by Bansi Nagji and Geoff Tuff
published in HBR.org
Harvard Business Review’s blog excerpts the lead feature of its May issue, which happened to be an article by our own Bansi Nagji and Geoff Tuff. For those who haven’t yet wrapped their heads around the theory of Total Innovation, this is the bite-size introduction:
Management knows it and so does Wall Street: The year-to-year viability of a company depends on its ability to innovate. Yet many companies have not yet learned to manage innovation strategically. The companies we’ve found to have the strongest innovation track records do things differently: Rather than hoping that their future will emerge from a collection of ad hoc, stand-alone efforts that compete with one another for time, money, attention, and prestige, they manage for “total innovation.”
Read the rest of the article at HBR.org.
Innovation capabilities are a critical part of building a Total Innovation program—and we are here to help you understand more about the topic. On June 7th, we’re holding a one-day event in Moscow, in cooperation with the Bilateral Presidential Commission Innovation Working Group. The discussion will focus on innovation models and capability building—and we’ll share current “best in class” examples. Some amazing speakers will be there, including Sergey Alpatov, head of corporate marketing and public affairs for Russia at 3M and Vasily Gatov, deputy CEO and director of the Media Lab at news service, RIA Novosti. And, our own Geoff Tuff will be there to explain more about Total Innovation and share some of his thoughts on successfully building innovation capabilities, while Matt Locsin will discuss his work on reinvention at Ford.
The Globe and Mail picked up the Harvard Business Review feature written by Doblin’s own Bansi Nagji and Geoff Tuff. Admittedly, the author refers to three “types” of innovation, while we prefer to think of ten types and three levels, but it’s interesting to see the idea spreading. Here’s the piece:
Companies depend on innovation for their long-term existence. But in Harvard Business Review Bansi Nagji and Geoff Tuff, of the Massachusetts-based Monitor Group consulting firm, note that many corporate leaders are frustrated by their company’s innovation initiatives.
"Typically they are aware of a tremendous amount of innovation going on inside their enterprises but don’t feel they have a grasp on all the dispersed initiatives," they write. "The pursuit of the new feels haphazard and episodic, and they suspect that the returns on the company’s total innovation investment are too low."
The authors suggest these steps to better manage your information portfolio:
Doblin co-founder, Larry Keeley was featured in a cover story in the South Korean magazine, Chosun Weekly Biz. The story focuses on innovation initiatives at Mayo Clinic, of whose external advisory board Larry is a longtime member. Here’s a translated version of the interview with Larry, which ran alongside the piece:
Many people associate innovation only with new product development. But new product is just the outcome of innovation at its lowest level. Improving customer experience, like the one done at Mayo Clinic, is actual sustainable innovation.
Larry Keeley, partner at Monitor Group, a global strategic consulting firm says, “Reinventing a famous and respected institution is usually harder than inventing a whole new business as an entrepreneurial startup… In that sense, Mayo Clinic’s approach to innovation an exemplary model for all.”
Larry Keeley was quoted in this Bloomberg Businessweek profile of disruption innovation theorist, Clayton Christensen. The piece is a super-interesting long read in its own right.
On a warm April evening, Clayton Christensen arrived at his home in Belmont, Mass., desperate for a peanut butter sandwich. Christensen is diabetic, and with his blood sugar low, he seemed out of sorts. As he crushed the sandwich in a few massive bites, it had the effect on him that spinach does on Popeye. No longer confused about why a reporter had been waiting on his stoop, the 60-year-old Harvard Business School professor and celebrated author of The Innovator’s Dilemma began to form his thoughts with two distractingly huge hands. He said that he’d sometimes regretted calling his most admired theory “disruptive innovation,” because the disruptive part strikes some as more alarming than advantageous. He confided that he read the entire World Book Encyclopedia by age 12. And he shared two intimate encounters he’d had with God, including one on the eve of a “widow-maker” heart attack in 2007, the first of three life-threatening health issues in as many years.
