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.

To some organizations, starting an innovation effort seems easy. Just hire some consultants, host a few all-hands meetings and then decree that the organization is embracing innovation. Sustaining innovation over time is incredibly hard. Without a long term commitment, most organizations experience innovation collapse.

Are there weak signals that an organization is heading towards innovation collapse?

4 Signs Of Coming Innovation Collapse

Here are four signs that organizations should keep a look out for.

  1. Innovation Out Of Fear: For sustained innovation, an organization needs to have a bedrock reason why innovation is important.  For some, it's out of fear. Fear that share price is suffering  because of a lack of innovation. Fear that everyone else is doing it and the organization is being left behind. While fear is a catalyst for innovation, its not a sustainable motivator.
  2. Competitive Urgency: For many organizations, their idea of innovation is responding to their competitors actions. When a competitor launches a new product or service, the organization responds by catching-up. Its innovation effort is reactionary which is not a sustainable approach to innovation.
  3. Innovation Silos/Innovation Fragmentation: Some organizations will attempt to catch-up by starting a large amount of innovation projects. The innovation version of throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. Projects will make everyone feel like they are doing something but without coordination and prioritization, the odds of success are slim.
  4. Lack of Will Power: For an organization to create a sustainable innovation program, their leadership will need to make some changes. Do they have the will power to do whatever it takes for innovation success?

During this weeks show, we discuss in more detail each of the 4 signs of pending innovation collapse.

We also share what you can do to avoid it.

[callout]Click below to listen to this weeks show on innovation collapse.[/callout]


While many are familiar with the story of how DARPA (actually it was its predecessor ARPA) invented the internet. What few are familiar with is the untold stories of of DARPA and how its innovators solved some of the most pressing problems we faced.

DARPA was created in 1958 in response to the launch of Sputnick with the mission to ensure that the United States didn't find itself behind the Soviets when it came to technology - especially in space. While its focus was on technology and innovation for the Pentagon, its work has had significant impact on civilian life.

This weeks guest, Sharon Weinberger, shares some of the untold stories abut DARPA based on her newly released book, The Imagineers of War: The Untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency That Changed the World

The Untold Stories of DARPA

DARPA is responsible for some of the most important technologies of the past six decades. Some of its projects are successes, some are failures, and some are best left to history to judge. Here is a list of DARPA’s most notable—and in some cases notorious—contributions to science, technology and warfare.

Driverless Cars: Today’s driverless automobiles being developed by Google, Uber and others are a direct result of DARPA’s robotic car races that began in 2004, with a course that ran across the Mojave Desert. The first winner of it's Grand Challenge competition was recruited by Google to start work on the company’s autonomous vehicles.

The Internet: More than any single person or agency, DARPA can lay claim to having “invented” the Internet. In the 1960s, it sponsored development of a system of networked computers called the ARPANET, the predecessor to the modern Internet. DARPA’s work on areas such as networking, packet switching and time-sharing laid the foundations for personal computing.

Drones: During the Vietnam War, the agency was responsible for developing the first armed drones. In the 1990s, the agency funded an Israeli aerospace engineer to build an unmanned aerial vehicle, which later evolved into the Predator, the armed drone most closely associated with targeted killings.

Agent Orange: In the 1960s, DARPA introduced chemical defoliation to Southeast Asia, believing that it could help eliminate jungle cover used by communist insurgents fighting the U.S.-backed government in South Vietnam. The work grew from early experiments into a widespread military spraying program that today is held responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths and sicknesses.

Border Wall Technology: In 1962, scientists working for DARPA outlined a proposal to create a barrier between North and South Vietnam. Eventually, that proposal morphed into the infamous McNamara Line, an electronic barrier that failed. Yet many of the concepts and technologies developed by DARPA, such as tethered aerostats and seismic sensors, are now used along the U.S.-Mexican border.

Stealth Aircraft: In the 1970s, DARPA sponsored development of the first “invisible aircraft,” a stealth prototype codenamed Have Blue. The stealth aircraft was designed to be invisible to radar in order to slip past Soviet air defense systems. The U.S. military’s current fleet of stealth aircraft, including the stealth helicopters used in the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, can all be traced back to DARPA.

Nuclear Test Detection: One of DARPA’s earliest projects was a network of sensors and satellites to detect foreign nuclear tests. President John F. Kennedy relied on DARPA’s results in deciding to go forward with a Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963 that halted nuclear tests in the atmosphere, oceans and outer space.

Modern Seismography: To advance work in underground nuclear test detection, DARPA invested heavily in the discipline of seismography and built a worldwide network of seismograph stations. The sensor network, and DARPA funding, is widely credited with advancing seismography and allowing scientists to collect the data needed to confirm the theory of plate tectonics.

M-16: During the Vietnam War, DARPA bought the Armalite-15 rifle for South Vietnamese soldiers. Eventually, it became the M-16, the standard weapon used by all three U.S. military services.

Artificial Intelligence: In the 1980s, DARPA launched a billion dollar initiative to develop artificial intelligence. The agency invested in everything from computer vision—teaching machines to “see” —to thinking computers that could help military pilots fly aircraft. The program was shut down in less than a decade and branded a “failure” at the time. Yet now some of the technologies DARPA invested in, like voice recognition, are widely used in the commercial sector (iPhone’s Siri, for example, was a spinoff of a DARPA project).

Robotics: DARPA has been the leading investor in robotics in the United States for decades. Many of today’s most recognizable robots, like iRobot’s PackBot, a bomb disposal robot used in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Roomba, the vacuum cleaner robot, can be credited to DARPA.

Data Mining: In the days after 9/11, the agency was responsible for creating one of the most high profile and controversial data-mining projects, called Total Information Awareness. The project was designed to trawl through large amounts of data, from car rental records to intelligence reports, to ferret out domestic terrorists. It was accused of being an Orwellian spy program and the work was moved to the National Security Agency.

Presidential Protection: After the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the agency ran a top-secret project to protect the president. Though many of its ideas were rejected as too fanciful, like a proposal to protect the president with a mirage-producing system, DARPA was responsible for the first armored presidential limousine.

Neuroengineering: DARPA in the 1970s helped lay the foundation for Brain-Computer Interface (brain-driven computers), imagining a future where humans could control machines, like drones, with nothing more than their minds. Today, DARPA is working on neural chips designed to help those with brain injuries recover memories and prosthetics controlled directly by the brain.

Satellites: Created in 1958 as the nation’s first space agency, it was responsible for developing the first communications satellite and first spy satellite. The agency also played a brief but critical role in sponsoring the Transit satellite, which led to the Global Positioning System.

Lessons From DARPA Success

Sharon shared three lessons from the success from DARPA:

  1. Price of Success is Failure: Be willing to try, fail and then learn from it.
  2. Be Clear About What Problem to Solve
  3. Function is More Important Than Form

[callout]Listen to this weeks show to hear Sharon Weinberger share  some of the untold stories of DARPA.[/callout]

About Sharon Weinberger:

Sharon Weinberger is the executive editor for news at Foreign Policy. Her most recent book, published in March 2017, is The Imagineers of War: The Untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency That Changed the World (Knopf, 2017). She is currently a non-resident global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Nature, Discover, BBC.com, Slate, Wired, the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, and the Financial Times, among other publications. She was previously a senior editor at Aviation Week and a co-founding writer and editor for Wired's national security blog, Danger Room.

