Blog/News/Info

18
Jan

Innovation Framework Workshop @ FEI 2013

It is my pleasure to have accepted an invitation to again deliver the pre-conference all-day workshop Innovation Frameworks - "The primer to end all primers!" at the FEI 2013 event in Boston, May 6-8. For those who are not initiated, this workshop is whistle-stop tour around all aspects of the Front End of Innovation, covering Doing Innovation - everything from insightful needs discovery to better ideation to technology development to creating a winning concept. Managing Innovation - everything from strategic linking to successful organizations to innovator profiles and building better teams to the ever-elusive (we'll try to show you how to make it not so) culture. a.k.a. "drinking from a firehose"! If you're thinking of attending, please Contact me for my personal affiliate's discount code. I hope to see you there!

11
Jan

ENET presentation on Slideshare

I was honored to be asked to speak on this panel alongside Bill Star, a funding guru and president of VenCorps and Jeffrey Peden, serial entrepreneur and founder of Cravelabs. The central theme of my talk on the panel was Really great mega-companies have spent millions of dollars figuring out best practice for innovation, prototyping and product development. Use their investment to your advantage Don't try to emulate them - you have neither the time nor the money to do so However, learn the why and wherefore of their practices and extract and use the essence You will get to a better product if you do  

11
Dec

January 8, 2013. Waltham, MA. Join us for a fascinating and instructive evening as we join a set of co-presenters and share insights on how start-ups can tackle product prototyping and development. Click here for details: Product Development and Prototype Strategies in a Startup | ENET | IEEE Boston Entrepreneurs' Network.

10
Feb

Voice of the customer in B2B

I was recently asked about whether VoC was an appropriate tool in B2B businesses and, if so, how you would tune approaches.  As the question just came up again, I thought it a topic worth sharing aloud. 1. Observation and ethnography. It is still a valuable tool in B2B environments, but you often cannot apply it in the same way as you would in a B2C situation. I’ve used a modified model to good effect in the past. In this approach, you set up a series of “walk-along” interviews with different stakeholders (buyers, distributors, resellers, users, etc.) often based around some other context (e.g. “improving sales support services”). Conduct the interviews at an appropriate location where stuff happens (job-site, warehouse, installation, etc.) with at least two interviewers - one stays on track with the interview while the other(s) observes what’s going on around, and interrupts with “stupid” questions. 2. A good understanding and model of a value chain / web is essential. B2B sales require every link in the chain to be activated. Often the product innovation addresses the unmet need of someone other than the apparent direct customer and increases value or volume for this, for each player in the value chain ...

30
Jan

This is a very interesting Wired Magazine article on the future of intelligent cars in its own right, but what caught my attention in this paragraph is the power of a 'turn of phrase' in fueling imagination, curiosity, creativity and innovation. Just stop for a moment and let you mind run free with this phrase in your head.  What would things look like if the computer had been invented before the car? * What would the car look like? * What would the computer look like? * Same?  Different? * What ideas spark from this one turn of phrase? This is a great example of value of pattern breaking in creativity, the need for hiccups or discontinuities in the continuous fabric of our learned expectations to trigger creative thought.  Next time you're in a creative session, remember the power of this techniques and use it to create a hiccup in the continuum of your own. Back to the article which leaves us a with an alternative view at the close from the writer and "Cultural Futurist" Matthew Crawford:  "Why do we embrace these [...] “attractions of being disburdened of involvement with our own stuff?” Does anyone long ...

18
Jan

Innovation & Idea Management Software

During the course of last year, as any attendees of events that I spoke at will attest, I came to the conclusion that innovation management software had evolved from a curiosity or luxury to a necessity for any company that is serious about innovation (and - as we know - they all better be!). Here are few interesting links In doing a bit more digging around the space, I recently unearthed this interesting article by Jim Brown at Tech-Clarity, in which he came to essentially the same conclusion, arguing that social media in New Product Development is inevitable. The number of software vendors entering the space is huge; we are definitely still in the divergent phase.  Ron Shulkin has made a valiant attempt to catalogue the players, although the field has increased somewhat since then.  There are other useful lists, such as this at Innovation Tools. and this at ideaconnection How to choose between them?  That's going to be tough. 

17
Jan

Innovation Framework workshop at FEI 2012 announced

Geoff Waite has been invited to return to the FEI conference to deliver the Day One Innovation workshop in Orlando in May.  Having delivered "pre-conference" workshops for several years, it's a pleasure to be back after a leave of absence in 2011. If you're interested in attending this year's event, please feel free to contact me for my personal discount code. The original workshop in 2006 was a half day session aimed at providing a 'primer' for those new to the management discipline of innovation.  The most consistent feedback was "please make it longer than a half day".  In the years since the workshop has morphed year on year as we've found the field of innovation maturing and the role of the conference changing, providing more of a framework than a primer, accessible and valuable for both the experienced and the novel innovation manager.  Along the way, we've delivered full day, day and a half and two day workshops and the feedback is always the same:  "make it longer".  The key take-away:  no matter how much ...

20
Dec

Innovation Capability Improvement in one page

Recently I was asked to summarize a two day workshop on the Front End of Innovation in one page. It all seems quite simple when you boil it down.

05
Dec

Clumpy Networks and Innovation

The growth of the web and the networks that build upon it have allowed us to significantly extend our ability to examine social networks, how they function and the roles of individuals within them. A number of researchers have reached further to ask the question "How do networks relate to innovation?"  "Are all networks created equal, or do some promote certain types of innovation?" Steve Borgatti at Boston College has focused on asking how networks influence management science and has published a short essay in which he concludes: "radical innovation is facilitated by sparser and clumpier networks" Sponsored by Sandia, a paper published by Mote, Hage, Jordan entitled: "Networks, Organizations and Innovation: A General Theory and Research Program" proposes the model shown at left Out of this is born the notion that Clumpy Networks are critical to driving and delivering breakthrough innovation in companies. Equally importantly, however, we can see that clumpy networks are not good for incremental innovation where dense networks are required. This is an interesting example of the need to recognize that incremental and radical innovation come about differently, rely on different resources and need ...

19
Dec

Innovation Maturity Model

Why do we need Innovation Maturity Models?  In order to change an organization (including making it more innovative), we need to know where we are and where we want to get to and then how are we going to get there.  Without a real quantitative piecemeal assessment framework, analysis and subsequent planning tends towards anecdotal and subjective.  Even if the information collected in the analysis is subjective, the framework allows us to contextualize and validate the information.  Change is rarely a one step process and so a ladder of capability platforms is necessary to build an effective plan. What must the model have?  It must have two axes:  a catalog of necessary skills / attributes / behaviors / capabilities and a ranking scale to allow us to measure these (the frame of reference can be absolute, relative to others, e.g. competitors, to allow benchmarking, or can be set relative to an internal origin  - as long as it is agreed and fixed).  The Capability Maturity Model developed by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) many years ago is a perfectly good one What's already out there?  There have been a number of attempts to build an Innovation Maturity Model, each with different ...