Harnessing the power of innovation: networks are at the heart

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Every organization understands they need to innovate, not just in bringing new offerings to market, but in continually becoming a new and better organization.

Networks are always at the heart of innovation. The new comes from combining the old in original ways.

Chemist Kary Mullis aptly described how he arrived at his innovations that won him the Nobel Prize in 1993:

“I put together elements that were already there, but that’s what inventors always do. You can’t make up new elements, usually. The new element, if any, it was the combination, the way they were used.”

Whether it is bringing together existing ideas to create new ideas, or connecting people in ways that generate new insights, organizations must design how they work to facilitate value-generating connections.
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Insights into the levers of innovation in 40 major cities globally

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The City Initiatives for Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CITIE), a joint venture of NESTA, Catapult, and Accenture, has just release a very interesting report on the drivers of innovation in major cities globally.

The CITIE Framework examines 9 different areas in which cities can support entrepreneurship and innovation, shown here:
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Lessons from the transformation of Washington Post since its acquisition by Jeff Bezos

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imageI’m at the INMA conference in New York, where I gave the opening keynote yesterday morning on Creating the Future of News.

The opening keynote on the second day was from Steve Hills, President of Washington Post, who spoke about the state of Washington Post since its acquisition in October 2013 by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos. He shared some fascinating insights that are highly relevant for any news publisher looking to create the future.

The big idea of what they are aiming to create is “A national edition optimized for mobile and for interestingness with a simple UX designed for stunning storytelling that is less work for the user to consume.” Bezos thinks it is critical to reduce ‘cognitive overhead’ for their readers.
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Flying cars are here! Will they become mainstream?

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I’m at the Marketing Summit 2014 in Istanbul, where I’m giving the closing keynote later today. It is proving a delightful event, drawing on a framework on GameChangers from conference chairman Peter Fisk to invite inspiring speakers from around the world.

Yesterday Stefan Klein of Aeromobil described his journey to create a flying car. The beautiful video below shows the maiden flight of Aeromobil, just one month ago.


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The massive opportunity of open innovation for mid-tier firms

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I recently gave the keynote at an American Express function for CFOs of mid-tier firms. I wrote before about the event in a post on the central role of CFOs in innovation and future-proofing in mid-tier firms.

The video below nicely summarizes highlights from the event, including some excerpts from my speech from 1:38.

One of the issues I discussed was the potential of open innovation.
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Report: The Future of Back-to-School

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I am currently in Toronto to launch a report commissioned by Visa Canada on The Future of Back-to-School.

As noted in the announcement of the report:

In a recent survey conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of Visa Canada, 52 per cent of Canadian parents with children aged 5-16 found back-to-school preparations to be stressful for them and their families, second only to the Christmas or winter holiday season. With an eye on the future, Visa also explored how tomorrow’s technologies and innovations may address the challenges presented during the busy back-to-school period. Visa commissioned a report by internationally-renowned futurist Ross Dawson who identified a number of innovative technologies that may exist by 2024 to help ease the stress during this annual time period.

In his report, titled The Future of Back-to-School, Ross Dawson highlights these futuristic innovations through colourful vignettes, such as at-home scanners that measure children’s clothing sizes and systems that automatically allow for purchase and delivery in a timely fashion, or family-focused and streamlined ordering of nutritious groceries, making planning for school lunches a breeze – all purchased using authentication of unique voice patterns.

You can download the full report by clicking on the image of the report cover below.

FutureofBacktoSchool_Visa
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Agencies must adapt to a marketing world based on open systems

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John Winsor, CEO of crowdsourcing-based advertising agency Victors & Spoils and Chief Innovation Officer at global marketing conglomerate Havas, has long been an innovator and provocateur in agency world.

He gave the keynote at the Future of Crowdsourcing Summit I ran in San Francisco and Sydney in 2010, and his agency was featured as a case study of crowd business models in my book Getting Results From Crowds.

John has just published an excellent article on HBR Blogs titled The Future of Marketing, as Seen at Cannes Lions.
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Trying hard to be genuine: the only viable path is transparency

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ABC News recently ran a segment Social media forces companies to change their marketing strategies or risk being left behind.

The piece, which included quotes from Mark Zuckerberg, Guy Kawasaki, and myself, among others, looked at how companies are changing how they are connecting to their customers and communities.

One excerpt from my interview noted:

ROSS DAWSON: People can very quickly see when something is false or has a false tone. Indeed, companies now do have to find those that are genuinely engaged to be able to help them to spread their messages. So in a world which is becoming more transparent, being genuine – not trying to pull the swift one on your consumers – is in fact the only way to success.

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6 key elements in effective innovation governance

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Earlier this week I ran a two-day workshop in Bali for the Malaysian Directors Academy on The Innovation Zone: Unleashing The Mindset.

I ran the same program in Phuket last October for another group of directors of large Malaysian companies, with the feedback from that session prompting the Malaysian Directors Academy to ask me to run the workshop again.

The topic of “innovation mindset” is an excellent one for company directors, as that must be the starting place for successful innovation initiatives.
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Keys to innovation: Tapping communities of lead users

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Today I was interviewed on ABC Radio National’s ByDesign program on how our expectations of beauty are increasing. You can listen to the interview here.

At one point the conversation shifted to how companies could generate the innovation that will meet the soaring expectations of users.

Notably through the work of MIT’s Eric von Hippel, companies have grown to recognize the critical importance of co-creation in innovation, and in particular the role of ‘lead users’. Lead users are typically those who find new applications for products, extend their use, and are the most discerning.

In the interview I was asked how companies can find these lead users to help them innovate.
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