Innovation Success is Born of Powerful Innovation Challenges

Innovation Success is Born of Powerful Innovation Challenges

Successful innovation challenges foster creativity and breed more innovation within a company – but you can’t “go through the motions.” Innovation is powerful – and you need to inject that power into your challenges. Laurent Benichou, Director of Innovation & Foresight at AXA, and Brightidea Innovation Consultant George Kyriakopoulos, shared their expertise around precisely that in our latest Google Hangout, The Art of Developing Powerful Challenges.   When you watch it, here’s some of what you’ll see: Identify what needs fixing – and who can help What’s the most important criteria in identifying a prime innovation challenge? Kyriakopoulos offers, “Good challenges are often brought on by the need to solve a business problem.” But running a powerful challenge also requires a solid Innovation Challenge Sponsor. The best sponsors have the ear of the CEO – so approach them and find out what THEY need. Two birds, one stone. But don’t make it too high level, adds Benichou, “A great challenge needs to speak to everybody.” Especially with company-wide challenges it’s important that descriptions be simply-phrased and understandable so people know that anybody can contribute. Sidestep obstacles with careful planning As with most things in life, innovation challenges should be done right or not at all. Here’s how: Keep things simple. A long, complicated submissions process is a deterrent, so make it easy for participants to share their ideas. Crafting clear standards will make for a more efficient evaluation process when the time comes, too. Communicate often and early. Get your communications team on board and fight hard to keep them focused on your challenge for the duration. Think ahead....
Develop The Right Innovation Management Goals

Develop The Right Innovation Management Goals

If you’re looking ahead to ramping up innovation efforts by 2020, you’re moving too slow. But don’t worry. Our latest Google Hangout, Developing Your Innovation Program Goals in 2016, featuring guest speaker Peter Burris of Forrester, zeroes in on ways companies can set and meet innovation goals in the coming year – and why they must. Consumers increasingly demand digital engagement – and it’s driving innovation development in many industries. If this phenomenon hasn’t touched your industry yet, you can be certain it will.   Consumers and digital rule today’s market “Market power is shifting to consumers because of the changing social graph,” Burris explains. Information that used to pass down from business to consumer is now exchanged consumer to consumer via digital channels – where they can influence each other to adopt or abandon a product. So it’s not just about innovating with the customer in mind – it’s about involving consumers in the process. That’s something Brightidea does as well. We survey our clients– so when WE innovate and make changes based on their needs. This information also helps us offer recommendations on innovation goals they might wish to set. Because there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for how to approach innovation. It depends on where you are in the process. But one thing is indisputable: “Innovation is moving closer and closer to consumers, and it is going to be so much more powerful and potent,” as Burris says. “Every business has to come up with a strategy for managing innovation right now.” Goals for every stage of the maturity model But what should that strategy BE? Burris contends...
Design Thinking & Innovation Program Management – Not So Strange Bedfellows

Design Thinking & Innovation Program Management – Not So Strange Bedfellows

Over the last few years I have seen design thinking tools used in all types of situations – as a management philosophy, an operational plan and a way to implement a “sexier” version of continuous improvement. Now design thinking is gradually becoming a staple of innovation programs– and could there be a better purpose for it? There are two ways design thinking fits organically into the innovation process. The first is as a means to promote empathy, which makes perfect sense. “Empathy is at the heart of design. Without the understanding of what others see, feel, and experience, design is a pointless task.” – IDEO’s CEO and president, Tim Brown After all, innovation has to serve an end user – whether that’s an internal customer or a consumer out in the world. Otherwise it’s simply innovation for innovation’s sake – which is another way of saying, “A waste of resources.” The second takes this idea and elevates it to include the end user in the process itself. Talk about a game-changer. Combining disciplines for greater success We’re at this cool moment in time where a bunch of budding roles and disciplines are coming together in organizations. It’s unlikely you have separate people dedicated to design thinking and Innovation Program Management – right now it’s probably the same person. If that’s you, part of your job is making sure ideas are fully “cooked” before moving to next stages. That means ensuring you’re answering the right questions, have the right problems outlined and have thought things through from different perspectives – and chosen a singular perspective with which to move forward. If...
Characteristics & Secrets of RockStar Innovation Program Managers

