Loose Connections Stimulate Innovation

How many friends do you have? How many acquaintances and contacts? 5, 50, 150, more?

Often innovation is about making unexpected connections. A diverse network of contacts increases our chances of making these connections. Your network is a great asset in expanding your thinking, providing new inputs and generating novel solutions. Continue reading

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Innovation – Where Should You Invest?

Innovation - Where should you invest? Original image by Vectorportal.com. Used under a Creative Commons License.Recently I visited a company that wanted to invest in innovation. They wanted to act, yet they were hesitating. They were thinking of innovation as the creation of totally new, game changing products that radically change the marketplace. They were reluctant to invest all of their innovation budget in such high risk projects. A very reasonable conclusion.

So where should you invest? Continue reading

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The Benefits of Innovation – The 20:20:20 Rule

When I talk about innovation I usually start with an explanation of why innovation is important. To do this I use two reports, one published in 2000 by PWC, the other published in 2010 by DeBooz. Although the surveys were published 10 years apart they provide a remarkably consistent view of why we should innovate.

PWC and DeBooz both analysed over a thousand companies. They calculated how innovative the companies were by measuring things like the number of new product launches in the last five years, whether the products were genuinely new to market (not line extensions or adaptive innovations) and whether consumers considered the company to be innovative. PWC and DeBooz also analysed the financial performance of the companies: revenue, profits, shareholder value etc.

The findings, in 2000 and 2010, were remarkably similar. I call them the 20:20:20 rule. Continue reading

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Tablecloths for Idea Generation

I recently organised a workshop with Sara Jones of City University, London. Sara wanted to use the Digital Shoreditch Festival as an opportunity to generate new and useful ideas on ‘How to foster a culture of collaboration between universities and industry’.

The festival brings together diverse participants from start-ups, SMEs, large companies and academia for a series of talks and panel discussions. The diversity of the participants provided a great opportunity to get input from a wide range of interesting people.

However, running an idea generation workshop between conference presentations and panel discussions presented us with some challenges. Continue reading

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Creativity is a Feeling

Have you read Making is Connecting by David Gauntlett? It’s a great book about creative collaboration and how this enhances creativity, creates a sense of community and improves individual happiness. If you are interested in creativity, collaboration and change I’d recommend you read it. Continue reading

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Twitter: The Amplifier and the Fishing Rod

If Twitter was an object what would it be for you?I was speaking with the social media director of a large company recently and he described Twitter as the amplifier in the social media system.
His company posts interesting content into different platforms (Facebook, Pinterest, blogs etc.) They know it will be read by the users of those platform and reach a significant number of people. Tweeting about the content brings their message to the attention of a much broader audience. His experiments show that Tweeting will increase the number of people reading the information by 10 to 100 fold. In some cases 1000 times more people will read the content. His point was well made, Twitter amplifies your social media messages and many businesses use Twitter for exactly this reason. Continue reading
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Enterprise Social Networks: Build It and They Will Come (Maybe)

Build it and they will come (maybe)

Enterprise social networks (like Yammer or Jive) are great for sharing information, having conversations and developing ideas.

I seen a number of businesses implement enterprise social networks. I know that some of them have been disappointed with the outcomes. They’ve invested in the implementation and roll out. Technically the implementations have been great. Yet people post comments like:

‘This is cool. What do we do with it?’ Continue reading

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