Killer Innovations: Successful Innovators Talking About Creativity, Design and Innovation | Hosted by Phil McKinney
Summary: A weekly nationally syndicated radio show and podcast where successful innovators are interviewed about creativity, design and innovation . Phil McKinney and his guests share real-world practical advice on how to harness the power of creativity and design to create ideas that turn into innovations that radically improve your personal, career and business success. The show is hosted by Phil McKinney, retired CTO of Hewlett-Packard (HP) and author of Beyond The Obvious. The complete backlog of content (going back 2005) is available at http://KillerInnovations.com . Follow Phil on Facebook at http://bit.ly/phil-facebook and twitter at http://twitter.com/philmckinney
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is quickly becoming a key element for today's innovations. While many think that AI is new, its been around for decades but just now finding the traction it needs to be applied to a broad set of innovations. In today's show, we have a discussion with Kerri McMaster, co-founder and head of strategy for Performance Labs, who shares the 25 year process of applying big data and AI to improving the performance of amateur and professional athletes. Topics/show highlights we discussed: * The question we asked ourselves: If we had enough data on people's physical capabilities — what could we do to have lifestyle impact? * Kerri's inspiration was the Polar heart rate monitor which triggered the “what if” 25 years ago that led to formation of Performance Labs. * Shared the traumatic effort to transition from capturing data to automating the analysis. It took much longer than anticipated. * How being naive was a big help. * Sharing the difficulty of using artificial intelligence before it was ready. * What did it feel like that Performance Labs was in big data before big data was cool. * How to use continues testing to see when the market would be ready to accept the new product. * How the Apple Nano + Nike Foot Pod was the tipping point that caused Performance Labs to build their prototype. * Learning how to understand when customers are ready to absorb this new idea. * Getting the timing right was and is their biggest challenge. * Using product families to manage and mitigate risk for customer readiness. * The role big data and artificial intelligence play in their product. * Best advice … * Be careful to not over invest. Timing is everything. * Don't let lack of experience hold you back. Don't let fear stop you. About Kerri McMaster: Kerri is a serial entrepreneur with a focus on startups. Her particular emphasis is on product and market validation along with strategy and business development. She is the co-founder and head of strategy of Performance Lab which specializes in in activity analytics and automated coaching with the goal to “nudge” behavioral change and improve performance outcomes for amateur and professional athletes. About Performance Labs: Performance Lab changes lives through fitness and wellness coaching. A pioneer in the use of monitoring technology, Performance Lab built the first commercial sports lab in the world 20 years ago, and since then has collected data involving tens of thousands of athletes and users at all levels. For 15 years data was collected largely in the lab; for the last five years it has been collected exclusively in the field using wearable sensors, providing Performance Lab with a vast amount of unparalleled domain expertise. Bringing together this unique perspective with sports science, coaching and technology to understand and formulate the correlations between data, activity types, and performance results, Performance Lab created the ARDA Coaching Engine. Performance Lab has been using and refining its ARDA coaching methodology as the foundation of its corporate health and wellness services, with tremendous success. Of the hundreds of casual sportspeople and sedentary individuals we have trained for a half marathon, 90% of the participants reached the start line – and every one of them finished. These rates are triple the industry average. The ARDA Coaching Engine was conceived by Performance Lab co-founder Jon Ackland, an internationally regarded exercise physiologist and sports performance consultant whose clients include world champions and world record...
