Articles From Robert B.Tucker View Profile

Share this Article
  • The 6 Hottest Innovation Trends

    Robert B.Tucker, The 6 Hottest Innovation Trends

    Next week, thousands of people from around the world will gather in Boston to hear the latest developments in the fast-changing field of innovation. For me, the Front End of Innovation conference is a kind of homecoming, a place where I swap ideas with practitioners and fellow consultants that I don’t often get to see, and spot emerging trends. In preparation for next week’s event, here’s my take on the most significant trends shaping the innovation field in 2014. I’ll let you know in future editions of this newsletter which ones I left out.

    1.  The start up boom is energizing the global economy.

    Only a few years ago, pundits were worried sick that all the best minds of the younger generation were headed to Wall Street. How 30 minutes ago! Today millennials with even an ounce of entrepreneurial spirit are heading instead to the tech hubs: Silicon Valley, or Silicon Beach (Venice, California), or Soho (New York) or Tel Aviv, Dublin or Lima, with a passion that makes Wall Street seem downright dull in comparison. They’re fired up to create the next Facebook, or WhatsApp, or start a robotics company that changes the world. They are discovering that funding is available, fans and followers and paying customers are receptive, and incumbent multinationals ready to buy their ideas. Google has purchased eight companies in the past five months, including Nest, maker of smart thermostats and smoke detectors, and is apparently branching out to serve “the connected home.” Who’s next?  Serial entrepreneur Richard Barton, whose startups include Zillow, Expedia, Glassdoor and others says he benefits from being away from the frenetic pace of Silicon Valley. He gets ideas by repeatedly asking a simple question: “what piece of marketplace information do people crave and don’t have?”

    In sum: Whether it starts in Silicon Valley or elsewhere, the startup boom is providing much needed oxygen to the global economy. The trend is likely to continue to grow in importance. Already it is having a profound impact on the corporate world; here the message is clear: cultivate a culture of innovation or your best and brightest will bolt. No industry’s incumbents are safe from the startups, who are busy trying to disrupt the business models in the unlikeliest of industries, like thermostats.

    2.  Open Innovation is Going Mainstream.  

    With global R&D budgets declining in real dollars over the past decade, collaborating externally with partners (suppliers, customers, universities, etc.) by sharing technologies, risk and financial rewards has become a growing method to make up the shortfall.

    The term was first coined by UC Berkeley professor Henry Chesbrough in his 2003 book Open Innovation, and received notice when Procter & Gamble adopted his methods with their pioneering Connect and Develop program, whereby 50 percent of product ideas come from outside the company. Today, legal concerns around IP (Intellectual Property) have been somewhat mitigated, and the boundaries between a firm and its suppliers and stakeholders have become more permeable. Within this new “open” framework, ideas (and technology) can easily transfer inward and outward to the mutual benefit of all parties.

    At the conclusion of the recent Open Innovation Summit in Baltimore, blogger Sara Caldicott  reported on case studies from companies as diverse as Clorox, Amazon, Intel and Pfizer, and concluded that “open innovation success offers firms newfound abilities to pivot rapidly into diverse business models, distant geographies, as well as gain access to new target audience groups and technology platforms.” Look for Open Innovation to go mainstream as an essential best practice in a resource-constrained era.

    3. Innovation is Becoming Everybody’s Business.

    Until only recently, innovation was the province of the R&D department, new product development, and the marketing team. No longer. Today a firm’s next breakthrough might arise from its logistics department, from a new manufacturing technique, or from its creating a new market or business model. With this in mind, more and more progressive companies are training their high potential managers and individual contributors in the skills of innovation. Topics include: How to pounce on opportunities; how to recognize the unarticulated needs of consumers; how to collaborate cross functionally to remove barriers to successful innovation; how to sell new ideas up, down and laterally; and how to set expectations in the case of a high-risk new ventures or business models. While the present generation of CEOs is dominated by Boomers –who didn’t study innovation as a field in school — the rising generations are finding it valuable, if not essential, to champion a revenue–building project, product or service. In sum: mastering the mindset, skillset and toolset of innovation is sure to become a requirement for advancement to the top.

    4. The “Sharing Economy” is Unstoppable.

    The hotelier that will soon overtake Hilton and InterContinental to become the world’s largest lodging chain doesn’t own a single room. AirBnb, based in San Francisco, is a website which enables homeowners in 192 countries to rent out their spare rooms or vacant homes or apartments to travelers. Airbnb is one of a growing number of innovative startups that are part of the burgeoning “sharing economy” movement, which allows regular people to make money on assets they already own. Result: more and more traditional industries are being upended by competitors from outside their industry. The taxi industry is being disrupted by Uber, a ride sharing app that’s already spread to 70 cities. Airbnb is busy disrupting the hotel industry. TaskRabbit is a threat to the temporary staffing industry. Want to share your car and pick up some extra income? Register it on RelayRides or Sidecar.

