Archive for December, 2009

Consumer trends for 2010:

So long 2009. Time to look forward…

I love imagining the exciting new possibilities the New Year brings!  What is on your radar for the coming year? How will the next big trends impact your business, your social life or your relationships?

Over at Trendhuntertv.com, the big prediction for 2010 includes “Rental Culture,” “Next Besting” and “Nomadabodes!”

You can read about it here. Or if you don’t have time to browse the list, Trendhunter has nicely summed it all up in this video:

Irony in Innovation!

December 27, 2009 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Innovation

Sometimes what you expect from an innovative idea or a product isn’t always what you get. In fact sometimes you get the opposite end result from what you thought would happen.

If you were around in the 1970’s when the computer revolution was beginning, you may remember all those who predicted that computers would soon lead to a paperless society. That never happened, much to the relief of the paper industry.

And over the past few decades we’ve seen an increase in paper usage in spite of the Internet! With the rise in communications technologies like state-of-the-art printers and cutting-edge copiers, it’s almost effortless to crank out large quantities of colorful paper documents.

One company thankful that its strategic decisions weren’t based on these predictions is Hewlett-Packard, who became the premiere “computer company” in the 1980’s. H-P now makes a significant percentage of its profits by selling ink and toner for printers. Although I haven’t done the math, that is not surprising when you consider that a gallon of printer ink may effectively sell for thousands of dollars.

Another fascinating example of the value of an ironic idea comes from a friend of mine who works in radar. He taught me that contrary to intuition, less clutter, less noise” isn’t always the most desirable environment when trying to solve a problem. One particular challenge with radar is when signals are too low to be detected. You would think that adding extra noise would only muddle the results. But under the right circumstances my friend can add a resonating noise called “stochastic resonance” to the equation,which can actually help radar systems detect the signal.

In innovation, expect the unexpected, and don’t be too quick rule out any idea. Attempt to broaden your vision and imagine the possibilities. When David Sarnoff was promoting the investment in radio in the 1920’s, there was a feeling among some that the “wireless music box” was useless and not commercially feasible because no one would be interested in paying for messages that were sent to no one in particular.

Even a great inventor like Thomas Edison was told that his phonograph would have no commercial value! Fortunately others envisioned its value for recording music and not just the spoken word.

The future can unfold in surprising ways. For instance, do you think the development of the “eBook reader” and all of its enthusiastic fans will make the written book extinct? That’s the prediction some are making today, but personally I wouldn’t count on it.

December thoughts…

December 25, 2009 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Trends

winter thoughtsDecember is a time when we often think about how we’ve been blessed, and how we’ve been challenged.  However you celebrate the holiday season, I hope you are able to take some time to reflect and also to enjoy the people in your lives!

This time of year you don’t need to look too hard to find families and individuals struggling to put food on the table and pay their bills. The nonprofit sector is reporting that the need for services has risen sharply. So much so that many of these nonprofits can scarcely keep up with the demand for services. That’s why they depend so heavily on corporate benevolence.

Recently, the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy released its 2009 edition of Giving in Numbers, an annual report on corporate giving trends drawn from 137 of the most prominent global corporations including 55 of the Fortune 100.

You would think that in tough economic times we’d see less corporate giving. But the Giving In Numbers data shows that a majority of companies increased giving this year despite 68% experiencing profit declines. In other words, companies are committed to maintaining their philanthropic values–but they have to dig a little deeper to do it.

In my line of work I study trends and I can tell you that corporate giving is increasingly becoming more proactive and strategic, signifying a closer alignment between a company’s competitive strengths and the selection of organizations that make a good fit with the corporate culture. Poll results show that CEOs and giving officers are devoted to fulfilling pre-existing commitments to grantees while working to more closely integrate philanthropic strategy with company-wide business objectives.

Employees sense the true heart of their leaders, and when a business repeatedly commits to meeting needs, employees will rise to the occasion as well. The data backs that up: Non-cash giving surged among companies that increased giving.

I am so thankful that despite adverse economic conditions, corporations are continuing to invest in sustainable change solutions for what matters the most: People. Commitment to measurement and sharing of best practices will be critical in 2010 as the corporate sector continues to address societal problems in partnership with public and non-profit entities.

Half a million daily is a lofty goal for P. & G.