The hope and dream of every innovator is to come up with an idea that disrupts and transforms industries. To do it multiple times over a career puts that person in to a category of being a disruptive entrepreneur. Our guest this week, Sachin Dev Duggal, is an innovator, serial entrepreneur, and an advocate of enterprise that create social impact through a creative approach to giving away services to charities along with equity in his companies. Topics covered in today's show: * How at 14, he got his start being an entrepreneur following the accidental destruction of a PC. * Why he started his first company and what he learned from it. * His entrepreneurial and innovators experience at age 17 inside Deutsche Bank. * Discussing the dream that inspired him to become a disruptive entrepreneur that shook up the PC industry. * The challenges of trying to disrupt an established industry. * His frustration on what he couldn't do with his first major success which was to support more charitable work. * How he is supporting his foundation/charitable work with his new company. * How he supports new ideas and opportunities for innovation by support and funding multiple companies. * His four pieces of advice he would give to new disruptive entrepreneurs? (hint: one is about perseverance) About Sachin Dev Duggal: Sachin was the co-founder of nivio, the company that first made Windows available over the Internet. He continued his role of being a disruptive entrepreneur and sits on the board of Planet M (a large Indian retail chain), chairs his original technology solutions company SD 2 Labs, and is an advisor to Eros Digital; the digital arm of Bollywood’ premiere distribution company. Sachin’s profile is an unusual mix of experiences & disruption. He was an entrepreneur at 15, worked for the United Nations and helped write the declaration of youth rights before he completed his first degree from Imperial College. Sachin has also built a successful software business (www.sd2labs.com) and was a young investment-banker (at Deutsche Bank) building complex trading models at 17. The software company continues to grow year on year and now has just over 100 people in India and the US. He began his professional career at the age of 15, when he formed SMX Corporation (now sd2labs) along with his best friend. In August 2004, Sachin co-founded nivio with a view to disrupt the old compute model; and got seed funding from two of his bosses! Fast forward to 4 years later, nivio was selected as a technology pioneer at the World Economic Forum . Sachin made history in being the youngest attendees at the WEF in Davos. To fuilfill his desire to help others, he has put aside stock in all major businesses he works in with Saurabh to their foundation and other notable charities such as Keep a Child Alive. His mission is what he calls 100×50 (100m kids educated in 50 years) through their Sachin & Saurabh Foundation, a not-for-profit set up to deliver that dream. Sachin’s other accolades include the MIT TR35 Indian Innovator of the Year, the PriceWaterhouseCoopers Leader of Tomorrow, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist, the BBC Young Asian achiever of the Year and UNEP Global 500 Youth Award. Sachin is also the Youth Leader of the National Computer and Electronics Committee of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India. Show Links: * Sachin on LinkedIn * Sachin on Twitter * Shoto * Sachin on Angel List *
When you are tasked with coming up with a new produce or service, the immediate reaction for most is to panic. Where and how do you start? The approach I've used for decades and that has helped me to create hundreds of products and services generating billions in revenue — ask questions. There is a power in questions. Its one of those actions that requires others to take action. If I ask you question such as; What is half of thirteen? You cannot stop your self from answering it. If you gave the answer as 6.5, you get an ‘A' if this was a math test. If this was an innovation test, maybe a ‘C-‘. Why? You like 95% of your competitors stop at the first obvious answer. To find game-changing ideas, you need to go beyond the obvious. The following is a high level overview of the steps I use to find ideas for new products and services based on questions. If this topic is of interest, I would suggest you listen to the podcast below. You can also download the PDF mentioned in the show. Step 1: Ask questions to understand the assumptions you and others operate under. * What are the assumptions under which my industry operates? * What are the assumptions under which my business operates? Step 2: Use questions to look at unexpected jolts to your industry and business. * What are the unexpected jolts that could transform your business? Step 3: Use questions to fuel your ideation process. * Who Questions: * #8 – What customer segment will emerge in 5 years that doesn't exist today? * #12 – How will I identify and locate customers in five years? * What Questions: * #4 – What features of my product create unanticipated passion? * #10 – What products could I create out of unused assets? * How Questions: * #4 – What features of my product create unanticipated passion? * #10 – What products could I create out of unused assets? Step 4: Use Questions to rank the ideas generated and identify the top 3 or 4 to work on. For more on how to use questions (with sample questions), download the PDF of How To Use Questions To Find New Ideas Show Links: If you would like to purchase the Killer Question Card Deck, then visit Innovation.Tools.
