Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Passion for Innovation: Ideas and Insights from New Product Innovation & Development: A Frost & Sullivan MindXchange

By John DePalma
Managing Director of Growth Implementation Solutions
Frost & Sullivan

Last month I had the opportunity to attend the 10th Anniversary New Product Innovation & Development: A Frost & Sullivan MindXchange.  What a wonderful collection of like-minded individuals from diverse backgrounds, all with a common interest, dare I say passion, around a singular topic - INNOVATION.  The event kicked off with a series of Innovation Labs covering topics ranging from "A Hitchhiker's Guide to Disruptive Innovation: Doing It and Leading It" to "Mastering the Art of Lean Innovation and New Product Development".  These labs provided a unique opportunity for participants to learn from real life scenarios and case studies and gain valuable insights on key enablers of world-class innovation organizations.

On Day two, we kicked off the general session and exhibition with a keynote address from Paul Bailo, most recently of Mastercard International.  Bailo spoke about the challenges and importance of marrying entrepreneurial thinking and strategic sense in today's modern organization.  This topic was immediately followed by an Innovation Benchmarking exercise led by Richard Sear of Frost & Sullivan's Visionary Innovation Group.  Sear asked participants: "How innovative are you?" and introduced the Innovation Maturity Model which let participants gauge the gaps in their own organization's capabilities, and more importantly, provided a process for addressing the gaps.

Day two of the event continued with a series of Collaboration Zones, Think Tanks and Roundtables on topics ranging from "Integrating Your Customer in Your Product & Service Development" to "Assessing Operational Models".  As with the Innovation Labs on Day one, these Collaboration Zones encouraged participants to "roll up their sleeves" and engage in interactive team exercises that harness the power of participants' voices, insights and real-world experiences via group discussion.  And if all that wasn't enough, Day two concluded with an "Ask the Experts" panel discussion on "Translating Innovation Strategy to Execution of New Product Development."

Day three began with an optional "Early Risers Run/Walk" around the beautiful Mission Bay in San Diego to get the endorphins flowing and prepare participants for another content-rich day.  The general session kicked off with an ice breaker and transformational keynote from Doug Warner of Hewlett Packard  (HP) where he shared practical lessons from history and how they can be applied to create disruptive businesses of tomorrow.  This session was followed by an engaging talk by Jonathan McIntyre of PepsiCo, who spoke about transitioning from a product to service business model.

After a host of other highly stimulating sessions, Frost & Sullivan Vice President, TechVision, Leo O'Connor closed out the event by highlighting today’s top 50 game changing technologies.  He offered a powerful perspective on what organizations must do to embrace disruption and drive transformational growth.

While there is no substitute for attending the event in-person, I've taken the liberty of summarizing the top take-aways for those of you who were unable to attend. If any of these topics resonate with you, I encourage you to consider attending next year's event.

Top 10 Take-Aways:

  • Building a “culture of innovation” is as important, if not more so, than the innovation itself – it’s also harder to do.  An innovative culture is about L.I.F.E. – Love, Innovation, Failure, Enjoyment.
  • Innovation is not a moment in time, but rather, a movement through time.
  • Extreme focus on operations, revenue and short-term profitability stifles innovation.
  • Ego clouds your ability to truly innovate.
  • The pace of innovation is accelerating…it’s all about disruption and speed to market.  If you don’t innovate someone else will.
  • There are two, maybe three, types of innovation: 1) “everyday innovation” which accounts for approximately 80% of all innovation (e.g. business as usual, line extensions); 2) “strategic innovation” which accounts for approximately 15% of all innovation (e.g. adjacencies); and, 3) “disruptive innovation” which accounts for approximately 5% of all innovation (e.g. disrupt, collapse, transform).
  • There are seven critical stages to an innovation system or process: 1) input 2) insighting 3) problem definition 4) solution generation 5) qualification 6) research & development, and 7) implementation – with number 7 (implementation) being the most important and often most challenging.  An innovative idea is only as good as your ability to implement it!
  • 60% of companies today will not see a 10 year anniversary.
  • Growth Boards and ”i-Councils” are an increasingly popular way for large companies (quite frankly, companies of any size) to mirror the Venture Capital community and manage their innovation portfolio.
  • Like it or not, the ecosystems for innovation are changing where an individual consumer can out- innovate a company.  Leveraging an “Open Innovation” system can help tap into this world and allow organizations to be more nimble and entrepreneurial while still leveraging their own strengths.

