Autoliv's Evolving Innovation Program with Director Greg Thompson

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 9:35 AM, January 16, 2015


Often a presenter at annual Birds of a Feather events, Autoliv Director of Corporate Engineering Greg Thompson took a back seat this year to listen and learn from other innovation program leaders. "I'm not speaking and I'm trying very hard not to ask questions. I'm trying very much to take a passive role to see what everybody else is talking about." For Greg, it was informative to hear about everyone else's innovation journey, challenges, questions, thoughts and insights within the industry this year. While each company, its products and locations are very different, Greg finds that the challenges faced among innovation program leaders is the same, and an event like Birds of a Feather enables these leaders to work together as a community to solve key issues.

Autoliv's innovation program has grown quite significantly over the past several year, and Greg shares insights from their journey as well as initiatives that his team is running today.

While Autoliv's innovation platform and usage of Brightidea's technology has mainly stayed the same, they've introduced new use cases to their program. Specifically, in addition to running time-boxed innovation Challenges focused on a specific topic, they've started running a continuously open Challenge in one of their three main corporate regions spanning the US, Europe and Asia.

Additionally, Autoliv is expanding their innovation program internationally through localization, specifically for their office in China. By designing an innovation Challenge for the teams in China, Autoliv was able to capture their market needs. Autoliv continues to experiment with their program to explore new ways to innovate internally.

As the 2014 Birds of a Feather event was held at Quicken Loans headquarters in Detroit, where Greg also resides, he highlighted the progress and impact in the city. Greg believes that the city's capable, intelligent people will further drive growth and innovation in Detroit.

Stay tuned to the Brightidea blog for more insights from Birds of a Feather 2014

Birds of a Feather Insights with Emily Hopkins of Unum

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 10:05 AM, January 14, 2015


At Birds of a Feather 2014, we discussed key learnings and insights with innovation program leaders such as Emily Hopkins, Consumer Analyst at Unum. As a large company of 10,000 people, Emily shared that breaking down silos and identifying innovation Challenge champions has been the biggest hurdle for their program. She joined us at this year's Birds of a Feather to learn how other organizations have overcome similar hurdles, and shared her key takeaways with us from this year's event.

Watch the video here:

One of the biggest learnings from Birds of a Feather for Emily was how people have used rewards to recognize and motivate people to participate in innovation Challenges. Emily said, "We have wrestled with it back and forth just with our own internal culture -- about how you reward people for ideas whether it would be recognition or actual rewards. It's surprising how many companies use rewards for that encouragement and engagement level so, I think that that's something that I will take back and something that we'll definitely look at."

Emily discovered at Birds of a Feather that, while there is no silver bullet to solve all innovation program hurdles, there is an avid and dedicated community of innovation program leaders who are willing to discuss and share successes as well as failures in order to learn and grow from each other. This has been the most powerful takeaway for Emily.

Stay tuned to the Brightidea blog for more insights from our Birds of a Feather 2014 event for Innovation Program Leaders.

The Innovation Station with Kati Stutsman of Catamaran

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 9:29 AM, November 19, 2014


At Birds of a Feather 2014, Brightidea discussed innovation management with Kati Stutsman, Business Analyst with Catamaran. Kati believes that communication is not only one of the most challenging elements of running a successful innovation program, but it's also one of the most rewarding pieces of the process for both the innovation team and the employees. The program leverages social communication tools as well as lots of video to trigger energy and excitement within employees for their program.

Catamaran runs the Innovation Station, their corporate innovation program using the Brightidea platform. The objective of their program is to crowdsource ideas from employees across the organization and manage those ideas in the way that's most effective. Catamaran operates their program from a relatively small dedicated team, like many innovation teams today, which includes a Director of Innovation Strategy responsible for ensuring that the team is focused on the right initiatives, and an Innovation Program Manager responsible for ensuring the Challenges are run on a timely basis. Collectively, the team focuses on ensuring that they're building relationships across the organization with key stakeholders.