In June 2007, after finding himself creatively drained, Noah started a personal project — Skull-A-Day. This yearlong art project's objectives was to create challenges that would jumpstart his personal creative energy. What started out as a personal project ended up transforming his creative future. The project went viral and became an Internet sensation which led to a Webby award along with appearances on TV, magazines, and a book. Skull-A-Day went on to become a user-generated tool for inspiring creativity in people, young and old, around the world. The response from Noah's fans inspired a series of books about daily creative work. To help bring this to the business world, Noah and his sister Mica Scalin formed an art & innovation consultancy that works with Fortune 500 companies. Topics Phil and Noah discussed included: * His background and how he came to be an artist (hint: parents are both artists) * How the Skull-a-Day project got started * His experience of having a private personal art project, Skul-A-Day, go viral and how it transformed his career and his life * How daily challenges can be the spark to personal creativity * The creativity of kids and how they can inspire adults. * His new book, Creative Sprint: Six 30-Day Challenges to Jumpstart Your Creativity. * His consulting and speaking business that was the result of Skul-A-Day. * What's next for him? About Noah Scalin: Noah Scalin is the first artist-in-residence at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business. He is creator of the Webby Award winning project Skull-A-Day and the collaborative science fiction universe & performance art project League of Space Pirates. His fine art has been exhibited in museums and galleries internationally, including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Mütter Museum and Krause Gallery in NYC. His work has been featured in dozens of publications including Fast Company, Juxtapos, Beautiful/Decay, USA Today, The Telegraph, and the New York Times. Noah co-runs Another Limited Rebellion an art & innovation consulting firm and is a sought after public speaker on creativity. He is the author of six books, including most recently Creative Sprint – which he co-wrote with his sister/business partner Mica Scalin. Contact Information fro Noah Scalin: * Noah Scalin website * Noah Scalin on Facebook * Noah Scalin on Instagram * Another Limited Rebellion (Noah's consulting firm)
Culture is hard and creating and maintaining an innovation culture is even harder. One of the challenges for creating a culture of innovation within an organization is our ability to get along with others. Innovation is about constant change which is uncomfortable and stressful. The result is that some individuals/groups will not respond and actually become quite negative (innovation anti-bodies) to the innovation effort. What are you to do? How do you build a bridge to these individuals/groups? How do you get along with others who react so negatively to your ideas? When I was CTO at HP, I was struggling in getting someone in particular to work with me. One of the HP alumni suggested I read David Packard's “11 Simple Rules For Getting Along With Other”. So I ventured over to the official HP archive and got a copy of the original notes. “Elegant” and “timeless” are the best descriptions of the rules first presented by Dave Packard at HP's second annual management conference in 1958 in Sonoma, California. As you read them, which are the ones you need to work on? 11 Simple Rules To Help Us Get Along With Others 1. Think first of the other fellow. This is THE foundation – the first requisite – for getting along with others. And it is the one truly difficult accomplishment you must make. Gaining this, the rest will be “a breeze.” 2. Build up the other person's sense of importance. When we make the other person seem less important, we frustrate one of his deepest urges. Allow him to feel equality or superiority, and we can easily get along with him. 3. Respect the other man's personality rights. Respect as something sacred the other fellow's right to be different from you. No two personalities are ever molded by precisely the same forces. 4. Give sincere appreciation. If we think someone has done a thing well, we should never hesitate to let him know it. WARNING: This does not mean promiscuous use of obvious flattery. Flattery with most intelligent people gets exactly the reaction it deserves – contempt for the egotistical “phony” who stoops to it. 5. Eliminate the negative. Criticism seldom does what its user intends, for it invariably causes resentment. The tiniest bit of disapproval can sometimes cause a resentment which will rankle – to your disadvantage – for years. 6. Avoid openly trying to reform people. Every man knows he is imperfect, but he doesn't want someone else trying to correct his faults. If you want to improve a person, help him to embrace a higher working goal – a standard, an ideal – and he will do his own “making over” far more effectively than you can do it for him. 7. Try to understand the other person. How would you react to similar circumstances? When you begin to see the “whys” of him you can't help but get along better with him. 8. Check first impressions. We are especially prone to dislike some people on first sight because of some vague resemblance (of which we are usually unaware) to someone else whom we have had reason to dislike. Follow Abraham Lincoln's famous self-instruction: “I do not like that man; therefore I shall get to know him better.” 9. Take care with the little details. Watch your smile, your tone of voice, how you use your eyes, the way you greet people, the use of nicknames and remembering faces, names and dates. Little things add polish to your skill in dealing with people. Constantly, deliberately think of them until they become a natural part of your personality. 10. Develop genuine interest in people. You cannot successfully apply the foregoing suggestions unless you have a sincere desire t...
