Archive for March, 2016

Are you a “COCO?

March 31, 2016 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Conferences

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 5.50.36 PMI’m working with CLEAR™ VIEW to help bring together COCOs from across multiple companies, industries, functional disciplines, geographies, and organizational levels for a three day in-residence session this summer.

What is a “COCO”?  I’m glad you asked! COCO is an acronym for Chief Organizational Capability Officers (COCOs), who are tasked with driving business performance through organizational capability.

COCOs are responsible for making organizations more agile, innovative, resilient, and capable, by drawing from general management, change leadership, human capital, innovation, strategy, branding and marketing, and other areas of expertise.
Until now, COCOs have few places they can turn to share ideas, information, issues, and innovations with like-minded peers who often represent different functional disciplines and may hold a wide range of job titles.

Our conference is CLEAR™ VIEW: Driving Business Performance through Organizational Capability, June 21-24, 2016, Lansdowne Conference Center and Resort, Leesburg, Virginia.
I’ll be joining esteemed colleagues for this one-of-a-kind event, and speaking on: Creating an Innovation Culture to Refresh Organizational Capability.

This gathering is specifically designed to capitalize on diverse perspectives, challenges, and lessons learned that can only be addressed through cross-organizational peer discussions.

Pre-work includes a Personal Leadership Profile, an individual assessment to determine personal and organizational readiness for change, a case study, and select readings. Team coaching is embedded in the in-residence work to support team assignments and peer interactions, and post-program learning may be extended through an organizational assessment as well as team and individual coaching opportunities with CLEAR™ Institute coaches.

Click here for schedule, program outline, costs and registration.

CLEAR™ VIEW: Driving Business Performance through Organizational Capability

March 30, 2016 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Conferences
Business and organizational transformation are among the most urgent needs facing today’s leaders, as they prepare to address future trends and challenges. Responsibility for making organizations more agile, innovative, resilient, and “capable” is increasingly becoming a multi-disciplinary leadership role.
With that in mind, CLEAR(TM) Institute is offering the inaugural CLEAR(TM)VIEW program, providing a 360 learning environment.  Led by Ian Ziskin, I’ll be among the thought leaders featured, including John Boudreau, Al Vicere, Rob Cross, and Bill Schiemann, as well as  group coaching sessions to maximize learning from peers, this program will enhance your ability to deal with transformations ahead!

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 2.21.33 PMDownload the full brochure.


October 27 – 29, 2016
Add to Calendar


Lansdowne Resort and Conference Center
44050 Woodridge Parkway
Leesburg, VA 20176

Driving Directions


Talisa Ernstmann
CLEAR Institute

Are you listening to your customers?

March 21, 2016 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Consumer "Identity"

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 1.26.06 PMThanks to technology and automation, more corporations are losing the “voice of the customer” rather than invest in human ears to listen to those who make or break our businesses. How can we be smarter about hearing what our customers have to say, and then acting on those complaints, suggestions and nuggets of insights? My friend Robert Tucker over at The Innovation Resource recently penned Six Ways Smart Firms Listen To Their Customers, and I thought I’d share just a snippet here:

“…There’s no question that the Digital Age is giving us powerful new listening tools. But data mining alone cannot help us intuit the customer, develop intimacy with the customer, or discover their latent needs, wants and desires. The most Big Data can give us are lagging indicators: of service levels, of repurchase rates, etc. What Big Data does a poor job of is signposting leading indicators. Without face to face listening, data fails to give us the unique insights that can lead to breakthroughs.

Below are six ways leading firms listen to their customers:

  1. Smart firms know that good listening starts at the top. All the great CEOs are or were customer-focused listeners first and foremost. Sam Walton, who flew his own plane to attend store openings and frequently showed up at stores unannounced. A.G. Lafley’s “consumer is boss” motto was at the heart of Procter & Gamble’s wildly successful innovation initiative. Cisco’s John Chambers made frequent sales calls and reportedly got a “heads up” on startups that Cisco needed to buy. And Elon Musk constantly interacts with Tesla owners, and answers their questions. Even the late Steve Jobs, who never believed in marketing research and focus groups, focused intensely on creating “insanely great products” that people just couldn’t do without.2. Smart firms listen to anticipate emerging needs. GE CEO Jeff Immelt spends four days a month in the field, interacting with buyers. He hosts town hall meetings with several hundred customers at a time to listen to their thoughts on what the company can do better to meet their present needs. He also introduced a new way of forecasting their unmet and future needs. As I explore in Driving Growth Through Innovation, GE also convenes “Dreaming Sessions” with key customers in the company’s various business units, from healthcare to turbines to jet engines. As Immelt explained: These sessions are where “we are trying to think about where our business and their business will be in five or ten years.” Favorite question: “If you had $400 million to spend on research and development at GE, how would you prioritize it?”