[callout]Click below to listen to hear Sharon Weinberger share the untold stories of DARPA.[/callout]


To invent and deliver innovation at scale, infrastructure can quickly become the roadblock that will turn a great idea in to nightmare. For those of us who have been on Twitter for any amount of time, how can we forget the "fail whale" whenever it went down.

While many may consider infrastructure the "boring" part of launching a new product or service, its not something innovators can overlook.

So do you have to reinvent or can you learn from the hard earned lessons of others?

Innovation At Scale

Fortunately there are a number of open source projects that shares the lessons learned from companies who deliver their innovations at scale such as Twitter, Google, Facebook. Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

This weeks guest, Florian Leibert, brings his experience of being part of the team that solved the "fail whale" problem at Twitter. Florian is the co-founder and CEO of Mesosphere - the company that brings infrastructure that allows its customers to create and launch their innovations at scale.

To date, Mesosphere has secured nearly $126 million from 14 Investors, including A Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Microsoft. The company counts more than 100 enterprise customers, including Autodesk, ESRI, Verizon, Netflix, and Deutsche Telekom. This summer, the company was added to the Forbes Cloud 100 and selected as a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum.

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show to hear what is required to deliver your next innovation at scale.[/callout]

About Florian Leibert

Florian Leibert is the CEO and co-founder of Mesosphere, the company behind DC/OS – the premier platform for building and running data-rich, containerized applications.  Prior to founding Mesosphere, Florian was technical lead at Airbnb, where he built the company’s data infrastructure and co-authored a popular open source tool called Chronos. Before that, he was technical lead at Twitter. At Twitter he built the company’s distributed search service and introduced Apache Mesos to improve the scalability and reliability of Twitter’s platform. This helped to eliminate the then infamous “fail whale.” Leibert has been a researcher and software engineer developing distributed systems for more than a decade.

[callout]Listen to this weeks show to hear Florian Leibert's experience of delivering innovation at scale.[/callout]

Direct download: Innovation_At_Scale_The_Role_Of_Infrastructure_S13_Ep41.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 6:01am PST

Building an innovation ecosystem of support across your organization is critical to achieving success. Without it and you will struggle taking and idea and making it real.

This week, we take a look at another listner question on how to get support across the organization.

[shareable cite="Fotune 50 Innovator" text="What kind of incentive program should we put in place for new innovative products and services?"]A problem in large organizations with innovative ideas is getting the sales team engaged to proactively sell your idea to customers. It's relatively easy to setup a market trial but getting 5 account teams to sell this to help prove out the market trial is a challenge: the sales teams are just too busy meeting their targets with current products. What kind of incentive program should we put in place for new innovative products and services? What other ideas? Be good if you could take a service as an example - rather than the usual product focus. Innovation can happen in services too![/shareable]

Innovation Ecosystem

By building an ecosystem of groups and departments that you need support from to make your innovation successful, you greatly enhance your chances for success. This innovation ecosystem can consists of:

  • Operations (finance, IT, legal, etc)
  • Manufacturing/supply chain
  • Product development/services delivery
  • Sales and Marketing

Dealing With A Lack Of Innovation Support

Why is so hard to get them to support innovation? Many believe that with executive, or even CEO support, the rest of the organization will fall in. Top down "declarations" that innovation is important is NOT enough.

As an innovation leader, you need to create an environment that invites and encourages others to be a part of the work you are doing.

5 Steps Building A Strong Innovation Ecosystem

  1. Build innovation interface points across the organization. Treat them like they are part of your team. Their role is to be your evangelist inside the silo's when you need their support. Do NOT wait until you need them. Have the relationships well in place before the first crisis appears.
  2. Identify the "catching team" early. Who will own the innovation after launch? Get them engaged early. Don't ask for a lot of resources. Ask for a named individuals who will own it.
  3. Ramp up the resources. As an innovation gets traction, ramp up the resources from the teams as needed.
  4. Ramp down your involvement. At the same time as other resources are ramping up to support the innovation, you and your team need to ramp down. Minimize your role in leading the innovation effort. Instead, move the ecosystem to take on leadership roles.
  5. Let the catching organization get the credit. The easiest way to win over the innovation ecosystem inside your organization is to not focus/worry on who gets credit.

Incentive's To Encourage Support For Innovation

What incentives should/could be in place? Here are two examples:

  • # of innovations that resulted in new product/services.
  • % of revenue from new products/services launched in the last x years.

These are just a start. There is a lot more to consider when it comes to incentives. If there is interest in this topic, we will cover it in a future show.

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show to learn how to build a strong innovation ecosystem within your organization.[/callout]


I'm not sure how many people would up and quit google and sell their house to fund an innovation. On top of that, the idea was in an area that many say had no room for new innovation. A very typical innovation antibody response to this persons idea.

Unexpected Innovation

Many innovations that go on to become market leaders are the result of the innovators own personal frustrations. For Renee, that frustration came from wanting a better way to search and find audio content that allowed her to stay up with everything going on.

While many believe that world does NOT need yet another podcast application, Renee believed that allowing for audio keyword search was one such innovation that others would find helpful.

I was one of those people. While I've tried just about every podcast app going back almost 14 years, CastBox did create something unique.

Innovation Through Sacrifice

What are you willing to do to take your idea and create the product or service you envisioned? Some will use some of their savings or maybe even borrow from a few credits cards. Few will go the levels Renee has done. In her case, she quit the ultimate job with Google and sold her house to fund what became CastBox.

That is true sacrifice to fulfill a vision.

About Renee Wang:

Renee Wang started her technical career working for Google. Her passion for listening to spoken audio led her to asking the questions, "why can't I search for keywords in audio?." This simple question led her down the path of finding a solution to this obvious question. 

Renee quit her job and sold her house to launch CastBox. What is it? It's a global audio platform pioneering in-audio search and delivering contextual recommendations to listeners of podcasts, on-demand radio and audiobooks.

 

[callout]Listen to this weeks show below to hear how Renee Wang, founder and CEO of Castbox, went from idea to innovation in audio.[/callout]

Direct download: Would_You_Quit_Google_and_Sell_Your_House_for_an_Idea_S13_Ep39.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 6:29am PST

When it comes to tackling some of the hardest medical innovations, patience becomes a fundamental requirement. Because of the regulatory challenges of getting government approval, its not uncommon to wait for years before an innovation is approved for use. That assumes you can solve all of the technical and medical issues before even starting to secure government approval.

In the case of Dean Irwin, the innovation he envisioned needed innovation in components before the product could be created. How long would you be willing to wait? In Dean's case, that wait was for 15 years.

Patience

Waiting 15 years to bring an innovation to market is the ultimate example of patience. Why did it take so long? To achieve the design objectives, the product needed innovation in a number of areas including smaller and cheaper lasers, improved delivery approaches and confidence in the vision of using lasers to address a medical need that no one else considered.

So how do you fund innovations that take so long?

Dean's company took the basic elements and went after a market that was less demanding and that could generate enough margin to fund the long term vision. The result was a bootstrap approach to ensure control of the vision and funding to drive the innovations needed.

What's the status of the innovation Dean has waited so patiently for?

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show to hear how Dean Irwin's patience is saving lives.[/callout]

About Dean Irwin

Dean Irwin is founder and CEO of Ra Medical Systems. Since founding Ra Medical Systems, he has spearheaded the successful design, development, and commercialization of the Pharos excimer laser for dermatology as well as the investigational DABRA excimer laser and DABRA catheter for peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Over his career, he has published numerous engineering and scientific papers including consulting to the Plasma Research Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Institute of Plasma Physics at Nagoya University in Japan. Dean has been issued eight patents in the field of ultraviolet light and phototherapy, four patents for advanced display technologies, and has numerous patents pending for methods, devices, and catheters for cardiovascular applications.