December 21, 2009 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Emerging markets
What if you could add more than a half million new customers to your business EVERY DAY, for the next five years? Make that 548,000 new customers, to be precise.
That’s what Procter & Gamble’s new  chief executiveRobert McDonald says he’ll be doing for the company. He wants to do this by continually expanding P. & G.’s reach beyond its core markets of the United States, Western Europe and Japan, and start winning over new customers in places like Nigeria, India and Somalia.
But its competitors Unilever and Colgate have already enjoyed a longterm presence in many of these emerging markets!
One industry analyst describes the upcoming challoenge as a brutal knife fight that will be fought in shampoo, detergent, deodorant, with no one rolling over. I imagine that is a pretty fair prediction.
Many are wondering how a company that built itself on selling premium products at premium prices can shift to selling an array of low-priced products for consumers who often live on only a few hundred dollars a month or less.  After all, these new customers may even have to be taught how to use P. & G.’s prodcucts.
But the naysayers need only look to the incredible potential of these markets where P. & G. has already been laying the groundwork to be inspired:
Today, sales from developing countries are doubling every four years. P.& G. has annual sales of $25 billion from developing countries, compared with $8 billion eight years ago. Procter already operates in 80 countries, selling its wares everywhere — large superstores in cities and tiny storefronts in remote villages.
So what will the marketing strategy look like in places like China and India?  Check out this article for a fascinating read:

marketWhat if you could add more than a half million new customers to your business EVERY DAY, for the next five years? Make that 548,000 new customers, to be precise.

That’s what Procter & Gamble’s new  chief executive Robert McDonald says he’ll be doing for the company. He wants to do this by continually expanding P. & G.’s reach beyond its core markets of the United States, Western Europe and Japan, and start winning over new customers in places like Nigeria, India and Somalia.

But its competitors Unilever and Colgate have already enjoyed a longterm presence in many of these emerging markets!

One industry analyst describes the upcoming challoenge as a brutal knife fight that will be fought in shampoo, detergent, deodorant, with no one rolling over. I imagine that is a pretty fair prediction.

Many are wondering how a company that built itself on selling premium products at premium prices can shift to selling an array of low-priced products for consumers who often live on only a few hundred dollars a month or less.  After all, these new customers may even have to be taught how to use P. & G.’s prodcucts.

But the naysayers need only look to the incredible potential of these markets where P. & G. has already been laying the groundwork to be inspired:

Today, sales from developing countries are doubling every four years. P.& G. has annual sales of $25 billion from developing countries, compared with $8 billion eight years ago. Procter already operates in 80 countries, selling its wares everywhere — large superstores in cities and tiny storefronts in remote villages.

So what will the marketing strategy look like in places like China and India?  Check out this article for a fascinating read:

The CoDev 2010 experience is just around the corner!

codev2010I want to take this opportunity to first thank everyone who has already registered for CoDev2010. I hope you’re all as excited as I am about the incredible agenda we’ve put together. What started as an informal gathering of a small group of pioneers has evolved into the longest running and most comprehensive source for open innovation learning. I’m confident this will be the best CoDev yet!

From the pre-conference workshops designed to give you a quick immersion in skills and tools, to the roster of thought-leading keynote speakers and the wide range of case presentations, this event has it all. The biggest challenge for most attendees will be deciding where they’ll spend their time, and who will they try to connect with during networking times.

Now I really want to spend a moment with an open message to anyone still sitting on the fence about CoDev2010.  Success in business and life is usually about the decisions we make, and I want you to be fully informed before you decide to attend CoDev2010. If you decide not to attend, here are some of the some things you’re missing out on:

  • Access to global leaders in open innovation for advice, education, and practical how-to’s on approaches, skills, organization structures, technology and more.
  • Opportunities to get direct answers to your most challenging issues from some of the most experienced practitioners on the planet
  • Great opportunities for networking, whether you’re a manufacturer or marketer looking for coaches to get you started, or consultants trying to reach your market.
  • Opportunities for advancing your benchmarking efforts by connecting with peers who may be further down a similar path.
  • A down-loadable executive summary as well as a complete reference binder of all the materials presented.

