Archive for June, 2013

Fostering innovative environment starts at top

June 30, 2013 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Culture of Innovation

Recently, I shared with you some of my thoughts on how the most innovative leaders and companies are learning to shape their business culture and environment to their advantage. As part of that discussion, I want to focus on the leaders and behaviors that help transform organizations into thrive engines of innovation.

It’s no coincidence that leaders in such thriving organizations are not afraid to take risks, and are able to embrace failure to deliver tangible results. They feel the same pressure to do more with less that other leaders feel too, but creatively find ways to manage workloads while at the same time work to build effective and empowered teams.  One of those is Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks, who recently revealed his secret to success: the people that keep the company running:

Usually they themselves end up investing long days, and often even nights, to help ensure that their teams are working on the right things, are effectively working together and are relating well to peers and customers. They are committed to do the right thing and will often sacrifice to make that happen.

In today’s fast paced business environment, it is very easy to miss trends and opportunities, as well as fail to recognize worthwhile challenges or obstacles if you are constantly fighting fires. I have observed many leaders step back and think, and then often rethink, how they are advancing their efforts and how they can make course corrections as needed. They are honest, but also critical of themselves and their team, and are always open to new ideas and the possibilities of better ways forward.

I am fortunate to interact with many of these types of leaders on a regular basis and realize they have learned in their careers that in order to create a competitive advantage, the attitude, personality and behavior of themselves and their teams are among the most important traits needed to enable success and deliver impactful results.

These leaders know that behaviors such as empathy, optimism, motivation, integrity, and humor can positively impact their people, and ultimately their company’s success. However at the same time they also realize their leadership behaviors must be consistently demonstrated so that they are seen as sincerely “walking the talk.” He or she also recognizes and effectively rewards and motivates team members to think and act innovatively to deliver solutions that have the potential to succeed.

The bottom line is that these true leaders strive for a positive impact all across their company, from their teams, to their employees, their customers, and even themselves.

Facebook Now Has 9 Million Users in Pakistan

June 25, 2013 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Social Media

I find it very interesting that within the past year, the numbers of new Facebook accounts has exploded in Pakistan. Facebook recently broke the 9 million user mark, and it only reached 8 million users earlier this year. So what’s been happening in Pakistan that would account for this growth, and what can we learn from it in the West? Check out this excellent infographic from Third World Strategy:
Pakistan FB

Food sharing program helps the elderly

June 19, 2013 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Food & Restaurant trends

English: My Grandfather

Our aging Baby Boomer population is creating both challenges and opportunities for start-up businesses. In the UK, one company was recently featured for its innovative idea to create a sustainable club that helps feed the elderly. It’s a great idea and a wonderful way to care for those in need. Here is the story from Fast Company:

Food sharing is a great way to meet your neighbors and make a few friends, as we said here and here. Could it also help re-connect the elderly and vulnerable?

That’s the idea behind Casserole Club, a food sharing network in the U.K. that links up everyday cooks with people who can’t prepare food for themselves. “It’s a way for them to get a home-cooked meal, and to bond with their neighbors,” says Ben Mathews, at FutureGov, the company behind the project.
“People who are cooking food like it because they can get to know their community a bit better.”

Cooks sign up, go through a quick background check, then find someone nearby to cook for. They call up the neighbor to discuss the meal (and any likes and dislikes), then agree on a delivery time and go round with the food.

Casserole launched last year as a pilot south of London, and has since expanded to two boroughs in the capital. Matthews says cooks have served 300 meals so far, and FutureGov is now looking to expand to other cities. More than 2,000 cooks have signed up from across the U.K.

“What we’re finding is that people who are cooking food like it because they can get to know their community a bit better,” he says. “We also find that people who are receiving aren’t passive. They get to build strong relationships, and share their experiences, as well.”

It may be early days. But it’s another example of how the sharing economy can potentially deliver more than just goods and services. It can act as a social glue as well.

Read it here

 

Top Packaging Innovation Strategies

June 16, 2013 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Innovators

 

Coca-ColaIf you follow packaging innovations like I do, you might enjoy this article from Consumer Goods Technology:

In today’s difficult economic climate, consumer goods organizations are challenged to grow their businesses through innovation, but they often lack the capabilities or discipline to do so effectively. Packaging innovation from design to shelf is more important than ever considering that more than 75 percent of purchase decisions occur in store and the package is a key element that closes the deal. Therefore, organizations must develop a comprehensive, global packaging strategy that includes people, process and technology to meet today’s challenges.

On May 16th, 2013, during a CGT web seminar, Stephen Birtsas, senior manager for Kalypso, and Eric Seiberling, global marketing director for CPG-retail industry, Dassault Systèmes, discussed the top trends that impact packaging innovation, like globalization, sustainability and social responsibility. They also identified the top two barriers that hinder successful product packaging and artwork development. Here, we share highlights from the event:

– Birtsas kicked off the web event by reiterating why packaging is important for consumer goods companies. He noted that, when done right, packaging could drive sales, increase market penetration and reduce costs. “Twenty-two percent of consumer products companies attribute packaging errors to recalls and write-offs,” he revealed. Birtsas then detailed three critical components for successful packaging:

1. Package Design
2. Technical Development
3. Commercial Execution

“The ability to execute all three of these components flawlessly is what delivers successful packaging innovations,” he reinforced before presenting real-world examples of best practices and complications from brands like Coca-Cola.

 

Read the entire article here.