Show Links:

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show to hear how Dean Irwin's patience is saving lives.[/callout]

Direct download: Patience_Waiting_15_Years_To_Bring_An_Innovation_To_Market_S13_Ep38.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 6:11am PST

We've all heard the mantra to never give up. We say it to our kids in the hopes that they stick with something that has impact. In the case of Dean Irwin, this mantra as child set him on a path that few could imagine.

Dean left school at 13 to become an entrepreneur. His first effort was studying and repairing radios and TV back when they relied on vacuum tubes. This foundation let to him becoming and engineering consultant at MIT working on nuclear fusion.

How do you go from a kid of 13 fixing TV's to working on nuclear fusion at one of the most prestigious universities? Through passion, curiosity and willingness to use his understanding of the basics and applying them to new technologies. It turns out that understanding the basic of vacuum tubes is directly attributable to understanding and building the elements needed for nuclear fusion.

Never Give Up

Dean credits his upbringing that encouraged his interests to learn, understand and apply his ideas in unique ways. To never give up on his dreams and interests. Even if that means going in directions that sometimes don't seem logical.

I'm not sure as a father and a grandfather I could get comfortable with one of my kids or grand-kids leaving school at such a young age to go live their dream. Does that sound too conservative or too logical? Maybe. As I've preached many times, we all need to get comfortable being uncomfortable. And when we see youth who are on a path to transform society, we sometimes have to be willing to let go.

Dean Irwin is one of those rare bread of entrepreneurs and innovators that can see what others can't and create life impacting innovations.

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show to hear Dean Irwin's story and how he is changing our lives.[/callout]

About Dean Irwin

Dean Irwin is founder and CEO of Ra Medical Systems. Since founding Ra Medical Systems, he has spearheaded the successful design, development, and commercialization of the Pharos excimer laser for dermatology as well as the investigational DABRA excimer laser and DABRA catheter for peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Over his career, he has published numerous engineering and scientific papers including consulting to the Plasma Research Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Institute of Plasma Physics at Nagoya University in Japan. Dean has been issued eight patents in the field of ultraviolet light and phototherapy, four patents for advanced display technologies, and has numerous patents pending for methods, devices, and catheters for cardiovascular applications.

Show Links:

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show to hear Dean Irwin's story and how he is changing our lives.[/callout]

Direct download: Never_Give_Up_Leaving_School_At_13_To_Study_Nuclear_Fusion_S13_Ep37.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 10:59am PST

Over my career, twice I found myself part of what I would consider high performance teams. These are teams that achieved far beyond expectations. Once you've been a part of a high performance team, you will do everything in your power to find another team just like it.

What I struggled with was unlocking why some teams are high performing while others were so bad I did everything in my power to get off of them.

This begs the question: Is there a formula or set of rules to creating and maintaining high performance teams?

Yes - per the authors Linda Adams and Audrey Epstein, of The Loyalist Team: How Trust, Candor and Authenticity Create Great Organizations.

In their book, they establish the framework that there are four types of teams.

  • Saboteur: Team members are working actively to sabotage the project and team members.
  • Benign Saboteur: Depending on the the situation and personal goals, team members will throw others under the bus with no commitment to the success of the team and its projects.
  • Situation Loyalist: Team members support the team and its members depending on the situation and personal objectives.
  • Loyalist: Team members are fully committed and have each others back.

Compared to saboteur teams, loyalist teams are 2000x more likely to be viewed as highly effective by their stakeholders.

Mindset of High Performance Teams

In their book, the authors layout what they believe are the tell tail signs of the loyalists team mind set:

  • We win or lose together
  • We have each other's backs
  • We are committed to the team goals
  • We hold each other accountable

What type of team are you on?

Which team are you a part of? Take a free survey offered at Trispective.com

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show to hear how you can create high performance teams.[/callout]

About The Guests:

Audrey Epstein's 20-year corporate HR career has focused on her passion: driving executive, team and organizational excellence. Prior to her consulting experience, Audrey managed learning and development functions within large companies and non-profits. Her experience includes building state-of-the-art leadership programs for executives, high potential groups, and special populations such as executive women.

Linda Adams brings over 40 years of experience as a Human Resources professional in several large international corporations and as an Executive Coach to the senior leadership of several top North American businesses. Linda focuses her work on creating dynamic and sustainable change in the way executives interact and create results for their teams and their organizations. She works with senior executive leaders to articulate vision, build alignment, establish accountability and drive to attain results for their organizations.

Links:

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show to hear how you can create high performance teams.[/callout]

Direct download: Can_You_Create_High_Performance_Teams_S13_Ep36.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 6:14am PST

Have we become addicted to innovation? I love the next new thing as much as anyone as evidenced by all of the stuff I've accumulated. As an innovators, the challenge is how to get the innovation timing right to satisfy the market and stay ahead of the competition.

The pull on companies to create the next great product or service is hard to avoid. Consumers are asking and your competition is on your heals.  Its the innovation version of "keeping up with the Jones".

But innovation is not a one and done type activity. Once you start, the customer is always looking for what's next. The pace of innovation drives your activity and its not slowing down. In fact, its accelerating.

The Goldilocks Problem

As an innovators, can you or should you speed up your innovation refresh rate? This is a Goldilocks problem. You go too slow and your competitions will blow right past you. Go too fast and your customers cannot absorb what you are creating. You risk creating innovation exhaustion.

You need to get the innovation timing "just right".

Behind The Scenes Look At How I Do It

You are probably asking yourself, if this is so hard, what hope do you have in getting it right? Don't expect perfection.  There is NO magic formula that when performed generates innovation planning success.

Innovation is messy and unpredictable.  So how do you set the right flow?

Four Step Process To Set Your Innovation Timing

  1. Set your funnel "output" rate. For example,  At HP, the rate of innovation from the Innovation Program Offices was 2 per year for HP. In my current role as a CEO with ~200 people, we have an innovation rate slightly higher than what we had at HP.
  2. Define your stages in the funnel. I use a four stage funnel/gates to ensure oversight of ideas in different stages of development.
  3. Calculate out how many total ideas to achieve your "output" rate. For example, at HP we set our metrics as:
    • Market Validation = 20 ideas
    • Customer/Product Validation = 10 ideas
    • Limited Launch/Trial = 5 ideas
    • Global Launch = 2 ideas
  4. Pace yourself. Its easy to get enthusiastic on the ideas you have in the funnel. To achieve long term, sustainable innovation, you need to prioritize your funnel and be discipline on 2 per year.

The above may sound simple but trust me, its a lot harder than it looks. Leaders within your organization will derail the funnel at ever turn. Be prepared to defend and protect the funnel.

Hard Learned Lessons

Some lessons I've learned when leading and managing innovation organizations:

  • Do not over extend your rate by pushing more innovations than the rate you've set. For 2 ideas per year, we required 35 ideas in the funnel (see metrics below). If you were to go to 3 ideas per year, you would need roughly 52 ideas in the funnel. Think about that carefully.
  • Be aware of what your customers (or internal catching organization) can absorb. If you exceed their innovation adoption rate, you will burn them out with innovation exhaustion.

Listener Question: Starting A New Business

This week, we took time answer a listener question:

[shareable cite="Roberta " text="Should I start my business as an affiliate or as a distributor ?"]I am stuck trying to decide between starting a new business (non tech actually, small regional chocolate creators) that is either affiliate which is limited start up fees and also limited % or distributor which requires a WHOLE lot more capital as well as commercial kitchen for storage, receipt of products and distribution, etc.[/shareable]

Answer: Yes. Listen to this weeks show to hear my advice to Roberta on starting a new business.