About the author:
John DePalma is the Managing Director of Growth Implementation Solutions at Frost & Sullivan.  Located in Irvine, CA, John partners with companies in North America, and Globally, in defining AND implementing transformative innovation strategies, new organizational structures, processes and governance frameworks to accelerate growth for clients.  John can be reached at

Monday, February 8, 2016

Collaborative Innovation – Winning Big By Getting Small

By Stephen Paljieg

Vice President, Corporate Partnerships

The Real Innovator’s Dilemma

How do I innovate my way into new areas of business while delivering reliable performance on the core?  How can I afford to explore new pathways for growth?  How can I afford not to?  These challenges are familiar to many of us.  Yet, new tools and approaches to overcome the challenge of innovating in the increasingly fast paced, ever changing world of today have been shockingly rare.

But there is hope.  Through crowdsourced innovation programs such as Huggies MomInspired and collaborative innovation and investing platforms such as Portfolia, big companies are discovering that they can win big by getting small.

Collaborative innovation can develop new growth opportunities by embracing the small entrepreneur, investing in their success, and creating win-win commercial propositions rooted in a start-up’s in-market performance.  Because these smart bets are made in the cash obsessed, fast to learn environment of the entrepreneur, larger companies can easily find themselves placing 10 – 15 small, but smart innovation bets for the cost of a single, conventional, internal development and qualification program.
The Need For A New Perspective

What role do the consumers of your brand play in helping to create its success?  Do they just consume the goods or services you provide or do they add value in other ways?

Challenging and expanding the role for consumers within our brands is not a task we typically take on as marketers or innovators.  More often than not, our thoughts are focused on plans to optimize the commercial programs that are designed to act on our target audience.  We design advertising and promotions that reach out to influence the way our consumers think and change the way they act.  In the course of pursuing the best way to talk to our consumers, modify their actions, and service their needs, we spend countless hours and dollars on traditional market research studies.  These studies often rely on tools and techniques designed with the sole purpose of informing the brand building “innovator” with the information to, we hope, delight the product- or service-consuming “innovatee”.  In the end, however, it’s all about what we do for the consumer.

As a result, our innovation labs are largely closed systems.  They are somewhat permeable to the needs of the external environment, but only on our terms and only in response to the questions we ask.

We can be so busy innovating in our traditional way that we periodically forget to pause and consider why and how we do the things we do.   We ignore a key innovation imperative to relentlessly innovate the way we innovate.  We forget to ask the question of how the consumers we sell to can be market makers in other, even more powerful, ways.

The Huggies MomInspired™ Program

There are over 6 million entrepreneurial moms in the U.S.  Seventy-nine percent of these “mompreneurs” developed their ideas after their baby arrived, giving them a powerful, first-hand look at and understanding of unmet needs in the baby- and child-care category.

What exactly is the Huggies® MomInspired™ program?  Each year, Huggies® makes an investment in the entrepreneurial community of moms, advancing the cause of these start-up businesses, curating the innovations they produce, and solving more problems for moms and babies via the enterprises it supports.  Selected mompreneurs get a $15,000 grant, innovation mentoring, a support community in other grant recipients, and perhaps most importantly, validation by one of the premier brands in the baby- and child-care universe.  Now in its fifth year, the Huggies® MomInspired™ program boasts a crowd of 69 grant recipients.  Each entrepreneur in this community has an insight, an execution, and a story that confirms our belief that mothers have a unique and compelling take on innovation in the baby and childcare space.

The Huggies® MomInspired™ program is not a charity.  It is not corporate philanthropy.  It is, at its core, a value creating, commercial relationship between an entrepreneurial mom and the Huggies® brand. 

