Tag Archives: Innovation

How do you source ideas for innovation out of customers?

How do you source ideas for innovation out of customers?

Phil McKinney asks: are customers a source of ideas for innovation?

Two years ago The Economist published a report where it indicated that by 2020 customers will replace R&D as the main source of new ideas. Well, apart from customers, there are many sources where companies can get ideas for innovation; partners, competitors, non-competing companies and employees.

Some of the most innovative ideas can come from customers themselves. But, you must involve them.

The sad truth about how innovation dies in large organizations

For things to change somebody somewhere has to act differently…

There’s a great thread going on in the Beyond Innovation LinkedIn group about exciting examples of driving a culture of innovation. In my experience, it was one singular person driving it and enlisting people. Always. Most of the people who commented on the thread have similar responses. This is not surprising at all, it is rare an organization that has innovation embedded in their core DNA.

But one response that stood out is about how NOT to drive a culture of innovation!

VP of Culture of Innovation John Coyle at Maddock Douglas chimes in:

Innovation needs intent

innovation needs intentUltimately, just like your business strategy, your innovation strategy needs to be focused. It can’t be all things to all people. It must be able to stand on its own.

Last Friday I conducted a second innovation workshop with graduate students from UABC, the largest university in Tijuana. Before we were done, I made sure they took two things to heart:

  1. Figure out their own definition of innovation;
  2. Be intentional with your innovation intent.

The last point is important, and hopefully they caught my drift because a lot of what the media considers innovation fits into the silly category…

3 lessons about how to do rapid prototyping from the Nordstrom Innovation Lab

I just came across this video of how the Nordstrom Innovation Lab created, tested and built an iPad app in just one week with the intent of enhancing the eye wear buying experience. I thought I’d share this with you as a follow up post to the three part series I wrote on how to leave small thinking behind.

Though the video was posted almost three years ago, it is still quite relevant for rapid prototyping towards innovation.

There are a few things that I want to bring to your attention about rapid prototyping:

What’s your question?

strategic shifting for innovationSometimes an interesting questions doesn’t come out nowhere, it requires some serious inquiry and reflection. Defining the real problem is the key part of the innovation process, if you don’t figure out the right question to lead your effort you will end up solving the same challenge, in the same way, that everyone else.  

At the beginning of the year, I collaborated with an innovation consultancy in Mexico D.F. on a project about dog adoption. To begin, we went out and met people, asked them some questions and generally observed how they interact with street dogs. We then took our notes and observations, put them together and uncovered some great insights, which we then turned into questions that gave us some holes to keep digging through.

Still, it dawned on me that like most organizations, the NGO we worked with had an uninspiring mission statement that any other dog adoption organization could have. So, connecting the on-the-ground insights with this, we shifted the conversation to something more thought provoking!

5 toxic assumptions businesses make about people

undertstanding human behaviorThough business leaders say they want innovation, the vast majority hate the concept of creativity.

But as much as us innovators are fed up with this, the truth is that it isn’t the executives fault because people are wired to reject uncertainty; no matter how smart they appear to be. Fears and biases stand in the way of a boss that talks a good talk, but doesn’t walk.

But, there is a flip side to all of this: business-as-usual, no matter how predictable it may feel, is littered with biases too.

How do you identify innovation champions in an organization?

How do you identify innovation champions in an organization?

Unlike scrappy startups, and maverick organizations, innovation doesn’t happen with a snap of a finger in traditionally managed organizations; it needs fearless leaders.

As I mentioned in last week’s question-to-innovate, innovation is a team game, and there many types of people who can fill those roles. Today, I’ll touch on the “who do we unleash to make innovation happen?” part of the equation.

Most likely you are in a traditional organization where management still rules the day, bureaucracy can stand in the way or enable innovation. Let’s imagine that you’ve talked about and agreed that innovation needs to become more than simple talk in your organization. To make this happen, you’ve decided to unleash the hounds: the fearless and passionate people who don’t follow the rules that you’ve sat on the bench.

Still, who among these mavericks can really push through?