Design Studio Website
Thursday, September 29, 2005
InnovationChallenge 2005

I have signed up for the ThunderBird InnovationChallenge 2005 as a Judge. Like last year, I expect it to be an experience to remember! Do view my profile here. You can view the profiles of all other judges by starting at this page.
posted by Naina @ Permalink 9/29/2005 10:23:00 AM   0 comments  --- Google It! ---
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
The 10 Faces of Innovation : IDEO
"In an exclusive book excerpt from the general manager of Ideo, we meet the personality types it takes to keep creativity thriving--and the devil's advocate at bay."

Find the complete excerpt from Tom Kelley's "The 10 Faces of Innovation" here on FastCompany.

Tom Kelley talks about the following [ among other things ]:

The Learning Personas

Individuals and organizations need to constantly gather new sources of information in order to expand their knowledge and grow, so the first three personas are learning roles. These personas are driven by the idea that no matter how successful a company currently is, no one can afford to be complacent. The world is changing at an accelerated pace, and today's great idea may be tomorrow's anachronism. The learning roles help keep your team from becoming too internally focused and remind the organization not to be so smug about what you know. People who adopt the learning roles are humble enough to question their own worldview, and in doing so, they remain open to new insights every day.

1. The Anthropologist brings new learning and insights into the organization by observing human behavior and developing a deep understanding of how people interact physically and emotionally with products, services, and spaces. When an Ideo human-factors person camps out in a hospital room for 48 hours with an elderly patient undergoing surgery, she is living the life of the anthropologist and helping to develop new health-care services.

2. The Experimenter prototypes new ideas continuously, learning by a process of enlightened trial and error. The Experimenter takes calculated risks to achieve success through a state of "experimentation as implementation." When BMW bypassed all its traditional advertising channels and created theater-quality short films for, no one knew whether the experiment would succeed. Its runaway success underscores the rewards that flow to Experimenters.

3. The Cross-Pollinator explores other industries and cultures, then translates those findings and revelations to fit the unique needs of your enterprise. An open-minded Japanese businesswoman was taken with the generic beer she found in a U.S. supermarket. She brought the idea home, and it eventually became the "no brand" Mujirushi Ryohin chain, a 300-store, billion-dollar retail empire. That's the leverage of a Cross-Pollinator.

The Organizing Personas

The next three personas are organizing roles, played by individuals who are savvy about the often counterintuitive process of how organizations move ideas forward. At Ideo, we used to believe that the ideas should speak for themselves. Now we understand what the Hurdler, the Collaborator, and the Director have known all along: that even the best ideas must continuously compete for time, attention, and resources. Those who adopt these organizing roles don't dismiss the process of budget and resource allocation as "politics" or "red tape." They recognize it as a complex game of chess, and they play to win.

4. The Hurdler knows that the path to innovation is strewn with obstacles and develops a knack for overcoming or outsmarting those roadblocks. When the 3M worker who invented masking tape decades ago had his idea initially rejected, he refused to give up. Staying within his $100 authorization limit, he signed a series of $99 purchase orders to pay for critical equipment needed to produce the first batch. His perseverance paid off, and 3M has reaped billions of dollars in cumulative profits because an energetic Hurdler was willing to bend the rules.

5. The Collaborator helps bring eclectic groups together, and often leads from the middle of the pack to create new combinations and multidisciplinary solutions. Not long ago, Kraft Foods and Safeway sat down to figure out how to knock down the traditional walls between supplier and retailer. One strategy--a way to streamline the transfer of goods from one to the other--didn't just save labor and carrying costs. The increased efficiency sent sales of Capri Sun juice drinks, for example, soaring by 167% during one promotion.

6. The Director not only gathers together a talented cast and crew but also helps to spark their creative talents. When a creative Mattel executive assembles an ad hoc team of designers and project leaders, sequesters them for 12 weeks, and ends up with a new $100 million girls'-toy platform in three months, she is a role model for Directors everywhere.

The Building Personas

The four remaining personas are building roles that apply insights from the learning roles and channel the empowerment from the organizing roles to make innovation happen. When people adopt the building personas, they stamp their mark on your organization. People in these roles are highly visible, so you'll often find them right at the heart of the action.

7. The Experience Architect designs compelling experiences that go beyond mere functionality to connect at a deeper level with customers' latent or expressed needs. When Cold Stone Creamery turns the preparation of a frozen dessert into a fun, dramatic performance, it is designing a successful new customer experience. The premium prices and marketing buzz that follow are rewards associated with playing the role of the Experience Architect.

