Nielsen Case Study on Achieving Innovation Program Success

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 11:52 AM, July 29, 2014


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Nielsen is the definitive brand in worldwide market intelligence and consumer media viewership information. As new media technologies developed quickly in the second decade of the new millennium, Nielsen faced the challenge of an increasingly complex innovation program and the inability to effectively manage its ideas. Their innovation program desperately needed some innovation. They sought a better way to track and visualize their innovation program in visible and accessible metrics, and increase employee participation.

Nielsen enlisted the help of Brightidea to develop a dynamic and autonomous, yet still intuitive, platform for idea management. They wanted a system that was so simple that users from any background and skillset could operate it without prior training. In restructuring its innovation process, Nielsen created one dedicated group for the entire company, with three program managers who provided each business unit with a roadmap of optimized innovation guidelines and direction. Brightidea implemented a WebStorm building platform for Nielsen, on which employees and customers are encouraged to submit ideas on specified topics and objectives, or “Challenges.” Managers evaluate submissions and drive participation by hosting 10-15 incentive Challenges at any given time. Employees and customers are reassured that their voice is being heard with regular updates to the status of their Challenge.

Over time, Nielsen has achieved widespread adoption of the program, churning out over 500 highly qualified idea submissions per quarter. Product development Challenges have already produced multiple ideas that are in the incubation or proof of concept stages. The “Cycle Time” Challenge was particularly effective at reducing development hours, thereby reducing costs and increasing revenue. In 2013, the “Cycle Time” Challenge saved Nielsen over four million employee hours, across all teams.

Looking forward, Nielsen plans to further restructure their innovation program to focus on critical business areas, including revenue, measurable quality enhancements, productivity and long-term sustainability.

For the complete case study download here: Nielsen case study.

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.

Brightidea Talks with Jeff Ferreira-Pro of VSP Global’s Innovation Laboratory

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 8:53 AM, July 15, 2014


Jeff Ferreira-Pro serves as Idea Curator at leading eye and vision care provider VSP Global’s innovation lab, The SHOP. We caught up with Jeff recently at Brightidea’s annual Birds of a Feather Innovation Leaders meeting, held in June 2014 at Quicken Loans, and discussed his experiences in crafting an innovation program at VSP and how Brightidea has continued to help his organization.

In the months just prior to the 2013 Birds of a Feather meeting, Jeff’s team was just getting started deploying their Brightidea-powered innovation program, Idea Bank. At the 2013 event, the team was overwhelmed with different ideas and strategies from other leading organizations with more mature innovation programs. They took their insights home from the meeting and integrated them to their Idea Bank with Brightidea.

Over the course of the past year, through trial and error, Jeff and his team zeroed-in on a sustainable innovation strategy for VSP and re-launched their Idea Bank. They developed a top down, middle out, bottom up structure that stimulates innovation at all levels of the company and struck a chord with its employees.

Jeff’s team planned their Idea Bank to collect the deluge of great ideas that are generated in such a diverse company. VSP Global is a dynamically changing organization that houses insurance, healthcare, software, manufacturing and fashion branches. With such diversity of contributors, they needed a robust innovation program and created Idea Bank to manage all of the ideas. Jeff enables VSP to redefine the industry with their ideas, rather than let them slip through the cracks and watch someone else do it.

The SHOP has found Brightidea to be invaluable for crowdsourcing innovation across their vast network. Because of the diverse nature of VSP Global, with insurance, fashion and vision components, the Idea Bank serves as a cross-organizational tool to facilitate innovation among their intertwined businesses. Each element of their business structure has ripple effects on the others, which must be taken into account when innovating and growing.

VSP employees have an average tenure of almost ten years, creating the challenge of combating complacency and the assumption that the status quo will always remain. Aware of this tendency, Jeff is vigilant to keep abreast of changes in the industry and listens to customer needs to make sure that VSP doesn’t get surpassed by a startup that’s doing something novel. Customers often don’t know what they want until it is shown to them, which keeps Jeff and his team on their toes, always looking to the future and trying new directions in innovation.

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

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!

Challenge Promotion Tools

Posted by Steve Bell at 10:21 AM, May 28, 2014


Innovation executives and program managers know that it can sometimes be a struggle to get and keep the attention of employees for the duration of an innovation Challenge. It’s not uncommon for a Challenge to start strong with a lot of idea flow, only to wane over time.

Enabling employees to innovate through their mobile device stimulates Challenge engagement, which is one of the main reasons Brightidea’s new Mobile 5 is being met with such enthusiasm.

Mobile 5 Adoption!

