OVO Innovation

To accelerate innovation, focus on culture

OVO Innovation

There's an old joke about perspective and laziness I love and have used before on this blog, because it illustrates many of the challenges (and opportunities) of corporate innovation. The joke goes that a young man steps out of a bar, and spies another person, obviously drunk, peering intently at the sidewalk under a street lamp. Curious, the guy just leaving the bar goes over to the drunk and asks "what are you doing?" The drunk answers "I'm looking for my keys".

You don't lack time to innovate. You lack allocation and purpose.

OVO Innovation

You'll forgive me if I lapse into a bit of consultant speak - can't help but do so since I've been in consulting for many years. One of the factors that dictates what people do as consultants (and in other jobs or industries where time is tracked to projects or other expense categories) is the availability of charge codes. Everyone knows that lawyers, for example, typically bill their time in 15 minute increments.

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3 innovation types: evolution, preventative and creative

OVO Innovation

I was thinking over the weekend that for years we've positioned innovation incorrectly. Too often we position innovation as creating a new and valuable offering or solution, ready when customers are ready to demand new products and services. In other words, we've positioned innovation as something to do to prepare for future business, future needs and future demands.

What accelerates innovation

OVO Innovation

Lately I've been reading about the efforts to build or create innovation accelerators. Universities, businesses and even cities and regions are talking about innovation and the need to create accelerators or innovation enablers. I'm glad that everyone is excited about innovation, and that they want to provide the means to help it flourish and help it move more quickly. But the thing is, like most late arrivals, they've got the wrong end of the stick as the Brits like to say.

Three Keys to Accelerating Innovation through Connecting and Collaborating Outside your Organization

Speaker: Gordon Vala-Webb, Author, Speaker and Consultant, Building Smarter Organizations

From his upcoming book, Building Smarter Organizations, Gordon will do a deep dive into connecting and collaborating with those outside your organization to accelerate innovation. Gordon will provide practical strategies to connecting and working with the "nearside" of suppliers, partners and alumni in order to accelerate innovation.

Innovators will win with seamless experiences

OVO Innovation

I've written before, both on this blog and on the blog I share with Paul Hobcraft about platforms and ecosystems about the need for seamless experiences. Innovators often create technologies or products, which have interesting capabilities or features, but rarely do they think through the actual use of the products and understand how they fit in with other products, services, infrastructure, channels and data that exist in a customer's life.

Is innovation unreasonable?

OVO Innovation

Thank goodness for Twitter. What would we do without this constantly refreshing stream of bromides, insights, accusations and occasional bursts of wisdom? Just yesterday while perusing the Twitter stream I saw a quote attributed to Jonathan Ive that made me want to sit up and scream. The quote was relatively straightforward and seems innocuous on its face: "To do something innovative means you reject reason" Sounds about right, doesn't it?

Innovation decreases with knowledge

OVO Innovation

Did the headline of the post grab your attention? Did you think I was going to assert that dumb people are better innovators? Nothing of the sort. However, I think I can positively assert that bringing all of your knowledge to bear on a problem that needs innovation is often exactly the opposite of what you should do. Here's why.

Innovate your processes before innovating your products

OVO Innovation

I was leading an innovation training session, talking about the reasons for conducting trend spotting and scenario planning prior to idea generation. There are many reasons why I like trend spotting and scenario planning, but it's the sense of understanding what might happen in the future that really resonates with me. I described why we advocate trend spotting and scenario planning as a component of innovation, especially as the expectations of an innovation activity are more disruptive.

Building A Collaborative Innovation Playbook

Speaker: Greg Satell, Innovation Advisor, Speaker and Author

From his newly released book, Greg Satell has researched how people and organizations successfully innovate. We are excited to have Greg join us for a session that will draw upon these insights and provide a playbook for how to define the right innovation strategies for your organization to overcome the specific challenges that your organization faces and dramatically improve your innovation effectiveness.

