Monday, August 7, 2017

What is Innovation Agility?

By Hao Dinh
Fuels and Services Innovation Leader 
and Growth Hacker
GE Power 

What is innovation agility and why should organizations care? From my experience, driving innovation through agility involves experimenting in numerous areas while quickly prototyping to learn which of the ideas are viable to not only solve your customer’s issues but also, generate profitable business models. I’ve found that outsourcing certain innovation initiatives enables firms to move ideas quicker to market.

Successful innovation is a numbers game. Think of a funnel where a lot of new ideas come in, and only a small percentage make it through as viable solutions. A 2003 Harvard Business Review estimates the innovation failure rate can be around 90% (Andrew and Sirkin, 2003). With limited resources, e.g. personnel, funds and time, companies need methods to improve their innovation successes. One option is to outsource a portion of your innovation initiatives. Keep in-house new offerings focused on existing intellectual properties or core competencies. However, for emerging technologies, consider leveraging outside capabilities to de-risk these innovations.

Let’s take the example of the blockchain, an emerging, distributed ledger technology that promises to enable exchanges between trading partners without the oversight or intermediation of a third party, actively reducing or even eliminating counterparty risk. For financial transactions and legal processes, blockchain could replace banks and law firms. According to UK research firm, Juniper Research, more than half of the world’s large corporations are looking into blockchain. However, discussions within my network of innovation leaders indicate piloting a distributed ledger prototype is challenging. Since blockchain is a nascent technology, experts in the field are limited and are either unwilling to work for corporations or are requesting exorbitant salaries. Additionally, organizations need to assess if they should invest in hiring blockchain teams since the business case for the technology has not been validated. Thus, outsourcing blockchain innovation is a viable option.

There are incubators, startups, software companies, and universities focused on developing and validating blockchain solutions that firms can outsource. I’m part of a consortium of nine Fortune 100 organizations that have come together to co-innovate with emerging technologies such as blockchain, AI, IoT and AR/VR. The consortium is called coLab and is led by IDEO, a global innovation and design leader, renowned for helping organizations think differently and to quickly prototype ideas to market. The coLab members come together to complete prototypes, which are developed in 3 – 5 days, utilizing the emerging technologies for various use cases. Additionally, the IDEO brand has attracted experts in the emerging technologies to come work at the coLab. We’ve developed 10+ blockchain prototypes, which the coLab members use to assess if the results of the experiments generate business cases to warrant further investments in the technology. For the annual cost of the coLab membership, members receive the opportunity to “try out” new technologies and business models and selectively determine which ones they should brought back to their organizations to develop further. 

Now replace blockchain from the above outsourcing innovation example with any new technology or idea your organization wants to assess. If the new idea is not part of your core business, you don’t have related intellectual property, or you have challenges finding experts in that area, consider outsourcing the innovation.

Hao Dinh is a continuous learner passionate about using Design Thinking/LEAN Startup, Technologies & Change Management principles to solve “big” issues. At GE Power, he has been transforming a $1B Fortune 10 conservative organization into an innovation powerhouse by nurturing an entrepreneurial culture that fosters collaboration, a fail forward mentality and a fun work environment. 

In September 2016, Hao was honored to be selected by IDEO and the University of Pennsylvania to partner with 20 designers, entrepreneurs and change agents from around the world to use Design Thinking to drive social innovation. Hao is also Co-Founder and Chief Ideator for Grow by Design, a nonprofit that firmly believes it takes a community to educate the next generation of leaders and innovators.

Cultivating an Agile Mindset

By Robert Zeas
Global Strategic Competitive Intelligence
Level 3 Communications

As I reflect on my service in various intelligence capacities, I find the agility my colleagues astutely observe in my approach has come from two places. First, at the beginning of my career, I served in a high-pressure sales role. This led to my embracing a highly adaptive, time bound success approach to all work on a non-discriminatory basis. What does this mean? Well, simply treating all clients as I would expect, including now in my service in a staff role. Don’t make clients unduly wait for things they should receive attention and support with, even when you may not truly have the time-and the activity isn’t highly visible and doesn’t always earn managerial praise. 

