Partnering with P&G, Mead Johnson, more

Imaginatik’s 12 new customers in the first half of 2012 mark a growth in the company’s strategic service offerings, The UK Telegraph reports today.

These companies include Procter & Gamble, Mead Johnson Nutrition, and the Society of Petroleum Engineers, plus two small annual deals in the UK and Spain and a pilot with a UK-headquartered global betting and gaming company.

“Most new annual contracts being signed now include some element of operational consulting, endorsing our strategy to offer ‘full service’ innovation capabilities to clients, rather than standalone software,” said Imaginatik Executive Chairman Matthew Cooper.

Read the full story here.

Announcing Innovation Cloud @ BEI

Those of us on the conference circuit know the drill. You fly in, meet people, digest content, and have drinks. After several frenetic days of activity, you’re off to the next thing. Hopefully you remember all the people you met, all the stuff you learned…hopefully…

It doesn’t have to be this way. Cramming activity into a few days has always been a practical necessity – it’s the only time when we’re all together.

But…but…we can be together online as well. What if we could fundamentally change the conference experience – such that meaningful interactions also happen BEFORE and AFTER the conference?

And thus was born the concept for Innovation Cloud – an online collaboration space for purposeful pre-conference interaction. Built using Imaginatik’s Innovation Central software platform, Innovation Cloud will be an integral part of the 2012 Back End of Innovation (BEI) conference, through a partnership with the Institute for International Research (IIR).

What makes Innovation Cloud so innovative? First, it gives delegates a channel to offer their suggestions on Discussion Topics during the event. As a result, content choices for the conference agenda are now an open conversation – both among delegates, and between organizers and delegates.

Second, Innovation Cloud combines virtual and physical interactions for a more complete experience. Online conversations feed into face-to-face interactions, making each richer. People meet their peers and share ideas before arriving at the conference, giving them a head start for getting the most out of the experience.

Innovation Cloud is a rich new way of creating value for conference delegates. If you’re attending BEI this fall, please make sure to get involved!

10 things to ask an Innovation Advisor

Embarking on an innovation journey can be difficult without a guide – someone to point you in the right direction, someone who has traveled this road before.

Innovation specialists can help shed new light on your organization’s structure and can help inspire new ways of thinking. A fresh perspective can make a world of difference for an organization that is trying to build or revitalize its innovation program.  Asking your guides the right questions before and during your innovation journey will ensure that everyone is aligned and working successfully toward your end goals.

Before you start your innovation journey:

  1. Ask them how they connect innovation, strategy, and leadership.  There is no right or wrong answer to this question, but what they say will give you important insight into how they think and how they will guide you.
  2. Ask them about their experiences.  Not just professional, but also their educational experiences.  The most innovative people are open-minded and have a wide range of experiences and a broad education.  They tend to be less restricted in their thinking and actions.
  3. Ask them if they are participating in or leading the innovation.  Yes, you need a good leader with plenty of experience, but you never know; an outsider’s idea or opinion could be the breakthrough you’ve been looking for.
  4. Ask them to describe the culture at their own organization.  What about it makes it so successful in innovation?  Why is it so valuable?  Ask for examples of the work they have done in your industry or one that’s similar.
  5. Ask them what role the customer should play in the innovation strategy.  What kind of consideration will the customer get throughout the innovation journey?  Are they developing products for a certain group of consumers, or are they developing products that will shape consumers a certain way?

As you begin your innovation journey:

  1. Ask the consultant to help you set realistic goals and to help you measure where your company stands at any given time.  Ask them for small milestones and quick wins that will help build enthusiasm for the program.
  2. Ask them how they get people to think more creatively.  What can they do to break with company culture and think outside the box?  You want breakthrough ideas that are truly transformative, so you need a breakthrough and transformative way of thinking to get there.
  3. Ask them what they can do to get more people involved in the innovation project.  How can the company, with the help of its innovation advisors, encourage participants to share their ideas more openly in a safe, democratic environment?
  4. Ask what kinds of skills are required to lead innovation at the executive and project levels.  Have them teach you those skills and transfer them to everyone involved in the innovation project.
  5. Ask how to build a network of innovation champions.  Ask what kind of infrastructure this network should have.  When is the viral ideation space preferable over live group facilitation for creative thinking, or vice versa?  How can they help ensure effective group brainstorming and communication?

