Killer Innovations
The award winning Killer Innovations™ Podcast and nationally syndicated talk radio show (on +30 radio stations) is hosted by Phil McKinney, an award winning innovator of technologies and products used by hundreds of millions of consumers and businesses worldwide. The podcast is Phil's way to "pay-it-forward" by sharing his experience and expertise in innovation so that individuals and organizations can achieve success in the innovation/creative economy. About the Host: Phil retired as the CTO at Hewlett-Packard where he led the product/R&D for the $40B PC, Mobile, Display/TV and Workstation business. He is currently the President and CEO for CableLabs, the non-profit R&D and innovation lab for the global cable industry. Phil shares his rule-breaking approach to innovation and creativity in his book "Beyond The Obvious" and via the podcast. He has been credited with forming and leading multiple teams that FastCompany and BusinessWeek list as one of the “50 Most Innovative”. His recognition includes Vanity Fair naming him the “The Innovation Guru”, MSNBC and Fox Business calling him "The Gadget Guy" and the San Jose Mercury News dubbing him the "chief seer". For more information on Phil visit his blog at philmckinney.com.

As humans, we have some unique abilities. We are self-aware, we exhibit critical thinking and we have the ability to be creative and innovate. Will that always be the case? Some think that artificial intelligence (AI) will someday take over creativity and innovation.

In my opinion, AI will become a tool that will help improve our creativity and innovation but I doubt that it can takeover what I see as an inherit human ability to our conscious and unconscious mind to invent.

How Will Artificial Intelligence Help Our Creative Ability?

In a recent article in Venture Beat by Tim Sox titled, "How AI will advance our creative thinking", the author shares a list of ways AI will be a tool. These include:

  • AI will reshape talent and recruitment
  • It will test and develop creative thinking
  • AI will uncover non-obvious insight
  • It will speed up the creative process
  • It will transform global communication

What Will Be Artificial Intelligence Impact On Jobs?

If AI is going to eliminate some of the more mundane jobs, which jobs will be impacted and what should you do about it? In a recent article by  Scott Gerber of on TNW, he shares the results of a survey from the Yound Entrepreneur Council asking them which jobs would be most impacted by artificial intelligence.

Here is the high level list - not in priority/impact order:

  1. Forcasting
  2. Customer Service
  3. Education
  4. Finance
  5. Foodservices
  6. Personalized Healthcare
  7. Medical
  8. Logistics
  9. Loyalty Programs
  10. Marketing
  11. Procurement
  12. Public Relations
  13. Search
  14. Security

Check out the full description of how and why AI will impact these jobs over at TNW.

Will We See Artificial Intelligence With Imagination?

Can AI have imagination? Can it imagine the future of what might happen without being told to do so?

We've all seen the current public displays of artificial intelligence including AlphaGo which benefits from having clearly defined rules which allow outcomes to be predicted very accurately in almost every circumstance.

Or Facebook which has created a bot that could reason through dialogue before engaging in conversation in a fairly constrained environment.

The real-world is significantly more complex than this.

Mallory Locklear in Engadget wrote an article on what IBM is doing with what it calls "imagination-augmented agents - or I2As. These are neural network trained to extract any information from its environment that could be useful in making decisions later on. These agents can create, evaluate and follow through on plans.

Creativity and Innovation Overrated?

Eliot Gattegno from Techcrunch wrote a post back in May titled "Creativity is Overrated". While the title could be viewed as clickbait, then premise he makes is important.

We are seeing society fall into "creativity worship" when we see star status applied to innovators. What about the non-creatives? A company full of Steve Jobs' will not be successful. As I've said many times, innovation is a team sport. Without these other role, creatives would not be successful trying to deliver innovations on their own.

Today, roles typically not attributed to being creative in an organization (e.g. accounting/finance, HR, facilities) are the ones that could be viewed as being at risk with growing role of AI.

This change could have significant impact.

Check out this episode of show and let me know your thoughts in the comments below ..

 

Show Links

Check out The Innovators Community. A private slack community of innovators from a wide range of industries coming together to share, learn and support each others innovation successes. Check it out at TheInnovators.Community.

 


It’s human nature to want to make a lasting impact with the innovations we create. To do something meaningful and enduring. To create a lasting legacy that makes the world a better place. I call this innovation with purpose.