As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. As I look back over my career leading innovation teams and organizations, I wish someone had sat me down and shared some of the core fundamentals to innovation leadership. These “hacks” are part of my core rules that I attempt to follow. I'm not perfect and still stumble but when I look back at the keys to my career, these hacks/actions were key. 5 Innovation Leadership Hacks #1 – Create A Foundation of Integrity and Transparency: Integrity is foundational to me. Success for an innovation leader depends on trust and that is built on integrity. Without it, you can't convince people to take on the hardest task they've ever done. Recall what you felt when a boss or coworker was dishonest with you. It was hard to trust them — and even harder to follow them. Don't forget about transparency. Transparency is the “verify” side of integrity. Its what keeps you from going off the rails on the integrity. Hard to be sneaky in the bright light of being transparent. Make integrity and transparency part of your innovation culture. #2 – Create a Sense of Mission: When you are creating an organization that will need to fight the innovation antibodies, you need to make the task a mission. You need to be able to answer the question, “why will this be the most important thing I've ever done?”. One way to word this mission is to frame it as a BHAG (Bold Harry Audacious Goal). Don't give them the “how” but instead create the mission by defining the “what” and “why”. Leave it to your innovators to innovate. #3 – Be Clear with the Priorities and Objectives: Make sure to set clear innovation objectives. Innovation is already incredibly hard without the confusion of ambiguous fuzzy objectives. Once the objectives are set, show your team how you will prioritize tasks against achieving the objectives. I personally use the Eisenhower Matrix to prioritize what's urgent and important. I also have created a personal set of priorities that I use to keep myself on track on what is important. I call it the “5 F's” — faith, family, friends, fitness and finance. #4: Let Others be the Hero: Don't let your ego stumble your innovation leadership efforts. Innovation is a team sport and therefore any success in because of the team – and in spite of your leadership. We all struggle with this. We would like to think that the success comes from the leader but it doesn't. Share the spotlight. Highlight the work of the team. Your role is to help your team succeed — not to get that next promotion, the next raise — the next bonus. Trust me — that will all come. Don't get distracted. #5: Hire the Radicals: One of my secrets to the success my teams have had is because of the recruiting and nurturing of radicals. These are the people who others will reject. They challenge the organization to think and act differently. These are the people who will make you uncomfortable as a leader. These radicals require protection as the innovation antibodies will be especially focused on them. Why do I think they are so important? They are the fuel to your innovation efforts. I'm sure I can come up with more hacks but these are the ones that I consider fundamental when it comes to being an innovation leader. Are there ones that you've developed over the years? What are they and why? Show Links: * Leaders in Innovation: How They’re Creating Cultures of Creativity
During a recent mentoring session with a Chief Innovation Officer (CINO) of a major multi-national company, the executive expressed a private fear. He attributes his past success as “being lucky” .. “being in the right place at the right time”. His fear is someone would find out that “he wasn't that good” and this his “fraud” would be reveled. He was suffering from impostor syndrome and it was impacting his ability to innovate. What is impostor syndrome? What you may find interesting is that most everyone suffers from impostor syndrome at some point in their lives. I have struggled with it myself. Those who are working in the innovation and creative roles are more likely to suffer from impostor syndrome. Why? Because innovation and creativity are thought of as “gifts”. They have come to believe the lie that says your creativity is not the result of you but a gift you were given. Which is bogus. Creativity is a skill — a skill you can learn — a skill you can practice and a skill you can become proficient at. But to realize your full creative ability, you need to get over the impostor syndrome. How? How to Overcome Impostor Syndrome Here are four (4) steps I used with the executive during the mentoring session: Step 1: Acknowledge that others see your success: Collect notes, emails, messages, etc that others have sent you congratulating you on your success. Review them and acknowledge that others see you as successful. I have collected all the email people have sent me that were note of acknowledgement, success and of thanks. Step 2: Practice positive affirmation: Write out a set of daily affirmations that you will then say out loud as you begin each day. Why? It will counteract our natural process of negastive talk. As humans, we use any criticism (from others or of ourselves) to justify why we aren't that good. My creating a set of positive affirmations, we can change the perspective of ourselves. Step 3: Failure doesn't make you a fake: The best athletes have a high failure rate. Why should you be any different? Failure is a part of the innovation game and should never be viewed as a negative. Failure is proof you are trying. How