The War for Innovation: Free webinar, paper

Through innovation, companies and individuals have been able to reach a global scale faster than ever before, which is in turn quickening the pace of innovation.  In this cycle new technologies are arriving with increasing speed, being adopted more quickly, and, in turn, becoming obsolete more quickly.

It’s a constant struggle just to keep up, let alone surge forward. The war for innovation is on.

On Wednesday, Sept. 12, innovation thought leader and author Braden Kelley joins Imaginatik for a discussion on how companies must pursue both operational excellence and innovational excellence if they want to stay ahead of their competition. This free webinar will take place at 11 a.m. ET, and all attendees will receive a thought paper on how companies can develop innovation competencies within four main areas: leadership & structure, processes & tools, people & skills, and culture & values.

Innovation is achieved through a combination of vision, strategy and goals.  The vision helps employees understand why the organization is pursuing innovation, where it is focusing its efforts, and why they should be excited to participate.  Strategy determines what the organization should focus on.  The organization’s goals break things down into tangible milestone that employees can work toward during their innovation journeys.

On Sept. 12, Kelley will share his perspectives on how organizations can stay relevant, grow, and thrive by setting the right vision, strategy and goals to win their War for Innovation.

Shifting focus from product to customer

Michael Schrage, a research fellow at MIT’s Sloan School’s Center for Digital Business and author of “Serious Play” and “Shared Minds: The New Technologies of Collaboration,” is considered to be one of the world’s most innovative thought leaders on innovation.  His newest – and first – eBook, “Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become?,” argues that “Innovation is not just an investment in product enhancement or customer experience; innovation is an investment in your customer’s future, a human capital investment in who your customers really want or need to become.”

We recently spoke to Schrage about his eBook and his innovative ideas about innovation.  Citing examples of everything from Henry Ford to luxury brand marketing, Schrage explained how a focus on investing in customers completely changes – and drastically improves – the ways in which organizations innovate.

Imaginatik: How did you start exploring the idea that innovation should be seen as an investment in customers?

Schrage: Well, it really emerged out of two things.  In a non-academic context, I was doing advisory and consulting work to help organizations become more innovative.  We were thinking about innovation in the traditional sense, looking for the ‘faster, better, richer’ solution to problems.  I realized then that these goals weren’t aligned with where our customers were going.  They overwhelmingly focused on what customers wanted now, not what they would want or need in the future.  It struck me that we were too “in the moment,” and that haunted me.  I kept thinking of Gretzky’s famous saying “A good hockey player plays where the puck is.  A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”  I thought: Why not design the customer too?  Why not use innovation to shape what the customer will be in the future?

Why not design the customer too?  Why not use innovation to shape what the customer will be in the future?

Secondly, I’ve always been interested in history, human history, world history, technological history, everything.  I immediately back-test anything that I find interesting in historical contexts.

It turns out that this notion of ‘designing customers’ works historically.

Think about Henry Ford.  Sure, he mass-produced automobiles, but, more importantly, he mass-produced drivers.  This was pure disruptive innovation.  Whenever you find disruptive innovation, you find an innovator who is trying to change the customer.

Whenever you find disruptive innovation, you find an innovator who is trying to change the customer.

Imaginatik: How do you implement this kind of innovative thinking organization-wide?  And how can you apply it to a widely diverse customer base?

Schrage: What my book proposes is a way of rethinking of what segmentation should mean.  The classic notion dictates that you look at a suite of products and do a mapping, asking how you can customize per consumer segment.  Let’s invert that: Instead of asking how we can shape the product to the customer, we ask how we can use the product to create the customer.  We move away from the traditional approach in which we shape products and services to fit our customer base, and towards a culture where we shape our customers using our product and service innovations.

