Monday, June 25, 2012

Innovative Management Update: 10 Insights that Identify True Innovators, and More

Every week, we publish an exciting summary of the best articles, videos, events, and posts that relate to innovative management. This week, check out these summaries of 11 GREAT articles that inspire better management. Enjoy!

True Innovators: 10 Insights That Identify Them

There are many ways to identify true innovators. Let me start out with five sentences that really annoy true innovators.
  • This will not work. We have already tried something similar. True innovators know that many things have already been tried before, but they see the flaws of previous failures and/or add new elements that raise the likelihood of success.
  • I like your idea, but I don’t think there is a market for this.
  • I am sorry, but I don’t think you have the proper experience to make this happen.
  •  This opportunity is too small for us.

Next, you get five short sentences that in my view resemble the mindset you need in true innovators.
  • Collaboration is not an option; it’s a requirement. As more and more innovation happens in communities, the future winners of innovation will be those who get this to work the best.
  • Experimentation is everything.
  • Timing is the essence.
  • Perseverance and passion matter more than flashes of brilliance.
  • People are everything.

There are many more ways to describe true innovators. What can you add?

Seoul’s Emart QR Sunny Sale

Korea’s largest retail chain, Emart, found that slumping sales at midday were casting a shadow over its revenues and came up with a clever way to attract lunch-time shoppers. At its 38 locations throughout Seoul, Emart installed three-dimensional QR codes on outdoor pillars located to catch the sun. Like a sundial, the shadows on the QR code moved as the sun changed position, and passersby were alerted that they could only read the QR code’s message between 12 noon and 1 pm. Consumers who scanned the code were directed to the Emart online store where they received $12 coupons for products that would be delivered to their homes. Thousands of consumers claimed Emart vouchers, and sales increased by 25% during the lunch hour.

Something in the Air – Holistic Innovation and Creativity

Creativity and innovation are tightly linked. I have my own model, the ‘Innovation Equation’ that links such factors as need, desire, resistance, creativity (coming up with ideas) and know how (the stuff we already know).
I = α F (C, K)n
It simply states that Innovation is a function of Creativity and Know-how which is multiplied by a constant alpha and raised to a power n where:
  • Creativity is simply the methods and frameworks that we use to create new ideas and knowledge.
  • Know-how is the things that we already know e.g. company history, libraries, employees, skills.
  • Alpha is composed of two components, a desire or need to innovate and resistance. This can make the results negative!
  • The power n is a representation of the maturity level of the frameworks that have been put in place to exploit innovation. This includes culture, leadership & management behaviours. The more we practice, the higher this value can be and hence the more effective our innovation programmes.

Twitter Use 2012

Some 15% of online adults use Twitter as of February 2012, and 8% do so on a typical day. Although overall Twitter usage has nearly doubled since the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project first asked a stand-alone Twitter question in November 2010, the 15% of online adults who use Twitter as of early 2012 is similar to the 13% of such adults who did so in May 2011. At the same time, the proportion of online adults who use Twitter on a typical day has doubled since May 2011 and has quadrupled since late 2010—at that point just 2% of online adults used Twitter on a typical day.1 The rise of smartphones might account for some of the uptick in usage because smartphone users are particularly likely to be using Twitter.

The Computing Trend that Will Change Everything

Computing isn't just getting cheaper. It's becoming more energy efficient. That means a world populated by ubiquitous sensors and streams of nanodata
The performance of computers has shown remarkable and steady growth, doubling every year and a half since the 1970s. What most folks don't know, however, is that the electrical efficiency of computing (the number of computations that can be completed per kilowatt-hour of electricity used) has also doubled every year and a half since the dawn of the computer age.

Looking for the Perfect Tweet

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles and Hewlett-Packard's HP Labs have developed an algorithm that weighs factors such as an article's subject matter and source to determine its likely popularity on Twitter. The algorithm is 84 percent accurate in estimating which news tweets will hit and which will not before the news item itself is actually published. The researchers also were able to determine whether a news article would receive zero retweets with 66 percent accuracy. The news data for the study was collected from a news feed aggregator, and measurements of the spread are performed on Twitter, with the social popularity being determined by the number of times a news URL is posted and shared. To make a prediction, the algorithm considers the news source that generates and posts the article, the category of news the article falls under, the subjectivity of the language in the article, and the named entities mentioned in the article. "Additionally, by comparing with an independent rating of news sources, we demonstrate that there exists a sharp contrast between traditionally popular news sources and the top news propagators on the social Web," the researchers say. The study found that the news source is the most important predictor of an article's popularity.

