RTI Innovation Advisors

Understanding future conditions is vital to create innovative solutions

RTI Innovation Advisors

I'm just wrapping up another project that's focused on trend spotting and scenario planning, working to help a client company understand the emerging competitive conditions their business will face in the next 5-7 years. While foresighting, trend spotting and scenario planning are exceptionally valuable, many innovation projects simply ignore the benefits they can receive from doing this work. Instead innovators plunge in to create the products and services they believe customers need.

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Digital Innovation meets As a service

RTI Innovation Advisors

For a while now I've been considering the impact of all the emerging digital transformation tools on innovation. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, IoT, blockchain and a host of other technologies will have a bit impact on how corporations conduct work and create new insights and new products and services.

For interesting innovation, ignore your instincts

RTI Innovation Advisors

I've been around the block for a while, and every once in a while I'll tell the folks on my team who are younger than me what's likely to happen with a specific strategy or project. Since they are young and a bit wet behind the ears, it often comes as a surprise to them that I can predict with some degree of certainty what's likely to happen.

It's past time to reintroduce risk into corporations

RTI Innovation Advisors

I was on a conference call recently, discussing an upcoming keynote that I'll deliver to a academic-federal government program meant to accelerate new technologies from basic research into the market. We were talking about the "ecosystem" of contributors that can help move basic research from academia and research labs to market. One participant talked about the role that large corporations could play, and sometimes do play, in commercializing new technologies.

Innovation: Five Signs You Might Be Faking It

Every company wants to be a leader in innovation, but how can you tell if your company is really innovating or just going through the motions? See the 5 signs you might be faking innovation and what to do if you are.

At the digital transformation and innovation crossroads

RTI Innovation Advisors

I went to a meeting about innovation earlier this week with a former client and a discussion about digital transformation broke out. It was both interesting and strange at the same time. Most corporations are struggling to comprehend the changes in front of them, but at the same time are so fixated on short term thinking that they struggle to see the tsunami that is emerging just over the horizon. They know it's there. They know they should prepare.

What I'ved learned so far about digital transformation and innovation

RTI Innovation Advisors

Lately I've been drinking from the firehose. It seems every day there are new reports on digital transformation and innovation. My good friend and collaborator Paul Hobcraft is constantly reviewing new reports and creating insights of his own, which inundate me with more information.

What 2019 holds for innovation

RTI Innovation Advisors

I wrote my obligatory look back at 2018 article on innovation recently, so it is natural that we should turn our attention to where innovation will take us in 2019. In the 2018 review I made some disparaging remarks about Apple, which may or may not have caused it to lose a tremendous amount of market capitalization. Or perhaps the stock was overvalued and Apple has become more interested in margin than in innovation. I'll let you, gentle reader, be the judge.

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Beware conventional wisdom in innovation and digital transformation

RTI Innovation Advisors

One of my favorite quotes comes from Shaw, who said that all change in life originate from unreasonable people. Reasonable people, he said, will accept the status quo and change their lives to adapt to the status quo. Unreasonable people won't. Unreasonable people force change rather than accept the status quo. So, he argued, all change is dependent on unreasonable people.

Where speed, innovation, technology and strategy collide

RTI Innovation Advisors

An old saying, often attributed to a Chinese philosopher, goes something like this: may you live in interesting times. Some people say that it isn't a "saying" so much as a subtle curse. Interesting times - interesting to whom? Interesting why? I think we are all about to find out what interesting times look like, because those times are about to unfold, and no one can really interpret the repercussions. Major shifts on the horizon Why are times about to become more interesting?

Innovating when everything is "as a service"

RTI Innovation Advisors

I've been talking with a number of people who are more connected and smarter than me about digital transformation.

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Assessing the Five Styles of Enterprise Business Intelligence

The world of BI and analytics has evolved. Discover the five styles of reporting and analysis, and learn the pros and cons of each in an enterprise scenario.

Getting the right question is half the battle

RTI Innovation Advisors

I return once again to one of my favorite sayings, by Stephen Covey, who said (I'm paraphrasing): sharpen the saw before you start cutting the wood. It's a really simple thought - do the right things to prepare before you start a big task, but we lose sight of what adequate preparation looks like in so many activities. There are several reasons for this. First, many corporate activities are second nature. We know how to do them by heart, so preparation feels like wasted time.

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I'm running for the presidency of Innovation

RTI Innovation Advisors

I thought - why not? Everyone else is running, so why be left out in the cold? If the governor of Washington State can run on the single plank of climate change, if senators who have barely introduced themselves to their colleagues can run, if a west Texas Irishman named Beto can consider running, then so can I. Of course my candidacy will be strictly tongue in cheek, and really meant to frame a more interesting question - where does innovation stand in all of this? What's my platform?

Why taking your best shot is all wrong in innovation

RTI Innovation Advisors

I was speaking with a prospective client recently and was dismayed to hear them talk about innovation in a manner that seems to suggest innovation is a "one and done" activity. Then a good friend introduced me to the book Loonshots, which I haven't read, but did listen to a podcast about. I'm not here to review Loonshots, but I do want to debunk the idea of innovation and its connotation to "shots" of any kind. We use this kind of language all the time - "take your best shot".

