GE, PwC and SAP Share the Predictors of Success for Your Innovation Program

Posted by Gretchen Hoffman at 10:44 AM, April 07, 2015


Innovation isn’t something you master overnight. To help accelerate your innovation program success, Brightidea asked marquis innovation program experts from GE, PwC and SAP to share best practices for innovation program leaders to replicate and utilize within their own organizations. Our panelists from these world renowned innovation powerhouses were:

Dyan Finkhousen: Director, Open Innovation & Advanced Manufacturing at GE

John Sviokla: Strategy & Innovation Leader, Head of Global Thought Leadership at PwC

Kuhan Milroy: Senior Director of Social Business Innovation at SAP

What’s a better way to learn innovation than to hear it directly from the experts? The highlights shared by our knowledgeable panel on Brightidea’s Innovation Program: The Predictors of Success webinar hangout are included below. Though these companies have all ultimately found success through their innovation programs, each has had its own unique experiences along the way. Highlights:

Kuhan of SAP shared that when ramping up his innovation program, he focused on first “partnering up with the folks who say ‘you had me at hello’ because “they’re the easiest to bring on as early adopters.”

Along with the initial thrill of ramping up an innovation program, each panelist mentioned strongly the idea of failure and what implications it has within a growing, innovative company. Businesses must define expectations for failure and not dwell on it, utilizing it as a positive move forward. Dyan of GE commented on this saying, “The appetite or comfort with failing and learning lessons needs to be there for innovation to really prosper in an organization.”

The panelists discussed the importance of culture, organization and process in relation to their individual innovation programs. Check out the Hangout to hear each panelists answer.

There was a good discussion on the size of an innovation team and who should be included on the team. John of PwC provided great insight on this question stating two things to consider: be careful who you put in the position to say “no”, and carefully analyze what is your actual task at hand. In relation to these considerations, he provided strong comparisons to Thomas Edison’s light bulb innovation team, Elon Musk’s team with SpaceX, and GE’s team with new compulsion systems.

It was also great to hear Kuhan’s perspective on the hottest key ingredients to innovation programs, crowdsourcing and hackathons. Kuhan emphasized how important these two tactics are to SAP, as well as having a strong innovation program software. He said, “I wasted 80% of my time on our old platform, but now we’re in Brightidea which is amazing. When you’re starting out don’t try to do it by yourself.”

Overall, this Google Hangout taught some valuable lessons on innovation programs: you need an organization, culture, and process all working in unison, a dedicated innovation program leader, to make sure your program is showing value, and to ultimately figure out how you’re working across departments.

If you haven’t seen the Google Hangout, you can view this and our next one How to Find Challenges and Deliver Outcomes. Please share your best innovation program tips in the comments below.

Video Highlights and Successes from Birds of a Feather 2013

Posted by Sandra Ponce de Leon at 12:00 PM, August 13, 2013

Last month’s Birds of a Feather (BOF) event in Chicago brought together innovators from all over the country, and a wide variety of industries. Attendees were provided the opportunity to exchange ideas, share experiences and find new ways to solve innovation issues their companies are facing, which we captured in video at the event.

Strategic innovation leaders from Humana, WMS Gaming, VSP Global, Quicken Loans and more sat down with us and shared their personal experiences and touched on what they gained from the various presentations, panels and informative, impromptu conversations at BOF.

Some memorable quotes from the event are below:

"It's just so inspiring talking to other colleagues in companies in very different industries just to get different ideas, see what works, what hasn't for folks, and really where things are going. I think it really helps all of us on our journeys for innovation management."
Heidi Hattendorf, Motorola Solutions

“It’s really focused on delivering something that is going to make business and life better and easier.”
Greg Thompson, Autoliv

“Everything that we wanted to achieve, that we had gaps or deficiencies in the process prior to, Brightidea was able to accommodate that.”
Lori Zapanta, Interactive Intelligence

Also featured in the video is our CEO, Matt Greeley, who was excited about the new faces in attendance as well as being able to reconnect with previous attendees noting the common thread among participants: "Everyone has the same passion for fighting the good fight for innovation."

