Archive for December, 2011

Looking ahead to the New Year

December 28, 2011 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Culture of Innovation

Most of us look back from a December perspective and take stock of how we did in the past 12 months. Did we meet the goals we set for ourselves last December? Did we do something to make a positive difference? What are those things we planned to do but didn’t or couldn’t in this economically-challenging climate?

From my point of view, I wrap up 2011 with excitement for the many ways my colleagues and clients creatively told their stories of success and innovation, even when budgets were tightened. I’ve helped facilitate and lead conference events around the world to see how other companies are finding creative ways to tap into new ideas and products this past year, and I’ll be doing even more of that in 2012.

How about you? What are you doing in your innovation endeavors this coming year? I’m especially excited and inspired to see the many corporations and entrepreneurs coming together to find ways to solve tough problems in our world, like hunger, clean drinking water, lack of educational resources in developing nations and health issues that stem from a basic lack of hygiene.

I hope you’ve enjoyed skimming this blog and have found some inspirational and informative news that you can use to unleash your own innovation plans.

May you, your families and your colleagues and friends enjoy the New Year!

CoDev 2012: Achieving Higher OI Returns while Managing Risk, Cost and Uncertainty

December 23, 2011 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Conferences, Event Info, Events, Speaking Engagements

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!

Join Cheryl Perkins as she teams 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.

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.


Making Innovation Work

December 23, 2011 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Conferences, Event Info, Events, Speaking Engagements

Join InnovationEdge in China for the Making Innovation Work: Success from Within and Outside.  The event will take place February 27 and 28, 2012 at the CII Innovation Center, Shanghai.

Cheryl Perkins and Pat Clusman lead participants through wiring together your business, marketing and innovation strategies,  by identifying and applying the key focal areas of Innovation, from business strategy to customer experience.

China Institute for Innovation is a consulting and academic organization established specifically to help Chinese companies, multinational organizations and government
agencies to meet the needs for world-class expertise in innovation.
CII is a leading innovation education, training, research, and networking institute in China. CII offers a wide variety of programs to help people at all levels and in all roles to understand and master the principles and practices of innovation, to help their organizations succeed in the innovation- driven economy.

Click on this image for more information:


Innovation Best Practices For Consumer Industry

December 23, 2011 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Conferences, Event Info, Events, Speaking Engagements

Join Cheryl Perkins and Pat Clusman in China for the Innovation Best Practices For Consumer Industry. The event will take place March 1-2, 2012 at the CII Innovation Center, Shanghai.

China Institute for Innovation is a consulting and academic organization established specifically to help Chinese companies, multinational organizations and government
agencies to meet the needs for world-class expertise in innovation.
CII is a leading innovation education, training, research, and networking institute in China. CII offers a wide variety of programs to help people at all levels and in all roles to understand and master the principles and practices of innovation, to help their organizations succeed in the innovation- driven economy.

Click on this image for more information:

Walmart’s new tech keeps eye on consumers

December 21, 2011 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Crowdsourcing

Imagine not having to deal with the ckeck out line–and just shop right in the aisle where you are. Walmart is considering letting shoppers buy products in the aisles in an effort to improve the customer experience.

Those shoppers with an iPhone 4 or 4S can buy some products simply by scanning the bar code and entering their Apple ID.  The retailer is also exploring how the use of NFC (near-field communication) can help customers make purchases by phone and in set up a social network to talk with other shoppers in its stores.

Walmart could use trend information from social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to let the world know about that cool item you just scored. The company says it may set up a database that will take advantage of the huge amounts of information it has about shopping behavior and combine it with social-networking data.

So the next time you start looking online at Wisconsin Badger football jerseys or post your Madison travel plans on Facebook about catching a game, Walmart knows it’s time to start stocking the shelves with red and white merchandise. Eventually, the retailer will set up a mobile social-networking service uniquely Walmart’s, where shoppers and sales associates could post comments about products and services. Even the online store will tap into social networking. All of this is in the pilot stage right now, but Walmart hopes to impact billions of dollars of merchandise and sales.


Innovation being used to reshape teaching

December 19, 2011 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Disruptive Innovation

Innovation isn’t just limited to the business world. Just like businesses, educational institutions also have a need to be innovative.

In my consultancy I am seeing more and more institutions that are acting on the realization for the need to improve the art and science of education. They are looking to create an improved culture of effective education and make it available to a wider audience.