Mobile-Adoption

To ensure employees are taking full advantage of the power and convenience of mobile, they need to be made aware of it. That’s why we’ve recently released a set of new features focused on helping innovation managers promote their innovation Challenges and stimulate mobile usage. Here’s what’s new:

Mobile Promotion Widget Use the new Mobile Promotion Widget to promote mobile usage directly from your Challenge (WebStorm) or Enterprise home page. Your employees can click the iPhone or Android button to receive an email link that takes them directly to the app download. The widget image and text are fully customizable.

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Mobile Promotion Newsletter Challenge administrators can now select a new out-of-the-box Mobile Promotion newsletter template to quickly and easily send employees instructions on how to get the Mobile 5 app.

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Mobile Download Link in System Email Footer When your employees receive Brightidea system-generated emails, you can now include a customizable promotion in the footer, like “Try innovating on the go with your mobile device!” with a link to download the app.

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Smart App Banners New Smart App Banners prompt the download of the Mobile 5 app when a user accesses Brightidea via their mobile browser. If the user already has the Mobile 5 app installed, it will prompt the user to open it.

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Invite a Colleague To encourage collaboration, you can enter a colleague’s email address to invite them to participate via mobile device. They will receive an email with a link to download the app and will be allowed to participate as long as they have been invited to the Challenge.

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Editable Push Notifications Push notifications have several important functions: first, they’re a great way to instantly mobilize hundreds or thousands of employees to participate in a new Challenge. They also play a critical role in keeping employees engaged over time with real-time updates on ideas, such as votes, comments, and tags. You can also use push notifications to create a sense of urgency with a note like “Don’t forget your Challenge is ending in 3 days – get your ideas in now!”

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Challenge Managers can now fully customize notification text from the Challenge (WebStorm) setup page.

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With these new promotional tools, Innovation Program Managers can tap into one of the most significant trends of our time – the mobile workforce – to engage employee innovators wherever they are to collaborate and find solutions to pressing business issues across your organization. To learn more about Mobile 5 visit our webpage at brightidea.com/mobile5.

Merck Focuses on Innovation Strategy to Prepare for the Healthcare Industry of Tomorrow

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 2:37 PM, May 21, 2014


The healthcare field is a known hotbed of innovation and discovery, particularly as practitioners seek to overcome hurdles and challenges the industry faces. Forward-thinking healthcare companies today are striving to find solutions to patient needs that transcend medication, requiring great changes to the incumbent organizational structures. Such large amounts of innovation require an appropriate means of management. 

In a recent interview with Eye for Pharma, Samuel Pygall, Patient Services Manager at Merck, Sharpe and Dohme (Merck & Co.) discussses the many facets of organizations that first need addressing in order to drive innovation program initiatives.  

Using Interdisciplinary Expertise to Innovate Across Departments

Early in my career, I learned that I love to build products, and that's what I've spent the past 10 years doing. Most recently, I headed up the product team at the digital health SaaS company, Zipongo, where we built a personalized healthy eating platform for users, across web and mobile. Previously, as a design strategist at the innovation consultancy, Continuum, I applied design thinking principles to uncover user insights and drive product strategy for clients across industries - including pharma, consumer products, automotive, and hospitality. One of my most rewarding projects was for a home appliance company where we developed a product strategy that redefined air quality for users.

What does innovation mean to you?

The organization of the future foresees "jack-of-all-trades" teams with expertise across many disciplines. Pygall asserts that by breaking out of the traditional structure, these independents will transcend organizational silos by working with points of contact within various departments, sharing and employing their interdepartmental expertise. By holding meetings with stakeholders of the various departments, an organization can increase transparency and progress with moving ideas forward, with the end goal being to benefit the patient.

Pygall has seen through Merck's telehealth initiative, that by getting participants involved in the earliest stages of a project, they enabled efficient progression in the new patient support system. Its stakeholders provided input into the design and development of the new system, which gave them a vested interest in success of the project.

Incentivizing Participation

To achieve big picture success, employees must understand the impact of the innovations on customer value and how integral each of them is to project. This means that the messages must hit home for each participant, by being properly tailored to each department, and avoiding genericized messages designed to inspire all. Each department must understand how important its involvement is and how it will benefit from the success of the program. Allowing employees to devote a percentage of their time to projects of personal interest is also a particularly effective means of inspiring eager participation.

By using these interdisciplinary experts to bridge the gap between departments and incentivizing effective participation in innovation programs, Merck and other healthcare providers can move forward into the medical system of the future.