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show to get a behind the scenes look at getting the innovation timing right.[/callout]


During some recent travels, I started noticing the comments and suggestions that "being part of Silicon Valley must be exciting". As I paid more attention, it came across as almost hero worship of Silicon Valley and the companies its has launched. It's like people believe that innovation outside Silicon Valley is a rare if not impossible occurrence.

I have to admit that when I first showed up in Silicon Valley in 1984, I was in awe. I felt that I had arrived and proven myself. It took me better than 4 years to open my eyes and see that it wasn't that unique or special. There are some advantages to being there but human creativity and innovations they create are not limited to small piece of land. There is innovation outside of Silicon Valley.

Venture Capital

One unique characteristic to the valley is the access to billions of risk capital that people are willing to invest in new innovations. But risk capital is available in other places also. For example the State of Ohio Venture Fund which is helping new innovative companies stay in the state rather then feeling they need to go to the valley to be successful.

Unexpected Innovations

Innovation can come from anywhere such as the result Hurricane Katrina, a taxi drive in NYC working on new medical innovations and the solution to predictors killing livestock in Africa. While many of these innovations start out as solutions to immediate hyper local issues, they can and do turn into products and services that we all benefit from.

Remember that innovation does not equal technology. There are an unlimited number of ways to apply innovation to what you do.

How To Help

The challenge is how to help innovators who are outside of Silicon Valley to be successful while also impacting their local economy. Here are some ways we can all help:

  1. By highlighting what others are doing (e.g. social media) to give them some exposure.
  2. By shows what others are doing, reinforcing that anyone can innovate.
  3. By showing how to innovate (e.g. joining The Innovators Community), give others the skills to take their idea and turn it into a business.

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show on Innovation Outside of Silicon Valley.[/callout]

Direct download: Innovation_Outside_Silicon_Valley_S13_Ep34.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 3:34am PST

When it comes to looking and selecting the right ideas to get behind, we all suffer from biases and blind spots. When you look at the success rate for venture capitalists, the only expect to have one hit out 10. So, why do we repeatedly find ourselves backing the wrong ideas and what can we do about it?

While some if not many companies will fail, there are a corresponding set of great ideas that will never see the light of day. Why is that? Because those entrepreneurs can't get the support to turn their idea in to that next killer innovation.

Stop Backing The Wrong Ideas

This weeks guest, Ross Baird, shares what he calls the "innovation blind spot". This blind spot is based on three areas:

  1. "One size fits all" - the attempt by entrepreneurs to take an idea, opportunity or problem and apply basic/simple rules to solve or address it. This creates blind-spots that we are not even aware of.
  2. "It's not what you know; its who you know" - this is manifest through biases of who we work with, who we invest in, who do we trust. What has historically been the result is that people work with, invest in and trust people like themselves.
  3. "Two pocket thinking" - when we can integrate what we do and why we do it, we will get better results.

During the show, Ross shares how to counteract these innovation blind spots and why we need to stop backing the wrong ideas if we are to impact the important issues facing our society.

About Ross Baird:

Ross Baird is the founder of Village Capital, a firm that finds and invests in entrepreneurs solving the most important problems in society.Since founding Village Capital in 2009, Ross has supported hundreds of entrepreneurs in over 50 countries. Ross has spent his entire career on the founding team of start-up enterprises or investing in startups.

He also serves on the faculty of the University of Virginia, where he teaches entrepreneurship and impact investing.

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show on how to address your innovation blind spot so that you can back the best ideas.[/callout]

Direct download: Why_Do_We_Back_The_Wrong_Ideas_S13_Ep33.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 7:37am PST

In a recent discussion with some colleagues, we get to discussing the current state of the US and global economy. Why has the economic recovery been so slow which has caused the middle class income to stagnate? In my opinion, its because the companies and jobs we are creating are not delivering high value products or services. What we need is innovation driven entrepreneurship.

The State Of The Current Economy

Entrepreneurship and the start-ups they create are the engine that drives economic growth and jobs. In 2016, 99.7% of all firms in the US were small businesses (private sector companies with less than 500 employees).  These same small businesses create 33.6% of known export value and employ 48% of private sector employees. In addition, 60% of all new jobs are created by small businesses.

That's a lot of impact on the economy. So what is going on? When you dig underneath the numbers, the reveal some shocking issues.

While 60% of all jobs today are created by small businesses, back in 2001 that number was 69.8%. At the same time, the average median income has been effectively flat since 1998 when you account for inflation.

So we are see a slowing of start-ups creating new jobs and the jobs they are creating has caused the median household income to stagnate.

Innovation Driven Entrepreneurship

We need more than just more start-ups who create low paying jobs. We need businesses that brings innovations to market that deliver such high value that customers are willing to pay a margin premium.

This is what I'm calling innovation driven entrepreneurship or some may call it innovation driven start-ups.

These start-ups don't have to follow in the model of Silicon Valley and be focused on technology. Innovations can cover a wide range of areas. I recently came across a very innovative idea for a new approach to a bicycle that I think could open that market to new customers who are not ridding today.

Another example is innovating education and how we prepare students with STEM skills that will prepare them to compete in the emerging creative economy. Check out what Zaniac is doing.

What I'm not talking about is an entrepreneur copying some existing business or franchising a business for their local community. These are all good and play a role in the economy. But these small businesses are  typically not going to drive a disruptive product or service that will return a margin premium.

How Do You Start An Innovation Driven Start-up?

We've covered on this show a number of ways to think about discovering ideas and then executing to turn those ideas into a killer innovation. When it comes to innovation driven entrepreneurship, think about in two parts:

Innovation: Find a problem, ideate a solution (product, service, business model, etc), test it with others then adjust and repeat the process.

Entrepreneurship: Find and focus on a customer who needs your innovation, serve that customer, find another customer and then repeat until you achieve scale.

While this sounds simple, it is incredibly hard. You will face disappointment and setbacks while also experiencing the thrill when a customer says they love your innovation and actually pays for it.

How Can I Help You With Your Start-Up?

I want to help you take your idea and create a business that turns your idea into an innovation. Given the sheer number of people, I can't do this 1:1. So I've joined a community that hangs out in a private Slack area full of innovators and entrepreneurs. There is where you can find the expertise you need while also sharing you expertise with others.

Check out The Innovators Community to learn how you can be part of the community.

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show on how innovation driven entrepreneurship can drive the economy.[/callout]

Direct download: Innovation_Driven_Entrepreneurship_S13_Ep32.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 11:26pm PST

Over the years, I noticed that I seem to get a similar set of questions from the participants at my talks, workshops, and innovation boot camps. What this tells me is that there are a set of common questions about innovation that are on everyone's mind.

Here are the 9 common questions on innovation that I get.

How do I define innovation?

Innovation is when an idea becomes real to the point where someone is willing to exchange value to get it. Ideas are easy. Turning them into something that has impact is really hard.

What is a killer innovation?

Some people over the years have criticized and attacked my use of the word "killer". When I started the show back in 2005, the word "killer" was used to describe things like "killer apps" which is translated to -- "best app".

My definition of killer innovations is an innovation that is a significant and highly profitable departure from current offerings or practices that would be difficult to duplicate.

So ... incremental innovation is of no value?

NO. There are multiple types of innovations and incremental is just as important as the others. An incremental innovation is when you build on top of an existing innovation with something new and unique.

