Playing Personality Poker with Your Innovation Team

This week’s guest is involved in the innovation game for as long as I’ve been around. Stephen Shapiro is a leading speaker and author on innovation, who previously lead a 20,000-person innovation practice at Accenture. We will discuss creativity, reframing questions, and how diverse personalities can come together to create a thriving innovation team.

Innovation Team

Innovation Team

Creativity & the Innovation Team

Stephen says that we all start with a high level of creativity. We are all creative in our ways, but some people approach creativity differently. As we discussed in the previous show, every innovation team needs a variety of different players with varying levels of creativity to achieve success. Stephen says collaborating with teams is vital to innovation success. Finding what teams are and what they are not will help them surround themselves with the key members that are needed. What is one lesson you learned from your time at Accenture? Stephen says he learned early on that everyone is creative and innovative; we just contribute in different ways.

Personality Poker

Stephen created a card game to help bring different people together to achieve a goal, known as Personality Poker. The game has four steps to the innovation process, and four different styles are linking back to the steps. While in Vegas playing Blackjack, I got the idea of 4 steps, 4 styles, 4 suits, went home and grabbed a deck of poker cards, and got writing. The goal is for people to play to their strong suit, and to make sure your innovation team is playing with a full deck. Not playing a strong suit is where a lot of organizations are falling flat.

We tend to hire people and who “fit the mold” and result in the loss of breadth of experience and thinking. How would you compare this to something like Gallup Strengthfinders? Stephen says it’s not about what you are good at, but what gives you energy. We can be good at something, but it might rob us of our energy. The game helps you see what you do well and what gives you energy while telling you who you are and aren’t. How have these impacted teams? Stephen says there are 52 cards as well as words that describe behavioral attributes.

People can gift these cards to others, which allows you to see how you are perceived and how people remember you. It acts as a great conversation starter within organizations and helps to bring the right people to the right team. On top of that, the game emphasizes having diverse perspectives and appreciating what each person brings to the table.

Reframing the Question

What drove you to write your new book, “Invisible Solutions”? Stephen says that his previous book emphasized asking better questions but did not explain how to do it. I spent the last ten years building a toolkit on reframing problems and decided it was time to put it into a book. “Invisible Solutions” are the solutions right in front of you, but you can’t see them because you are asking the wrong questions. What approach do you use to craft good questions that people understand? I created a systematic approach to reframe questions, not to generate new questions necessarily.

What is the “aha” moment for people in figuring out how to reframe questions? Stephen says they first come to have a deep appreciation of how important it is. They also start to understand how difficult it is. People usually don’t want to take the time to stop and think about what the right approach is. Thirdly, people can’t stay in the question stage, and they just want to start solving the next one. Most people don’t spend enough time trying to solve the problem, and they just rush the answer.

Advice for the Listeners

What is one story that will give the listener some advice to take away? Stephen says a great example would be of a group called Pumps & Pipes in Houston, Texas. This group is composed of cardiologists who get together with people from the oil and gas pipeline industry. As far apart as those groups sound, they both work with the movement of fluid through a tube. In one story, a cardiologist was trying to figure out how to break up clots in the body. An oil engineer was dealing with the same issue from sludge and had developed a filter. They collaborated and were able to create a filter that breaks up clots in the body.

If you want to keep up with what Stephen Shapiro is doing, check out his website here. Follow him on LinkedIn here.

About Our Guest: Stephen Shapiro

Stephen Shapiro is a full-time innovation speaker and advisor to clients around the world. Before becoming a full-time speaker, Stephen created and led a 20,000-person innovation practice at Accenture. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, SUCCESS Magazine, CNBC, ABC News, TLC, and USA Network. He is the author of four books and continues to teach and lead innovation and problem solving everywhere he goes.

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com, or you can go to PhilMcKinney.com and drop me a note there. If you are looking for innovation support, go to TheInnovators.Network or want to be challenged to develop the next big idea, check out our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

To learn more about Personality Poker and how to come together as a thriving innovation team, listen to this week’s show: Playing Personality Poker with Your Innovation Team.

RELATED:   Subscribe To The Killer Innovations Podcast

Looking Back at 15 Years of Killer Innovations

We are celebrating the 16th season of The Killer Innovations Show. This week, Bob O’Donnell, Silicon Valley veteran, the President, Founder, and Chief Analyst at TECHnalysis Research, joins us to discuss the history of Killer Innovations and some memorable moments throughout the history of the show.

