Archive for October, 2014

Using Co-creation To Put Innovation on Fast Track to Success

October 28, 2014 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » CoDev


Innovation is adapting to a new age.  Companies are dealing with so many more challenges today than in the past.  They are competing harder than ever to create and communicate new products and services.  They are looking for ways to quickly discover and implement new ideas, and many are turning to the power of co-creation.

Co-creation is an increasingly popular innovation trend where companies are asking customers, partners and other communities or network to help them innovate their business models and create new sources of value –  and it’s making a big impact on the way companies are bringing new products or products enhancements to market. Many companies are finding that collaborative partnerships can lead to new opportunities for innovative products and services, or even yield entirely new market areas. They are also discovering how online communities can be used to solve some of their toughest innovation problems, as well as how to build their business around an existing crowd of passionate people.

We learned about the importance of co-creation first hand when my team completed our bi-annual survey of some of the leading companies driving innovation around the world. In the survey, respondents were asked to rank their top sources for innovative ideas and placed employees and customers at the top of the list.

We’ve also seen many companies across diverse industries use collaboration to ideate, test and introduce products to the marketplace. Kraft Foods began exploring customer collaboration with the launch of new <a href=””></a> website, where anyone can submit ideas for new products, processes or advertising. Here internal employees can set up idea competitions and utilize tools for quickly harvesting products that are “market-ready”.

For many years prior, Kraft offered an open line to its customers, who could call with questions, complaints, or ideas for new products or improvements.  The company’s site was the very first attempt at breaking out of its internally-focused boundaries for gathering innovative ideas. Since the launch of the site, open innovation has brought a number of recent packaging enhancements to market, including the Oreo Snack ‘n Seal package, the Maxwell House Flavor Lock Lid and composite canister, and the package for Trident Xtra Care gum with Recaldent.

Similarly, Procter &amp; Gamble has been leveraging the idea of “collective intelligence” through their Connect and Develop program.  One of their approaches in this program is to link thousands of their researchers, developers and engineers with external innovators through the use of blogs and wikis.  The effort is not just an exercise to see what might happen, but has the measurable corporate goal of fifty percent external innovation.

Whether you’re a large consumer products company or a small start-up, forming new connections with customers, employees, users or community groups can be a key strategy in the successful delivery of breakthrough innovations that stick. Focus on adaptability, an increased time-to-market and technology to keep up with the changing environment around you to win the battle against competition.

Cheryl Perkins is chair of CoDev 2015. Check out CoDev2015: Launching Products and Businesses with Partners, Customers & Ecosystems, to be held February 9 – 11, 2015 in Scottsdale, AZ.

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Social Product Development: Can LIKEs and Search Improve Productivity, Knowledge Capture, Collaboration and Innovation?

October 27, 2014 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » CoDev

The answer is a big YES!

Read on:

An Interview with Dr. Suna Polat

by Jackie Cooper, Management Roundtable   (Originally published on our CoDev Blog)

Suna Polat, CIMdata

Suna Polat, CIMdata

As part of our series on Open Innovation Leadership, I was eager to interview Dr. Suna Polat, Director of Collaborative Innovation & Social Product Development at CIMdata (Ann Arbor, MI). I first met Suna many years ago when she was at Procter & Gamble leading strategic innovation and productivity capability implementations. Though already way ahead of the knowledge curve at P&G, she continued to seek and share new insight at conferences. I have always found her to be humble and gracious — open in the truest sense of the word.

Her recent move to CIMdata is an outgrowth of her work at P&G with technology providers and her own subsequent consulting practice. Her current interests include PLM (Product Lifecycle Management), connectivity and collaboration in large organizations and networks, the effect of organizational culture on innovation output, and the influence of communities and social networks.

Since she just led a workshop adjacent to CIMdata’s PLM Roadmap Event, and will be leading an in-depth session at the CoDev 2015 Conference in February, I thought she’d be the ideal person to ask about the whole “social product development” phenomenon. I knew she would have fresh insights to share.

JC: Tell me about the workshop you just led…who was there? What was discussed?

SP: There were roughly 30 attendees from a mix of industries, organizations like Coca Cola, P&G, Boeing, Honda, Accenture, Purdue University, and others. We had keynote speakers from Chrysler and P&G. The topics were collaborative innovation, social product development, PLM sustainability and integration. We also had an interactive panel session with solution providers from Jive, Imaginatik, Siemens PLM, Geometric, and Tata Consultancy Services.

