Denise Couture and I recently had the opportunity to meet with students from the Velocity Academy, a project-based learning program at Shattuck Middle School. The curriculum is designed to provide hands-on learning opportunities for seventh- and eighth-graders. The program coordinator Kyle Popp invited us to speak to the students about Innovation.
We shared information about discovery, invention and innovation, and conducted an exercise where students ideated around two products, a tablet computer and a student backpack, and one service, the school lunch service. Needless to say, there were some very creative ideas.
As a follow-up activity, I was invited to be one the “Sharks” that reviewed the Velocity Entrepreneurs and their inventions. We heard about pre-sliced lettuce; a backpack that opens from the bottom for easy cleaning; a beanie clip to hold your hat in place; an “Amousement Park“ to entertain your pet mouse; a couch modification to prevent lost remotes; a six-in-one alarm clock; a redesigned shoe box called shahbox; a new basketball shoe super grip; a squishbook that prevents being poked by the spiral wires on notebooks, especially handy for left-handed people; and a plan to provide clean water to a thirsty population. Again, all very creative ideas developed by these seventh- and eighth-grade entrepreneurs.
I applaud the efforts of Kyle and the other teachers as they engage, empower and motivate students by exploring the topic of innovation in their middle school curriculum. You can follow Velocity Academy on Twitter @VelocityAcademy and visit their FaceBook page – Velocity Academy.
Pat Clusman is the Chief Operating Officer at Innovationedge. Follow Pat on Twitter @pclusman
I’m excited to be among over 100 like-minded strategy leaders for this year’s Unleashing Innovation Summit in New York, March 25 and 26. I’m on the speaking roster for the first day, as we together tackle real problems faced by every innovator. This year we are talking about Creating a culture that fuels repeatable success!
Our team is looking forward to both structured and informal networking with bold, forward-thinking companies and speakers who are as excited as I am about groundbreaking approaches to innovation.
If you join us, this is what you can look forward to:
- Cross sector learning – find out how solutions adopted by other sectors can add value to your business; What can you learn from other industries and vertical sectors? What can innovators learn from marketing and R & D and vice versa?
- Save time and money – concentrated industry knowledge in two intensive days
- Case studies – listen to case studies outlining the pros and cons of new and existing projects
- Networking and interactive – Learn from your peers and build new relationships in our break out and networking sessions
- Discussion groups – industry-specific roundtable discussions for you to focus on the key issues that affect your business
And, you’ll meet reps from these companies:
See you in New York!
One of the most important questions we get from clients is, “how do I create an Innovative Culture?” It’s a great question and one that requires some time defining goals and determining how to incorporate open innovation into your business strategy and how it will help your team succeed.
Tomorrow Pat Clusman and I will be leading a University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh MBA Leadership event in which we will share best practices of some of the top innovators in the world. We want to make sure participants leave with the tools and techniques needed to have open innovation and collaboration in their own companies.
The event is Tuesday, March 17 from 8 – Noon at the UWO Green Bay Executive Education Center. Join us!
The UW Oshkosh MBA Leadership Series provides exceptional continuing education for business professionals. These programs give you the opportunity to learn from renowned speakers while engaging with business professionals, entrepreneurs and executives in your community. Continental breakfast and beverages are also provided.
Step up your game by creating an innovative culture, and learn how to do it here!
Thanks to all of you who came to CoDev2015 last week in Scottsdale! It was a truly collaborative and forward-thinking gathering of innovators, with an extraordinary amount of knowledge and willingness to share. We came away with many new insights, and we greatly appreciate everyone’s openness.
As Rosemary Pennington of J.M. Smucker Company, put it “the networking was extremely beneficial…we shared with peers and competitors in a non-threatening way, became each other’s coaches and mentors in the process. There were roughly 15 different presenters and I came away with at least 1 nugget from each, so I got 15 nuggets. Most conferences I get one—total. CoDev was well worth my time and investment.”
For those of you who missed it, I’d like to share a brief recap of the highlights and invite you to join us next year.
