USA

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

worldcloudv4Turnover 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 are both here. But, unlike the darkness of that mythical winter, digital tech is a blizzard of fresh, new capabilities, and new combinations of capabilities, that impact and augment every single aspect of a business, the entire value chain — products, services, distribution, sales, manufacturing, business models – everything. And, introduces disruptive approaches to customer value.

There is amazing opportunity for digital innovation and organizations that adapt have the potential for huge growth and success. Those that don’t adapt will lose more than their CEO. Sadly, we have already seen the headlines of respected organizations closing doors and stores that have not embraced digital or created seamless omnichannel customer experiences. Once-household names like Radio Shack and Blockbuster will continue to exist in the pages of Wikipedia. Digital leaders like GE are already transforming industries.

Even those organizations with existing continuous improvement and innovation programs need to amplify and expand their efforts. The innovation effort alone is complex. Digital technology is vast and can be simultaneously intriguing and overwhelming, The time is now to align Innovation + Business + Technology – in order to achieve Digital Leadership.

A meaningful digital conversation would span a wide range of topics and technologies. Mobile devices, apps, commerce, and location have already changed our daily lives. We constantly witness the global reach and influence of social media. Cloud infrastructure creates the backbone to connect the digital dots. Internet of Things (IoT) devices, sensors, and wearables introduce game-changing opportunities. Analytics contribute to a spectrum of sophistication with advanced analytics, data visualization, machine learning, cognitive computing, artificial intelligence, etc. Data tools and platforms wrangle the explosive data pipeline of big data, data lakes, and business applications. Blockchain and Bitcoin provide access to secure digital ledgers and currency.

In order to steer their companies into a successful digital era, CEOs must address some fundamental questions. Where do they need to expand their leadership teams? How do they shift the culture of an established company to become intrapreneurial and nimble? What will they do to forge alignment between historically-siloed parts of the organization to tighten the business+technology+innovation=digital leadership connection? Are they leading or lagging behind their peers and competitors? Harvard Business Review press points out that digital leadership is no longer optional.

So, the time for a conversation between CEOs and their teams about their digital future is now. The time for action immediately follows, and, as HBR indicates, it has to be done differently in this new environment. Things are moving too fast for 24-month stage-gate innovation project cycles. Even the magic of Design Thinking is not enough to inform you as to what projects to do and ensure success. Understanding your consumer is only a start when creating with a new palette of possibility.

A big part of the conversation is going to be about How. Our answer is that a new innovation methodology is emerging that blends current best practices with more rapid innovation project cycles, market knowledge, new ideation techniques, and analysis of where digital technology is best applied to reinvent or disrupt the organization’s value chain. For some, it may appear daunting. But a blended methodology will deliver results.

It starts with a conversation. CEOs, have it now. Game on.

* PwC 2016 CEO Success Study

 

Five Ways Incivility Decapitates Innovation

A Culture of Incivility Harms USA Innovation Five Ways Incivility “Decapitates” Innovation The recent flap around Kathy Griffin’s posting a picture of a fake severed head, of our President, was a sad attempt at humor, but incredibly successful at provocation. It has brought up the discussion, once again, of the civility of our discourse in America. I think Tiffany Quay Tyson does a nice job of summing up how many people are reacting to the Griffin incident, and the subsequent howls of reaction. No matter your political persuasion, civil discourse, and it’s close cousins, politeness, gentility, tolerance, compassion, and good manners have slipped far from where we once were. Those who keep track of civility are in agreement about the




Read More..

To Innovate, Invest (USA, UK, listening?)

Ben Tarnoff’s recent article for the Guardian hits hard. America has become so anti-innovation – it’s economic suicide This article is worth a careful reading. If you care about American Innovation, or UK Innovation for that matter, you’d better realize something; our governments are currently committing economic suicide. They are doing this by not investing in deep theoretical science and in infrastructure. Small “i” innovation is something we do well in the USA, but we can’t live on that kind of innovation forever. We need to create new markets and build new jobs based on new science and technology, new materials, and new infrastructure. This means countries like China, who are investing, are paving the way for their future success.




Read More..

