Killer Innovations with Phil McKinney
An award-winning podcast and nationally syndicated radio show 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".

This week on Killer Innovations, I am joined in the studio by Katherine Radeka.  Katherine is the founder of Rapid Learning Cycles Institute.  She has a new book coming out on October 1st called “High Velocity Innovation.” Katherine started her career at HP and then went on to carry on Dr. Ellen Wards legacy as a lean product consultant.

Challenges of Innovation

The challenge inside large organizations is the challenge of catching of the innovation.  Inside any organization there has to be a pull for innovation that starts at the strategic level.  Even when they have that inside an organization, there are still going to be the innovation antibodies that create barriers and slow down the innovation engine.  Another important challenge within an organization is distinguishing between process metrics and result metrics.  Process metrics for innovation focus on how much time is your team spending on innovation activities.  For result innovation, you should be looking at the amount of revenue coming and how fast you can get to market.

Failing Fast

Companies sometimes need hurdles thrown at their innovation teams to help them grow.  Katherine recommends having escalating hurtdes at least once a quarter.  It encourages teams to find fast ways to validate whether or not their ideas are good ideas and challenge their perspective on it.  Getting feedback from management is essential to these teams because it is an incentive to learn fast.  You can keep up with Katherine at high velocity innovations.

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter.  If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know.  The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com or you can go to Philmckinney.com and drop me a note there.  Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

 

Direct download: Challenges_of_Innovation_in_a_Large_Organization.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 12:00am PST

On this week’s episode of Killer Innovations, Phillip Merrick joins us in the studio.  Phillip and his wife Caren started a company called webMethods and pioneered the use of web services integrating, machines, software applications and databases with XML-based software integration technologies.  He was the co-founder of a web-multimedia resume company VisualCV and is currently CEO of cloud security company Fugue with its own innovation’s. As a serial entrepreneur he is accustomed to creating and disrupting market spaces and has had a number of his companies acquired.  Phillip has been recognized for driving results including KPMG & Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Washingtonian Magazine “Titan of Technology”, and CRN “Top 25 Executive” as well as Deloitte’s fastest-growing software company in North America over the period 1998 to 2002. In 2000, webMethods went public on the NASDAQ in the most successful software IPO to date.

The 1st Mover Experience

Phillip was a software developer with a dream and when his wife, a marketing specialist, teamed with him it wasn’t immediate success. However, an initial journey of rejection and failure. Using credit cards to survive, going down to nothing financially they experienced the fear of many entrepreneurs. They had numerous rejections pitching to over 135 investors before they won over an initial venture investor in DC and eventually venture capitalists in Silicon Valley.  Success started to take hold and led to more breakthroughs

But why so hard! Well when you are creating a new space with a new technology you deal with 1st Mover pains. Many companies we know today from Apple to Google weren’t 1st Movers in a space, but Phillips vision of connecting machines to the web disrupted the market and challenged the norms into a new space. webMethod’s was challenged with people not getting what they had or were doing. His team convinced the market how to use the technology and how much easier it was. They proved it to global companies and markets from Phillip’s basement with the team of four getting a product in the hands of potential customers in record time.

Lessons from 1st Mover in a New Space to Existing Space

Phillip has moved from pioneering a space to pioneering in an existing space from VisualCV to self-healing infrastructure in cloud security with Fugue. He makes it clear that creating a space is definitely far and few in between and an exception--innovation happens in many ways in existing spaces.  You can have innovation in how you productize, market and structure your business model.  Innovation has to be in the idea, product development and driving execution.  Philip’s advice for success is that you need to realize that innovation is not just about the idea.  It is how you bring it to market, how you package it up for service, and how you build the team from recruiting to culture.  From his journey he will tell you that “No idea comes away with contact with a customer in the same shape”.

What do you wish you knew early in your career?

Within reason you can do anything you put your mind to.  Phillip was afraid of failure in a company, feared public speaking and overcome them. What’s interesting is with all of his successes at webMethod’s one of his breakthroughs was actually speaking insightfully in front of the public. There are not many limits you can’t overcome he states.

Philip says that in his career he is more focused on team building, not just the idea.  Once you get all of that figured out, then you can focus on the idea.  

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter.  If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com or you can go to Philmckinney.com and drop me a note there.  Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

 

Five Minutes to New Ideas

The world is made up of yes people and no people.  We need more people who will say yes to non-obvious ideas.  Success belongs to those people who thoughtfully and hopefully say yes, let’s try it.  Many people in an organization play the role of the anti-risk antibody; they say no because it is safe.  Why are we afraid of being wrong about new ideas? Take a risk, be willing to be wrong, and say yes to that new idea.  Are you a yes or a no person inside your organization?


Direct download: Being_the_First_Mover_with_Innovation.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 12:00am PST

On this week’s show of Killer Innovations, Michael George, Author, Entrepreneur and CEO of AI Technologies joins us as our guest. He is the founder of Lean Six Sigma, the most widely used process improvement method used globally. Since 2012 Mike has worked on applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) as the next big process breakthrough beyond Lean Six Sigma.  Over the years Mike has worked with Fortune 100 companies and Government’s globally and was Founder and CEO of The George Group, which he sold to Accenture as well as Founder and CEO of International Power Machines which he took Public and then sold to Rolls Royce. He has authored 8 books including “Fast Innovation”, “Lean Six Sigma”, “Conquering Complexity in Your Business” and his latest “Lean Six Sigma in the Age of Artificial Intelligence”.  

The Power of Process Innovation 

Innovating processes and discovering ways to leverage process to bring exponential returns on innovation initiatives and product development has been a mission of Michael and the results of his work has created and preserved value.  The combination of Lean and Six Sigma brought a breakthrough for non-repetitive processes and global leaders enjoyed the elimination of waste and enhanced quality.  However, leaders had another dilemma “How to Get to Market Faster with Quality Products”.  