In my intelligence role, this means every qualified business question you are fortunate enough to have a client approach with means they are placing tangible value in your business perspective and skills to serve their needs. Just like the Hard Rock motto, “Love all. Serve All.” And let them know up front exactly when you will be back with them to deliver on this promise.

Second, I actively seek out and immerse myself in a variety of broad “stretch” projects with my senior leadership. What reflection techniques do you use to begin working on an innovation facing project whose topic is entirely new or foreign to you? When is the best time and where is the best setting for you to reflect and begin work? I don’t like to fess up on this one, but vacations and driving time are the best times for me to brainstorm new approaches for new learning. Inspirational keynote speeches from industry leaders instill new perspective. My local Rocky Mountain SCIP leadership serves as an excellent sounding board!  

Any way you decide to approach your innovation reflection time, or new ‘white space’ topics, means we as practitioners get to ride a new adventure in learning along the way. Dig in. Embrace the new. Over time, you will gain a reputation for being a multi-skilled intelligence ninja. Becoming more resilient in handling new leadership topics increases your agility and depth as a thought leader in multiple realms salient to your business. This approach also helps prepare you for board rooms and future career leadership opportunities.

Innovative frameworks and initiatives often arise through collaborative engagement with academia and the supply chain. Additionally, reviewing various intelligence sources can help direct you to areas of innovation adoption for your business. Here’s a list of sub-topics that will help as you begin framing your research scope in support of innovation projects. These intelligence sources help define and identify emerging innovation opportunities:

Peer reviewed journal articles           University research collaborations
Supply chain proof of concept trials   Doctoral dissertations
Public and private equity funding       Hiring activities in areas of emerging expertise
Patent filings                                    Innovations in alliance led distribution models
Professional business forums            Co-funded research and development

The more diversity in serving our business stakeholders and related project topics- the broader and stronger our bench skills become.Seldom are we going to find instances where the seeds of innovation are found in the press, news feeds or other intelligence sources. Commit time to remove distractions to permit quality reflection time. Brainstorm and organize sub-topics to begin your research and supply chain engagement. As an excellent sounding board, confer with your SCIP local chapter peers and leadership. Good things come, enjoy your journeys until our next meet up my friends!

Robert has served as a Senior Executive Advisor for several Global Fortune 1000 firms. In this capacity, he led U.S. and global competitive intelligence programs, primary pricing research and managed P&L responsibilities directly contributing $195M+ in revenue.

Also in his advisory capacity, Robert has led enterprise market intelligence briefings with senior executive leadership in development and support of long term strategy.  Robert relies on his leadership to ensure the insight and guidance provided is accretive to shareholder value, enhances the customer experience and innovates in a rapidly evolving technology marketplace.

Guidelines for Creating a More Innovative Organization

By Ron Batra
Senior Director and Fellow, Innovation

In today’s hyper-competitive and fast-changing business environment, it is innovation and innovation alone that is separating businesses that will survive and thrive from the ones who will get disrupted.  Innovation and disruption are often the two sides of a coin.  You don’t have to look very far to see how cutting edge software and solid operational models can succeed. As an example, look at how the ride-sharing app companies are disrupting taxi cabs all over the world.

Recent advances in technologies such as cloud computing, 3-D printing, big data, the growth of the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence advances in machine learning have enabled change in an irreversible manner. Products and services are making their way much more quickly to market, accompanied by a reduction in the time duration of Product Lifecycle Management.  The rise of cloud and subscription-based models has reduced the need for massive capital outlays, lowering the bar of entry for competitors who previously could not raise capital to innovate and disrupt.  This is in addition to advances in software provisioning and automation that greatly reduce cycle time, shortening systems development times.