Organizational Creativity, A Practical Guide for Innovators & Entrepreneurs

Book Review of: Organizational Creativity, A Practical Guide for Innovators & Entrepreneurs I read the literature associated with creativity and innovation. Can you hear me snoring? I don’t review most of them because I’d have to pan them. They are consistently boring, dry, and wonky. At the end of the day many books in the genre are, weirdly, not very creative. I’m happy to report that I’ve read a new creativity book that is quite dynamic. Organizational Creativity, A Practical Guide for Innovators & Entrepreneurs, by Gerard Puccio, John F. Cabra and Nathan Schwagler* is a breath of fresh air. It’s dense with fascinating and fresh information about innovation. As claimed in the title, it really is practical, and indeed,




Read More..

Different Ideas Emerge From Different Doing

Different Isn’t That Difficult; It Requires … Doing Things Differently Innovation Programs Based On Best Practices are Doomed to Mediocrity Things I’ve heard recently from c-suite executives about their own innovation programs: “Floundering and ineffective, if I’m honest.” “Mediocre results, we just can’t seem to get to anything really different.” “Lackluster. I’m not impressed by what they come up with.” “We don’t do idea generation well.” These are the words I’ve heard innovation directors and c-suite executives use to describe their own innovation programs. Sad isn’t it, those words are depressing. It’s enough to contemplate bringing a swift end to the thing. The quotes above are all from larger company high level managers who already have highly defined innovation processes




Read More..

Innovation MoshPit

What’s Really Needed is an Innovation MoshPit Reinventing Combinations, Concept Blends, and Mash-Ups I’ve been touting concept blends in innovation for some time. My reason is simple, it’s a fast path to new and different ideas. From the Printing Press to the iPhone, big new market-creating innovation happens when concepts from two different domains are combined. These Mash-Ups are not intuitive for most people to do and maybe that’s why some people try it and fail. Take heart, smart people can do concept blends with careful mental scaffolding. The key benefit to concept blends for organizations is finding breakthrough innovation. It’s my contention that a lot of breakthrough innovation is left on the table because not enough thinking work is




Read More..

Ten Things United Airlines Might Have Done

Improving Customer Service at United Airlines Requires a Paradigm Shift and Recognizing They Have a Problem Creative Training Would Have Helped 10 Things United Airlines Might Have Done (see below) Once again we have an incident of extremely poor customer service from a major airline. This time it’s United (as it is frequently) who dragged a paying customer off a flight by force. A doctor on a deadline. Incidentally, an Asian man. The video is very hard to watch, it’s sad, degrading, humiliating for the passenger, and an example of brutality visited upon an innocent and trusting consumer. The cops went too far as well, but United made the call and got them involved. United is responsible. Other than beating




Read More..

The Founder, Innovation On Film

The Founder, Lessons in Innovation The Founder, starring Michael Keaton as McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, is the best film about innovation since Moneyball in 2011. Between the two of them there is enough marvelously illustrated content to teach a masters course in innovation. Unlike Moneyball, which had the surface covering of a baseball story, The Founder is actually about how innovation happens.  In telling Ray Kroc’s story, we see it all: the entrepreneurial mindset, observational research, desire, and, how an idea is taken to the next level. One does not have to be a student of innovation to love this movie. Innovation stories, in both the movie, and in real life are filled with emotion, brilliance, and human frailty. Innovation




Read More..

Small “i” Insights or Large “I” Insights Yield Different Innovation

Qualitative Consumer Verbatims Lead Directly to New and Improved Ideas Disruptive Innovation Requires Reframing of Consumer Words and Need States Working with Fortune 1000 companies I’ve found cultures rich in respect for qualitative research. The term “Focus Groups” really doesn’t do the method justice, it’s more sophisticated than that.  Smaller companies often do qualitative to, usually less formally, and often poorly, but sometimes brilliantly. Listening to consumers is a skill any entrepreneur or innovator can cultivate. The trap is thinking that consumer words, aka insights, are great launching pads or problem frames for ideation. They’re not bad, but they rarely lead to disruptive innovation. As a qual friend said to me, “here are big “I” insights and small “i” insights.”




Read More..

Innovate Immigration Policy

Why a Hostile Immigration Policy is Stupid Who remembers George Gilder? He’s a relevant person to recall at this moment in time. George Gilder said in 1995: “Without immigration over the last 50 years, I would estimate that U.S. real living standards would be at least 40% lower.” He could be wrong with that figure. It might be more than 40%. He said that in 1995. Readers who would prefer I stay out of political posts please understand this is a post about Innovation. I’m not going to comment on the moral, legal, or overtly political aspects of the new immigration policy. I will say that the new policy is hostile, at the very least in terms of how it’s




Read More..