Instead of asking how we can shape the product to the customer, we ask how we can use the product to create the customer.

Just by asking the simple question, “Who do we want our customers to become?” we dramatically change our innovation conversation.  As you see different demographics and psychographics flowing by, you ask, “What do we want to do with them?  How can we shape them?  Where do we want them to go? How can our innovations transform them?”

Imaginatik: Why is “The Ask” so important?

Schrage: To clarify, The Ask doesn’t have to be the most important innovation question. But it makes all the other innovation questions you’re asking more valuable. It sharpens thinking around products so you can develop and shape the customer rather than just the product.

For example, you run into major problems with copying and trying to improve something just for the sake of improvement: diminishing returns kick in much more quickly. Innovation is not about interface; it’s about how changes add value to the customers themselves.  How does it increase their time, capability, and human capital?  How does it make their lives easier and more productive?  When you lose sight of the customer, diminishing returns hit much more quickly.

When you lose sight of the customer, diminishing returns hit much more quickly.

Imaginatik: In your book, you focused on luxury brands and how they sell a lifestyle, rather than just a product.  Can you explain a little bit further how this can be applied to innovation?

Schrage: Outside of education, which industries are most concerned with transforming their customers?  Luxury brands.  They don’t just sell fine objects or haute couture; they sell the lifestyle, aspirations, and goals associated with them as well.  Ask yourself: “If I were a luxury brand, which aspects of the lifestyle would I be focusing on?  How would I make it resonate with my customers and potential customers?” It’s a thought experiment to create innovation empathy.

(The Ask) becomes a challenge that requires everyone in the organization to collaborate and think together about this question of who they want their customers to become.

One of the reasons that this is so important is that The Ask, “Who do you want your customers to become?” forces collaboration between your marketing team, R&D, brand managers, and others.  It becomes a challenge that requires everyone in the organization to collaborate and think together about this question of who they want their customers to become.  In an era when that alignment is becoming increasingly important, coming up with questions that forces an alliance is a big deal.  This is not just for innovators; this is for everyone.

Are you Netflix, or Blockbuster?

“Innovation is either an act of inspiration or an act of desperation.” ~ Moises Norena, Global Director of Innovation at Whirlpool.

No matter the size or shape of a 21st century company, it needs to always have innovation top of mind. Blockbuster is a great example of what happens when the priority is not there – hanging on to a dying business model until it’s too late. New innovative companies like Netflix will do things better, faster, and cheaper. The pattern repeats itself across industries. And in today’s digital, global age, this “creative destruction” happens with alarming speed.

Imaginatik helps companies develop the capacity to innovate consistently, so they continue to lead in the marketplace, rather than turning to acts of “desperation”. Through our mix of software platform, advisory consulting, and program management, we help clients build a permanent culture of innovation.

The key for success is to empower the middle of your organization. Good ideas exist at the top, but many more are trapped throughout the company. By creating a climate of collaboration and creativity – tied to business outcomes and practical results – any organization can unlock latent innovation capacity.

People are an incredibly powerful asset for any organization. Corporations are really just collectives of people, and that collective employee knowledge base within the organization can provide tremendous value if you are able to tap into it.  Imaginatik help companies tap into this resource on a regular basis.  We can also include other stakeholders such as partners, suppliers, and customers.

We think of collaboration as happening across three related ”spaces of innovation”. This starts in the mind space, where each of us develops ideas. A lot of companies also innovate in the physical space: they all get together in a room, throw out ideas and put the best ones up on a white board.  This is good for small groups and teams.

Adding the virtual space – online collaboration enabled by software – creates the ability for innovation to scale globally. Our large, multinational customers, the people they have in Japan, Dubai, Ireland, etc. who do not always get to participate in face-to-face brainstorming meetings.  With a web-based platform we can facilitate worldwide participation, and multiply innovation potential by orders of magnitude.

To truly succeed in today’s fast-paced world, companies need to be continuously innovating, looking at new products and adjusting the way they do things, which is exactly what we at Imaginatik can help you do. We hope you’ll choose to be Netflix rather than Blockbuster.