Incremental innovations are highly valuable since most organizations depend on these incremental innovations to pay the rent while the next disruptive innovation is being worked on.

Why is innovation so difficult?

Its not just about the idea. There are a lot of pieces that must come together to turn an idea into a game changing -- killer innovation. And most of these things you are not in control of.

What are some of the things you cannot control?

One thing critical to innovation success that you cannot control is timing. You may have the best idea but if the market is not ready, technology is not ready, government regulations are not ready -- you're stuck.

Remember that Steve Jobs and Apple did NOT invent the smart phone. Depending on who you talk to, it was either Nokia and/or Palm. Steve and Apple just got the timing right.

[shareable]The difference between a good and a great idea is rarely the idea. It's the timing.[/shareable]

What are some of the things you CAN control?

Your team. Innovation is a team sport. Who you hire -- who you allow to be on your team -- will be the most important decision you make.

I look for passion and culture fit. I can teach skills. I cannot teach/inject passion. And if you're a jerk, then there is no room on my team for you.

What is one of the biggest mistakes more organizations make when it comes to innovation?

Creating a culture where "failure" is not allowed. Innovation is all about failure. If you aren't failing, you aren't innovating.

Best in class teams and organizations have a 90% failure rate. If your's is lower, then you are not stretching. You are making the safe bets.

If you're failure rate is above 90%, then take a look at how you are selecting and managing your idea funnel.

How can organizations get over their fear of failure?

By celebrating failure when they occur versus hiding them. In a previous role, I actually put in place a bonus system that would reward failure. You need to send the message that a willingness to take risks and try is just as important as the successes.

WARNING: If an organization has a history of punishing failure such as firing or demoting people whose project didn't succeed, then changing the culture will be incredibly HARD if not impossible.

What is another mistake most organizations make?

Most senior leader lack patience. Innovation is HARD and as a result, its hard to predict when a breakthrough will occur.

No matter how good you think you are at predicting and managing projects, when it comes to innovation -- it takes long than you think. Get used to it.

Bonus question: Who are the best people to be innovators? Who should I hire?

EVERYONE! Everyone is an innovator. It doesn't matter the role, function, education, background or skills. Innovation is a skill that you can learn, practice and become proficient at.

Now -- some will be better at it than others but that is because they work at it. They practice it. They exercise their creative muscle everyday. Do you?

If not, then don't set back and complain because someone else is "more creative" because of some special gift.  Your ability to innovate is in your control.

To exercise your creativity muscle, check out this speech on creative thinking.

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show on the 9 Common Questions on Innovation[/callout]

Direct download: 9_Common_Questions_About_Innovation_S13_Ep31.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 3:55am PST

Technology megatrends, or what some call long range technology roadmaps, are an important input into your strategic thinking as you build your innovation pipeline. I've been researching, tracking and presenting on technology megatrends for the last 30 years of my career.

During a live show broadcast on Facebook, a member of the audience asked about what technology trends would have major impact on businesses. Rather than just giving a quick off hand answer, I took on objective of giving you insight into the technology megatrends that I'm tracking. The megatrends will have significant impact on society, governments, businesses industries and career.

[button href="https://philmckinney.lpages.co/bonus-technology-megatrends/" primary="true" centered="true" newwindow="true"]Download the Technology Megatrends Slides[/button]

Background on Technology Megatrends

How do you get from technology to innovation? When I think about technology, I look specifically at exponential technologies such as Moore's Law. I think what capabilities it will bring 2, 3 even 5 generations in the future. This in turns starts to inspire exponential ideas. These are the ideas that are disruptive to industries and economies. The final step is to translate these exponential ideas and turn them in to exponential innovations.

So -- for me, it all begins with looking at technology that could be transformative.

Major Technology Megatrends

Catalyst & Building Block Technologies: These are technologies that are combined with others to create resulting innovations. For example, high density batteries in the future and their role in innovating transportation.

Perceptive Technologies: Technoligies that acquire input from the world and transform it into a useful purpose. This include machine learning (taking large amounts of data and looking for pasterns) and macro robots that learn by observing.

Immersive Media: How will we receive and consume media in the future? These technologies cover the range from flexible displays to smart vision contact lenses.

Augmented Communications: The ability to enhance and improve our ability to communication and collaborate can transform society and relationships. For example, the transition from immersive telepresence to holographic volumetric displays will allow true seamless collaboration across distances.

Experience Continuum: Enhanced experiences from technologies are just around the corner. Imagine virtual travel where you can experience people, places and things you never thought possible. How will that impact the empathy of others when you can see and experience people from around the world in their environment.

Long Better Lives: I can make one prediction that I'm 100% positive I will get right. We are all getting older. Technology can play a critical role that will allow us to age gracefully and make the near future a better place. One technology that I'm particularly interested in is genome-matched treatment that would allow Dr's to create cures for a specific person based on their genetic code.

Sensor-Driven World: Sensors will allow these other technologies to become smarter about the environment around us. This in turn will enhance our ability to take advantage of the technology megatrends we've been talking about.

[button href="https://philmckinney.lpages.co/bonus-technology-megatrends/" primary="true" centered="true" newwindow="true"]Download the Technology Megatrends Slides[/button]

Conclusion

Continue the conversation by joining The Innovators Community over on Slack. This is a private community of innovators from a wide range of industries who come together on Slack to share and discuss creativity and innovation.

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show and see what Technology Megatrends could impact you! [/callout]

Direct download: Technology_Megatrends_S13_Ep30.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 12:13am PST

Over the last few decades, the importance of design has been growing in the context of how to create disruptive game-changing innovations. Human centered design (HCD) is the way that innovators integrate design with a clear view of customer in to the process of creating an innovation that has impact. Be careful as bad design can doom innovation to the trash heap.

What is human centered design?

[shareable]Human-centered design (HCD) is a design and management framework that develops solutions to problems by involving the human perspective. Human involvement typically takes place in observing the problem within context, brainstorming, conceptualizing, developing, and implementing the solution.[/shareable]

Early Inspiration

Many guests on the show have shared their inspirations when it comes innovation and design. This week is no different. Our guest, Gordon Stannis, shared how a 9 month cross country bike ride sabbatical armed him with a sense of fearless curiosity. By meeting and talking with a wide range of people from different backgrounds, Gordon became equipped to represent them and needs when designing products and services.

He took that experience and perspective to leading design positions at Herman Miller, BMW Group and Prince / Johnson Controls. Even with that experience, he recognized the need to do more. It just wasn't about design but an integrated discipline of design plus technology.

Started Twisthink

Gordon and a partner (who was technical) made the decision to create a company that was both design and technical with some unusual characteristics. There are no departments so no silo's could get established. To reinforce this, every six months Gordon re-shuffles where people set. This creates a constant sense of making of new connections across the organization.

Advice On Human Centered Design (HCD) And Innovation

What are the three pieces of advice Gordon gave for organizations who are thinking about embracing human centered design?

Develop a common language: Teams should create a process and language of human centered design and then train everyone in your organization to understand and use it. This will allow anyone to then run with it on their own.

Visualize: Vizio, PowerPoint and project charts are not tools of visualizing the solution. Organizations need to embrace the process of creating 3D highly visualized forms of the ideas and put them up for everyone to see. Not on some some small whiteboard. Take up the entire wall 10 feet high. Immerse yourself and the team in the visual representation of the innovation.