Huggies® wins in two ways.  The first is by gaining access to new innovations that can advance the expansion of the brand into new domains.  Huggies® sees high quality ideas developed by real moms with firsthand experiences in child rearing.  By journeying forward with these moms and checking in periodically on the success of their businesses, Huggies® gives these smart bets a chance to mature into enterprises which can create new commercial value for all.

Does this really happen?  You bet it does.  Meet Allyson Phillips, a mompreneur from San Diego, California and one of the original Huggies MomInspired™ grant recipients.  Allyson is the inventor of the Tilty Cup™, an inspired reinvention of the sippy cup and the first true training cup for toddlers.

Can you tell I like the Tilty Cup™?  You bet I do!  But more importantly, so does Evenflo Feeding, a Kimberly-Clark subsidiary, and a business in search of innovation to reset its toddler feeding accessories business.  It is an innovation marriage made in heaven, so much so that Evenflo Feeding has completed a licensing agreement with Allyson for the rights to manufacture and sell Tilty Cup™ throughout the Americas.

The second way that the Huggies® MomInspired™ program builds value for Huggies® is by the advocacy of its participating mompreneurs and the recognition of moms in general who see the good the brand is doing.  Since its inception, over 100 million brand impressions (times when consumers talk about the brand) have been attributed to the Huggies® MomInspired™ program.  Each and every one of those impressions has something good to say about the brand and the work that Huggies® is doing with its crowd of inventive moms.  What’s not to like about a brand investing money in mominspired businesses that seek to solve problems for moms and enhance their parenting experience?  It makes for a really good story.

Portfolia – Investing Together In Companies You Believe In

Now, let’s take the concept of collaborative innovation one important step further.  Let’s add new, meaningful sources of capital to the big company – small entrepreneur equation.

Portfolia is a unique, collaborative investment and innovation platform where female investors, women entrepreneurs, and the big companies serving female consumers are making markets together. Porfolia is built on three strategic opportunities:  1) inviting, educating, and supporting accredited women as angel investors; thereby correcting their significant underrepresentation in this space, 2) providing access to capital for investment-starved, female-led, consumer facing start-ups, and 3) developing Focused Micro Funds which enable big companies to place small, leveraged, de-risked bets on a range of start-ups that suit their growth ambitions.

These are exciting times in innovation and joining the “by women for women movement” offers the rare opportunity to do well by doing good, accessing some great innovations, but also helping to address the inequities challenging women in early stage investing and entrepreneurship.  It’s a great consumer/shopper, employee, and stakeholder story, but most importantly it’s a way to find and incubate business-building innovations.

All of us have seen businesses, companies, and even markets disrupted by an agile start-up with a new view on the opportunity, innovation, and/or business model.  Winning big by getting small is the way for large enterprises to develop a line-of-sight to the potential disruptors, help enable their development/growth, and ultimately create value together.

Stephen Paljieg has been a Senior Innovation Leader with Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark and is now the Vice-President for Corporate Partnerships at Portfolia and the Owner/Funder of eXo Innovation LLC.  Steve can be reached at

Balancing Innovation and Execution

By Eugene Yamnitsky
Senior Manager
Product Management & Innovation


This topic was troubling me for quite some time, and it wasn’t until my recent visit to the New Product Innovation & Development: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange, that the solution became clear, albeit not necessarily easy: an agreed upon innovation strategy, baked into the corporate objectives.

Many organizations struggle to get the executive support for their innovation initiatives, and even then, most require cultivation of innovation spirit, and solving many other organizational challenges. Assuming that the executive commitment is there, and both the culture and the climate are favorable for innovation, let's focus on what it means to get the strategy right.

1. Describe the product portfolio
Before the innovation is considered, you have to understand the structure of the product portfolio, and identify areas that need attention. While there are many ways to represent the product portfolio, the two most helpful here would be the risk-reward diagram and the “3 Horizons” model.

