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.

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.

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.

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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.

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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!

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.

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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.

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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.

There's a Better Way to Manage WebStorm Requests

Posted by Steve Bell at 10:44 AM, February 05, 2014


When the word gets out how effective your ISS team is at driving innovation results across your organization, the business units will start lining up for your services. While popularity is a good problem to have, keeping track of all those innovation challenge requests can get unwieldy fast without the right tools. Our WebStorm Request Management feature helps you streamline the process of handling submissions, tracking and managing WebStorm requests so you stay on top of things and let nothing slip through the cracks.

Here’s how it works:

A new WebStorm Request Widget streamlines the request process. An administrator can easily place the widget on any WebStorm or Enterprise pages without technical assistance.

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After clicking on the “Request a WebStorm” button, the requester is directed to a new WebStorm Request form that collects all the pertinent information needed to create and schedule a new WebStorm – things like the topic, dates, sponsor, and target audience.

WebStorm-Request-Form

All actions are automatically captured and communicated through notifications and email.

A new management page makes it easy for system administrators to monitor, review and respond to WebStorm requests. From this interface, administrators can also create the new WebStorm.

WebStorm-Request-Management

After a new WebStorm is created from the WebStorm request, the requester automatically receives an email message with a URL to navigate to their new WebStorm.

We have received extremely positive feedback since rolling out the new WebStorm Request feature. If you have not enabled this beta feature yet for your program, we encourage you to do so and enjoy its benefits!

The Top 5 Most Important Articles On Innovation in the Past Year

Posted by Jesse Leone at 9:00 AM, January 29, 2014


With the passing of another year, I’m reminded of British novelist Leslie Hartley who once said, “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” Looking forward to new beginnings in 2014, I believe it’s important to reflect on our forthcoming journey and what the future has in store.

Having worked with more than 100 innovation programs around the world, I’ve developed a habit of tracking trends that shape the global innovation landscape. Because this year was filled with such amazing content, I’d like to share what I consider to be the top five most important articles on innovation in the past year.

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#5 On Innovation and Disruption
“The common perception that disruptive innovations are occurring more frequently is based on something real.”

Jason Pontin, editor in chief of MIT Technology Review, riffs on the increasing pace of disruptive innovation throughout recent history, driving toward a list of the top 50 most disruptive companies according to the very reputable folks at MIT.

#4 How Corruption Is Strangling US Innovation
This presentation from Harvard Business Review masterfully summarizes the challenges faced when corporatism and politics cross paths. The same system that has fueled the engine of human development for centuries is quickly becoming the largest inhibitor of innovation in the United States.

#3 What’s the Roadmap for Innovation in China 
This article from Fast Company reflects on the state of innovation in China. Though the country has struggled to keep up with the pace of US and European innovation, China’s rich history of invention and its rapidly modernizing economy are positioning Chinese companies to become world leaders in innovation over the next century.

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#2 Taking the Measure of Your Innovation Performance
Several authors at Bain and Company illustrate what it takes to drive successful innovation inside your company. Through some really compelling research and examples, this article was a must read for anyone breaking into the innovation space in 2013.

#1 How To Really Measure a Company's Innovation Prowess
Despite strong examples like Google and Apple, those of us who study innovation understand that most companies are still coming to terms with their utter lack of innovation prowess. Scott Anthony, managing partner of the innovation consulting firm Innosight, writes a very insightful article noting some breakthrough methods for measuring innovation within your company. This article is truly geared for the innovation Jedis out there.

Jesse Leone is an Innovation Consultant in Brightidea’s Professional Services Team. His work includes management consulting with some of the largest innovation programs around the world, including General Electric, Motorola, Sony, and SAP. In his personal life, Jesse enjoys pursuing the creation of art, music, and technology.

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.

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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".

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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