Doblin’s Matt Locsin spoke at a recent event organized by IDSA/NYC. Sharing the stage with Allan Chochinov, editor-in-chief of Core77 and founding chair of the new MFA in Products of Design at SVA, Matt chose to follow Allan’s presentation with his own description of how design can be used to develop big, platform level solutions. “By design, innovation in areas other than just products can have dramatic effect,” he said, echoing a key theme of Doblin’s practice.
Doblin’s own Melissa Quinn will be taking part in a session at the IDSA’s international conference, taking place in Boston on August 15th. Here’s the blurb for the session, which takes place in the “Business of Design” track and which promises to be lively and thought-provoking. If you’re there, be sure to say hello!
The definition and practice of design has never been more dynamic. Now wholeheartedly embraced by the business, nonprofit and government communities as a critical success factor, more scope and integration is being demanded of design and its managers than ever before. How is this trend playing out in the far corners of the profession? A set of panelists who sit at some of the furthest edges of where design is being applied will discuss the important trends they are seeing as well as the biggest challenges they face in moving forward in the environments they serve. Melissa Quinn will talk about Doblin/Monitor’s unique approach to design/business integration; Steve Kaneko will talk about the broad range of talent and skills that are required to produce compelling hardware and software products; Jeneanne Rae will talk about what is uniquely required in service design; and Heather Boesch will talk about using design thinking in NGO and government settings.
Doblin associate partner Brian Quinn is quoted in this Chicago Business article on design world darling, Threadless. Explaining the real-world pressures of community-driven businesses, Brian provides an objective voice of reason looking at a company reportedly shifting 10,000 orders ever day.
Years before “Chicago” and “startup scene” became frequently strung-together words, local apparel retailer Threadless embraced an entrepreneurial, creative ethos—and turned its scrappy vision into piles of cash.
Now, the 12-year-old company, which has seen sales of its independently designed T-shirts grow from $6.2 million in 2005 to somewhere north of $30 million this year, is moving beyond tees and expanding into large-scale design with corporate partners, including Gap Inc. and Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.
[Read the rest of the article, including Brian’s take on Threadless and the challenges that lie ahead as the company continues to expand.]
“We hear all the time from folks that their company has tried to pursue transformational innovation but either they got stuck thinking about great and lofty things that they can never bring to market or they gave up when they realized how risky the bets might be. It doesn’t have to be that way,” said Geoff Tuff at the After Five @ 111 event held in our Chicago office on June 27th. ‘We teach companies to develop transformational innovation regularly. But they also shouldn’t forget there is that vast “middle space” of adjacent innovations, where a lot of untapped opportunities exist which will feel a lot closer to home.”
Geoff, a partner at Monitor + Doblin and co-author of the recent Harvard Business Review feature on total innovation, Managing Your Innovation Portfolio, spoke to a gathering of about 30 professionals and leaders in business and design. Drawing on examples and experiences from real companies, the discussion centered on the challenges of innovating across different ambition levels—core, adjacent and transformational—and how best to apply this theory in practice.
65 executives from government and industry met on June 7th, 2012 to discuss and debate the state of innovation in Russia. Organized by Monitor, the Innovation for Excellence conference was held in cooperation with the USA-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission Innovation Working Group, which was launched in late March.
US Ambassador Mike McFaul was the keynote speaker at the event. His talk, “US/Russian Opportunities for Cooperation in Innovation,” discussed both the necessary market conditions and the paradoxes surrounding innovation. He commented on the “weird” mix of cooperation and competition necessary to enable a robust innovation culture. Later, executives from 3M, RIA Novosti, Ford Sollers, Janssen and Intel shared stories of managing innovation internally, covering topics from defining opportunity areas to building robust and defensible innovation capabilities. Each also shared details of what has helped them build their innovation capabilities in Russia and what the significant barriers to innovation have been—a major theme of the conference.
Meanwhile, our own Geoff Tuff and Matt Locsin were both on hand to discuss their work on Total Innovation (the subject of the lead feature in May’s Harvard Business Review) and Ford. Evgeny Orlovsky, also from Monitor, led a discussion on formal and informal ways to measure innovation success.
Ambassador McFaul later tweeted about the event:
@McFaul: Heard part of a fascinating talk on innovation by Geoff Tuff. Lessons for many. His article is in 5-12 issue of Harvard Business Review
@McFaul: Honored to speak today at the Monitor Group’s mtg on Innovation for Excellence. US and Russia have common interest in promoting innovation
The presentations are available for download.
Welcome to After Five @ 111, a new series of events that we’ll be hosting in our Chicago office. Our June gathering will feature a discussion with Bansi Nagji and Geoff Tuff, members of our leadership team and partners at Monitor+Doblin. Bansi and Geoff co-authored “Managing Your Innovation Portfolio,” the recent lead feature in Harvard Business Review. They will discuss “total innovation,” covering the challenges of innovating across different ambition levels—core, adjacent and transformational—and will describe how best to manage this theory in practice. We’re expecting a great group of professionals and leaders to make up our audience, and attendees will have an opportunity to discuss their own experiences of innovation in what is sure to be a lively, interactive gathering. For more information about the event or to come along for a cocktail, contact Amy_Wright [at] monitor.com.
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.
Most organizations are hard-wired to do one thing: maximize their current reality. Usually that means doing what they’ve done in the past, plus or minus five percent. Combined with a macroeconomic environment that has made the cost constrained, “Great Recession” model the norm, many companies feel like they are leaner than ever and are working to do more every day with fewer resources. However, the organizations that interpret this environment not as an impediment to, but as an imperative for change are able to reap great rewards if they can reinvent themselves successfully. On June 12th at 4pm, our own Geoff Tuff, Ben Jonash and Monitor colleague Amelia Dunlop will take part in a live discussion at Monitor headquarters in Cambridge, Mass. They’ll discuss the qualities necessary to perfect “serial innovation,” sharing their experience designing innovation capabilities with some of the world’s leading companies in pharmaceuticals, retail, and financial services. See this page for more details. To come along, email Alexsandro_Labbate AT Monitor DOT com.