6 Innovation Metrics (KPIs) Every Organization Should Use

This week, we look at an old show that has recently come up. It is a show I did in February of 2012 about innovation metrics. We’ll discuss the core set of innovation metrics that every organization should use.

Bad Metrics

Before we get started, I want to address one thing: bad metrics. They are very prevalent and extremely popular in areas such as Wall Street and publicly traded companies. These metrics get defined by analysts who have never run any innovation efforts or businesses.

The most popular bad metric that Wall Street has is the percentage of revenue spent on RND. They try to rank organizations based on this metric. I have run tests and trials, collected data from public companies coached and mentored CEOs, and CIOs worldwide from various industries. This is a bogus metric that is not predictive of future success. If this metric was true, if I spent 50% of my RND revenue, I should be two times better than somebody who only spends 20% of their RND revenue. False. It varies by industry and company. I spent a lot of time trying to convince the board of directors at HP that this is a bogus metric and not useable.

When it comes to good metrics, I look at it from input, output, outcome, and impact. I spend the most time on input and impact. When it comes to innovation, the impact your innovation is making, and the input you are investing in is key.

Innovation Input Metrics

Let’s look at what innovation input metrics you should consider having as part of your success measurement. The first one is the number of new ideas in the funnel. It would help if you kept the funnel full of ideas. This metric is about keeping your organization focused and continuously developing new ideas. At my current organization, we sit down twice a year and look at everything in the funnel. You want to find ideas that are reasonable for your organization.

The next metric is the acceptance/idea kill rate. Acceptance is the number of ideas that make it to the funding phase. You want that acceptance rate to be anywhere from 10-30%. The idea kill rate is when you decide to kill an idea rather than move it forward. At HP, we had a four-phase funnel to managing ideas and turning them into products. At each phase, there was about a 55% kill rate. We would start with ten, go to five, go to two or three, and finish with one. You need to look at your current acceptance and kill rate and set a target, possibly putting it into your Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).

The third metric is a balanced investment. This metric is how you will use your innovation spend to influence your organization. This metric has products and services across the bottom, and vertical is your customers and markets you serve. 70% of the innovation spend should be in the core. The 20% should be in new products to existing customers and existing products to new customers. And lastly, 10% in new customers, new markets, new technologies, etc.

Innovation Impact Metrics

The first one is the 3M metric, which is the percentage of revenue from new products. 3M has an innovation metric they have tracked for decades. The metric is what percentage of their revenue that comes from products produced within the last three years. The revenue percentage forces them to come up with new ideas constantly.

The second metric is the quality of your patents, which differs from the number of patents. When I first went to HP, Carly Fiorina was the CEO. She pushed us hard to ramp up the number of patents. Organizations get ranked based on how many awarded patents. She wanted HP to have as many patents as possible to get on the list. I argued that having a large number of patents does not add to your innovation value.

We eventually shifted the focus at HP to the quality of patents. Measured through the Chi Index, look at all your patents. Then look across your industry at other patents that referenced them. The more times your patent gets referenced, the more value it has.

The third metric is the innovation impact on gross margin. I got HP to replace the RND metric’s revenue with this, which is the gross margin impact for every dollar spent on RND. Very important, because if you do good innovation on products, your customers will reward you with a margin premium.

Summary

Today we talked about the six-innovation metrics every organization should use. The input metrics are the number of new ideas in the funnel, the acceptance and the kill rate, and balanced innovation investment (70, 20 10). The impact metrics are the percentage of revenue from new products (3M metric), quality of the patents (quality over quantity), and innovation impact on gross margin. Look at these six-innovation metrics and figure out how you can apply them to your organization.

If you want to learn more about metrics and apply them to your organization, check out the Disruptive Ideation Workshops, now done virtually.

If you are interested in learning more about the innovation metrics or want information from previous shows, check out all the free downloadable material I put together here.

Download FREE Resources on Ideation

To know more about Innovation Metrics (KPIs), listen to this week’s show: 6 Innovation Metrics (KPIs) Every Organization Should Use.

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7 Must Have Features of Your IMS – Idea Management System

This week, we will continue the discussion on the FIRE framework and expound upon it. We will discuss a technology that will enable your FIRE framework, known as an Idea Management System (IMS).

Idea Management System

The Idea Management System supports everything from the focus, ideation, and ranking, to managing your funnel for the execution phase. I deployed my first IMS in 2008 while I was CTO at HP. Not known as IMS yet, we chose a particular platform back then. Every IMS system has its built-in assumptions as part of its basic platform. They have to work on enhancing their platforms due to competition continuously.

If you have procured an IMS, are building one, or are integrating one with other systems, there are seven must-have features you need. The first feature is known as the ease of idea capture. This consists of getting all of your ideas captured and putting them into your IMS. The key here is to get every idea you have into this system. It is also important to track who came up with each idea for legal reasons.

