Insight # 65 : Innovation: The Sky's the Limit!

5 Ways to Innovate Now

Innovation thrives in Silicon Valley, as Pcubed found during this year's Frost & Sullivan "Growth, Innovation and Leadership" (GIL) event, which took place in San Jose in mid-September. Read on to hear the insights from the event that can help you think more innovatively no matter what part of the world you lead.

Learn Fast

"Learn Fast" has replaced "Fail Fast" as the new mantra towards pursuing innovation. Innovative companies quickly identify those ideas that will not be successful and apply whatever insight and learning they've gleaned in order to refocus and invest in those ideas and options that will work. To be successful, you do need to fail as fast as possible, but then learn from those failures as fast as possible too.

During the "Executing on Disruption" panel one senior executive shared the factoid that about half of their innovative new ideas or products "fail" or the programs are cancelled within 60 days.

People working incubator solutions will know when things need to be called off. They can also tell when the organization is maturing and when it takes hold.

Our Love Affair with Cars is Over

According to executives from BMW i Ventures, by 2050 70 percent of the world's population will live in big cities--challenging the infrastructure of transportation and such things as where we'll park our vehicles The challenge for automotive firms is how to maintain their current relevancy in megacities for the future--especially given the changing demographics where many 20 to 35 year olds don't want to own a car any longer; after all, it's estimated that cars are really only in use about four percent of the time; the rest of the time they're just parked. The new generation of adults is looking for car access, and that's why car sharing is growing in popularity.

The Well Patient: Disruption in Healthcare

Today almost 30 percent of the people who would typically be eligible for military service are ineligible due to health issues including obesity. This is the first generation that won't outlive their parents. In response the U.S. government has now made health a major spending initiative.

According to MDK there needs to be a shift from managing sick patients to focusing on health and people (person-centric vs. patient-centric). There needs to be more support to integrate taking care of oneself into people's everyday lifestyle. People will need to advocate more for themselves and self-navigate the system to get the best care possible. It's going to be more important to focus on staying fit and healthy.

Wearable technologies are here! WellDoc software is now approved as a drug by the Federal Drug Administration. A new class of pharma is being born out of wearable/digital technology, including smartphones and personal monitors such as sports watches. For example, a WellDoc app can monitor and manage diabetes. What's next? Some envision scenarios where people traveling to a new environment can use personal monitors to assess conditions and print via 3D printers non-invasive filters they can immediately put in their nostrils to manage their allergies.

Hyper Personalization is Coming

Stores will ramp up the analysis of the customer through sensor technology. For example, when customers arrive in the parking lot, managers will be able to staff up appropriately and make sure to have just the right amount of cashiers in place to improve the customer experience. And we can expect more analysis of customer preference via sensors on shopping carts and goods.

Accelerate the Speed of Change

At a Pcubed-hosted topic table discussion on "Operational Effectiveness --The Difference between 'Business As Usual' and 'Accelerated Change,'" attendees confirmed that to accelerate change you need to break the process of powering it from the top down. Momentum and appetite for change needs to be generated from within the organization and aligned across teams. A key enabler is engaging with recognition -- it's all about incentivizing.

Of Interest
Uber expects to use Google self-driving cars, making its alternate taxi service truly cheaper than owning a car.
Google's Project Loon networks high altitude balloons to expand Internet connectivity.

Among the critical characteristics for an effective change leader are these:

Humility. This is vital. Leaders need to check their egos at the door and surround themselves by people smarter than they are and be willing to listen to those people. Egos make innovation challenging. Said one panelist, "Even if you are passionate, it's important to have the humility to listen to customers and be open to different ideas and change."

Courage. Leaders need the courage to believe in themselves and to allow people to do what they are good at. Allow them to take risks.

Focus. It's important to help people stay better focused with their time -- to help them understand what they can stop or when they can step away from things so they can be more effective. This can be as tactical as working with staff and helping them cross things off their calendar that aren't critical or aligned enough with the strategic focus of the firm.

Wear a "whole enterprise hat." This is the ability to maintain a cross-functional focus and forge connections and make thing happen across the enterprise.

For further information on this article and Pcubed, please email .