From Bankruptcy to Industry Leading Success – The LEGO Story

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LEGO has earned the right to celebrate. Not only are kids playing with more mini LEGO people than there are human beings on the planet (Delingpole J, 2009) but in 2015, they were nominated by Forbes as the most powerful brand in the world. For a company which was on the brink of bankruptcy in 2004, the toy maker has made an amazing turnaround. They restructured, hired a new CEO, and forged more licensing partnerships than ever before. Most importantly, they discovered the secret to some of the world’s most successful, low risk innovation strategies.

These strategies helped LEGO create a powerful brand envied by every other company in the world. However, successes like these are not, and need not be, restricted to global companies with billions in revenue. The point of low risk innovation tools is that one can use them to test ideas in any setting and with any budget. Whether you are a cash strapped startup or a Forbes 500 firm, sustainable innovation can be your ticket to success.

Out of LEGO’s lessons and that of hundreds of other companies, I have distilled the most successful techniques to innovate cheaply and effectively. They are all contained in the book Innovation Tools and, as an additional bonus, the readers of the Innovation Management community can get it for free this week. Among others, my book answers questions regarding how strategies used by companies like LEGO are able to turn companies around from looming bankruptcy to industry leading success.

Read the full blog about From Bankruptcy to Industry Leading Success – The LEGO Story at Innovation Management.

The (Non)Sense of Employee-Focused Innovation Training

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A lot has been written about Innovation Training in the recent past. At Culturevate, we clearly see the sense of such training, but there are some important conditions that needs to be met for these efforts to generate long-term impact for an organization. Not all companies understand these conditions, which often leads to mediocre results and missed opportunities. One extra difficulty is that a good Innovation Training should be driven by and aligned with several functional parts of a large corporate organization.

An innovation training effort should be an integral part of any corporate innovation program/strategy. A concrete training effort gives a clear message that innovation should be taken seriously and supports your employees who may not know how or where to begin.

However, just launching an innovation training effort independently, without context to a company’s strategy or culture, will create confusion and generate low output at best. We prefer a model that makes use of the momentum of a training effort to explain (and reinforce) the organization’s innovation program and strategy throughout the curriculum. This way, you achieve the additional advantage that a big picture strategy is much better understood by the community and that the training fits in the big picture strategy of the company.

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Top Online Learning Management System Tools in 2016

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The e-learning industry has tremendously evolved and is continuing to evolve year after year. It has become an industry grossing tens of billions of dollars. There are numerous online platforms which have utilized different learning management system tools to make education available to their remote students. The popularity of learning management systems is expected to continually grow, as various companies have realized the potential of these tools, which can be used to teach future employees about the business in a quick manner.

But, like in every industry that grosses billions of dollars, the competition is high. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular learning management system tools and what they offer to their users; so that you can find out which learning management system is right for you.

Read the full article about Top Online Learning Management System Tools in 2016 at Innovation Management.

Everyone Talks About Innovation … But What is it Really?

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From manufacturing to accounting: in every sector, organizations sooner or later declare themselves ‘innovative players’. Sad but true: as a mantra for businesses far and wide, ‘innovation’ too often becomes a catchphrase devoid of meaning. So let’s break it down and get back to the nitty-gritty: what is innovation exactly, and why should you care about the word’s core meaning?

What comes to mind when you think of innovation? Ask this question to a handful of people and you’re bound to end up with answers that contain either the words ‘drone’, ‘self-driving car’ or ‘Airbnb’. Or you might just hear a random Steve Jobs quote. Although innovation surely is about these big and bold ideas as well, there is more to the word than meets the eye.

A working definition of innovation

The Latin word innovare – which means ‘to make changes’ or ‘to do something differently’ offers a partial answer to the question what innovation is. After all, doing new things is still at the heart of the matter. However, it does not cover the why. Organizations don’t make changes just because they’re fun or interesting. The key driver for all innovation is value creation and, ultimately, the long-term survival of your business.