In addition, for products with Internet distribution, defects as well as killer features are noticed quickly, and can become viral very quickly.  Buying decisions for most people are influenced by community feedback, with real capability to disrupt known brands and take away market share from established businesses. 

In this environment, the following working tenets must become second nature:
  1. A Systematic Innovation Culture 
  2. Agility and Speed 
  3. External Feedback and Validation 
  4. Instead, Ideation + Passion + Focus is a great way to do it. It takes a different kind of a DNA to ideate and innovate. There are team members who are brilliant at operations and execution and typically they are not the ones who innovate (but often do Business Process Innovation, which is a step in the right direction). You need "Believers," more "Can-Do" versus "Cannot-Do" people.  I recommend developing the ideas with passionate people and getting them focused on key decisions and strategies to solve for something real.
Businesses have to learn to fail faster and fail-often, in the evaluation of new concepts, products and ideas.  In most cases, this means the lifecycle of Product Lifecycle Management cannot afford the luxury of waterfall style approaches and long windows from inception to phased introduction to revenue and growth scaling. 

As an example, in software development, techniques such as Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) help automated processes and enable agility – resulting in product updates – from monthly and quarterly to weekly. Processes to tap into external feedback have to be set up and the loop has to make its way into the requirements intake process – think weekly or even daily!

Innovation can mean many things depending on context and the lenses your organization chooses to utilize. Depending on whether you are a products (many type of products from internet to consumer to packaged goods such as cookies) or a services organization,innovation could be viewed as many things.

While money or capital is needed, it can sometimes create more problems than solving them. Capital for a lot of companies means large teams and incredible effort managing egos, personalities, alignment, keeping a high signal-noise ratio going - after some time it can be easy to forget why one started. Before you realize it, the dashboard-crowd takes over and there are armies of Program Managers engaged in marking Red, Green, Yellow etc. I know of companies who could have literally put a Cloud Data Center on the moon for the amount they spent on not- so-successful programs. Keeping it true to the now famous "Two Pizza Box" guideline is the way to do it.

Instead, Ideation + Passion + Focus is a great way to do it. It takes a different kind of a DNA to ideate and innovate. There are team members who are brilliant at operations and execution and typically they are not the ones who innovate (but often do Business Process Innovation, which is a step in the right direction). You need "Believers," more "Can-Do" versus "Cannot-Do" people.  I recommend developing the ideas with passionate people and getting them focused on key decisions and strategies to solve for something real.

Secondly, innovation is not just great ideas percolating in a vacuum. They have to be made real. How do you get these ideas? You can't just walk into an office and ask people to step away from their day-job and come up with "Top-10" things that will move the needle.(Well, actually you can and yours truly has tried it in a few places, but...), it takes a lot more than that. It takes teamwork and agile teams who have a bias towards taking action. Especially in existing line of businesses, it is not always easy for just one visionary to brilliantly come up with the proverbial "killer-app." The right kind of team structure compliments and supports each other, filling in gaps and helping shape ideas and concepts into more something more meaningful and concrete.

The best innovation programs have a bias towards commercialization and revenue growth - essentially "moving the needle" - sometimes by brilliant product and/or service innovation, or brilliant business innovation models.

How will your organization innovate?

Ron Batra brings 25+ years of leadership across different industry verticals covering most aspects of Enterprise Software, Infrastructure, Multi-Cloud Architectures and Networking in some of the most world’s most respected corporations and brands, from startups to Fortune 10.  

Currently at Equinix, he is an Innovation Fellow/Senior Director of Technology Innovation and Strategy. His role entails shaping company strategy and advising the Senior Executive team in IOT, Big Data and Multi-Cloud architectures focus areas. Prior to Equinix, Mr. Batra was hired by AT&T to co-found and startup their Public Cloud Program.  