Support for Innovators

The second feature is all about the support for your community of innovators. Especially critical for IMS because it brings all of your innovators together in a common system. It becomes a back and forth communication process between innovators. Most IMS systems don’t grasp the idea of bringing people together. People often take it as a passive process, observing but not engaging. A common feature needed is the ease of how you “plus an idea.” When someone creates an idea, you want other innovators to build on it. You want a way to communicate feedback on ideas as well. An IMS is also a great way to celebrate an idea, whether it got funding or ended up stopped.

The next feature is to enable an open innovation opportunity. This feature consists of allowing people outside of your organization to contribute. It includes things like public competitions for the best idea and rewarded with a prize.

Another feature that I am a big believer in is university joint ventures. These are opportunities where you fund PHDs or grad students who work in your focus research area.

Workflow and Life Cycle

The next feature on my list is what I call a flexible and powerful workflow. In many cases, designed enterprise applications have a particular philosophy in mind. While not intentional, they inherently create a step of workflows that enable the feature set within that IMS.

In reality, you want an Idea Management System that adapts to you, not the other way around. It would help if you defined the workflow for your innovation framework and all the tools and processes you use to build upon it. When selecting your IMS, make sure you allow for the system to be easily updated.

Next is a must-have feature; the management of the entire idea life cycle. Ideas get touched by many people and may get funded, stopped, or even resurrected in the future.  An example of managing the idea life cycle revolves around the selection. We talked about this on some previous shows on ranking. In your IMS, you want to capture the answers from the process of ranking. Years later, the scoring for these ideas could be completely different due to innovations.

Protect and Recognize

The next vital feature is protection or how you protect your catalog of ideas. This feature can be basic security and encryption, which is very important. In this case, however, I am talking about patents. I am not aware of any IMS systems that have a built-in patent management system. In this case, you need to interface your IMS platform with the system you are using to track the patents you are submitting to or want to submit.

The seventh must-have feature is incentives and recognition. People don’t participate in innovation efforts out of the goodness of their hearts. Some organizations I have been a part of pay for patented ideas that are submitted. Use your IMS system to track this. Award badges for the ideas that people submit. Incentives and recognitions are a great way to get people to get engaged.

Summary

The seven must-have features in your Idea Management System are:

  • Ease of Idea Capture
  • Support the Community of Innovators
  • Enable Open Innovation Opportunity
  • Flexible and Powerful Workflow
  • Manage the Idea Life Cycle
  • Protect the Catalog of Ideas
  • Incentives and Recognition

I based these features on my dozen years of employing these systems and helping CIOs or CEOs find what they want in their systems. This platform is a tool that supports the overall framework. We discuss and teach all these things in our Disruptive Ideation Workshops, whether virtually or in-person.

More information on FIRE and IMS

If you are interested in learning more about the idea management system or want information from previous shows, check out all the free downloadable material I put together here.

Download FREE Resources on Ideation

To know more about Idea Management System (IMS), listen to this week’s show: 7 Must Have Features of Your IMS – Idea Management System

 

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Innovation Lean Canvas – A One Page Innovation Plan

This week’s show is a follow-up to the Execution show where I did a one minute intro to the Innovation Lean Canvas. If you haven’t listened to that episode, make sure to click here. The innovation lean canvas is a structure that we teach in all of our Disruptive Ideation Workshops. It is an innovation plan that offers an overview of your best idea all in one place.

The Innovation Lean Canvas

The lean canvas replaces a typically created business plan. We print this out on a huge poster-sized paper and tack it to the wall in our workshops. It allows you to look at your best idea and the critical areas around it, all in one glance. Updated as you acquire more learnings, you’ll be able to see these ideas and critical areas on the paper. I would encourage you to customize your lean canvas to your own organization’s needs. Don’t be afraid to try something different that fits you.

Let’s walk through my lean canvas so we can get a feel for it. Starting, we talk about the problem statement, and what makes this idea different. We discuss who the customers are and what the key metrics are. The steps and activities that are needed, as well as the resources needed, are discussed. With this framework, you get a perfect snapshot view of the problem, the solution, and how it all works. It helps you pinpoint areas that need work.

Breaking Down the Lean Canvas

The problem statement: you may have different variations of this, and you want to put them all on your lean canvas. Next, you want to discuss the solution. This statement is your idea that was ranked the highest, and you and your team feel it is ready to go forward. Now, you want to define who the customers are and discuss their personas. Everything must be crystal clear, and if not, you may need to investigate and validate the customer segment.