Kati's team has quickly found that participation ultimately comes down to communication. Not only how they communicate to employees and to the executive teams -- and this can include anything from new Challenges and opportunities to recognition, metrics and more -- but then turning this into a two-way conversation, such that employees feel comfortable and safe innovating within the company. One of the big initiatives that The Innovation Station is focused on right now is recognition at the corporate level, integrating with HR recognition programs and ensuring that when people bring good ideas to the table, they're recognized. Innovation doesn't happen just within an innovation department, it happens companywide on the smallest level to the highest level.

Communication is not only one of the most challenging, but most rewarding pieces of the process. Not only for their innovation program management team, but also for the employees. The Catamaran team is finding that social media features within Brightidea as well as video are effective tools for communicating with employees. Kati finds that video pushes the energy and excitement for employees, and that they leverage the medium to drive inspiration and engagement to make something actionable.

Like many innovation teams, Catamaran's innovation team is a small group of less than five members. As a small team, they're starting with achieving quick wins. Kati notes that once you get the quick wins under your belt, the innovation team builds credibility in the organization, sustainability, and the ability to replicate and be actionable moving forward. The Innovation Station will continue to focus on turning quick wins into larger objectives and bigger results.

Stay tuned for more insightful innovation presentations from Birds of a Feather 2014.

Introducing The SHOP – Innovating From the Inside Out with Jeff Ferreira-Pro of VSP Global

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 9:39 AM, September 12, 2014


Jeff Ferreira-Pro, Idea Curator at one-stop vision shop VSP Global’s innovation lab, The SHOP, addressed our audience at Birds of a Feather 2014, and we’ve made the video available for you to watch, here.

VSP Global is much more than an insurance and healthcare company that offers vision care to 64 million Americans. They also manufactured 3 million pairs of glasses last year, developed management software for optometrists, and launched a fashion company making stylish eyewear.

Jeff’s group launched The SHOP last year as a VSP-owned startup with the independence to pursue what the eyewear and vision care industry will look like in the next 10-15 years.

VSP’s units are divided into discrete silos, like 5 different companies, that Jeff and The SHOP are working to bring together for crowdsourcing innovation, using Brightidea. They began seeking areas of opportunity for disrupting the retail eyewear industry in the age of online shopping.

The SHOP believes wearable technology is the wave of the future and VSP is producing Diane Furstenberg prescription glasses with Google Glass. Their partnership with Google Glass spawned a tenfold increase in visits on their employment website, displaying the value of marketing and partnering with strong brands.

Alternative manufacturing is another area where they see great potential, embracing 3D printing and dynamic manufacturing to meet unpredictable demand. New technology such as mobile retinal scans and mobile prescriptions, might be seen as threats to VSP’s traditional business model, but The SHOP is working to embrace these new technologies and capitalize on them.

Their innovation program employs a cross-organizational team, with ideas divided into disruptive ideas, challenging ideas, and straightforward ideas. The straightforward ideas come organically, without the need for The SHOP. For the others, The SHOP employs a top down, bottom up, middle out structure that draws on resources from all departments, at all levels of the company to inspire innovation. They have seen positive response from including groups not traditionally associated with innovation, such as finance.

They facilitated eyewear manufacturing by having each unique prescription pair of glasses tagged with a smartphone-activated LED, so that each can be easily located on the assembly line, reducing costs by eliminating the need for five full-time “finders.” This innovation doesn’t just come from The SHOP. By sourcing ideas from across the organization, such as from these “finders,” they are able to get innovation from those working in the trenches.

These steps have created a thriving innovation program at VSP Global. What’s up next for The SHOP? Implementing a program to track and record their successes and failures to learn from their past mistakes. They are also defining new metrics to track disruptive ideas, which don’t lend themselves well to traditional metrics.

Stay tuned for more insightful innovation presentations from Birds of a Feather 2014.

Julianna Benedick of Panasonic Discusses Their Innovation Program, SPARKZ

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 8:33 AM, August 12, 2014


Brightidea took some time at Birds of a Feather to speak with Julianna Benedick, Director of Marketing for Panasonic, about the structure and breadth of Panasonic’s Brightidea-powered innovation program.

Julianna feels strongly that innovation functions best as a democratic process, and that mantra was employed right down to their program’s name, SPARKZ. The program relied on input from all levels of their organization to build a brand identity, starting with the name, color scheme, and communications platform.