    According to Forbes, the trend is already generating $3.5 billion a year, with growth exceeding 25%. While regulators are currently clipping the wings of certain of these upstarts, their cumulative effect is said to have a major impact on cities, product manufacturers and service providers. Using Ebay’s rating system, and smartphones that let sharers transact anywhere, anytime, micro-entrepreneurs are empowered to further monetize this space for years to come. Just as YouTube did with TV, and blogs did to traditional media, the peer-to-peer sharing trend is becoming a major disruptive force that will, in the years ahead, create winners and losers in its wake.

    5. The Rise of the CINO.

    In 2006, a new breed of senior managers began to emerge at forward-thinking companies like GE, BBC, Whirlpool, Humana, and Shell. The title they took was often chief innovation officer; their goal was to align innovation strategy and culture. By putting somebody in this role, these organizations helped drive growth and transformation in a more systematic way.

    Then came the Global Financial Crisis. For a while, not much was heard from these “innovation czars” as some have termed them. But now the trend is again on the upswing, helped along by a string of CINO conferences that bring these souls together to commiserate and collaborate. According to a Cap Gemini global survey of 260 innovation executives, 43% said their companies have a formally accountable innovation executive, up from 33% the previous year.

    My own preliminary research reveals that roles and responsibilities vary widely, as does their clout and effectiveness.  However, there does seem to be one key to success: having the ear and the support of the chief. Another major success factor is whether incentives and are aligned such that business units are compensated at least in part on inventing the future, rather than profitability alone.

    Not all CINOs succeed; for some it’s a lonely and career-risking post. But those who do, such as Lee Clark Sellars at building materials giant Ply Gen Corporation, move the growth needle and get promoted, or recruited to run major companies (Marissa Mayer, now CEO of Yahoo). “Companies with highly aligned innovation strategies and cultures generate 30% higher enterprise value growth and 17% higher profit growth than industry peers,” reports a Booz & Company study. There’s growing recognition that CINOs are the missing link in gaining this kind of alignment. Look for the position to grow in the years ahead.

    6. Crowdsourcing will continue to gain clout in large organizations.

    Denmark-based Lego Toys uses crowdsourcing to inspire ideas from fans that its own 180 designers might not have ever thought of. Submissions that receive 10,000 votes from site visitors are then vetted by Lego reviewers. And fans whose models are chosen for production receive one percent of their toy’s revenue. Thanks to the internet and social media, crowdsourcing is one of the hottest new methods of tapping customers (and the wider public’s) knowledge, creativity and insight to further your company’s goals. Other organizations are crowd-sourcing for solutions to vexing technical problems or to discover winning algorithms (Netflix), while snack giant Lay’s, a division of Frito Lay, asks the crowd to suggest new chip flavors or even whole snack categories via its crowdsourcing website. To see the front lines of this revolutionary trend visit Clorox Connects and you’ll see dozens of ideas submitted by Clorox consumers. Fact is, we’ve been crowdsourcing since the time of the Romans. What’s different today is the scale and scope of this new method of interacting with the wider world, and this dynamic will only grow in the years ahead.

    Clearly, you can look at your company’s innovation efforts and say “business as usual.” But that’s dangerous. The driving necessity is to continue to upgrade and refine the way you practice innovation, and this is a function of leadership. Hopefully these six trends will spur you to take action, and I wish you all the best.

Share this Article
X

FIND A SPEAKER

TESTIMONIALS

Testimonials
  • "Richard, Your ability to put me in front of just the right group again and again, is nothing short of amazing. You work your tail off, you sweat the ...
    Alan Hobson
  • "Thanks to you and Jo for all your efforts.  Connie Podesta and Roger Dow were great!"   
    National Apartment Association
  • "You made my job so much easier! You are the only bureau I will use."     
    Sigma Systems
  • "I appreciate your recommendations.  In addition, you are always a pleasure to work with and understand the pains of an over worked meeting plann...
    Milliman
  • "I will be sure that all involved know what a wonderful resource you have been. The universe smiled on me when I discovered Executive Speakers and you...
    Ocala Eye
  • "My entire team has enjoyed the experience of working with you and ESB more than words can express. Everything was handled in a professional and timel...
    Cregger Company
  • "Let me just say again, what a pleasure it is to work with you and ESB. You really make it harder for others to reach the bar."
    ASTD
  • "It was a great pleasure to work with you in making this event a success. Your professionalism, attention to detail and response to all my questions a...
    Fellowship of Christian Athletes
  • We truly appreciate the excellent support and attention to detail we have received from Executive Speakers Bureau.  They have provided us with so...
    IBM
  • "I LOVE this list that you sent me! I emailed several different places on Tuesday an...
    CoreLogic
  • "We loved our speakers. Thanks to you and your team for your outstanding service and thank you for your patience!"

