Innovation Leadership, ideas, inventions


In The Innovation Machine. More on Medium.

This month, in the Innovation Machine: A practical guide on how to empower the Innovation Function of your company during the lockdown. Also, a method to accelerate your ideation processes — by adopting a simple ‘idea model’ — and the key traits of Digital Product Leaders.

Innovation in Times of Crisis

How and why to accelerate innovation in times of crisis. I recently had the opportunity to speak to RGI in their first online innovation summit, where I shared my thoughts on ‘innovation in times of crisis’. In this article, I am summarizing the key points — and sharing the actual deck.

Accelerating the ideation process with the ‘Idea Model’

When ideating at scale, it is important to capture ideas using a shared, compact format. This article presents the Idea Model along with various examples of how to write effective executive summaries for your product or business concepts.

The 9 traits of a digital product manager

What makes a great product leader? What are the key qualities that lead to inspired teams and products that people love? …

How and why to accelerate innovation in times of crisis.

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I recently had the pleasure to speak to Really Good Innovation in their first online innovation summit, where I shared my thoughts on ‘innovation in times of crisis’. Here are the summary points — and the actual deck embedded in the following.

Why invest in innovation during times of crisis?

1. To increase your opportunity discovery bandwidth.

The world is changing rapidly and the ability to spot high-potential innovation opportunities, early enough, becomes a survival trait for businesses.

2. To improve the ‘state of mind’ of your company.

Innovation can strengthen the connection among employees and teams, it can fix the morale, the shared attitude.

How to empower innovation in times of crisis?

1. Make it more ‘available’

Provide all the innovation resources via digital means; make your innovation channel always-on.

2. Make it more ‘flexible’

Remove bureaucracies; Make your innovation process simpler, faster, and asynchronous. …

A chain of ideas ‘written in stone’ on blockchain — in the context of Open Innovation. A global platform for publishing ideas, empowering collaboration, and contribution.

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Image by athree23 from Pixabay

I genuinely believe in ideas. Great ideas energize and inspire people; they can transform teams, products, companies, or even societies; they can bring fresh views to complex problems; they can reshape strategies and shed light on unexplored areas.

Yes, ideas alone cannot change the world or build business empires. In practice, even the boldest of ideas can be forgotten, abandoned, or fail due to poor framing and/or execution. To drive results and bring impact, great ideas also need exceptional execution which usually involves a massive effort and collaboration across various teams and, in some cases, organizations.

However, every initiative starts with ideas. It is some great ideas and their potential that inspires individuals, businesses, scientists, and the entire world to move further. And this was the source of inspiration for a new kind of sharing platform: a place where people can articulate and share their concepts, in search of ‘attention’ from the ecosystem — other innovators, businesses, the startup world; communities, and the market. …

A simple, yet powerful model for capturing and sharing business ideas — the ‘Idea form’.

An attempt to draft an idea on paper
An attempt to draft an idea on paper
Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay

Reflecting on more than two decades of innovation work, the weakest points of innovation programs usually refer to the lack of solid innovation definitions and tools. Innovation is often perceived differently depending on the point of view and the background of the observer. In the typical corporate environment, ideas flow in as lengthy decks or documents with no standard structure and associated processing mechanisms.

Ideators often have a hard time explaining their ideas with clarity — due to lack of time, tools, or due to limited experience and lack of guidance.

The following form — the Business Idea template- empowers innovators to articulate their draft ideas quickly, in a standard format. This consistent, short summarization also simplifies the circulation of ideas within the company — sharing, discovering, and consuming ideas within and between teams. Ideas that come in this form are far easier to attract attention by the right stakeholders and trigger meaningful business discussions. …

How a new way of thinking from the design world can push your business forward

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Image by schaeffler

Think about your business or the service you provide to your customers. That business or service depends on a whole system of people and technologies to make it work. You can imagine it as a spiderweb. Your service sits in the centre, with suppliers, workers, technology, and customers connected to it through the lines of the web. Different parts of your business that support that service are also on the web, as well as anything else that affects your service, like laws, other businesses, and even current market trends.* Every spiderweb — every system — will look a little different.

