Inspire & Initiate


Inspire and Initiate The first imperative in Robert’s Rules of Innovation is to INSPIRE. Innovation and ideation is pointless without buy-in and support from top management. The leader of your New Product Development effort, your Innovation SWAT team, has to inspire, lead and drive the process. For inspiration to take place, the leader has to be regularly and personally involved so that everyone is on the same page. There are five key steps to achieve the type of Innovation culture that inspires and creates intra-organization cohesion. Discover more about INSPIRATION in the book, Robert’s Rules of Innovation .

How Does Your Company Match Up to the GE Innovation Barometer?

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The GE Global Innovation Barometer conducts annual surveys to put a finger on the pulse of innovation around the world. The survey was conducted earlier this year with over 3,200 high level business executives from over 26 countries participating. The executives surveyed are those chiefly responsible for their company’s innovation development.   This year’s survey touched on 5 key points. It comes as no surprise that many of these points reiterate Robert’s Rules of Innovation®, the imperative on how to Create and Sustain Innovation.

Disruption Ready: Two-thirds polled believe that they must disrupt their internal processes in order to search for the “new kind of talents, technologies and partners”, they need for innovation success. What does this come down to?  Sometimes, you have to shake things up to create innovation.  Robert’s Rule of NO RISK NO INNOVATION reminds organizations to embrace the possibility of failure, and encourage well-reasoned risk taking. See Failure as a learning experience!

Champions of organizational Innovation must have, and encourage, a tolerance for failure and enthusiasm for risk taking. Risk requires investment (people, time, capital), and willingness to invest without ROI assurance.

Collaboration – In 2013 only 38% of executives felt that collaboration with other parties would be successful.  Many executives feared the backlash of collaboration concerning the protection of intellectual property.  However in 2014, 77% of innovation executives felt that the risk was worth taking.

OBSERVE AND MEASURE; Make sure objectives and reward systems are aligned to get the collaboration that is needed.

IDEA MANAGEMENT is about ideation, also known as the idea management process. Much of the focus of this imperative is how to break down silo’s and pack the front end of innovation with a ample ideas waiting in the hopper. Diverse internal teams fuel ideation, but companies should also consider breaking down the walls around their organization to co-create and collaborate with outside parties.

Big Data – 69% of executives that use “big data” feel that it adds value to the innovation process.  What gets measured gets done” in Robert’s Rules of Innovation OBSERVE AND MEASURE.

When creating innovation, it is vital to set metric goals and track these metrics. Observation and measurement – in terms of the performance of the program implementation needs to be built-in as a recurring element. Look for Leading and Lagging indicators, not just lagging!

Future Talent – The importance of talent is a priority among executives, up 6 points to 79% over last year.  INSPIRE AND INITIATE, one of Robert’s Rules of Innovation enforces the idea that management champions of innovation can create inspiring work environments.  Employers that inspire and initiate can retain current talent and will be attractive to future talent.  REWARD, Innovation is all about ROI but make sure employees get recognized and rewarded…

External Framework – This follows Robert’s Rules of Innovation – TRAINING AND COACHING. Innovation executives are often the facilitator of change, and the leaders responsible for the development of corporate innovation culture. These innovation leaders are accountable to assemble teams that will lead them to optimal ROI’s.

In addition to alleviating the amount of government red tape that hinders innovation, the barometer shows that executives also desire current and future business needs top be factored into current college curricula.

 

The GE Global Innovation Barometer measures many of the imperatives to Robert’s Rules of Innovation.  Without taking risks, successful innovation cannot be created or sustained.  Innovation leaders must inspire and initiate as a model for current employees to follow and so that future talent can be recruited.  Innovation must be observed and measured to track failures and successes.  Once a successful innovation process is in place, training and coaching becomes a critical factor of sustainable innovation.

You can learn more about the 10 imperatives of Robert’s Rules of Innovation here. Robert Brands is the founder of InnovationCoach.com and the author of “Robert’s Rules of Innovation”: A 10-Step Program for Corporate Survival, with Martin Kleinman, published by Wiley.

