Killer Innovations with Phil McKinney
An award-winning podcast that looks at the innovations that are changing our lives and how their innovators used creativity and design to take their raw idea and create game-changing products or services. Phil McKinney, retired CTO of HP and the creator, and host of Killer Innovations has been credited with forming and leading multiple teams that FastCompany and BusinessWeek list as one of the “50 Most Innovative”. His recognition includes Vanity Fair naming him the “The Innovation Guru”, MSNBC and Fox Business calling him "The Gadget Guy" and the San Jose Mercury News dubbing him the "chief seer".

The Truth And Disappointment Of Orphaned Innovations S13 Ep17

Direct download: The_Truth_And_Disappointment_Of_Orphaned_Innovations_S13_Ep17.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 11:28am PST

Inside any size organization, getting everyone engaged on innovation can be daunting. Its not just as simple as saying that innovation is important. You need to show the organization how. At Adobe, Mark Randall reversed engineered his approach to grassroots innovation and structured into a process called Kickbox. He didn't stop there. He and Adobe decided to open source the Kickbox approach to grassroots innovation to help other organizations innovate.

During the interview, Mark and Phil discussed:

Grassroots Innovation

  • Mark's work experience that led him to being at Adobe and heading up innovation.
  • His experience in being an entrepreneur and how that prepared him for his role in innovation leadership.
  • The difficulty in reverse engineering how someone innovates so they can teach others.
  • Challenging large organizations to innovate.
  • The challenge that resulted in the creation of Kickbox (hint: grassroots innovation).


  • The overall structure of Kickbox
  • What is in the Red Box?
    • The six step/level process
    • Pre-paid credit card with $1,000
    • Scorecards, frameworks and exercises to develop ideas
  • The objective of the two-day workshop where participants are given their Red Box.
  • How does someone "get" a Blue Box?
  • What is in the Blue Box?

Impact on Adobe and Others

  • What has been the impact from Kickbox on Adobe?
  • What other organizations have used Kickbox and what has been the result? (e.g. Cisco, Caterpillar)
  • What improvements and changes has been contributed back to the open source material for Kickbox?


About Mark Randall:

Mark’s serial entrepreneurial career conceiving, designing and marketing innovative technology spans nearly 20 years and three successful high-tech start-ups. As VP of Innovation at Adobe, Mark Randall is focused on infusing divergent thinking at the software giant.

Mark has fielded over a dozen award-winning products which combined have sold over a million units, generated over $100 million in sales and won two Emmy awards. As an innovator, Mark has a dozen U.S. patents, he’s been named to Digital Media Magazine’s “Digital Media 100″ and he is one of Streaming Magazine’s “50 Most Influential People.” Mark speaks & teaches frequently on entrepreneurship, innovation and strategy and has appeared on CNN, ABC, NBC and CNBC.

Direct download: Grassroots_Innovation_Using_The_Kickbox_Process_From_Adobe_S13_Ep16.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 7:00am PST

The boomer market is quickly becoming the target demographic that is driving a new category of technology and innovation. The desire to allow those in this gray wave of aging adults to age in place is one area of innovation we all can appreciate.

In this weeks show, serial entrepreneur and technology executive Wendi Burkhardt shares how she found her purpose project by bringing technology and innovation to the gray wave of aging adults.

Technology and Innovation For The Gray Wave

During the show, we answer questions such as:

  • What was the experienced that cause your to co-found Silvernest?
  • People are living longer than ever and wanting to age in place. What are the opportunities that aging adults present as a large (and growing) segment of the economic and consumer base?
  • How does technology and innovation cater to this growing gray wave?
  • What are some of the emerging trends in the aging demographic that are fueling innovation?
  • Is it harder for companies to innovate in the aging industry because they’re perceived as serving a lower-tech audience?
  • Are Boomers more receptive to new technologies than their parents were? How are their outlooks and circumstances different?
  • Are you finding that the 50+ demographic is open to participating in the sharing economy?
  • How is the sharing economy and technology transforming aging?
  • You’ve called gerontechnology – the blending of gerontology with technology – the hottest thing in Silicon Valley. Why is it so attractive and set to explode?
  • Some of the innovation in this space is obviously coming technology, but are there other ways that companies need to innovate in their thinking or marketing to reach Boomers, empty nesters and other aging adults?
  • How do we need to be shifting the conversation around innovation and technology for gray wave?
  • What recommendations do you have for companies who are working to innovate in ways that serve aging adults?

