60 LEADERS ON INNOVATION

280 pages of innovation wisdom. Get your FREE copy.

 

'60 Leaders on Innovation' is a free eBook that brings together unique insights and ‘practical wisdom’ on corporate innovation. The book is organized into 22 chapters. Each chapter presents one question and multiple answers reflecting a variety of backgrounds and standpoints. Simply sign-up and download the eBook (pdf).

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 1. WHAT MAKES A COMPANY INNOVATIVE? 

What are the defining characteristics and the ‘inner drivers’ of truly innovative companies? Could we identify the factors that boost a company’s ability to innovate? There are no easy answers to these questions – as any attempt to measure and explain the level of innovation of a company gets easily complicated. 
 

We asked our thought leaders about the criteria they would use to classify a company as ‘innovative’ and how they would design or architect a new organization with innovation at its core. We also captured their insights on how to transform a ‘conventional’, established company into an innovative agile organization.
 

Read the great responses and insights provided by an amazing group of leaders - featuring Enrique Dans, Jesse Nieminen, Brian Kennedy, Dr. Marily Nika, Steven O'Kennedy, Andrea Kates, Sofia Fernandes.

2. DO COMPANIES NEED A CHIEF INNOVATION OFFICER?

This is an exciting topic that sets the basis for a very interesting debate: does corporate innovation need a Chief and a dedicated team or is it everyone’s ‘responsibility’ to innovate? Even if the latter is true, do companies need an orchestrator of the innovation process? If so, do all companies need a CINO, regardless of their size, maturity in terms of innovation processes, or organizational complexity?


In this chapter, we are asking our leaders to describe the role of the Chief Innovation Officer (CINO), its mission, and also explain the type of companies that need such a role. Enjoy the diversity of perspectives from Tom Goodwin, Vincent Pirenne, François Candelon, Alex Adamopoulos, Warwick Peel, Frederic Laluyaux, Patrick Van der Pijl, Daniel Burrus, Scott D. Anthony. 

3. WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE C-SUITE IN EMPOWERING INNOVATION?

Innovation in a corporate environment faces various challenges – related to culture, organizational silos, resistance to change, and slow pace when it comes to exploration of new ideas. There seems to be a consensus on the importance of strong leadership - to address these challenges and drive real innovation. But what exactly is the role of the leadership in shaping the ‘innovation agenda’ of the organization? How should leaders encourage innovation on a day-to-day basis? How could they inspire people and ‘lead by example’? Should corporate leaders engage with the innovation process?


Enjoy unique perspectives from Rosemarie Diegnan, François Candelon, Lisa Seacat DeLuca, Tom Goodwin, Mark Settle, Mari-ca Labrou, Scott D. Anthony, Alex Adamopoulos, Frederic Laluyaux, Warwick Peel.

4. WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIAL ROLES, AND SKILLS IN A TRULY INNOVATIVE ENVIRONMENT?

A truly innovative environment requires a certain mindset, a great innovation culture. But it also needs certain skills and pro-files to be there. 


We are asking our leaders to discuss particular innovation roles like the ‘Innovator’, the ‘Inventor’ or the ‘Innovation leader’ and also to spot the essential skills for aspiring innovators. Scott D. Anthony, Mark Settle, Eric Martin, Patrick Van der Pijl, Davide Matteo Falasconi, and Carlos Oliveira share their unique views.

5. HOW IS INNOVATION DIFFERENT IN STARTUPS?

Startups are different -- in so many ways. Compared to established corporations, Startups tend to be more agile and innovative, they have more appetite for risk, and usually, they are more experimental in nature. 


What could big corporations learn from Startups when it comes to innovation? Do Startups innovate in different ways than typical, established companies? Do they follow a special innovation process, and do they need one? Are Startups really that innovative?


Discover innovation in the Startup world according to the great perspectives and unique insights by Niko Bonatsos, Maria Paula Oliveira, Dr. Marily Nika, Steven O'Kennedy, Jesse Nieminen, Enrique Dans, Andrea Kates.

6. HOW DO YOU SPOT INNOVATION OPPORTUNITIES?

Opportunities for innovation may come from anywhere – ran-dom moments of inspiration, signals from the market and the competition, or challenging problems worth solving. 


The key question is how to create an environment that increases the chances to spot these opportunities and how to optimize, to streamline the reaction of the organization to the identified op-portunities. For instance, having identified an innovation oppor-tunity – a promising solution to a real, massive problem – the organization must be able to react fast by leveraging the right validation methods and tools in order to make good decisions for further development of the concept.  

 

Dr. Diane Hamilton, Lisa Seacat DeLuca, and Misha de Sterke share their thoughts on how to drive the supply of ideas and how to inspire people to submit ideas in alignment with the ob-jectives of the organization. 

7. DOES CORPORATE INNOVATION NEED A METHODOLOGY?

Innovation certainly needs creativity and inspiration. But does it need a specific methodology? For example, do companies need an innovation framework that provides a structured approach for innovation? There are at least two schools of thought here – the one that states that ‘pen and paper’ is more than enough for businesses to innovate and the one that states that a methodology is essential for corporate innovation. 