Next is the unique value proposition. Why is the customer going to find value in this? Why is it going to be unique compared to what is already out there? It would be best if you define why your idea is better and why the customers will want it. The problem, the solution, and the customer are tightly linked and foundational to execution. You have to be able to answer these areas.

At this point, you need to define some key metrics. What are the criteria for success? What constitutes you’re making progress? An example of this would be asking five questions to twenty-five customers and bringing those answers back. The questions get tied to the key activities. The activities would be preparing the survey of questions for the customers to answer.

Unfair Advantage

I challenge you to spend some time thinking about improving your idea to create a sustainable advantage. Once you launch, you will have many copycats if you don’t have a barrier to entry. The fast rise of copycats is due to low-cost manufacturing. It would be best if you found a way to have an unfair advantage that is defensive.

Patents are costly, averaging around $30,000-$35,000, including the legal work and working with the patent office. There are other ways for you to create barriers to entry, such as trade secrets. You need to find out what resources you need. Find resources in technologies, expertise, access to a sales channel, etc. You will have to pitch your idea, so you need to be crystal clear on what resources you will need to make it happen.

Next, focus on funding requirements and costs. When most people pitch ideas, they put the funding cost upfront. On lean canvas, we talk about the problem, solution, and how you will accomplish it before talking about the funding. Once you have evaluated these other areas, then you can talk about the funding.

Lastly, discuss the revenue stream. The revenue stream is more about the economic value sources rather than just looking at a spreadsheet.

Conclusion

We walked through all of the lean canvas elements such as problem, solution, customers, unique value proposition, key metrics, key activities, thinking through unfair advantage, resource partners, funding requirements/costs, and revenue streams. This innovation lean canvas is one that I use and teach in all of my workshops. Once a team fills it out, we have them pitch from their lean canvas. I like this approach because it makes sure they cover all of the key areas for successful innovation.

The lean canvas gives you a structure to make sure you don’t miss any vital areas. I have found this to be hugely valuable and adaptable. Don’t be afraid to adapt it to you and your organization’s needs. We use the lean canvas in all of our ideation workshops and teach it to our customers. When you leave our workshops, you go with a filled-in lean canvas of your best idea, ready to be pitched to your management team.

Check out the Disruptive Ideation Workshop here to learn the lean canvas for you and your team.

If you are interested in learning more about the lean canvas or want information from previous shows, check out all the free downloadable material I put together here.

Download FREE Resources on Ideation

To know more about the innovation lean canvas, listen to this week’s show: Innovation Lean Canvas – A One Page Innovation Plan.

 

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Execution – Turning Ideas Into Innovations

On this week’s show, we will wrap up the series of shows on the innovation framework known as FIRE. We will discuss the part of the innovation framework known as execution. Execution is composed of making your best ideas into something real.

Execution

I have used the FIRE (Focus, Ideation, Ranking, Execution) framework for more than 20 years, and thousands of organizations use it. Focus is defining where your problem area is. Ideation is the process of creating ideas to address your problem areas. The process consists of individual and team ideation, which, when combined, generates 30% more ideas than when done individually. Ranking is where you prioritize your ideas. This process is through dot/wow voting and criteria ranking.

Execution, the last element of the FIRE framework,  is how one turns ideas into innovation. Done through two phases; it involves testing and validation and launching the MVP (Minimum viable product). Execution is not easy. 92% of CEOs say innovation is critical to their organization, but only 35% of them have confidence in executing these ideas.

What to Expect

In my opinion, innovation consists of ideas made real. One quote I repeat all the time is, “ideas without execution are a hobby, and I’m not in the hobby business.” At this point, you’ve ranked your ideas, but need to figure out how to make these ideas a real innovation. Going into this, you won’t know all of the answers. Expect a very messy process because there might not be a clear path from point A to point B.

It would help if you were adaptable and ready to learn things. It would be best if you innovated around the idea frequently. Be ok with an unexpected outcome, as it is an experiment. Innovation projects have to be measured differently than a typical product development project. One of the measurements of success is learning throughout the process. Stay away from innovation antibodies. Innovation causes conflict, prompting these antibodies to come out. These include ego response (stepping on someone’s toes), fatigue (people who have tried and failed at it before), no risk response (CFO or legal counsel), comfort response (we don’t need to change).

Steps of Execution

The first step to making an idea real is creating the pitch. The pitch is your way to tell the story around your idea, also known as strategic storytelling. The key is to tell your idea’s story so that they see what life will be like when your idea is delivered.

The second step is to create the funnel. There are four funnel gates: market validation, customer validation, limited launch, and global launch. The key here is to convey the point that not all the ideas will go forward. Market validation is where you ask if the problem exists. One way to do this is through gorilla idea validation. Talk to people you don’t know to get brutally honest feedback rather than people you know, who might tell you what you want to hear. Customer validation is where you see if your idea solves the customer’s problem.

