Keys to innovation: Tapping communities of lead users


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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The 7 roles of company directors in driving successful innovation


I have just finished running a two-day program in Phuket for the Malaysian Directors Academy on The Innovation Zone: Unleashing the Mindset.

The Academy also asked me to contribute an article to their magazine Board View. The piece is below, providing a high-level view on the role of company directors in driving innovation.

I find it interesting how little attention seems to be paid explicitly to the role of directors in innovation. Many aspects of driving successful innovation are operational, so within the purview of management. However there are critically important roles for boards of directors to play in innovation, and innovation must be squarely on directors’ agenda.

How Directors Can Drive Innovative Organisations

As the pace of change in the business environment increases, driven by technological and social shifts, innovation is moving to the centre of value creation in organisations. Efficiency and effectiveness in well-established business processes and business models are of no value if those models are being destroyed by new products or new classes of competitors.
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