Watch the full 2013 Bird's of a Feather Highlights Video on the Brightidea Vimeo Page.

The Road to Innovation Results: WMS Gaming chats with Brightidea

Posted by Sandra Ponce de Leon at 8:38 AM, May 29, 2013

Dave_paul_smilesOur Director of Business Development, Paul Tran recently sat down with David Detlefsen of WMS Gaming, a company with a rich history of innovation in digital gaming entertainment for the casino industry. WMS started their innovation program 5 years ago, during a time when they were experiencing strong revenue and employee growth. WMS wanted to ensure that it preserved its special corporate culture through this period and specifically maintain itself as a company of ideas.

For WMS having a platform that could support its vision…for every employee to share and to contribute to its innovative company voice was extremely important. It wanted to stimulate internal employee collaboration to help its managers solve real business problems and increase invention disclosures with IP patents groups, while keeping a focus on its core culture.

Using Brightidea's technology platform, the program has been hugely successful since its inception in 2007, resulting in 64 patents being filed and the creation of 110 continuous improvement ideas that include efficiency improvements, cost savings, waste reduction, and safety advances. Deploying Brightidea's Idea management platform onto the manufacturing shop floor means WMS can harness its employees' creativity and empower them to take steps to improve their work life, while also creating cost savings for the company.

The program has evolved and continues to improve over time through valuable learnings gathered through its history, here's just a few of the many nuggets David shared with us.

  1. Do not start with an open suggestion box, keep challenges focused and aligned with your corporate strategy. While it may seem like a good idea at the time, an open suggestion box will actually cause more pain by opening up a firehouse of hundreds if not thousands of unfiltered ideas to sort through, many of which will have no tie back to corporate objectives. And by not responding to all ideas, your submitters will get frustrated, causing ideas to dwindle in the long run.

  2. Use a solution pull strategy over idea push. This requires some thinking on problem statements and an understanding of business challenges. However, changing to this kind of focused challenge paradigm will guarantee ideas are on target with company priorities.
  3. Ideapull

  4. Respond to every submission that comes in, having a focused challenge will make this easier. Idea submitters don't mind being told NO, but they like to know why. Keeping the two way dialogue alive will ensure that ideas get better over time and continue to encourage participation. If submitter's ideas go into a black hole, this will make them less likely to participate over time. Providing a simple explanation for the idea not moving forward is much better than not hearing anything at all.

  5. Set a schedule and market your campaign. Leveraging your intranet, using a blog and a newsletter to communicate will keep your campaign top of mind and keep employees participating, collaborating, commenting, and elaborating on ideas. Develop a schedule that has multiple campaigns running at once so that each is in a different phase of execution and review at any one time.

  6. Develop a top level strategy deployment. This can be scheduled longer than a standard campaign period and is a business process developed in partnership with the CEO or President to set audacious goals for the entire company to strive for in the year. This is a stretch goal challenge that requires the entire company to be in alignment and work towards, to try to attain something the company isn't currently doing.

Daveandpaul_hhDavid ends the interview by sporting his Innovation hard hat, tapping into the metaphor that innovation is fun, but at the same time can be messy like a construction site and also a little dangerous. You should always start with a blueprint, but in the midst of the construction, you should be comfortable getting your hands dirty but above all staying safe. And don't lose sight that it's okay be silly and have fun!

The interview is loaded with many more ideas for how to best structure an innovation program, how to set expectations and above all ensure success that will keep the program running for years to come. He reminds us to take things slow, establish a process and nurture it along the way, which will leave room for wider expansion that builds upon program success.

We're thankful to our partner Planview for providing a forum for our conversation. If you're interested in hearing best practices from more innovation practitioners, our next Birds of Feather (BOF) event is happening soon in Chicago on June 24, 25th. If you'd like to apply for an invitation to attend, please contact Celia Seib for more information.