Understand the hierarchy of innovation: There is a hierarchy of innovation that organizations needs to understand and reward individuals and teams for achieving. These are:

  1. Curiosity (Like the parking lot when attempting a climb)
  2. Imagination (Base camp)
  3. Creativity (Mid-camp)
  4. Innovation (Peak of the mountain)

About Gordon Stannis

Gordon Stannis is the Director of Design and Strategy at Twisthink.  One of Gordon’s greatest accomplishments is Co-Creating Twisthink based on the belief that there was a better way to create and deliver value to clients battling against the relentless wave action of commoditization.

Gordon holds a large number of Utility Patents and International Design Awards in transportation, consumer electronics, durable goods, medical, furniture and more.

[callout]Listen below to this weeks show and be inspired to take advantage of human centered design (HCD).[/callout]

Direct download: Human_Centered_Design_HCD_S13_Ep29.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 3:06am PST

When it comes to sourcing innovation, most focus on trying to come up with a clever technical or business hook. Over years of experience of both innovation success and failures, I've uncovered three areas of focus for sourcing innovation that will have significant impact.

Before jumping into the three areas of focus, there is a basic skill that is required. That is the ability to create questions that will cause you to look at these three areas differently.

Power of Questions

I believe that a good question is one that causes people to really think before they answer it, and one that reveals answers that had previously eluded them.

Our ability to ask and answer question is uniquely human. According to primatologists, the great apes can understand and answer simple questions. However, unlike humans, a great ape has never proven that it can ask questions.

Learning how to use the power of questions to think differently is a skill that everyone has -- even if it’s not your automatic instinct. I believe that anyone can develop and harness this power through the use of provocative questioning and discovery.

Secret #1 - People

The key to many innovation successes is to dig deep and understand the customer/user of your innovation. I'm not a fan of using third party definitions of customer segments. If you are going source innovation that are different from everyone else, you need to have unique insights of your target customers. These insights will allow you to uncover their unspoken needs and wants.

See the slides below for common and not so common ways others look at customer segments.

Take a look at the customer segments I talked about in the show.

Secret #2 - Time

Time is valuable. You can't save it. You can't store it. You can't but more of it. Its perishable. Innovations that understand and find unique ways to make time even more valuable to customers can find themselves in a unique and defensible position.

See the slides below for unique ways to think and innovate time.

Secret #3 - Money

Rather than think like other innovators when they think of money (e.g. this idea will make me rich), focus on how to deliver value to your customer. If you innovate ways for them to make more, save more, get more items for less, protect money, etc -- you will separate yourself from most of your competition.

Bonus Secret: Pitching Your Idea

Once I've discovered an idea that I believe in, then I need to find a way to show and tell others what I'm thinking. One of the most impactful ways in through vision videos. Vision video's use strategic storytelling to place the person in the middle of the story and create empathy for the impact of your idea. Done right -- they will attract others who will want to invest time and in money to realize your vision.

Sourcing Innovation

Now you know my secrets to better sourcing of innovation. The key is to look beyond the obvious and align your innovations to people, time and money.

[callout]Listen to this weeks show and learn my 3 secrets to sourcing innovation.

We've also included below the slides that Phil shared during the live broadcast.[/callout]

[slideshare id="79614937"]

 

For help and guidance in sourcing innovation for your organizations, check out The Innovators Network.

Direct download: My_Secret_to_Sourcing_Innovation_S13_Ep28.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 3:43am PST

Some of the smartest, most creative people I know spend time doing nothing but thinking. For example Einstein was often criticized for his day dreaming. His form of day dreaming was to run his thought experiments.  Experiments carried out completely within his imagination.

Our society doesn't embrace or allow for day dreaming. Most organizations view this as being lazy and unproductive. Companies are focused are measuring things like hours worked, project deliverables and improved productivity.

Henry Ford and Day Dreaming

There is a famous Henry Ford story where an efficiency expert he had hired complained about a man who sat at his desk with his feet up. The expert's point was the obvious lack of productivity and output from this person. Ford said that that specific person came up with an idea that saved him millions by setting at his desk and just thinking. Ford added that he was paying that man to come up with the next great idea.

When I look at people whose ideas have changed the world, day dreaming combined with "reflective thinking" was a common trait.

Is it a coincidence or is there something to this?

[shareable cite="Fiona Kerr, University of Adelaide"]Daydreaming (with reflective thinking) allows the mind to wander. The outcome is consistently more productive when dealing with complex problems or coming up with creative solutions and ideas.[/shareable]

Day Dreaming Experiment

To either prove or disprove the hypothesis that day dreaming improves creativity, I'm proposing an experiment. This experiment was inspired by Zat Rana.

I commit (and invite you to do it yourself) to two hours per week for two months of focused day dreaming. What does that mean?

  • No computer
  • No mobile phone
  • No music
  • No talking

I will be using my Moleskine notebook to record my thoughts and ideas to see if I can notice an improvement in my personal creativity.

How To Get Started Day Dreaming?

One way to spark your day dreaming is to simply ask yourself a set of questions. Here are few to start with (again, inspired by Zat Rana)

  • Do I have the right set of priorities and do I apply them?
  • Is my work/life balance working?
  • What idea do I have that I am not pursuing?
  • What small step could I take that would have a MAJOR impact on the idea
  • Where do you want to be in one year with your idea with your life?

Be Part Of The Experiment

If you are part of The Community, I will setup a Slack channel for this experiment so that we can discuss, share and track the results. If you are not part of The Innovators Community, you should check it out. Its a community of innovators and creatives from around the world who share, challenge and grow as innovators.

I will also share my results in a future show.

[callout]Listen to this weeks show on how day dreaming can be the spark to boost your creativity.

Note: We apologize for the background clicks and pops in this weeks show. [/callout]

Show Links:

Direct download: Day_Dreaming_2_Hours_To_Boost_Your_Creativity_S13_Ep27.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 1:02pm PST

When I was a software engineer, one area of importance was the design and testing of user interfaces. The work was frustrating because you had to decipher what the user was "thinking" to understand how they would use your software. Over the years, the research has taken on the challenges of human computer interaction with next generation technology.

Our guest today, Dr. Chris Harrison from Carnegie Mellow University, is the Assistant Professor of Human Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University. While this is his work today, his Master's research thesis was in understanding if a persons activities (timeline) could be used to better organize documents. This idea of improving human computer interaction around documents led to his PhD research that focused on next generation technology around touch.

Human Computer Interaction

In addition to his own research area, he also oversees the Future Interfaces Group (FIG) as CMU. The mission and purpose of FIG is:

[shareable cite="Future Interfaces Group at CMU" text="... foster powerful and delightful interactions between humans and computers."]To create new sensing and interface technologies that foster powerful and delightful interactions between humans and computers. These efforts often lie in emerging use modalities, such as wearable computing, touch interaction and gestural interfaces.[/shareable]

This work goes beyond the technology of touch to also include the psychology and human response to find better ways to allow next generation technology to be a tool that is easier to use and benefit from.

Next Generation Technology: Electrick

Electrik is focused on bringing touch to volume and shapes not achievable with today's technology. By using a "poor conducting" paint, this solution allows you to easily enable touch interfaces and interactions on all kinds of surfaces such as car steering wheels, table tops, toys, etc.

[youtube id="38h4-5FDdV4"]

One immediate application for this new technology is in the area of "fast prototyping". You can now create a 3D printer prototype, apply Electrick and create the interaction experience of the prototype .. all with hours or days rather than months.

Next Generation Technology: Infobulb (light bulb 2.0)

Chris also shared his work on bringing touch interaction to any surface without the need for special treatment. His vision is to create the next generation light bulb, what he is calling infobulb. It deliver information in addition to light. The surface that the lift falls on creating a new kind of human computer interaction. The surface becomes touch enabled. To learn more, check out Chris's intervew over at TechRepublic.

