Archive for November, 2011

From Black Friday to Cyber Monday: shopping and spending is up

November 28, 2011 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Trends
A Danish Christmas tree illuminated with burni...

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Today is “Cyber Monday,” and anyone who likes the idea of avoiding retail crowds will be scouring the Internet looking for online deals. It looks like Black Friday, the biggest retail shopping day of the year, went better than expected, with $816 million in consumer sales. That is the heaviest online spending day ever, and it’s a 25 percent jump over last year’s spending.

Now compare that 25 percent Black Friday jump over the spending from 2009 to the 2010 increase which was only 9 percent. Lots of news articles and videos about Black Friday 2011 weren’t all positive. (In fact the fallout from the frenzy around some of the late night/early morning “door buster” sales is still being sorted out.)

We won’t know for a few days how Cyber Monday will go, but we do know that a lot of shoppers have already been clicking and shopping since the official start of the holiday shopping season. According to comScore, fifty million Americans visited online retail sites on Black Friday, which is an increase of 35 percent versus year ago. The top five retail sites (Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target and Apple) achieved double-digit gains in visitors vs. last year.

Last year, Cyber Monday was the heaviest day of online spending ever. Sales from that day exceeded $1 billion. But we are already seeing a tremendous surge in online shopping this season, so today’s online shopping sprees could bring record sales for e-retailers.

Reflecting on Product Innovation Management

November 27, 2011 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Culture of Innovation

As we get ready to close out November, I’m reflecting on how the innovation frontier has changed, and will change in the year ahead.  Earlier this month I had the opportunity to join many innovation professionals in Phoenix for the 35th Annual Global Conference on Product Innovation Management.

We all know that leaders who aren’t on top of their game will be beaten. This conference was designed to help innovation professionals verify their confidence and validate their competencies in innovation.

Whether an early adopter — or part of the late majority — it was good to see a diverse group of researchers and innovation practitioners have the opportunity to share knowledge and gain new insights into product development.

Participant interaction was a key component of the daytime events with workshops and labs in addition to expert presentations.

Steven Fahrenholtz, a strategy and innovation director from General Mills, delivered the opening keynote on “Empathy in Innovation.” His interesting perspective is that to launch great products you not only need great ideas, tools and process, but also emotion. The role of emotion is often overlooked or even ignored, but his company actively looks to build consumer empathy into its business teams to help create products that not only deliver on needs, but that try to strike an emotional connection with customers.

Ravi Arora, vice president of Tata Quality Management Services, spoke of how Tata has made a commitment to grow from an India-based organization into a global force in many business sectors, and the role that fostering a culture of innovation has played. Part of the success that Tata have recently achieved is attributed to a formal group of senior managers that are specifically responsible for inspiring, enabling and encouraging innovation across the company.

You may not think of innovation when you think of the toy industry, but it was just a few years ago that LEGO was facing serious financial difficulties. David Robertson of The Wharton School delivered a keynote on how innovation helped reinvent LEGO and make it such a powerhouse today in the toy industry. LEGO used innovation, not just in products, but also in pricing, business processes and market channels to fuel the turnaround.

These were just a few of the keynote talks that helped set the tone. Beyond that I found that the unique, hands-on Discovery Labs were quite valuable. These unconventional labs consisted of interactive sessions covering topics like driving consumer impact, portfolio management, the “Voice of the Consumer,” and business model innovation.

Other interested attendees had the opportunity to hone their product development skills through an intensive full-day New Product Development Professional certification preparation session. Experts in new product development guided the class through key strategies and best practices that have worked for them. To me there is no substitute for learning from real practitioners with hands-on experience.

I’ll certainly look forward to attending next year’s conference to see what new approaches are being explored and how they are being put into practice in the ever-evolving world of product innovation.

Biotech creates artificial forests of the future

November 25, 2011 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Biotechnology


Some engineers think that a catastrophic climate event is coming, and they are pointing to giant fly-swatters and freight containers as a solution. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers has designed “artificial forests,” with technologies that absorb CO2, in a similar way to trees. Below is a photo of what this could look like in the future. The objects would use natural processes or carbon chemical sponges (such as algae) to soak in carbon and transform it into other materials that could be useful somewhere else.

Climate change solutions: freight containers and giant fly-swats
The shapes resemble fly swatters or in some cases boxes, all designed to cut the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the environment. The technology to make these objects already exist, and researchers are exploring new ways to develop this innovative idea.

Where will your innovative ideas pop up?

November 22, 2011 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Cool videos

Where do your best and brightest ideas come from?

A lot of organizations are continually trying new ways to tap into that thing that sparks our creativity in order to help solve a problem or bring innovative new products and solutions to the marketplace. How does groundbreaking innovation happen? Check out this video story of how we generate the ideas that push our careers, our lives, our society, and our culture forward. Let me know if it sparks any great ideas!


CoDev 2012 is coming Feb. 13

November 16, 2011 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Conferences, Open Innovation

We can’t ignore the fact that Open Innovation has become a critical component within the innovation framework of top companies.  The challenge you now face is fueling your innovation engine in this less-than-optimal climate!

That’s why I’m inviting you to join me, as I team up once again with Management Roundtable and PDMA for the upcoming 11th annual CoDev2012: Achieving Higher OI Returns while Managing Risk, Cost and Uncertainty.

This premiere open innovation forum takes place February 13 – 15, 2012 in La Jolla, Calif.  For a limited time, we are offering a special flexible team discount so that you can bring your internal teams and partners to the table.

Register by November 18th and save $300! Call 1.800.338.2223, or reserve your place online!

This year’s program will include even more inspiring keynote presentations, how-to case studies, facilitated Q&A and group learning sessions as well as multiple venues to network and assemble your own open innovation network for future learning and collaboration.

Check out these  open innovation ambassadors presenting at CoDev2012.

In addition, we’ll be offering 4 brand new half-day workshops on the topics of Evolving New OI Business Models, Innovation Talent Management, Open Innovation Metrics and Implementing Complex Deal Structures for OI Success.

Don’t forget you’ll also network with several hundred top leaders of open innovation, continuous improvement, R&D and product development from a cross section of industries including aerospace, medical devices, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, biotech, oil & gas, electronics, hi-tech, defense and more.

If you are looking for the most up-to-date practitioner based content on open innovation, CoDev2012 promises to once again deliver on all fronts.  I am looking forward to meeting you personally as we discuss current and future trends in open innovation and how you can capitalize on them to gain more value from your open innovation investments.

See you in La Jolla,


Technology and intuition a healthy combination

November 15, 2011 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Technology, Trends

I found an interesting new tool that was just released last week for those wanting to take healthy living into their own hands—literally. Jawbone, the maker of Bluetooth headsets is hoping its new Up life monitoring wristband will sell like hotcakes this holiday season, and help those of us who enjoy hotcakes to burn those extra calories.
The Jawbone Up actually tracks your every move by showing you exactly what you are eating, how long you are sleeping and what you need to do to lose those stubborn pounds. It even tells you the calorie content in your meal just by analyzing a photo you take on your device.
Using a wristband and an iOS app, the device will tell you when you’ve been sedentary at your desk or in front of the TV too long, and wake you up when your sleep cycle says enough is enough.
You do need to wear the water resistant wristband 24 hours a day, and some think this tracking technology could be a little too invasive of privacy.
Check out this video.

The Jawbone Up is available for the iPad, the iPod Touch (4th generation) and the iPhone (3GS, 4 and 4S), comes in many different colors and sells for about $100. Could this technology be under your tree in December?