The awesome power of “Thank You”

I sent my mother some flowers for her birthday recently. Being at the opposite side of the country from her means I have to put all my trust and faith in her local florist to deliver the goods, but let’s be honest – Moms appreciate any flowers at any time, and it’s hard to get flowers wrong.

On this particular birthday, however, the flowers lasted extra-long and she was quite impressed with the selection. So I was grateful to the shop for creating a fresh, healthy bouquet that Mom could enjoy for a few extra days. I even thought of writing them a Thank You note.

Then, I was floored when I received this in the mail a few days later:

Thank you note

At work, we often talk to companies about how they’re communicating with employees as they launch/execute large-scale innovation programs. One of the simplest yet most important lessons is to have a high-level executive – preferably the program sponsor – thank each employee individually for their contribution of ideas in solving business challenges. Often, this is done with a short e-mail – nothing fancy, yet something sincere that makes them know everyone has a voice, and that voice is being heard. Something that encourages people to want to contribute.

It’s a simple thing to say “Thank you,” and when that culture is reflected in your customer service, you’re going to lock customers in a way no amount of Tweets and status updates ever will.

Innovation Management is an Oxymoron

Jugaad innovation, also known as frugal innovation, is the flexible mindset that embraces the idea of doing more with less.  Most prevalent in the developing markets of China and India, Jugaad innovation is becoming more and more popular in the West, where economic conditions are forcing companies to find more affordable solutions to the problems they face.

Navi Radjou, a Silicon Valley-based innovation and leadership strategist and co-author of Jugaad Innovation: Think Frugal, Be Flexible, Generate Breakthrough Growth, spoke to us about this new innovation trend and how we can begin to embrace it more fully in the West.

Imaginatik:  Do you think that Jugaad leads to “better” innovation in terms of tech advances?  Can you still get the same results with Jugaad innovation as you would with traditional R&D ventures, even with the resource limitations?

Radjou:  Yes, Jugaad can be applied anywhere; it is really a unique mindset that has an application that cuts across industries and geographies.  Your second question is important.  Consumers are put off by complexity and are embracing “good enough” solutions.  There is a famous Stanford study conducted by Professor Jonathan Berger that shows that students preferred mp3 quality songs over .wav files (mp3 files are more condensed and compressed versions of .wav files).

So sometimes “good enough” quality is actually what consumers prefer!

In the West, we often push technology boundaries for their own sake, which makes us lose track of why we are innovating in the first place.  Jugaad is not about inventing the Next Big Thing, but rather improving—and making the most out of—The Last Big Thing.  It is about improvement rather than newness.  It saves money on R&D while still improving technology and adding value to customers.

Is the resulting solution sophisticated?  Who cares!  Does it get the job done?  Yes—and that’s all that matters.

There is also a Western idea that innovation is only good if it can scale.  I prefer to think of “scaling out” rather than “scaling up.”  In emerging markets such as India, China and Brazil, economies of scale don’t matter.  What matter are economies of scope.  The socio-cultural and economic diversity is so huge in emerging markets that a product that sells well in one segment may not be successful in another segment.  This is what makes Jugaad innovation more customer-centric, more personalized, and more specialized.  It allows you to get really close to a particular market or segment and find out what users in that particular segment really want and need, which is a far more effective approach than mass-producing something and then hoping that marketing will pull some magic and sell it successfully.

Imaginatik:  How do you build Jugaad skills to develop a career?

Radjou:  Look at kids!  Children are great at coming up with magical ideas and improvising solutions with very limited resources.  And, the key is, they operate in unstructured environments.  But as these kids evolve into adults, they become more and more structured, and when they join the workforce, they struggle to break out of the corporate box.  In many companies, I hear employees complain about not being given the time and space to play around with their ideas.  That’s very sad.  My counter-intuitive suggestion to corporate leaders is that rather than investing in R&D and structured processes, they must vive people limited resources combined with an unstructured environment.  In doing so, they will create an environment conducive to improvisational Jugaad innovation.