Maven Open2012 and the Future of Open Innovation

Posted by Janelle Noble at 8:05 AM, February 07, 2013

Paul Tran: [Brightidea] from Brightidea on Vimeo.

On December 11th the Maven Open2012 brought the Open Innovation community to Silicon Valley to discuss the opportunities and challenges presented by OI and bridge the chasm between the most innovative place in the world, Silicon Valley, and the most important innovation management development in the past fifty years. 

Attendees learned about the roots of the OI movement, heard case studies from some of the world's largest companies on their OI successes, saw product demonstrations from the leading companies delivering services to OI professionals, and found out about the massive opportunities available to entrepreneurs creating solutions to help enterprises connect, collaborate, and develop new products.

Paul Tran, Director at Brightidea, was there to deliver the Brightidea Open Innovation overview including the vision of Innovation OnDemand, the Brightidea Innovation Grid, and how large organizations are using OI to solve their biggest challenges. You can watch the 9 minute replay on Vimeo.

[Video] Innovation Champions: CCH Adopts an Innovation Framework

Posted by Janelle Noble at 8:32 AM, January 08, 2013

Alison Scott and Mary Nimietz [CCH, A Wolters Kluwer Business] from Brightidea on Vimeo.

This series lets you get an inside look at top global businesses and their leaders that create innovation program success.

Giving us exclusive insights about innovation at CCH, A Wolters Kluwer Business are Alison Scott, Sr. Executive Management Coordinator, and Mary Nimietz, Executive Assistant at CCH. As the leading provider of information services, CCH provides software and workflow tools for tax, accounting, legal and business professionals. Their products track, report, explain, and analyze tax and related law. CCH's leadership realizes that in order to make the processes of the company more efficient and identify new market opportunities, an effective, centralized program needed to be created to tap employees for solutions to critical business needs. The goal for CCH, in terms of innovation, is to spread the skills to innovate across the board, into different business units. Reframing the innovation culture within CCH, both Mary and Alison have exemplified their skills and drive to make innovation a reality every day at CCH.

Connect with other innovation managers like Alison and Mary today by becoming a part of the Birds of a Feather community!

[Video] Innovation Champions: Mentor Graphics Innovation Program Success

Posted by Janelle Noble at 8:30 AM, December 05, 2012

Beth Beck: [Mentor Graphics] from Brightidea on Vimeo.

This series looks at the ways top leaders of global companies succeed by integrating innovation into their everyday business processes.

This is an exclusive interview with Mentor Graphic's Engineering Program Manager, Beth Beck. Mentor Graphics, Inc (NYSE: MENT) is a US-based multinational corporation that deals with electronic design automation for electrical engineering and electronics. Overseeing the databases used for internal processes at Mentor Graphics, Beth Beck is no stranger when it comes to integrating innovation into critical business processes like product development. Utilizing Brightidea's innovation management tool, Mentor Graphics tackles one of their most powerful networks, customers. With Brightidea's software, Mentor Graphics setup an innovation program where customer product ideas and feedback could be captured and reviewed by internal teams. For the company, prioritization of ideas is critical, as is streamlining the process of getting the most valuable ideas into the right hands quickly.

What more? We thought so! Check out other exclusive interviews with Innovation Champions like Beth here. And don't forget to connect with other innovation leaders and champions from top global companies by joining the Birds of a Feather innovation community.

[Video] Innovation Champions: NCR

Posted by Janelle Noble at 8:44 AM, November 01, 2012

Erick Kobres [NCR Corp] from Brightidea on Vimeo.

This series looks at the people who make innovation a reality every day. These individuals are redefining innovation at top global companies by injecting employees and customer input into everyday business processes to uncover transformative innovation.

This exclusive interview with Erick Kobres, Director of NCR Software Labs, gives an insider look at how NCR Corp. (NYSE: NCR) is applying innovation processes within the business in a systematic, repeatable manner. NCR  is an American computer hardware and electronics company that provides products and services that enable businesses to connect, interact, and transact with their customers. Focusing their innovation program to examine breakthrough or disruptive innovation, NCR is tackling innovation with the future in mind. Ultimately, Erick's goal for their innovation program is to break the 'business-as-usual' mindset in a systematic way. Through dedication and visionary leadership, Kobres exemplifies what it means to be an Innovation Champion.