For more information and the full text of this article, please refer to: http://social.eyeforpharma.com/

Genevieve Wang Joins Brightidea as Senior Director of Product Management

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 10:40 AM, April 11, 2014


Just like our platform, the Brightidea product team continues to grow. Recently, Genevieve Wang joined the company as Senior Director of Product Management. Here’s a little more about Genevieve in her own words:

What were you doing before you joined Brightidea?
Early in my career, I learned that I love to build products, and that’s what I’ve spent the past 10 years doing. Most recently, I headed up the product team at the digital health SaaS company, Zipongo, where we built a personalized healthy eating platform for users, across web and mobile. Previously, as a design strategist at the innovation consultancy, Continuum, I applied design thinking principles to uncover user insights and drive product strategy for clients across industries - including pharma, consumer products, automotive, and hospitality. One of my most rewarding projects was for a home appliance company where we developed a product strategy that redefined air quality for users.

What does innovation mean to you?
Innovation can certainly mean new ways to make things smaller, faster, and cheaper. Yet, the innovation that excites me most is coming up with new products and processes that totally disrupt the ways that things have been done for years. These can be solutions to everyday problems that now seem obvious in retrospect. That’s what Zappo’s has done for the shoe buying experience. That’s what the Kong toy has done for dogs and dog owners. That’s what Brightidea is doing to help customers realize the value in crowdsourced innovation, too.

What gets you excited about working for Brightidea?
Having worked at a variety of different companies, I truly believe that just about any organization I’ve worked with would benefit from a crowdsourced innovation program to engage employees and unlock the value in their ideas. It is highly meaningful to me to be working for a company with tremendous ability to make large-scale impact.

Also, the people at Brightidea are incredible, and I am thrilled to be a part of this team. The culture is one of mutual respect, and the fearless “can do” attitude results in a determination to achieve just about anything that we believe is right for the product. Working in this fast-paced, positive environment motivates me to be the best that I can be.

What new innovation are you most excited about?
I am excited about any innovation that helps me save time. I have become a heavy user of delivery services like Google Shopping Express. For every 20 minutes that one of these services saves me, that’s extra time that I can spend on a much higher value activity, like a phone call to check in with my family in Boston.

I am also pretty excited about Brightidea’s new Mobile 5. You'll be hearing more about Mobile 5 in the coming weeks.

What do you do for fun?
My husband and I rescued a dog, Bentley, a few months ago, and we are having a blast welcoming him into our family. He gives us a fantastic excuse to explore the San Francisco outdoors - from Golden Gate Park to Twin Peaks to Ocean Beach.

Genevieve-Wang

Forbes Article: Tasks Of A Chief Innovation Officer

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 9:05 AM, April 10, 2014



Forbes

Recently, regular Forbes Contributor Michelle Greenwald took a moment to reflect on how companies are responding to the call to innovate and drive forward their business objectives by creating the internal role of Chief Innovation Officer. Tasked with maximizing the company's innovation, Michelle notes that the Chief Innovation Officer looks to achieve their goals by creating an internal innovation team (what we might call a 'Center of Excellence'), crowdsourcing ideas both internally and externally, and then working with business unit stakeholders to manage and prioritize ideas to outcomes.

The article goes on to discuss how leading companies such as P&G, Unilever and Lego manage their innovation program and increase awareness by creating "Challenges" to crowdsource ideas. At Brightidea, we also employ this practice - Challenges are specific topics that the company is looking for ideas, insights, and solutions in response. Challenges are typically time-boxed and communicated broadly across multiple business units in order to crowdsource solutions. From our years of experience working with companies in innovation program development, we find that these time-boxed Challenges are highly effective in keeping participants engaged and focused on delivering innovation program outcomes.

To learn more about how P&G, Unilever and Lego are structuring their innovation Challenges, read the full article on Forbes.

To learn more about Brightidea challenges and results, check out our case studies.

Seven Things to Look for in a Sponsor - of your Next Innovation Challenge

Posted by Anthony Madama at 10:57 AM, March 11, 2014


For Corporate Innovation teams that offer innovation crowdsourcing services to other areas of the business, finding the right Challenge Sponsors can make or break the success of your program.

Graphic

While support from the C-suite can be great to get you started, you can not rely on them for the steady stream of challenge topics that are the life blood of the 'shared service' model.

Eventually you will need to venture out into the organization, and identify business leaders who have real —and pressing— business needs that you can help to solve via crowdsourcing.

Often this is unfamiliar territory for the Innovation Program Manager. It requires internal networking and 'selling' the benefits of the service. It is also a significant departure from the work they have been doing to date (eg. organizing the team, defining the process and project managing the deployment of the Brightidea platform).

There are many different candidates to sponsor challenges, in different departments, with widely varying needs, and it's hard to know where to start.