A working definition of business innovation might look something like this:

Business innovation means making changes that add value, in terms of either revenue growth or increased operational efficiency. This value can be created by introducing new products, operational processes or business models. The ultimate goal is to safeguard the competitiveness and long-term survival of the organization.

 

Read the full Article about Everyone Talks About Innovation … But What is it Really? Visit Innovation Management.

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How Innovation and Authenticity Complement Each Other in a Corporate Environment

Authenticity and innovation are two of today’s biggest corporate buzzwords. They are often considered as separate values, but in reality they have much in common and in this article we will examine the areas of overlap and potential leverage benefits.

Neither of these terms have the same definition from company to company, or even amongst individuals. For the purpose of this article we will use the following definitions:

  • Innovation is the process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay. (reference BusinessDictionary.com).
  • Authenticity is the quality of being real or true, and is best understood as a social construction that has been put into place to achieve a particular aim. (Cambridge Dictionary online and Library Trends (Vol.56, No. 1)

With that out of the way, let’s examine ways in which authenticity leverages and supports innovation, and vice-versa. Some examples include:

1. Authenticity and Design Thinking

Without an authentic approach it is difficult to identify those key pain points that drive the development of truly innovative ideas.

These days’ innovation within a corporate setting is synonymous with Design Thinking (DT) approaches. The fact is that DT requires a genuine understanding and appreciation of not only what is possible, but what is most beneficial from a client / end user perspective.

2. Roles in innovation

People often think that being innovative is a singular focus on coming up with the lightbulb idea that will change everything. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. The reality is that innovation requires a range of skills and abilities, and few people possess all aspects (Suzan Briganti at Totem writes about this). Accordingly, it is important for innovators to recognize their true, specific skills in the context of identifying, selecting and executing new ideas.

Read full article about How Innovation and Authenticity Complement Each Other in a Corporate Environment visit Innovation Management.

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5 Ways to Create a Successful Innovation Program

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You’ve heard it a thousand times: companies need to innovate in order to survive. The Googles and the Apples of the world are doing it- Google famously used to require employees to dedicate 20% of their time to innovation. But what exactly does it take to create a sustainable innovation program, especially if you are in an industry that is traditionally risk averse?

As the global workforce is inundated with young, tech-savvy professionals, corporations must embrace the reality that, whether they like it or not, the world has gone social. People are leveraging crowdsourcing for personal forms of communication and entertainment, and crowdsourcing has found a place in the enterprise too.

See full Article about 5 Ways to Create a Successful Innovation Program at Innovation Management.

Also visit our various programs of Online Learning Innovation Programs and also get updated with our latest Articles.

A Compelling Value Proposition: The Missing Tool in Your Lean Startup Kit

Eric Reis first introduced the concept of Lean Startup in 2008. Today Lean Startup is deployed far beyond entrepreneurial circles and is taking root in large, complex organizations looking to improve their new product success rates – and in the process build lean cultures. This is very good news. Too often the processes corporations use in pursuit of innovation can actually erode their capability to innovate. Still, when applying the principles of “Build – Measure – Learn” to initiating Lean practices in corporations, there is room for improvement…and possibly even for a pivot.

 

CVP before MVP

Corporations do not operate with the freedom of a startup, and navigating the internal learning and approval cycles can be even more challenging than effectively engaging customers. Before an intrapreneur starts coding, fabricating, etc. to test his/her new concept as a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in the market, approvals and sponsorship from management is required. So rather than building an MVP, I recommend that these intrapreneurs start with a CVP (Compelling Value Proposition). Innovators need a way to not only get smart fast about what their target customers want, but also about what management wants and will support. An effective bridge for crossing the internal chasm between a potentially brilliant idea and the approval to build a minimum viable product is essential.

Getting smart fast

 

  • Start the process by sharing your initial thoughts with a few trusted colleagues.
  • Once you’ve considered the comments of these initial exchanges carefully, and you find the idea still has significant value, widen your circle of support by talking to experts and key stakeholders. Build a mock-up.

 

Here is not the end.. To view full article about A Compelling Value Proposition: The Missing Tool in Your Lean Startup Kit visit Innovation Management.

