Tag Archives: creativity

How creativity works

James Adidas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James Carnes, Global Creative Director, Senior VP, Adidas

It’s not difficult to generate ideas, to generate something new. What is hard is to find out what resonates to people, so that they have this Ha-Ha moment when they see it, or use it.

For years we went through loads of creativity sessions, brainstorming of all sorts… those workshops never really succeeded. They have not even helped us show the value of creativity. When you let free thinking rule the agenda, nothing comes out of it.

The only thing I truly believe in is Insight – Customer Insight. As simple as that: talk to people. Why things have to be this way? You need to uncover things. You need to think about the benefit they see in things. So go ahead, and spend time with them!

What is a Big Idea?

Do you solve anything? Do you bring anything new to someone’s life?

What’s not??

How to make runners run better? Or run faster?

We were missing the only right question: why are they running to begin with? We just made the assumption for decades that people run because they wanted to be good runners. So they went to buy running shoes. In fact, that is true for way below 10% of the market… and declining.

People want to stay in shape, or they want to socialize, or connect with other people, a way of feeling better about themselves, an escape from work pressure, a confidence builder, … we really need to find out why they run to begin with. Our goal is just to increase the pleasure while they are at it – or reduce the pain, most of our customers hate running.

So it does not happen in a lab. You have to go and visit the locker room. What’s in their mind? What’s the ritual? The ceremonial?

If you – just – listen to what people say (focus group), you will come up with something small and boring. If you want to go for the Big Idea, you need to go beyond and uncover what is it they do not say, what is it they cannot articulate.

So, No, creativity is Not Design Thinking.

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What effective leaders do to lay the groundwork for innovation

effective leader1. They actively encourage entrepreneurship. Forward-looking companies continually reinvent their business models through experimentation and innovation. To let such a culture flourish, leaders have to be willing to share authority, challenge the status quo, encourage creativity and accept failure.

2. They set clear priorities. As important as entrepreneurship is, a leader ultimately has to lead. The person at the top frequently and sometimes uniquely enjoys an ideal vantage point for choosing between the short and the long term, and among markets and sectors. But no matter how clear their vision, leaders can’t manage innovation on their own. Companies need rigorous processes for assessing which ideas should move into development and which should not. Being able to say no is an essential driver of innovation productivity.

3. They strike a balance between efficiency and innovation. Some companies may be under pressure to cut costs and drive efficiencies, but the increasing pace of change means they also need to emphasise innovation. Resolving this contradiction requires the ability to both explore new avenues and fully leverage existing ones.

Combined with a healthy appetite for innovation, these leadership qualities have the potential to unleash a new wave of business creativity – and with it, perhaps, a new generation of global competitors.

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How Companies Undermine Innovation

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Today, for any organization, innovation is the new El Dorado. Chief Executives and business unit leaders weave the word innovation all around. Something very real is happening here: as it becomes cheaper and easier for startups to upend existing businesses with new offerings, big companies are realizing that they can’t continue to rely on their time-worn methods for cultivating and developing new products, and lumbering into new markets. But  the hulking mass of corporate culture and structure can get in the way… some corporate underbrush need to be hacked through before real innovation can happen.

Moises Norena, global director of innovation at Whirlpool:
“One of the typical flaws I’ve seen in innovation programs is starting without a clear view of strategy”

James Euchner, vice president of global innovation at Goodyear:
“It’s a sign that things aren’t working when there’s a lot of deferring commitment, asking for more analysis and data. Innovation must be instantly apparent and quantifiably demonstrable.”

Julia Austin, formerly VP of innovation at the tech company VMware:
“I can’t tell you how many companies I know that have innovation programs, but no space to foster creativity. Large spaces with whiteboards and comfy places to sit so people can brainstorm ideas are critical.”

Peter Erickson, senior vice president of innovation at General Mills:
“A decade ago, our lab was the world. Today, the world is our lab.”
Every good idea is expected to spring from the hermetically-sealed world of the corporation. Those from outsiders are consistently undercut.