Are you convinced yet that this is an event you can’t afford to miss? What’s the ROI of something essential to the future vitality of your organization? If you’re still unsure whether CoDev2010 is a smart use of your time and money, here are a few more benefits attendees will receive:

  • Learn about key strategies for implementing a corporate global open innovation initiative
  • Discover how to recognize and foster the types of skills required to make your open innovation initiatives successful.
  • Witness the steps taken at Whirlpool to transition from embedded innovation to open innovation.
  • Find out how IBM enables a more rapid, aggressive innovation capability among its partners within its Global Innovation Outlook Program.
  • See how others have reinvented their open innovation models in the face of changing business ecosystems and difficult-to-identify potential business partners
  • Get an early look at Georgia Institute of Technology’s plans to foster an open innovation environment that invites ideas and experimentation while also engendering trust, lasting relationships and mutually rewarding results within its Future Media Initiative.
  • Learn how you could structure a win/win collaborative partnership with universities, federal labs and research centers.
  • Last, but this can’t be forgotten, learn how to measure the success of your open innovation efforts

I hope this has helped to whet your appetite for the kind of learning that can help power meaningful change through your organizations. The challenges to be adept at open innovation are many. But the rewards, especially in an economy that promises more dynamic change in the coming years, continue to beckon. I encourage you to make the commitment to be part of the force of change propelling your organization to the front of your industry.

The experience is right around the corner. See you all in Scottsdale!

Crisis management often leads to open innovation

December 10, 2009 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Innovation, Innovation Edge, LLC, Open Innovation

 Last week I was in Orlando for the Open Innovation Summit. I, along with several other speakers, talked about how innovation is often sparked by a burning platform. In other words, a crisis! The conference chair Michael Arndt wrote an article about it in his Businessweek blog titled Next Innovation Tools & Trends. I highly recommend reading not only this article, but others in his blog.

Companies like Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Whirlpool and others have done some remarkable innovating via strategic alliances in economic downturns, and those case studies are fascinating.

If you missed this year’s inaugural Open Innovation Summit, I encourage you to attend next year!  It’s a conference that delivers practical strategies on how to manage Open Innovation initiatives and get the absolute maximum return on your R&D investments.

Innovation: Getting the energy flowing again

productsI’ve worked with a lot of companies big and small that have been struggling. They’re stymied by the challenges of this economy, and are looking for new ways to achieve growth and customer satisfaction.

But there is hope. Their challenge is to change what the world needs rather than letting the world change them.

That takes innovation.

image001Whether you work for a large manufacturer or are making it on your own, getting your great idea to customers in the marketplace is not easy. It’s like connecting an electrical circuit with multiple components that all need to be in place and in the right order. Furthermore even if you have the right components, that circuit isn’t very useful unless the energy is flowing.

Many executives wrongly believe that innovation is a formula or a program they need to follow. I like to use the circuit analogy to show them that there is no one-size-fits-all innovation plan. I call it “Connecting the Circuit of Innovation,” an approach that yields a customized roadmap that binds together a strategy for marketing with an encompassing intellectual asset (IA) strategy that goes beyond simply getting a patent. And what’s really interesting about innovation is that no two circuits are alike.

In fact, the more of your company’s unique personality you can deliver to your colleagues and customers, the better-suited you’ll be for delivering successful results and growth.

Every company has its own unique design — its DNA if you will — that when used in the right context can propel that company toward success. Disruptive, true innovation looks at the whole package, from your insights, your mission statement and your corporate culture, to even the trends that will impact your company and your customers in the next three to five years.

I’ve met with a lot of executives to show them how to use their DNA to build a comprehensive roadmap for their innovation plan, and it’s like watching the energy begin to flow and the lightbulbs turn on. Once they allow their corporate DNA to shape their plan, they can plainly see the best pathway to pursue, the segments of the market and distribution channels to follow, the companies to partner with and so forth.

This approach doesn’t have to be expensive. There are low-cost intellectual assets you can use to your advantage right away, such as publications, Internet domain names and even YouTube channels that can create a compelling story for your innovative idea.

Once the energy in your circuit is flowing, with a little luck and plenty of hard work you’ll begin to see growth over time that is sustainable.

3 Dec 09: BusinessWeek.com

December 3, 2009 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Media Coverage

Open innovation’s secret: It takes a crisis: BusinessWeek.com NEXT Innovation Tools & Trends blog, December 3, 2009

BusinessWeek NEXT Innvation Tools & Trends blog