I use the Michelle test. I would take a product we built at HP and bring it home and leave it on the counter for my wife. She would take it out of the box and use it, giving it her honest evaluation. My wife is not a technology person to receive some solid feedback from a different perspective.

A limited launch is where you launch in a limited space. I use the buy test to build a product and advertise it, putting it into retail stores like a real launch. When people try to buy it, you give it to them for free in return for their feedback. Global launch is where you put your pedal to the medal and push the product out. At this point, you’ve gone through all of the steps and should have confidence in your product’s success.

Summary

This week’s show focused on taking all of your ideas and making them real. Many innovators have great ideas but struggle to find funding. There could be an issue with their pitch. Learn and readjust the pitch, and understand all of the elements that go into it.

When Steve Jobs and Apple worked on the iPhone, the product was ready three years before the launch. They knew that they needed to wait to get a faster processor and another generation of touch screens. They had the discipline and patience to wait, which paid off in the long run.

I use the lean canvas to help me and my team stay on track and stay focused. The innovation lean canvas is in place of a typical plan. It is an overview of the critical areas at a glance, which frequently updates as the product evolves. We will discuss the lean canvas in a further episode of the show, so stay tuned.

Check out the Disruptive Ideation Workshop here to teach your team the FIRE framework.

If you are interested in learning more about execution or want information from previous shows, check out all the free downloadable material I put together here.

Download FREE Resources on Ideation

To know more about ranking and prioritizing the best ideas, listen to this week’s show: Execution – Turning Ideas Into Innovations.

 

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How to Select the Best Ideas

This week’s show is a continuation of the series I’ve done on the innovation framework FIRE. We have discussed focus and ideation in previous shows. We will discuss the part of the innovation framework known as ranking, which helps you prioritize the best ideas you or your team generate.

Ranking

Innovation is about challenging an industry’s assumptions, questioning what we think we know about our customers, and being open to new ideas. When it comes to the framework, it is not the process. Instead, it defines the elements that you need to structure your process around. We use the FIRE framework. The focus area has to be defined or come up with ideas that aren’t impactful. Next is ideation, which is generating ideas. Ideation establishes the framework, and you can use whatever process you want to generate those ideas. The use of ranking is for identifying the best ideas out of the group. Ideas without execution are a hobby, and we are not in the hobby business.

So why is ranking so important? Let’s say management asks your team to come up with some new ideas. You write some things down on a flip chart, and someone types them up and emails them out. Typically, this method results in nothing, as there are too many broad ideas. Ranking helps you find the best ideas and zeroes you in on them.

Ranking Selection Process

The purpose of ranking is to identify the best ideas to execute and move forward. The first key to ranking is leveraging the wisdom of the crowd. First, make sure to select a diverse group of people who have had different experiences. I have my teams ideate and rank at the same time. I have found that you get the best results with a minimum of eight people. The key to ranking is to avoid bias by eliminating executive influence. Vote unanimously.

There are two types of ranking: dot voting (where you put a dot on the idea you think is most important), and criteria ranking (defined set of selection questions with some scoring structure). Dot voting is done within fifteen minutes and without talking. Each person gets four dots and places them wherever and however they want. Select the four to five ideas with the most dots and move forward with them.

Criteria Ranking

The first part of criteria ranking is to define the criteria. Firstly, you need to find the must-have elements of your idea. One way to do this is to look back on your products or services that were successful. Think about what questions you would have asked yourself to give you the ideas that led you to that successful product or idea. Secondly, you need to ask what elements your leadership team is going to look at. Your leadership team is going to be part of this, so you need to meet their criteria. It needs to be constrained and structured the right way with a small number of questions (4-6). I use five questions: the first three are the must-haves for the product’s success, and the bottom two are the questions that leadership will use to constitute success.

  • Question 1: Does this idea improve customer experience or expectations? Does it solve a problem, save money, create money, etc.?
  • Question 2: Does it fundamentally change the companies place competitively in the market?
  • Question 3: Does this idea radically change the economic structure of the industry? You’ll rarely have an idea that is a “yes” for all three.
  • Question 4: Does your company have a contribution to make?
  • Question 5: Will the idea generate a sufficient margin?

Score each question from zero to five, zero being a no, and five a resounding yes. You can apply this process by setting aside thirty minutes and assigning a value of 1-5 to each of your questions. Transfer your score to the team’s ranking board and total up the score.