Follow Ron on Twitter: @ronbatra

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Innovating with Our Customers

By Anne Marie Kilgallon
Vice President
Enterprise Strategy and Innovation


At AARP, we know technology holds great potential for improving the lives of people aged fifty and over,but we also believe that innovations intended for everyone should extend to a product’s design. So, in addition to seeking technology solutions for our members, we also advocate and explore opportunities for universal design.

An approach that considers how a product or service can be used by people of any age or ability, universal design is often attributed to industrial designer and gerontologist Patricia Moore. In 1979, at the age of 26, Moore set out to study the life experiences of the elderly by traveling throughout North America dressed as a woman in her 80s. To fully immerse herself in the study, Moore also used prosthetics and other devices to limit her movement, vision and hearing. 

The experience of the physical disabilities, as well as being treated with dismissal and even cruelty by others, opened her eyes to the need for improved design. Shortly after, Moore established her own design firm dedicated to creating products that consider everyone.

“Design has morphed into the cornerstone of equity, culture, and socialization,” Moore said. “It’s about bringing resources to people who don’t have them. The power of design is to look at each individual, their home, their community, and the infinite small things that make for success or failure of interaction in those realms.”

At AARP, we couldn’t agree more. We believe there are many opportunities for universal design, and not just for people aged 50 and older. Products that assist with emergencies, health and fitness, and communication with loved ones all have benefits for people of every age. But too often these are designed with features that make them less accessible for universal use. That limitation also makes products less marketable, not only to the over 100 million seniors in this country, but also to their children and caregivers who are looking for life-stage solutions, or devices for multi-generational use.

In our own product innovation, AARP always emphasizes the customer first. To adhere to that, we listen.  We make it a priority to engage with our customers throughout the entire innovation process, from concept to launch and beyond. Not only does this approach help us identify potential solutions to build, it also ensures we are innovating with everyone in mind. 

Starting with research, we invite our customers in to talk about their lives and needs while also walking them through questions that help us identify where opportunities may exist. We then check our work with experts who can provide the necessary insights to test our hypotheses and make sure we’re on the right track.

After ideas are developed and analyzed, we go back to our consumers again for the true test of whether something is worth developing, and again and again throughout the build process. We never want to guess and it’s only this process of co-creation that gives us the confidence that our solutions will be truly beneficial to everyone.

So while Patricia Moore’s work has led designers to create more usable products – things like OXO kitchen utensils, digital thermometers and rocking light switches -- Universal Design based on customer testing should be a priority for all product developers.

With more than 20 years of professional experience as a forward-thinking business leader, Anne Marie joined AARP in 2013 and has been in her current role for a little more than a year. As Vice President Enterprise Strategy & Innovation at AARP, Anne Marie is responsible for executing enterprise-wide innovative product development and education programs that drive revenue and value for AARP. Previously, she developed, launched and sold AARP’s first retail and technology product called RealPad™ – an Android tablet designed for 50+ Tech-Shy users.

A Strong Ideation Framework Leads to Customer-Centric Products

By Kara Sterner
Director of Innovation
Bumble Bee Foods, LLC

With the rise of agile research, it has never been easier or more cost effective to practice an iterative approach to new product development. Iteration for us at Bumble Bee Foods, LLC takes place in many ways, but when it comes to the front end of innovation, it’s all about understanding consumer behaviors, identifying unmet needs and generating concepts that have the potential to succeed with a core target audience.  

Bumble Bee Foods, LLC has adapted a traditional Stage Gate ® process that allows the business to assess opportunities in a systematic yet empathetic manner.  We have adopted a thinking framework from a “big think” partner called The Rise Group, consisting of two concentric NEEDS circles and an exterior INSPIRATION circle.  On the left is the WE NEED, all things business related (i.e. brand values, strategic plans, financial goals, core competencies, etc.) and on the right is the THEY NEED, all things consumer related (shopping behavior, demo/psychographics, food trends, etc.).  When these circles collide, there is a point in the middle called WE CREATE where the ideas start to flow and new consumer value is created.  The exterior INSPIRATION circle represents the creative behaviors we practice that encourage the two center circles to cross. What I love about this model is that it gives you as an innovation practitioner a way to be creative and pragmatic that produces quality output.

