UTEK Webinar Synopsis: Q&A Session

by Braden Kelley

I had the good fortune to attend a three-part UTEK webinar yesterday featuring Gary Hamel “Innovation in Rough Times”, Tim Jones “Future Catalysts of Innovation”, and Regina Lewis “Adopting an Innovation Strategy”, and will now share some of the notes, quotes, and key insights I was able to capture.

Gary Hamel has been called the world’s most influential business thinker by the Wall Street Journal, and his latest book, The Future of Management, was published by the Harvard Business School Press in October 2007 and was selected by Amazon.com as the best business book of the year. Gary Hamel was a founder of Strategos, which was acquired by UTEK in 2008.

Tim Jones, Ph.D., author of Innovating at the Edge, (published by Butterworth Heinemann) and Managing Director of Innovaro, a division of UTEK, will discuss the future catalysts of innovation.

Regina Lewis, Ph.D., Vice President of Consumer Insights for InterContinental Hotels Group, will wrap up this informative webinar with her discussion on the impact of adopting an innovation strategy and its benefits to InterContinental Hotels.

Please NOTE: Because these are notes, they may be a little rough, but I’ve done my best to clean them up.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the Q&A session:

(Gary Hamel)
Advice for small companies – Innovation is going to need to be radical in a startup in order to force your way into the marketplace

(Gary Hamel)
There is an optimal time to put resources beyond an idea (Hotmail-few months versus HDTV-20yrs) – Key questions to ask yourself

  • Does infrastructure need to be built?
  • Is there built-in consumer resistance?
  • You can’t push an idea faster with more money and you will have a hard time catching up if you get there too late by spending a lot of money

(Gary Hamel)
It’s no longer first movers versus fast followers, it’s smart movers versus dumb movers:

  • Dumb movers don’t learn from early experimentation
    • You must learn faster per unit of input than your competition

(Tim Jones)
Every industry has its own natural clock speed

  • Different industries move at different speeds (FMCG 18-24 mos, Energy 3+ yrs, etc.)
  • OTC pharmaceuticals were one of the drug companies’ strengths and now you will find more FMCG getting into the OTC pharmaceuticals space and these companies have faster clock speeds than drug companies
  • Nokia is shifting from product company to a service company and if they use their 6-month cycle in the service sector this will give them a 3,4,5 times the speed advantage over their competition

(Regina Lewis)
It is important for us to innovate in more than a me-too fashion

  • We have to look to leapfrog our competition
  • How can we lead again?
  • There are always going to be un-met consumer needs
  • Anxiety and loss of control in traveling is one key focus area

(Tim Jones)
A lot of airports are trying to expand their capacity (Heathrow, Frankfurt, Schiphol)

  • One limiting factor is the ability of the airport to process people through security
  • One way to overcome this limitation has come from looking not at other airports, but from looking at Disney
    • Queues for experienced people versus families versus novice people
    • Disney focuses very heavily on queue management and getting people spending more money, etc.

(Gary Hamel)
The tendency over time is for a company to become more incremental because they start talking to the same consultants and measuring themselves against each other

  • Ask your employees to tell you about their fundamental customer experiences in different parts of your production chain
  • What are the companies that are making the most dramatic changes in customer expectations?
  • The key is to look outside your own industry – What has changed your employees lives as consumers and investigate that

I hope these notes have given you a good idea of some of what was discussed in the Q&A session at the UTEK webinar and what the key takeaways were. Please also see my blog articles on Gary Hamel’s and Tim Jones‘ and Regina Lewis’ portions of the webinar.

Happy innovating!


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