JC: When you say Collaborative Innovation and Social Product Development, what do these terms mean exactly? Why should companies care?

SP: We define Collaborative Innovation as the discovery, development and commercialization of new ideas, products, technologies, processes or services with a joint effort from diverse individuals, organizations, and networks — both internal and external. Social Product Development is the application of social technology features and processes (such as comments, “likes” and gaming) to innovation and product development.

Companies are looking at these technologies and practices for competitiveness and efficiency — to make better decisions and get to market quickly with the most-likely-to-succeed innovations. They want to reduce the amount of time wasted on emails and unproductive meetings as well as to bring out the best insights and ideas from the massive amounts of data that’s been collected. Many companies have geographically distributed teams, and these tools enable both asynchronous and real-time remote collaboration. The best ideas emerge when everyone’s insights are combined and order ranked (as Google Search does with first-page results), and correlations are drawn. Finally, companies need to minimize knowledge loss when employees leave or retire. These technologies and practices capture, preserve and analyze knowledge – creating accessible and searchable content.

JC: How do the various commercial solutions and tools compare? What specific capabilities do they offer and how do you decide which, if any, to implement? Are some better than others for Collaborative/Open Innovation purposes?

SP: Tools today leverage the major technology trends – social, mobile, analytics, Cloud. The new tools or features are being introduced frequently and this will likely to continue. Some tools are interoperable, which is really important to users and allows companies to link the specific capabilities they need such as ideation, product data management and intelligent search. The idea is to have easy-to-use common interfaces so everything is intuitive and knowledge workers can focus on their jobs, not on system learning curves. Search is really important. The more able users are to find what they need, and the more that is intelligently aggregated, the better. Plus the technology keeps evolving so you want the ability to upgrade without disruption.

For open innovation, there are social technologies like Imaginatik and Spigit which are well-suited to ideation and front-end problem solving. Traditionally PLM providers have focused more on how product data is managed, but they are now bringing in more social technologies and intelligent search, some through organic development and some through acquisitions. Some of the category leaders in Enterprise Social include Jive, Imaginatik, Salesforce Chatter, Microsoft SharePoint, TIBCO tibbr and IBM Social Business, as reported by Gartner. In PLM the leaders as measured by CIMdata include Siemens PLM, SAP, PTC, Dassault Systèmes and Oracle.

If we make an analogy to the “Knowledge Pyramid” (see diagram below), Social starts at the top. It makes it easier to collect people’s ideas and insights (tacit knowledge), and capture explicit knowledge (like reports or files) on a given need. Connecting diverse ideas improves innovation, and Social makes it easier to do so with large crowds. Now people realize that Social also makes collaboration among and across teams easier. Penetration of Social into the Product Development space, more towards the bottom of the pyramid, is therefore a natural progression.

Social and PLM Linking Ideation, Innovation and Product Development (Courtesy of CIMdata)

Social and PLM
Linking Ideation, Innovation and Product Development
(Courtesy of CIMdata)

JC: What are some of the top trends you see happening? What are people actually doing?

SP: With the increase of social environments people are collaborating much more. There’s more open ideation using social platforms within a company. These approaches are also being used for collaboration with customers and partners. Often the innovation outcome is better. In one experiment at P&G we found that 7 out of 10 ideas that were ultimately chosen for evaluation were from non-traditional sources, such as manufacturing, which were not typically invited to contribute to product ideation.

Smart technology makes it easier to participate in this type of collaborative ideation and innovation activities. For example, as you enter your idea, ideas similar to yours are brought up, or you can sort ideas based on keywords, or on “most liked” or “most commented” status. There are also tools for the facilitators, for example, they can push certain ideas out to their network to get feedback, easily correlate and monitor submissions, and facilitate decision making with a smaller group based on agreed-upon criteria.

There are various platforms for ideation. Some features are quite common but some are differentiated. Are you familiar with IBM jam sessions? Typically large groups, in some cases 50,000+ people participate. IBM uses its leading-edge search and correlation technologies in these sessions to identify trends and provide guidance to their facilitators to engage the crowd more intelligently. These sessions are incredibly powerful.

JC: How do these large-scale collaborations actually work? What processes and practices do you need to have in place? And how is intellectual property protected?