A. Risk-Reward diagram
In this diagram there are 4 quadrants, representing projects in 4 categories (top-down, left to right):

  • Bread & Butter: low-risk projects with low reward
  • White Elephants: low probability and low payoff projects
  • Pearls: high probability of success and yield high payoffs
  • Oysters: long shots, but with high payoffs
It is suggested to represent the projects as bubbles with different sizes and colors representing the investment, and a projected revenue target at maturity.

B. 3 Horizons model
Horizons model helps identify which projects are focused on improving the core offerings (Horizon 1), new adjacent offerings focus on existing markets (Horizon 2), and disruptive, market defining products (Horizon 3).

2. Understand the gaps
Looking at the product portfolio, each organization will need to identify where are the gaps that need to be managed. For example, the risk-reward diagram may point out the lack of “oysters” and the abundance of “white elephants”. This should help make decisions on better resource allocation, which could free up some resources for innovation initiatives (i.e to create more “oysters”).
Looking at the 3 horizons model, you may identify lack of ideas or projects cultivated for disruptive innovation.

3. Define the innovation strategy
The next step is to figure out what type of innovation and what resources are needed to optimize the portfolio. One way to do this is to overlay the innovation strategy over the "3 Horizons" model. Some companies have the 70-20-10 rule, where 70% of the innovation time and effort goes to the core business and offerings (Horizon 1), 20% goes to Horizon 2 and 10% to Horizon 3. What does your product portfolio analysis reveal?

Each horizon requires different type of innovation management techniques, and resources, but that’s a topic for another post.

4. Bake the strategy into objectives
This is the most critical step. Now that the portfolio is described, and the gaps understood, the executive leadership agrees to manage these gaps by allocating the appropriate resources (i.e. 70/20/10). Only when this is done, will there be a clear balance between the innovation and execution.

How to bake innovation into organization's objectives highly depends on the process for annual and quarterly objectives setting in your organization. Armed with the executive buy in obtained in the previous step, and the strategy, it’s time to translate the strategy to concrete initiatives for new idea generation, incubation and acceleration.

Of course, the rubber meets the road in a day to day management of innovation initiatives, when operational leaders are asked to give up capacity in order to support the stated objectives.

I’d like to end this post with a note on friction between the innovation and the execution. Many leaders at MindXchange consider it healthy practice to have some friction between the innovation oriented leaders and the execution oriented leaders. Otherwise the organization might be focused on immediate delivery and lose in the long run, or spend all the time in the blue sky, and never deliver anything. This doesn’t mean however, that execution oriented leaders don’t need to buy in into the innovation strategy.

Happy balancing!

Eugene is an innovation catalyst and product development leader with over 15 years experience getting things done in conditions of uncertainty and fast paced change. He has a proven track record of success in early and late stage startups and large companies.

Emerging Technologies Enable Multi-Billion-Dollar Opportunities

By Leo O’Connor

Vice President, Global Research, Technical Insights
Frost & Sullivan

We see disruptive innovation everywhere these days with automakers doing serious development of autonomous cars, and taxi companies, including Uber and Lyft, leveraging the Internet and riding the trend of car sharing to redefine the way we commute from one location to the next. Just as important, we see convergence of technologies and industries with automakers, such as General Motors and Ford, not only developing autonomous cars, but also investing in companies disrupting the taxi business, with a view to launching autonomous cars to serve those markets.

These trends—disruptive innovation and convergence—are driving factors for the development and adoption of the Top 50 multi-billion dollar technologies and innovations reshaping our world within the next 2 to 3 years. The technologies include exciting emerging areas such as flexible electronics, drones, and polymer chameleons, and more main-stay but equally important disruptors such as anti-corrosion coatings and carbon fiber-based, lightweight composites.

The Top 50 are part of the TechVision program invented and managed by Rajiv Kumar, a Senior Partner in Frost & Sullivan, and implemented by the company’s TechVision team of analysts and consultants.

The program is in its fifth year, allowing us to compare and contrast from year to year the fortunes of emerging and disruptive technologies and the growth of the technology clusters in which the technologies reside.