Fast Innovation gave them:

  • Speed in the Product Development Process
  • Market Velocity with Better Forecasting and Predicting 
  • Preservation and Enhanced Quality
  • Innovation Blitzes – Fast Gating while discovering Drivers of Delays

The next iteration of Process Innovation applies AI to drive Innovation’s through a lifecycle as well as discover ideas that can create breakthroughs.

Fourth Industrial Revolution: Solving Unsolvable Problems 

Michael has been engaged in Deep Learning Neural Networks for many years.  With the onset of ‘Big Data’ we can now apply AI and machine learning to recognize patterns to help solve what has been unsolvable in the past.  With Lean Six Sigma in Age of AI they have discovered a number of valuable insights that will power organizations to the next level and help them harness the power of the Fourth Industrial Revolution:

  • Don’t get overwhelmed with your data.  Over-engineering your data quality and data cleansing efforts can grind you to a halt and not necessary – there are a number of processes to get high value sets of data for analysis in short order – a challenge for CEO’s today
  • Unseen discoveries are attainable even in the most proficient organizations—a recent effort revealed 60% of inefficiency came from only 20% of revenue
  • AI and machine learning didn’t eliminate jobs, but created more opportunities and growth while developing more productive employees

So what can leaders do to take advantage of the next wave? Michael believes every CEO should have their own AI and data expert that can comb every aspect of a business or organization to find common patterns in their activities (for instance product development and innovation initiatives) that elude human interaction. 

Future Advances 

So, what game changing innovation does Michael expect to see? AI provides approximate answers. The next big thing after AI, that is also complimentary, is quantum computing.  An exponential game changer. As it has been in the past, from the internet to semi-conductors, the Government will play a big role in quantum computing. With patience, funds and applicable activities the organization that is best suited, and has always been a leader in advancements, is the U.S. Department of Defense.  To learn more insights, keep up with Michael and his Firm.

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter.  If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com or you can go to Philmckinney.com and drop me a note there.  Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

Direct download: Manufacturing_Innovation_Using_AI.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 12:00am PST

What are the unique skill sets needed for innovation leadership?  We all have a list of what good leadership skills are but what are the unique ones you need to be a true innovation leader?  Today on Killer Innovations, I will discuss what I have found to be the skills needed for successful innovation leadership.

Innovation Leadership Skills

These leadership skills apply to all organizations, whether you are small organizations or a large organization.

  1. Integrity
    1. You need to trust the people you are working with.
    2. You need to know they are looking out for what is in the best interest for the team and organization.
  2. Vision and Strategy.
    1. Team members are looking to the leaders to communicate what the vision and strategy are.
    2. You need to look longer range beyond where the team is and roll that back in so they can see what your vision is.
    3. You need to be able to tell the story, make the pitch, share their dream with others.
    4. Communication is critical to successful innovation leadership,
    5. If you are going to be a leader you need to be able to interact and build relationships and truly have interests in other people’s lives.
    6. Know what is going on in your team member’s lives so you can help them eliminate distractions and really get their head in the game.
    7. You have got to persuade people to leave what they are doing now and join your team.
    8. You have to be able to convince them that what are doing is something worth their time.
  3. Adaptability and Flexibility.
    1. As a leader you cannot be rigid; you have to be adaptable and flexible with your team and organization.
    2. Can you operate as a leader of a team?
    3. You need diversity on your team to be successful.
  4. Coach and Develop.
    1. Find young and upcoming people and coach and develop them.
  5. Decision-Making.
    1. You have to be comfortable making the final decision.
    2. Realize that sometimes the decision you make are going to fail.
  6. Planning and Organizing.
    1. If you are not good at planning and organizing, then hire people to do it for your team.

These are the basic skills you need to be a successful innovation leader.  So, what skills do you need to do differently to truly be an innovation leader?

  1. Innovation leadership involves taking risks.
    1. You have to be comfortable that some of the decisions you make are going to fail.
    2. Some of your decisions are going to be flipped.
  2. You need to keep looking for new opportunities and threats.
    1. Look for threats to your organization, industry, or geography.
  3. Innovation is about change.
    1. Stability is the death of innovation.
    2. Foster a culture where change is expected.
  4. Do not rest on the traditional management techniques.
    1. Every situation is different.
    2. You need to invent the way you manage and do leadership.
  5. Be an optimist.
    1. Innovation is about being an optimist.
    2. You need to convince and convey an optimistic view of the future.
  6. Innovator’s cut through the crap.
    1. Innovation leaders need to cut through the crap and get to the core.
    2. You need to step in and stop the corporate game-playing.

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter.  If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know.  The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com or you can go to Philmckinney.com and drop me a note there.

Thinking Beyond the Obvious

The challenges on the creativity innovation side does not change based on scale.  It is the same whether you have a five-person team or a fifty-person team.  The challenge is operating and innovating at the same level.  A lot of companies get in a rut because they are doing what they have always done.  So, how do you push yourself and people to go beyond the obvious and do the next thing?

  1. Break the rules.
    1. Corporate anti-bodies will come after new ideas; you need to recognize that these antibodies exist.
    2. Sometimes you are the corporate antibody.
  2. You have to think differently.
    1. You have to unlearn what you have been taught when it comes to conforming.
    2. Make sure that you challenge yourself to go beyond the obvious answer to questions.
  3. It is all about asking
    1. How do you ask questions that will make you think about something you have not considered before?
    2. How do you ask those killer questions?
    3. Better questions get you better answers.
Direct download: Innovation_Leadership_and_Going_Beyond_the_Obvious.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 12:00am PST