Killer Innovations

How It All Started

Let’s talk about the backstory of the podcast. In 2004 while at HP, I spoke with my mentor Bob Davis. I asked him how I could pay him back for all the help he had given me in my life. He laughed at me and told me just to pay it forward. Fast forward to March 2005, where I recorded a little test show while in a bathroom at the Marriot Resort in Arizona, and the show was born. For me, it was all about innovation. Everybody thinks of me as being a tech guy because of my time at HP, but my background also covers things like wireless and mobile. It’s all about giving people an inside look at things and helping them take ideas and develop them into knockout products and services. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a lawn care service or a large multi-national company providing auto insurance.

Our listeners cover a wide variety of sizes and industries. Innovation is a skill that anyone can learn, and anyone can become proficient at it. We are all born naturally creative, and we need to find those channels of creativity to create and share the ideas running around in our heads. It’s all about taking those ideas and not letting the fear of failure stop you from successfully solving those problems.

FIRE

Recently, we’ve been working with Brother, the U.S Marine Corps and the Veterans Administration, helping the government understand innovation from a unique perspective. We teach a framework with four elements around the word FIRE. F stands for focus, and it’s about identifying where the upside opportunity is. Once you define the problem space, then you can get into the I which is ideation. There are a lot of different ways to come up with ideas. Each person goes off on their own and comes up with ideas. Then they come back and share those ideas with their group. The third step is ranking. Very few organizations participate in rankings. There are different processes for ranking ideas, but as a leader, it is vital to get your team involved in it. The last letter is E for execution. Without execution, it’s a hobby. For the Marine Corps, we can do focus, ideation, and ranking in two to three hours. That includes problem statement definition, individual and team brainstorming, ranking, and an early phase of execution.

Memorable Shows

Over the many years of the show, there have been many memorable shows and moments. I’ve had Peter Guber, co-owner of the Golden State Warriors on the show, and got to be in one of his books. Bob Metcalfe, the founder of 3Com which co-invented ethernet, was also on the show. In 2005 before iTunes was a thing, I started podcasting. There was a company called Odeo that specialized in podcatching so people could get podcasts on their iPods and phones. They reached out to me, asking for feedback when they were first conceiving their product. Odeo ended up becoming the social media platform Twitter. The show we did with Dean Kamen (FIRST/ Inventor of the Segway) recently was also a very memorable one.

Fan Moments

It’s motivating for me when I get feedback from fans of the show. My very first fan engagement was in London, back in the early days of the show. A guy reached out to me, asking if he could meet me. We ended up going to a pizza restaurant across the street from the hotel I was staying in. I thought he would be the only one there, but it turns out the whole restaurant was filled with fans of the show. Not too long after that, HP acquired webOS, and I announced that I would be flying to New York. When I got to the hotel at around 2 am, there were almost a dozen people I didn’t know waiting in the lobby to talk to me.

The Innovators Network

The podcast has growth going from an individual podcast to the Innovators Network and onto the Bizz Talk Radio. The Innovators Network launched around two and a half years ago. We wanted to create a platform allowing up and coming podcasters to get distributed on platforms like iHeart and Spotify. It is a host distributor for innovation podcasts such as Tech.Pinions, Killer Innovations, 5 Minutes to New Ideas, and the Kym McNicholas on Innovation podcast focused on medical-tech innovation. A few years ago we got asked to syndicate the The Killer Innovations Show on BizTalk Radio and are now on ~63 radio stations in the United States.

Glad you could join us for the kick-off of season 16. Thanks for taking the time to listen to the show. Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com, or you can go to PhilMcKinney.com and drop me a note there. If you are looking for innovation support, go to TheInnovators.Network or want to be challenged to develop the next big idea, check out our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

To know more about the history of the show and what we’re up to in Season 16, listen to this week’s show: Looking Back at 15 Years of Killer Innovations.

RELATED:   Subscribe To The Killer Innovations Podcast

The Optimal Innovation Team Size Is

On this week’s show, we will be discussing the most optimal innovation team size that will generate the most creativity and innovative ideas. This topic is something that would have helped me much if I had studied and learned it early on in my career. I will also discuss eight types of people that every innovation team needs to be successful.