Disruption can be a frightening prospect for companies unaware of technologies that will soon arrive to broadside market positions and unsettle the plans of strategy, research and development, and product development teams. At the same time, technologies that are emerging and disruptive present an abundance of opportunities to established and emerging entities.

Emerging technologies enable the development of products and services, operations and processes, and new business models that are creating new markets and disrupting existing markets. While the key to innovation is in knowing what your customers want before they do, identifying disruption before it happens is clearly challenging—even when you evaluate technologies leveraging a rigorous process, the real potential for their adoption still comes with uncertainty.

To mine insights into potentially disruptive opportunities, we must apply a rigorous process that analyzes technologies from multiple perspectives including the following:

  1. Evaluate opportunities from the perspective of technologies emerging within 9 technology clusters that represent the vast majority of technologies being developed today.
  2. Identify and evaluate megatrends and understand how they are creating demand and opportunity for the launch of future products and services.
  3. Evaluate markets where there are opportunities and unmet needs.
  4. Identify innovation ecosystem drivers and monitor how they are progressing: research labs, academic labs, investment community, government communities, standards, etc.
There are ample ideas and technologies that present opportunities for disruption. We brainstorm among thousands of technologies and then begin to drill down using a selection process that leverages a weighted decision support matrix.
  • Step 1 requires scanning and brainstorming about the broad, global technology pool with teams of analysts contributing ideas and analysis from the technology clusters in which they specialize. The clusters include advanced materials and coatings, advanced manufacturing and automation, sensors and controls, microelectronics, medical devices and imaging technology, information and communication technology, health and wellness, sustainable energy, and clean and green environment.
  • Step 2 requires running hundreds of top-ranked technologies through a weighted decision support matrix leveraging sub-constructs (including IP activity, funding, market potential, megatrend impact, regional adoption potential, sector adoption potential, technology disruptiveness, and technology cluster evolution), rolling up into parent criteria (including intensity of impact, year of impact, index of disruption, and index of cluster evolution).
  • Step 3 selects the top 50 technologies by assigning an innovation index score that is based on the result of the decision support matrix evaluation.
This past year, the top 50 technologies included drones, smart sensors, bio sensors, wearable electronics, virtual reality, and immersive computing to name a few.

We’re able to compare and contrast how each technology has grown in each cluster from year to year. We can also create strategic opportunities matrices (market potential v. IP), technology attractiveness matrices (IP v. funding), and market attractiveness matrices (sector adoption v. market potential).

Participants in our workshops leverage the content and our emerging technology innovation tools to visualize and analyze large scale opportunities, where emerging technologies are converging to create multi-billion-dollar opportunities. Here’s one example. An advanced preventive maintenance system leverages the emerging areas of predictive data analytics, sensor fusion, 3D printing, and carbon fibers. Multiple types of sensor data sent to the predictive analytics system yields insights into the timing of parts replacement. Prior to a part being replaced, the predictive data analysis system sends a signal to a 3D printer that fabricates the replacement part just in time for installation, maximizing the opportunity for system uptime and saving money that would otherwise be lost during downtime. The fabricated part can be produced from a carbon fiber composite because these materials can now be 3D printed.

The Final Word
It’s important when looking for opportunities for new product development and innovation to consider technology push parameters, mega-trends, and market drivers and restraints on a global scale. Equally important is identify growing industries and markets, and evaluating where emerging technologies are just beginning to intersect. Intersecting technologies, markets, and industries provide the greatest opportunity to introduce products, services, processes and business models leveraging new, innovative, and breakthrough technologies. 

Frost & Sullivan has content and tools to provide an analysis of the top 50 new game-changing innovations and technologies, allowing brainstorming and evaluation of multi-billion dollar opportunities, providing bespoke insights and guidance for organizations.

For further information click on the following link: and contact the author at:

The Crucial Role of Collaboration in Product Management

By Amie Durr
Vice President of Product Management
Message Systems

As a native Marylander, I carry a lot of hometown pride with me wherever I go. Whether that’s good naturedly ribbing out of town coworkers and friends about competing sports teams or welcoming everyone to town by way of a crab cake dinner and a tour through Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, there’s a lot to love about this east coast state.