Iteration during ideation happens in all shapes and forms.  It’s practicing the simple actions of building on ideas (yes and… verus yes but…), it’s connecting smaller thoughts into more robust ideas, it’s bringing consumers into the mix for vetting, it’s activating instant research communities to garner more of the “why.”  As we build ideas into concepts, we reach a critical point at which the business needs to decide which concepts we want to further explore and spend resources against in feasibility.  Here is where we activate agile quant concept testing with a partner called GutCheckIt.  The GutCheckIt Concept Testing tool has enabled us to connect with a target audience and weed through concepts in a consumer-centric way in a 7-10 day turnaround time (that’s crazy fast!)

We have established a set of six key metrics to measure all potential concepts against as well as a consistent visual format that allows our Innovation Steering Committee to see the data in a way that drives insightful decisions.  Did this work straight out of the gate?  Absolutely not.  It took a few tries to get things right; but once we figured it out, the conepts were flowing and the funnel began to output against expectations.

There are numerous tools and systems out there to help your company be more consumer-centric and iterative in its approach to new product development, so I encourage you to be bold and try out something new on your next concept development initiative.  It’s amazing what you can do with limited resources as long as you have a solid framework to drive consumer centricity.

Kara Sterner leads the innovation charge at Bumble Bee Foods, LLC touching everything from strategy, to process, to ideation, to commercialization. Kara has deep roots as a marketer having launched international textile collections and as well as brought to life “first-to-market” technologies including 3DTV and Google TV through an insight centric lens.  She made the move into the field of Innovation back in 2011 and hasn’t looked back since.  Prior to joining Bumble Bee Foods, Kara led an internal crowd sourcing platform at Sony Electronics focused on sales & marketing Innovation.  Now at Bumble Bee, she focuses on Consumer Centric New Product Development. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Learning the New Rules: How and When to Use Customers in Product Development

By April Bertram

Business Development Director
GOJO Industries

I am always amazed at the number of organizations that are still not incorporating the customer development method early into their product and business model generation process. 

Many have the philosophy that you can’t ask your customers what they want in a product, because they don’t know. We’ve all heard Henry Ford’s quote, “If I’d asked customers for what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” I’ve learned from strong market intimacy and a hands-on approach, that involving customers early with methods beyond asking them what they want, generates the most successful innovations in the least amount of time. Here are some guidelines for these customer discussions:
  1. You must start with building hypotheses for a vision or strategy. These are the critical underlying factors that must be true in order to launch a successful innovation. This should include the target market(s), key decision maker (buyer), how the product will get to market, partnerships required, technical platform, etc…to name a few.
  2. Create a minimum viable value proposition that can be tested with customers. I often rely on a sell sheet to test my hypothesis. It’s imperative to test the hypotheses that are the most critical or present what we call the biggest “death threats” of the strategy. These are the components of the strategy that if not validated, will guarantee market failure. An example might be, the key decision maker (KDM) finds value in the product and is willing to pay an annual subscription fee and invest in the hardware required for the system. While you might find the KDM finds value in the service, the true test is “are they willing to pay for it? ”Test the death threats first.
  3. Get out in the market and not only ask questions, but observe how customers do their jobs. This is critical. One of our target markets is building cleaning services. I have spent time following them on their cleaning routes just watching how they do their jobs, then asking questions later. It’s amazing how much you learn by watching. You can build very unique insights with this approach.
  4. Involve all players across the value chain in these learning activities, not just your end customer. It’s the learnings you gather from each of these key players synthesized together that creates the ah-ha moment in innovation. Your distributor may have a unique perspective on how the product can be brought to market or who would actually pay for the product. Expect lots of pivots at this stage. Learnings from one will translate to another. Before you even begin building a product, you should be able to refine your hypotheses on your target market segment, the key decision-maker (who will pay), what they might be willing to pay and how you will reach them. 
  5. Once you have validated key hypotheses with your strategy, build a minimum viable product and find customers to test it on. The sooner you get something out to them, the faster you will iterate. Never assume that there won’t be any changes. You should have lots of learnings and iterations to the product in the beginning. Although, once you have validated your strategy, that should not change much. This part of the development process is building and refining the product that supports your validated strategy. These should initially be quick cycles of learning, in hours, or days, not weeks or months. 
Once you have identified a solid minimum viable product, or MVP, you can then build something for piloting that has a longer, more involved test plan.