Optimal Innovation Team Size

Innovation Team Size Study

Does team size have an impact? Recently, I read a study done by Jeanne Brett and Dashum Wang from the Kellogg School of Management and Northwestern University titled “If You Want Creativity, Keep Your Team Small”. This study said that large teams solve problems, and small teams generate new problems to solve. As the teams grew from 1-50, the levels of disruptiveness decreased. The large teams delivered value by developing established ideas and used smaller companies to be disruptive.

The issues that impacted teams as they got larger were:

  • Relational Loss – the perception of team members that they are working with little support from other members
  • Social Loafing – the tendency of the individual group members to contribute less than they would contribute to working in a smaller group or alone.
  • Lack of Development Maturity – larger teams tend to look to leaders for direction and motivation. Smaller teams frequently progress to periods of intense productivity fueled by “trust-based” relationships, structures, etc. With five or six people on your innovation team, it is easier to move forward with a common vision for the problem you are trying to solve.

How do you address the innovation team size problem? Through utilizing Multi-Team Systems (MTS), which is the process of breaking down a large team into smaller teams with some form of structural network. Implementing this process will bring efficiency and a higher rate of success.

My Experience with Innovation Team Size

We will now discuss my experience with team sizes throughout my career. My career started at Deltak, where we developed computer and video-based training. This publishing operation required large teams. Later in my career, I joined Thumbscan, which had mid-sized teams of a couple of dozen people, and the lack of efficiency frustrated me. Through my frustration, I branched off to create a product called PCBoot, which ended up winning product of the year at Computer Dealers Exhibition (Comdex), the precursor to Consumer Electronics Show (CES). It took me by myself a long time to build that product to the point where the parent company ran out of money. Through these times, I realized not only how important a team is, but the size of the team as well.

Other Teams

Let’s talk about other teams outside of my direct experiences like Apple Macintosh in the 80s. They came out with the Apple 1, 2, and then the 3, which was not very successful because a large team developed it. Apple’s success came when Steve Jobs hand-picked his MacIntosh team and locked the doors to anyone outside of the team. He separated the team from the larger organization to reduce the risk of large team influence, and it paid off. Now let’s look at the Manhattan Project. It started with a small team and split up into smaller teams in different areas focused on various aspects of the project. Each team knew what they had to generate to contribute to the larger overall objective, and they were very successful. When teams are broken down and given a specific objective, they become efficient in obtaining their specific goal.

My Optimal Innovation Team

 I’d like to use a religious reference here. Jesus had twelve disciples, so why would I try to handle more than he could? Throughout my career, I’ve learned that my optimal innovation team size is in the 6-8-person range. If I have more than that, I tend to lose focus and feel less engaged. I would argue that nobody should have more than twelve people directly reporting to them. While the number is essential, the make-up of the team is also important. As a leader, it is your responsibility to bring together an innovation team with the right skillsets.

Here are seven people that I believe are core to any high-impact innovation team:

  • The Visionary – the person who is the heart and soul of the idea.
  • The Leader – the person who recruits and motivates the best possible team.
  • The Mother – the person who is sensitive to everyone and makes sure everyone is taken care of.
  • The Energizer – the person who will get it done, sometimes at a cost. They pump energy into the team
  • The Customer Advocate – the person who advocates for the customer. They are the voice of the customer on the project.
  • Radar O-Reilly – (from the movie and TV show Mash): The person who can find/secure anything you need by understanding the process in an organization.
  • The Designer – the designer is no longer a behind the scenes activity.

 Bonus:

  • Neurodiversity – get people who think differently than you on your innovation team. They can see what others don’t see uniquely.

With these key players on your innovation team, you are that much closer to creating that game-changing product or idea.

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com, or you can go to PhilMcKinney.com and drop me a note there. If you are looking for innovation support, go to TheInnovators.Network or want to be challenged to develop the next big idea, check out our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

To learn more about optimal team sizes, listen to this week’s show: The Optimal Innovation Team Size Is.

RELATED:   Subscribe To The Killer Innovations Podcast

Bringing the Game to Gaming Tech Innovation #CES2020

Today’s guest is one that I had the privilege of working alongside during my time at HP. Luca Di Fiore, Head of Products at Xtreme Performance Gear, joins us here at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020, to discuss some game-changing innovation efforts. On this week’s show, we will discuss gaming tech innovation and the latest at Xtreme Performance Gear (XPG).