Also, Jugaad is all about allowing people to have the courage and freedom to express themselves in an authentic way.  It is important to create an environment where people feel that their ideas are respected, and don’t get punished if some ideas fail.  In India, Ratan Tata (the visionary behind the $2,000 Nano car) gives the “Innovation Failure Award” to the employees who failed in their attempts to innovate but learned a great deal from that experience that could benefit the Tata Group.  Such an open mindset creates the right incentives for trying and failing.

Thirdly, if you’re stuck in a company and don’t know how you might introduce Jugaad into your organization, then find partners who embody the Jugaad spirit better than you do.  Network with them, co-create and test new ideas with them; in the process, you will get better exposed to their Jugaad mindset before you introduce that mindset into your own company.  For instance, GE Healthcare has partnered with Embrace, a startup co-founded by Jane Chen, which has invented a $200 portable infant warmer (see previous blog post).

Imaginatik:  Can you elaborate a bit further on how we can break out of this Western mindset?  How would you begin?

Radjou:  When facing harsh constraints, most people tend to easily give up.  But the Jugaad mindset consists of turning adversity into an opportunity.  All the Jugaad innovators profiled in my book have a “growth mindset” (to borrow a term from Stanford Professor Carol Dweck).  They are able to challenge their own assumptions and reexamine problems through multiple new lenses.  This ability to “reframe” problems allows them to come up with really creative solutions, something that people with a “fixed mindset” can’t easily do.  So, the key message here is that in today’s increasingly complex environment, you must e willing to shift and broaden your mindset, letting go of old perspectives that are holding you back.

Imaginatik:  Navi, thank you so much for taking this time to talk with us.  Do you have any final thoughts to add before we say goodbye?

Radjou:  I want to mention that, if you want to put Jugaad into practice, there are some very specific recommendations in the book.

A key takeaway from the book is that the notion of “Innovation Management” is an oxymoron.  In other words, you can’t “manage” innovation.  Companies have over-invested in structured tools and techniques to “manage” innovation.  That has taken us to a very process-centric approach to innovation.  Jugaad is less about process and more about people.  Jugaad is about unleashing the ingenuity of people in a bottom-up fashion.  It requires more facilitation than management.  It is also about celebrating and embracing improvised creativity.  This means dialing down the precise management of innovation.  Jugaad innovation is more an art than a science.

At the same time, we need to be careful.  It is not about having no leadership and letting chaos reign.  Leaders need to be able to discern when to manage and when not to manage, and how to find the right balance!

Think about it this way: Jugaad is another tool in your toolkit and you need to know when to apply which tool, depending on the context.

The next generations of workers—Gen Y and Z—are really predisposed for Jugaad.  Traditional leaders are used to “managing” baby boomers and Gen X workers, but not Gen Y and Z.  To avoid a generational clash, managers must learn to act and lead wisely (which is the topic of my next book), and learn to cater to the needs of Gen Y and Z employees.

A new approach to frugal innovation

In today’s difficult economy, organizations cannot rely on the expensive R&D projects they have used for the last few decades. The most successful approaches to innovation are more flexible and more frugal, and embrace the idea of “doing more with less.” One such strategy is “Jugaad” innovation.

Navi Radjou is the co-author of “Jugaad Innovation: Think Frugal, Be Flexible, Generate Breakthrough Growth,” and as just completed his second book, “From Smart to Wise.” The Economist calls “Jugaad Innovation” the “most comprehensive book yet to appear on the subject” of frugal innovation. An independent thought leader and strategy consultant based in Silicon Valley, Navi is also a World Economic Forum faculty member and a Fellow at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge. Featured regularly in Bloomberg Business Week, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and The Financial Times, Navi speaks regularly at the Council on Foreign Relations, World Economic Forum, and Asia Society.

Recently, Imaginatik had the opportunity to talk to Navi about what “Jugaad” innovation is all about and how it has impacted different economies around the world.