“Inciting Discovery, Inspiring Change” #CINONY

Earlier this month, Innovation Enterprise held a Chief Innovation Officer Summit in New York City. The Summit brings together innovation leaders from a range of industries to “incite discovery, inspire change & facilitate a cross-pollination of ideas”. Panelists from some of the most innovative companies such as Pfizer, Disney, Sony, and NASA discussed innovation best practices, innovation metrics, and breakthrough strategies.

One topic discussed at the summit was The Premature Extinction of the Chief #Innovation Officer. The chief Innovation officer or CINO is the person who is primarily responsible for managing the process of innovation.

Innovation executives are often the facilitator of change, and the leaders responsible for the development of corporate innovation culture.

Although I am a firm believer that the CEO must take the role of Chief Innovation Officer, in large corporations, it pays to have a CINO that works and drives innovation on a daily basis. Due to the fact that innovation is not always immediately tangible, it is important to continually re-evaluate the role and adapt to change in order to stay relevant.

Every successful business leader knows that innovation in business is essential, but the best way to engineer and sustain it is not always clear.

During the summit Luis Solis, President of Imaginatik highlighted four essential steps/measures to fortify the CINO position. These steps not only affirm the 10 imperatives of innovation as outlined in Robert’s rules of Innovation, but strengthen my resolve that successful innovation requires many different elements to cross the finish line ahead of your competition.

According to Mr. Solis, the best way to ensure that the role of the CINO does not follow that of the CKO is by doing the following:

  • Make Innovation Imperative: Language is crucial. Innovation cannot be an option, it must be a priority.
  • Show the Impact of Innovation: Visible Indicators of success need not only be monetary, your return on innovation can be changes in speed to market, patents, shortened cycles, and other measures. Remember that what gets measured gets done. Look for Leading and Lagging indications of Innovations as written about before.
  • Investment in people and time:  Educate your CFO about investing in innovation, so that you can invest in the people and time needed to make innovation happen. Create a culture around innovation. Educate and inspire.
  • Secure Institutional Trust: Stakeholders in your business must understand that innovation is a shared win. Your corporate culture must also take into account that without risk, there can be no innovation. Use Failure as a Learning opportunity.

You can learn more about the 10 imperatives of Robert’s Rules of Innovation here. Robert Brands is the founder of InnovationCoach.com and the author of “Robert’s Rules of Innovation”: A 10-Step Program for Corporate Survival, with Martin Kleinman, published by Wiley.

 

Innovation: Starting with the Basics

Building a foundation for innovation starts with the basics. In Robert’s Rules of Innovation™ the imperatives to Create & Sustain “NEW” in Business, number one is Inspire and Initiate. Innovation and ideation are pointless without buy-in from top management, and the support of your team. Engage the senior leadership team, employees of organization, and key external stakeholders in the development of a shared vision and the path forward.

Do you have an innovation culture?  How do you quantify it?

 

One of the first steps to creating a solid foundation for innovation is to define the desired culture. Quantify your goal, whether it’s a sales figure or number of new products you hope to achieve, and this will help justify the resources to be allocated. Create a mantra like, “one new innovation idea a week”. Develop “core attributes” as in, attributes which will form the foundation on which your company functions and conducts itself.

What are the beliefs and practices that make your company, your company? What is the essence of your organization?

Once you set your innovation core attributes, it is easy to bring your team on board and empower your company to create successful, sustainable innovations. The common saying goes, “people support what they help to create”

Read More at : http://www.innovationcoach.com/2013/06/innovation-starting-basics/

Sustainable Innovation – Inspiration from a 7-year-old

Vision leads to the mission, from which is developed the strategy. Inject vibrant ideas, and stir in some climate and culture, process, and technology.

The result: Sustainable Innovation

About those vibrant ideas, where do they come from?

You can wait for that “divine spark,” or you can make it happen. Often the hardest part of generating new innovative ideas is knowing where and how to begin looking for them.

 

In the earliest days of our childhood, we spent a great amount of time creating and thinking up new ideas. We were continually building, imagining, and creating things; pillow forts, Lego buildings, kitchen snacks, and whatever else we could dream up using household supplies.