    3. Smart firms involve customers early and often. To maintain its market positioning as the “ultimate driving machine,” BMW must constantly integrate new technologies and design features that are a step ahead of the competition. To accomplish this, BMW created what it calls a Virtual Innovation Agency (VIA) to listen to customers directly. Car buffs worldwide can access the VIA Web site and join online discussions to share their ideas with other enthusiasts around the world, and with the BMW Group listeners. The VIA submission process allows anyone with Internet access to submit ideas, and if the idea has potential, it’s quickly routed to the appropriate working group at BMW for follow-up. Within the first week after VIA was launched, 4,000 ideas had been received.

    Read the next three here.


Excellent Deal for Innovation & Leadership Summit ends Friday March 25!

March 18, 2016 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Conferences

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 8.24.47 PMIf you’re looking for the early bird, you’ve found it. Friday, March 25, the Early Bird 15% discount for the Innovation & Leadership Summit ends.

This summit is designed to maximize your time, providing actionable takeaways in two focused days.  The first day is dedicated to strategy, the second to implementation, with a ‘bridge’ keynote session and kickoff reception in between.  (See the agenda).  You may attend just one or both days, and we encourage you to bring your team

This first-of-its-kind Summit is practical and collegial with top level content, but even more personal with more Q&A, hands-on experience, and synthesis.  By participating, you will learn to:

  •     simplify complexity; increase agility and adaptability to ever-changing needs
  •     balance growth objectives with resource constraints -keep motivation high, especially after restructuring
  •     identify and weed out inefficiencies, redirect cost savings toward innovation and growth
  •     expand your ecosystem
  •     improve organizational effectiveness; connect the dots between strategy, processes, people, and tools

Overall, you will come away with valuable new business contacts, benchmarking insights, and the clarity and direction to get things done.  Just reserve by March 25. Use code CP16 for an additional 20% off for a total savings of 35%!

For details, please review the program description, call 920-967-0470 or email me at
Again, I sincerely hope you will join us! Click here to see more and register:

Big Data’s Impact On Cancer Research

March 15, 2016 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Health and Wellness

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 9.04.32 PMI’ve lost many dear friends and beloved family members to cancer. But technology and innovation gives me hope that someday there will be a cure. Here’s a healthcare use case from Innovation Enterprise:

Big Data’s Impact On Cancer Research

Though significant advancements have been made in the past decade, cancer continues to be a devastating disease many people throughout the world have no choice but to confront. Even if someone doesn’t develop cancer in their lifetime, someone close to them likely will at some point. It is this lingering fear and the still high fatality rate that has led many researchers and physicians to spend their lives studying the disease and how to treat and eventually cure it. Considering in four deaths in the U.S. is a result of cancer or cancer-related effects, researchers need all the help they can get. In that effort, they may be aided by a recent trend in technology — big data analytics tools. While many people may associate big data with businesses, it may prove to be a highly consequential player in the ongoing fight against cancer. Medical professionals are excited by the possibilities big data provides, and the results so far have been promising.

Big data involves taking large amounts of information, analyzing it, and finding hidden insights that would normally be very difficult to find using more traditional methods. On the surface, this may sound like it would be difficult to apply to the field of medicine and more specifically cancer research, but it actually fits in quite nicely in several ways. Take genomic sequencing, for example. This process essentially maps out the entire genome of a specific individual. While this process can yield some interesting findings unrelated to cancer research, doctors and gene specialists have used it to analyze the genes of cancer patients in the hopes of discovering certain patterns that can shed light into how and why cancer develops in certain people and not others. The idea of sequencing somebody’s genes may sound expensive, but due to advances in technology and analytics, the process can be done for around a thousand dollars. This means more data for researchers to use as they try to pinpoint the root causes of cancer.

This genomic mapping is part of the work of many research institutions including CancerLinq. The goal of the organization is to collect data from every cancer patient in the U.S. Whilst the task is daunting, the insights gained could prove pivotal in finding new ways to treat cancer. Through proper analysis, a specific pattern may emerge that can then be used by doctors to tell healthy patients if they may be at risk of developing cancer later in life. As any doctor will attest, early detection is key for survival, and stopping the problem before it has a chance to spread could reduce deaths by a significant amount.

But it’s not enough simply to analyze this unstructured data and pick out key data points. That data must also be applied to the correct treatment. Some researchers have been using IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence to prescribe the correct treatment for specific patients. Since every person is different, the same treatment may not always be as effective for everybody. Big data analytics helps researchers and physicians find the best treatments and drugs for each individual person. The data collected from these treatments can then be collected and shared with other doctors across the country to help match patients with treatments. With these improved methods for helping cancer patients, survival won’t just become a matter of percentages.