When no one wants to innovate

OVO Innovation

Over the last few weeks we've taken calls from several potential clients, all of whom seem to have an unusual problem. An executive or even the CEO has asked their teams for innovative new ideas and solutions, offered support and promised rewards, but after several weeks of communicating this new approach, no new ideas are forthcoming. After puzzling over the issue for a week or two, we get a call. The conversations go something like this: "We've told our folks we need more innovation.

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Becoming an innovative company: better late

OVO Innovation

So, after over a decade of innovation consulting, I can say without doubt that companies that are just starting to innovate have it much better than those that were attempting it years ago. That's because as more companies try more innovation, more tools are vetted, more methods explored and exposed. Today, there are more proven methods and more people with more innovation skill and experience, so if you are starting now you can get started on the right foot.

Brexit as an innovation opportunity

OVO Innovation

I rise neither to praise the British exit from the EU or to condemn it. There are plenty of people on both sides of the issue who will praise or condemn exceedingly well. The British people have either fallen for a terrible lie or rid themselves of a burdensome bureaucracy. This will either be excellent for the UK or terrible. Right now the markets are asunder, because they hate uncertainty.

Confusing the ends and the means

OVO Innovation

I've written before (and often) about challenges around clarity and communication introduce difficulty when corporations try to create new products and services. Notice that for a blog about innovation, I didn't use the "i" word in the sentence above. That's because I think corporations confuse the ends from the means, and in doing so create unnecessary barriers to creating valuable products and services. First, let's get our thinking straight, because clarity and consistency matter.

Innovation needs Time, Talent and Temperment

OVO Innovation

I'm about to leave for a well-deserved vacation, but I wanted to leave you, gentle readers, with a parting shot to contemplate before I go. The idea I'd like you to contemplate until my return is that we are all making innovation far too complicated, and we need to stop dressing up the activity with lots of talking points and stop working ourselves and our management into a tizzy about commitments and investments. Of course all of these are important.

A Strategic Approach to Open Innovation

Speaker: Jeffrey Phillips, Senior Consultant, OVO Innovation

This action-packed session examined the critical questions you should ask as you establish an open innovation framework: which technologies or ideas? Which partners and how many? Which methods? By taking a strategic approach to open innovation, you’ll find the right ideas or partners more effectively, and you’ll accelerate new products to market more quickly. This was a great session you don’t want to miss.

The most innovative man in the world

OVO Innovation

For the last few years a commercial has been running to advertise Dos Equis. In these commercials there's always some hyperbole (I know, who would of thunk it in a beer commercial) about a suave, sophisticated gentleman who can simultaneously drink Dos Equis and entertain heads of state. He is, we are constantly reminded, the most interesting man in the world. We are told that his mother has tattoos that say "Son" on them. Superman has pyjamas with his face on them. And so on.

Can you teach people to innovate?

OVO Innovation

One of my recent pet peeves is the proliferation of education options for innovation. One of my alma maters offers a "certificate" for innovation management. While I cannot comment on the course, it is taught by two professors with little private sector experience who haven't created a product. One of them is a psychology major, which I guess makes sense because innovation is often the product of new or unusual insights or perspectives.

The most common innovation project failures

OVO Innovation

I had the opportunity to speak to a leadership team that is considering building an innovation capability in their business. I was asked a question I get infrequently, but one I enjoy answering. The question is: what keeps businesses from innovating effectively? The answer that I think most leadership teams want is: good ideas. After all, it's easier to explain away the lack of innovation if you can say that most teams lack good ideas.

The innovation knowing/doing gap

OVO Innovation

The more we learn, the more we discover that innovation is vital to renew businesses of all sizes. Those that undertake significant innovation activities seem to grow and prosper. Those that neglect innovation seem to wither away. Executives understand this. More importantly, markets understand this. And when markets understand and signal something, executives get on board. Innovation, therefore, is an important component of future success of many companies, and executives understand this.