Throughout the three-day event, we discussed the key OI success factors for today’s global business climate — from strategic alignment, culture, processes, and impact measures to managing collaborative networks and creating healthier ecosystems.
Strategy: It is critical to have a clear ‘need’ definition process, with a prioritized list of scoutable needs aligned to business strategy. Needs must be written for both confidential and non-confidential use.
Culture: Leverage early ‘wins’ to drive change. Involve cross functional perspectives early on. Be sure to include HR, Legal and Procurement. Use a trial and scale-up approach to build capabilities. Communicate often, both internally and externally.
Processes and Tools: Tools and processes are enablers, not an end in themselves. Implement a flexible process from need identification into your stage-gate development process. Establish market potential and feasibility assessment criteria, approval & funding checkpoints, and pathways for dialog. Monitor and adapt as needed.
Ecosystems: Having “know-who” is far more effective than just having “know-how,” and new channels yield new solutions. But that’s not enough. Finding and implementing new solutions requires thoughtful planning, communication and willingness to take risks. Collaborative networks are more dynamic and interconnected than traditional hub & spoke structures. –
We then integrated our learnings and mapped out action steps to apply back at our organizations. Overall there was a positive energy among the 130+ participants — that Open Innovation has reached a turning point which will result in much higher returns going forward. Steve Franz, VP Global R&D,Rich Products summed it up: “Since the last time I attended ten years ago, an amazing transformation has taken place. Back then the discussion was around barriers preventing Open Innovation from happening. Now we have figured out how to manage the barriers and have success stories. We are getting into the value proposition.”
Here’s an innovation and an inspiration: A billboard that cheers you on if you choose to walk, jog or run instead of drive:
Fast company has the story here. Just click on the billboard:
I’ve been watching the evolution of 3D printing technology over the past several years, and came across this interesting video of a hand-held prototype.
Read more here and watch the video:
I spotted this via GreenBiz, and I think we can glean some general trends to watch this year:
Over the last 20 years, businesses have played their part in the increasing global discussion of climate change and how to adapt to it. Resource efficiency and security have moved up the policy and business agenda, and the more recent discussions have been reframed under the circular economy banner.
From a relatively small number of green niche players and a few leaders in the manufacturing sector implementing eco-design in the early to mid-1990s, we have seen a broadening of the sectors and stakeholders engaged in the “greening” of products. However, most of the focus is still on eco-design rather than sustainable design, and product-related environmental compliance rather than innovation or new business models.
Sustainable innovation continues to move up the business agenda. But what will it look like this year?
1. Smarter city activities will start to factor in the people/social dimension alongside innovation and technology
The concept of smart cities and regions has emerged over the last decade. It’s been predicted that 70 percent of the world’s population will move to urban areas by 2050, which will mean that we are likely to see a rise of more powerful city-states or city-regions.
As a result, cities easily could become hotbeds for sustainability problems but if people, networks, technology, innovation and information are engaged, mobilized and marshalled appropriately, cities have the potential to become platforms and catalysts for new resource-efficient and low-carbon solutions. Engaging people in new visions is key.
2. Eco-innovation will continue to broaden and become more pervasive
Policy thinking on eco-innovation is moving towards a more horizontal view, based on a pervasive “greening” of industry, and the development of a diverse array of eco-innovative products, services and technologies.
This is reinforced by policy makers starting to explore more systemic approaches to eco-innovation and recognizing the limited impact that existing policies have had; for example, delivering only incremental environmental improvements.However, grassroots innovation interest is also starting to increase on the ground.
3. Pressure for action on climate change will re-emerge as we move towards the climate summit in Paris in November
Increasing resilience and adapting to climate change as well as developing low-carbon, resource-efficient solutions are being hand-wired into future European policy scenarios. But we will see a re-emergence of citizen engagement in the debate. There is likely to be increasing activity by civil society groups as we move towards the Paris summit, with increased awareness through growing media interest after the summer.