[callout]Listen to the interview below for the full backstory on these next generation technologies and innovations ...[/callout]

 

About Chris Harrison:

Chris Harrison is an Assistant Professor of Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University. He broadly investigates novel sensing technologies and interaction techniques, especially those that empower people to interact with small devices in big ways. He has been named:

  • Top 30 scientist under 30 by Forbes
  • Top 35 innovator under 35 by MIT Technology Review
  • A Young Scientist by the World Economic Forum
  • One of six innovators to watch by Smithsonian

Last year, his lab won a Fast Company Innovation by Design Award for their work on EM-Sense. Chris has also been awarded fellowships by the Packard Foundation, Google, Qualcomm and Microsoft Research.

Show Links

  • Join The Innovators Community -- where you can meet, discuss and be part of a community of innovators. This is a private slack community.
Direct download: Next_Generation_Technology_Human_Computer_Interaction_S13_Ep26.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 6:03am PST

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.

[youtube id="Beb832Oe_lA"]

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

[youtube id="YOax3EFz2r0"]

 

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

The boomer market is quickly becoming the target demographic that is driving a new category of technology and innovation. The desire to allow those in this gray wave of aging adults to age in place is one area of innovation we all can appreciate.

In this weeks show, serial entrepreneur and technology executive Wendi Burkhardt shares how she found her purpose project by bringing technology and innovation to the gray wave of aging adults.

Technology and Innovation For The Gray Wave

During the show, we answer questions such as:

  • What was the experienced that cause your to co-found Silvernest?
  • People are living longer than ever and wanting to age in place. What are the opportunities that aging adults present as a large (and growing) segment of the economic and consumer base?
  • How does technology and innovation cater to this growing gray wave?
  • What are some of the emerging trends in the aging demographic that are fueling innovation?
  • Is it harder for companies to innovate in the aging industry because they’re perceived as serving a lower-tech audience?
  • Are Boomers more receptive to new technologies than their parents were? How are their outlooks and circumstances different?
  • Are you finding that the 50+ demographic is open to participating in the sharing economy?
  • How is the sharing economy and technology transforming aging?
  • You’ve called gerontechnology – the blending of gerontology with technology – the hottest thing in Silicon Valley. Why is it so attractive and set to explode?
  • Some of the innovation in this space is obviously coming technology, but are there other ways that companies need to innovate in their thinking or marketing to reach Boomers, empty nesters and other aging adults?
  • How do we need to be shifting the conversation around innovation and technology for gray wave?
  • What recommendations do you have for companies who are working to innovate in ways that serve aging adults?

About Wendi Burkhardt

As CEO of Silvernest, Wendi Burkhardt is responsible for driving the company’s overall direction and strategic growth, as well as overseeing day-to-day operations. She boasts more than 25 years of technology experience working with venture startups, emerging technology companies, rapid-growth tech firms and Fortune 500 corporations.

Her history also includes working with Home Instead, a $1B in-home, senior care corporation as a key client. She is a seasoned entrepreneur, as well as a mentor and coach to social ventures.

Wendi holds a degree in International Trade & Finance from Louisiana State University, and has completed an executive education program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.


I've been going back and looking at past shows that had guests in an attempt to trigger ideas for new guests we should invite to be on the show. During the process, I started to see patterns of common attributes across this group that I label as the most the innovative people I've interviewed.

The show archive goes back to March 2005 and we've had more than 100 innovation experts and authors. These guests range from:

  • Sir Tim Berners-Lee - the inventor of the world-wide web -- was on the show Dec 10, 2009
  • Geoffrey Moore - author of Crossing The Chasm -- was most recently on the show July 17, 2015
  • Bob Metcalfe - inventor of Ethernet and co-founder of 3COM -- was on the show April 10, 2010
  • Peter Guber - co-owner of the Golden State Warriors -- was on the show Sept 28, 2015
  • Nick Titus - co-founder of Myoinc Technologies -- was on the show Aug 23, 2016

I've also had the benefit of meeting and supporting other leaders with their innovation projects including Elon Musk (on the large display that is part of the dash in Tesla), Jimmy Iovine (on Beats and bringing it to the consumer electronics market) and Will.I.Am (as a sounding board on his software ideas).

6 Most Common Attributes of the Most Innovative People I've Interviewed

  1. Curiosity: Highly innovative people have an insatiable level of curiosity. How do they exhibit this curiosity? By asking really great questions. Its through questions that they push to discover more about problem or opportunity and thus allow them to form an ideas or solution.
  2. Being a non-conformist (brave): These innovation leaders do not fall into a simple category of type or backgrounds. They each have gone their own way to achieve their innovation vision and they've done it without regard to what others thing.
  3. Chasing the "new": Innovation leaders are always aware of the latest thing in their area of interest(s). They pride themselves on being on the leading edge - always experimenting and learning. In the technology world, they tend to have the latest devices, applications and services.
  4. Perseverance: They don't take "no" for an answer. They don't let speed bumps, distraction or corporate/innovation antibodies to get in the way. They find ways to work with and around others to achieve their innovation vision.
  5. Highly Flexible: Its rare that an idea will manifest itself with out changes and pivots along the way. Highly innovative people will adjust and change as they move along the process of transforming the idea into that new product or service.
  6. Takes Action: Innovators don't wait around for permission. They act. They don't let themselves get caught in the "resource trap" of believing they need people, time and money to begin. They find a way to start moving forward and let the rest catch-up.

[shareable]Ideas without execution are a hobby -- and real innovators are NOT in the hobby business[/shareable]

Conclusion

Most people would look at the show guests and believe that each had been blessed with some kind of "super power". The reality is that we all have been blessed with the superpower of creativity and innovation -- we just need to find it, harness it, practice it and then use it.

These attributes of the most innovative people I know proves that any of us can achieve the same level of success if we want.

The ball is in your court.

Direct download: 6_Attributes_of_the_Most_Innovative_People_Ive_Interviewed_S13_Ep14.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 9:30am PST

While most innovators think about innovation across two types, incremental and disruptive, there is actually a third type; little ideas. Little ideas are complimentary to the existing offerings thus low risk. At the same time, little ideas can have high impact. The risk for little ideas is the desire by managements and the MBA's to apply traditional management approaches. The typical approaches, such as defining success KPI's at the start,  is what will kill innovation inside an organization.

Today's guest, David Robertson, is the author of The Power of Little Ideas and we discuss:

How MBA's Kill Innovation

  • The benefits and challenges of management consulting projects with such firms as McKinsey.
  • Background on the concept of the little ideas and why its the "third way" to innovate.
  • Walk through the four decisions organizations need to make when it comes to innovation.
    • What is your key product?
    • What is your business promise?
    • How will you innovate?
    • How will you deliver your innovations?
  • How do MBA's kill innovation?
  • Why are early metrics a risk to innovation?
  • How should companies be organized to take advantage of little ideas?
  • Why the metaphor of "innovation is dating" is so powerful
  • How do get the MBA to understand why little ideas is different?

About David Robertson ..

David Robertson is a Professor of Practice at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. From 2002 through 2010, he was the LEGO Professor of Innovation and Technology Management at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland. Robertson is the host of Innovation Navigation, a weekly radio show and podcast that focuses on the management of innovation. Robertson is the author of Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry and coauthor of Enterprise Architecture as Strategy.

About David Books, The Power of Little Ideas ..

