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.

Every so often we should pause and reflect.  On the way to the airport after hosting a South by Southwest meet up on neural diversity hiring, traffic was slow.  This allowed an engaging conversation with the taxi driver.  He asked me what led to success in my life. This prompted me to write down my 7 rules to live by.  I hope these will help you in creating personal and professional success.

My 7 Rules to Live By

  1. Stay connected to the people who matter most.
    • I learned from my early mentor to regularly get in touch with those who matter to me.
    • Make personal contact (phone call/meet up). Electronic contact (Facebook, email, etc.) doesn’t qualify.
    • I have an in-depth, personal relationship with the people who matter to me.
  2. Listen more, talk less.
    • Listen actively, ask questions. Have genuine interest in others.
    • Conclude conversation by asking how you can help.
  3. Make commitments you are truly committed to follow through on.
    • Don’t make false promises.
    • If you can’t deliver, admit it. Then ask if there’s something else you could do.
    • Don’t swing the pendulum the other way and never commit to anything.
  4. Don’t get hung up on credit.
    • Credit will always find its natural owner.
    • Innovation’s a team sport.
    • If you grab credit, it could kill others’ interest to participate and contribute.
  5. Acknowledge others – give out words of encouragement.
    • I didn’t get to CEO position by myself. Others played a critical role.
    • Mentoring and reverse mentoring - great ways to acknowledge and encourage.
  6. Hug the haters.
    • With success, there are always those who are critical.
    • I pause before I respond. Count to ten or wait a day.
    • Sometimes it’s better not to respond at all.
    • Ask others to hear the criticism and your response before delivering it.
    • Respond with compassion, not harshness, rudeness, or name calling.
    • Never, ever burn the bridge.
  7. Set priorities.
    • When demands come, you can filter what needs to be done.
    • For me it’s “the 5 Fs
      1. Faith – I don’t get involved if it doesn’t align with my faith.
      2. Family – My wife, kids and grandkids.
      3. Friends – ties into my Rule #1 Stay Connected
      4. Fitness – Don’t overwork, burnout, and suffer health issues.
      5. Finance – Takes care of itself, if put finances at the bottom and follow other rules, it

Now that you have my 7 rules to live by, define your own set of rules to creating personal and professional success in your life.

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Five Minutes to New Ideas

Weak signals are all around us.  How can you stay attuned and take advantage of emerging trends or fads?  Tune in to Segment 4 of today’s podcast to learn more.

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Thanks for taking the time to join us.  We’d love to hear your comments. You can add your comments at http://killerinnovations.com/.  

Better yet, join us at The Innovators Community (http://theinnovators.network/community), an online Slack community where you can be a part of the conversation with leading innovators from around the world.


Creating safe transportation on the African continent takes a unique approach.  The solutions of the Western world and Silicon Valley simply won’t work.  Colonial cities have grown into major urban environments. The infrastructure doesn’t sustain the growth.  Traffic jams, broken-down vehicles, bad road conditions are endemic.  But there are individuals making a difference in creating safe transportation.

As our guest Barrett Nash says, “The best way to make a solution is to solve a problem you yourself experience.”  

A death defying motorcycle ride through a crowded city and a question of safety.  Barrett Nash, Co-Founder and CEO of SafeMotos recalls the day.  He took a ride on a motorcycle taxi through Kigali, Rwanda to meet roommate Peter Kariuki for a beer.  The two men talked about the dangers of motorcycle taxi rides. This prompted them to imagine ways to make the motorcycle taxi ride safer.  That’s what it took to start the journey for SafeMotos.

Safety: An Obvious Assumption

Vehicle travel across an urban setting in Africa can be fraught with risk.  Sometimes the choice is waiting hours for a bus, sitting in traffic in a vehicle, or hopping on the back of a motorcycle taxi for a more convenient ride.  While the motorcycle taxi might get you there quicker, the risk is high. In fact, the #2 killer in the emerging world is vehicle accidents. Eighty percent of accidents in Rwanda involve motorcycle taxis.

You would think people would jump at the option for safer urban travel.  Not so. Creating safe transportation has its challenges. Selling it even more so.  Initially, SafeMotos followed the Uber business model. Customers could locate a safe ride via smartphone.  SafeMotos vetted and rated the motorcycle taxi drivers on driving practices and experience. For a higher price, people would get a safer option.  

What the Customer Really Wants

What they quickly realized is price and convenience outweighed safety in Kigali.  To make their product offering viable, they had to consider the product/market fit and the pain points.  Their focus shifted.  Creating safe transportation became the by-product.  

Blind Luck and Help from Unusual Places

Barrett and Co-founder Peter have been at it since 2014.  Doing business in Africa has challenges. While there is a spirit of entrepreneurship, few startups succeed.  As Barrett puts it, blind luck put them in touch with an accelerator in Cork, Ireland. This helped jumpstart SafeMotos.

[shareable cite="Barrett Nash, SafeMotos"]Technology needs to disconnect from a Silicon Valley style problem solving format. We’re not trying to solve middle class problems. We’re trying to enable a middle class. That’s where technology can really disrupt the arc of the story of Africa.[/shareable]

Barrett’s advice for startups, especially in Africa:

  • Make sure you are solving a pain point
  • Have a profit-making business model from unit economic perspective day one
  • Don’t launch too soon - get finance and story figured out
  • You have to go through the journey

Barrett welcomes you to reach out at info@safemotos.com.

