new experiments that do work might give us the journalism we need."



Drew BoydDrew Boyd is Director of Marketing Mastery for Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon Endo-Surgery division). He is also Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati and Executive Director of the MS-Marketing program. Follow him at www.innovationinpractice.com and at http://twitter.com/drewboyd

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Friday, October 16, 2009

The Other Innovation Guru at Harvard Business School

by Drew Boyd

Dr. Teresa AmabileA colleague asked me, "Who is that innovation guru at the Harvard Business School?"

That's easy: Dr. Teresa Amabile

Dr. Amabile heads the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School and is the only tenured professor at a top school to devote her entire research program to the study of creativity. She is one of the world's leading voices in business innovation. From Wikipedia:
  • "Originally educated and employed as a chemist, Dr. Amabile received her Ph.D. in psychology from Stanford University in 1977. Originally focusing on individual creativity, Dr. Amabile's research has expanded to encompass team creativity and organizational innovation. This 30-year program of research on how the work environment can influence creativity and motivation has yielded a theory of creativity and innovation; methods for assessing creativity, motivation, and the work environment; and a set of prescriptions for maintaining and stimulating innovation. Her current research program focuses on the psychology of everyday work life: how events in the work environment influence subjective experience and performance. Before joining HBS, Dr. Amabile held several research grants as a professor at Brandeis University, including Creativity and Motivation, from the National Institute of Mental Health, and Downsizing Industrial R&D, from the Center for Innovation Management Studies. She was awarded the E. Paul Torrance Award by the Creativity Division of the National Association for Gifted Children in 1998.

    Dr. Amabile has presented her theories, research results, and practical implications to various groups in business, government, and education, including Lucent Technologies, Procter & Gamble, Novartis International AG, and Motorola. In addition to participating in various executive programs, her main teaching assignment at Harvard Business School is an MBA course, Managing for Creativity. Dr. Amabile was the host/instructor of Against All Odds: Inside Statistics, a 26-part instructional series originally produced for broadcast on PBS. She currently serves as a Director of Seaman Corporation.

    Dr. Teresa AmabileDr. Amabile is the author of Creativity in Context and Growing Up Creative, as well as over 100 scholarly papers, chapters, and presentations. She serves on the editorial boards of Creativity Research Journal, Creativity and Innovation Management, and Journal of Creative Behavior."

For innovation practitioners, I recommend reading her articles:
  • Amabile, Teresa M., and Mukti Khaire. "Creativity and the Role of the Leader." Harvard Business Review 86, no. 10 (October 2008)

  • Amabile, T. M. "Entrepreneurial Creativity Through Motivational Synergy." Journal of Creative Behavior 31 (1997): 18-26.

  • Amabile, T. M. "Attributions of Creativity: What Are the Consequences?" Creativity Research Journal 8, no. 4 (1995): 423-426.

Teresa Amabile has been shaking up the world of creativity and innovation for over 30 years. Now THAT's disruptive!



Drew BoydDrew Boyd is Director of Marketing Mastery for Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon Endo-Surgery division). He is also Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati and Executive Director of the MS-Marketing program. Follow him at www.innovationinpractice.com and at http://twitter.com/drewboyd

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Innovating Up and Down

by Drew Boyd

Elevator Innovation 1What is the first thing you do when you step into an elevator? For most people: push the button of the floor you are going to. Not so with a new breed of elevators manufactured by Schindler North America. These elevators have the buttons on the outside, not inside. The buttons for selecting your floor are on each floor. Instead of just pushing a single up or down button to hail an elevator, you push the button for the floor you want as though you were inside.

The Division Template is the culprit here. In this innovation sighting, the elevator floor button panel was divided out and placed back into the system...outside the elevator cab. Very novel, useful, and surprising. To use Division, make a list of the components, then divide out a component. Divide functionally or physically and place it back somewhere in the system. Use Function Follows Form to identify potential benefits, feasibility, challenges, and adaptations.