Also visit our various programs of Online Learning Innovation Programs and also get updated with our latest Articles.

 

Are You Focusing on the Right Pilot?

Piloting in business innovation means testing an idea effectively. This is not a straightforward process and requires addressing the right questions: What idea should we test? Which aspect of it? How should we go about testing? How should we measure the results? What do we allow these results to mean and what do we do afterwards?

Forget selection – Test all your ideas

I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” – Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” – Decca Recording Company on declining to sign the Beatles, 1962

There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.” – Ken Olson, president of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977

When you do need to choose

Testing everything won’t work when you have too many concepts. We are constantly choosing between ideas, so it helps to become aware of what should and should not influence choices. A legitimate approach is to strive for a multitude of concepts. In her book Creative Conspiracy, Leigh Thompson argues that “striving for quality results in less creativity than when striving for quantity.” The approach that we call “producing for waste” means you will end up with a whole batch of ideas from which to choose.

So how can we select an idea to pilot if we are famously flawed at predicting successes in our own domain? The answer is to be systematic. We have created a four-step checklist when selecting which concepts to pilot:

  1. Check your innovation priorities
  2. Check the origin of the idea
  3. Check potential impact along important KPIs
  4. Check that the path of implementation will fit your person or culture 

Read more about Are You Focusing on the Right Pilot?

Innovation is an essential and important thing which is required by any business organization to achieve the planned targeted goals. Now a days online learning Innovation help organizations in may ways starting from learning new skills, building creativity & enhancing leadership among employees which is the key factor to get success in this competitive environment.

A Process for Innovation Planning

All too often, hastily planned brainstorming sessions bring up a lot of good ideas that somehow never get used, while the boring kinds of ideas you are trying to get away from seem to be used again and again. One reason for this is the lack of an innovation plan, according to Jeffrey Baumgartner.

“We need fresh ideas for the Acme proposal. Let’s all sit down and brainstorm ideas some time this week.” How often have you heard something like that at your office? How often have the creative ideas of the brainstorming session been implemented? All too often, hastily planned brainstorming sessions bring up a lot of good ideas that somehow never get used, while the boring kinds of ideas you are trying to get away from seem to be used again and again.

One reason for this is the lack of an innovation plan. I am not talking about a grand plan for your entire corporate strategy. Rather, I am talking about developing an innovation plan for a single issue or project.

Your Goal/Problem

The first step of your innovation plan is to state the goal or problem. Imagine you are a product manager at a mobile telephony company and want to introduce new services to your clients.

Before putting stating a problem like “new services”, you need to think about your goal in a little more detail. Do you want to develop new revenue streams for your company or do you want to add additional free services? Are you targeting a specific group ­ such as business users or teenagers? Or should determining the target group be part of your goal? Bear in mind that I have used the term “goal” here. Think not just about what kind of ideas you want ­ but the goal of the ideas. Finally, be sure you express the goal in a way that is clear to everyone on your team.

You also need to establish how far you will take the innovation. Are you simply preparing a proposal for management or will you be responsible for the entire project life-cycle or does the limit of your responsibility fall somewhere in between?

Once the goal is stated, you should also consider several other issues:

Participants: Who will participate in your innovation plan? Can you solicit ideas from the entire organization or will you be restricted to a specific project team? Who can you call upon for evaluation and pre-implementation?

Budget: What is the budget for capturing and developing this idea?

Resources: What resources will be available for capturing and developing this idea? What tools do you need? Can you hire facilitators or an ideas campaign tool? Can you hire facilities for brainstorming? What internal resources will be available to you?

Timeframe: How much time do you have to capture and develop your ideas.

Reward(s): are you offering any rewards for ideas? You might want to offer a small reward for the best ideas. One well known company offers small cash rewards and dinner coupons to people who contribute exceptional ideas. Others offer gifts, points or recognition. If you are working with a relatively small team, you might consider rewarding the entire team at the completion of the product ­ or at major milestones if the project is long-term.