For the past four years, I’ve led design-led innovations at two separate innovation centres. We have been entrusted with dozens of large-scale and complex problems to solve, as well as asked to create innovative solutions to open-ended challenges. The first thing we do when we are given a new problem is to map the entire system it touches. Why? You can’t design a car engine without understanding the entire system of the car; the best engine in the world does you no good if you can’t get the power to the wheels. In the same way, if you want to solve problems in our business or find opportunities, it’s helpful to first build an accurate view of the entire picture of the system. …

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What’s the (user) story?

User stories are simple, yet extremely powerful constructs: they describe pieces of functionality from a user’s point of view, expressed in a solid, compact way. They reflect what a particular class of user needs and the value to be gained. The format is very simple and easy to use. There are several variations, including:

As a <role or persona>, I can <goal/need> so that <why>”

Or, in another instance:

“As a <particular class of user>, I want to <be able to perform/do something> so that <I get some form of value or benefit>

Why User Stories?

User stories provide an excellent way to define your product with clarity. A set of well-defined, prioritized user stories can help you articulate the functionality of your product using ‘plain English’ — with no technicalities and implementation details. …

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This refers to a patent application on how technology can capture the ‘rhythm of the game’ in sports events by leveraging smartphones and/or wearable devices by members of the audience.

A technology augmenting the online/TV experience of watching a live match by providing and visualizing the pulse of the game. Users watching a live game (physically, in-stadium) naturally react to certain match events and express themselves with ‘universal’, ‘natural’ movements. As the match evolves, ‘dramatic’ events causing the audience to react with a certain movement (stand-up, jump, etc.) is captured sent back to the central server, which processes the data in search of ‘concurrency-based patterns’ which are then translated and visualized to the connected online users. …

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Imagine a high-tech election process where a weight factor is assigned to the vote (not the citizen) via a process aiming to reflect the level of ‘context understanding’ of the citizen at ‘voting time’. The higher the level of context understanding —that is, the reality — by the citizen, the higher the importance of the vote.

The level of ‘context understanding’ could be objectively determined via a secure, randomized digital micro-questionnaire to be answered by the citizen as part of the (online) voting process.

Such a voting process would effectively reduce the importance of emotion-driven voting behaviors and the impact of stereotypes, tradition or other non-rational components. …

Five social concepts that could evolve in successful startups!

This post presents five social product concepts— from music and news to recruitment services — which have been in my ideas backlog for a while and could inspire ambitious entrepreneurs out there and trigger product development discussions.

1. A Social Music Discovery service

Allow people to naturally discover music by accessing the most popular & recently played songs in reference to a particular social situation.

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Assuming a particular social arrangement (a class in a University, customers in a Bar/Movie theater, friends having a coffee etc.); this app scans the connected music services of each person in the arrangement (for instance Spotify accounts, YouTube music content, etc.) …

Are we going back to ‘office as usual’, or a new, adaptive, and flexible model is emerging? How could current online collaboration tools become more effective and help us perform better while working remotely?

The Future of Collaboration: Home Office or Corporate Office?

There seems to be a great alternative: Work from Anywhere.

10 Ideas to Improve Online Meetings and Collaboration Tools

Video conferencing tools like Zoom, Skype, or WebEx along with Digital tools like Microsoft Teams and Slack are deeply embedded into the modern ways of working — even more during the lockdown era. And their role will only get more important.

The Power of Ideas (and a Model to Unleash it)

A Universal Model for Articulating Business (and other) Ideas

Interested? Get in Touch!

We are a group of technologists who believe in innovation as a means for solving big, challenging problems. Our aspiration is to form and grow an active community of innovators willing to exchange ideas, knowledge, and best practices in the broader innovation space — and hence we’d love your contribution!

Do you have an innovation topic you’d like us to write about? Let us know

Do you have an innovation topic that you’d like to write about? Email our team:

The Innovation Machine team

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