Read the rest of the story, including Larry’s take on disruptive innovation.
by Bansi Nagji and Helen Walters
published in Rotman Magazine
"These problems are too big for us to solve alone. We need to collaborate like we never have before.”
The person responsible for these words might surprise you: Beth Comstock is the chief marketing officer at General Electric-–a company that no one would accuse of having a free-wheeling or laissez-faire culture. Yet Comstock, along with GE chairman Jeffrey Immelt and fellow senior executives, have embraced the fact that the challenges they face—in areas from healthcare to energy to transportation—are too ‘wicked’ to be solved by GE alone.
Instead, they have learned to seek help from many different places, and to apply the disparate insights collected from myriad sources to try to jointly solve the complex problems they—and the world—are facing.
Read a PDF of the rest of the article.
by Melissa Quinn
published in Fast Co.Design
This year marks the third anniversary of the Rotman Design Challenge. It started out as a commendable experiment by the school’s Business Design Club to expose MBAs at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management to the value of design methods in business problem solving. This year, the competition drew teams from a few other MBA schools and some of the best design schools in North America. As a final-round judge, I had a front-row seat to the five best solutions to the competition’s challenge: To help TD Bank foster lifelong customer relationships with students and recent graduates while encouraging healthy financial behaviors.
Both this year and last—the two years that Rotman invited other schools to participate—business school students were slaughtered by the design school students. Of the 12 Rotman teams this year, not one of them made the final round. And while only seven of the 23 competing teams were from design schools (including California College of Arts, Ontario College of Art and Design, and the University of Cincinnati), design teams scooped the top three places in the competition, doing significantly better than their MBA counterparts. So what does this tell us?
by Chris Ertel and Lisa Kay Solomon
published in Design Management Review
The chief marketing officer (CMO) of a large, diversified consumer electronics company knew that he had to change the process for allocating marketing spend across four different product divisions, but wasn’t sure how.
The market landscape was shifting dramatically, along several dimensions. People were moving their online and media lives to tablets and mobile phones much faster than expected. Meanwhile, social networking campaigns—after being hyped for years—were now seriously competing with traditional advertising channels for resources. The CMO needed to make some big decisions at a time of budget constraints and moving targets.
In prior years, the CMO had collected individual budgets from each division—which were inevitably too high—and then tried to strike a compromise. This process “worked”, in a way, but allowed little space for the big strategic issues, resulted in incremental changes, and left everyone dissatisfied.
In this situation, the CMO faced several challenges at once: a competitive challenge, an analytic challenge, a foresight challenge, a political challenge, a leadership challenge, a learning challenge—and more—all rolled into one.
But is it a design challenge?
by Bansi Nagji and Geoff Tuff
published in Harvard Business Review
Management knows it and so does Wall Street: The year-to-year viability of a company depends on its ability to innovate. Given today’s market expectations, global competitive pressures, and the extent and pace of structural change, this is truer than ever. But chief executives struggle to make the case to the Street that their managerial actions can be relied on to yield a stream of successful new offerings. Many admit to being unsure and frustrated. Typically they are aware of a tremendous amount of innovation going on inside their enterprises but don’t feel they have a grasp on all the dispersed initiatives. The pursuit of the new feels haphazard and episodic, and they suspect that the returns on the company’s total innovation investment are too low.
Making matters worse, executives tend to respond with dramatic interventions and vacillating strategies. Take the example of a consumer goods company we know. Attuned to the need to keep its brands fresh in retailers’ and consumers’ minds, it introduced frequent improvements and variations on its core offerings. Most of those earned their keep with respectable uptake by the market and decent margins. Over time, however, it became clear that all this product proliferation, while splitting the revenue pie into ever-smaller slices, wasn’t actually growing the pie. Eager to achieve a much higher return, management lurched toward a new strategy aimed at breakthrough product development—at transformational rather than incremental innovations.
Access the full article via the Harvard Business Review website.