If you like to push the envelop and have fun, consider adopting a theme for this innovation plan. Themes are not necessary, but can be an effective means of focusing creativity in new ways and tying together various aspects of innovation management. Keeping to our example of a mobile telephony company, you could adopt the theme of “amusement parks”. In other words, you would use amusement parks as a metaphor when generating ideas, implementing ideas and even naming new services that you devise. This doesn’t mean that everything has to be about amusement parks. Rather, amusement parks are simply a focus of the team’s thinking.

Idea-generation methods

Now, you are ready to plan how you will generate ideas. Don’t limit yourself to brainstorming, there are several effective team ideation approaches worth considering:

Brainstorming: is best when time is limited or the team is relatively small and in one location. Brainstorming, in a nutshell, is getting a group of people together in a space and shouting out ideas for a limited time period. People build on each others’ ideas and the creative energy pushes people to think more creatively and propose more radical ideas.

Ideas campaigns: are best when there is more time or the team is large and dispersed across several locations. An ideas campaign is rather like a long, drawn out brainstorming session where people come in to the campaign from time to time, share an idea or two, build on other people’s ideas and then leave. An ideas campaign usually lasts from two to six weeks.

Experimentation: is best when ideas are technical in nature. Experimentation is basically a matter of putting together various configurations and seeing how they work. Experimenting would not be an effective approach for our mobile telephony company example of developing a new service. On the other hand, if the innovation plan was about improving the efficiency of sending multimedia data across a GSM network, experimenting would probably be an important part of your innovation plan.

Other approaches to ideation can include outsourcing creativity to another company, buying the rights to an established idea or buying a company that has innovative products you would like to be able to offer your customers.

Once you start generating ideas, bear in mind that there is a tendency in teams to embrace the first creative idea that you capture. This can be a mistake. Rather you should push that first creative idea further and see if you can make it even more creative. At the same time, you should push people to come up with more creative ideas. This pushing for further creativity is important and should be included in your innovation online learning plan.

Pushing ideas further could be a matter of doing brainstorming sessions on your best ideas, in order to develop them further. Alternatively, you could ask people to think about the best ideas overnight and give you more developed ideas in the morning. “Sleeping” on an idea is an excellent way to push it.

Pushing people’s creativity further is about positive feedback, explicitly encouraging more radical thinking and inspiration. Inspiration includes all kinds of things, such as: bringing in professional brainstorming facilitators; taking the team to an art museum or ballet performance; participating in activities that open the mind; and using alternative brainstorming approaches.

Finally, you need to allot a specific time frame for the idea generation phase.

Initial evaluation

Once you have captured some good ideas, you need to evaluate them to determine which are worth taking further. The 5×5 criteria matrix is probably the most efficient initial evaluation method. To do a 5×5 criteria matrix, you simply determine five criteria by which you can rank promising ideas. You then look at each idea, determine how well it meets each criterion and grant it 0-5 points for that criterion. Once you are finished, add up the points and you will have overall point scores for each idea. This is a very good basis for determining which ideas should go on to the next stage.

Other people prefer open discussion meetings for determining which ideas to take further. These can also be effective, although such meetings are usually less efficient and less objective than criteria based evaluation ­ at least for the initial evaluation. We recommend that you have an open discussion based meeting AFTER the criteria based evaluation in order to clarify any outstanding issues and discuss how promising ideas could be improved further based on the evaluation results.

You also need to allot some time to the evaluation phase.

Report

If you are not involved in implementing the idea, the chances are your responsibility will end with making a report to your superior or to a project development team. If so, you can readily prepare a report based on the top ideas and their evaluations.

If you are involved in the implementation, on the other hand, you will want to go directly to the next step.

Pre-implementation

Pre-implementation is a preliminary action, such as building a business case, doing market research, making a prototype or running a limited trial in order to test an idea.

You will doubtless already have standard pre-implementation methods in your company for developing ideas into products or services. Nevertheless, it is important to include the pre-implementation in your innovation plan. You also need to determine how much time to allot the pre-implementation.

Implementation

By now, you should have a small number of very good and well tested ideas. It is time to implement them.

By developing such a structured innovation plan for specific projects, you can look forward to more creative ideas and a higher level of implementation of those ideas.