Gaming Tech Innovation

XPG

During my time at HP, I worked alongside Luca in the Innovation Program Office. Luca leads the effort for the carbon fiber laptop known as the Voodoo Envy. He went on to work for Razer, leading the VR efforts over there. Luca says after working on some award-winning products at Razer, he moved on to a new venture known as XPG by ADATA, a memory company. XPG had an exciting plan to push into gaming.

Given an innovation budget, Luca has the freedom to innovate. Why would a memory company want to get into gaming? Luca says it’s more evident than it looks. The connection is very simple. Memory is the one part that you can really push through the next level with gaming. XPG was able to assemble a team of people passionate about gaming tech innovation from different companies such as Razer, HyperX, Corsair, etc. How big is the group? Luca says he has three teams working in product management, marketing, and RND, totaling almost thirty people. In less than eleven months, we’ve managed to launch short of twenty products with a relatively low budget. Luca says most of his team is in Taipei, Taiwan, a hub of competitive gaming.

New Products

With XPG, you guys have made a ton of announcements recently. Can you give us the rundown? Luca says the big announcements here at CES are called “Invasion has Begun” and the fact that XPG entered into systems. There aren’t many gaming companies that can do accessories, peripherals, and systems at the same time, so this is big for us.

On top of that, we announced a new gaming laptop and a partnership with intel. We also partnered with a U.S startup called Pixeldisplay to create one of the most innovative gaming tech monitors in the market. We looked at how much time tech enthusiasts spend on their monitor and wanted to find a way to preserve their eyesight. We’ve implemented Pixeldisplay’s technology, which offers a better quality of the image that doesn’t filter out the blue color, but just the harmful blue LED properties. How big is this display? Luca says it’s the same size as any other display with the difference that it does not ship with a stand.

On the peripheral side, we have brought in our innovation spearhead called XPG Headshot. In developing this product, we asked the question of how to create an ultra-lightweight mouse. We used 3D printing to create a nicely structured mouse built into one place.

Product Customization

Typically, with mice today, there is a universal set of hand sizes, such as small, medium, and large. With 3D printing, do you customize the mice at XPG? We built this AI application to help in the customization of the mouse. An AI algorithm is used to take a picture of your hand and modify it based on the specific dimension. We let you choose your grip style and personalize the mouse specifically for your needs. Scalability isn’t a problem because our gaming tech innovation allows us to build anywhere in the world with these 3D printers.

What are some other announcements from XPG? We are sponsoring an ESL tournament in Bangkok, Thailand, and we brought a 24-karat gold keyboard, worth $10,000 as the prize. We also have a laptop collaboration with Intel. It is a gaming laptop with a 15″ display and is available to ship in Taiwan and Latin America, acting almost like a field trial for the future U.S market.

Idea to Product

Many listeners of the show have ideas. They’ve come up with but no expertise on how to turn them into a product. What advice would you give to an entrepreneur with a fresh idea? Luca says the first rule of thumb is to do great prototypes and make them as functional as possible. For example, my monitors had a prototype that could turn around in a month’s time frame. We have a lot of prototyping housing in Asia, specifically Taiwan, due to the cost-effectiveness of the area. The area also has a lot of companies that help with startups. Having a prototype will get you started in creating your gaming tech innovation products or any other product types.

About our Guest: Luca Di Fiore

Luca Di Fiore is the Head of Products at Xtreme Performance Gear (XPG) at ADATA. Luca is a bleeding-edge technologist with an international mindset and years of experience innovating and solving problems within the ICT industry, looking to make a difference in people’s lives through new human-machine paradigms. His previous experience includes Director of R&D at Razer, and Senior R&D Manager, CTO Office-Innovation Programs at Hewlett-Packard.

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com or you can go to PhilMcKinney.com and drop me a note there. If you are looking for innovation support go to TheInnovators.Network or want to be challenged to develop the next big idea, check out our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

To learn more about gaming tech innovation and the latest at XPG, listen to this week’s show: Bringing the Game to Gaming Tech Innovation #CES2020.

