18 January 11
It’s a new year, and that means everyone’s looking forward to the exciting things they plan to accomplish in 2011. At futurethink, we’re thrilled to share some changes we have in store for this year. First on the list: launching our blended learning innovation curriculum along with our completely retooled website! We’d be bluffing if we said we weren’t excited about it. The new site unveils our online and offline training programs that help teams experience, extend, and support innovation internally.
Along with the launch, we’re integrating the futurethinktank blog into the new site. You can now access all the stimulating insights and tasty innovation tidbits you love at www.futurethink.com/blog. Please remember to update your bookmarks.
Thanks for following and contributing to futurethinktank over the years, making it a valued resource for thoughtful discussion around all things innovative. We’d like to leave you with links to a few of your favorite posts from over the years:
20 December 10
At futurethink, we are as dedicated to understanding the trends in corporate training as we are to being experts in innovation. This being the case, we often examine the upcoming trends and implications in the Learning & Development industry. If someone told you that in the future, a company’s #1 competitive advantage would be its ability to train and develop its human capital, how would you react?
Is your organization prepared for such a shift? How can you be sure your programs are focusing on the right skills, and delivering training in the best way? Are you getting the most out of the latest technologies? Have you tapped into the value of new strategies, such as game mechanics, to make training stick?
Our latest paper on Learning & Development (download for free HERE) answers these questions—and many more. Like so many fields, L&D is undergoing dynamic change. With a global, multi-generational workforce and new tools and technologies arising all the time, it’s essential to understand the forces driving these changes and to use them to create more effective programs. To garner insights, futurethink designed an in-depth survey and reached out to L&D leaders at some of the most innovative firms across industries. Read the rest of this entry »
16 December 10
The New Year is just around the corner. While we at futurethink tend to look towards the exciting opportunities that lie ahead, in December it’s always nice to stop and reflect. Now is the perfect time to look back on the past year and think about what we’ve accomplished, what we’ve learned, and what we’ll change the next time around.
It’s been a busy year at futurethink, from releasing new courses and proprietary research to earning recognition from trainingindustry.com as one of the ‘2010 Leadership Training Companies to Watch’. We launched our blended learning curricula to provide top-notch innovation training with maximum flexibility and increased interactivity. The feedback has been fantastic. Many of you have experienced these engaging programs, which tackle a range of innovation topics through eLearning, webinars, and workshops. Look for more programs that address specific innovation needs next year. Read the rest of this entry »
8 December 10
I often find myself lost at the local grocery store, or on the pages of soap.com, shopping list in hand, wondering how to choose between the plethora of kitchen towels, detergents, or bath products available. Better yet, how does a company like Proctor and Gamble get me to purchase their particular version of a product? Packaging surely can’t get any more glitzy and eye-piercing, one would hope, so how do I pick among the various options without experiencing buyer’s remorse once I return home?
It just so happens that P&G conducted a market research campaign which showed that up to a quarter of household product purchases failed to live up to expectations but that nevertheless, people were very open to trying out new and innovative products they came across. Instead of simply gearing up for another media advertising campaign, P&G decided to open up a pop-up store in a busy Manhattan intersection to give visitors a tactile experience of select merchandise in order to sway their purchasing habits. The ten day pop-up experience, located on the corner of 57th Street and 6th Avenue, was part of P&G’s new marketing campaign designed to showcase 18 of the company’s newer and innovative products. Dubbed “Have You Tried This Yet”, the new campaign focused on providing various customer touch points in order to form a stronger connection between buyer and product, and allow visitors to actually try out products while being helped by friendly P&G employees. Perhaps this would help me find some answers to my vexing shopping experience? Read the rest of this entry »
2 December 10
As you look to develop and grow your innovation team, take a few moments to define your ideal innovator. There is no one “type” that defines an innovator. Many are creative, flexible, collaborative, entrepreneurial, analytical, strong leaders, etc… However, the specific combination of skills that will make an innovator successful differs in each organization. It’s important to identify and prioritize what it takes to be a successful innovator in your own organization. What skills does someone on your innovation team need to have? What experiences? What mindset?
Open up a blank document, and create a few different headings: Skills, Experience, Mindset, Education, Outlook, Interests, etc. Under each heading, jot down what your ideal innovator looks like. Once you’ve completed this quick exercise, you will have in front of you a wish list for your innovation team.
This list can serve as a set of goals for your existing team (what skills and mindsets do you need to build internally?), and can also act as an interview document for new candidates.
Share with us below the skill set and mindset that it takes to be a good innovator in your firm.
18 November 10
Disruptive innovation is exciting. Big breakthroughs like Netflix, Zipcar, and the iPad, generate big headlines. However, it’s important to recognize that many of the most profitable innovations aren’t disruptive at all.
A classic example of non-disruptive innovation is the addition of wheels to suitcases. Many thousands of years after both the suitcase and wheels were invented, the two products were combined in 1970 to make life easier for travelers. This small, incremental change made a big difference and gave suitcase companies a way to differentiate themselves. Incremental innovation is defined as improving, reconfiguring, or building upon a form or technology that already exists. By focusing on incremental innovation, companies can align existing offerings with current trends, expand on what they already do well, and continuously create value.
Many companies practice incremental innovation. Let’s take a look at a few recent examples that demonstrate the value of this approach:
- Google Instant — Just when you thought the browsing experience couldn’t get any better, Google launches their new search feature Google Instant. This new predictive feature displays results as soon as you start typing. Google estimates that this will save users approximately 2-5 seconds per search. The feature has been so popular that it has inspired programmers to create their own versions, including YouTube instant and Yahoo’s new Rich Search Assist. Read the rest of this entry »
11 November 10
Look at any industry that has been disrupted over the last half-century, and you’ll discover foretelling data in the years prior to the disruption. In the early part of this millennium, the USPS saw a declining growth rate of the volume of mail it delivered despite steady revenue. The same is true for the music industry as sales of compact discs remained steady in the late ‘90s. The music and postal industry giants made the mistake of being complacent because signs of growth were still evident, even as their disruptors, digital music and communications, were gaining steam.
So ask yourself: how is your organization reviewing and analyzing data? All the metrics you track may look healthy, but remember that your metrics aren’t the only data outputs to pay attention to. Think about what’s happening outside your organization. What companies are growing faster than yours? What are these companies doing differently? What are they doing better? How could they transform your industry 5 years from now? Make it a point to sit down with your team on a regular basis to take stock of your industry, its players, and upstarts in adjacent industries as well. The wider you look, the more you stand to learn.
It’s better to push your boundaries and widen your field of vision now than it is to be sitting on the sidelines five to ten years from now.