In some cases, we need help to realize a vision we have that manifests this idea of innovation with purpose.

This week at an annual event we host in Keystone, Colorado, we premiered a new vision video with the objective of inspiring others to think about what innovations they can contribute to health care needs of our aging population. How do we make the future a better place for ourselves and our family members.

The video is titled, "The Near Future: A Better Place"

[youtube id="k0KIqRAoGBk"]

So why is the cable industry interested in the needs of those looking to age in place?

This is a need that will impact all of us.  Today, roughly 8.5 percent of the world’s population is aged 65 and over. By 2050, this older population will represent 16.7 percent of the world total population.

The broadband networks provided by the cable industry are what will enable innovators to invent this vision of the near future. It will take an ecosystem to address this need and the broadband network is part of the ecosystem.

At CableLabs, we are tasked as the R&D and innovation lab for the global cable industry, we are focused on innovation with purpose. In this case, that innovation with purpose is to create and inspire innovations that allow people like Jim love a long and fulfilling life the way they want to live it.

Independently.

Additional Resources

In addition to the main film, there are two additional films to provide more background.

This film is a "Director's Commentary" where I describe the background and inspiration for the film.

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This film is a look a the technology behind The Near Future: A Better Place.

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If you want to see all of the vision video's I've created over the years, go check out this blog post: Predicting The Future With A Vision Video

 

 

Direct download: Innovation_With_Purpose_Inspiring_The_Near_Future_S13_Ep24.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 5:59am PDT

Once we have experienced that taste of success, we will do anything to experience it again but instead, we fall into the trap of success. Success leads us down the path of taking a more conservative approach in hopes that we can repeat the success we just experienced.

The assumption is that if we repeat what we just did, we increase the likelihood that we will repeat the success again. That is a bad assumption.

When it comes to innovation, success can be traced to a team that is willing to challenge the how and therefore take a maverick role within the organization. Instead of embracing this mavrick approach, we fall into the trap of success and go the exact apposite direction. We become more conservative and relegate the team to being a one-hit wonder.

So how are we to avoid this trap of innovation success and stay a maverick??

Injecting Creative Stress Through Competition

When a team a needs to achieve innovation success, they need to be willing to throw out everything they know. The easiest way to get a team or organization to change is when there is a crisis such as a having a significant competitor.

Without this crisis, most teams and organization cannot find the will to be a maverick and instead fall into the trap of success.

While at HP, we were tasked to go from #3 and #4 market share to #1 in 3 years. To achieve that success, the entire organization had to re-think what a PC was and how to make them meaningful -- if not actually desirable.

[youtube id="PcWcD8vcPr8"]

We threw everything out the window and started from scratch. It was a "bet the farm" move to achieve a BHAG that we knew we needed to achieve.

Once you've achieved the BHAG, you need to find the next competitor/BHAG. This is what allows you to deliver repeatable innovation successes.

Creative Stress For Teams

Another approach to avoiding the trap of success is to create some creative stress between teams within the organization. This is the approach Disney Animation and Pixar put in place to help drive each other to more success.

How did they achieve this without destroying the culture and teamwork? By establishing some basic rules:

  1. The studios would not be allowed to borrow each other’s resources when they got into a pinch.
  2. The wouldn’t be able to take over each other’s projects.
  3. No team would have veto power over another team’s movie.
  4. They were on their own to develop their own cultures and storytelling.
  5. But, they would have to openly share their work and they would have to listen to each other’s criticism.

Conclusion

Wouldn't life be great if it could predictable? Follow these 5 easy steps and everything will work out. While that sounds enticing, I would argue that life would also get boring.

Life in unpredictable. That's what creates opportunities for innovators. But as innovators -- once we've tasted innovation success -- we fall in to the same trap of success as everyone else. Follow these 5 steps and you can repeat success. But we just said that life is unpredictable ... didn't we?

So what are we to do?

Inject some creative stress into our projects by identifying the competitor "out there". That competitor can be external to your organization or it can be another team inside. That is what Disney Animation and Pixar did to achieve repeatable success.

To hear more on the trap of success, listen to the full show below ... 

Direct download: How_To_Avoid_The_Trap_of_Success_S13_Ep23.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 8:28am PDT

The pace of innovation continues to accelerate and in many instences, we are surprised from the unintended consequences from innovation adoption. While innovators focus on the adoption, we overlook the need for society to adapt to these new innovations and the impact it has.