Navi Radjou

Imaginatik: Can you define more precisely what “Jugaad Innovation” is?

Radjou: In some ways, Jugaad innovation is closely related to the concept of “frugal innovation;” it’s doing more with less, delivering more value to customers at a lower cost. But Jugaad is more than just frugality. Jugaad is about being resourceful when faced with constraints. Jugaad is the flexible mindset that is embodied by MacGyver, the resourceful TV action hero who can extricate himself from all predicaments using merely duct tape and his Swiss Army knife. Jugaad is all about leveraging ingenuity. Everyone is born with ingenuity. It is something more profound than either creativity or innovation. It’s our birthright. We all have ingenuity, but unfortunately, we don’t connect with it, let alone harness it and bring it to life. In Western corporations, ingenuity of employees gets stifled because we put so many structures in place that people don’t get the chance to look inside themselves. Employees get stuck inside the guidelines that they are given; they come to believe they are paid to do things the “right way” (by following specific guidelines), rather than doing the “right thing” (by heeding their intuition). In emerging markets, however, the constraints and complexities of the environment force entrepreneurs to tap into their ingenuity and intuitively create affordable solutions to combat the extreme adversity that they face there.

Jugaad is the flexible mindset that is embodied by MacGyver, the resourceful TV action hero who can extricate himself from all predicaments using merely duct tape and his Swiss Army knife.

Imaginatik: You talked about how constraints help lead to the Jugaad mindset; how can Western leaders actually “impose” or “manufacture” these constraints?

Radjou: There are two answers to this. First, in the West, we used to believe that we didn’t have extreme constraints, but increasingly we do have constraints, such as the dwindling purchasing power of the American middle class, the aging workforce in Europe, or the growing scarcity of natural resources. Yet, our biggest constraint in the west is not money, but something else. The scarcity we face is time. Time is the most valued resource we have here, and it’s in short supply. Think about what Facebook is doing with their Hackathon. They create constraints around time by imposing a 72-hour deadline to find solutions to complex issues that they’re facing and to come up with their next advances. This artificial constraint around time is what creates the right conditions for the improvisational Jugaad innovation to thrive. We’ve found that R&D people love constraints; setting time limits, price points, and limiting money and resources creates an exciting intellectual challenge for them. This is when the best innovations take place.

Imaginatik: What is the best example of a company using Jugaad innovation?

Radjou: It’s hard to pick just one because there are so many dimensions to it. I will mention Google for their flexibility primarily. They operate heavily on short-term plans and innovate in rapid-fire mode. On the frugal dimension, I like GE Healthcare. They’re producing a lot of interesting products at very low cost.

R&D people love constraints; setting time limits, price points, and limiting money and resources creates an exciting intellectual challenge for them. This is when the best innovations take place.

Another great example is Embrace, a company co-founded by Jane Chen. While studying for an MBA at Stanford, Chen attended a course called “Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability,” which teaches students how to design products at 1 percent of existing products in the marketplace. Chen took what she learned there and applied it to the design and production of a portable infant warmer incubator for premature babies. In the West, an average incubator costs around $20,000. Chen made an equivalent with a $200 price tag. After its successful debut in India, it has spread to China and elsewhere. It is being piloted now at Standford-affiliated Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in the US.

Embrace’s product delivers much more value for a lot less. It is not only extremely affordable, but it also allows mothers to hold their premature babies close to their bodies, which traditional, more expensive incubators can’t do due to their fixed nature. The key takeaway: this is not just a product for poor countries.

NEXT: How a “Jugaad” mindset can help you build a career

Benchmark your Innovation Maturity level

A major step in setting a direction for innovation is assessing the Current Level of innovation maturity. Imaginatik’s methodology determines the Current Level from several inputs using proprietary tools: a broad employee survey, in-depth interviews with a core senior executive team, occasionally some discussions with Board members, and informal observations by our experienced innovation consultants.