The Best Ideas

Ranking is critical in making sure you are working on the right and best ideas. Let’s recap the key ideas of ranking. Firstly, leverage the wisdom of the crowd. Get a diverse team if you can. If you are a lone innovator, recruit some people you respect and bring them together to help you. You want a minimum of eight people, and you want to avoid bias within the group. Voting should be anonymous, so people feel like they can give honest and good feedback. Establish your criteria, which will help you make a selection that increases the likelihood of your success. Use the two types of ranking in conjunction (Dot and criteria). Trust the wisdom of the crowd and the criteria you have established. All of this fits into the FIRE framework, which is utilized by more than two thousand organizations.

If you are interested in learning more about ranking or want information from previous shows, check out all the free downloadable material I put together here.

Download FREE Resources on Ideation

To know more about ranking and prioritizing the best ideas, listen to this week’s show: How to Select the Best Ideas.

 

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Innovation and The Creative Mindset

This week’s guest is also an innovation guru, and has been around for years. Jeff DeGraff, known as the “Dean of Innovation,” is a business professor at the University of Michigan, He is an author and a respected thought leader on innovation. We will discuss social responsibility and his new book, “The Creative Mindset.”

Jeff’s Background

After graduating from grad school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Jeff met a man who worked for someone who owned a twenty-million-dollar pizza company— Domino’s. He turned down a job offer from an Ivy League school to join the team. Five years later, they sold the company for five-billion-dollars to Mitt Romney.

Not long after, Jeff was recruited to teach at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. He didn’t want to teach MBAs because he thought they were dull and drab, but that is why they wanted him there.

Two Faces of Innovation

Innovation creates concave value or things that are presently manifesting and convex value—long-term issues. These types have to be measured entirely differently. People tend to think about innovation from the tangible side of it. In places like Iowa State, they have substantial innovation impacts, but no one sees them because they are research influence-based and not tangible products. Consumers tend to see only the result.

When it comes to a COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S, many different startups and big pharmaceutical companies have been working and building off of old research to create one. They have to figure out how to make billions of doses of the vaccine once completed. It’s a lot more complicated than people think it is. Big innovation is composed of a lot of moving parts.

The Creative Mindset

Jeff grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood and in an age of innovation viewed as a social responsibility. There are many creativity books out there nowadays. They are what Jeff calls “new age-y.” In his book, he took what he thought was the real research on creativity and put it in layman’s terms for everyone to use. The Creative Mindset focuses on taking ordinary things and making them extraordinary.

Jeff wants to re-install the old way of building things through developing learning and trying new things. He uses what he calls the six skills through the mnemonic device CREATE (Clarify, Replicate, Elaborate, Associate, Translate, and Evaluate). The book gives tools in a simplified form to somebody trying to grow and make something better.

I got invited to do a keynote speech for Vail Resorts several years ago. With a raise of hands, I asked how many people think of themselves as creative. It was quite a shock to see that many people didn’t raise their hands. People think it takes a select type of person to be creative, which is not true. We all have natural strengths that vary from person to person. The object is to recognize your strength, build on it, and find other people with different strengths.

Advice for the Listeners

People refer to Jeff as the “Dean of Innovation.” When he went to work at Domino’s, people often threw challenging problems at him. When he got to the University of Michigan, some of his students went on to be famous. The name stuck.

As far as advice goes, Jeff says that innovation happens from the outside-in, like a bell curve. Its easier to change 20% of the company’s 80% than changing 80% of its 20%. Secondly, diversity your gene pool. All the people in Jeff’s labs are different than him. Thirdly, give as much as you can away to people. By doing this, you’ll build a network and become a better human being— and fulfill your social responsibility.

If you want to keep up to date with what Jeff DeGraff is doing, check out his website here. Check out Jeff’s LinkedIn here. Check out his new book on creativity here.

About our Guest: Jeff DeGraff

Jeff DeGraff is both an advisor to Fortune 500 companies and a professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. His simultaneously creative and pragmatic approach to making innovation happen has led clients and colleagues to dub him the “Dean of Innovation.”

He has written several books, including Leading Innovation, Innovation You, and The Innovation Code. He has a regular segment on public radio called The Next Idea. Jeff also founded the Innovatrium, an innovation consulting firm focusing on creating an innovation culture, capability, and community. Inc., Fortune, and Psychology Today, hve covered his thoughts on innovation.

Jeff earned his nickname, the “Dean of Innovation,” while working as an executive for Domino’s Pizza in his youth, where he accelerated Domino’s growth from a regional success story to an international franchise phenomenon.

To know about the social duty of innovation and the creative mindset, listen to this week’s show: Innovation and The Creative Mindset.

 

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Innovation in 5G Capabilities

Our guest this week comes from a similar industry as mine. We share many mutual connections. Mo Katibeh, the EVP-Chief Product & Platform Officer of AT&T Business, joins us to discuss 5G innovations. He’s on the show to discuss about what is real versus what is hype when it comes to innovation in 5G capabilities, as well as give some advice for the listeners.

