Innovation Lessons from World Bank, Disney, Nasa, AstraZeneca

by Robert F Brands

Innovation at World Bank, Disney, Nasa, AstraZeneca and more

Editor’s note: Robert Brands reported from the Chief Innovation Officer Summit in New York City, capturing an impressive range of leadership insights and experience. Robert compiled these “messages” for us with a few of his own insights, that we may ponder and  stay inspired…

The summit, organized by Innovation Enterprise, brings together panelists from some of the most innovative companies such as Pfizer, Disney, Sony, and NASA to discuss innovation best practices, metrics, and breakthrough strategies.

from the Dean of Innovation at Gap

Although he has trained over 250 employees to be global innovators, Michael Perman also knows that not everyone in a large corporation is cut out to innovate: “Not everyone is built that way, any more than everyone should be an accountant.” Training and coaching is imperative to innovation.

from the Chief Innovation Officer at Clorox

“Innovation is inherently inconsistent.” – Wayne Delker

It is important to learn from both your successes and failures, and to diversify your innovation teams. For example, bring together R&D, Marketing, and Design teams, and break down silos.

from the Chief Innovation Officer at World Bank

Individual empowerment is a necessity for innovation. In order to innovate on a global scale, there is no single CIO. “The people in the field need to innovate,” says Chris Vein.  Innovation needs ownership, a champion within the organization. The champion must empower others to take calculated risks and at times work outside of their comfort zone.

from the Chief Innovation Officer at Imaginatik

“It`s not the strongest or the most intelligent that will survive, but those who can best manage change” – Luis Solis. Make innovation imperative, show the impact of innovation, invest in people, and secure institutional trust.

from the Chief Knowledge Officer of NASA

“When we are really clear on the dream, good things happen” – Dr. Ed Hoffman. People work well if they have both the freedom to do so, and the resources. When they fail, it’s usually because they weren’t given the freedom to succeed. Without risk, there can be no innovation. Never be afraid to fail.

from the Director of Innovation of AstraZeneca

When teaching innovation, “We have to teach people to swim and sometimes that means we have to get in the water,” says Scott Wilkins. Focus on soft skills and training. Teach people to respond and not react by minimizing fight & flight behaviors. Proper training and coaching ensures a strong innovation culture and strategy.

from the Senior Director of Emerging Technology of Thompson Reuters

“Sometimes have to be able to define new metrics, versus using established ones in order to recognize innovation value.” – Mona Vernon. What gets measured gets done. When creating innovation, it is vital to set metric goals and track these metrics.

from the Director of Business Innovation of InnoCentive

“When you create a good challenge, you create a catalyst to drive innovation.” – Steve Domeck, InnoCentive.Effective training and coaching is one of the pillars of success to any sustainable Innovation program.

from the Chief Innovation Officer of Boston Children’s Hospital

“We aren’t a group of superstar innovators. We are about facilitating innovation. My team isn’t made up of innovation superstars. We facilitate innovation in the organization. We’re ‘dream Sherpa’s”.

from the President of Stativity

“We must unleash innovation across the board, every single time,” says Lior Arussey. You are competing against every positive experience your customer has ever had. It’s a new world and the customer experience has to be “wow”. It’s all or nothing. The key to optimizing sustainable Innovation programs is value creation. The customer/consumer value proposition is the goal to ultimately gain a financial payback.

from the SVP, Strategic Business Innovation of Walt Disney

According to Marty Yudkovitz, “Innovation is a top-down process”. Make the CEO your champion.  Robert’s rules of Innovation echo this… Innovation and ideation is pointless without buy-in and support from top management. The leader of your New Product Development effort, your Innovation SWAT team, has to inspire, lead and drive the process.

from the Chief Innovation Officer of Lockheed Martin

“We work with our customers to define our joint strategy,” says Bill Smith. Innovation Best Practice Alert: Make sure your customer is full participant in the development process. Mark Payne of Fahrenheit212 touched on the same topic recommending building innovation at the intersection of consumer insight and commercial insight.

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