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.

When delivery fails, it costs in more ways than one.  In today’s show, I talk with Santiago Navarro, founder and CEO of Garçon Wines.  Santiago shares his unique solution to a constraint that caused major problems for his online wine business.  Based in the UK, Santiago developed a packaging innovation that ensures delivery the first time. But his flat wine bottle does much more than simply guarantee delivery.  This constraint-based innovation gives rise to market opportunities beyond the mailbox.   

Constraints that Spark Innovation

Santiago’s online wine business suffered because wine bottles would not fit through the traditional UK mailbox.  Failed deliveries cost the business. This was the spark for his flat wine bottle innovation. In developing the bottle design, other constraints factored.  When it comes to wine, heritage and tradition are strong elements. The wine bottle designs used today date back 200 years and are steeped in tradition.  The challenge was to toe the line of tradition as much as possible with the packaging innovation.  Another constraint was aesthetics. The new design had to present well on the table. In the case of this constraint-based innovation, the constraints further refined the product.

Shaping the Flat Wine Bottle

The design process involved focus on three circles of a Venn diagram:

  • Aesthetic, emotional and experiential in one circle,
  • Function and functionality in another circle,
  • Sustainability in the third circle.

Respect for tradition along with these elements helped to shape the design.  The result was a packaging innovation that solves a number of problems. Aside from cost savings, the flat wine bottle leaves a smaller carbon footprint.  It minimizes the space needed in delivery. The bottle is made of post-consumer recyclable material. This also makes the packaging innovation friendly to the environment.

Timing is Everything

The flat wine bottle has gained broad acceptance.  Leaders in wine and wine logistics are taking notice.  Airlines, where space is a premium, are interested. His packaging innovation has won awards and received plenty of media attention.  In fact, I posted an article on the flat wine bottle at The Innovator’s Community, which led to this show.

[shareable cite="Santiago Navarro, Founder Garçon Wines"]For us, it's fundamentally important to take our business customers through an innovation journey, not a sales process.[/shareable]

The desire for convenience, sustainability and cost savings resonates with people.  The timing is right for the flat wine bottle.  It’s a wine bottle for the 21st century.  But Santiago recognizes that not everyone is ready to embrace it.  He doesn’t want to rush it.

Words of Advice

It took years to get his packaging innovation from idea to market.  Reflecting on this, Santiago says don’t give up if you believe in what you’re doing.  

He offers another word of advice for those innovating a physical product.  Get a minimum viable product (MVP) as soon as possible.  This is essential when presenting your idea to people.  It will save time and money in the long run.

For details on Garçon Wines, visit www.garconwines.com.

Today’s Guest

Santiago Navarro is founder and CEO of Garçon Wines, creator of the flat wine bottle.  He is a serial entrepreneur, launching his first start-up, Vinopic Wines, in 2011. He is also co-founder of Nightly.travel, an online hotel booking site.

You may follow him on Twitter at SantiagoBiz.  

You may also reach him through The Innovators Community (www.theinnovators.community), a free online community for innovators.

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Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to listen.  

Would you help me pay back my early mentor by paying it forward?

  • Share the show with others.
  • Give us a rating wherever you get your podcasts.

We are getting ready for CES 2019.  If you know someone who will be at CES and would be a great guest on the show,  drop me a line.  We will be hosting Killer Innovations in the Mobile Studio at CES. If you’ll be there, stop by the Mobile Studio to check it out.

For more on innovation, check out my book, Beyond the Obvious including extensive excerpts, over at beyondtheobvious.com.  You can find hardcover, digital, and audio versions of my book on Amazon or wherever you get your books.

This show is produced by The Innovators Network.

Direct download: The_Wine_Bottle_Ripe_for_Packaging_Innovation_S14_Ep38.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 6:06am PST

For innovation leaders, one of the hardest tasks is keeping the innovation funnel full.  Yet, this is key to sustaining an innovation effort. What’s worked for me is to create an innovation challenge.  Today’s show lays out a process for making an innovation challenge. Creating a challenge will keep the funnel stocked with high quality ideas.

What’s an Innovation Challenge?

An innovation challenge is no mere cattle call.  A vague request for innovative ideas from everyone will result in low quality ideas and not many.  An innovation challenge is a well-defined effort to draw in the best and non-obvious ideas.  It invites those whose daily job may not be innovation. It opens up the funnel to unique perspectives.  

[shareable cite="Phil McKinney"]The wisdom of the crowd is always more powerful than the wisdom of one. [/shareable]

An innovation challenge requires two things.

1) Crafting an innovation challenge statement.

2) Creating the process that invites people to submit their ideas.

Innovation is a team sport.  But if you limit the game to those on your innovation team, you may be missing out.  While the innovation team is busy bringing ideas to market, the funnel is drying up. You need backup.  Use the power of the crowd to help fill your funnel with breakthrough, game changing ideas.

Defining the Challenge

To get your innovation challenge started, begin with focus.  It’s the “F” in the FIRE framework (Focus, Ideation, Ranking, Execution).   Create a focused innovation challenge statement.  

