Product Innovation is key to growth

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on October 21, 2014

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!

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on October 16, 2014

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.


Where the OI Experts will be!

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on September 26, 2014

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It’s here!  CoDev 2015

Join 200 of your peers at the industry’s first and most respected forum on Open Innovation.  Now in its fourteenth year, this is the one event you can count on to deliver cutting-edge content, valuable contacts, and an outstanding experience.

Find out how the OI pioneers are moving ahead.

The OI pioneers are going forward full steam – find out what they are doing, with whom, and how.  Get the real story from people on the front lines.  Our stellar line-up includes industry leaders – not celebrities or theorists, but people with responsibilities like yours who are meeting today’s challenges head-on and achieving remarkable results.

Featured Speakers

Other Confirmed Speakers:  

Surendra K. Chawla, Senior Director, External Science & Technology Programs, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company; Ronald Sharpe, Research Fellow, Amway; Jay Rogers, Co-founder & CEO, Local Motors; Stuart Stein, Director, Open Innovation, Mondelez; Peter Von Dyck, CEO, e-Zassi; Rob Kirschbaum, VP Open Innovation, Royal DSM; Carlos Barroso, Senior VP, Global R&D, The Campbell Soup Company; Rob Mills, VP Operations, CleanWell Company; Dr. David A. Shore, Faculty Member, Harvard University; Dr. Suna Polat, Director, Collaborative Innovation and Social Product Development, CIMdata; Dr. Gene Slowinski, Director of Strategic Alliance & Open Innovation Research, Rutgers University  and more!

CoDev is your on-ramp to Open Innovation success


The purpose and goals of Open Innovation — faster release of innovative new products, expansion into new markets, new business creation, higher returns — have never been more important.

CoDev is the place to be to learn about OI “must-haves” that you can take home and apply right now:

  • Ecosystems to change your market dynamics and win over your customers
  • New business models…new partnerships…new funding sources
  • Entrepreneurship, agility, readiness for real change
  • Connectedness — strategic, technological, social — with customers, partners, suppliers, stakeholders
  • Incentives beyond money — making a difference in the world
  • Transparency — sharing knowledge, customer data, early stage research, scientific discoveries
Overall, you will come away reinvigorated and ready to make your forward moves – with a realistic action plan and support system in place.

  Learn more >

Get updates >


PLUS!  The first 25 people to sign up will also be entered in a raffle to receive three free nights at the Scottsdale Paradise ValleyResort – 2 winners will be chosen. And the first TEAM OF 3 (or more) will win a restaurant dinner with one of our Keynote speakers! Enjoy an evening of great food, drinks and insightful conversation — our treat. Winners chosen October 6.


Hope to see you at CODEV2015!


Cheryl Perkins 

CoDev2015 Conference Chairperson

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Making everyday items better: Regional manufacturing innovations hit mainstream

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on September 22, 2014

Here is an interview I did with business editor Larry Avila:


Making everyday items better

Regional manufacturing innovations hit mainstream

Story by Larry Avila, New North B2B Editor

They’re all around us and we likely don’t even give it a second thought.

From vehicles to move people and goods to the gizmos that keep us connected to daily happenings as well as friends and family, there’s one thing that bonds them together – someone came up with an idea to make a once-thought-impossible or difficult task possible.

But in a world that constantly demands better and faster, a culture of innovation soon followed and quietly blossomed in northeast Wisconsin.

What goes on behind the scenes as a new product or manufacturing process is being created rarely – if ever – is publically disclosed but on occasion a place develops a reputation for being a hub for creative ideas.

“I think that for those within the region and those that interact with innovators within the region are aware and have some recognition that northeast Wisconsin is becoming a source of innovation and that this innovation can enable further growth across many industries,” said Cheryl Perkins, founder of Innovationedge in Neenah and former chief innovation officer for Kimberly-Clark Corp.

She said businesses and people across the region gained more access to resources through the years to think of better ways of doing things.

“Training and education exists in the region as well as facilities like Fox Valley Technical College’s Fab Lab, tools and consultancy firms help them create more innovative ideas and translate their ideas into a commercial success,” Perkins said.

Read the rest here

The Theory of Crowd Capital

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on September 21, 2014

Wikipedia free use flamingos


I’m curating a fantastic collection of Open Innovation white papers from innovation experts, universities and corporate thought leaders on the latest theories, recent case studies, preliminary results and pioneering research.