RELATED:   Subscribe To The Killer Innovations Podcast

Dean Kamen on Making Life Better

Today’s guest stands as one of the top inventors and scientists of our time. Dean Kamen has been innovating for decades and is known for his invention of the Segway, the infusion pump, the iBOT wheelchair, and many more game-changing inventions. This week on Killer Innovations, Dean Kamen joins us to discuss inventions and what he is currently doing to help change the world.

 Helping People Live Better

Dean is continuously trying to invent things to aid those in need. He has worked on taking technologies developed for broad markets and using them to meet the needs of patients. Many of Dean’s products help those with rarer issues, such as veterans who’ve lost limbs, or those with genetic disorders. Dean wants to reach the point where medical patients can live comfortably at home and still have access to the latest medical technology to keep them healthy. These inventions will not only save a ton of money but gives the patients more independence and dignity in their lives.

Hope for Future Inventions

When it comes to future inventions, Dean wants to create better alternative solutions to his dialysis invention as well as his infusion pump. He wants to continually enhance his products to make them more convenient for users. Through his company Deka Research and Development Corp, he tackles the world’s most complex problems, solving and innovating to improve our lives. In the “Near Future Series: “A Better Place”, Dean and the team are working towards opportunities in these areas.

The Next Generation Inventors

As an innovator on a mission, Dean’s passion is unchanging, and many see him as the Thomas Edison of our time. While we face our biggest challenges, such as the environment, healthcare, transportation, etc., a question remains: Who will be the next Dean Kamen? Dean says that there is a culture problem in our country rather than an education crisis. The abundance of things clouds kids from having creativity. Kids want to become movie stars and professional athletes rather than inventors of lifechanging products. Kids would instead want to be celebrities due to the recognition and glorification of those positions. To fix this problem, Dean decided to make inventing a sport, to encourage kids to work hard at something more impactful. That is where FIRST comes in to play. Dean founded FIRST, an international organization that hosts robot building competitions. FIRST gives kids an opportunity at a future and sets them up to become changers of the world.

Dean is an innovator with a passion and a mission to change the world. He continually strives to help others by creating and enhancing products that aid them. Finding success in what you are doing is vital to have an innovation mission on lockdown. What is your innovation mission?

If you want to get more knowledgeable about the future of invention or innovation, hop on over to the show to get more expert insights and advice.

About our Guest: Dean Kamen

Dean Kamen is a top American scientist and inventor known for his inventions of the fusion pump, the iBOT, and the Segway. His futuristic inventions have revolutionized the world of healthcare, personal transportation, and numerous other areas. Dean’s passion for science and helping others has driven him to great success. Dean Kamen has received a vast number of awards throughout his career, but most notably, the Heinz Award for his contributions to the medical world, and the National Medal of Technology, for his innovative endeavors. In 1989, Dean founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). FIRST is an organization that hosts annual robot-building competitions between different youth teams. FIRST seeks to encourage kids to get excited about technology and their part in it. Dean currently resides in New Hampshire and his devotion to his work is unwavering as he continues to strive to make the world a better place.

To learn more about Dean Kamen and inventions that make life better, listen to this week’s show: Dean Kamen on Making Life Better.

 

Value of Innovation: Know What is Important

Organizations are always trying to create the next big thing. What drives these organizations to create something new to bring to the marketplace? These are solving problems, creating opportunities, removing barriers, etc. What do all these things add up? They create value. How do you find out what people value? Look at who is going to benefit from what you are creating. You may think you know who they are, but odds are, you’re wrong. I’ll bet you are wrong. Why? You are too close to what you are creating. On today’s show, we will walk through perspectives and the value of innovation.

Identifying the Customer’s Wants

When I was at HP, there was an engineer who was pitching new features for a product line. At the end of his pitch, I asked him what the customer asked for the specific function. Did it come from a feedback form, a customer care call, or user surveys? The engineer replied, “I came up with this idea because it is a feature that I would really want.” Why did I ask this question? Because of the complexity that the feature would add to the product. It would take an HP engineer to figure out how to use the feature. The engineer mistakenly put himself in the position of the target customer.

It is vital that you, as the creator of a product/service, get out and observe what the customers want. During my years at HP, I frequented Best Buy on my weekends. If a customer looked at an HP laptop and ended up buying another computer, I’d hand them my business card and ask them a simple question. What caused you to look at this product and buy another? The answer to that question showed me what they valued. In today’s show, I am going to be discussing what the value of innovation is.

