Guerilla Innovation

    Innovation Strategy Power Tools

    innovationPowerToolsv1Challenge Mapping & IdeaKeg

    Do you want to cut through the clutter when it comes to innovation strategy?

    Are you sorting through plans for year-end strategy and ideation sessions? Are you at the very front end of innovation and not sure where to go, where to start?

    Are you asking questions like these (you should be!):

    • What projects might we get started before the end of the year?
    • What might be our innovation focus for 2017?
    • How might we leverage those research insights we’ve developed?
    • What trends and ideas outside our industry might we adapt to innovate?

    These questions can be tough to sort out.

    I’m suggesting here two bits of “sorting out” technology. Consider using two powerful innovation and strategy tools. They are both advanced practice leading to breakthrough thinking. Challenge Mapping is an analysis tool to explore situations. It creates a hierarchy of focused questions from highly conceptual to distinctly tactical. Make no mistake, creating a comprehensive challenge map is not trivial. It takes time, imaginative thought and expert faciltation. But it’s spade work you absolutely need to do. Once a challenge map is created, your choices become easier to converge upon. You’ll know what to do, where to go. If carefully done, there is no better tool for creating action plans, or platform questions for innovation.

    KILN’s IdeaKeg is a tool I’ve mentioned here before, but most of you have probably not heard of unless you’ve read the recently published book, “Trend Driven Innovation”. IdeaKeg is a process that leverages trends to lead teams towards braver, bolder, more imaginative questions. The process* is kinesthetic and uses carefully curated trend-objects — you “think-with-your-hands.” IdeaKeg encourages fresh new connections and it invokes intuition. Unilever, General Mills, Sargento, and Whirlpool use IdeaKeg. IdeaKeg is also useful in ideation itself, it’s a great stimulus tool. Doing Mash-Ups with creative consumers leads to interesting, and yes, out-of-the-box ideas.

    Using these two tools separately, or even better, together, might be the best innovation strategy decision you make this year.I’m in the business of teaching and facilitating these tools. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss how you might bring them into your organizations thinking process. I guarantee you’ll get good results.

    Stay Tuned: I’m putting together plans for a September public workshop where I’ll be teaching facilitators how to up their game. These two tools will feature prominently in the agenda.
    * The IdeaKeg process, fully implemented can be more than just a one meeting system. FuseTrail is KILN’s Front-End-Of-Innovation design that starts with exploring challenges and ends with story-based management pitches. If your organziation wants a complete template for it’s FEI process, KILN has one. 
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    The Risk of Not Innovating

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    Temporary Innovation Veep

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    21 Rules for Innovation Team Building

    I revised this “rule of thumb” list for a client and she suggested I re-share it in a blog post. This list is the accumulated wisdom of many years and it includes thinking from colleagues in the innovation space. Its target is the innovation team leader, but there are lessons for all types of team members here. The big change from the previous version is the emphasis on projects. It’s the key to Innovation in my view, from culture change to positive team dynamics to effectiveness of an overall innovation program. It’s the one thing of innovation — doing Projects. So here goes: 21 Rules for Innovation Team Building 1. A strong bold project initiative, with a clear vision for




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    Paying Lip Service to Developing Entrepreneurs

    There is a very frightening trend happening in the USA. We are not growing entrepreneurs. See my “Seven Ways to Grow Entrepreneurs” below! What is it we believe in our capitalist country? Isn’t it something like this: Anybody who works very hard, has a bit of talent and a good idea, can start something, grow it, and do well.  Isn’t that the essence of the entrepreneurial American dream? Yes, there is more to it than that. Yes, you can fail. Yes, it’s a market driven meritocracy — or it should be. I’ve always taken this entrepreneurial spirit for granted – it’s who we are! I’ve always assumed that as the years go by, more and more Americans (and this extends




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    Want Innovation? Ask.

    Not everything about innovation is complicated. I recently gave a creative problem solving workshop to a group of scientists who all worked for the same outfit. It was a lively session. In addition to learning structured creative problem solving (Osborn-Parnes-Basadur framework) we did some short bits of ideation around new business concepts. This was more as a sampler than it was a real session. It wasn’t the goal of the session to reinvent their business, nonetheless, in a short time there were some relevant business growth ideas with potential on the table. An executive with the company remarked after the session that “nobody ever comes to me” with new business ideas. Talking more with this man a reason why emerged:




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    Four Criteria for Hiring an Innovation Speaker

    Four Criteria for Hiring an Innovation Keynoter Let this post work as a guide for meeting planners. You don’t have to hire me as your innovation speaker, but if you hire one, you’ll be well served if you pay attention to these four criteria and my comments in bold. Innovation is a complex, wonky topic and it has some special requirements that go beyond the classic things meeting planners look for in a speaker. Let’s keep this simple and as neutral as possible — my shameless personal plug is at the very bottom. I’m even going to suggest my competition here. So here goes, in my view an Innovation Speaker should: 1. Have a background as a successful entrepreneur and/or




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    Innovation Facilitation — Death is Easy, Magic Takes Training

    Three Essentials for Magical Innovation Facilitation An essential ingredient to successful innovation projects is good facilitation. Who could argue with that? Innovation combines individual and group activities. Good group collaboration is not a given. Even individual activities need coordination with the group effort. You really need an inspiring, confident, well-trained facilitator to enable innovation. I’m talking about running and managing strategy meetings, ideation sessions, virtual sessions (using IMS), concept writing sessions, and other group work. A good facilitator makes a world of difference in the results of these group meetings and activities. And yet, in the long list of things that can go wrong in innovation initiatives, it’s often the one that is overlooked or taken for granted. The problem




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    Big Imagination is Blind Spot Remover

    Coming back from a trip to Toronto (visiting with the amazing Min Basadur) I spotted an interesting billboard at O’Hare airport. IBM suggests they can help “Remove the Blind Spots from Your Business” — by using Big Data and analytics. The visual of a man at a kind of virtual desktop that has visibility to ships, trucks, retail, and factories indicates that if you can just know more about what’s going on out there you’ll have nothing to worry about. If only that were so. I’m not bad rapping IBM here, I’m sure they can indeed provide lots of interesting insight using Big Data and analytics. Many companies would be well served to do a better job with this. Using




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    Minimum Wage Boost in Silicon Valley Ups the Cinderella Factor

    Let’s put politics aside for a moment and pretend the minimum wage is not a party-centric issue. Let’s look at it from a pragmatic perspective if possible. Raising the minimum wage in Silicon Valley (beyond San Jose which has already done so) is a very important and rational thing to do for the economic health of the valley, California, and the USA economy as a whole. I’m sure a lot could be written about the class warfare aspect of this, but to me, the innovation guy, that’s not the key issue. The issue is continuing the incredible innovation that happens in Silicon Valley. As of March 2014 it’s 87% more expensive to live in Silicon Valley than the USA average.




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