I first came across The Theory of Crowd Capital, which is the result of proceedings of the hawaii International Conference on System Sciences last year. John Prpic from Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, and Prashant Shukla of the University of Toronto – Rotman School of Management put this together and I share it with you here:

We are seeing more and more organizations undertaking activities to engage dispersed populations through Information Systems (IS). Using the knowledge-based view of the organization, this work conceptualizes a theory of Crowd Capital to explain this phenomenon. Crowd Capital is a heterogeneous knowledge resource generated by an organization, through its use of Crowd Capability, which is defined by the structure, content, and process by which an organization engages with the dispersed knowledge of individuals – the Crowd. Our work draws upon a diverse literature and builds upon numerous examples of practitioner implementations to support our theorizing. We present a model of Crowd Capital generation in organizations and discuss the implications of Crowd Capital on organizational boundary and on IS research.

If you are interested, you can read more by clicking here to download the PDF. Let me know what you think!

Eight Ways to Rethink Your Business Model

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on September 15, 2014

4283684892_f7fe5f80af_bIn my book, Conquering Innovation Fatigue: Overcoming the Barriers to Personal and Corporate Success, we discuss some of the ways our corporate efforts have gone stale. One of those ways is embedded in our corporate cultures that tell our people, “Not Invented Here.” Those three little words ought not be!  There is a whole lot of re-thinking many corporations need to do in order to reshape their cultures and bring those services and products to market in a way that is sustainable. That’s why I enjoyed this article, “Eight Ways to Rethink Your Business Model,” over at my friend Robert Tucker’s site, The Innovation Resource.  Enjoy!

Eight Ways to Rethink Your Business Model

Many businesses today are stuck in a commodity mindset. You hear them say things like, “All customers want is the lowest price.” Or, “This is a mature market.” Or, “You have to move manufacturing to China to survive.”
Whether you’re a small operation, a startup, or a large multinational, it’s easy to adopt the prevailing assumptions. Often they’re industry assumptions. Sometimes they are company assumptions (“we don’t have the capability to pull that off”). And sometimes, they are personal assumptions (“I’m not creative” or “An individual like myself can’t impact an organization as big as ours”).

Regardless of type, my company’s research with industry groups shows consistently that winning firms are those that don’t buy in to conventional wisdom. Their leaders make it job one to challenge assumptions. They take time regularly to rethink. Use this list below to start a rethinking revolution in your firm:

1. Rethink what everybody in your industry knows to be true (but may not be)

A decade ago, if you were a furniture manufacturer in the United States, the assumption was: “You have to move manufacturing to China or face the inevitable.” The industry was hard hit, but not everyone caved. Bassett Furniture, based in Virginia, got busy rethinking its options. They cut costs, partnered with their workers, and invested in cutting edge equipment. Then they rethought what their dealer network needed most for it to survive. Today, Bassett ships custom orders in 24 hours, retailers carry less inventory, and favorable financial terms. Meanwhile, the China Price differential is disappearing as wages, raw materials and shipping costs continue to rise. “Many companies that offshored manufacturing didn’t really do the math,” says Harry Moser, founder of the Reshoring Movement.  “As many as 60 percent of the decisions were based on miscalculations.”

Read more here:

Running on rubbish: Supermarket comes off grid, powered by food waste

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on September 10, 2014


Imagine a grocery store sending zero waste to the landfill. That’s what is happening in the UK with Sainsbury’s stories. “Last summer Sainsbury’s achieved its 20×20 sustainability target of putting all its store waste to positive use – and diverting it from landfill.  All general waste from stores is recycled or turned into fuel. Surplus food that can’t be used by our charity partners to feed vulnerable people is now processed into animal feed to support British farmers or used to generate energy through anaerobic digestion,” says the company.

Sainsbury’s is already the UK’s largest retail user of anaerobic digestion, generating enough energy to power 2,500 homes each year. According to its website:

Industry partners Biffa and Sainsbury’s are today celebrating an innovative facility that will allow Sainsbury’s Cannock store to run on power generated solely from the supermarket’s own food waste.

Using Biffa’s advanced anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities and a unique power link up, Sainsbury’s Cannock store will be powered using electricity generated using food waste from Sainsbury’s stores across the UK.