Characteristics & Secrets of RockStar Innovation Program Managers

Managing Corporate Innovation Programs is not easy and finding the right people who can lead the innovation initiative to success is not easy. It takes a unique set of skills to be a RockStar Innovation Leader. Just what kinds of skills does an Innovation Program Manager (IPM) need to wrangle the complexities of keeping an enterprise-sized Innovation Program on track? That’s precisely what we asked during out latest Innovation Insights Hangout, Characteristics & Secrets of RockStar Innovation Program Managers. Some of the key traits just may surprise you. We spoke with three top corporate Innovation Leaders to hear their thoughts on what it takes to do the job successfully: Stephanie Hegarty, IPM at Cisco – whose 14,500 actively engaged community members have implemented 83 ideas (from 2700 submitted!), with year-to-date business outcomes of $51 million Ieasha Taitano, VP of Innovation and Design Thinking at LPL Financial – who is responsible for developing “new approaches to making change” using enterprise-wide strategies and tools Alexandra Pelletier, Presidential Innovation Fellow at the White House – who formerly was Director of Digital Innovation at Boston Children’s Hospital, and appears (along with Taitano) in our eBook, 40 Leaders Driving Innovation in the Enterprise We asked these innovation leaders a range of questions, from how the IPM fits into a dedicated innovation structure, to what qualities an ideal IPM should possess. You’ll want to watch the full Hangout to soak up all of their insights, but here are a few highlights: It’s not all about “techspertise” Like many IPMs, Ieasha Taitano comes from a multi-disciplinary background, having spent time in project/program/process management, facilitation and strategy...
Getting Started with Corporate Innovation – Expert Panelists Tell All!

Getting Started with Corporate Innovation – Expert Panelists Tell All!

Businesses that are innovating regularly (and well) are the envy of those who know innovation is important, but not how to “get there.” A host of challenges can stand in the way – not least of which is a lack of understanding of the process of innovation, and how to jumpstart that process within an organization whose leaders may not be entirely sold on the need for a system. What’s required for building an innovation program that works, and how do innovation champions get naysayers on board? Is there a class that companies can take to learn how? There’s this: Corporate Innovation 101: How We Got Started – our latest Google Hangout where the above questions, and many more, were answered by a phenomenal panel of experts. These folks have lived through the start-up process to run successful innovation programs worthy of the envy mentioned above. Who are they? Kuhan Milroy – Sr. Director of Social Business Innovation, SAP Ieasha Taitano – VP Innovation and Design Thinking, LPL Financial Courtney Wood – Director of Innovation Management Services, TCS The discussion covered key components of challenges faced when starting an innovation program, and how to solve them. Here are some highlights: With Proof Comes Support Even with companies that claim to want to innovate, selling an innovation program to key executives can be difficult. “I haven’t run into a situation yet where the exec sponsors were like, ‘Yeah, c’mon in, shake stuff up!'” Says Taitano. “So almost always we’re going in there selling our value. And trying to get them to trust us despite their gut telling them it sounds...
Get Great Engagement with Your Innovation Program. Kaiser Does.

Get Great Engagement with Your Innovation Program. Kaiser Does.

It’s never easy to build internal buy-in around something new in an enterprise. And that difficulty is compounded when there’s an air of uncertainty around the how, when and why the ‘new something’ is being done. Innovation programs feel the brunt of this resistance, naturally – unless you’re able to creatively reframe this thinking. How? By Making Your Innovation Program Irresistible, which was the topic of a recent Google Hangout Brightidea hosted. We had an exceptional panel of innovation experts sharing insight, including: Ieasha Taitano, VP of Innovation and Design Thinking at LPL Financial Dan Weberg, Director of Nursing Innovation at Kaiser Permanente Angie Winegar, VP Strategy and Innovation at Farm Credit Services of America We covered tactics to consider before, during and after innovation program deployment. Some highlights follow. Change Management Mastery Understanding what TO and not to say to different stakeholders when you kick off your innovation program is key. Personas help, as do interactive tours to help users visualize the process. But the main struggle, as Weberg notes, is “helping your end users understand what innovation is and how it will help whatever they’re holding on to.” You need to “address concerns openly and transparently, communicating what you’re trying to achieve – the end goal, not the timeline.” So sharing that you intend to troubleshoot widget A by Q2 in 2017 is not what we’re going for here, but “creating a widget that improves work/life balance” is. And then there’s how to communicate this information as well. One size will not fit all, so you’ll need to consider multiple modalities – from a one-page email (with...