Innovation in 5G

Innovation in 5G

Mo’s Background

Mo’s parents left Iran right before the revolution in 1978 and came to the U.K. He moved to the U.S in 1991, where his parents bought and ran some sandwich stores. From the age of 13, he was working at the stores and learned about working with customers. Fast forward to today, Mo has been with AT&T for almost nineteen years. He loves AT&T because of how diverse they are with what they do. You can do something different every single year, and you are always learning new things. For Mo, that has included managing call centers, construction, and engineering, building up the LTE network, financial planning, product management for cybersecurity, marketing, etc.

Similar to Mo, my employment started at a young age. My mom managed a bowling alley and was a professional bowler. I worked at the alley often. It was great to see what working was about at such a young age, and I gained great experience.

Always heavily invested in innovation, AT&T has an astounding legacy. They were one of the first companies in the world to put a lot of work into a corporate research group/fundamental science outside of product development. They pioneered these processes for the sake of advancing the knowledge of humankind.

AT&T and COVID-19

Voice, arguably the oldest innovation when thinking about communications network, experienced skyrocketing growth due to COVID-19. Peak use days are usually holidays such as Mother’s Day or New Years’ Eve. During the beginning of COVID, that level of network usage was seen every day across the country.

Humans are social beings naturally, so when you’re sheltering in place, you tend to get lonely. Work also shifted from central to distributed locations, which added to the high level of network usage. When the movement started in China, AT&T was able to get a heads up on what was coming before it shifted into Europe and the U.S. They were able to prepare and work with their large enterprise customers to help with the oncoming challenges of COVID.

Innovation in 5G

When people think about innovation in 5G, they often think of speed. Speed is a part of it, but when thinking about it from an innovation and business lens, it’s essential to look at the other capabilities. The first one is latency or how quickly the network responds to a command. One promise of 5G is driving down latency from hundredths of milliseconds to sub-ten milliseconds.

Another key promise is massive connectivity, where you can connect a million things per access point. This technology will genuinely reshape the fabric of this next decade. Many people think about innovation as that next big thing but often done in incremental steps.

When it comes to 5G, there has been a lot of “hype” around it. In healthcare, a robot doing surgery on someone would be hype because it is far in the future. What is available now is moving around large files more effectively from an MRI machine to a doctor using a cellular connection. In a post-COVID world, there are things like connected medicine boxes that track what medicine was used and recognizes the doctor using 4K video computer vision. Kids hate wearing medical bracelets at hospitals and like to take them off. 5G brings an IoT bracelet that offers peace of mind to the parent and has different fun designs.

Advice for the Listeners

If Moe went back to the beginning of his career, he would tell himself three things. Firstly, in everything you do, look for how you drive step-function improvement. Find how to materially change the outcomes in every job tied to whatever your key performance indicator is. Secondly, make sure you communicate how you drive that improvement inside your specific role. Lastly, be a good human being. Look out for the people you work with and share what you have learned. When you become a leader, look out for your team, and create a culture that is balanced and flexible.

If you want to keep up to date with what Mo is doing at AT&T, check out his LinkedIn here.

About our Guest: Mo Katibeh

Mo Katibeh is the EVP-Chief Product & Platform Officer of AT&T Business. He has responsibility for the group’s portfolio-wide P&L with $36 billion of annual revenue and its cutting-edge integrated platforms, products, and solutions, including Mobility, 5G, Edge Compute, Internet of Things, SD-WAN, cybersecurity, cloud connectivity, and wholesale. He also oversees pricing, distribution strategy, compensation, analytics, and AT&T Business’s digital platforms and portals. Previously, Mo served as EVP-Chief Marketing Officer for AT&T Business, where he was responsible for marketing strategies, including branding, advertising, and global events. His team created the award-winning Edge-to-Edge advertising and marketing campaign, highlighting AT&T Business’s ability to provide an entire range of services to business customers. During this time, Mo was named to Forbes The World’s Most Influential CMOs 2019 list, citing his work around 5G in business.

A 19-year veteran at AT&T, Mo draws on a wealth of experience in technology. The expertise ranges from cybersecurity, omnichannel digital strategy, long-range technology, and financial planning. There’s also deep operational expertise across call centers, field force management, construction and engineering, and customer experience improvements.

To know about the latest innovation in 5G capabilities, listen to this week’s show: Innovation in 5G Capabilities.

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Ideation – How to Generate More and Better Ideas

This week’s show covers an area that is critical to your innovation success. Ideation is the act of generating ideas, which is part of the FIRE (Focus, Ideation, Ranking, Execution) framework that we use to help discover ideas and lead to disruptive innovations.We will break down FIRE and discuss ideation and the process of our Disruptive Ideation Workshops.