It is this effort to share big data that remains a vital component of all cancer research. If a breakthrough is made in one corner of the world, it needs to be shared with other medical professionals. Comparing results of different research efforts will make the big data analysis more accurate. That’s one of the ways Foundation Medicine is contributing to the fight against cancer. The group is collecting data on rare cancers, analyzing them within their enormous database, and sharing it with other doctors. Through a big data solutions comparison, this is far from an easy task, but it connects physicians with each other, giving them added resources to treat cancer patients, resources that weren’t available even a few years ago.

Much still needs to be done to make cancer go the way of polio, but there’s no denying that admirable progress has been made. Now that physicians and other medical professionals are using big data for cancer research, more knowledge has been gained into how the disease works and how it should be treated. We may be closer than we think to finally finding that elusive cure.


How we pay

March 12, 2016 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Cool Inventions and gadgets

Pick up a new iPhone and, as part of the setting up process, you will be asked to connect a bank card to the device. After a straightforward confirmation process, your smartphone is now capable of making payments just as a contactless-enabled card is, with all the ease of getting out the phone you’re likely clutching anyway. Samsung is set to release a similar system, Samsung Pay, by the end of March.

However, this is just the start of a movement towards alternative means of payment that will make even the process of removing your card from your wallet seem downright inconvenient. The card has not been stripped of its necessity, but we are entering a world in which payment is more flexible than it ever has been, with multiple devices capable of making different kinds of transactions. The average US citizen makes 376 non-cash purchases every year, and this number is only set to grow alongside the availability and diversity of wearable tech that doubles as a contactless card.

Global investment in financial technology (FinTech) jumped from $4 billion in 2013 to $12 billion in 2014, and wearable payment tech is just one offshoot of it. The growth is part of a wider trend of changes to financial services – from P2P lending to the increase in use of digital currency – and the advancements could benefit both bank and saver. For one, the use of different technologies makes less likely the chance of a false decline, a security measure in place when spending money abroad, designed to protect against fraud. The value of false declines hit $118 billion per year, according to the Financial Times, 13 times the amount lost to actual fraud. And at MWC 2016, held in Barcelona, the future of payment technology – and payment security – was on display.

Smart rings, fitness trackers, smart watches and more all have the potential to make payments in the very near future. Not only are the big financial incumbents focusing their efforts, startups specializing in the field are burgeoning. The ways in which alternative payments are being brought to market is interesting, too. Topshop’s partnership with bPay – Barclaycard’s contactless division – has already brought into existence a number of ‘bespoke products’ fitted with bPay, from wristbands to smartphone covers to keychains. And, as the technology hits the high street (as well as smartphone contactless payment becoming a more normalized means) any public scepticism surrounding alternative payment methods should erode, and the range of available products will only grow.

Topshop’s inclusion of bPay has been matched by the fact that Hublot and Bulgari watches are set to have WiseKey introduced, giving them payment capabilities. These are both early examples of high street adoption taking to the public what has, up until recently, been the domain of the financial services. Payment capability is arguably the most functional of the otherwise gimmicky additions to wearables to be developed recently, and it seems it is here to stay, as more innovative security solutions promise to assuage lingering public scepticism.

MasterCard, one of the key proponents of alternative payment methods, announced in 2015 that they had successfully – alongside Canadian biometrics company Nymi – completed the first wearable payment system to be authenticated by the user’s heartbeat. The wristband, which detects the wearer’s unique heartbeat pattern, executes a payment when held up to any terminal that accepts MasterCard. Its lack of other functionality makes it a relatively inviable product at present but its functionality could be feasibly put into watches or designer jewellery.

But perhaps the most eye-catching of the security conscious developments on show at MWC 2016 was MasterCard’s ‘selfie pay’. A natural graduate from the improvements in fingerprint recognition technology – buying on mobile can utilize TouchID, for example – ‘selfie pay’ can be used to authenticate more expensive transactions. The system, which uses facial recognition, commands a blink to confirm that you are more than simply a 2D photograph, and authorizes the transaction. The technology may initially seem gimmicky, but the process is actually very secure and is being designed to replace SMS password systems and relatively laborious pin-entry processes. The mobile is becoming a payment hub and if contactless card is a little insecure for your liking, unless you have an identical twin, selfie-pay could be for you.

What defines the most innovative companies in the world?

March 9, 2016 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Uncategorized

Fast Company has released its most innovative companies of 2016. What makes them innovative? It seems that no matter the size, the most innovative corporations have some common traits:Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 8.09.15 PM

When we think of innovative companies, our minds often head straight for the game-changers. The likes of Uber, Amazon and Netflix, for example, all deploy wildly innovative business models and their impact on their particular industries has been stupendous.