If you’ve got a guest you think should be on the show, drop me a note.

We’re continuing trips across the country, talking to rural entrepreneurs.  If you’d like us to stop by your town to meet your entrepreneurs, drop a note at The Innovators Studio on Facebook.

Direct download: Creating_Safe_Transportation_in_Urban_Africa_S14_Ep6.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 7:38am PST

Today’s show addresses questions from listeners on innovation KPIs.  I’m back in Colorado after clocking 12,000 miles in the mobile Innovators Studio.  On the road, I talked with interesting innovators and analysts.  Taking a break from interviews, I’d like to answer your questions on measuring innovation success.

There are hundreds of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure innovation success.  What are the right innovation KPIs to use?  What KPIs will give insight into the innovation process?   KPIs should be unique to your organization.  Think through what KPIs will measure and how that can guide innovations and your organization.

KPI Building Blocks

I’ve broken innovation KPIs into categories, like building blocks.  Build up the blocks to get a complete perspective on your innovation effort.  

Six categories for Innovation KPIs:

  1. Idea process/managing the idea funnel
    • What’s done to get ideas, put them in a funnel, review, manage and analyze them?
      • Raw ideas
      • Raw ideas validated
      • Ideas prototyped
      • Age of ideas
  2. Idea commercialization
    • Innovation idea brought to market.
      • Innovations that became a product
      • Innovations that make a profit
      • Are early customers willing to pay a margin premium?
      • Innovations purchased
      • Are resources in organization aligning to make product a reality?
  3. Financial impact
    • Tough to measure - long lag from time of investment to product launch in market
      • Revenue from new innovations
      • Profit from innovations
      • Revenue protected by patents
      • Revenue from patent licensing
  4. Customer impact
    • Customer success compared from old product to new innovation

      • What has new product allowed customers to achieve?
      • How many customers have shifted to new?
      • Market share trend for innovation - grabbing from competitors?
  5. Organizational impact
    • New products/services have an impact
    • Can pull organization into new category or focus
      • Ratio of sales from old versus new - sales ramping up for new/declining for old?
      • Ratio of profit from old versus new
      • Investments – is investment shifting from old to new?
      • Rate of return on innovation investment
      • Has it driven brand awareness?
  6. Pure Innovation KPIs
    • Catch-all
      • Staff trained for innovation
      • Use of formal creativity tools
      • Implementation and use of Idea Management System
      • Structured problem-solving tools
      • Committed resources to innovation
      • Patents/year

[callout]

Guidance

  1. Pick three to five KPIs from each category that work for your organization.
  2. Ensure you have the ability to measure them.
  3. Validate KPIs drive the right behavior and achieve the desired outcome.
  4. Test/adjust KPIs as needed.
  5. Share with the community.

[/callout]

We’d love your feedback.  What do you think about the five-minute focus in the last segment of today’s show?

Like what you hear?  Leave us a comment or review where you listen to the show.

Check out the show notes on Killerinnovations.com.  We post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter.  Follow us on your favorite social media site.

Direct download: Innovation_KPIs_Six_Categories_to_Measure_Success_S14_Ep5.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 5:37am PST

Delays at the grocery checkout line set William Chomley on a retail innovation course.  Like most of us who are short on time, a quick stop at the supermarket took longer than he liked.  He began ideating on a better way to shop – reinventing the checkout process.

William Chomley, Founder and CEO of IMAGR, joins me in the mobile studio from his home base in New Zealand. He’s been working on his retail innovation concept for three years. It’s been an uphill trek, but the company is now ready to put the product to the test.

When Will’s retail innovation idea sparked, he jumped in head first.  Quitting his finance job, he focused on a solution using RFID (radio frequency identification) technology.  It was simple: put RFID tags on products and eliminate the checkout line. But it wasn’t that easy. He ran into roadblocks, cost to implement and technology limitations to name a few.  His business failed.

Will didn’t give up on his idea.  He reworked it – went back to the drawing board.  This time he did the product/market fit research.  This involved a lot of talking and listening to retailers, researchers and investors.  His new design incorporated computer vision, a form of Artificial Intelligence (AI). A computer with computer vision “sees” and processes information much like the human eye, then performs tasks accordingly.

With a new design plan, Will pitched to investor after investor.  Rejection brought him nearly to the “end of his tether”. Over 150 investors later, he finally got the funding in 2016.  Through all, he held three jobs to keep afloat. Persistent and undaunted, Will kept going through tough times and held fast to his vision.

The SmartCart will undergo trial testing this year.  It’s a shopping cart equipped with small cameras to capture product data as the shopper places a product in the cart.  The cart system is synced to the shopper’s mobile phone. Through an app, the shopper sets up the payment method prior to shopping.

Looking back, Will has three points of advice for entrepreneurs.

  1.  Do product/market fit as soon as possible.
  1.  “Get in front of as many people as you can.”
  • He learned through the experience of facing numerous investors
  • The rejections/failures helped refine his product and pitch.
  1.  Look for “smart money.”
  • Seek investors experienced in your area of innovation who can guide/advise.
  • Be picky about who you bring into your business

The best place to track Will’s retail innovation: www.imagr.co

If you have a guest you think should be on the show, drop me a note.

Direct download: Retail_Innovation_for_the_Impatient_Shopper_S14_Ep4.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 6:26am PST