FIRE

In the past, we have covered the four elements of the innovation framework, consisting of focus, ideation, ranking, and execution. Focus is the area that you set up processes and ways of collecting info that identifies problem areas. Ideation is where you create a funnel of ideas and collect them. The Ranking is where you take this collection and score the ideas based on their impact and importance. Execution is where you take the best ideas and experiment to see what your outcome can be. FIRE is a framework that is used by many organizations that tailor it to their specific wants and needs. We will discuss the ideation aspect of FIRE.

Ideation

Ideation needs to consist of a type of idea that is being targeted. There are killer ideas, which are breakthroughs and create an advantage that makes the entire marketplace react. These are giant leaps forward and will shock the existing market. Incremental ideas are improvements in product quality, new features, etc., and happen over time. You need to be clear with your team where your focus will be on the type of idea.

I like to use tools that help trigger ideas. We use the Killer Questions Card Deck that focuses on questions based on the who (customer), the what (innovating product), and the how (organizational transitions that need to be made). Think about the questions you want to ask in ideation activities. You need to prepare for this and come to it from multiple different angles. There is feature versus function ideation. An example of a feature is to design a better cup. An example of a function is to design a better way to carry liquids. It would be best if you focus on coming up with complete ideas.

Ideation Workshop Process

Let’s walk through the exact process I take people through during our ideation workshops. Firstly, we start with individual ideation. We use sticky notes and put one idea on each sticky note. We spend about twenty minutes working on this, and you want to get 20 good ideas. Next, we use a process called SCAMPER (Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, Reverse). Search SCAMPER under Google for more info or check it out on Killerinnovations.com.

At this point, it is still an individual activity. Done for about ten minutes, you will want to come up with five more ideas here. Now, you take your twenty-five ideas and briefly explain them to everyone else in your group or team. If there are two similar ideas, clump them together. If someone’s idea triggers a new idea, add it to the group of ideas. Now we move on to team ideation. One at a time, someone chooses another’s idea that they think is important and exciting. Then, they build upon that person’s idea and help improve it. The process should be done quickly and without any form of criticism.

Conclusion

At this point, you should have a collection of good ideas grouped by similarity. When you combine a tool like SCAMPER (individual ideation) with team ideation, you will generate around 30% more ideas out of your ideation- as compared to doing team ideation and individual ideation separately.

If you are interested in learning more about ideation or want information from previous shows, check out all the free downloadable material I put together here.

If you want to host a disruptive ideation workshop for your organization, check out the website here.

Download FREE Resources on Ideation

To know about generating more and better ideas, listen to this week’s show: Ideation – How to Generate More and Better Ideas.

 

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6-Hour Workday = Better Innovation

This week’s guest offers some excellent knowledge about productivity and having your priorities in place. Steve Glaveski, CEO and Co-Founder of Collective Campus, joins us to discuss prioritizing high-value work. We talk about his view of the 6-hour workday, and how it helps to better innovation.

Steve’s Background

Steve went through the motions of getting his degree and climbing the corporate ladder, chasing what society associates with success. He worked for companies such as KPMG and Ernst and Young and found himself miserably comfortable while in his late twenties. Despite reaching these levels of success, but Steve felt it wasn’t doing what he was called to do. He decided to give it all away and pursue entrepreneurship, which led him to co-found Collective Campus, launch other ventures, and write multiple books. The inspiration behind the work he does is helping organizations and people unlock their potential to create an impact in the world and lead more fulfilling lives.

One of his ventures is a company called Lemonade Stand that donates a license to children from socioeconomically disadvantaged areas for every license they sell to the developed world. It works as a software service platform that walks kids aged 10-15 through the entrepreneurial life cycle. When it comes to licenses, they work with schools, governments, and individuals.

The 6-hour workday

Steve has a lot on his plate with all the ventures he runs. People often say you can’t do more than one thing if you want to do it well. According to Steve, it is based on how you go about doing things. If you are intentional about getting rid of unnecessary tasks and focus on the high-value work, you will get a lot done and innovate better. Steve reflects monthly and quarterly on how he spends his time, whether it’s his daily tasks or when he’s working on products.

A couple of years ago, Steve and his team ran a 6-hour workday experiment to get more done in less time. The shorter timeframe forced them to do away with meetings/outsource and focus on the high-value work. After the experiment, they discovered that productivity was the same if not higher. People had more time to do things outside of the office.

Time Rich: Do Your Best Work, Live Your Best Life

Steve’s book is about changing the 8-hour workday. This workday traces back to the last eighty years or so and has acted as a baseline. As the recent times, the nature of work has changed. Work has shifted to more of a cognitive work over purely physical work.