The Power of Little Ideas looks at how well-known companies, including CarMax, GoPro, LEGO, Gatorade, Disney, USAA, Novo Nordisk, Victoria’s Secret, and many others, used this approach to stave off competitive threats and achieve great success. The book lays out a clear four-step process for implementing this approach to innovation, outlines the organizational practices that can unintentionally torpedo this approach in companies, and shows how organizations can overcome those challenges.

Direct download: How_MBAs_Kill_Innovation_S13_Ep13.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 5:00am PST

When I was in college, the way we learned was lecture, reading and testing — with a little bit of lab work tossed in for good measure. When it comes to leadership, universities still teaches using this same model. The result is the struggle for graduates to understand the difference between management and leadership. To prepare […]
Direct download: Innovating_The_Way_We_Teach_Leadership_S13_Ep12.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 6:05am PST

A few shows back, I ranted on why I disagree with an article from an executive at Accenture who said that innovation inside large organizations was impossible. In this show, rather than you listening to more of my experiences, I decided to bring on a listener of the show who has direct experience of being a successful […]

Artificial Intelligence (AI)  is quickly becoming a key element for today's innovations. While many think that AI is new, its been around for decades but just now finding the traction it needs to be applied to a broad set of innovations. In today's show, we have a discussion with Kerri McMaster, co-founder and head of […]

The hope and dream of every innovator is to come up with an idea that disrupts and transforms industries. To do it multiple times over a career puts that person in to a category of being a disruptive entrepreneur. Our guest this week, Sachin Dev Duggal, is an innovator, serial entrepreneur, and an advocate of enterprise […]
Direct download: How_To_Be_A_Disruptive_Entrepreneur_S13_Ep9.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 5:00am PST

When you are tasked with coming up with a new produce or service, the immediate reaction for most is to panic. Where and how do you start? The approach I've used for decades and that has helped me to create hundreds of products and services generating billions in revenue — ask questions. There is a […]
Direct download: How_To_Ask_Questions_To_Find_New_Ideas_S13_Ep8.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 12:48pm PST

In June 2007, after finding himself creatively drained,  Noah started a personal project — Skull-A-Day. This yearlong art project's objectives was to create challenges that would jumpstart his personal creative energy.  What started out as a personal project ended up transforming his creative future. The project went viral and became an Internet sensation which led to a […]
Direct download: Using_30-Day_Challenges_to_Jumpstart_Your_Creativity_S13_Ep7.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 7:01am PST

Culture is hard and creating and maintaining an innovation culture is even harder. One of the challenges for creating a culture of innovation within an organization is our ability to get along with others. Innovation is about constant change which is uncomfortable and stressful. The result is that some individuals/groups will not respond and actually become quite negative […]
Direct download: Innovation_Culture_Requires_That_We_Get_Along_With_Others_S13_Ep6.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 6:35am PST

As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. As I look back over my career leading innovation teams and organizations, I wish someone had sat me down and shared some of the core fundamentals to innovation leadership. These “hacks” are part of my core rules that I attempt to follow. I'm not perfect and still stumble […]
Direct download: The_5_Innovation_Leadership_Hacks_I_Use_S13_Ep5.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 10:21am PST

During a recent mentoring session with a Chief Innovation Officer (CINO) of a major multi-national company, the executive expressed a private fear. He attributes his past success as “being lucky” .. “being in the right place at the right time”. His fear is someone would find out that “he wasn't that good” and this his […]
Direct download: How_To_Overcome_Impostor_Syndrome_And_Be_More_Creative_S13_Ep4.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 6:02am PST

I came across a recent article where the Managing Director of Accenture Digital made the bold claim that large companies cannot do innovation. More accurately, Narry Singh said, “.. Corporate innovation does not work.” He goes on to claim that innovation at large companies do not work because “.. the firms are too slow to move – […]
Direct download: Can_Large_Companies_Be_Successful_At_Innovation_S13_Ep3.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 5:00am PST

Innovation is all about change. The need to change includes you and your career, the organizations you are a part of and even the governments that serve us. This change requires us to be in a constant state of being uncomfortable. This weeks guest on the show is Gretchen McClain. I met Gretchen back in […]
Direct download: Key_To_Success_Getting_Comfortable_Being_Uncomfortable_S13_Ep2.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 5:00am PST

It's hard to believe that it was 12 years ago when I released the first episode of Killer Innovations in to the wild. Its been a wild ride. What I find especially interesting is how has innovation changed over the last 12 years. The original motivation for the show came from my mentor, Bob Davis. […]
Direct download: How_Has_Innovation_Changed_Over_The_Last_12_Years_S13_Ep1.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 6:46am PST

I am a believer that constraint based innovation creates better ideas. It forces the team to throw out the old rule book and innovate a new approach. The same applies when you are forced to innovate under financial constraints. While my staff doesn't always agree that constraints are good, in my experience a team that […]
Direct download: How_To_Innovate_Under_Financial_Constraints_S12_Ep48.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 5:00am PST

Everyday, we can't avoid reading articles that tout the latest and greatest technology and innovation. What we don't see that often is the role innovation can and should play in philanthropy. If you agree that it has a role, how do you bring innovation to philanthropy? This weeks guest, Jared Angaza, has spent his life […]
Direct download: How_Do_You_Bring_Innovation_To_Philanthropy_S12_Ep47.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 5:00am PST

We've heard the mantra in the past. We are all creative. We are born creative. That is a nice idea but not helpful when you need to call on your muse to be creative when you need to be creative. What are the secrets to personal creativity? If creativity is natural – then why is […]
Direct download: My_Secrets_To_Personal_Creativity_S12_Ep46.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 5:00am PST

As an officer in two public companies and a Board member for a third public company, I've seen up close and personal the challenges executive leadership faces when trying to balance achieving the quarterly results while knowing that they  need to make long term investments in research and innovation.  This short-term thinking on quarterly results has […]

Innovation is not constrained to individuals, teams or organizations. In some cases, the best to way to innovate is when entire industries comes together to share the effort and the investment necessary. Industry innovation is one approach that is commonly overlook and undervalued. In today's show, we talk with John Osborne who is General Manager […]

When it comes to innovation, there are a collection of unwritten rules of thumb and myths of innovation that both help and hurt innovators. We all use rules of thumbs and myths in our everyday lives such as estimating how long something will take to complete. At the same time, rules and myths can be […]
Direct download: 5_Myths_of_Innovation_S12_Ep43_UPDATE.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 5:00am PST

Innovation is everywhere – in our pockets, in our cars, in our work and in our home. Where do these new ideas come from? New ideas are the foundation of our future and growing economic driver of society. This emerging innovation economy, which value ideas over anything else, is quickly overtaking the information/knowledge economy that […]
Direct download: Winning_in_the_emerging_innovation_economy_S12_Ep42.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 5:00am PST

Many make the mistake of thinking that their lives are going to work out as planned. It never does. What would happen if you treated your life like a startup? The guest for this weeks show, Dr. Anna Akbari, discusses her book, “Startup Your Life: Hustle And Hack Your Way To Happiness.” As an entrepreneur, […]
Direct download: Treat_Your_Life_Like_A_Startup_S12_Ep41.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 5:00am PST

This time of year, I take a moment and look at innovations that were announced in the last year whose impact will be significant in the next 12 to 24 months. This year's list contains some intriguing innovations that are less about “new tech” and more about human ingenuity to look at problems and opportunities […]
Direct download: 6_High_Impact_Innovations_Im_Most_Excited_About_S12_Ep40.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 8:00am PST