4. Circular economy proposals will re-emerge from Brussels with more of a business slant
There will be continued discussion around the need to make products more circular. Circular economy proposals are likely to re-emerge from the European Commission with more of a business focus. Leading companies are implementing products that are designed for disassembly or for up-cycling but are finding a lack of infrastructure, knowledge, network and skills to support these initiatives.
There will be more discussion over standards and terminology, and over the proactive role of design in moving towards a circular economy. The number of repair cafes and re-use centers are likely to increase and we will see a growing interest in economic, environmental and social benefits of remanufacturing.
5. Grassroots innovation activity will continue to grow focused on making, mending and fixing
Green growth is permeating global policy thinking; however, grassroots innovation is emerging from civil society and entrepreneurs rather than from government, big businesses or NGOs.
Making, modification, mending and fixing are being driven by a new “do it” spirit and the public has increased access to information and ideas as well as new tools such as 3D printing being used to produce parts to enable repair. The growth of places and spaces for this has enabled more experimentation and the potential for more circular manufacturing.
Stronger grassroots innovation is emerging through people power, which has been facilitated by social networks and ICT. You can see this in the growing trend of crowdsourcing ideas and funding, such as Kickstarter, and the rise of makers, modifiers and fixers.
6. Open green innovation will increase focused on completion, crowdsourcing, crowd-funding and opening-up green patents
Open innovation and crowdsourcing approaches break down potential boundaries to setting up new eco-innovative businesses and enable those with ideas to reach people quicker. As a result, they’re being used to co-create new businesses where collaboration and partnership are essential to success.
Developing and building relationships and trust will be increasingly recognized as central principles to co-creation. The number of companies using open green innovation is likely to increase, building on pioneers such as Unilever.
Hopefully you had an opportunity to attend the CoDev 2015 conference in Scottsdale, Arizona with us. If not, you missed one of the best CoDev conferences ever! This year, we saw how many companies are defining and implementing new business models to deliver growth through Open Innovation. There were a variety of models discussed and if we learned anything, it was that no one model fits all.
More companies are looking outside their boundaries for ideas, technologies and intellectual property, and they are working internally to integrate across functions to drive commercialization. It was very evident at the conference that the “what” of the solution is more important than “where” and “who” it comes from. Fostering collaboration with customers, suppliers, end users and employees is becoming a way of doing business at many companies that delivers growth and new revenue sources.
Numerous presenters spoke about the benefits of Open Innovation and Co-Development in their companies. Through OI they were able to extend their reach and capability for new ideas and technologies; conduct strategic experiments at lower levels of risk and resources; and overtime, they were able to evolve to a more innovative culture, from the outside–in.
Of course, there were challenges highlighted as well like gaining alignment top down and bottom up; finding the dollars and resources to fund OI activities; predicting the optimal level of openness; defining the “right” business model and deal structure; and defining what to measure.
Over the last several years, it has become evident that companies have been focused on open innovation culture, leadership, process and structure and they are now becoming more focused on talent and metrics. We like to call this the “who” and the type leader you need to drive success. We all learned a lot in this area from our peers at CoDev 2015. Reach out to us at Innovationedge if you would like to learn more.
If you’re involved in innovation, open innovation, co-development or partnership management, you owe it to yourself and your company to be part of the Open Innovation and CoDev community. Join the LinkedIn group and make plans now to attend the next CoDev Conference to network with your peers and extend your personal network.
Pat Clusman the Chief Operating Officer at Innovationedge and he was a member of the CoDev 2015 conference planning team. Check out CoDev2015: Launching Products and Business with Partners, Customers & Ecosystems, held February 9-11, 2015 in Scottsdale, AZ.
I saw this incredible story at Fast Company: Do you remember what you were doing when you were 15? Lillian Pravda is 15, and she is the CEO of a non-profit that has brought free vision care to over 24,000 children in need.
We are counting down the days until we head for Scottsdale and CoDev! It’s the longest running and most respected forum on Open Innovation. Will you be joining us? There is still time to sign up: http://www.codevpd.org/
Check out our incredible lineup of speakers and the topics:
Visit our blog to listen to our webinar encores and check out what some of our panelists and keynotes have to say!