do you get over them? Share you failures. In Silicon Valley, organizations now host FailCon‘s in an attempt to help people acknowledge that failures are not bad — and to move on. Hold your own personal FailCon. Step 4: Take action: The impostor syndrome is a concept that cannot survive against action. Go and be creative. Go and create the next great innovation. By stepping out and taking action, you are telling yourself that yes your are creative and that your are not a fraud. If you let the impostor syndrome go on and not challenge it, it can be debilitating. So challenge it and don't look back. One final word of advice, when you experience that next piece of criticism about your work, you may fall back into the impostor syndrome. Don't. Criticism is part of the game when it comes to creativity and innovation. Get up and try again — and never give up. The world needs innovators like you to create that next game-changing innovation. Show Notes/Links: * Is the fear of failure killing your creativity and hindering your success? * FailCon *
I came across a recent article where the Managing Director of Accenture Digital made the bold claim that large companies cannot do innovation. More accurately, Narry Singh said, “.. Corporate innovation does not work.” He goes on to claim that innovation at large companies do not work because “.. the firms are too slow to move – to change their work practices.” Do you think large companies can be successful at innovation? His answer to this challenge? Work with start-ups. Sounds like a once-size-fits-all type of strategy. I flat out disagree. I created and ran the Innovation Program Office (IPO) at HP for 8 years where that team launched +20 new products across HP's global footprint. Large companies can be successful at innovation with the right structure, the right culture and an understanding of how to apply to laws of innovation to them. Here are the first six (6) steps large companies should take to be successful at innovation. Step 1: Innovation Team Leadership The innovation team needs a leader and you need to find that person. Some will say that you should go outside. I would encourage you to look internally first. In my experience, you have someone in the organization who can be a great leader. They are just hidden in large organizations. Step 2: Recruit The Innovation Team Be on the look out for people to join the team. I look for passion. I can teach the business and technical skills but I cannot teach passion. But not just passion — but passion that is executed upon. Taking recruiting for the innovation team seriously. Its the difference between success and failure. Step 3: Innovation Governance Be careful how you setup governance around project approval. Innovation anti-bodies will come out in droves if they think they can control the effort by being part of the approval process. In my current role as a CEO, I use governance as a way to grant approval rather than a way to exert control. For example, every employee no matter your role gets $1,000/year to work on an idea. Each team in the organization can spend up to $50,000/year on idea(s) without needing approval. The innovation leaders can approve work on any idea up to $250,000 without needing leadership/executive approval. Step 4: Go Outside For Ideas All organizations big and small need to recognize that they are not the only source for great ideas. Great innovation teams go outside to find ideas that they can use as a spark for new products and services. Some outside sources for ideas include: University research, co-innovation, startup/vc's, ecosystem innovation and government funded grants. Step 5: Stay Stealth Once you have your innovation team is up and moving, stay hidden – go stealth. Innovation antibodies can't attack what they don't see. The hardest part of managing a high performing team is to get the team to not talk about the great work they are doing. Everyone likes to get recognition and credit for the work they do. You can't stay stealth forever — but be deliberate when you crack open the door and let others see what you are doing. Step 6: Create a New Funding Model For Innovation Typical company funding model is built around the annual budget cycle. That's fine for the normal operations of a business but innovation doesn't operate on an annual time frame. To enable innovation, you need to create a funding approach that is not contained to budget approval activities. How to get this in place?
Innovation is all about change. The need to change includes you and your career, the organizations you are a part of and even the governments that serve us. This change requires us to be in a constant state of being uncomfortable. This weeks guest on the show is Gretchen McClain. I met Gretchen back in 1998 when she was the Chief Director for the International Space Station program for NASA. She started her career as a mechanical engineer, went on to oversea a key project for NASA and then goes on to become a stand-out leader in the commercial industry. Getting Comfortable Being Uncomfortable During the show we discussed: * What inspired her to become an engineer. * The role of a support network, in her case – parents and siblings, towards her becoming an engineer. * Her experience in an internship that set the foundation. * How she get hired at NASA. * What was it like to land a position where the mission had such global impact. * Her experience in dealing with government leaders acting as the innovation antibodies. * The thinking behind inviting other countries to be part