SP: The typical process for ideation is that a core team organizes the event, extends invitations and sets the agenda. The tools provide the ability to implement a desired process, and “intelligence” to ensure ideas gain broader exposure for the crowd’s input. For external IP sharing, agreements need to be in place — these can be as simple as an ‘Accept’ checkbox like those on software downloads, as long as there is understanding up front. In cases where collaboration among the employees is enabled through social platforms like Jive, there is not much concern about IP protection. Regardless, it helps when people are trained and coached on what to share and how to share in social platforms, internally and externally.


Transformation Considerations Strategy and Culture Ahead of Process and Technology (Courtesy of CIMdata)

Transformation Considerations
Strategy and Culture Ahead of Process and Technology
(Courtesy of CIMdata)

JC: How are social technologies specifically enhancing innovation? Are there industry examples that others might learn from?

SP: Ideation has been happening for a while; more agility is needed, but there are many good tools and systems to manage that part of innovation. More important than any technology, however, is having the right culture and processes in place to support collaboration. At P&G we had systemic knowledge sharing and collaboration practices decades before we implemented social technologies. Social was about increasing our reach to diverse groups and making it easier for people to participate. To select the right platform and tools we benchmarked a number of other companies and experimented with a few solutions. One big key to successful adoption was making sure tools are intuitively easy to use.

Innovation builds on synergies and the system needs to help people make connections to create the synergies. One part of system-enabling connections is “search” and the other part is “recommendations” – similar to Amazon recommending books to us based on our purchasing behavior in the past. We learned from Corning that people liked when search results were displayed visually. It reduced the number of clicks to review the results. We also learned that scale effect is important. Google’s algorithm is successful due to the volume of participants in the system: searching, publishing content, linking content, spending time reviewing results… there’s lots of input. Even within a very large company the number of participants cannot compare to Google’s scale. Therefore this deficiency needs to be managed by other means, such as having systemic processes to publish content, tagging content with predefined keywords, implementing intelligent search algorithms and assigning people to monitor search activities. After a few searches when people cannot find what they are looking for, they give up and don’t continue the search. This is the biggest risk and will lead to more silos.

JC: It’s often said that you can automate a process, but if your organization’s process isn’t right, the tools will only go so far…What role does organizational structure play in successful adoption of these technologies and the ability to leverage them for innovation?

SP: In large companies it is important that R&D and Engineering work closely with IT at a senior level. There needs to be a joint vision and strategy. IT needs to understand both how innovation gets done and what the big picture is – all the tools being used, how they are being used and possible synergies that can be created. The system architecture — both tools and how they are managed, i.e., organizational aspects — needs to be designed to enable these synergies to occur easily and more holistically. Incentive systems should also be aligned so that checks and balances are in place to support synergies as well. In my corporate career, I have seen many examples of organizational design creating silos around databases and tools because of the way they were managed. This should no longer be acceptable to corporate leaders.

Everything is changing so fast; the time to transition is compressed. Processes, regulations and other external factors are always in flux, and there’s little time for learning curves. Therefore, the technology must be seamless and intuitive so the new tools can be integrated as needed, while the old ones are retired without disrupting ongoing business. Corporate leaders and IT professionals need to deal with this new reality.

JC: It seems like social technologies are becoming more and more essential to collaborative innovation. How should companies decide what to do, and what challenges should they be prepared for?

SP: Social technologies are a part of everyday business now, whether consciously and intentionally or not. Leveraging them is key, or it can get out of control. In our recent workshop, participants talked about their biggest challenges. These include:

  1. Email proliferation — email creates a silo effect in terms of knowledge. Though email has benefits in creating awareness of activities, the knowledge content is not searchable.
  2. Culture — people need to have an open mindset and a supportive management structure. NIH syndrome is still big.
  3. The multi-generational workforce – there are knowledge transfer challenges and differences in experience with technology.
  4. Data density– there is so much information, but often insight is lost.

Overall companies need to examine their strategic goals – tools are available and can be combined in many ways to achieve results. Look at your current information flow, both internal and external, and determine what insights and knowledge you want to capture and share, and where your pain points are. There are technologies and communities to help once you know where you want to go.


Suna Polat will be leading a half-day workshop “Strategies, Tools and Technologies to Maximize Connectivity, Collaboration and Innovation” on February 9, 2015 at the CoDev 2015 conference in Scottsdale AZ.