Somewhere along the way, our idea machine got a little rusty or maybe constraint by knowledge and believes. We forgot how to create like kids without boundaries. We entered the workforce where creativity and ideation are often kept in check. “It seems to be more common inside most workplaces for the work environment to undermine creativity, to kill it, rather than to stimulate it and keep it alive,” says Harvard Business School’s Teresa Amabile, co-author of “The Progress Principle.”

The first imperative of Roberts Rules of Innovation is INSPIRE. The leader of your innovation team has to inspire, lead, and drive the process.  For inspiration to take place, the leader has to be regularly and personally involved so that everyone is on the same page.  Along with vibrant ideas, setting a culture of innovation is a key ingredient in sustainable innovation. Develop it step-by-step by building consensus, reinforcing ideas, underscoring the need for accountability, and asking the right questions.

There are five key steps to achieve the culture that inspires and creates intra-organizational cohesion.

 

  • Lead By Example
  • Over communicate, under promise
  • Two-way traffic
  • Silo demolition
  • Pick the right champions

 

It doesn’t hurt to take a few notes on generating ideas from a 7 year old either.

Pratya was assigned the task of coming up with the 8th wonder of the world in school. She recorded her thought process on her blog, Tiger Monkey Forest with the help of her father.

 

She began with her mission: Come up with the 8th wonder of the world.

Her first step was logic modification: Following a straight line of logic, generate ideas that build on what is already known.

Palace  Rainbow Palace                      Castle  Made of glass

 

Then she added the Jump:  Generating ideas that combine different elements in new ways. Rather than thinking in a lateral fashion of “what comes next,” think “what could be”.

A floating city in the sky

 

She then brought in additional data and insight to solve a problem.

Sky + Asteroids that killed dinosaurs + Great Wall of China

 

The result:  Innovation, The great shield of earth!

 

Standard idea-generation techniques concentrate on combining or adapting existing ideas. This can certainly generate results, but sometimes you need to jump out of the box. Pratya chose think differently and consider new perspectives. While the great shield of earth will most likely never be become the 8th wonder of the world, I think you would agree that we could all benefit from seeing the world from a child’s perspective now and again. As adults we’re so busy taking life so seriously we don’t give enough thought to tapping into our inner child.

Go buy some Lego’s.

 

*To read more about the 5 key steps to workplace inspiration and ideation see “Robert’s Rules of Innovation” A 10-Step Program for Corporate Survival.”

 

Innovation & Best Practices, Then & Now

Antarctica Thrives as Hub of New Thinking

 

Exactly 100 years ago December 17, an explorer found glory upon the Antarctic continent. One month later, his rival met a bitter, sad end. Yet, both share lessons in the power of innovation built on best practices – and the pitfalls borne of haste and poor planning.

 

Today, for those looking for rationales behind the need for innovation in pursuit of excellence, the race to the South Pole offers both cautionary tales and textbook examples of success and failure surrounding the innovation process for any business or mission.

 

Norwegian Roald Amundsen and Englishman Robert Falcon Scott shared a dream of being first to the South Pole. Though they both were able and famed explorers of their day, their tales revealed the power of intensive research, planning and best practices.

 

Yet where Scott decided to innovate on what he believed to be an ideal course of action, Amundsen – who, five years earlier, pioneered the Arctic’s Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific – studied best practices of a culture half a word from his destination. In September, National Geographic marked the centennial of their explorations .

 

Their examples of innovation range from the fine details to the mundane. Scott’s provisions, supplies and transport included 19 horses, 33 dogs as back-up, traditional wide-body sleds, and woolen clothing – all suited, or so he thought, to wintry exploration. To the contrary, each introduced inherent risk of failure. Horses’ hooves were ill-suited to trodding across snow and ice, which led to exhaustion in the harsh conditions. The wide sleds bogged down. Woolen wear soaked up human perspiration, which then froze to ice.