The interplay between digital transformation and innovation

RTI Innovation Advisors

I've found that concepts like digital transformation are like eating honey. The stuff just kind of sticks to you long after you think the experience is over. As a person who has spent more than 15 years focused on corporate innovation, I find the rapid emergence of digital transformation interesting, and sometimes a bit troubling, as you may recall from a previous post.

The state of innovation at the end of 2018

RTI Innovation Advisors

Since everyone is compelled to write at least one backward looking story at the end of the year, I've chosen as my topic a review of innovation at the end of 2018. This review isn't meant to be an attempt to grade innovation activities or suggest better or worse approaches, but to think about innovation holistically and consider the implications and ramifications of where we are, and where we who would like to think of ourselves as innovators will be moving in the future.

11 Proven Ways to Turn Your Culture into a Culture of Innovation

Learn the 11 proven strategies that you can implement quickly to get every employee innovating and contributing to the growth of your company.

How to know when the old models don't work any more

RTI Innovation Advisors

As Malcolm Gladwell and other business writers have found, it is entirely possible to write a compelling article around a rather obvious point, and still hold the reader's attention. As a case in point I draw your attention to this article - entitled Why Corporate Innovation is so Hard.

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Innovating what we innovate

RTI Innovation Advisors

It finally came to me last week. For over a decade I've been working with corporations, trying to help them accelerate their ability to generate new, interesting ideas to market as viable products and services. In some instances we've been successful, and in other instances there were interesting failures. I've recognized for a while that some major challenges exist.

Six million dollar innovation

RTI Innovation Advisors

Since I write about innovation regularly, I often receive questions about "the future" of innovation. Who really knows anything about the future of innovation, when many of us don't fully comprehend all of the tools and activities for innovation that are available to us now. My standard response is in the title of the post. In the future, we'll do innovation work much more quickly than we do today, we'll be smarter about our approach and increasingly we'll never do it alone.

Alert to the press: prototypes aren't finished products

RTI Innovation Advisors

I rise today to do something I find strange. I'm actually going to defend Elon Musk. Musk is receiving a significant amount of negative press after his unveiling of the Boring Company's (if you need to throw stones, do so at that name) pilot tunnel. To the shock and dismay of many people, the prototype is only a mile long and uses Tesla cars rather than the futuristic car depicted in mockups.

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Spigit's 2018 State of Crowdsourced Innovation Report

A rigorous analysis of how the world’s largest brands – representing 21 different industry verticals – leverage their innovation programs to solve problems and surface opportunities, and the key role crowdsourcing plays in their success.

What U2 and Madonna can tell corporations about innovation

RTI Innovation Advisors

Let's get this right out there early: I am a huge U2 fan. From their earliest albums like October and Boy to their latest efforts, I'm a big supporter (well Zooropa not so much, but every great artist has at least one significant flub). On the other hand, I've never much cared for Madonna. Too packaged, too commercial, too much a formula it seems to me. But both U2 and Madonna have something to tell major corporations about how to stay relevant for decades: reinvent yourself.

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Breaking the patterns for innovation

RTI Innovation Advisors

As far as one-hit wonders go, there are few bands that I listened to more than a band called the Godfathers back in the 80s and early 90s. They had a song that was meant to encapsulate our lived experience. The title? Birth, school, work, death. This is the pattern that we all live. More importantly, each of us has a fairly regular pattern for our work lives: get up, go to work, go to meetings, work on some deliverables, drive home, eat dinner. Rinse and repeat.

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Why Apple can't innovate anymore

RTI Innovation Advisors

Yes, it is a provocative title. And no, I don't quite know if it is true. But it does make one stop and think, doesn't it? What if the avatar for innovation over the last decade is exhausted? What if Apple has done all the innovation it can do? An interesting thought, wouldn't you say? What Apple now has in common with other large companies Innovation is easier when an organization is smaller and more nimble.

The End of the Beginning, for innovation

RTI Innovation Advisors

It's a sign of maturity and experience to be able to determine just where you are in a journey, and I think the time has come to put some stakes in the ground about just exactly where we all are in regards to our innovation journeys.

Quantifying a Culture of Innovation

Examining five years of anonymous data from over 6 million users in 170+ countries, Spigit has discovered that a culture of innovation can be measured – with a 99% statistical confidence level – by a metric called "ideation rate." Download the eBook now for an in-depth look at this groundbreaking study.

The "whole product" is more relevant than ever

RTI Innovation Advisors

You simply must tip your hat to Geoffrey Moore and others who created the concept of the "whole product". I've written about this concept several times, and I raise it again because the underlying ideas are about to become really important in innovation circles. If you haven't read Crossing the Chasm or aren't quite familiar with what a " whole product " is, then it may make sense to go and read up.