    National Association of the Blind
  • I want to thank you for all of your assistance you and Jenny were wonderful. If it had not been for you sending me suggestions I would not have found ...
    West Virginia Tourism
  • Our bank has held an annual business and economic conference for the past 9 years.  We have worked with Executive Speakers every year and I have ...
    First Midwest Bank
  • "My mind was very much at ease knowing that Jack Uldrich was so well prepped.  I will definitely use your agency again."  
    EAIE
  • Thanks to Richard and Jo for all the coordination. Another homerun from Executive Speakers Bureau!  
    Wisconsin Hospital Association
  • "OMG Richard! As always you make me look like a rock star. Every single speaker we selected hit it out of the park. Thank you again. Can't even say wh...
    Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Assn.
  • "I wanted to share with you feedback of my experience in working with Executive Speakers Bureau.. Very responsive and detail oriented.  When I wa...
    Amdocs
  • Thanks to you, Jo and the rest of your team.  You are the BEST.  Knowing you are behind a speaker allows us the luxury of concentrating on o...
    Ohio Hospital Association
  • "As I mentioned before, your engagement model was incredibly easy to work with, and I know we came to you on short notice!  I would highly recomm...
    Capitol One
  • "Let me tell you that the ESB team and Christine's responsiveness, follow up, proactivity, industry knowledge, and overall customer service was phenom...
    Clear Link
  • You ladies really are the BEST!  After this event I am going to be on the hunt for keynote speakers in May.  I really want to work with you ...
    ICMI
  • "The group that I work with to obtain all of my keynote speakers is Executive Speakers Bureau and I can tell you that I don’t like working with ...
    Indiana Youth Institute
  • I’ve used the services of a number of speakers bureaus in the past. However, my current experience working with the Executive Speakers Bureau ha...
    Intel
  • Bridgeworks was awesome!!! Great feedback from all!! Thanks for all of your collaboration and positive we'll use you in the future.  
    Johnson & Johnson
  • As always, you deliver excellent service. Thanks!
    Camden National Bank
  • "I want to thank you for helping with our Principals Day event. Marshall Goldsmith was excellent. Not only is Marshall the consummate professional, be...
    Burns & McDonnell
  • We could not have done it without you.  Thank you for the outstanding suggestions.  The speakers were by far the best we have ever had.
    FedEx
  • "Your tenacity and persistence in staying in touch with us is a model example of good salesmanship and partnering.  I will be using you as an exa...
    Schneider Electric
  • The Nebraska Hospital Association along with numerous other state hospital associations have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Executive Speak...
    The Nebraska Hospital Association
  • "I shared with Kaplan [Mobray] that I had never had this type of experience with ANY vendor I have worked with in the past. Your responsiveness to urg...
    Gates Corp.
  • Thank you to both of you for everything surrounding Mr. Will as our special guest. I suspect, soon, I will be in touch regarding our next event. 
    Oxford Financial
  • "Thank you so much for all your help in putting this together on such short notice. I will definitely use your services again in the future."
    Applied Materials
  • The event was EASY Cake! and it went over very very well.  Thank you so much for the help and organization, it made my life very easy. 
    Boys & Girls Club
  • “Thank you guys it was a pleasure working with you.... You made the whole process easy. Thanks again”
    CableNation
  • "WOW, is all I have to say and thank you!  Our event was a huge success and you never steer me wrong, both David Cottrell and Ryan Estis were exc...
    ICMI
  • "Everyone loved Bob and he was so nice on site. Thank you for all you did. The process was so easy and we will definitely work with you again next yea...
    NBC
  • "This year’s speaker line-up at our Summer Meeting was the best yet. We knocked it out of the park. Thanks for all your help securing such excel...
    North Carolina Hospital Association
  • "We not only went 3 for 3 but I'd say they were all home runs! Thanks for your help on the speakers. It was a key and very positive component of our c...
    Chem-Dry
  • Everything went really well and we really enjoyed having Jack Uldrich as our speaker!  He was entertaining and funny and provided great examples....
    Novo Nordisk
Need Suggestions? Have Questions?

Need Suggestions? Have Questions?

Call us to discuss how we can help find the right speaker for your organization.

Get Ideas in 2 Hours or Less

Please fill in information below

Executive Speakers Bureau consistently receives praises about our speed and efficiency. From the beginning of your event planning, our extensive online speaker database and resourceful staff allow us to quickly equip you with the best speaker for your event.

Need a last minute speaker? No worries. Our speed and efficiency help us give you ideas for speakers in two hours or less.


Privacy by SafeSubscribeSM