 

Amundsen, on the other hand, invested more than a year planning his journey. He painstakingly researched life lived in extreme conditions. He lived with Eskimos and modeled his outerwear on the furs they wore. He innovated upon modern sleds by making them longer and narrower so as to spread their weight across a greater length. Knowing extreme conditions likely would lead to attrition of his dog teams, he brought 53 sled dogs.

 

For mooring, he chose the Bay of Wales, or Ross Ice Shelf. Stationary for 80 years, it would provide the best shelter for his ship and base camp from strong winds. He built and provisioned three camps along the route. This way, his team would be lightened from carrying provisions the entire route. It’s a practice used by many explorers to this day.

 

On December 17, 1911, Amundsen made it to – and a month later returned safely from – the South Pole. A month later, Scott arrived at the Pole, only to find Amundsen had beaten him there. With his horses having perished or been shot along the route, Scott and his men began the return trek by foot. Ultimately, they, too, perished in a blizzard within miles from their own base camp.

 

Today, Antarctica remains a hub of innovation. Engineers are designing robots to navigate amid the extreme conditions. Architects who design living quarters used by scientists on the continent constantly are developing new buildings to withstand wind speeds topping 200 miles per hours and temperatures that can drop to 40 below zero.

 

This month, a three-man team from Thomson Reuters will drive its revolutionary Polar Vehicle – outfitted with bio-fuel, solar panels, and the latest in real-time GPS satellite communications and tracking. Staged to beat the Guinness World Record South Pole overland journey of two days, 21 hours and 21 minutes, the effort also will mark the centennial of Roald Amundsen’s achievement.

 

For those in search of innovation’s leading edge, it would seem Antarctica remains one of its final frontiers. One hundred years ago, Roald Amundsen realized – and Robert Falcon Scott lost his life to – the poles of innovation. Where Scott pursued his own vision of innovation, Amundsen followed well-modeled best practices as an imperative of smart innovation. In the end, he proved that innovating atop best practices maximizes the strengths of both.

 

For more information on Amundsen see: http://www.visitnorway.com/en/What-to-do/Whats-on/Exhibitions/Nansen-Amundsen-Year-2011/

Or Race to the South Pole

Follow Amundsen’s Daily Log 100 years ago:

http://www.frammuseum.no/Blogs/Roald-Amundsen-s-blog.aspx

Robert F. Brands

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5 Tips to Innovate in 2012

Essential elements to get Innovation going

 

As the New Year approaches, it is the perfect time to reexamine the Innovation efforts for your organization. A strategy for sustainable innovation is key to any company’s survival, and if executed successfully, will lead to profitable growth and increased shareholder value.

With a new year and starting with a blank slate, it’s important to set your goals for 2012. What changes would you like to see within your organization? How do you plan on developing the next marketplace showstopper?

Here are some tips that will help guide the Innovation efforts.

  1. If you’re unsure where your company’s current innovation program stands, take the free innovation audit at www.innovationcoach.com/solutions. The short audit gets you thinking about what elements can be bolstered, and the long audit gives a more detailed organization overview.
  2. Define the desired culture. Quantify your goal, whether it’s a sales figure or number of new products you hope to achieve, and this will help justify the resources to be allocated. Endorse a mantra like, “At Least One Innovation per Year.”
  3. Decide how you will recognize and reward successes along the way (and don’t forget to praise failures or learning experiences too!) Motivation is a powerful tool for the savvy innovation champion.
  4. Protect your intellectual property. If your organization doesn’t already have an IP lawyer, it is definitely time to consider appointing one. Intellectual property law protects your company’s most valuable asset – patents. With competitors eager to reverse engineer and copy marketplace innovations, patents are part of an offensive and defensive strategy.
  5. Develop a structured repeatable process, or a standardized guideline for the new product development strategy that examines quality, capability, and capacity for managing projects. Once you’ve clearly defined the stages and tasks for the NPD process, stick to your strategic vision for sustainable Innovation.

Watch 10 Imperatives to Innovate in 2012  :

Robert’s Rules of Innovation give 10 imperatives to create and sustain innovation. They are: Inspire, No Risk No Innovation, New Product Development Process, Ownership, Value Creation, Accountability, Training and Coaching, Idea Management, Observe and Measure, and Net Result Net Reward.