Understanding the Value of Innovation

How do you find what the customer values? You need to know their perspective. Their perspective has a significant impact on their decision making. An excellent example of this is my wife. My son Logan was a fencer back around 2009, and we were in Las Vegas at a two-day competition.

Logan was doing well and advancing in the tourney. That was great, but it also made us tight on time to get to the airport. After the competition, we raced to the airport. The person informed us at the check-in counter that there has been a delay in our flight to Phoenix. I corrected her, saying it must be a mistake because we were going to San Jose. She said that our ticket was Las Vegas to Phoenix to Los Angeles and then to San Jose. A typical flight from Phoenix to San Jose takes about one hour, but this one took 6 hours. I called my wife, and she said that booking the 6-hour flight saved $20. I thought she was kidding—at the time, I was the CTO at HP. She didn’t value my time the way I did.

Why does my wife think that way? My wife is the most frugal person in the world. Why? Because of her upbringing. She was one of six children, and her family struggled to say afloat. Her father worked double shifts in the steel industry, seven days a week, to provide for them. During this time, her family lost their home multiple times, and she was often forced to live with other family members. When she looks at the value of money, her experiences shaped her perspective. When you’re thinking about the value innovation, you may think you’ve got it all figured out. That doesn’t matter. What matters? The perspective of the person buying your product. It doesn’t matter what you think, but what they think. Do you know the “who” and what they value?

Creating Enhanced Value

Beyond understanding how people make decisions and what they value, let’s look at how we create enhanced value. I remember, there was a social media meme that showed an iron bar: An iron bar costs about $5. If you pound out that iron bar into horseshoes, equates to $12. It’s the same amount of iron, but making the bar into horseshoes created six extra dollars. Now take that bar of iron and put it through a manufacturing process and make sowing needles. That $5 bar of iron turned into needles gives you $3,500 worth of needles. Take that same bar of iron and turn it into springs for watches, and it will be worth $300,000. That is the power of innovation.

This instance is the creation of the value of innovation. Take the raw goods and produce something that the “who” values, and they will pay the premium for it. Take birthday cakes for example. My grandmother would make my birthday cakes from scratch when I was a kid. Each cake probably cost around a dollar. When she passed, my mom started making my birthday cakes with cake mix, which probably cost around $3. It was much easier than making it from scratch. When my mom started working full-time, she would get my cake from a bakery. What began as a $1 homemade cake, was now around a $15 bakery cake. The value of the convenience was hugely valuable.

Today, with my grandkids, it has to be an experience. You go to a trampoline park and pay a couple of hundred bucks for pizza, cake, and games. Why do you do this? It’s all about the value creation brought in by innovation. People will reward you with an innovation premium because of what they value.

“Me Too” Innovation

How do you earn the innovation premium? By conveying value uniquely and differently. If you’re an avid listener of the show, you know that I tend to rant about the “me too” innovations. Look at bottled water. There are thousands of brands of water bottles. There was a handful of them in the 70s. In the 70s, there were four types of milk and 19 in the 1990s. Today, there are hundreds of types of milk. How many different types of water bottles or milk do we need?

I was in the store the other day getting some Lays potato chips for my grandkids. I realized there were a ton of different flavors of chips. All this created complexity, and for what? The unnecessary complexity is the problem with “me too” kind of innovations. When talking about the value of innovation, you need to create something unique. Look at who your customers are, how they make decisions, what is the perspective that fuels that decision, and what is the unit of value that will convey a premium. Is what you are selling unique?

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com, or you can go to PhilMcKinney.com and drop me a note there. If you are looking for innovation support, go to TheInnovators.Network or want to be challenged to develop the next big idea, check out our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

To learn about perspectives and the value of innovation, listen to this week’s show: Value of Innovation: Know What is Important.

RELATED:   Subscribe To The Killer Innovations Podcast

Innovate and Design over the Competition

No matter what business we are in, we are all fighting essentially the same fight—designing a product that a customer will prefer over that of our competitor. To do this, we need to constantly be aware of how our business environment is evolving, how our customers are changing, and what we need to modify in order to keep our product relevant and desirable.