When examining the Fast Company’s list of the ‘Most Innovative Companies of 2016’, though, there is room for the established giants. Apple, Taco Bell and Facebook, to name just three, have refused to stop innovating and, as Fast Company put it themselves, do not let ‘size get in the way of acting like a startup.’ They mingle with relative newcomers in the 50-strong index and demonstrate that innovation is by no means limited to smaller companies. Such a list is eye-opening and offers more opportunities for duplication than a list of game-changing eureka moments. We took a look at the trends that link some very different companies together under the umbrella of ‘innovative’.

Read the rest here:

Crowdsourcing innovation

March 7, 2016 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Uncategorized

James Gardner, the Chief Technology Officer of Spigit, recently reminded folks that there will always be reminders around us that even giants can fall: some of us will forever feel a small pang each time we pass a Blockbuster-turned-donut shop, its iconic, ticket-stub signage now stripped and faded – a relic.

What’s the solution? Tap into the crowd. James wrote about this in an article titled, How Do You Crowdsource Innovation?   Here is a portion:

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 8.00.16 PM

Like innovation itself, the crowd can be complex. The people who know your business best are the most well-placed to help you address the many kinds of questions and challenges that crop-up in the day-to-day running of a company — from outmoded business processes, to product and service improvements, and customer experience. This often means not just employees but others in your company ecosystem like customers and business partners. Research shows that crowdsourcing innovation can produce up to 65% more actionable ideas than traditional sources. Analysts at Gartner predict that within the next three years, over 75% of high-performing enterprises will be using some type of crowdsourcing to improve business processes.

Here are three critical guidelines for effective crowdsourced innovation:

Trust your crowd. If deferring to subject matter experts was the answer to your problems, there wouldn’t be a reason to reach out to your crowd to begin with. But the crowd is powerful because of the countless perspectives and experiences of the people within it. Do not make the mistake of imagining that the crowd is somehow inferior to experts or leadership. It is not.

Polaris Industries, a manufacturer of ATVs and other unique vehicles, learned this lesson quickly. The company’s innovation program was traditional and entirely top-down when it began. It was exceptionally difficult for Polaris to discover great ideas, and even when they did, the process to develop them was painfully slow. Polaris had no way to predict the risk, value, or viability for an idea, which made it hard to secure executive sponsorship and budget for innovation projects. But when it turned to the crowd, Polaris achieved an 80 percent reduction in the time it took to discover, assess, and execute new ideas. The outcome was their revolutionary Slingshot motorcycle and three other bestselling vehicles. Turning to its crowd also changed Polaris’ R&D process and reduced time to market dramatically – a distinct competitive advantage in a cramped vehicle market.

Close the loop. You will be asking a lot of big questions, especially if your company is facing major challenges. When you get feedback, remember to do something with it.

One company closing the loop successfully is Pfizer, Inc. Pfizer is a pillar within the pharmaceuticals market, comprising 77,000 healthcare experts, researchers, doctors, scientists, nurses, pharmacists, manufacturers, and more. This hugely diverse ‘crowd’ is directly responsible for Pfizer’s dominant position in the healthcare sector. But it can also sometimes hinder innovation efforts, since it is often difficult for experts to think outside of established patterns and processes. When Pfizer turned to crowdsourcing, everything changed. Their first innovation challenge to identify and select ideas from a crowd of employees, customers, and/or partners had nearly 6,000 participants and resulted in 660 viable ideas. It also led to a massive jump in employee engagement — 330% more people submitting and voting on ideas than the company originally targeted. The lesson? People want to share their ideas, but you have to give them the right space to do it. Pfizer’s OWNIT! innovation program encourages all employees to consistently contribute ideas and make a positive impact on the business. New ideas are met with openness and careful consideration, rather than doubt or apathy, which promotes an innovative culture free of silos and ripe with engagement. The first time Pfizer turned to the crowd to drive innovation, they had nearly 6,000 participants, 650+ viable ideas, and a massive jump in employee engagement — 330% of their original goal — based just on participant interaction with ideas.

Face the music. It can be tempting for company leaders to seek out validation rather than innovation. Your crowd will give you the sometimes hard and uncomfortable truth; but just cherry-picking the palatable results will only move you incrementally forward, if not backward. Listening to what your crowd is actually saying (even if you aren’t getting the answers you expected) is critical.

Cambia Health Solutions, a healthcare organization serving 100 million consumers across the United States, understands how important this is. In an industry inundated with red tape and slow to change, it was daunting to engage a wide variety of employees in a meaningful, valuable way. But a recent challenge run by Cambia resulted in 144 viable ideas for new products and services. Over eight weeks, Cambia created a prototype product based on the leading ideas.

The Crowdsourcing Journey

What we must do as leaders is encourage exploration. We must be willing to accept that we are not always asking the right questions. We may not have the whole story because it has not been told yet. And the people who are helping us shape that story are perhaps the most important part of it. Above all, we must remember that continuous learning — and questioning, and adapting, and yes, failing — is an inherent part of innovating successfully.

Read the rest here.