Want to learn more? The Birds of a Feather community connects innovation agents from different sectors and industries under one common goal: to reimagine innovation. Join our online social communities and connect with innovation champs like Eric today.

[Video] Innovation Champions: Underwriters Laboratories

Posted by Janelle Noble at 8:24 AM, October 11, 2012

Gary Chiu [Underwriter Laboratories] from Brightidea on Vimeo.

Innovation Champions: Underwriter Laboratories from Brightidea on Vimeo.

Top global businesses are learning how to master innovation in critical business processes. This series lets you get an inside look at top global businesses and how their leaders create innovation programs succeed.

Gary Chiu, an Engineering Leader from Underwriter Laboratories, sat down with Brightidea to give an exclusive interview about the company and the direction it is taking with innovation. Underwriter Laboratories is a global independent safety science company offering expertise across five key strategic businesses: Product Safety, Environment, Life & Health, Knowledge Services and Verification Services. Chiefly dealing with product safety, Underwriter Laboratories gains input about products sourcing insights and solutions from employees. Gary realizes that as industries become more competitive, traditional cultures and ways of thinking need to adopt a new and innovative methodologies and technologies to respond to ever changing business needs. Pushing an innovation culture with a grass-roots approach to ensure the transparency of actionable ideas that turn into better products, Gary knows what it means to be an Innovation Champion.

Want to learn more? The Birds of a Feather community connects leaders from different industries under one common goal: to reimagine innovation. Join our online social communities and connect with innovation champs like Gary today.

[Video] Innovation Champions: Farm Credit Services

Posted by Janelle Noble at 9:20 AM, September 13, 2012

Innovation Champions: Farm Credit Services of America from Brightidea on Vimeo.

This series lets you get an inside look at top global businesses and their leaders that create innovation program success.

In this video, Brightidea sits down with Angie Winegar, the Director of Strategy & Innovation at Farm Credit Services of America, for an exclusive interview to learn how the company organized around innovation using Brightidea software. Providing credit to nearly one-third of the nation's agricultural industry, Farm Credit Services of America recognizes the importance of utilizing innovation to achieve operational efficiency and promote next generation services for customers. Angie also points out that the company's long-term goal is to sustain a corporate culture where all employees and departments are organizing themselves around innovation in their job functions.

Want to learn more? The Birds of a Feather community connects leaders from different industries under one common goal: to reimagine innovation. Join our online social communities and connect with innovation champs like Angie today.

[VIDEO] Innovation Champions: Sara Lee

Posted by Janelle Noble at 9:43 AM, September 05, 2012

Innovation Champions: Sara Lee from Brightidea on Vimeo.

This series dives into the people behind the scenes, making innovation a key component to the success of top global companies.

Here is an inside look at the people behind innovation management at Sara Lee (NYSE: HSH), a global leader within the competitive and highly regulated food industry. Sharing with us his expertise in the field of corporate innovation is Keith McConnell, an innovation agent at Sara Lee.  Like many other global companies Sara Lee employs third party innovation agents to help guide and execute overall corporate strategy around optimizing the business for success. Keith works out of the Continuous Improvement Group and recognizes the importance of the management of employee ideation to maintain a competitive edge while driving innovation to produce new products. 

Want to learn more? The Birds of a Feather community connects like-minded innovation practitioners around the world. So don't wait any longer, join our social communities online and connect with Innovation Champions like Keith today.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube Ideaspace Innovation at Work Blog
The Innovation Grid
Innovation Management
Innovation Reports
Related Definition
Innovation Videos
Social Platforms
Portfolio Management
Analytics & Reporting
Consumer Packaged Goods
Financial Services

Blog Categories: Brightidea, Innovation & Idea Management Software Leader The Power of Innovation Blog cat