Incentives for Drivers Who Avoid Traffic Jams

New York Times

Stanford University researchers have developed the Congestion and Parking Relief Incentives (CAPRI) system, which enables people driving in congested areas to enter a daily lottery and possibly win money by changing their commute to off-peak times. The incentives-based program has been so popular at Stanford that it is being expanded to encourage people to park farther from the busiest parking structures. CAPRI also adds a social network component to the lottery, making it a game in which friends can observe one another's "good" behavior, which tends to reinforce changes in behavior and individual commitment.

The researchers, led by Stanford professor Balaji Prabhakar, have conducted several experiments in using incentives to change behavior. Prabhakar notes that unlike congestion pricing, “incentives can be started incrementally and are voluntary” and don't require legislation. He also says congestion pricing and incentive-based systems are not mutually exclusive. For example, Prabhakar describes highway congestion as an instance of nonlinear behavior, where even a small reduction in vehicles at a given time can have a big impact on traffic flow.

Youths Love Tech, But Not Necessarily Tech Career

Silicon Republic

Although 97 percent of teenagers and young adults say they like using technology, only 18 percent of them have indicated a definite interest in an information technology (IT) career, according to a recent CompTIA study. The study found that the main reason youths have a low interest in an IT career is because they lack familiarity with the IT field, but their interest level increases when they are presented with options for specific jobs. The study also found that about 60 percent of youths see an IT career as an opportunity to help people. "It's sometimes easy to overlook the vital creative, collaborative, and problem-solving elements of technology work, as well as the diversity of occupations within the field," says CompTIA's Carolyn April. The study found that about 60 percent of youths serve as technology facilitators and troubleshooters for their family and friends, which could help prepare them for technology careers. "In the information economy, technical literacy is a prerequisite for many occupations, even beyond technology positions," April notes.

Meet the Billy Beane of Football (Soccer)

In his official introduction to Euro 2012 Michel Platini, no doubt already welling up with that peculiar strain of doe-eyed corporate potato love that tends to envelop such occasions, described football as "happiness in its purest form". It is hard to know exactly what to make of this. Perhaps, you wonder hopefully, Platini only said this by accident or as part of a longer sentence full of mocking, sarcastic caveats. Never mind the fact that happiness is never really pure, always nuanced – least of all in football, which has for generations existed as a kind of manfully-borne affliction – even Platini's choice of cliche feels old fashioned.
The idea of "pure happiness" seems to belong instead to a previous generation; associated more with the Brazil 1970 ideal of football as a foundling art, a form of polyester-jumpsuited self-expression as preached by disco-Jesus late-period Pelé, and destined to be the subject of a clammy John Motson documentary containing the phrase "Ooooohh and it's football happiness, pure happy football from these Brazilians, a pure happiness of football out there".

Innovation will become a core competency

Innovation as a core competence is inevitable
Gandhi's saying about change:  first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.  The history of significant change in larger organizations is exactly this.  Consider, for example, one of the first "waves" of change - the quality movement. 
Today, innovation is in the second of Gandhi's three phases.  We've been through the "laughed at" phase where innovation is considered interesting but ultimately childish.  IBM showed us commercials of people "innovating" - lying on the floor in a dark room.  Many organizations have a room with outlandish colors and interesting toys to spark creativity.  But these brief interludes haven't threatened anything yet.  Innovation needs to declare war on the "status quo" so we can move briskly into the second phase.  Innovation and efficiency are itching for a fight.  One of them will win.  Either efficiency will defeat innovation, and leave innovation as a nice to have, valuable at the fringe, or innovation will win, but do so graciously, recognizing the importance of efficiency and demanding only a return to balance between efficiency and innovation.  They've laughed at innovation, now, we need a good fight, because somebody or something has got to win.

The Growing Power of the Meme

Memes are a tremendous asset for brands because, like celebrities, they have an audience that recognizes and appreciates them. “You as the person who created something are not the most valuable person on the chain,” says Ben Huh, CEO of Cheezburger, a network of websites that includes Know Your Meme and I Can Haz Cheezburger, a site that parlayed the Lolcat meme (cat pictures with funny, misspelled captions) into a multimillion-dollar content network. “The MVPs are the people who change it, appropriate it, and turn it into something greater.”

Occasionally, an ad campaign will succeed in generating its own meme, which in turn can be copied by rival advertisers. “There’s a difference between ripping off and riffing off,” says Renny Gleeson, global director for interactive strategies at Wieden + Kennedy, the Portland ad firm that created the Old Spice ads, the best example of a commercial that went viral and became a widespread meme.