A preliminary Current Level profile is the basis for a second 4-8 hours senior executive cocreation session. At this point, executives evaluate survey and interview data, including anecdotes, to uncover themes or patterns that add context to the Current Level view. Usually these insights help to calibrate the Current Level assessment with respect to the five innovation areas of capability development: strategy, process, organization, resources and culture. Lively discussion often reveals the key hurdles to overcome in order for innovation to take hold or accelerate.

  • Level 1 – Ignored is relatively rare, and includes those cases where innovation is actively considered not to be a corporate priority. Failure and risk-taking are punished, while individual heroes are rewarded without an eye to replicating the success. Almost everyone keeps their head down and follows the rules at all costs.
  • Level 2 – Initiated is what most organizations look like when innovation is being pursued by one department or function without a global game plan. In most cases, incremental Horizon 1 innovations are the focus. In fact, “under the cover” innovations often occur in Level 2. We will often hear someone say “I do these projects without formal permission because I probably would never get the funding or go ahead if I asked”. Level 2 is parochial, local, fragmented but innovation progress is being made. A few important innovations often establish the business case for a more formal synchronized approach. Measurements are scarce.
  • Level 3 – Systematized is characterized by an organizational commitment to “make innovation real.” Not only are processes and KPIs established (which require an end-state vision in terms of results and outcomes), but also idea management begins to flourish, rewards and recognition are introduced, and leadership provides people and money resources to formalize the capability. Importantly, steps are taken to encourage prudent risk-taking. Innovation has legitimacy as a new organizational competency.
  • Level 4 – Embedded is attained when innovation is fully integrated into corporate strategy by the senior leadership team. Portfolio management, an advanced concept that explicitly seeks to allocate resources across the three innovation Horizons, is practiced. Training is widespread amongst middle managers and also frontline employees or distributed teams who are tasked with innovation responsibility. Frequently, another attribute is looking outside the organization by means of Open Innovation. The organization now possesses the confidence to look elsewhere for technologies, product or service ideas, partnerships and alliances to achieve innovation results and growth.
  • Level 5 – Continuous describes those few organizations in any industry that have practiced innovation for enough years to have created a fully developed capability, one with distinct or predictable funding sources, dedicated idea time (recall the discussion about “time famine”), and creative ways to capture, curate and share innovations. A center of excellence is just one way; on-line tools, periodic summits or educational events also work quite well. Senior leadership totally believes in innovation, and asks the same of all direct reports and the entire organization. Innovation is more than part of the business strategy; it is the business strategy.


Join us at BEI; get 25% off admission

From October 9-11, some of the world’s leading innovation minds will come together in Boston for Back End of Innovation 2012.  During this three-day conference, speakers will delve into systematic approaches that will make sure that innovation isn’t just a one-time flash, but an ongoing, systematic business competency.

The Summit day (Oct. 9) will focus on the effective measurement and communication of innovation revenue goals and the maximization of new product development to drive breakthrough innovation.  During the main conference (Oct. 10-11), keynote speakers from academia and the business world will address attendees on a variety of topics on everything from Reverse Innovation to LEGO and how it reinvented innovation and conquered the toy industry.  Following these speeches will be various corresponding collaboration sessions and unique breakout groups that will provide the opportunity to explore each topic in a variety of diverse learning formats.

Make sure you look for Imaginatik at the summit and conference!  At last year’s BEI, we debuted Results Engine, which our clients have used to create new value for their innovation efforts by deeply tracking the activity across their innovation environments.  For discounted admission, register for the conference through our link. See you in October!

Free webinar: Rating innovation maturity

Think your company is innovative? We invite you to come see how it stacks up.

In a webinar Wednesday, Aug, 1 at 11 a.m. ET,  we’ll share the provocative insights from Imaginatik’s innovation survey held earlier this year. This survey of Global 1,000 executives from around the world assesses five key aspects of an innovation DNA: Strategy, Process, Resources, Organization, and Culture.

Join Chris Townsend and Luis Solis from Imaginatik as they share strategies to put your organization on a fast path to better innovation. We’ll also announce the name of the survey respondent who won a brand new iPad 3!