The benefit is better elevator customer service. Elevator cars operate more efficiently which means you get to the right floor faster. How? By selecting your floor sooner (while waiting for the elevator to arrive) the elevator's computer has more timely input about peoples' destinations. It can calculate the optimal pattern of pickups and dropoffs, then execute it faster than traditional elevators. Here is how this new elevator, called the Miconic 10, operates:


Elevator Innovation 2"Miconic 10 advanced software drives a powerful logic program that systematically rationalizes elevator traffic flow in a building. It employs a sophisticated algorithm to manage the complexities of traffic patterns as they change throughout the day and to group passengers together with the same departure and/or destination floors.

With any conventional control, passengers can only tell the elevator system that they want to travel either 'Up' or 'Down'. Likewise, everyone tries to get into the first car that arrives, often causing overcrowding, then scrambling to push the buttons once inside the car. As a result, the car will probably stop at every floor on the way up.

Elevator Innovation 3With Miconic 10, you can register you destination even before you reach the elevator lobby. The system tells you immediately which car to go to. It groups passengers together by destination to minimize the number of stops. It makes sure that cars can't become overcrowded. Once inside the elevator, your destination floor is confirmed to you. You don't need to press any more buttons (special service buttons are, of course, provided). You receive confirmation of your destination floor upon arrival."



The first elevator was built by Archimedes probably in 236 B.C. It has come a long way since then.



Drew BoydDrew Boyd is Director of Marketing Mastery for Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon Endo-Surgery division). He is also Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati and Executive Director of the MS-Marketing program. Follow him at www.innovationinpractice.com and at http://twitter.com/drewboyd

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Friday, October 02, 2009

Managing Your Innovation Gap

by Drew Boyd

Managing Your Innovation GapOnce you have a systematic and routine way to innovate, you are confronted with a new problem - how to decide how much innovation is enough. For many, this is an odd question. If innovation is essential for survival and growth, most people would want all the innovation they can get. But that is oversimplifying. Too much innovation can overload the system, confuse the organization, and lead to ideation fatigue. So how much is enough?

Here is a useful analysis that can tell you how many ideas are needed to reach your specific growth targets called "Mapping the Innovation Gap."

The steps are:

  1. Determine your revenue goals in each year over a specific time horizon. Base this on your firm's strategic planning time horizon (usually 3 to 10 years depending on the industry). Use the actual revenue targets from your company's business plan.

  2. Break these annual revenue targets down over a mix of products, new and existing, in each year. Some firms call this a revenue cascade or revenue waterfall. It shows for each year how much of the revenue comes from existing products and how much comes from new products.

  3. Estimate your Innovation Yield (number of new ideas needed to produce one new product). This varies by industry and by company depending on factors such as level of investment, core competencies, and access to technology. Various think tanks and consultancies have estimates such as the curve pictured above.

  4. Estimate your typical idea-to-launch Lead Time (how much time it takes to develop and launch a product once it is conceived). As with the Innovation Yield, this will vary. Take a look at past product development experience and determine an average time (in years).

  5. Plot the number of new ideas needed in each year to produce the necessary new products in subsequent years. Take the number of new products needed in a specific year and divide it by the Innovation Yield. Then plot this number back in time by the amount of Lead Time to develop ideas.

What you end up with is the number of new ideas that need to be generated each year to have a realistic chance of achieving future revenue growth targets. It can be a sobering number depending on how aggressive your targets are. With this number, a general manager can then task the team to "schedule" innovation, and then hold them accountable for generating the necessary number of ideas.


Bottom Line: To grow, companies need a systematic innovation method, and it needs to be applied systematically.


Download "Mapping the Innovation Gap" here.



Drew BoydDrew Boyd is Director of Marketing Mastery for Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon Endo-Surgery division). He is also Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati and Executive Director of the MS-Marketing program. Follow him at www.innovationinpractice.com and at http://twitter.com/drewboyd

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