If you’re in the business of making widgets, don’t just look to other widget makers to get a sense of how you are faring in the global business space. Look at other businesses that have similar key elements in common with you. I find the airline industry endlessly fascinating. It, like the tech industry, has gradually found ways to make its core products less expensive and more accessible to the general public. However, in return, their customers have had to accept a vast reduction in services and expectations. It’s an interesting seesaw between what the customer truly wants and what they are willing to give up in order to get it. In the center are the core essentials: a safe, convenient flight at a low fare. Everything else falls away in relevance as long as the core criteria are met. What are the fundamentals that have to be in place in order to maintain an ongoing and happy relationship between you and your customer?

RELATED:  Where are your future customers?

Suppose you were the head of operations at a megachurch. Perhaps Chicago’s Willow Creek, or Joel Osteen’s church in Houston. Osteen’s church seats almost 16,000 people, and runs four worship services plus various meeting groups every Sunday, which means that there are up to 64,000 people—and the cars they are driving—coming in and out of the church parking lot in one day. The sheer number of congregants means that the odds of getting into fender-benders, gridlock, and potentially dangerous traffic in the church’s parking lot increases as one congregation departs and the next one arrives. So what do you do? Where do you go to learn the mechanics of moving that number of vehicles, and that number of human beings, in an efficient and safe manner?

RELATED:  Not Understanding Who Your Customers Are

If you’re serious about solving this problem, you go to the Disney Academy at Disney World. Now, entertaining legions of small children with animatronic animals and teacup rides doesn’t have much in common with preaching about God. But sixty years of crowd management has made Disney operations the undisputed champion of event control and coordination. By working with Disney, these churches could learn a few things about integrating their system of traffic flow and parking. Fender-benders would go down, customer satisfaction would go up, and everybody would be happy.

 

Sparking Points

  • What industries or businesses that are unrelated to yours are dealing with issues similar to yours? For example, issues of production, customer segments, or marketing.
  • What are the lessons learned in terms of the push and pull between where those businesses are succeeding and where they are failing?
  • What are some nonbusiness examples with similar issues to yours (such as foreign governments or a nongovernment agency like the Red Cross)?

Mike George on Manufacturing Innovation Using AI

On this week’s show of Killer Innovations, Michael George, Author, Entrepreneur and CEO of AI Technologies joins us as our guest. He is the founder of Lean Six Sigma, the most widely used process improvement method used globally. Since 2012, Mike has worked on applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) as the next big process breakthrough beyond Lean Six Sigma.  Over the years, Mike has worked with Fortune 100 companies and Government’s globally and was Founder and CEO of The George Group, which he sold to Accenture as well as Founder and CEO of International Power Machines which he took Public and then sold to Rolls Royce. He has authored 8 books including “Fast Innovation”, “Lean Six Sigma”, “Conquering Complexity in Your Business” and his latest “Lean Six Sigma in the Age of Artificial Intelligence”.  

Manufacturing Innovation

Manufacturing Innovation

The Power of Process Innovation 

Innovating processes and discovering ways to leverage process to bring exponential returns on innovation initiatives and product development has been a mission of Michael and the results of his work has created and preserved value.  The combination of Lean and Six Sigma brought a breakthrough for non-repetitive processes and global leaders enjoyed the elimination of waste and enhanced quality.  However, leaders had another dilemma “How to Get to Market Faster with Quality Products”.  

Fast Innovation gave them:

  • Speed in the Product Development Process
  • Market Velocity with Better Forecasting and Predicting 
  • Preservation and Enhanced Quality
  • Innovation Blitzes – Fast Gating while discovering Drivers of Delays

The next iteration of Process Innovation applies AI to drive Innovation’s through a lifecycle as well as discover ideas that can create breakthroughs.

Fourth Industrial Revolution: Solving Unsolvable Problems 

Michael has been engaged in Deep Learning Neural Networks for many years.  With the onset of ‘Big Data’ we can now apply AI and machine learning to recognize patterns to help solve what has been unsolvable in the past.  With Lean Six Sigma in Age of AI they have discovered a number of valuable insights that will power organizations to the next level and help them harness the power of the Fourth Industrial Revolution:

  • Don’t get overwhelmed with your data.  Over-engineering your data quality and data cleansing efforts can grind you to a halt and not necessary – there are a number of processes to get high value sets of data for analysis in short order – a challenge for CEO’s today
  • Unseen discoveries are attainable even in the most proficient organizations—a recent effort revealed 60% of inefficiency came from only 20% of revenue
  • AI and machine learning didn’t eliminate jobs, but created more opportunities and growth while developing more productive employees

So what can leaders do to take advantage of the next wave? Michael believes every CEO should have their own AI and data expert that can comb every aspect of a business or organization to find common patterns in their activities (for instance product development and innovation initiatives) that elude human interaction. 