of the International Space Station — including Russia and Japan. * How to deal with silo's to achieve the bigger goal. * The challenges of transitioning from government to the commercial sector. * How taking risks (raising your hand and being uncomfortable) is scary but a critical step to career success. * Asking for help is not a sign of weakness or failure. * The fear of failure will hold you back. Three Pieces of Advice to College Students * Believe in yourself: Empower yourself to take risks and to risk failure. Surround yourself with people who can help you achieve the success you desire. Declare the success you want. * Lead with a power vision: Create a common/shared inspiration that your teams can support and want to be a part of. * Stay in the “rookie mode”: Never forget what it was like when you first started your career and never loose the tension. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. About Gretchen McClain: Gretchen W. McClain is an accomplished business leader who thrives on energizing organizations and building businesses by enhancing innovation and developing exceptional leadership talent. With more than 25 years of global experience in both Fortune 500 corporations and government service, including serving as founding CEO of an S&P 500 global water technology company, Xylem Inc., and NASA’s Chief Director of the International Space Station, McClain brings extensive business, developmental, strategic and technical expertise. Her distinctive leadership approach – focused on helping companies break down internal barriers to identify new ways to create value and integrate technologies – enables organizations to unlock growth and gain critical competitive advantage. McClain serves as a Board of Director for publicly traded companies: AMETEK, Inc., Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation, and Boart Longyear Limited, and a private family owned business, J.M. Huber Corporation and serves as an Advisor to EPIC Ventures. Through her consulting practice, GWMcClain Advisory Services, she provides leadership and business services to executives, frequently working with start-up businesses and private equity firms. McClain is also a thought leader and speaker on connecting your work to your higher purpose, becoming a stand-out leader,
It's hard to believe that it was 12 years ago when I released the first episode of Killer Innovations in to the wild. Its been a wild ride. What I find especially interesting is how has innovation changed over the last 12 years. The original motivation for the show came from my mentor, Bob Davis. Early in my career, Bob put me through his for a executive boot camp which had me rotate through the organization — sales, marketing, engineering, finance, IT and customer support. It was that experience that laid the foundation for me to be more than just a creator of products — but to see and understand how an organization and teams come together to achieve success in the innovation game. Later in my career, I asked Bob how I could pay him back for the impact he had on my career. He laughed. He said that I couldn't pay it back but instead I needed to find ways to pay it forward. Thus the idea for the podcast was born. Bob also introduced me to Earl Nightingale whose tapes and training materials were part of the “Bob Davis boot camp”. The original podcast were modeled after Earl's monthly audio magazine, Insight. You can listen to some old episodes of Insight on Spotify. Through the years of the podcast, we've experimented with different formats, segments, topics and guests. We were and are constantly innovating a show about innovation. How has innovation changed? Innovation has gone through a lot of changes over the 12 years of the show. Such as: * In 2005, no one talked about innovation. It wasn't a “thing”. Now days, its the buzzword everyone wants to use. * When we started, there were few who called themselves “innovation consultants”. In 2017, you can't go to an event/conference and not run into a crowd of innovation consultants. * Back at the launch, the title “Chief Innovation Officer” was rarely used. Now organizations consider appointing a CINO as a status symbol. * In the early days, tools to help innovation team succeed where non-existent. Thankfully, we are well supported with great tools from a wide range of vendors. What does the future role of innovation look like? As I've said many time, innovation and creativity are a critical skill that everyone should have in order to succeed. A recent study has predicted that 47% of all jobs are at risk of being eliminated to automation (artificial intelligence/AI, machine learning, robots, etc). This job elimination will start to accelerate around 2020. Some are under the false impression that their job could never be eliminated. Any job that is based on the knowledge/information economy is at risk including Doctors, Lawyers and Engineers. If you can learn the knoweldge to be successful, so can a robot. In the future, success will depend on your ability to create “ideas” that others (including AI and the robots) will “do”. Are you ready to compete and win in the innovation economy? What's next for the Killer Innovations in Season 13? With the strong belief that innovation and creativity are a critical skill, I am committed to helping you win in the emerging innovation economy. How am I going to help you win? * Podcast/Radio Shows: I hope to still being doing the show for another 20 years. In addition, we've formed The Innovators Network and are bringing together ...
