Tue, 30 April 2019
Leadership support for innovation is critical to an organization. Any leader knows how to spell innovation. But few senior leaders understand what is involved or how hard it is unless they have come from an “innovation background.” What are some essentials of innovation leadership? In today’s show we discuss the role of the CEO and the Board of Directors. We also consider the benefits of an effective Innovation Advisory Board.
Role of the CEO
What is the role of a CEO running an organization?
The CEO crafts a structure and a budget which the Board approves or disapproves. Where does the innovation aspect fit in? Innovation should be part of how an organization achieves its vision. It should be funded and resourced to enable the vision and objectives. The CEO should promote innovation and its role in the organization. The CEO should hold the leadership team accountable for innovation.
Common reasons that a CEO does not provide the innovation leadership needed:
What should the innovation leader do when the CEO is not fully engaged in the innovation efforts? First, start small. Find the hidden project that someone has been doing in stealth and get behind it. Next, lay out a clear plan and metrics that can be shared with leaders and the Board of Directors. Lastly, gradually gain their support. After concerted effort, if there is no support, this organization may never give innovation a role.
Board of Directors
While the CEO may be the focus when it comes to innovation, the Board plays a critical role. The Board is the “boss” of the CEO. The Board has control of the budget - a key resource for innovation. A Board’s commitment to innovation is shown by the time spent talking about it in Board meetings. Another indicator is willingness to make it a priority in the budget process. The committed Board understands and is comfortable with the fact that risk is associated with innovation. The Board, with the CEO and innovation leadership team, sets realistic, high quality innovation metrics. A Board conveys support by “protecting” the CEO when it comes to stakeholders.
A big risk for many organizations: most Boards do not have members from an innovation background. You need people on your Board who have lived it.
How does a Board get guidance on encouraging and supporting innovation?
Establishing an Effective Innovation Advisory Board
How can you get the CEO and Board to embrace innovations when it is not part of the DNA? Recruit an Innovation Board of Advisors. This Board of Advisors should contain the innovation leader from within the organization. Other members should be proven innovation leaders from outside the organization. No consultants. The Innovation Advisory Board meets with organization leaders and the Board of Directors. It provides guidance and feedback. A rewarding experience for me was serving as an outside member of the Roche Innovation Advisory Board. I was tasked to help their innovation and management teams get “fresh eyes”.
What did I learn from serving on an Innovation Advisory Board?
How would I set up one today?
Want to know how to engage your CEO and Board of Directors? Looking to establish an Innovation Advisory Board? Reach out and drop me a note.
Direct download: Innovation_Leadership_The_Role_of_the_CEO_Board_and_the_Innovation_Advisory_Board.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 12:00am PST
Tue, 23 April 2019
Everyone is creative. Yet some people seem more creative than others. What do those people have that others might lack? What’s the secret to creativity? This week we talk about finding creative inspiration outside of work. I’ll share my thoughts on what makes people creative. We’ll also hear Kym McNicholas interview Tania Katan. Tania has just come out with a book called Creative Trespassing: How to Put the Spark and Joy into Your Work and Life.
Humans use creativity every day to solve complex issues. Some people are more creative than others in problem solving. How do these people manage to stay ahead of everyone else creatively? First, these people are inspired. Find something that piques your interest, that drives you to go above and beyond, to experiment and learn. You can find creative inspiration even at work. If you are passionate about what you are doing, then you are feeding your creativity.
Another common denominator of creative people is that they practice creativity. People do not just wake up already skilled at something. They have to practice it until they have mastered it. Practice can be defined as two things:
There is a myth that you can't practice creativity and innovation. You can practice and become proficient. There are many ways to exercise your creative abilities. There are exercises for daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly practice of creative skills.
Talking Creative Inspiration with Tania Katan
Tania Katan shares with Kym McNicholas how people’s creativity in personal life can enhance their work. Her book, Creative Trespassing: How to Put the Spark and Joy Back into Your Work and Life, looks at the impact of bringing personal creative exercise into the workplace. Tania wrote this book because she saw a disconnect between people’s creativity and what they did at their jobs during the day.
Some of the greatest takeaways from the book are:
One of the biggest roadblocks of creativity is the fear of thinking and doing things differently. The best way to get through that obstacle is to face it.