This ground-breaking project helps to close the loop on food recycling and Sainsbury’s to continue to send zero operational waste to landfill.

An inexpensive and humorous ad helps customers see the light:

Big data solution allows business leaders and data scientists to collaborate

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on September 7, 2014

Adatao is offering a more comprehensive solution that lets business leaders and data scientists work together more easily by enabling businesses to use one single tool across the organization with real-time collaboration across departments:

The service is split into two layers — pAnalytics, which is designed for analysts, and pInsights, which lets anyone create interactive visuals based on data. The first uses Apache Hadoop datasets and an API to enable data scientists to put information into applications that are easier to understand for colleagues in other departments. Using pInsights, those employees can then build charts, data maps and interactive elements to help put the data into context. As well as enabling multiple users to collaborate on a single visual document at the same time, non-technical staff can also communicate with analysts through the same platform. pInsights users can find real-time data using natural language searches, but are able to consult with data scientists if they need help.

Check out this video to learn more:

Learn more here.

Nanotechnology creates world’s darkest material: absorbs 99.9% of visual light

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on September 5, 2014

A company in the UK is using nanotechnology to capture light, and achieve new levels of range and sensitivity in a breakthrough “super black” material.  Check this out:

Vantablack – created by Surrey NanoSystems – is revolutionary in its ability to be applied to lightweight, temperature-sensitive structures such as aluminium whilst absorbing 99.96% of incident radiation, the highest level ever recorded.

“Vantablack is a major breakthrough by UK industry in the application of nanotechnology to optical instrumentation”, says Ben Jensen, the company’s Chief Technology Officer. “It reduces stray-light, improving the ability of sensitive telescopes to see the faintest stars, and allows the use of smaller, lighter sources in space-borne black body calibration systems. Its ultra-low reflectance improves the sensitivity of terrestrial, space and air-borne instrumentation.”

Vantablack is the result of applying a low-temperature carbon nanotube growth process. The manufacture of “super-black” carbon nanotube materials has traditionally required high temperatures – preventing their direct application to sensitive electronics or materials with relatively low melting points. This, along with poor adhesion, prevented their application to critical space and air-borne instrumentation. Over a period of two years, the development and testing programme by Surrey NanoSystems successfully transferred its low-temperature manufacturing process from silicon to aluminium structures and pyroelectric sensors. Qualification to European Cooperation on Space Standardisation (ECSS) standards was also achieved.

Vantablack has the highest thermal conductivity and lowest mass-volume of any material that can be used in high-emissivity applications. It has virtually undetectable levels of outgassing and particle fallout – thus eliminating a key source of contamination in sensitive imaging systems. It can withstand launch shock, staging and long-term vibration, and is suitable for coating internal components, such as apertures, baffles, cold shields and Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS)-type optical sensors.

“We are now scaling up production to meet the requirements of our first customers in the defence and space sectors, and have already delivered our first orders. Our strategy includes both the provision of a sub-contract coating service from our own UK facility, and the formation of technology transfer agreements with various international partners”, added Jensen.

As a spin-off from its work in applying nanomaterials to semiconductor device fabrication, Surrey NanoSystems’ manufacturing process also enables Vantablack to be applied to flat and three-dimensional structures in precise patterns with sub-micron resolution.


Read more here

Free Webinar: “Small business is Big Business”

Posted by Cheryl Perkins on September 1, 2014

small biz banner

Join us for the live online webinar for free!

Thursday, September 4, 2014, 8am China Standard Time (Wednesday, September 3, 2014, 8pm EDT)

Check your local time for the webinar here.
Enhance your business in China and learn about resources and opportunities
available for your company

The conference will focus on promotion of trade support in China and the U.S. forsmall- and medium-sized enterprises interested in expanding into the China market and will be broadcasted live as an online webinar for small- and medium-sized enterprises across the United States. Attending the online webinar will be free of charge.

Tune in to learn about:

  • Tried and proven methods to expand your business;
    How the U.S. and Chinese government can help your market-entry to China;
    Insights from expert panelists on industry-specific things you need to know;
    Ways to success from entrepreneurs and business owners

Join us to gain insights on the challenges and opportunities for SMEs in the ever
growing China market!

Join the webinar by going to the conference web page at on the day of the conference and filling out the stream registration form.