The quiet desperation of corporate innovators

RTI Innovation Advisors

Over the last year I've been conducting a one person listening tour, talking to a lot of my peers in consulting, as well as prospects, customers and friends who work in government and industry. Of course many of these conversations revolve around innovation and new product or service development (or the lack thereof), and how people are engaged in their work and their roles.

How much innovation energy does your bureaucracy have left?

RTI Innovation Advisors

One factor I've been considering for some time has to do with the power of a corporate bureaucracy to create or block change. On one hand, bureaucracies are good, in that they codify practices, principles and processes and allow people to get more done quickly as a unit than they might get done alone. Bureaucracies were created to allow people to scale concepts, inventions, products and ideas. However, any bureaucracy comes with a certain amount of baggage.

To accelerate innovation, focus on culture

RTI Innovation Advisors

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".

Data From 3.5 Million Employees Shows How Innovation Really Works

Analysis of how 3.5 million employees using Spigit ideate proves innovation is a science, and can be measured.

Will big data solve the innovation gap?

RTI Innovation Advisors

For many companies, I think there is a relatively significant gap between what they actually generate as compelling new products and what they wish they generated. We could call this the "innovation gap". The gap is real, and it means that many companies aren't as profitable or as competitive as they'd like to be.

Why innovation portfolios matter

RTI Innovation Advisors

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.

The Six Million Dollar innovation fallacy

RTI Innovation Advisors

A few days ago I wrote a blog post about the relevance of the Six Million Dollar man to innovation , noting that the show was based around rebuilding Steve Austin, making him better, stronger and faster. Many corporate innovation organizations need the Six Million Dollar man treatment. Every firm needs to be innovating more effectively, faster, with better outcomes and increasingly with more partners. Today I'd like to talk about the other side of the Six Million Dollar man innovation.

Two answers you need to improve innovation success

RTI Innovation Advisors

I was talking recently with a colleague who had been working in corporate innovation for quite some time. He was discouraged because he felt his innovation activities were really insightful, and had resulted in a product offering that had great value for customers. But in the end the business decided not to commercialize his idea. As we dissected the opportunity and the outcome, two issues became clear.

5 Product Traps - And Better Paths

Speaker: Johanna Rothman, Management Consultant, Rothman Consulting Group

Is your agile team overloaded with feature requests, with no time for discovery? Do your roadmaps read like impossible wish lists? Well, you’re not alone. It may seem impossible now, but what if we said that with a few changes, you could be meeting deadlines with the ability to predict progress with accuracy, be happy with your progress against the roadmap, and be making time for near-continuous discovery? Johanna Rothman has seen this all too often across many different organizations. She will take us through five common traps that agile product teams fall into – and likely you are in several of those traps right now. And good news - she has ways to avoid them!

Why failure can be an innovation aphrodisiac

RTI Innovation Advisors

If you stick around innovation long enough you'll probably come to believe that we are all dead-enders. After all, what group of people could willingly embrace as much failure with such a positive attitude? Failure, you'll be reminded, is necessary for innovation. I like to quote the saying that my ski instructor told me years ago - "if you aren't falling, you aren't trying hard enough". Many believe that failure is important for innovators because people learn from their failures.

Why innovators should focus on product deconstruction

RTI Innovation Advisors

I've been thinking a lot lately about innovation and how we may have emphasized one component at the expense of another. Here I'm talking about something that should appear obvious - the focus of innovation in building new things. We are constantly reminded that innovation is about building new products and services and experiences. And this definition is entirely right and proper. But I think it neglects something very important.

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What unicorns and nawhals tell us about innovation

RTI Innovation Advisors

My lovely wife and I were returning from a long car trip, having one of those wide-ranging conversations about everything and nothing that consumes time during long periods of interstate driving. The topics were shifting and free-flowing, when suddenly she asked the question: what's the difference between a unicorn and a narwhal? After all, they both seem a bit mysterious and they share the uncommon attribute of possessing only one horn.

We could all use a little Sharknado thinking

RTI Innovation Advisors

I saw a sign in my Twitter feed recently that spoke volumes about innovation culture. Let's contemplate the audacity of suggesting an idea about a movie full of sharks in tornadoes for just a moment. Creativity and Combinations To suggest a movie about sharks in a tornado demonstrates creativity.

What Users Want: How and Why to Build Knowledge into Your Product

Speaker: Nils Davis, Principal, NPD Associates

Usage data allows PMs, the product team, and the whole organization to make better decisions. Good usage intelligence gives you the ability to be smarter, more active, more decisive, nimbler, and to minimize risk. But what if you don't have that data - such as before you have users? Or, what if the right decision seems to fly in the face of the data you have? Or, what if your product offers more than just the standard features? To get deeper into these questions, Nils Davis asks, "What is the most interesting thing about Instagram?" (Because who doesn't like a product that Facebook paid $1 billion for when it had fewer than 50 employees and no revenue?) Nils will use the example of Instagram’s Filters to talk about how putting prebuilt knowledge in your product can change the way your product is used for the better - putting you in the company of most market-leading products. Finally, he’ll tie it all together by explaining how the way you interpret and use usage data can impact the way your tell your product’s story, and ultimately, how your users use your product.