I would argue that both are true to some extent depending on the context. A good methodology and well-designed innovation framework can accelerate innovation within an organization – by improving communication, information sharing; by providing the tools to frame problems, test ideas, and experiment with business concepts at a fast pace. But this is just me – read on in this chapter perspectives from Eric Martin, Erik Schumb, Mathew (Mat) Hughes, Evangelos Simoudis, Kelly Dawson, Richard Turrin, Anthony Mills, Alex Farcet, Vincent Pirenne.

8. WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIAL DIGITAL TOOLS FOR INNOVATION?

Innovation in a corporate environment can benefit from capabilities like idea management, digital collaboration environments, and prototyping tools. But is there an essential stack of digital technologies that helps companies accelerate the innovation process? And if so, what would be the key criteria for selecting such digital innovation tools? What technologies should a company use for managing the knowledge and insights produced through a streamlined innovation process in a corporate environment? 
 

Erik Schumb, Gijs Van Wulfen, Alf Rehn, Pedro Costa, Adi Mazor Kario share their valuable insights.

9. HOW DO YOU MEASURE INNOVATION OUTPUT & IMPACT?

Measuring innovation is tough – as this depends on the viewpoint - the perspective and the actual definition of innovation. 


A good measurement framework should quantify both outputs and outcomes in the appropriate time frame. In this context, we ask our leaders to name the top three innovation KPIs that reflect the ‘health’ of a corporate innovation system/ program and to describe ways to make them actionable – to steer the innovation process depending on the levels of these KPIs. 


Read great insights from François Candelon, Alf Rehn, Mathew (Mat) Hughes, Davide Matteo Falasconi.

10. HOW IMPORTANT IS CULTURE FOR CORPORATE INNOVATION?

Culture is considered a very important element for corporate in-novation. But how could we define this special culture of innova-tion? What are the elements and the ingredients of this collective mindset? And how could a company accelerate the formation of the right culture? 


In this chapter, we also explore the importance of accepting failure and ways to encourage people to take calculated risks and adopt mechanisms for handling failure. Read unique insights from Anthony Mills, Cris Beswick, Enrico Gentili, Dr. Diane Hamil-ton, Tony Ulwick, Michael Stephen Crickmore.

11. WHAT ARE THE MOST FREQUENT INNOVATION BLOCKERS?

Very often, innovation attempts fail, miserably. There seem to be various cultural, practical, or strategic reasons that prevent people from engaging with innovation and the leadership from creating value out of the innovation process. In this chapter, we ask our leaders to spot the most frequent blockers for innovation in a corporate environment – to name what prevents people from engaging with innovation activities. 


We probe our leaders to explain how they would remove the cultural, political, and bureaucratic barriers to unblock innovation in complex corporate environments, and what ‘innovation acceleration’ techniques or methods they would recommend - to inspire people, boost the culture of innovation, and increase the overall engagement. Read great insights from Ger Perdisatt, Gijs Van Wulfen, Marica Labrou, Davide Matteo Falasconi, and Char-lie Widdows.

12. HOW WOULD YOU ESTABLISH AN EXPERIMENTATION MINDSET?

Business experimentation is becoming one of those buzzwords – and hence it is worth defining it and explaining how it fits in a modern product development and a broader innovation context. 
I would define a business experiment as any structured, repeatable process to achieve objective measurements that help in either making more informed decisions or setting the direction for further exploration (of a product or a concept). 


We asked several leaders to describe the context and the conditions under which such business experiments provide value and how techniques like ‘rapid prototyping’ and methods like the ‘Design Sprint’ help the innovation process. Read on what Tony Ulwick, Carlos Oliveira, Carlo Rivis, Misha de Sterke, and Narjeet Singh Soni shared on the topic.

13. DO COMPANIES NEED A ‘COMMUNITY OF INNOVATORS’?

I believe that a genuine culture of innovation can only grow organically – inspired by genuine leadership messages and a core of authentic innovators. This core of innovators can then evolve into a ‘community of innovators’ -- a self-organizing, loosely coupled group of people who believe in innovation as the means of achieving the organizational purpose and work together to achieve their goals and ambitions. 


But how could leaders support the formation and growth of such a community? How could a company measure the impact of this community and balance between ‘normal’ work and informal ‘in-novation activities’? These and other very interesting topics are covered by our great panel: Jonne Kuyt, Adrián Heredia Iglesias, Warwick Peel, Vincent Pirenne, Patrick Van der Pijl, and Charlie Widdows.

14. HOW DOES INNOVATION BLEND WITH AGILE PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT?

Innovation can be thought of as a standalone organizational entity or as a fully embedded process in the product development function. The latter raises various interesting questions, such as: How should product innovation be orchestrated after launching the MVP in the market? How can product innovation continue as part of the ongoing product development – through the fast iterations of the agile approach? What kind of innovation processes, methods, and tools do modern companies apply when building a digital product? 


Isaac Sacolick, Rosemarie Diegnan, Fabrizio Ferrandina, Adi Ma-zor Kario, and Johanna Rothman share their valuable insights. 

15. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE TRULY AGILE ORGANIZATION?

Nearly every company claims to be agile (and innovative). But the reality is that most people don’t truly understand these terms. In this chapter, we examine how the term agile - which became popular through the agile engineering processes and the lean startup – can be used to describe a certain class of companies. 


We asked five leaders to identify the essential characteristics, behaviors, and cultural elements that make a company ‘agile’ and explain how ‘being agile’ brings impact to the business, employees, and teams. Frederic Laluyaux, Tony Ulwick, Johanna Rothman, Adrián Heredia Iglesias, Isaac Sacolick, and David Blake shed light on one of the most popular business buzzwords of our era.

16. DO PUBLIC-SECTOR COMPANIES INNOVATE?

Public sector companies have special structures and organizational attributes that, in some cases, slow down or even block innovation. 


In this chapter, we explore how innovation is different in public sector organizations and the factors that might affect the velocity and pace of their innovation efforts. We ask our leaders to point to the most ‘innovative public sector companies out there’ and share their thoughts on how to accelerate public sector in-novation and even rethink public sector companies with innovation at the core. Steven O'Kennedy, Enrique Dans, and Jesse Nieminen share their valuable perspectives.

17. DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION – WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?

Along with being agile and innovative, companies typically claim that they are also (being) digitally transformed. But, is Digital Transformation yet another business buzzword? We asked sev-en leaders to explain what Digital Transformation is and how technology, processes, and culture are interlinked in this con-text. 


In this chapter, our leaders describe the conditions under which companies need such a program – they also explain how to set up a team to drive the efforts and the role of the leadership. We also touch on the extremely important topic of measuring the success of digital transformation initiatives. 


Read eye-opening insights from Daniel Burrus, Tom Goodwin, Ger Perdisatt, Erik Schumb, Jonne Kuyt, Dimitris Livas and Jona-than Rose. 

18. WHAT IS ‘OPEN INNOVATION’ AND WHAT IS THE VALUE FOR THE INVOLVED PARTIES?

One could argue that some of the greatest achievements of our times are related to our ability to self-organize in groups and communities that work together to create value – having other than monetary drivers. This naturally extends to the organizational level, where companies become part of an ecosystem of knowledge exchange and co-creation. 


We ask seven leaders to explain the most essential forms of open innovation and present real-world scenarios. We also touch on the societal benefits of Open Innovation. Read expert insights from Ralf Wilden, Lisa Seacat DeLuca, Pedro Costa, Dermot Roche, and Sofia Fernandes.

19. TO PATENT OR NOT TO PATENT? DO COMPANIES NEED AN IP STRATEGY?

Considering that a significant percentage of patents granted is not utilized commercially and that only a small minority provides protection for IP holders or generates revenue streams via li-censing, it is worth answering questions like: When should a company consider filing a patent? How important is it for a company to have a patent strategy? How could this strategy generate value for the organization? On the practical side, how early in the innovation process should ideas be evaluated for patentability? When should companies keep a trade secret versus filing a patent? Also, to connect this with the previous question, how should companies align their patent portfolios and IP strategies to Open Innovation Programs? 


Three renowned experts share their valuable thoughts: Peter Hoeller, Dermot Roche, and Joe Doyle. 

20. WHAT ARE THE  TECHNOLOGIES THAT WILL DRIVE INNOVATION IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS?

Artificial Intelligence is already here and is transforming every aspect of human activity. Blockchain brings massive opportunities along with a new class of drastically different systems and services while Quantum Computing is expected to disrupt the current ‘state of the art’. 


We ask our leaders to name the technologies that are expected to drive disruption in the next few years and the advances that they consider to be instrumental for the next waves of innova-tion. Lisa Seacat DeLuca, Jonathan Rose, and Fabrizio Ferrandina share their thoughts.

21. HOW DOES INNOVATION HELP TO SOLVE THE MOST PRESSING GLOBAL PROBLEMS?

Innovative technologies have already transformed the ways we communicate, work, learn, and get entertained. But how about the global pressing problems such as climate change? How could innovation help in mitigating the ongoing damage and eventually help us handle the problem? What are the notable ef-forts in this direction? 


Dragana Vukasinovic, Anthony Mills, Daniel Burrus, David Blake, Michael Stephen Crickmore, and Christos Dimas share their interesting perspectives.  

22. WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF WORK?

The lockdown enforced the adoption of digital technologies and impacted various aspects of modern life; most importantly the ways of working. Based on this massive, ongoing ‘experiment’, it seems that at least knowledge workers can work from anywhere. It seems that with the right setup the actual work can be done at least as effectively as with the ‘on-premise model’. 
But important questions are emerging for the post-COVID era: What is the impact of lockdown on the ways companies operate and what will be the ‘new’ work model? How should the current leadership models evolve in a ‘remote’ or ‘hybrid’ work world? How will companies be measuring people’s contribution and performance in the future?


Fabrizio Ferrandina, Christos Dimas, and Dragana Vukasinovic share how they envision the future of work.

Chapter Summaries