I am a believer that constraint based innovation creates better ideas. It forces the team to throw out the old rule book and innovate a new approach. The same applies when you are forced to innovate under financial constraints. While my staff doesn't always agree that constraints are good, in my experience a team that got everything they asked for rarely delivered an innovation that had significant impact. Too many resources allows us to get sloppy and lazy when it comes to the execution of ideas. When it comes to innovation, there are three constraints; 1) time, 2) people and 3) money. So how would you innovate the financial constraint? The way that has worked for me is to find creative ways to other peoples money. Here are 4 options: * University R&D: Participate in university research and development where others are providing a significant portion of the funding. The funding can come from any number of sources including government and other organizations. The key is to find a professor and program that aligns with your objectives. * Pros: 1) Low cost to fund university research, 2) Long term commitments to these programs creates a pipeline of innovations and 3) Great source for new hires (students working on your program) * Cons: 1) Takes a long time (patience), 2) High risk and 3) May have limited influence given funding levels and 4) IP/patent issues * Co-Innovation: A joint effort between you and one other organization. * Pros: 1) Less complex than other options and 2) Builds long term relationships that typically results in multiple projects * Cons: 1) Make sure their is mutual dependency on the project, 2) take a long time to get the first project going and 3) IP and patent issues can delay the start * Startup/Venture Capital (VC) * Pros: 1) Faster than you think when you have motivated startup and 2) You can use your purchasing power to influence the startup * Cons: 1) High risk – does the startup have staying power? and 2) Investors have control in direct proportion to their investment * Ecosystem Innovation: Bringing together a larger group (more than two) to fund and support the innovation effort(s) * Pros: 1) Shared cost across larger ecosystem and 2) Possible larger impact when a large ecosystem aligns the innovation effort and its use/deployment * Cons: 1) Complex collaboration requiring strong program management capabilities and 2) Frustrating governance that requires a strong hand from the person in charge The above are just four examples of how to use other peoples money so that you can innovate under financial constraints. There are many more I'm sure. The message — don't give up. Listen to the show to hear real-world example of how each were applied that resulted in an innovation coming to market.
Everyday, we can't avoid reading articles that tout the latest and greatest technology and innovation. What we don't see that often is the role innovation can and should play in philanthropy. If you agree that it has a role, how do you bring innovation to philanthropy? This weeks guest, Jared Angaza, has spent his life experiencing and now re-thinking philanthropy so that it does more than just address the symptoms but innovates ways to address the underlying issues. During this show, we covered a wide range of topics including: * What started him down this trajectory of re-thinking philanthropy (Katrina) * The three types of philanthropy and the role each plays (e.g. Mother Teresa) * His concept of conscious philanthropy * Why innovation hasn't been applied to philanthropy * The role companies can play if they can get away from short-term thinking. About Jared Angaza Jared is a strategist and philanthropist. For 20 years he has created strategies, brands, campaigns, events and teachings that help us re-imagine philanthropy and transform perspectives. Jared coaches and consults for individuals, brands and governments across the globe and is on a quest to contribute to a more harmonious world. Jared lived and worked full time in East Africa for over a decade before moving to Costa Rica for the past year and a half. Now he and his family are living in his home town of Nashville, TN as they prepare to launch a few of their latest philanthropic ventures. Show Links: * Jared's site jaredangaza.com * Jared's podcast Inipi Radio Announcement: New Show! On The Innovators Network, we are announcing a new show, Kym McNicholas on Innovation which is available on iTunes, Google Play and wherever you can find your favorite podcast. In the last segment of the show, we shared a quick click. Below is the full show: Is Tesla The Future Stockcar of NASCAR?
We've heard the mantra in the past. We are all creative. We are born creative. That is a nice idea but not helpful when you need to call on your muse to be creative when you need to be creative. What are the secrets to personal creativity? If creativity is natural – then why is it so hard? Creativity Is A Machine Think of creativity like a machine. If you've ignored the machine, when it need it its not in shape to get the job done. Think of that lawnmower we tossed in the garage and ignored. When we need to use it, its hard to start and runs rough. On the other hand, a well maintained machine is easy to start and runs smoothly. While it takes time to get your creative muscle in shape, there are a few tricks that I use that will have immediate impact on your personal creativity. The Power of The Mind The human mind is an amazing instrument for creativity. It spends its life collecting, cataloging and recalling visual, auditory, physical experiences and information. It then uses that information to help us navigate our day-to-day activities. What we don't appreciate is the role the mind plays in connecting what appears to be random pieces of information to trigger an idea. We have 1000's of ideas in our head. We just can't seem to put our hands on them when we need them. Sometimes it takes that jolt to shake us awake – something that causes us to see a connection that we've never seen or noticed before. Your mind in most valuable asset when it comes to your personal creativity. How do you take care if it? How do you fill it up? The Skill of Observation The skill of observation is tied to being able to see with “new eyes”. What I mean is the ability to see something as if you are seeing it for the first time. This ability to see with “new eyes” then allows you to see problems and opportunities that you most likely overlooked in the past. Why have you overlooked them? Because we all fall in to the trap of comfort and familiarity. We let repeated patterns lull us in to a state of looking past the opportunities that right in front of us. My trick with observation is to be 1) deliberate about look/observing/documenting everything with my customers and prospects and 2) Look for anything that is impacted (or impacts) time and money. Time and money is where 90% of innovations are found. By focusing on looking specifically for areas impacted by time and money, we force ourselves to focus our observation and thereby see things we have overlooked in the past. My Most Valuable Secret to Personal Creativity My go-to tool to get my creativity going is to ask questions. If you've been a longtime listener/follower, this may not come as a revelation. I've talked about the power of questions for years and its the basis for my work in innovation and creativity. With that said, most people don't take the time to really think about what questions they should be asking. They look for the easy way out by searching for a list of pre-canned questions on some site. Your challenges are unique and you should take the time to ask well formatted open-ended questions that challenge an assumption. If take the time to craft some well considered questions, you will be surprised what you might learn.
