Innovation Notes: June 4, 2008

by Jason Haley 4. June 2008 20:37

Innovation and the Small Business Challenge, Be Excellent
Talks about an article in this month's Inc. Magazine titled: Innovation: Marketing Inspiration Routine by A.G. Lafley and Ram Charan in which Inc. challenged them to take a small company with $4 million in revenue and 30 employees and determine what it would take to make it as innovative as possible.  Be Excellent lists the 7 steps as:

    1. Select the Strategy (Look for an underserved market)
    2. Connect to Customers (Use social networks as an idea collector)
    3. Generate Ideas (Brainstorm the right way)
    4. Select an Idea (Separate the good ideas from the great)
    5. Prototype and Test (Bring on the customers)
    6. Go to Market (Even half-baked product ideas can work)
    7. Adjust for Growth (Devote resources to innovation)

Up the Ladder OR Down the Ladder, Seeds of Growth
Link to an interesting depiction of a Stairway to Brand Heaven & Hell by David Armano.  It shows 11 steps between Brand Heaven and Hell.

Changing the World from the Edge, BusinessWeek: John Hagle and John Seely Brown
Interesting article detailing some of the results of Tom Kalil's Big Ideas contests and related initiatives at UC Berkeley.

Good quote from the entry:

Innovation is not just about ideas, it is about impact. Too often, discussions on innovation focus narrowly on idea-generation. From our experience, idea-generation is rarely the bottleneck. Survey any large company and you'll find a multitude of big ideas are percolating at various levels of the organization. The key is how to make these ideas more visible, how to mobilize support for the most promising ideas, and how to scale the development and deployment of the ideas.

A better overview of the article can be found on Front End Of Innovation's blog in the entry: Innovation: Cal Berkeley Starting It's Own Way by Jennifer.  A good link from this review: http://bigideas.berkeley.edu/

Innovation as a Happy Accident, Mitch Ditkoff
Short entry giving some good advice to help think of innovation in a slightly different way.  Good Quote from the entry:

Breakthroughs aren't always about invention, but the intervention required, by the aspiring innovator, to notice something new, unexpected, and intriguing.

Innovation Is a Necessary Step for Growth in the Insurance Industry, Women's Network Group
This is a press release from April 14, 2008, discussing a topic discussed at the Women's Network Group in March 2008 when Julie K. Davis spoke.  She presented her observations and advice on how the insurance industry can move forward by creating new innovative products.  A good quote from the press release:

Steps the insurance industry can take include:
-- Review all of the market segments you currently serve. Some may be growing faster than others and is poised to perform better in an economic recession.
-- Review all of the products you currently offer. While traditional insurance products and services haven't changed much over the years, specialty insurance products and markets have the biggest opportunity for innovative and creative review. There are now over 100 classes of professional liability opportunities.
-- Don't overlook opportunities to sharpen and design your distribution channels.
-- Thought leadership is an increasingly important driver of the success for insurance agents, brokers, wholesalers and carriers. Thought leadership goes beyond the ability to create innovative products and services. It is also a skill set needed to engage with more informed clients and prospects.
-- Depend on diversity of thought and innovation in your organization. Establish an innovation group that has cross-industry experience and ideas. Too many efforts on product innovation fail because the initiative did not involve enough diversity of thought in the industry.
-- Listen to customers. Customer groups can guide your new product and service innovation efforts. They can have insights on the seemingly small things that can make a difference.
-- You must change your marketing mix to include something other than the traditional means of advertising, sponsorships and prospect communications. If you don't include consumer and industry insight, your efforts may be slower than your competitors.

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