[shareable cite="John Maynard Kaynes - 1930"]I believe that this is a wildly mistaken interpretation of what is happening to us. We are suffering, ... from the growing-pains of over-rapid changes, from the painfulness of readjustment between one economic period and another.[/shareable]

Some adaptations are conscious while others are thrust upon society with both positive and unintended consequences.

Innovation Adoption Examples

One example would be the rapid adoption of social networks and how society has adapted itself to its role in how people share and receive information. While social networks have allowed people to stay connected, it has also redefined what it means to be friends and the role of trust when it comes to the information that is shared.

Another example would be the retail sector. It has seen a never ending wave of innovation that has disrupted even the well established retailers. It started with the "big box" retailers disrupting the small local and regional retailers. Now its the online retailers such as Amazon disrupting the big box retailers.

Unintended Consequences

There are many more examples of the unintended consequences of innovation disruption.

So what is the role of innovators to help those that are being disrupted? Do we just play the role of disruptor and let everyone else figure out the consequences?

I would suggest that we as innovators need to go beyond simply launching our disruption. We need to spend time thinking about the possible unintended consequences. When we identify them, we can then understand what we can do about them.

There are many examples where innovators go out and launch in hopes that those impacted (e.g. local, state and federal governments) won't be able to keep up thus creating some unique advantage over established models.

Is that the right thing to do?

I would argue that ethical innovation calls for us to think beyond just the adoption of a new innovation. We need to acknowledge that others will need to adapt to it and the possible unintended consequences.

Do you agree??

Listen to the full show to hear my thoughts ...

 

Direct download: The_Unintended_Consequences_From_Innovation_Adoption_S13_Ep22.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 7:43am PDT

Helping companies and teams to unlock their natural creative ability can be daunting to innovation leaders. One method that I have found incredibly useful is to use improv comedy skills as a way to get team members comfortable being uncomfortable since in improv, you never know what's going to happen next.

Kelly Leonard, Executive Director of Insights and Applied Improvisation at The Second City and Second City Works, shares his experience and insights from Second City being part of the training for such creative talent as Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Amy Poehler, Seth Meyers, Steve Carell, Keegan Michael Key, Amy Sedaris and others.

So what role can and does improv comedy skills play in helping teams and individuals boost their creative output?

Through Second City Works, Kelly and his team bring the skills, training and experiences of improvisational comedy to help companies such as Coca Cola, Microsoft, Memorial Sloan Kettering and DDB Worldwide unlock their teams natural ability to be highly creative.

How?

Improv Comedy Skills

Leonard shares there are two core basic skills that directly apply:

  1. Careful listening: In one exercise he uses with clients, a group has to create a story one word at a time by having each person in a circle add one (and only one) word to the story based on what has been said already. It forces people to have to focus on their listen skills and not their talking skills since 90% of this exercise is about listening.
  2. Building on the ideas of other by using "Yes And ..": In a second exercise, Leonard sets a rule that for the first team minutes, any comments ideas must build on the ideas of others by starting each statement with the words, "Yes - and ...". This reinforces listening skills and offering positive reinforcement to the original idea and the premise that the best ideas on built upon the ideas of others.

For more exercises and how they apply to the business world, check out Kelly Leonard's book, Yes, And: How Improvisation Reverses "No, But" Thinking and Improves Creativity and Collaboration--Lessons from The Second City.

Kelly shares a number of other experiences and examples of how improve comedy can boost innovation. To hear the other examples, listen to the audio from show below ..

 

 


What inspirations feed your ideas for innovation? In this case, seeing a news report on a tragic death of a 6 month old baby let a young entrepreneur to create an innovation that could save kids left in the car.

Bishop Curry is headed into the 6th grade this fall. Its was a the tragic death of Fern Theford, a six month old infant, in 2016 that was the inspiration to innovate a solution to prevent this accident from happening again.

In a Washington Post article on the accident, the author Travis M. Andrews shared:

The temperature in a car can rise rapidly, and children left inside — even for just a half hour, even on a relatively cool spring or summer day — are almost immediately in danger.

Christopher Haines, director of pediatric emergency medicine at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, told WebMD that most parents don’t understand how quickly an innocuous errand can turn deadly.