8. The Set Designer creates a stage on which innovation team members can do their best work, transforming physical environments into powerful tools to influence behavior and attitude. Companies such as Pixar and Industrial Light & Magic recognize that the right office environments can help nourish and sustain a creative culture. When the Cleveland Indians discovered a renewed winning ability in a brand-new stadium, they demonstrated the value of the Set Designer. Organizations that tap into the power of the Set Designer sometimes discover remarkable performance improvements that make all the space changes worthwhile.

9. The Caregiver builds on the metaphor of a health-care professional to deliver customer care in a manner that goes beyond mere service. Good Caregivers anticipate customer needs and are ready to look after them. When you see a service that's really in demand, there's usually a Caregiver at the heart of it. Best Cellars, a retailer that takes the mystery and snobbery out of wine and makes it simple and fun, is demonstrating the Caregiver role--while earning a solid profit at the same time.

10. The Storyteller builds both internal morale and external awareness through compelling narra-tives that communicate a fundamental human value or reinforce a specific cultural trait. Companies from Dell to Starbucks have lots of corporate legends that support their brands and build camaraderie within their teams. Medtronic, celebrated for its product innovation and consistently high growth, reinforces its culture with straight-from-the-heart storytelling--patients' firsthand narratives of how the products changed or even saved their lives.

Full article
posted by Naina @ Permalink 9/28/2005 01:06:00 PM   1 comments  --- Google It! ---
Friday, September 23, 2005
Innovation Convergence: 2005
Chuck Frey at Innovation Weblog has got some fantastic coverage of the Innovation Convergence 2005 Conference. Snippets:
  • Innovation must be customer-centric
  • Look beyond product and service innovation [ like business-model innovation ]
  • More connections = more innovation [ networking might be a good idea of better and innovative ideas; has anyone of you tried idea-a-day?
  • Innovation is a process that can be learned
  • Emerging markets = innovation labs: When you're selling products to emerging markets (such as 3rd world countries), your products must be low-priced, of course. But the process of getting to that low price point forces organizations to rethink the core value of their products, an exercise that can be quite revealing for its primary markets, too.
  • Creative recombination trumps the "new"

Full post

Another post talks about Innovation aspirations, insight pilgrimages and more, which talks about strategies for building support for your innovation initiatives.
posted by Naina @ Permalink 9/23/2005 07:53:00 PM   0 comments  --- Google It! ---
The Innovator's Advantage: A Customer Relationship Management Perspective
Innovation has always played an important role in the success of all types of organizations. However today - with intense competition and demanding customers - innovation has become absolutely critical to a company's ability to generate consistently superior levels of operational and financial performance. This paper illustrates how innovation in customer relationship management can result in superior business performance. Through the client work, this paper identifies three broad innovations in the customer relationship management arena that a number of leading companies are using to improve their financial performance, generate competitive advantage, and dramatically increase demand for their products and services.

Download PDF [113 KB]
posted by Naina @ Permalink 9/23/2005 03:27:00 PM   0 comments  --- Google It! ---
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Gautam Ghosh on Building Creativity
Full Article

A short excerpt with the main points:

Some of the misconceptions which hinder creativity
  • For every problem, there can be only one solution
  • One must be logical and rational when solving any problem
  • An idea can be useful, only it if falls within the norms and standards of the organization/society
  • One should always be clear in one"s thinking
  • In solving problems, one should always avoid mistakes and failures
  • Problem-solving is a "serious" activity
  • Expertise and specialization is a must for effective problem-solving
  • One should obviously not take weird ideas seriously
  • Some people are creative, others are not
posted by Naina @ Permalink 9/21/2005 12:58:00 PM   0 comments  --- Google It! ---
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Pizza Fork and Cutter

Slice and eat with the same utensil! This time-saver cuts through pizza crust, forking up bites and delivering them right to your mouth! Great for pancakes and waffles too. Stainless steel; dishwasher safe. 8 1/2"L x 2"W.

posted by Naina @ Permalink 9/20/2005 11:05:00 PM   1 comments  --- Google It! ---
Using Communities of Practice to Drive Organizational Performance and Innovation: Best-practice Report Excerpt
Today, as more organizations attempt to draw knowledge assets and people together in communities of practices (CoPs), managers and executives want to use them to run their global businesses in new and innovative ways. This article explores the rapidly evolving methodology of CoPs, from planning and creating to maintaining and measuring effectiveness. It reveals that CoPs are becoming a key success factor for impacting time to market, reuse of knowledge, response time, employee development, knowledge sharing, organizational learning, and change implementation.

Download [PDF] [363KB]
posted by Naina @ Permalink 9/20/2005 10:45:00 PM   0 comments  --- Google It! ---
Anonymous Quote
Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have.
posted by Naina @ Permalink 9/20/2005 12:55:00 PM   0 comments  --- Google It! ---
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Continuous Renewal: Managing for the Upside
An organization's ability to learn, grow and refresh itself is critical to high performance. Fostering and managing continuous renewal are most effective at the project and initiative levels. Here are five contrarian principles for making it happen.