A recent study on scientists found that the ones who worked 20 hours a week were twice as productive as their peers who worked 35 hours a week. Even less productive were the scientists who worked 60 hours a week. You might think more hours equals more output, but in reality, you aren’t able to recover and recharge to innovate better. There are many distractions these days, such as social media, which tends to distract us and hinder our productivity. At CableLabs, we have an unlimited vacation policy for our staff. With this option, people can manage their own time and schedules, so they don’t get burned out and lose focus.

Advice for the Listeners

Money can always be earned back after it gets spent, but time cannot. When you say yes to something, you are saying no to a whole lot of other things. We need to be frugal with how we spend our time. A lot of people say yes to everything which causes them problems. The key to saying no is based on what you truly value and what your goals are. Stay aligned with your values and plans to be successful and innovate better.

About our Guest: Steve Glaveski

Steve Glaveski is an entrepreneur, author, and podcast host whose mission is to unlock the latent potential of people so that they can create more impact for humanity and lead more fulfilling lives. He is the CEO of Collective Campus, an innovation accelerator based in Melbourne and Singapore. He also founded Lemonade Stand, a children’s entrepreneurship program, and edtech platform, and during COVID-19 lockdowns, established NOFilter Media. Steve is the author of multiple books and hosts the award-winning podcast the Future Squared.

If you want to keep updated with what Steve and Collective Campus is doing, check out his website here. Check out his book here.

To know more about time, productivity, and the 6-hour workday, listen to this week’s show: 6-Hour Workday = Better Innovation.

 

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AI Opens on Broadway

This week’s guest applies AI innovation to an industry where you usually wouldn’t think it can be possible. Micah Hollingworth, the CEO & Co-founder of Broadw.ai, joins us for a discussion. On the show, we will discuss AI in the theater industry and what Micah and Broadw.ai are doing to change the game.

Micah’s Background

Micah grew up in rural Massachusetts and had a passion for theater at a young age. He ended up attending UMass Amherst, which was the total opposite experience of his rural upbringing. His time at UMass Amherst set him up on a path to entrepreneurship and technology. The program wasn’t focused on performance but took a more generalist approach, which was similar to starting a startup.

From an initial idea,  raising capital, and then working to find the audience. Working together as a team is very important because even if one show isn’t successful, there is no knowing if the next one will be as well. Everyone always thinks there is a secret formula to success, but in reality, there isn’t. One can never know what the audience will think about a product until it is put out there. Look at the famous show Hamilton for example. If someone pitched it to investors in an elevator, they would probably have no interest in it. That’s just how the industry works. Being comfortable in uncertainty is key.

AI in the Theater Industry

Differentiating the experience is key to drawing in crowds. When the theater industry looks to innovate, they are often stuck with a lot of constraints. They have limited space and often have old, worn-down buildings. They focus on creating a special experience that is deep and powerful so that the fan is willing to accept things like waiting in lines to get tickets. There is a lot of competition for live events. People only have so many hours in the day and a limited attention span. You have to be where your fans are. It’s not as simple as just putting up a website.

Shows are typically not selling their shows directly. They often rent a property, like a stadium, and use a ticketing system that they don’t have full control over. Broadw.ai helps partners find what they are looking for in tickets and at a specific price-point in a personalized way. In most cases, the partner is the event producer of a show. They aren’t a ticket reseller or broker. They are just facilitating the sale and generating data for the event producer to see what most people are looking for.

Broadw.ai

Micah never thought he would end up in the tech field, given his background. His last employment opportunity was with Jujamcyn Theaters as the VP of Company Operations. During this time, he met a company called Satisfi Labs that pitched them an idea for an AI product in large arenas. This product would use location services to help people find things near them or ask questions if needed. They didn’t have much of a use of this product, as Broadway theaters are generally tiny. His current partner, Jon Scott, asked what would happen if they used this approach for selling tickets. Micah jumped on the idea and got to work. He brought it up to the owner and was encouraged to take steps to do it. Micah and his team branched off and raised funds to launch their own company and invested some of the funds into Satisfi and their partnership.

Advice for the Listeners

Micah says that any good idea will take time. One needs to be patient. In the tech world, processes are rarely complete. It would help if you had a long-term focus to get to where you want to be. As innovators, we can often see the result. However, the path to get there is never straight. It would be best if you worked with people that are smarter than you and often challenge you to keep up.

About our Guest: Micah Hollingworth

As CEO and Co-Founder of Broadw.ai and two decades of experience in creating, operating, and marketing live events, Micah is an innovator in the entertainment space. With Broadw.ai, Micah has recreated the audience experience, moving the customer conversation to the web from the box office window.

If you want to keep up with what Micah is doing, check out his LinkedIn and Twitter. Check out his website here.

To know more about the applicable use of AI in the theater industry, listen to this week’s show: AI Opens on Broadway.

 

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