Contact information:
Dr. Suna Polat
Director, Collaborative Innovation and Social Product Development, CIMdata
phone: 734 668 9922

Jackie Cooper is Executive Director and Chief Content Officer at Management Roundtable, Waltham MA. She may be reached at

Cheryl Perkins is chair of CoDev 2015. Check out CoDev2015: Launching Products and Businesses with Partners, Customers & Ecosystems, to be held February 9 – 11, 2015 in Scottsdale, AZ.

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ApplePay and MasterCard’s new Innovation Hub

October 26, 2014 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Cool videos

MasterCard has just launched a new innovation lab in New York City. The new 60,000 square foot facility will house those working on the MasterPass digital wallet, the Digital Enablement System, and MasterCard Labs’ Start Path, an accelerator for financial technology startups. 

The MasterCard Digital Enablement System’s tokenization service will secure ApplePay transactions:

“This is where we’re inventing what’s next … We’re building a world where everything is going to be connected. It’s not just your smartphones, it’s your tablets, your game systems, your home appliances, and it’s your car becoming a computer on wheels. So in a world where everyone is connected and everything is connected, what MasterCard can do to enable safe and secure commerce is just an incredible opportunity,” Ed McLaughlin, MasterCard’s chief emerging payments officer, said at the opening last night.

The most timely technology demonstration at the event was an NFC ApplePay payment. ApplePay, which launched with a great deal of hype yesterday, leverages tokenization from MasterCard to secure credit card credentials during transactions. ApplePay’s launch will be a boon for NFC payments technology in the US, which has lagged behind other countries in adoption, Kathleen Reilly, MasterCard’s vice president of emerging payments, said during the demonstration.

“We already have 220,000 merchants in the US accepting contactless [NFC] payments, and ApplePay will be a huge deal for getting consumers interested [in using the technology],” she remarked.

Read more here:

What about the Chief Innovation Officer?

October 25, 2014 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Culture of Innovation

productsI work with CIOs from forward-thinking global companies around the globe, and in fact am preparing to meet with many at our upcoming CoDev15 conference in Scottsdale in a few months. I found an interesting article over on Fast Company’s website by Brian Cooper, who says that the Chief Innovation Officer title may get in the way of innovation.  His article, Why There Are Too Many Chiefs And Not Enough Innovation, attempts to make a case that companies are trying to “fix a symptom” rather than find a solution.  Do you agree? Read on:

Over the years this country has seen a steep rise in job title inflation. It seems there is a “chief” of everything you can possibly think of. From Chief Creative Officers to Chief Strategy Officers to Chief Finance Officers to Chief Marketing Officers to Chief Innovation Officers. But what do all these chiefs do?

The truth of the matter is that they don’t do much more than what their previous lesser job title did. In the creative department, the Chief Creative Officer has replaced the Executive Creative Director who in turn has replaced the Creative Director. There used to be a time when the Creative Director was the most sought after title. Now I’m unsure as to how much creative directing an actual creative director does.

Full article here

Product Innovation is key to growth

October 21, 2014 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » CoDev

keys free photoCompanies across all industries today are facing a broad array of challenges as they strive to develop products faster, improve efficiencies, and streamline their organizations.  These challenges include the need to reduce time and cost to market, and the desire for fueling a pipeline of innovation.

A survey performed by the International Data Corporation, an advisory services organization for the information technology and consumer technology markets, shed some interesting light on the current mindset of the manufacturing industry.  The organization surveyed several hundred global players in the automotive, aerospace and electronics fields and found that a majority of organizations – about 60 percent – believe that product innovation and product value-added services are the key to growth.  Further, product innovation as the key to growth was ranked highest by almost 80 percent of the respondents in the automotive and high-tech electronics areas.

As far as what was considered to be key components to innovation, access to real-time up-to-date information and improved collaboration were cited by 60 percent, but almost 85 percent felt that faster business processes would be most helpful.

In fact, like a lot of organizations today, lack of strategy and poor decision-making cultures were cited as significantly hampering manufacturing industry growth. Much of the blame for the cultural barriers was attributed to inadequate processes, systems and collaboration.

It is true that information is necessary for reacting quickly to the rapidly changing environments that businesses face today, for streamlining operational processes and for improving collaboration.

Information and collaboration necessary for discovering the insights that catalyze true innovation and ultimately differentiate your business from it’s competition. These insights can take the form of technological advancements, undiscovered market opportunities, or previously unseen competitive advantages and are only brought to light by having the right information at the right time – from both internal and external sources.