“On a day that is just 72 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature [inside a car] can increase by 30 to 40 degrees in an hour, and 70 percent of this increase occurs the first 30 minutes,” Haines said.

In addition, a child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s, according to the Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Bishop went after the problem and figured out a way to save kids left in the car

Through a series of prototypes, he came up with a solution. To raise the funds needed to move the idea forward, Bishop's parents setup a GoFundMe page with a target of raising $20,000. So far it has raised more than $45,000 and its still going.

To secure the idea, he has begun working with a patent attorney and has plans to build some early prototypes so that they innovation can be refined.

So what are the lessons?

  1. Don't let age or experience hold you back.
  2. Don't be afraid to try an idea because it might fail.

Hear it from Bishop himself in the audio from the show below ...

More on Bishop Curry:

Bishop B. Curry, V is headed into the 6th grade in the fall. He lives in the Dallas Texas area with him Mom and Dad and younger siblings Isaiah (9) and Anistyn (2). He came up with the idea for Oasis when Fern Thedford (6 mo) died tragically in a hot car last summer. Bishop's ingenuity is God-given and to supplement what comes natural, Bishop attends an engineering camp every summer when school is out. When he grows up Bishop plans to be an inventor and an actor.

Press on Oasis ...


What would you think if your child, grandchild, niece or nephew came to you and said that they were skipping college to start a business?

Almost a year ago, I interviewed Nick Titus who was soon to be a High School Senior about his science fair project that was quickly becoming an innovation that could impact the lives of those who had lost mobility. To get an update, I invited Nick back to the show to share an update.

To start off, Nick and his friends have decided to take a "gap year" and skip college to start a business. That business is Myonic. Myonic is taking what started as Nick's science fair project to hack a TENS device so that people who had suffered a spinal cord injury or stokes could regain movement.

Since we last talked with Nick, he has achieved some major milestones including:

At the same time, Nick and his team has advanced the product to now allow mind control. This allows the user to think what action they want to perform, such as close the hand. By combining that with other motions such as gritting teeth, the device knows that you want to crush a pop can versus wanting to gentle pick up a raw egg.

While we talked about this feature a year ago, Nick and team have not only worked out the technical issues, they have created a working prototype.

So what's next?

They are on track to close a round of pre-A funding while announcing that will be opening up access to their product to beta testers. If you are interested, please check-out their new web site at myonic.tech.

So what lessons did Nick learn trying to finish his Senior year of High School while also being a CEO? Focus. He shared that prioritization and focus became the challenge while trying to juggle all the demands on his time. Welcome to adulthood.

Listen to the full interview below.

More on Nick Titus:

Nick Titus is the CEO and Co-founder of Myonic Technologies Inc. Myonic has created a wearable device that allows paralyzed users to regain control of their muscle. He founded the company after developing the medical device in his high school engineering lab for a science fair project. He saw the good that this device could bring to people's lives first hand and decided to launch a company to get this technology in the hands of more people around the world.

You can follow Nick and Myonic on FacebookTwitter or on their website.

Direct download: Skipping_College_To_Start_A_Business_S13_Ep19.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 5:25am PDT

This is for CxO's or those who want to eventually be a CxO. How are you thinking about innovation within your organization? What are you doing to ensure that you have the right innovation leader in place?

Why Is Innovation Important?

A recent McKinsey & Company surveyed more than 2,000 executives and asked how important is innovation to them. Not surprisingly, +80% responded that innovation was extremely or very important to their companies' growth.

If that wasn't convincing, The Boston Consulting Group found that nearly 80% of executives put innovation as one of the top 3 priorities for their companies, and more than 20% made it the single top priority.

Why?

Research has shown that consistently innovative companies hold 6 times the market share and make 3 times the profit than the average in their industry.

So - what things should your innovation leaders be able to bring to your organization?

The 8 Things Your Innovation Leader Should Bring To Your Organization

#1 - They Bring Experience: They've lived the front line of taking an idea and turning it into a success. Having a failure under the belt is a big plus. Consultants are not experienced. While they can help you understand the theory and maybe implement a process, they do not bring the experiences you need for innovation success.

#2 - Build A Culture For Innovation: Building and extending a culture for innovation is critical to an organizations success. If the culture is not aligned with innovation, the innovation leader needs to have the skills to do the hard work of re-building the culture.