 

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New Gen Y Shopping Preferences Revealed

June 13, 2013 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Interesting links

Shopping mall

Despite being far more tech-savvy than previous generations, Generation Y, the 80-million strong cohort of Americans between the ages of 18 and 35, has not forsaken shopping in stores for online purchasing — as long as retailers keep their offerings “fresh” and interesting, says a new report from the Urban Land Institute (ULI).

The report explores the shopping preferences of Gen Yers, who associate shopping with socializing, and who place a high value on living close to retail (another ULI report released this week found that 62 percent of Gen Yers prefer developments offering a mix of shopping, dining and office space). It notes that while Gen Yers enjoy shopping and dining out, they tend to bore easily, compelling retailers to constantly update their merchandise and find new ways to engage these consumers.

The study found that 37 percent of Gen Yers love shopping and 48 percent enjoy it. Half of the men surveyed and 70 percent of the women consider shopping a form of entertainment and something to share with friends and family. The appeal of shopping is particularly strong among Gen Yers who are Hispanic and African American.

Gen Yers tend to spread their dollars around generously, the study found, with more than half visiting a variety of retail centers at least once a month, including discount department stores (the retail type most frequently visited by Gen Y), community shopping centers, enclosed malls, department stores, big-box power centers, chain apparel stores, and neighborhood business districts. At the same time, 91 percent of respondents said that they had made online purchases over the previous six months, with 45 percent spending more than an hour a day looking at retail-oriented web sites.

Read the article on CGT News

Compostable Ziploc Bags reduce waste

June 11, 2013 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Sustainability

Sustainable news from from SC Johnson, an innovative company launching a new Ziploc Brand Compostable Bags. The product is sure to tweak the interest of green-savvy consumers looking for storage solutions that help reduce landfill waste, without sacrificing food freshness or convenience. The bags, available exclusively online at SCJGreenChoices.com, are designed for use in commercial composting facilities that accept food scraps and compostable bags.

English: A Ziploc plastic bag.

“At SC Johnson, part of our sustainability efforts include making innovative, effective household products that are better for the environment and future generations,” says Kelly M. Semrau, senior vice president of Global Corporate Affairs, Communication and Sustainability at SC Johnson. “The introduction of our new Ziploc Brand Compostable Bags is an extension of that commitment and we are proud to make products that have a positive impact, without compromising the quality that our consumers expect.”

Two years ago you may remember that the company launched the Windex Mini concentrated refill pouch in an effort to create a dialogue about the use of concentrates and gather consumer feedback. SC spoke with consumers who offered insights and ideas, leading to an expanded concentrated cleaner refill lineup of five of the company’s most popular brands.

Read more here:

 

 

Innovations succeed when work is recognized

June 7, 2013 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Culture of Innovation

Innovation

Regardless of industry, organizations are still struggling with the lack of return on their innovation investments.

Many of these organizations have well thought out formalized visions, missions, goals and objectives. Sometimes they may have also even already deployed innovation processes and metrics as well. However the innovation that they eventually bring to market is often incremental, and geared toward delivering faster, better and cheaper benefits.

Looking at these organizations more closely, several things are seen as disabling their ability to deliver true innovation to the market. These include a status quo culture, a vague sense of purpose for the organization, and leader behaviors including, but not limited to, aversion to risk.

Over the next few weeks, I will talk about each of these aspects of innovation and how they can enable or stifle much needed growth.

The focus this week will be on culture. The most innovative leaders and companies are learning to shape the intangible force of culture to drive competitive advantage. It’s not about just talking about being innovative, taking risks and embracing failure. It is all about influencing the intangible aspects of the business, such as behaviors like commitment to stay the course, passion for employees and end users, and trust.

These are major factors that enable tangible growth and create success. Consider these intangibles and nurtured them so that they can be sustained long-term.

Leaders today should promote a culture where innovators are regularly recognized for their contributions and one where innovators also recognize others’ contributions. This helps to encourage the collaboration that is necessary to deliver successful innovations.

Recognition comes in many forms — financial rewards, annual awards, public accolades — to name just a few. While formal rewards signal management’s support for desired behaviors, the most powerful type of recognition — the type that underpins a true culture of innovation — is delivered informally through everyday interactions.

Recognition of contributions promotes a spirit of team effort, and the free flow of ideas. There is little downside to leveraging this type of recognition in your organizations today.

Many leaders forget or don’t consider that their passing comments, facial expressions and reactions have a huge impact on what’s perceived as good or bad, and what is valued, and what is worth inviting time, talent and treasure to pursue.

Symbols representing the underlying values of leadership and the organization come in many forms — unconscious behavior, formal value statements, awards, success stories, posters in the hallways, tag lines. It is important to remember that those who create and deliver the symbols of their company are forming the framework of their culture.

Crowdsourcing quake data from smartphones to save lives

June 4, 2013 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Crowdsourcing

English: Quake epicenters. Română: Epicentre a...

“Crowdshake” is a new app that can create a network of earthquake-sensing smartphones, triggering warnings on nearby devices when tremors are detected by those nearer the epicenter. The technology is created by the Caltech Community Seismic Network and uses GPS to provide data about potential earthquakes.

The app is only as good as those who are using it, but could give those on the outskirts time to get to safety. Here is a video showing how this works:


Developers are testing it out in Pasadena, and are looking for volunteers to help them refine the technology. Subscribers could include a wide range of emergency responders, from public safety departments; public health and hospitals; utilities and communications firms; community disaster response organizations.
Learn more »