For more tips on how to apply each of the imperatives, see “Robert’s Rules of Innovation: A 10-Step Program for Corporate Survival.”

Innovation Democratization: How to Get the Most Out of Your Team

One of the first steps of achieving Innovation in the new product development process is to assemble a team. While the organization’s leader may be tempted to call in “the usual suspects”, people with a history of success in that field, it is important at this point to include fresh faces in the group. Dr. Harlan Weisman, chief science and technology officer of Medical Devices & Diagnostics at Johnson & Johnson suggests connecting people who wouldn’t normally work together* – people from different business groups, backgrounds, and skill sets. Creating a diverse environment of both men and women from different geographic regions, ethnic groups, age groups, and from a variety of functions will offer greater insight. This type of crowdsourcing opens the arena for new ideas within the organization.

After all, the path to Innovation is not always linear. It needs different perspectives working together to achieve the end goal. In fact, the greater the Innovation, the more necessary it is to include fresh perspectives. A team of “usual suspects”, experts in their field driven by past successes, may be able to take a product or service to the next level and create an incremental benefit. However, to create true ground-breaking “disruptive technology”, the process must start from a blank slate.

Once the Innovation champion assembles a team of diverse people from all levels and business backgrounds, it is key to establish trust. Only an environment that allows openness and risk-taking can produce favorable results. With the right amount of patience and shepherding, the Innovation leader can break down barriers and guide the conversation to allow for everybody’s input.

Here are some tips for the Innovation leader:

  1. Trust people before they earn your precious trust; and not make your trust contingent upon proving loyalty to your ideas alone.
  2. Devise a way to create a “safe haven” environment to coax the best out of the quieter members of the group; there will be those who have great ideas but will be reticent about piping up.
  3. Open dialogues and collaborative relationships with local business groups, suppliers, customers, and universities.

Democratization cuts across traditional methods and produces an environment ripe for Innovation. For more tips, *see “Robert’s Rules of Innovation: A 10-Step Program for Corporate Survival.”

Set the Stage for Action: The Innovation Audit

As a leader in your organization, you know how important sustainable Innovation is for increasing profit and shareholder value. It is time to take action and begin building that culture of Innovation – especially when there are competitive forces in the picture. Some signs that it may be time for an Innovation Audit

 

  • The percentage of total sales from your new product introductions is stagnant or has slipped.
  • Profitability has softened and/or costs are spiraling.
  • Recent product development programs have stalled.
  • A new competitor has emerged in the marketplace, or an older firm is on the verge of collapse, opening new opportunities you feel ill-equipped to capitalize.

 

With the wolves at the door ready to pounce, you cannot afford to lose your competitive edge. An Innovation Audit will help examine your organization’s strengths and weaknesses – where your company is now and where it can be.

 

The in-depth Innovation Audit provides a detailed examination based on the 10 imperatives of Robert’s Rules of Innovation. The questions are designed to examine the current condition of your organization and address elements that you’ll need to bolster for a successful innovation program. Immediately upon completion, you will see graphical results to give you an idea of how your company fares in the elements like Inspire, Product Development, Risk Taking, Ideation, Reward, etc. Sustainable Innovation takes a holistic approach of all imperatives, if any of the imperatives are weak or missing, success is unlikely.

 

This detailed analysis will help you establish critical benchmarks during your path to sustainable innovation. An accurate snapshot of the current state of your organization is the first step to developing an innovation action plan. The audit process can be an exhilarating and demanding one – but it is absolutely essential and worthwhile to understanding your organization and potential next steps towards improvements and best practices.

 

Take a proactive stance to your innovation strategy. What separates true innovators from stagnators is the continuous improvement of practices and processes. See Robert’s Rules of Innovation for more tips and to view the 10 imperatives for corporate survival.