For more information on creative inspiration pick up Tania Katan’s book Creative Trespassing: How to Put the Spark and Joy into Your Work and Life.
To track what Tania is doing, visit LinkedIn.
Five Minutes to New Ideas
What got me to start a podcast in 2005? I got inspired. True inspiration goes deep. It changes us and transforms us. On this week’s Five Minutes to New Ideas hear about finding and exploring your creative inspiration. What is your creative inspiration? Who has inspired you? And how are you translating your creative inspiration to have an impact. Send me a note on your creative inspiration story.
Tue, 16 April 2019
With major shifts in the global economy, businesses need to be ready. Amid a slowdown of growth, companies that thrive are using innovation to grow the intangible economy. Steven is the global head of innovation at KPMG. Steven joins us to talk about the intangible economy and what companies need to know.
Scale and Investment Equals Growth
CEOs and boards who are serious about innovation must consider the intangible economy. KPMG conducted a study of 15,000 global firms with at least 250 employees. They called the top 10% of these firms frontier firms. The other 90% were the followers. A remarkable factor in the findings: major growth seemed to remain with the frontier firms. Very few followers were able to reach growth at the frontier level. Of the firms, only 18 follower firms moved to frontier status. What separated the two? Scale and how a firm invested. Frontier firms used data and AI to transform their platform for productivity.
Harness the Power of the Intangible Economy
The value of data is clear when one considers how Amazon has harnessed its power. Smart businesses are finding ways to use data as a business strategy.
The four pillars to consider in developing data and AI strategies:
Creating Core Capability Around Innovation
Using innovation to grow the intangible economy requires more than having an innovation team. You have to create core capability around innovation inside the organization. There are a number of things that can prevent that from happening. KPMG worked with Innovation Leader to survey large organizations worldwide about innovation. The responses reveal what is stifling innovation in organizations.
The need for innovation has never been stronger. Leadership involvement is the driving force behind it. Innovation is a capability not a box on your chart or team name. The organization will take their lead from the CEO. You have to live it every day with your team.
There are many challenges to sustaining innovation. Part of the problem is that leaders don’t understand what innovation is. Defining innovation is an important step. Customize the definition of innovation to fit the organization. Set the standard for the culture of innovation. Innovation is characterized in three ways:
One challenge that leaders face is building innovation as a sustainable activity. Advice Steve gives for those trying to transform their organization:
When it comes to your budget, be clear with yourself, your people and the marketplace. Money should be tracked explicitly against the specific use case and efforts.
Five Minutes to New Ideas
Some people might wonder what ethics has to do with innovation and creativity? Some organizations could take a lesson on how to establish and reinforce a culture of good ethics. A culture must reinforce its core values. The Boy Scouts did this. Five Minutes to New Ideas explores how organizations can learn a lesson in ethics from the Boy Scouts. What standards of ethics have you defined for yourself and your team? Does your team know the ethics you expect from them? Do you hold everyone, yourself included, to that standard? Let’s set the standard for ethics in innovations.
Direct download: Using_Innovation_to_Grow_the_Intangible_Economy.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 12:00am PST
Tue, 9 April 2019
Behind all things smart, from homes and buildings to vehicles, is IoT. What will open up new worlds for the future? Open IoT standards. John Osborne II is Chairman of the Board at Zigbee Alliance. He is also Vice President of IoT, sales and marketing at LEEDARSON. He talks with me about device innovation and enabling IoT standards across the industry.
Innovation Across Industry
John and I met years ago when he worked as Kroger’s innovation leader. Kroger’s process of instilling a culture of innovation is featured in my book. As Chairman of the Board at Zigbee Alliance, John is innovating an industry’s approach. Although it may be in your home, you may wonder what Zigbee is. Zigbee is one of the original machine -to-machine protocols allowing device sensors to communicate to a mesh network. Their device innovation has evolved into one of the premiere mesh networks in the industry. Zigbee products are designed to be long lasting and interoperate. The products require minimal upkeep and maintenance. But Zigbee is more than device innovation. Through Zigbee Alliance, John brings industry leaders together.