The key elements of the challenge statement answer who, what, and when.

  • Who is the target for the innovation?
  • What is the problem or opportunity?
  • When will the challenge be realized?

Those invited to participate in your challenge will answer the “how.”  

The more specific and targeted your statement, the better the ideas that result.  In fact, the smart use of constraints will also improve the quality and impact of the ideas submitted.  

Take time to get your innovation challenge statement right.  Once you’ve drafted the statement, test it with a small group of people.  Listen carefully to feedback and make changes. Test it two to three times before releasing the final innovation challenge statement.

Setting Up the Challenge

In deciding how to run the challenge, determine:  

  • What constitutes success in the innovation challenge?  
    • Is it the number of ideas received?
    • Is it the attention the challenge generates for the sponsor?
    • Is it the innovative solution to an actual problem?
  • To whom will the challenge be open?
    • Will it be open to the general public?
    • Will it be internal to the organization?
    • Will it be by invitation only?
  • What is the motivation to participate?
    • Will the challenge offer prize money, royalties, investment in the idea?
    • Will name recognition or promotion be the motivator?

Consult a legal team while developing the challenge.  The legal team can help set clear guidelines on who owns an idea that’s been entered.

Launching the Challenge

Once you’ve got your challenge statement and structured the challenge, you need participants.  The next step is promoting the challenge. Find out where your target participants hang out. What social media are they on?   If the innovation is a social challenge, engage the press in promoting it. Use the networks of others to reach out. If you’re opening an innovation challenge to the public, drop me a note.  Or join The Innovators Community and promote your challenge there.  Keep promoting the challenge until it closes.

After the Challenge

Once you’ve created and launched the challenge, here are some points to keep in mind.

Recognize the best ideas.  Call out the people who came up with them.  

Keep every idea.  It may be useful in the future.  The difference between a good idea and a great idea is rarely the idea. It's the timing.  

Set up a regular schedule if an innovation challenge will become part of your long-term strategy.  This will allow people to prepare for your next challenge.

Now go out and create an innovation challenge that will fill that funnel with game changing ideas.

 

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Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to listen.  

Would you help me pay back my early mentor by paying it forward?

  • Share the show with others.
  • Give us a rating wherever you get your podcasts.

We are getting ready for CES 2019.  If you know someone who will be at CES and would be a great guest on the show,  drop me a line.  We will be hosting Killer Innovations in the Mobile Studio at CES. If you’ll be there, stop by the Mobile Studio to check it out.

For more on innovation, check out my book, Beyond the Obvious including extensive excerpts, over at beyondtheobvious.com.  You can find hardcover, digital, and audio versions of my book on Amazon or wherever you get your books.

This show is produced by The Innovators Network.

Direct download: Dont_Let_the_Funnel_Dry_Up__Create_an_Innovation_Challenge_S14_Ep37.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 10:44am PST

Big corporate innovation or startup getting off the ground, the challenges are similar.  Amy Radin knows something of both. She went from direct marketing to becoming the first Chief Innovation Officer of Citibank.  Now she advises startups. Her latest book, The Change Maker’s Playbook, offers insight on getting your innovation from idea to scaling.  In today’s show, Amy defines what it means to be a change maker and how to win in the innovation game.

The Change Maker at Work

As the internet emerged, Amy recognized its future impact.  Her direct marketing experience gave her insight. She went on to lead digital transformation at Citibank.  She knows first-hand the hard work of corporate innovation. The nature of big companies is “predictability” and “continuity.”  Innovation disrupts that momentum. Amy prepared for resistance by pulling together a strong, diverse, collaborative team.  She built strong partnerships.  And she used her direct marketing skills.  Amy put consumer insight up front: know the customer’s unmet need, then meet it with technology.

[shareable cite="Amy Radin, Author The Change Maker’s Playbook"]I think tough problems are more likely to be solved when you have diversity of thought, expertise, perspective, life experience.[/shareable]

Corporate Innovator versus Startup

When it comes to innovation, do corporate innovators and startups have anything in common?  

Amy interviewed innovators from large and small sized companies across sectors. She found that the “how” differs, but the challenges are similar.  The startup has speed, passion, and purpose. The less agile corporate entity has the advantage of resources, scale, and brand infrastructure. With each having its advantage, the real success for corporations and startups is to partner.

Defining a Change Maker

A change maker finds a solution to a market problem.  With purpose and passion, the change maker drives the idea to execution and scaling.  Through hurdles and successes, the change maker sees it through.  In reality, rarely is it one person who does it all.  The change maker is a team. One person may have the initial idea and leadership.  That person brings the right team together, finding those who have the skills to fill the gaps.  This team becomes the change maker.

Framework for Innovation

Amy has developed a framework for innovation.  It’s based on thorough research and her own experience.  Through interviews with founders, investors and corporate innovators across sectors, she formed this practical approach.  

The pillars of this framework are seek, seed, scale.  