The Innovator’s DNA

Are Innovators born or made? That is the question authors Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen and Clayton Christensen address in their new book, “The Innovator’s DNA”. Through an eight-year study with data collected from 500 innovators and 5,000 executives in 75 countries including leaders from Amazon, Apple, Google, Skype and Virgin Group, the authors attempt to find the common denominator of what makes an Innovation leader. They unearthed a key finding: that innovation is not just a product of the mind but also of behaviors. Dyer, Gregersen and Christensen found specific patterns of behavior exemplified by top innovators around the world. These five behaviors can be emulated to improve innovative thinking – proving that creativity is not just a genetic predisposition.

The five behaviors that innovators demonstrate are:

  1. Associating: Drawing connections between questions, problems or ideas from unrelated fields. Innovative thinkers can connect ideas that others find unrelated.
  2. Questioning: Posing queries that challenge common wisdom. For innovators, questions that provoke insight typically outnumber answers.
  3. Observing: Scrutinizing the behavior of customers, suppliers and competitors to identify new ways of doing things.
  4. Networking: Meeting people with different ideas and perspectives. Innovators spend time talking to people who may offer radically different points of view.
  5. Experimenting: Constructing interactive experiences and provoking unorthodox responses to see what insights emerge. Innovators seek new experiences by visiting new places, trying new things and seeking new information that can trigger ideas later on.

By utilizing the five skills, individuals can act differently in order to think differently – outside the box – to reach those “aha” moments. The study found that while most senior executives excel at delivery or execution skills, they lack in discovery skills. Innovation starts with the people at the top, who need to take the responsibility of achieving Innovation into their own hands. “It doesn’t matter if you have the DNA, Innovation is not easy or for the faint of heart. The CEO is – or should be – the Chief Innovation Officer, who needs to walk the walk and be engaged in the process to serve as a role model for the rest of the organization. Leaders like Steve Jobs say it all,” explains Robert Brands, author of “Robert Rules of Innovation: A 10-Step Program for Corporate Survival.”

Senior executives of the world’s most innovative companies such as Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com and A.G. Lafley of Proctor & Gamble spend at least 50% of their time every week thinking of innovative ideas that will generate profits for their companies. The authors conclude that when it comes to creativity, all roads lead back to the individual – because Innovators are made – through active personal endeavors.

“The Innovator’s DNA” is a helpful guide that includes self assessments and practical tips for developing the skills of an Innovator, and addresses the people, processes and philosophies required to sustain that.

Customer Input Essential to Innovation

Innovation is not a luxury to be placed on the back burner, but rather the lifeblood of any successful organization. Innovation builds brands, which leads to profitable growth and marketplace success. An important part of attaining that success is through creating value in the minds of customers. An example of a technological breakthrough that gained customer appeal is the Rexam Airspray mechanical foamer. Since the invention of bar soaps in the early 20th century and liquid soaps in the 70’s, nothing else had changed in the market for decades until the foaming hand soap offered customers an efficient, easy to use, drip-free medium: true value in the eyes of consumers.

A deep understanding of your customer needs, and providing ways to fulfill those needs, is ultimately what leads to profitable growth. The most consistent path to creativity is when an innovator gathers customer data and observes problems that need fixing, according to Karen Holtzblatt of InContext Enterprises. WordPerfect was developed when designers asked for input from their primary customers, office secretaries. eBay founder Pierre Omidyar conceived the idea for an online auction house when his wife required a setting to collect and trade PEZ dispensers. Today, eBay gathers customer feedback on a regular basis in order to add new features to the site every year.

It is essential to get customer input and feedback during the New Product Development process. Consider holding ideation sessions with your customers to gain valuable insight. Take into account customer input at numerous stages throughout your NPD process. Some questions to ask your customers include what features and benefits they would like to see, such as product and service ideas, or what they would like a product to do for them to solve any particular issues. Finally, there are entirely new breakthroughs that customers cannot conceive. But once the idea for a product or service is suggested, let customers give input on a radical new concept.

According to “A Little Book of f-Laws” by Russell Ackoff and Herbert Addison, “Consumers can discover what they want in products and services by designing them. It is in design that people find what they want. Furthermore, consumer involvement in product/service design almost always gets creative results.”

The key of it all is to make sure your products and services are not developed and designed in a vacuum, or only as technical solutions, because they rarely succeed. It is all about creating and adding value in a unique solution.