The biggest challenges to this approach are typically culture related. Product developers and R&D teams are not used to getting out into the markets. They have no idea how to reach the right customers and they aren’t comfortable sharing an early prototype or minimum viable product. A major failure point in the process of involving customers is not having a solid learning plan in place with specific objectives that you want to validate or invalidate on the test/interaction. To avoid these common pain points when involving customers in development, try implementing the following practices:
  1. Establish connections between your customer facing teams such as sales and customer service. Ask them to proactively start including team members on calls so they can begin observing and learning how to interact with customers and when to ask questions. To be even more effective, incorporate these customer interactions into performance plans. You can also facilitate learnings by building customer panels that are responsive in providing feedback. My personal preference is to get out into the market and develop strong connections with customers.
  2. Create prototyping sessions to get teams used to building the “right” minimum viable product using very basic tools, paper, glue, tooth picks, etc. The purpose of this prototype is only to get directional feedback on key components of the product. It doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be perfect. You must preach this often. Once they start to see the value and efficiency of the MVP, they will be more comfortable with this approach in future projects. 
  3. Develop an actionable learning plan. Define up front what questions you are specifically trying to answer. Make sure the test will answer those questions. If not, redesign it until it does. You want clear direction after each cycle of learning. Know what you will do if the answers come back to your questions differently than expected. Try to guess possible scenarios and what you would do with the product direction in each of those situations.
Sometimes the concepts that you are presenting are so forward thinking, that it’s hard for customers to grasp. That’s okay. Show them the vision and how they might fit into that new business model. Ask them if they want to partner and learn with you. This is the best form of customer development because they are an integrated part of the strategy development and later the product development. 

The future of innovation and product development will be through the collaborations with those outside your organization. You need to establish these processes now so you will be effective at implementing them when it matters most. 

April Bertram is the Business Development Director of SmartLink Solutions at GOJO Industries. April joined GOJO in 2002 to lead healthcare product development efforts. Since then, she has reinvented the GOJO innovation process, from the front end of innovation, to market and product development, and strategic portfolio management. Most recently, April was tasked with creating new IoT business models in healthcare and other core vertical GOJO markets.

Prior to her role at GOJO Industries, April was a small business owner and served in Product and Market Development for market leading brands, Hygenic Corporation (TherabandTM and Biofreeze®), GE Lighting and CompuServe Network Services/UUNet. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

How Do We Build Innovative Digital Creative for Mobile?

By Walter T. Geer III 
Vice President, Creative Director 


If you want to understand the state of mobile creative, consider what the industry was like for desktop back in 1999. We barely had a handle on anything we were doing, there were no real standards and we were mostly just building stuff — making whatever publishers wanted. Now here we are, creative professionals in 2017, still building mobile creative along these same lines. And that’s not a good thing.

Think about it. We’re developing overlays; we’re hoping someone clicks on them so we can send users off to microsites or someplace else. We’re constructing whole-screen takeovers. We’re packing our hopes for capturing user attention into intrusive special effects and context-blind dazzle. In the end, it’s all too much and it just doesn’t hit the mark.