SPARKZ is centralized in the operations arm of Panasonic’s marketing department, but they are working to expand collaborative innovation to other departments, so they play a role in managing the process. Heavily involving other departments furthers Julianna’s goal of creating a democratic innovation program that spans the entire organization, even seeking input from their ace sales force, the Shark Team.

In addition to drawing on the collective knowledge of the organization, SPARKZ is also designed to serve the entire company, facilitating innovation in all departments, from marketing to supply-chain.

They have seen that, using this wide-reaching approach, small teams of only a few people can achieve greater innovation by creating departmental challenges and leveraging the fresh views of others.

To achieve their desired results, Julianna has learned from experience that it is critical to have iron-clad back-end processes in place to handle ideation and leverage the knowledge of the entire organization, with persons in various departments having ownership of individual pieces.

Watch the full video and hear what Julianna has to say on running innovation at Panasonic.

Stay tuned for more great Birds of a Feather 2014 presentations and insights.

Jacqueline Krain of Pearson Global Talks Innovation Management with Brightidea

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 9:17 AM, July 23, 2014


We sat down with Jacqueline Krain, Director of Strategy and Business Development at Pearson Global, for a few insightful minutes at this year’s Birds of a Feather event at Quicken Loans and discussed her experiences with Brightidea and innovation management.

Pearson Global first established their IDEA innovation program four years ago to gestate the full life-cycle progression of an idea from seed to fruit. Their task was to develop an innovation program for global clinical assessment, throughout their twelve intercontinental presences. The program had to manage innovation of their core intellectual property across their varied learning-product lines and services.

Paving the way for their innovation overhaul, Pearson underwent a restructuring last year, which included establishing the role of Vice President of New Business and Innovation, overseeing both a business incubator and innovation strategy. With efficacy the ultimate concern, Jacqueline and her innovation team established a critical framework of dimensions and attributes, which they integrated with the scorecarding and proposal features of Brightidea.

Initially, Pearson had previously depended on many discrete silos. After the restructuring, people from different silos did not know how to work together in the new environment. Fortunately, Brightidea facilitated collaboration in the new organization by connecting disparate functions within the company and different geographies for idea sharing on different calls-to-action.

Amongst many of the other benefits of using an innovation management solution, Jacqueline and stakeholders recognize that Brightidea has helped Pearson immensely with scaling of their program across the organization.

What does the future hold for Pearson’s IDEA program? Down the road, Jacqueline foresees that Brightidea’s scorecarding feature will help bridge the gap between qualitative and quantitative data. She also expressed an interest in employing the capability maturity and innovation maturity models discussed by Cisco at Birds of a Feather this year, and intends to integrate Kaizen and Six Sigma strategies with their innovation process.

After four years with Brightidea software in place, Jacqueline concludes that creativity, art and science are the core of innovation and in order to effectively manage ideation, you must have the appropriate discipline and structure in place.

Stay tuned to the Brightidea blog for more insights from the 2014 Birds of a Feather Innovation Leaders event.

Birds of a Feather 2014 at Quicken in Detroit - Presentation Highlights from Innovation Leaders

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 9:20 AM, June 19, 2014


Recently, we held our 7th annual Birds of a Feather event in Detroit to engage innovation leaders with the latest practices, principals, challenges and opportunities within our industry. Our gracious hosts at Quicken Loans provided an inside look at how the city of Detroit is currently evolving as we toured and congregated in several beautiful, modern buildings throughout the town.

We kicked off this year's event with evening tours of innovative companies in the Detroit metro area, including Shinola watch and bicycle manufacturing facilities, and DIME (Detroit Institute of Music Education) where BOF attendees were treated to live music performances by students. View photos of each event here.

The next day focused on presentations and insights from industry leaders including Quicken Loans, Nielsen, VSP Global, Cabot Corporation, Bizdom, Fathead and Brightidea. Additionally, we held a segment on "BOF Shared Key Learnings" with 5-minute presentations on lessons learned in managing innovation from Nielsen, SAP, Kaiser Permanente, VSP Global, Cisco, Farm Credit Services of America, ACT, Inc., Panasonic, Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Inc. and The Strategy Group. You can see what each of the presenters had to say in the slides here.