  1. Seek
    • Once an idea takes root, focusing on target users’ insights.
    • Finding answers through users’ behavior.
  2. Seed
    • Validating your concept through prototype.
    • Connecting user insights to your business model.
  3. Scale
    • Amy calls it the “green light moment”
    • Confirm you have what’s needed to scale.

Key Advice from a Change Maker

Amy’s key advice for innovators and change makers is to listen.  Listen to users so you can fully grasp their needs.  Listen to those you need to influence. Listen for the emotional reaction.  In Amy’s words, “360 listening is going to help change makers be more successful.”

To learn more about Amy’s framework for innovation and how to be a change maker, read The Change Maker’s Playbook.  Find excerpts and a free download infographic on seek, seed, scale at Amy’s website.

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Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to listen.  

We are getting ready for CES 2019.  If you know someone who would be a great guest for our CES show in the Mobile Studio,  drop me a line.

Would you help me pay back my early mentor by paying it forward?

  • Share the show with others.
  • Give us a rating wherever you get your podcasts.

 

This show is produced by The Innovators Network

Direct download: A_Change_Maker_in_the_Innovation_Game_S14_Ep36.mp3
Category:Past Shows -- posted at: 6:36am PST

Today we delve into the future.  I discuss topics in three areas: top innovations, teaching the future, and tomorrow’s healthcare.  What innovations will have the most impact on our future? What can we do today to prepare students for the future?  How will technology help tomorrow’s healthcare? I based this show on a speech I delivered recently to staff of federal policy makers. It’s a future look at innovation, education, and healthcare.

Top Innovations with Future Impact

The top innovations that will transform our lives in the future are already in the works today. Artificial intelligence, light field display, and next generation storage will be life-changing. But a future look reveals issues.  These issues need study now to ensure that innovations better the lives of future generations.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one area that will dominate the future.  People tend to think AI as something off in the distant future. But it's here.  The social media imbedded with AI gathers data on users. AI captures behavior patterns to improve user experience and focus advertising.  The impact of AI today is significant. Its future will be exponential. The power and potential of AI give rise to concerns of ethics Now is the time to explore and define the ethical boundaries for AI.

Light field display is another innovation that will impact our future.  Also known as volumetric display, light field display projects an image creating depth without the use of special glasses.  It is a high resolution, full color image you can walk around. Light field display will transform the way we view content. The latest vision video, The Near Future: Ready for Anything features light field displays.

Next generation storage will be like carrying a personal cloud in your pocket.  It will transform computing. Every bit of information – photographs, videos, documents, files, data – will fit in a small kind of USB key.

Educating for the Future

Are we teaching the future to students?  How do we prepare students for a job that does not yet exist, using a technology that has not yet been invented, to solve a problem we don't even know exists?  This presents a lot of unknowns. But one thing I do know: traditional methods of teaching are no longer enough.  

Students will need skills in critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration.  Students who learn to look at any problem and derive a solution will be ready for the future.  Teaching the future means encouraging natural curiosity and investigation. I believe jobs of the future will be fluid. Learning to translate ideas from one area, industry, or discipline to another will help prepare students.  Teaching the future requires rethinking education. Finding ways to develop those critical skills in students will drive future success.

Tech for Tomorrow’s Healthcare

Healthcare is a hot topic now.  One reason is the rise in the aging population in the U.S. and many other parts of the world.  Low birth rates in recent decades mean less people fueling the economy and fewer people to care for the aging.  With the increasing aging population, what are the needs for tomorrow’s healthcare? In a future look at healthcare, here are areas to innovate and bring value to people’s lives.

There are not enough assisted living facilities in the United States to fill the need.  That fact and my own experience with my grandmother have caused me to think about “aging in place.”  Can we help aging people through tech and innovation live independent and fulfilling lives in their own homes?  Technologies that allow remote monitoring need to be intelligent, not just collecting data.  The tech needs to be unobtrusive. It should maintain privacy and independence, but still alert caregivers or family if something isn’t right.  This is a huge, open area to innovate tomorrow’s healthcare.

Another area open for innovation is communication for the aging.  Obstacles like limited hearing, lack of tech, or knowing how to use it can be big barriers.  Isolation is a real problem for many aging people. Having a better, simpler, more interactive way to communicate could add value to the lives of the aging.

Remote medical monitoring is another area to innovate.  This tech could track a patient’s condition after surgery.  But hand in hand with that, the laws need to keep pace with the technology.  Having tech to adjust a patient’s medicine remotely is worthless if the law doesn’t allow it.  

I hope this future look at what will impact us in innovation, education, and healthcare will spark deeper thoughts.   These are areas for innovators and policy makers to work out the challenges of tomorrow today.

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Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to listen.  
If you have comments, drop me a line.
I’ve been doing this show since 2005 to pay back my early mentor by paying it forward.  
Would you help me pay it forward?  
  • Share the show with others.
  • Give us a rating wherever you get your podcasts.
This show is produced by The Innovators Network