So we've created this handy list of things to keep in mind as you are looking for sponsors of your next innovation challenge.

Seven Things to Look for in a Sponsor of Your Next Innovation Challenge:

1. Expressed Interest or Curiosity in your Program and Tools. Executives who are already interested in what you are doing, are the easiest to get engaged. Keep your eyes and ears open for business leaders who think what you are doing is cool, and start with them first.

2. Already Engaged in Innovation at the Company. Executives that participate on an Innovation Council or Innovation Steering Committee are strong candidates as well. They will likely be supporting your program at some level and will give you early opportunities to work with the teams or divisions that they lead. Listen closely and allow them to guide you to where you can have the largest impact in the areas they are responsible for.

3. Already Have a Key Challenge they Need to Solve. Maybe it's an aggressive growth target a few years out, or a division that needs to reduce costs. Maybe there is a new trend they want to jump on in a big way or a technical problem that needs to be solved. An executive with a 'burning platform' that needs to get something done, can benefit from fresh thinking and directly engaging their teams to solve the problem.

4. Have Access to Resources to Execute Ideas. Business unit leaders who have existing discreationary budgets for doing new things, be it:R&D, prototyping, custom work, etc. make great sugar daddy's for your innovation program. These executives are used to placing bets on things that may or may not pan out. They often have existing pools of money and resources that are not pre-allocated to mission critical activities and therefore have the latitude to experiment with new things. By teaming with such well-heeled executives, you will not have to waste your time finding additional budget to execute the opportunities you hand-off to them.

5. Operating in an Area with Rapidly evolving Products and Services. Lets face it, at any given point in time, some markets are moving faster than others. If your company made mobile phones and land-line phones, the demand for innovation will probably be greater in the mobile division. Go to where the action is. Look for areas where technology is driving rapid product evolution or where changes in policies or regulations are disrupting how business is being done. Divisions with lots of engineers doing technical design work make great targets. 

6. Bigger is better. The benefits of crowdsourcing increase with scale. Seek out sponsors that lead large teams, or whose challenge topic will be broadly applicable to employees in other business units.  

7. Social Media or Technology Saavy. Does your target sponsor have a blog? Are they active on twitter? Executives that embrace social media often have a 'prepared mind' for crowdsourcing innovation. They are comfortable communicating to large audiences via digital media and understand the untapped power and potential of their network.

*    *    *

The list above describes traits you can use to help identify the strong candidates to sponsor innovation challenges. If you have other tips, I'd love to hear them! Please share them in the comments section below.

If you wish to discuss this topic in more detail, feel free to contact us so we can have one of our innovation consultants reach out to you to discuss further!

Brightidea is the leading provider of collaborative innovation software for companies all over the world. Brightidea believes every company’s innovation process is unique with specific needs changing over time in different ways. The Brightidea platform is designed to be the most flexible and self-configurable available to effectively support customers no matter where they are on their innovation journey. Based in San Francisco, Brightidea has over a decade of experience and has worked with nearly 500 leading corporate innovators, including Adobe, Bayer, Bosch, Chevron, Cisco, General Electric, Humana, SAP, Sony and many others.

Interview with Motorola Solutions Director of Innovation Development

Posted by Kate Pietrelli at 10:27 AM, March 07, 2014



Heidi_Hattendorf

In a recent interview with Chicago Tribune's innovation and entrepreneurship blog, Blue Sky, Motorola Solutions Director of Innovation Development Heidi Hattendorf discusses the framework and responsibilities of its innovation team that ultimately drive the success of their program.

The group consists of innovators and "innovation champions" operating within an incubator environment for crowdsourcing new ideas across multiple business units within the organization. To recruit innovation champions into the program, Heidi's team looks for natural, entrepreneurial leaders within the organization. It's a much sought-after position that also comes with the responsibility for delivering on KPIs within their business unit. In this model, the champion stands behind their idea and brings it to the next level.

Leveraging our Brightidea platform, Motorola Solutions' innovation team works closely with sponsors to design challenges for their business units, and then crowdsources ideas across a global team within Idea Space, delivers actionable opportunities, and ultimately builds a culture centered around collaborative innovation. Heidi's model for structuring the innovation team and integrating the Brightidea platform within the organization has had a substantial impact on the culture as well as measurable outcomes for the business units. For example, one of the outcomes from the program was the development of a head mounted computer, the HC1, which allows a field worker to be hands-free and more productive.

Innovation_framework

As they have for the past two years, Heidi's team will continue to operate its highly successful innovations program leveraging both people and platform technology, building on a culture of innovation and delivering on better, new technologies in the data communications and telecommunications field.

Read the original Chicago Tribune article.

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