Connecting the right people through collaboration to act on the insights gained from information is the engine that will drive timely, informed decisions for delivering innovative products, and getting them to the customer most efficiently.  It’s good to know that the manufacturing industry understands this and is looking wisely to the future.

Cheryl Perkins is chair of CoDev 2015. Check out  CoDev2015: Launching Products and Businesses with Partners, Customers & Ecosystems, to be held February  9 – 11, 2015 in Scottsdale, AZ

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FREE WEBINAR ALERT: Goodyear Innovation!

October 16, 2014 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Webinars and Podcasts

Goodyear-Commercial-Network-sign1Tuesday, October 21, 2014
12:00-1:00pm ET

Business Model Innovation:
A Goodyear Case Study

Business model innovation is important for bringing new innovation to market, but also for capturing value from innovative technology. Alliances and partnerships are an important part of the process. Jim will discuss the approach to business model innovation – from customer insight to incubation – that is used at Goodyear. The practice that ​they use is customer-centered, systematic and data-based. It includes a systematic way of bringing the outside in. He will use an example from the commercial truck tire business to illustrate the approach.​

Rather than a traditional presentation, this webinar will be an interactive conversation with CoDev Conference Chair, Cheryl Perkins, who will talk with Jim Euchner and explore Goodyear’s experiences with Business Model Innovation.

This is a complimentary webinar – no fee to attend.

To register by phone, call 1-800-338-2223 or 781-891-8080 (9:00am – 5:30pm EDT)

Cheryl brochure photo Cheryl Perkins
CoDev Conference Chair
About Cheryl Perkins

James Euchner
Vice President
Global Innovation
The Goodyear Tire
& Rubber Company

Jim Euchner is VP, Global Innovation, at Goodyear, where he is responsible for business model innovation and for incubating new businesses. Prior to joining Goodyear, he held senior innovation, strategy, R&D and IT roles at Pitney Bowes and Bell Atlantic (now Verizon).

Jim is a co-founder of the MIT Innovation Laboratory, a consortium of companies founded in 1994 to help nurture innovation in organizations. He is also Editor in Chief of Research-Technology-Management, a journal for practitioners of innovation and technology management.

Jim received his master’s degree from Princeton University, where he was a Guggenheim Fellow, and his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, both in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He holds an MBA from Southern Methodist University.


A new way to manage cholesterol for families

October 13, 2014 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Health and Wellness


Imagine using smart phone apps or a laptop to meet with a doctor without missing work or school?  I know it’s a time-consuming endeavor to head to a medical office for an appointment. I’m working with a client who has an innovative medical practice called Mobile Health Team, and I find this exciting concept changing the way parents help their children maintain healthy lifestyles and manage their cholesterol. Mobile Health Team recently opened its office in northeast Wisconsin, where  Dr. Ann Liebeskind, a Cholesterol Management Specialist, started the practice to make it easier for families to access the resources they need to successfully treat cholesterol problems and pre-diabetes.

Dr. Liebeskind is offering the future of medical care with her private and secure online consultations — full medical appointments —  ideal for busy individuals and families who already use technology in their daily lives.   What I find unique in her model is that she has blended her expertise in cholesterol with the convenience of mobile technology to offer options for patients to access the care and support they need.

Mobile Health Team coordinates care with a patient’s primary care physician or specialty physician. When there is a concern about a patient’s cholesterol, the patient may be referred to Dr. Liebeskind for a deeper look into the cholesterol problem.

“Many times, high cholesterol is a symptom of another problem,” explains Dr. Liebeskind. “The focus of Mobile Health Team is to identify the root causes of a patient’s cholesterol problem, develop a personalized plan to make the most impact, and support the patient on their journey to better health.”

The team offers a ‘Mobile’ tele-health option where appointments are held remotely through a secure online connection (similar to Skype) using a smart phone, tablet or computer. The mobile option is convenient for busy families who prefer to not take off work, miss school, or travel a long distance for an appointment. They can receive consultation and support in the comfort of their own home.

While Mobile Health Team works with patients of all ages, it specializes in care for kids and families. There is an increased awareness about the importance of testing cholesterol in children. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pediatricians begin testing cholesterol levels for all children ages 9 – 11. This is an ideal age to detect genetic causes that could lead to high cholesterol, and a time when parents have more control to incorporate healthy habits at home. Check it out at