Open Innovation

    Training is an Innovation Accelerant II

    trainingfireDo You Wish To Accelerate Innovation? Get Training!

    When I step into a room to facilitate an innovation, strategy, or idea generation session I always find a great deal of energy. What I also often find is inexperience. Inexperience in:

    • the kind of divergent thinking necessary to innovate,
    • in specific meeting behaviors and facilitation skills,
    • and in innovation process, approaches and frameworks

    Here are details regarding innovation courses you can attend in the near future, Denver, August 28 – 31.

    Energy, motivation, and inspiration are important factors in getting innovation rolling. But none of them, or all of them together, are enough to overcome untrained thinking, poor session facilitation, and an un-anchored or non-existent innovation approach.

    Your innovation efforts will fail without training.

    Yes, you can train people in creative thinking, Front-End-of-Innovation (FEI) frameworks, and in meeting facilitation. You need focused imaginative, divergent, visioning, strategic, and conceptual thinking. The research that says brainstorming doesn’t work studied groups with no training and no facilitator. Training, a skilled facilitator, and frequent practice are essential to effective ideation sessions and creating a broad and systemic organizational innovation culture.

    That difficult bit of invention that analysis can’t quite solve is especially challenging for corporations. Training makes a big difference in bridging the gap between market knowledge and… what could be. It’s not enough to know a market white space. It’s not enough to have “insights” from in-depth research (or what passes for insights). It’s the creative thinking that builds on that research, analysis, and insight that gets you workable innovation concepts and ultimately market results.

    You’ll see immediate results with creativity, innovation, and facilitation training. Min Basadur did a rigorous study on the topic, see here, and that’s not the only proof. Teams achieve breakthrough results when properly facilitated through through a rapid, flexible, but structured process at the front end of innovation. Knowledge of frameworks like CPS and Design Thinking are essential. Knowing how to adapt and blend frameworks to your needs is advanced practice in innovation. Power tools like applied improvisation games can help you run faster. Stimulus tools like KILN’s IdeaKeg help you scaffold your thinking using trends from outside your industry or category. Getting to breakthrough isn’t easy, training is an essential stepping stone to excellence in innovation.

    Creativity and innovation training feeds innovation like wood wool feeds flame.

    Did I mention you’ll save money if you have a good, well-trained, facilitator on staff? If you hire an outside facilitator even once or twice a year, it makes financial sense to get the training and save on those expensive consulting fees.

    Training Accelerates Innovation in Five Strategic Ways:

    1. Improved creative thinking skills leads to more breakthrough new business concepts to consider.
    2. Training helps instill structured creative thinking and innovation process as a cultural value, so people will do it all the time and keep innovation spinning.
    3. CPS and FEI training provide innovation teams with a common language and framework to solve problems. This means expedited resolution of challenges, more rapid iteration of new business concepts, and more implemented innovation.
    4. Training corrects many of the common myths that surround creativity and innovation. There is a science to this that is largely ignored. For those that learn and practice the science — it’s a competitive advantage.
    5. Team efficiency improves because a lot of useless chatter, debate, and conflict is reduced or eliminated. Teams that know how to work together creatively are more productive.

    If you are in charge of an innovation program or initiative — do training first. All activities that happen afterwards will be performed at a higher level.

    Creative training is the fuel for innovation fire. Please Join Me in Denver at the end of August: Here are details regarding innovation courses you can attend in Denver, CO, August 28 – 31.

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    Disaster: CEO’s Ignoring Digital Innovation

    Does Any CEO Have the Luxury to Ignore Digital Transformation and Innovation? Gregg Fraley and Karen Kirby, copyright 2017 Innovation + Business + Technology = Digital Leadership Turnover of CEOs is already high, about 14.9 % a year as of 2016*. The demands of digital leadership and the enterprises of the future could dramatically accelerate that rate in the next few years. The conversation CEOs need to be having, to remain in the shrinking 85.1%, is about how to integrate digital technology and seize new pathways to industry leadership. In HBO’s Game of Thrones there has been that recurring foreboding phrase, “winter is coming.” For years, the phrase has been whispered in the ears of CEOs “digital is coming”. They




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    Intrapreneurship Chicago 2016

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    Temporary Innovation Veep

    The case for bringing in a temporary Innovation Veep.* “On Call Innovation Director/Mentor/Trainer”? What really changes innovation culture? Are you seeking a change in your innovation approach? Is your organization mired in a non-innovative swamp? First let me say what does NOT change innovation culture. It’s not that these services that I’ll mention below can’t be helpful, they can. But on there own, they will not change innovation at your organization. There’s one thing that will change culture and I talk about that at the bottom of this post. Don’t skip ahead. * Let me acknowledge the ideas of author Michael Foster — we discussed these concepts about a Temp Veep over coffee in San Jose a few weeks ago




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    Seven Essentials of an Effective Innovation Project Manager

    Outsourcing innovation project management might be the most strategic money you spend this year. It’s not a new idea but it’s one more companies should consider. It sure beats doing nothing. See my Seven Essentials for hiring below. But first: If you’ve not got an innovation plan in the process of being executed, right now, you are treading water and will eventually drown. So what’s stopping you from kicking off an innovation initiative? I often hear resources. What I hear from top management: “we don’t have the time or resources for innovation projects, we’ll start later this year.” I get it. How is it possible to do this separate thing that requires its own focus and resources while keeping the




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    Innovation 2015 or Five Lame Excuses?

    Death or Kryptonite? I have a  vinyl record with one of those strategic skips that has it repeating — it drives me nuts — but I still play the record because I love the song so much. The song is Jimmy Olsen’s Blues by the Spin Doctors. It’s a hard rocker about the lament of Superman’s pal who has a crush on Superman’s gal. In the song Jimmy Olsen is competing with the man of steel for the affection of Miss Lois Lane. He’s got a secret weapon, a pocketful of Kryptonite. Innovation ca feel a lot like that — your competition is a big tough impossible-to-beat player like Superman. And no matter your size as an organization, you’d better be like




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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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    Harvard’s Kodak Moment?

    Have you ever been in the position where you thought, “gee, if only I was better educated, or just smarter, this complex decision in front of me would be easy.” In the innovation world the agonizing decision of whether to embrace a new trend and leave behind your old business model is always brutally dificult. Organizations have been torn to shreds in the conflict about what to do. Some have made those big choices and survived, like IBM, or, made bad choices and bit the dust, like Kodak. Part of the psychology of leadership is the doubt, the fear, that you’re not quite smart enough to make a good decision. One of the reasons people flock to Harvard to get




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    People Got To Be Free

    Power. It’s not something people talk about in the context of innovation. They talk about Leadership, Change, Management, and Teams — but they rarely talk about what’s behind all of those concepts, Power. I’ve been making a habit lately of talking about the unsaid in innovation, and power is a huge unsaid in innovation. I’m going to have to be a little bit snarky here. I’ll balance that by citing those gurus of innovation, The Rascals (who were in fact genuinely kind hearted guys who worked for civil rights). But first, my citation: Power, wielded with a heavy hand, is the enemy of innovation. Power, aligned with values people believe in, is the enabler of innovation. The higher up an




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