Institutions of learning have been around for quite a while, of course, so it’s not surprising that they may be entrenched in centuries-old approaches and methods. Regardless, the advancing pace of technology is driving a rapid evolution of education.

The tools are changing. Traditional chalkboard, textbook and lecture room are evolving to interactive electronic whiteboards, eBooks and video distance education. Video and Internet conferencing technology is now providing for the realization of quality long- distance education, and with mobile computing learning can be accessed anywhere at any time.

You don’t have to be a student at MIT or even live in Boston to listen in on some of their university lectures. Since 2001, through MIT’s OpenCourseWare program, not only introductory, but also advanced engineering, math and sciences courses have been made available to the public on the Internet and through iTunes U.

There are many other universities that also are making many of their courses available online, and it isn’t just interested students who are taking advantage. Many professional teachers are utilizing online courses to see how they might better organize and present their own material.

Tools such as interactive whiteboards and electronic voting systems, also known as “clickers” are not only helping students become better engaged in the conventional lecture, but also are providing almost real-time feedback to teachers and administrators on what is working and what isn’t.

Use of clicker technology can even allow instructors to better gauge the interest, experience or ability level of the audience early on and adjust their content or lecture style to match.

Electronic surveys allow teachers to get post-course feedback on what might need improvement in the future. From another perspective, surveys, blogs and social networking allow students to better match their interests with courses and teachers.

The best ways to use new tools will obviously evolve as their potential is better understood. Using these tools effectively will require time, training, and new approaches to the traditional classroom. However, it is clear that getting an objective handle on what works and what doesn’t ultimately stimulates improvement and can help our valuable educators succeed even more to their potential.

For teachers there has never been a better time to reach more pupils, and if you are a student, there has never been a more exciting time to learn.

Social media campaigns can spark sales

December 14, 2011 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Social Media

Periodically I like to share my thoughts on the role of social media platforms in driving business visibility. One that I am very intrigued with right now is the foursquare mobile app.

Using a phone or mobile device, the foursquare app allows individuals to “check in” and voluntarily share their locations during the day with business colleagues, friends and family. Foursquare uses your phone’s location service to make it easy to choose where you are, no matter where that might be.

Every time you check-in to a location you receive points and sometimes “badges” and even rewards or discounts for your check-in. It’s fun and provides a modest feeling of instant gratification.

I frequently travel all over the world and this platform also allows me to share my favorite sites, restaurants and other adventures. From downtown Appleton, to San Francisco, to Recife, Brazil, or even Faro, Portugal, foursquare makes it fun to communicate through comments from friends and family, and even link photos from wherever I happen to be.

Using this new social media platform there are many novel opportunities that are being explored by businesses or brand owners. Foursquare offers many tools and formats that can be leveraged to attract new customers and keep them engaged.

As one example, History Channel has partnered with Foursquare to deliver facts and tips about historical places. A Foursquare badge has even been created to encourage people to explore historical locations like London. More than 10,000 people were awarded the badge the first month and through this, History Channel was able to enhance their brand equity and communication with their followers.

Late last year, RadioShack conducted a nationwide campaign with Foursquare. As you can imagine, Foursquare’s users are more preferential purchasers of higher value devices and accessories and have been documented as spending 350 percent more in store than the average RadioShack customer.

On Black Friday, as a positive, healthy way to help attract these customers, RadioShack encouraged Foursquare users to do “So Right” activities like eating healthy, exercising, volunteering and then checking into a local RadioShack to unlock their “So Right” badge. For several weeks, for every badge that was unlocked, RadioShack donated $1 to Livestrong.

Other organizations have also leveraged this social media platform on Black Friday for inbound marketing opportunities. Retailers increased their visibility by allowing their followers to check in at their shopping location and receive discounts and even free merchandise. For example if you checked in at Payless Shoes or Sports Authority stores on Black Friday, you were offered discounts or gift cards based on your level of purchase.

American Express has set up an arrangement with Foursquare for many exclusive specials. Cardmembers can connect their card with their Foursquare account and enjoy coupon-free savings at selected retailers and restaurants. It’s a hassle-free way to save, and once set up only requires checking-in and using your card at the venue.

Since its creation only a few years ago, Foursquare continues to get more and more popular. That’s understandable as it is easy to use, fun, keeps you in touch with your colleagues, friends and family, and using it can even save you money.