As an officer in two public companies and a Board member for a third public company, I've seen up close and personal the challenges executive leadership faces when trying to balance achieving the quarterly results while knowing that they need to make long term investments in research and innovation. This short-term thinking on quarterly results has had a significant impact on large organizations ability to prioritize long term strategic investments. In a recent article in The Atlantic titled “How To Stop Short-Term Thinking at America's Companies“, Alana Semuels calls out the risk and challenges caused by the growing focus on the quarterly results. When I read the article, it struck a cord and brought back the memories of the struggles and frustrations I experienced. As the person responsible for the R&D and innovation portfolio for the companies I worked for, I was frustrated that “my boss didn't get it” while also understanding the pressure they were under. It was the classic no-win situation. Short-Term Thinking Some key points discussed in the today's show included: * The focus on quarterly results is the result of how CEO's and their teams are compensated. * The “blame” for this focus? Quarterly results will deliver the best results to the shareholders. * There is a shift in how long “us” hold on to our investments. In 1960, the average was 8 years while in 2016, it shrank to 8 months. * 80% of CFO's from the 400 largest public companies admitted they would sacrifice “economic value” to meet quarterly results! * Share buy backs don't work and redirect cash away from R&D, innovation and workforce investments. * Most equity is held by pension funds and other institutional investors who are focused on long range investment. Therefore, the belief that shareholders are focused on the short term in suspect. * 4 ideas to encourage long term investment covered in the article: * Create a corporate tax structure to encourage bringing money back to the US (repatriation). * Accelerated depreciation by allowing 50% of an investment in equipment to be deducted immediately. * Increased government spending in support of R&D and innovation. * Incentivize investors to hold assets longer by graduating tax reduction over longer period of times. * Structure voting rights for shareholder tied to how long they've held the shares. * You can have an impact: * Think about your own investment strategies (e.g. your retirement, etc). Are you part of the “short term” problem? * Send the article and this podcast to your manager, CEO and your government officials. * We can have an impact. We need to have an impact. Additional Resources: * How to Stop Short-Term Thinking at America’s Companies: U.S. companies are hyper-focused on quarterly earnings. What can be done to push them to invest more in the years and decades ahead? by Alana Semuels of The Atlantic
Innovation is not constrained to individuals, teams or organizations. In some cases, the best to way to innovate is when entire industries comes together to share the effort and the investment necessary. Industry innovation is one approach that is commonly overlook and undervalued. In today's show, we talk with John Osborne who is General Manager of R&D at The Kroger Company and is the Chairman of the Board of the ZigBee Alliance. The ZigBee Alliance is a standards organization around the ZigBee wireless stack used in everything from light bulbs to industrial sensors and monitors. To innovate with an organization such as Zigbee, you need to bring together 400 members and get them to align their efforts to the benefit of everyone involved. Not an easy task. In today's show on industry innovation. John and I discuss: * Comparison of innovating inside a large company to that of driving industry innovation. * The early history of Zigbee. * The transformation of ZigBee to being the platform/stack for IoT (Internet of Things). * The challenges of getting large industry organizations to align and execute. * What does “participation” look like in organizations like ZigBee. * How do members take advantage of the standards and technologies created in organizations like ZigBee. * What does the future look like fot IoT and ZigBee. * How ZigBee is being used that most consumers are not even aware of. Today's Guest: John Osborne II John is currently the Chairman of the Board of the zigbee alliance (a global SDO) and General Manager of Research & Development at The Kroger Co. John’s expertise is in computer science combined with business management, negotiation and purchasing disciplines. He has been responsible for enterprise wide operational and technical projects budgets worth millions of dollars. He has a number of patents and co-authored a global technical specification for zigbee. John graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Ohio University. Show Notes/Links: * ZigBee Alliance * John's personal website * John on LinkedIn