Executive Participation in Front End Innovation

by Bill Weber

As we said in an earlier post, you don’t have to change your culture, change your processes or change your organization to innovate; all you need to do is take your existing team, your existing processes and add Front End Innovation (FEI) discipline. The key question an executive needs to consider in this context is how much of Front End success is dependent on their involvement. The short answer is: a lot. Continue reading “Executive Participation in Front End Innovation” »

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Can’t Figure Out Why Your Revenue Is Falling? Call an Independent Expert

by Bill Weber

If your revenue is falling, it’s bad. If you don’t know why, it’s worse, especially since there are only two possible causes:

  • Your company is executing badly, or
  • There are things going on in the market you don’t understand, and these unknown things are stealing your business.

We’ve recently had several Fortune 500 clients experience this issue with isolated product lines. These are accomplished, efficient companies. Execution wasn’t the problem. So they took a look at their traditional competitors and found no recent innovations in products or business models that changed the competitive landscape. Further, there were no external forces they could discern that would explain decreasing demand for their products. Yet their product-line revenue was declining. To their credit, this set off warning bells for their executives, and they turned to us for assistance. Continue reading “Can’t Figure Out Why Your Revenue Is Falling? Call an Independent Expert” »

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Harnessing the Power of Front End Innovation

By Bill Weber

In our last two posts, we described why it is that you can’t engineer disruption and how to distinguish Sustaining, Breakthrough and Disruptive Innovations. Given that iP2Biz partners with large companies to help them develop and execute their innovation agendas, the natural question is, “If you can’t engineer Disruption (and Breakthrough Innovation is hard), why even bother?” It’s a good question with a simple answer: if you run your company as you always have and learn to harness the power of Front End Innovation, you can dramatically increase the odds of capturing both Breakthrough and Disruptive Innovations. Continue reading “Harnessing the Power of Front End Innovation” »

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If It’s Great But Not Disruptive, It’s a Breakthrough

By Bill Weber and Kevin Arne

If you read this blog regularly, you know what iP2Biz does, and the very short story is this: our fixed-price engagements help big companies innovate without changing who they are as an organization.  We will never recommend that a client reorganize their business units, reengineer their culture or install new processes.  We don’t “consult;” we get stuff done.

But now I’ve used the word “innovate.”  You know what’s coming next, right?  Of course you do: disruption.  Everybody with a business or an idea for a business is talking about it all the time. “We’re going to disrupt this,” and “We’re going to disrupt that.”  But we know with a high degree of certainty that they won’t because—as we pointed out in this earlier post—you can’t engineer disruption.  So why is everybody going on about disruption all the time? Continue reading “If It’s Great But Not Disruptive, It’s a Breakthrough” »

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iP2Biz or IP Broker

by Bill Weber

For people deeply versed in the way innovation actually works (or doesn’t work) in a big company, the value iP2Biz brings to the table is immediately apparent.  But most executives are not innovation specialists, and our first meeting with a potential client often involves this question: “We have some really cool technology, can you help us sell it?” Continue reading “iP2Biz or IP Broker” »

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The Generic Innovation Process

Generic Innovation ProcessCorporations are constantly searching to improve methods to maintain leadership positions, stay close to customers, and provide profitable solutions to existing and emerging problems. In the hyper competitive and interconnected world we live in, a strong innovation strategy is key to sustainable growth and success. However, the establishment of an effective corporate innovation process that delivers consistent results has proven elusive. There is no generic innovation, or “one size fits all,” process that seems to be available to enable breakthrough innovation. Continue reading “The Generic Innovation Process” »

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Mark of Success – The Creative Conspiracy at Work!

creative collaborationIn her book Creative Conspiracy: The New Rules of Breakthrough Collaboration, Leigh Thompson, of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, describes collaboration that is “conscious, planned, and focused on generating new ideas”. This type of collaboration builds excitement and produces what she calls a ‘creative conspiracy’. She states, “…Teams that conspire to organize themselves, motivate one another, and combine their talents to meet creative challenges are the hallmark of the most successful organizations.” Continue reading “Mark of Success – The Creative Conspiracy at Work!” »

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What is ‘Customized Open Innovation’?

What is ‘customized open innovation’?

front-end-of-InnovationIn an open innovation (OI) model, companies leverage the discovery of others and are willing to commercialize innovations through third party firms. These third party firms often have business models that are better suited for bringing the innovation to market (Chesbrough 2003).

The best manner to leverage these third party firms is with a detailed ‘requirements document’ for a known proposed solution. With this document, the third party will crowd source the globe and sort through responses. This is a very linear process. In this search, precise terms that match what the corporation is looking for exactly are sought. Very often, there is a mismatch and disconnect because there is no ‘perfect answer’. Continue reading “What is ‘Customized Open Innovation’?” »

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Creating Innovative Technologies

creating-innovative-technologiesCreating innovative technologies with external technology providers involves risk. Internally, development activities and intellectual property rights are controlled. In contrast, working with an external technology provider involves sharing, removes complete control over the effort, and creates fuzzy lines regarding intellectual property due to the joint nature of discovery.

When external innovation is embraced, despite the risks, it helps a corporation to succeed. Managing issues with respect to each individual party’s concerns mitigates risk and builds trust. Well-managed risk provides the following key benefits: Continue reading “Creating Innovative Technologies” »

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The Role of an Innovation “Catalyst” Partner

In chemistry, a catalyst is defined as a “substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected”. Often, it is also defined as “something that causes activity between two or more persons or forces without itself being affected” or “a person or thing that precipitates an event or change”.

At the Front End of Innovation, an external corporate collaborator can act as a catalyst to drive innovation without effectively changing the organization or the process. To become an effective catalyst, the external collaborator must be a trusted partner to management and the Front End team. The external collaborator must not have a hidden agenda to push certain technologies or solutions, and cannot push to “advance” the organization internally. The collaborator must be unbiased, fact based, and success oriented. Further, the collaborator must be given sufficient time and resources to deliver relevant results for the group decision making process.

Specifically, an effective catalyst acting as a trusted advisor may: Continue reading “The Role of an Innovation “Catalyst” Partner” »

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