All 2014 Birds of a Feather presentations have been added to our community page on Facebook and the following are some of the highlights from our wonderful presenters this year:

Dual presentations from Quicken kicked off the summit on Tuesday morning. CEO Bill Emerson shared deep insights on their innovation strategy and approach, posing the question: "How do you create that fire in the belly?" Through setting expectations, encouraging and recognizing people, Quicken ignites ideas and a culture of innovation within their organization.

Innovation Team Leader Bill Mirza presented "Cheese Factory: The Inches We Need Are Everywhere Around Us." Bill leads Quicken Loan’s Bullet Time initiative and is obsessed with the search to what he calls "Finding a Better Way." In his presentation, he shared more about their innovation program operations, including how their team of 6 members facilitates strong communication and organizational skills to execute and implement ideas. Learn more here.

Quicken-Loans-Bullet-Time

Nielsen Director of Planning and Governance Ann Marie Dumais presented "Create. Sustain. Accelerate. How to create a sustainable innovation culture through organization efficiency." As a 20-year veteran across various Nielsen owned and acquired companies, Ann Marie leads the development of a global company-wide innovation portal and a technology learning center. In this presentation, Ann Marie described how they've developed a mature innovation program and culture by applying six sigma around the ideation phase. View the full presentation here.

Nielsen-create-sustain-accelerate

Jeff Ferreira–Pro, Idea Curator for The SHOP, shared insights on the innovation pipeline at VSP Global.
VSP's Idea Bank Launched last summer with one question: What can VSP Global do to become more of a leader in the growing retail market for eyewear? Since then, Idea Bank has shifted focus to opportunity areas such as the billion-dollar wearable technology market and is currently exploring disruptive ideas and innovation around Google Glass products. Learn more here.

Vspglobal

Cabot Corporation is a leading global specialty chemicals and performance materials company. Head of Innovation John Jaddou joined BOF to present on "Focused Innovation: Connecting people and ideas to drive results." John discussed the importance of solving the right problems by engaging customers the right way and communicating effectively. Additionally, he shared how physical ideation sessions coupled with focused virtual WebStorms are essential to achieving this. View the presentation here.

Cabot

Lee Burnstein of Bizdom gave the presentation "Innovate, Incubate, Accelerate" to share how large companies can play a critical role in the startup community by providing resources and programs that encourage overall growth in the larger company's ecosystem. More than capital investment, accelerators can provide structured curriculum to help increase the speed of innovation and value of startups. Learn more about the acceleration process here.

Bizdom

Fathead provides life-sized, precision-cut vinyl wall graphics out of Detroit, and Lynda McFarlan joined us at BOF to give us an inside look at how they help organizations create spaces that truly inspire. For Fathead, the goals are to transform a space, evoke an emotion and tell a great story through imagery and use of space. To see more of how Fathead brings culture and philosophy to life, watch the videos featured in Lynda's presentation.

Fathead

Stay tuned for additional videos and highlights from the 2014 Birds of a Feather event!

Building an Innovation Management Office with Brightidea - Webinar, January 23

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 11:57 AM, January 22, 2014


A corporate Innovation Management Office (IMO) is responsible for setting up a formal Innovation-as-a-Shared Service (ISS) internally within their organization. We've brought together a panel of innovation management experts to share stories and insights during a live webinar session on how global leaders like LAN Airlines, CPMC, ELEMENTIA, and SAG have built their IMO. Join us to learn best practices on developing your own IMO. Additionally, all webinar attendees will receive a FREE IMO Toolkit to assist you in putting together your own innovation strategy.

Watch a recording of the webinar on the Brightidea Vimeo channel.

Brightidea_Webinar_IMO

Our panel of innovation management experts includes Transforme USA Founder and Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez Professor of the Innovation Master´s Degree Program Guillermo A. Beuchat,Transforme USA Innovation Expert Timothy J. Rowe, and Brightidea Director Paul Tran.

In this webinar you will learn how to: 

  • Structure an Innovation Process
  • Focus on Measureable Outcomes
  • Engage and Sustain User Participation Over Time
  • Define Your Innovation Key Metrics

Watch a recording of the webinar on "How to Build an IMO: Innovation Management Office Using Brightidea".