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The Little Black Book of Innovation | How it Works – How to do it

How it Works – How to do itScott D. Anthony

Harvard Business Review Press

Companies spend billions of dollars to advertise products that customers don’t want
Large companies are capable of doing amazing things, but when it comes to innovation, they just scratch the surface.
Marketing teams are busy producing PowerPoint documents on products rarely to be launched.
Companies often look for opportunities by saying something along the lines of: We have things to sell. Who will buy them?

What would you offer your 3-year old child for Christmas?
Dora The Explorer toy laptop, or an iPad?

The customer may very well prefer an offer that is sense & simplicity over complex & technical (what we call overshooting)

What is innovation? Something different that has impact. Impact means measurable results.
The word “technology” does not appear there. The word “creativity” does not appear either. Creativity, of course, can help in the innovation process. But innovation is a process that combines discovering an opportunity, blueprinting an idea to seize that opportunity, and implementing that idea to achieve results. No impact, no innovation.

Take Leonardo Da Vinci and Thomas Alva Edison. Both men were geniuses. Da Vinci was a creative genius. His ideas didn’t have impact at the time. Innovation is not an academic exercice where we think, think, think, but never do. The stock ticker-tape symbol, phonograph, incandescent light bulb, motion-picture industry… all have their roots in Edison’s labs in New Jersey. They all were different. They all had impact.

The new normal is perpetual change
In today’s world, innovation is not an option. And it may require walking away from the things you view as your core competency. Imagine: What if we were legally prohibited from selling to our current customer base?

Ted Levitt, “Marketing Myopia“:
Customers have problems. The company has potential solutions.
People don’t want quarter-inch drills. People want quarter-inch holes.

Peter Drucker, “Innovation and Entrepreneurship“:
Companies need to take a customer-first perspective to succeed with innovation.
Nobody pays for a product. What is paid for is satisfaction.
The customer has a problem to solve or a job to get done.
Now, if you go to your customers and ask them what job they are trying to get done, you are likely to be met with a blank stare. You just need to keep asking Why…? Hence…? And Therefore…?

Why do you want to buy a drill?  – I need to drill a hole.
Why do you need to drill a hole?  – I need to hang a picture.
Why do you need to hang a picture?  – I want to make my living room look nicer.
Why do you want to make your living room look nicer?  – My mother-in-law made an offhand comment about the room last time she visited, and I don’t want this to happen again…

The goal is to move from a solution to the source of the problem. Deep understanding of the problem can reveal the customer dream solution. Train yourself to spot signs of frustrations at your customers’.

A.G. Lafley, “The Game-Changer“:
Innovation is a process that can be managed and measured. The key to successful innovation is a customer-is-boss mindset. We have one and only boss. The Customer.

You need to focus on the customers wants and needs. You need to spend time with your target customers. You need to appreciate not just what the customers were saying, but also what they were feeling or unable to articulate. You need to understand what the person says he or she wants and needs, what he or she can’t easily articulate.

There are two moments of truth. The moment a customer chooses a product. The moment the customer uses a product.
Triple the amount of time you spend with your customers. Get the marketers out of HQ to spend time with the customer. It will help you feel their hopes, dreams, frustrations, and desires. This is a critical input to spot opportunities for innovation.

Joseph Schumpeter, “Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy“:
The problem that is usually being visualized is how capitalism administers existing structures, whereas the relevant problem is how it creates and destroys them. Sometimes you have to destroy in order to create.
Schumpeter coined the term “creative destruction“.

Vijay Govindarajan, “Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators“:
Existing companies that want to master strategic innovation have to carefully borrow some core capabilities, thoughtfully forget others, and systematically  learn some completely new skills.

Dave Goulait, P&G Innovation Productivity Team:
To do something different, you have to do something different. It is almost Einsteinian in its simplicity.
If your mission is to shake up the corporate establishment, or to create what does not exist, you simply cannot do the same thing that everyone else is doing.
Historically great companies such as Kodak, Digital Equipement Corp., IBM, Sears, General Motors, Sony, Nokia, Microsfot, RIM (…) stumbled by doing precisely what they were supposed to do.

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