Future Advances 

So, what game changing innovation does Michael expect to see? AI provides approximate answers. The next big thing after AI, that is also complimentary, is quantum computing.  An exponential game changer. As it has been in the past, from the internet to semi-conductors, the Government will play a big role in quantum computing. With patience, funds and applicable activities the organization that is best suited, and has always been a leader in advancements, is the U.S. Department of Defense.  To learn more insights, keep up with Michael and his Firm.

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter.  If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know. The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com or you can go to Philmckinney.com and drop me a note there.  Don’t forget to join our Innovators Community to enjoy more conversations around innovation.

To learn more about the power of the process of innovation, listen to this week’s show: Manufacturing Innovation Using AI.

RELATED:   Subscribe To The Killer Innovations Podcast

Vision Video Of The Near Future: Diverse Thinkers Wanted

Last week, we released our fourth installment in the Near Future series of vision videos. I started creating these vision video’s back in 2006 when I was at HP. The most recent film titled The Near Future: Diverse Thinkers Wanted explores the impact of technologies on our work lives.

Technology Vision Of The Future

The Future Vision

The film’s narrative is centered on Nikki, an ambitious executive who’s about to meet with the CEO for a very important presentation. But as often happens, things don’t go as planned and Nikki and her team are faced with a number of challenges.

Fortunately, they have all the tools needed to not only solve every problem but to do so without ever slowing down. Thanks to advanced tech at their fingertips, they have the opportunity to be their best, most creative and efficient self, and to make smart, calculated decisions without ever losing focus. Not everyone’s workday will resemble what is shown in the film, but this kind of technological advancement is certain to have a profound effect on the way we approach our daily tasks, conduct meetings and solve problems in the near future, no matter what line of work we’re in.

Technologies That Will Help Us Get There

The technology shown in the film will shape the way we think about work in the future. Powered by a 10G multi-gigabit network of tomorrow, it will create a more efficient, productive and creative work environment that will help us perform at our best. For example, technology can be used to:

  • Manage our time better: Picture a world where you don’t waste half your morning resolving calendar conflicts or worrying about logistics. How much more would you be able to get done in a day? According to Accenture, technologies such as Nikki’s ear-piece AI assistant are projected to increase labor productivity by up to 40 percent, enabling you to make more efficient use of your time.
  • Access the information we need, whenever we need it: A lot of workplace slowdowns occur because of missing or inadequate information. How much more productive do you think you’d be if all the information you ever needed was readily available to you? In the film, Nikki’s eyeglasses have built-in mixed-reality tech that overlays street addresses and other data on top of everything she sees, allowing her to make critical decisions on the go.
  • Collaborate more efficiently, from anywhere: To accommodate a more talented and diverse workforce, businesses around the world are seeking advanced remote collaboration solutions that allow their teams to seamlessly interact as if they’re physically present at the same location. In the film, we explore a few ideas about how this might work, including layered videoconferencing technology that combines traditional video with mixed and virtual reality, public light field tables and holographic telepresence systems (holo-rooms), where Nikki’s entire team gathers to work on a common project.
  • Enhance our skills and abilities: According to the World Economic Forum, 65 percent of children now entering elementary school will hold jobs that currently don’t exist. 
  • Focus on creative solutions: According to McKinsey, 50 percent of current work activities are automatable, and the demand for skills like creativity, critical thinking, decision making and complex information processing is projected to grow 19 percent in the United States by 2030. Outsourcing some of the boring and mundane tasks—such as double-checking locations, hailing a cab or booking a room—to machines will free up more of our brainpower for a whole new level of creativity and imagination.

Predicting the future is not for the faint of heart. It can be tricky to know what and when something is going to happen. It’s not enough to just have an opinion of what the future holds but you have to have a way to show the future so others can see and respond to it in their own way. 

Hopefully, you have found the above and the previous vision video’s challenging and maybe even a little inspiration in your thinking about the future.

What is your vision of the future? 

RELATED POSTS:  Subscribe To The Podcasts/Radio Shows