Webcast on Erasing the “Fuzzy” from The Front End of Innovation

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 2:32 PM, December 30, 2013


Recently, Brightidea Senior Innovation Consultant Kristen Jordan Fotter joined Carrie Nauyalis, New Product Development Solution Evangelist of Planview, to share how companies can take their innovation program to the next level by leveraging best practices during the front end phase of the innovation process.

20130625_BOF_506
You can view the webcast in full here: gotomeeting.com

Additionally, here is an overview of the 8 key areas of the front end of innovation highlighted in the webcast:

Identify the Problem and the Opportunity
From the very beginning, it's important to set the precedent for the key challenge you're going to set out to solve among employees, colleagues, and subject matter experts. Rather than creating a general bucket to collect ideas, you can provide direction and a goal for your participants by creating multiple challenges to solve - for example, cutting costs in production, going green and more.

Engagement: Enticing Participants with Incentives
To bring the desired participants to the table, you'll need to develop an engagement plan to attract and draw in people. As you're developing your engagement plan, you'll need to understand the key aspects of your audience. Where are they located around the globe, and in what time zones? What are the demographics of your desired participants? What positions do they hold within the company?

Engagement: Attracting Participants with Marketing
If you build it, they will come...well actually, just creating an innovation campaign on its own won't necessarily draw in participants automatically. You'll need to uncover key motivators for engaging people to participate. This may include positive feedback from their direct manager, attention from leadership, opportunity to lead a team, and more. And, have some fun with it! We encourage you to engage campaign sponsors, idea submitters, idea evaluators and those supporting the process for ideas on how to engage participants.

Idea Generation, Collection and Collaboration
Brilliant innovations come from collaboration and the merging of ideas. The science behind innovation is creating the environment and bring the right audiences together to develop and cultivate those ideas. The right tools will offer an environment, a digital space where people from all over the world can come together to share, collaborate, talk to each other and develop innovations that will solve those key challenges.

Idea Evaluation: SME Scorecarding
During the front end of innovation, you'll be collecting thousands of ideas for a campaign with the objective of narrowing these ideas down to around 100, and you'll work with subject matter experts during this process. It's important to have multiple campaigns around a specific problem, so that you can compare responses and vet the ideas to become more streamlined. In the scorecarding process, you'll answer a lot of questions, such as patent availability and potential costs.

Establishing a Workflow
Ultimately, no one standard workflow will apply to every campaign you run as every topic, every participating audience is unique. We suggest taking a look at the topic and who is behind the generation of ideas, and build the workflow from here. After you've identified the workflow, make sure that you have also estimated the budget based on ideas to implement as this will also set a precedent with stakeholders.

Measuring ROI
You have to be able to measure the performance of your innovation campaign. Start with the end in mind, talk about what you want to achieve with each campaign, and what you want that outcome to be to define your ROI. Is it cost savings? Employee satisfaction? Time savings? For example, one of our customers, a global telecom company, was able to measure cost savings and new revenue generated in excess of $150 million during lifetime of their innovation program. Whether you're looking for new revenue or improvements on loyalty and retention, develop your plan with how you'll measure ROI and you're one step closer to getting your challenge off the ground. 

For more insights on the front end of innovation, please feel free to contact Brightidea anytime with questions and stay tuned for more webcasts.

Erasing the “Fuzzy” from The Front End of Innovation - Upcoming Webcast, December 4

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 2:42 PM, November 25, 2013


Many people believe that innovation is a form of art, and solely occurs in creativity sessions among post-it notes, squishy toys, and beanbag chairs. While this may be true in the ideation process, innovation successes are in fact driven by structure, metrics and methodology. An effective innovation program combines the art and the science, which can sometimes make understanding the front end of the process.....a little fuzzy.

Planview_logoJoin us Wednesday, December 4 from 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM CST for a lively discussion with Carrie Nauyalis, New Product Development Solution Evangelist of Planview, and Kristen Jordan Fotter, Senior Innovation Consultant of Brightidea, to learn how you can take your innovation program to the next level by leveraging best practices from leading global companies that have successfully balanced art and science when it comes to innovation.


Kristen Jordon FotterSign up for this exclusive webinar on Erasing the “Fuzzy” from The Front End of Innovation today.

 

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