One of my favorite things about Maryland is that it’s home to the United States Naval Academy, located on the Chesapeake Bay in our state capital of Annapolis. The best of the best students from high schools throughout the country are selected to attend the Naval Academy.

Each year, nearly 1,200 students leave hometowns where they are individually revered for their abilities to go to a place where they are now just one of many such individuals. The primary focus of their time at the Naval Academy is to learn how to become a leader; and to become a leader they need to learn that their team is more important than any one individual, including themselves.

That’s got to be hard, doesn’t it? Going from being an exceptional individual contributor to being one of many, working to advance a common goal?

For Naval Academy students, the transition from individual to team is never more apparent than during a well-known ceremony at the end of the “Plebe” or freshman year. Each year the outgoing Plebes work together to try to best the fastest climb of 20 minutes completed in 1972, and to go nowhere close to the worst time of 4 hours 5 minutes in 1995.

Why all this history? What do any of the trials and tribulations that Navy college students go through have to do with Product Management? Surely, most of us don’t work in environments where we’re asked to report for 5:00 am runs on a regular basis, so what’s really compelling here?

When I think about the Plebes, I’m struck by the visual representation of their transformation from merely being an individual contributor to being an individual leveraging their unique skills for the greater good of the organization.

As Product Managers, it’s critical that we recognize that we will not get to the top alone either, particularly as we are in roles where we work mostly through influence across nearly every functional unit in our businesses.

Too many times I’ve seen Product Managers operate with an authoritarian approach. Perhaps you’ve seen it too?

A PM that all but says “just build the thing I’m telling you to and stop asking questions.” This type of PM has gigs of analyst data, customer interviews, market research, and the like, proudly filling up their hard drive. What’s not inside that hard drive is any space for innovation. It’s all the questions they thought to ask, and all the answers they thought to get, but none of the insight of the individuals who actually build the thing, or live and breathe it as they support it every day.

So how do you create an environment where collaboration is key and where innovation has the freedom and space to bloom? How do you get your products to the top faster and better, just like the Plebe’s try to do each year as they climb Herndon Monument?

  • Build relationships everywhere inside your organization. When you find passionate people, grab them and don’t let go. If their passion isn’t for the thing you’re working on then get them to the thing that is. Challenge yourself this year to build at least one new relationship per team throughout your organization, it will change everything.
  • Define and agree on short-term goals. It is imperative that everyone has the same understanding of what you’re working towards, and be all in to achieving it. The vision is important for the long-term strategy, but you’ll need manageable chunks to get you there.
  • Collectively focus on no more than three major goals at a time. While I’m sure everyone would love to focus on one thing at a time, that’s rarely realistic in business. The trick here is to vary the degrees of effort needed for each of them. Trying to take on more than one major effort at a time is going to burn you and your team out quickly.
  • Determine how you’ll measure success and measure often to ensure you’re not off course. BUT measuring success should never be used as a tool to punish.
  • Take risks, and support “failures” because they almost always lead to learning or doing something exceptional the next time. Talk about this all of the time. This is where innovation happens. Right here. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
  • Learn to push back. Advocate for your team as much, if not more, than you do the product. This is hard. It’s also one of the most important things you will do for them and for your product (and why relationship building is so important).

Finally, collaboration isn’t easy, and even when you’re collaborating well, innovation doesn’t just happen because you collectively decide you want it to. It takes discipline and focus to make all of these things work. In much the same way that the incoming Plebes have to break down all their preconceptions of what it means to be successful, so to will you and the people your work with if you want to push beyond individual achievement and on to becoming a highly functioning team. 

Amie is responsible for delivering technologies that help businesses support and drive their messaging needs with a focus on scale, usability, engagement, and analytics. As the only person she knows with a background in both Mathematics and Anthropology, Amie has spent her career marrying her love of data and technology with her love of understanding people and processes. She is an evangelist and strong supporter of innovation and generally doing cool stuff, championing both the voice of the customer and the market, as well as the creative, technical skills of the engineers.