Government behind variety of innovations

December 12, 2011 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Innovators

Say what you will about our government, but I can’t help imagine that some of our most incredible inventions and technologies wouldn’t have been made possible without the support from federal servants.  I was reflecting about this recently in my newspaper column, and how when we think of innovation, we often think of new products or services that surface from the commercial sector. Yet innovation driven from government shouldn’t be ignored. It has unquestionably played quite an important role in our everyday lives.

The list of products that have been spun off indirectly from the efforts of the U.S. space program are long and numerous. For the last 30-plus years, in its journal Spinoff, NASA has chronicled more than 1,700 products and technologies that have been commercialized through the influence or direct result of their research and development efforts. They include better extreme weather garments, improved food preservation, more convenient food packaging, and safer tires to name a few.

With extremely limited space, power and weight considerations, the space program helped stimulate the drive toward smaller and more powerful electronics. And the technology for launching satellites into orbit led to a communications revolution and to the GPS navigation market itself.

Even if we don’t consider it day-to-day, who knows how different our lives would be without the developments from military research? From aerospace to weapons, the influence of military technology is unmistakable and immense. It has helped the United States win wars and survive, at least to this point in time, as a society and world power. Arguably the technology once unleashed, and seen as possible, could be turned against any country including ours, but its influence can’t be ignored or dismissed.

The arms race today isn’t about developing bigger and more powerful bombs; it’s about going smaller, more targeted and more localized. Better bombs and bullets are of course still being developed, but a whole new range of electromagnetic devices are being developed for use not only for battle, but also in the fight against terrorism. Precision, tactical and exotic devices are the focus.

Microwave radar devices using what are known as electronically scanned phased arrays are being developed that with the switch of a button, can almost instantly change their transmissions from wide angle search patterns to concentrating their energy into narrowly focused beams. The idea is to use these focused beams to cause a surge of electrical current in any wires or conductors in the path of the transmission and “fry” the electronics of the target, whether it is an aircraft, missile, tank, or even a powerboat that has suspected sinister intentions.

These devices might also have applications in law enforcement, for example to cut high-speed pursuit short by stalling the engines of evading vehicles.

Non-lethal, millimeter-wave “heat-ray” devices are being developed that cause hot stinging sensations upon the skin. As you might expect, the first reaction of volunteers in the testing of this painful device has been to flee. Although controversial, development continues with the goal of reducing confrontations with people without causing permanent bodily injury.

A little charge goes a long way

December 7, 2011 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Cool Inventions and gadgets

Photo courtesy Belkin

I’ve had laptops and phones that can keep a charge for a long time, and then there are the ones that started out powerful but lost longevity over time. We all plug in our gadgets, but I leaving them plugged in can decrease the battery’s lifespan, and we’ve all learned that the hard way. I came across an energy saver called the Conserve Socket that automatically cuts off power after a predetermined amount of time.

Many electronics companies including Apple recommend you unplug your laptop when it’s fully charged. But if you charge overnight, that’s not easy to do. The socket timers like the Belkin Conserve Socket is relatively inexpensive at only $10. You can plug your device in and set it to shut off after a half hour, or 10 hours if you want. The socket saver will charge your gadget up and cut the power when it’s done so you don’t kill the battery.

Belkin has a number of timers and surge protectors, but for this low price you may want to stock up on some stocking stuffers.

Israel is Developing Cancer Vaccine

December 5, 2011 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Health and Wellness

Some of the latest innovation trends are coming from the nation of Israel, as I’ve blogged about before.  A new therapeutic vaccine was recently developed in that tiny nation, and it promises to keep up to 90 percent of cancers from coming back.

This kind of development is increasingly important as our population lives longer. Cancer is not easy to fight, though more medical breakthroughs are happening every day all around the world.  But along with the breakthroughs, our bodies can learn how to outsmart some medical approaches that often kill normal cells while targeting malignant ones.

The Israeli company Vaxil BioTherapeutics has formulated a cancer vaccine that is currently in clinical trials at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem. Six years from now the vaccine could be available on a large scale if all goes well.

Right now the vaccine is being tested against a type of blood cancer called multiple myeloma. The medical community is hopeful that the vaccine could be applied to 90 percent of all known cancers, including prostate and breast cancer, solid and non-solid tumors.

Vaxil’s product called ImMucin, works by activating the immune system by training T-cells –– the immune cells that protect the body by searching out and destroying cells that have a specific molecule called MUC1. More than 90 percent of all cancers have MUC1 on their cells.

The company says that people who have cancers in an advanced stage will still need treatments like chemo or surgery to remove tumors, but just imagine if the cancer can be brought down to a manageable level for doctors to deal with.