Collaboration to Benefit All
A main goal of Zigbee Alliance is to get industry leaders to accept IoT standards. Those standards will broaden innovation opportunities. Low power technology is at the forefront. The hot topics in our world today - health and wellness, aging in place, connected vehicles. These areas highlight the need for what Zigbee Alliance is doing.
The Aim of IoT Standards
The challenges still exist in to getting consensus among industry leaders. Yet, Zigbee Alliance moves forward. Their intent is to achieve common data models, common API, and common security. Companies want layers of security. But that’s not ideal on the consumer end. Still a few years out, companies are working towards the middle ground – designing the right security.
Still in the works is how IoT standards compliance will be identified. Zigbee Alliance is working with other organizations to determine this. Once established, it will simplify the consumer’s purchase process.
Partnerships for Smart Device Innovation
John also highlights the work that LEEDARSON is doing in partnership with small businesses. As an ODM, LEEDARSON has the resources. Small businesses bring their ideas. Not many innovators are aware of this type of ODM partnering approach to device innovation. The right partner can accelerate the innovation.
Lessons Learned from the Innovation Leader
The process of innovation always presents challenges in the form of innovation antibodies. New people come with their own agendas and ideas. What has John learned in his experience in device innovation and promoting IoT standards?
Here are John’s tips for dealing with innovation antibodies:
As innovators we can’t always jump to the conclusion that we’re right. Sometimes you are the one hindering your process. When that happens, you need to self-reflect and try a new approach.
We have to evolve ourselves. Take a risk and try something new and different.
Now that the tech is here, the solutions are next. Smart homes and advances in home security give rise to many use cases. The trend now is managing properties remotely and aging in place. A trend of tomorrow is cloud connected cars as displayed at CES. John’s hope for the future is connected cities. Before that can happen, issues of politics need to be resolved. Getting ecosystems like telecoms and the sensor business to work together is another future challenge.
You may also join the conversation with John and me on The Innovators Community.
Inspiration, true inspiration goes deep. It changes and transforms us. What is your creative inspiration? Five Minutes to New Ideas explores how to discover your creative inspiration. How are you translating your creative inspiration into having an impact?
Tue, 2 April 2019
Apply technology designed for one use to a whole new product. Then expect the unexpected. Tech that detects motion on bridges and other large structures is the backdrop. Chief Operating Officer Nadia Giuliani joins the show from CES 2019. She shares the latest product from Next Industries: Tactigon Skin. It transforms the controller, creating motion and gesture control for a number of uses.
Monitoring in Milan
Next Industries is a startup located in Milan, Italy. The company has been running for the past five years. Their first products focused on vibration detection and motion capture. The use is structural monitoring to improve maintenance and decrease risks. As an R&D company, they sought new avenues for their expertise. They decided to revolutionize the controller.
Next Industries has designed a new motion controller. Tactigon Skin is a programmable controller. It allows hands-free gesture control for a range of electronics. PC games, robots, computers, VR/AR, 3D printers, apps, and drones. Tactigon Skin is designed to fit like a glove with inner workings akin to a smartwatch. It connects to Bluetooth, smartphone devices, and laptops. There is future potential for retail. With a final prototype, Next Industries is seeking funds to bring the product to market. They are exploring crowdfunding options.
Creating motion and gesture control in Tactigon Skin was a challenge. The intricacies of the product demand constant problem-solving. Add to that the funding for the design phase. Nadia and the team persevered through tech problems and financing the long period of development. Next Industries navigated through with success. They have been in development for one year now. Nadia’s advice to others going through product development is to keep at it. You must persist to survive.
Ergonomic form factor is another problem the Next Industries design team faced. Finding the right fit for all in creating motion and gesture control was even more difficult than the tech challenges. The response at their CES demo has been positive.
Throughout this process, Nadia and her team have learned a few key tips that have helped them.
Creating motion and gesture control, Next Industries meets a demand for agility and ease of use.
Should we rely more on data or human insight? The answer is both! This week on Five Minutes to New Ideas we explore applying human insight and skepticism to innovation. How can you challenge yourself and your team to uncover an insight that is not obvious?
Direct download: Creating_Motion_and_Gesture_Control_with_Style.mp3
Category:Past Guests -- posted at: 12:00am PST