#3 People: Innovation leaders understand that innovation is about people. It's human ingenuity that sparks that ideas that transform organizations. At the same time -- innovation DOES NOT happen from a single team and the role of the innovation leader is to help other leaders in the organization succeed when it comes to innovation.

#4 Executive Presence: The innovation leader must have the executive presence and ability to communicate at the most senior levels within the organization. Their role is to act as translator. They translate innovation so that executives see and understand the what and the why. They also translate executive speak so that the innovators understand what the innovation objectives are.

#5 Great Ideation Facilitator: The innovation leader knows how to create the right BHAG (Bold Harry Audacious Goal). This is what enables teams to create ideas that become game-changing innovations. The innovation leader has a proven ability to use team diversity (much broader than the HR definition of diversity) for generating better ideas.

#6 Innovation Metrics: The innovation leader has a proven track record of creating, measuring and delivering against innovation metrics. They know how to define innovation metrics tailored to the organization.  They commit and take responsibility to deliver against the metrics even though they are beyond their direct control.

#7 Coach and Mentor: The innovation leader understand the difference between coach and mentor and knows when to apply each. A coach provides specific instruction regarding how to improve your performance. A mentor becomes more of a trusted adviser in areas that can cross personal and professional lines.

#8 Great Collaborators: Collaboration is fundamental to innovation success and great innovation leaders model collaboration. NIH (Not Invented Here) doesn't belong inside ANY organization just as fighting over credit is NOT collaboration. Innovation leaders are focused on getting the best out of others and not worrying about who gets credit in the end.

Conclusion

While I started off addressing this show to CxO's its a good scorecard for those of you who want to become innovation leaders insider your own organization.

So how would score yourself against each of the 8 items??

Don't sweat it. No one has all eight. There are a few items on the list that I need to work on myself.


The Truth And Disappointment Of Orphaned Innovations S13 Ep17

Direct download: The_Truth_And_Disappointment_Of_Orphaned_Innovations_S13_Ep17.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 11:28am PDT

Inside any size organization, getting everyone engaged on innovation can be daunting. Its not just as simple as saying that innovation is important. You need to show the organization how. At Adobe, Mark Randall reversed engineered his approach to grassroots innovation and structured into a process called Kickbox. He didn't stop there. He and Adobe decided to open source the Kickbox approach to grassroots innovation to help other organizations innovate.

During the interview, Mark and Phil discussed:

Grassroots Innovation

  • Mark's work experience that led him to being at Adobe and heading up innovation.
  • His experience in being an entrepreneur and how that prepared him for his role in innovation leadership.
  • The difficulty in reverse engineering how someone innovates so they can teach others.
  • Challenging large organizations to innovate.
  • The challenge that resulted in the creation of Kickbox (hint: grassroots innovation).

Kickbox

  • The overall structure of Kickbox
  • What is in the Red Box?
    • The six step/level process
    • Pre-paid credit card with $1,000
    • Scorecards, frameworks and exercises to develop ideas
  • The objective of the two-day workshop where participants are given their Red Box.
  • How does someone "get" a Blue Box?
  • What is in the Blue Box?

Impact on Adobe and Others

  • What has been the impact from Kickbox on Adobe?
  • What other organizations have used Kickbox and what has been the result? (e.g. Cisco, Caterpillar)
  • What improvements and changes has been contributed back to the open source material for Kickbox?

 

About Mark Randall:

Mark’s serial entrepreneurial career conceiving, designing and marketing innovative technology spans nearly 20 years and three successful high-tech start-ups. As VP of Innovation at Adobe, Mark Randall is focused on infusing divergent thinking at the software giant.

Mark has fielded over a dozen award-winning products which combined have sold over a million units, generated over $100 million in sales and won two Emmy awards. As an innovator, Mark has a dozen U.S. patents, he’s been named to Digital Media Magazine’s “Digital Media 100″ and he is one of Streaming Magazine’s “50 Most Influential People.” Mark speaks & teaches frequently on entrepreneurship, innovation and strategy and has appeared on CNN, ABC, NBC and CNBC.

Direct download: Grassroots_Innovation_Using_The_Kickbox_Process_From_Adobe_S13_Ep16.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 7:00am PDT