6 Keys to Making Collaborative Innovation Successful

Speaker: Soren Kaplan, Founder of InnovationPoint

We are excited to launch the Collaborative Innovation Webinar Series with Dr. Soren Kaplan. His just released book, "The Invisible Advantage," provides actionable insights into how any organization can create a culture of innovation, an environment that promotes freethinking, an entrepreneurial spirit, and sustainable value creation at all levels and across all functions. By registering for the webinar, you will get a free excerpt from his book.

Innovation is the one thing you can't delegate

OVO Innovation

Peter Drucker made the claim that the modern corporation has two real purposes: marketing and innovation. Everything else, he said, are costs. If Drucker was right, what does that say about most executives, who are busy managing costs? In effect Drucker is saying that they are ignoring the two most important functions of a business. In a large corporation, it's difficult to obtain the attention and mindshare of any senior executive.

Three principles to help you generate better ideas

OVO Innovation

It's interesting to me how little we appreciate the depth of knowledge and discipline that has been developed over the years where innovation is concerned. Recently a client asked me where we (OVO) based our methodologies. I told her that like most innovation consulting firms our foundations are based on work done in the 1930s and thereabouts by Alex Osborn. A lot of innovation and creativity is based on Osborn's work, supplemented by Parnes and others.

Fast innovation often leads to furious outcomes

OVO Innovation

Today, inspired by the Fast and Furious movies, I thought I'd write about the appropriate speed for innovation. One doesn't have to have the arms of the Rock, or the brains of Vin Diesel, to see that most innovation is attempted at the wrong speed. And, much like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, there are speeds that are too fast, too slow and "just right". One more literary allusion and I hit the trifecta! Speed and its relationship to innovation What does speed have to do with innovation anyway?

Why passion is the key innovation driver

OVO Innovation

For years people have debated the reasons why some companies innovate and others don't. To some extent, the business models and corporate strategies dictate where and how much innovation is done. For example, when I worked at Texas Instruments, the strategy was to drive costs out of products that other firms created. No one knew better how to drive the costs out of the manufacturing process for DRAM than TI.

The Leadership of Open Innovation

Speaker: Paul Sloane, Director, Destination Innovation

Paul Sloane is a well-known author and speaker on open innovation. In this session, Paul takes us through examples of successful open innovation programs to explore the breadth of what open innovation can be for organizations and the value it can bring. This was a great session you don’t want to miss.

Why innovation portfolios matter

OVO Innovation

At this point in business evolution, every CEO understands the need for more innovation. After a decade of reading about it, getting pounded over the head with the Jobs/Apple story and watching new innovations disrupt entire industries, businesses are starting to react. More and more of them are doing innovation, with drastically different outcomes. Some are successful. Many are making significant investments and have had little success. Some are frankly abject failures.

Understanding innovation's past leads to incredible insight

OVO Innovation

We tend to be very short sighted, we corporate executives. Our lifespans are relatively brief, all things considered. There are over 240 years since the founding of the United States, and using a 20 year cycle for generations that suggests approximately 12 generations of people during that brief window. Most of us work for approximately 40 years, but we rarely consider the events or recent history before we started working.

New innovation realities require new mindsets and tools

OVO Innovation

Paul Hobcraft and I have been writing a series of blog posts about innovation, ecosystems, platforms and what we believe customers will ultimately demand: seamless experiences. As products and services proliferate and basic needs are met, customers become more sophisticated and more demanding, desiring products, services and business models that work together and don't require configuration, integration or effort by the consumer to "make them work".

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The innovation tipping point

OVO Innovation

I've thought for a while now that we are on the brink of something big. That innovation will finally reach a tipping point, and like Europe in the Renaissance we'll finally leave the "dark ages" and innovation will flourish everywhere. Right now I believe that for many corporations, innovation is a mystery that seems to promise what we think impossible: more revenue, more profit, more market share at little cost.