  1. Reach Beyond Your Grasp Leaders of highly successful initiatives do not base their goals only on what they know they can achieve. Instead, they fuel their achievements with aspirations that others often call impossible.

  2. Blaze Your Own Trail When reaching for aims that appear impossible, pathbreaking leaders put aside their proven methodologies and disciplined plans and strike off with a brash kind of confidence, knowing there is no turning back. Frequently, these kinds of leaders will inspire a great number of followers.

  3. Create a Strong Emotional Field Leaders of highly successful initiatives realize that it is vital to recognize the power of emotion, especially on a team that is breaking new ground, and that with the right attention, this emotion can magnify the strength of the team and be transformed into the energy necessary to succeed.

  4. Spiral Up Highly successful initiatives sometimes progress along unexpected arcs, and part of the genius of it all is knowing how to influence an initiative along the arc most likely to reach the goal.

  5. Use Luck as an Accelerator Organizations capable of continuous renewal know they are riding a beast only partly tamed. They do not control all the factors that produce success, but they know how to turn events to their advantage. They know how to spot opportunities and how to propel themselves forward when luck turns to their advantage.

On the Web: HTML
Downloadable: PDF [293 k]
From Accenture
posted by Naina @ Permalink 9/15/2005 10:40:00 AM   0 comments  --- Google It! ---
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Smart pegs keep rain off
Hanging out the washing only to witness a downpour five minutes later has long been accepted as one of life's little bugbears.
But a final year student at Brunel University has come up with a weather-predicting clothes peg he hopes could solve the issue.

The peg holder can sense changes in air pressure and send electrical signals to metal strips on household pegs.

If rain is forecast within the next half hour, the peg will lock itself.

The lock-down prevents the washing being hung on the line.

Full article.
posted by Naina @ Permalink 9/08/2005 04:09:00 PM   1 comments  --- Google It! ---
Monday, September 05, 2005
Idea Generation Methods
The definitive collection of Idea Generation Methods by Martin Leith.

This is what Martin has to say about his website: "This website lists and explains every idea generation method I've encountered during the past 15 years. It is the result of extensive research; my many sources include books, management journals, websites, academics, consultants and colleagues.

The methods have been drawn not just from the worlds of creative problem solving and innovation, but also from other worlds such as organisational change, strategic planning, psychotherapy, the new sciences and the creative arts.

The methods are listed below. Each is linked to a description, and in some cases you will find full instructions for using the method to generate ideas.
posted by Naina @ Permalink 9/05/2005 12:18:00 PM   3 comments  --- Google It! ---
Saturday, September 03, 2005
Seeking the source of innovation
From MediaWeek

"Unconventional methods are being used to get the creative juices flowing among media managers. Steve Hemsley accompanied a group of aspiring lateral thinkers on a “mind-altering” trip to Norfolk, hosted by OMD Ignition."
posted by Naina @ Permalink 9/03/2005 10:21:00 AM   0 comments  --- Google It! ---
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Democratizing Innovation
HBS Working Knowledge

Democratizing Innovation looks at which users are likely to innovate, why they decide to build it themselves rather than buy an improvement, the tradition of user-innovators who freely reveal their innovations, and how manufacturers can tap into this creativity.

"Users' ability to innovate is improving radically and rapidly as a result of the steadily improving quality of computer software and hardware, improved access to easy-to-use tools and components for innovation, and access to a steadily richer innovation commons," says the author.

As a result, manufacturers must change their mindset from "Let's find a need and fill it" to "Let's find and commercialize innovations that our users have developed." Writes von Hippel: "A variety of manufacturers have found it profitable to shift the tasks of custom product design to their customers along with appropriate toolkits for innovation."

What kinds of products can come out of such user-centered innovation? Von Hippel looks at his own research at 3M, which develops products both by following a lead-user approach and by more traditional product development processes. The customer-centric products 3M has worked on include a new approach to preventing infections from surgery; a pioneering use of audio, video, and remote data access in electronic test and communication equipment; a novel approach to applying commercial graphics films such as those that provide advertising wrapped around buses; and more effective and environmentally safe packing materials.

In general, ideas generated by lead users at 3M were not only more novel, with a much greater potential for revenue creation, but they also were found to "address more original or newer customer needs, to have significantly higher market share, to have greater potential to develop into an entire product line, and to be more strategically important," writes von Hippel.

It may be time to think of your customer not only as profit but as partner.
posted by Naina @ Permalink 9/01/2005 11:13:00 PM   0 comments  --- Google It! ---
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