About Wendi Burkhardt

As CEO of Silvernest, Wendi Burkhardt is responsible for driving the company’s overall direction and strategic growth, as well as overseeing day-to-day operations. She boasts more than 25 years of technology experience working with venture startups, emerging technology companies, rapid-growth tech firms and Fortune 500 corporations.

Her history also includes working with Home Instead, a $1B in-home, senior care corporation as a key client. She is a seasoned entrepreneur, as well as a mentor and coach to social ventures.

Wendi holds a degree in International Trade & Finance from Louisiana State University, and has completed an executive education program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

I've been going back and looking at past shows that had guests in an attempt to trigger ideas for new guests we should invite to be on the show. During the process, I started to see patterns of common attributes across this group that I label as the most the innovative people I've interviewed.

The show archive goes back to March 2005 and we've had more than 100 innovation experts and authors. These guests range from:

  • Sir Tim Berners-Lee - the inventor of the world-wide web -- was on the show Dec 10, 2009
  • Geoffrey Moore - author of Crossing The Chasm -- was most recently on the show July 17, 2015
  • Bob Metcalfe - inventor of Ethernet and co-founder of 3COM -- was on the show April 10, 2010
  • Peter Guber - co-owner of the Golden State Warriors -- was on the show Sept 28, 2015
  • Nick Titus - co-founder of Myoinc Technologies -- was on the show Aug 23, 2016

I've also had the benefit of meeting and supporting other leaders with their innovation projects including Elon Musk (on the large display that is part of the dash in Tesla), Jimmy Iovine (on Beats and bringing it to the consumer electronics market) and Will.I.Am (as a sounding board on his software ideas).

6 Most Common Attributes of the Most Innovative People I've Interviewed

  1. Curiosity: Highly innovative people have an insatiable level of curiosity. How do they exhibit this curiosity? By asking really great questions. Its through questions that they push to discover more about problem or opportunity and thus allow them to form an ideas or solution.
  2. Being a non-conformist (brave): These innovation leaders do not fall into a simple category of type or backgrounds. They each have gone their own way to achieve their innovation vision and they've done it without regard to what others thing.
  3. Chasing the "new": Innovation leaders are always aware of the latest thing in their area of interest(s). They pride themselves on being on the leading edge - always experimenting and learning. In the technology world, they tend to have the latest devices, applications and services.
  4. Perseverance: They don't take "no" for an answer. They don't let speed bumps, distraction or corporate/innovation antibodies to get in the way. They find ways to work with and around others to achieve their innovation vision.
  5. Highly Flexible: Its rare that an idea will manifest itself with out changes and pivots along the way. Highly innovative people will adjust and change as they move along the process of transforming the idea into that new product or service.
  6. Takes Action: Innovators don't wait around for permission. They act. They don't let themselves get caught in the "resource trap" of believing they need people, time and money to begin. They find a way to start moving forward and let the rest catch-up.

[shareable]Ideas without execution are a hobby -- and real innovators are NOT in the hobby business[/shareable]


Most people would look at the show guests and believe that each had been blessed with some kind of "super power". The reality is that we all have been blessed with the superpower of creativity and innovation -- we just need to find it, harness it, practice it and then use it.

These attributes of the most innovative people I know proves that any of us can achieve the same level of success if we want.

The ball is in your court.

Direct download: 6_Attributes_of_the_Most_Innovative_People_Ive_Interviewed_S13_Ep14.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 9:30am PST