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Models, Strategies and Tactics for Accelerating Innovation through Collaboration Outside the Organization

Speaker: Paul Campbell, VP of Innovation, Schneider Electric

We are excited to have Paul Campbell, an expert in corporate entrepreneurship, covering some of the strategies and tactics he has repeatedly used to transform corporate innovation programs. In this session, Paul shares his experience innovating in new and adjacent markets through a deft deployment of open innovation, business accelerators, venturing, M&A, R&D, business development and strategy team leadership.

Where to focus your innovation effort

OVO Innovation

OVO has done a fair amount of innovation work in the banking and financial sector. As such I would not call us "experts" in the banking or financial services space, but we've spent time there and we are always interested in new ideas that are percolating in the industry. It was with great interest that I read a synopsis of a presentation given at Forum 2015, by the wonderfully named Jeffry Pilcher, who is the CEO/President and Founder of The Financial Brand.

Disruptive innovation: where, not what

OVO Innovation

First, a slight diatribe. Why is it that companies think their people can do successful innovation when they don't share a common language? In the title I've used the word "disruptive", and by this I mean innovation in the "third horizon" - incremental, breakthrough and disruptive. I'm defining disruptive innovation as new products, services or business models that "disrupt" existing products or markets. For example, Apple and iTunes disrupted Tower Records.

Innovating against conventional wisdom

OVO Innovation

I love those funny insightful quote from people like Yogi Berra, who was either an unrecognized cosmic genius (When you get to a fork in the road, take it) or perhaps occasionally just full of malapropisms (Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded). Likewise, I think, we innovators should think about how and where we choose to innovate. Another (baseball) related quote sums this up perfectly.

How to tell if innovation matters to your CEO

OVO Innovation

Thank the good folks at PWC for their latest survey of executives about innovation. The new article, optimistically entitled " Unleashing the power of Innovation " was recently published and surveyed approximately 250 senior executives about innovation.

How Can You Leverage Innovation to Become an Industry Leader?

To outsiders, the term innovation can seem like another empty buzzword, but as a CEO in a world where technology is driving market competition, you know that innovation is essential. Keeping up can prove challenging, especially if you are continuing to rely solely on internal personnel. Currently, the key to innovation is to go beyond existing resources and seek ideas from external sources.

Retaining the innovative spark

OVO Innovation

Phil McKinney wrote a nice post yesterday about the failures of Kodak and Nokia. I did some consulting work (systems, not innovation) years ago as Kodak was beginning its long slide toward obsolescence, and it was evident to everyone there that film was king. Even as the first digital cameras were coming out, Kodak was far more focused on film. They were in a desperate fight with Fuji to retain market share in film, as the digital camera sales were ramping up.

What Carl Sagan might have said about innovation

OVO Innovation

I'm going to reach for one of those grand unifying theory type of thought experiments today, connecting what Carl Sagan said about science with what we believe to be true about innovation. Sagan had a wonderful way of explaining science. I especially enjoy what has come to be called the " Baloney Detection " kit. You can see the entire discussion of the Baloney Detection kit on the wonderful Brain Picking site (which you should visit regularly for its expansive look at a whole host of topics).

Innovation is a cultural phenomenon

OVO Innovation

There's really no easy way to say this, so I'll come right out with it. It's your culture that's holding you back when you try to innovate, but no one wants to admit that. Most consultants and executives want to focus on interesting innovation tools, or idea management software, or creative design concepts, because these are flashy and new, and distract attention from the real challenge at hand. Which is your culture.

The gulf between innovation goals and execution

OVO Innovation

Accenture has recently published an innovation survey of 500 executives in the US. I'm particularly partial to portions of this survey because the authors identify a real and growing problem - the gap between what executives want from innovation, and the organization's ability to deliver. By now everyone knows that innovation is a top three priority for executives. That's not news.

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