The future of creative for mobile is not about slapping an ad over something else and treating the user’s screen like a platform — or, worse, a launch pad — for whatever technology can achieve. The future is about creative design that partners with technology to augment user activities and draw consumers close. For marketing-tech innovators, the time is now to bring new focus and new ideas to our work. Early-generation mobile ads have earned early wins for our industry, but they won’t do that job forever.

In the sections that follow, let’s look at what innovative creative can mean, in terms of data- and tech-driven design, and let’s address the kinds of teams we should be forming around our work. It will take new approaches to mobile ads if we’re going to reach the future we’re talking about, and we’ll only get there with technology on our side.

Meaningful Moments: Context + User Experience + Design

As almost anyone will tell you, data is key to mobile-marketing campaigns that succeed, ones that identify the how, where, and when of user behaviors. And while data is important, data’s impact is not the entire story. Meaning, technology and marketing-technology tend to focus on just the back-end details. At the same time, the creative guys have often been focusing on just the front-end look.

In these ways, both are losing out. Creative isn’t getting enough deep behavioral and location-based insights. The tech side is missing chances to deliver next-generation ideas … and brands are paying a ton of money for all this, by the way.

How do we avoid losing out? How do we build innovative creative for mobile? First, we return to the consumer’s point of view. Let them use their fingers. Let them use their minds. Let them make choices.

For example, we know mobile users turn to Google Maps and Apple Maps billions of times every week. And so, when bringing a map into creative, why default to a static format? If consumers expect to see a pulsating blue dot, one that shows them in data-driven real-time a location on a map relative to their position, then we need to create opportunities within that moment, with ads that enhance users’ understanding of what’s around them. If data tells us a business-consumer segment often visits a certain area after work hours, our new blue dot of the future can suggest where to go for a post-meeting meal or drink. Couple that with special offers and now you’re talking meaningful creative. Creative that dovetails with ways our user already approaches the mobile interface.

User engagement can happen in other ways, too. It can be as basic as addressing realities such as banner blindness, and then rethinking how we deploy even the most familiar units of display.

  • Say you have a 320×50-pixel banner that resides at the bottom of a mobile screen, but, instead of your typical Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) format that might animate, imagine the creative as flipping up to 300×250 when the user scrolls up the page.
  • The expanded unit — activating only when the user scrolls — now lives in this new state and position for six seconds before collapsing back down to its original size.
  • This new banner format drives attention and focus not when the user is in the middle of reading or watching content, but when they’re actually moving from one part of their experience to another, when they’re between moments of focused attention. We’re intersecting with the consumer instead of denying them underlying content; that’s a major difference, going forward, between positive and negative creative for mobile.
Our mission must include a commitment to growing as creative professionals alongside the technology that delivers our designs, to grow with the experts who are figuring out new ways to put creative on mobile screens. Teach your technology counterparts the value of great design and the importance of innovative creative to the root-level choices developers make. Join a shop that values that kind of interplay, that critical kind of exchange.

Creative as a way to amplify user moments in a given situation: we need to think deeply about this as we build the future of mobile-ad design. If we’re serious about creative’s mobile future, and we’re serious about being in a leadership role as we build toward it, then it’s time to seek out technology partners and align creative with the insights data and analytics can unlock.

As Vice President and Creative Director at Verve, Walter Geer is responsible for creating compelling mobile advertising experiences that re-invent and revitalize the way brands and advertisers connect with consumers through transformative mobile technology.

A veteran of the digital advertising space, Walter holds a total of six U.S Patents for digital ad formats and has developed ad products and implemented creative strategies for a variety of publishers and leading technology and media companies including Google, Viacom and MySpace. Throughout his sixteen-year career, Walter has architected market-first usability labs, applying biometric research to the development of creative executions and minimizing risk by understanding how consumer emotions and demographics impact brand engagement.

Prior to Verve, Walter was Vice President of Product Strategy at PointRoll where he was responsible for the company’s innovation, design strategy and mobile and display product teams.