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Applied Innovation
© Idea Champions, 2007
Why do you care
about innovation?
What’s in it for you?
What’s in it for your customers?
What’s in it for your company?
Obstacles to Innovation
• Lack of a shared, compelling vision • Lack of
ownership by Senior Leaders • Relegated to R&D
• Fear in the workplace • Inelegant tollgate
processes • Constantly shifting priorities • Short
term thinking • Addiction to data • Old assumptions
• Addiction to the status quo • No customer focus
• Internal Politics • Hierarchy • Micromanagement
• Workforce workloads • Silo-it-is • Unwillingness to
learn from failures • No reward or recognition • Risk
aversion • Lack of communication • Poor teamwork
• No intrinsic motivation • Under-funding • Physical
environment • Lack of spec time • Over-analysis
The Nail Game
1. All 13 nails must balance simultaneously
2. Block of wood must remain in an upright position
3. No nails can touch the block of wood
4. No nails can be bent or altered
5. The embedded nail cannot be removed
6. No props (i.e. rubber band, glue, string etc.)
7. Everyone on your team must participate
8. If you’ve done this before, raise your hand
What is the linchpin of success re:
creating a culture of innovation within
your sphere of influence at BASF?
“How can the Senior Team jump
start a culture of innovation
within their sphere of influence
within the next 90 days.”
Reframing the Problem
Is the problem statement…
• Simple?
• Penetrating?
• Inspiring?
• Knowable?
• Eloquent?
Food for Thought…
Take a deck of Free Genie
cards as you exit. Tonight,
look through the deck and
select the five cards YOU
think are the most thought
provoking re: BASF
creating a sustainable
culture of innovation. Keep
these cards in your pocket
for tomorrow’s session…
Day Two
Go for it!
Take a risk!
What you can expect
from today’s session
Mindset shift
Powerful new ideas to grow your business
Insights into creating a culture of innovation
Tools & techniques to think outside the box
Application of best innovation practices
Identification of project champions
The Linchpins of BASF’s
Innovation Journey
Time to think
Develop people
Common objective
• Leadership
• Open communication
• Fun
• Confidence
• Diversity
• Egolessness
• Fearlessness
Genie…Ingenuity… Genius
“Not everything that counts can be
counted; and not everything that
can be counted counts.” – Albert Einstein
• Analytical
• Intuitive
• Linear
• Associative
• Sequential
• Flexible
• Practical
• Imaginative
• Convergent
• Divergent
• Serious
• Playful
• Detail-oriented
• Wholistic
Creating Ground Rules
What do you need
from each other in
order to establish
a culture of
innovation in this
room today?
What are your limiting
assumptions about
creating a culture of
innovation at BASF?
Lead Into Gold
Transforming limiting assumptions
into breakthrough opportunities
“You can't just ask customers what
they want and then try to give that
to them. By the time you get it built,
they'll want something new.”
– Steve Jobs
The DNA of Innovation
Model #1: Theresa Amabile
The Six Drivers of Innovation
1. Challenge
2. Freedom
3. Resources
4. Teamwork
5. Supervisory encouragement
6. Organizational support
“Companies are actually living
organisms, not machines. We
keep bringing in mechanics –
when what we need are
gardeners.” – Peter Senge
Model #2: Mitchell Ditkoff
The Garden of Innovation
Whet the appetite
Stake the territory
Prepare the ground
Find (& plant) the seeds
Fence the garden
Tend the seedlings
Thin and weed
The Garden of Innovation
The Metaphor
1. Whet the appetite
2. Stake the territory
3. Prepare the ground
4. Find (& plant) seeds
5. Fence the garden
6. Tend the seedlings
7. Thin and weed
8. Harvest
The Translation
Get people hungry
Clarify the scope
Remove obstacles
Create (& pitch) ideas
Protect innovators
Coach, support, pilot
Evaluate and select
Go to market
Best Innovation Practices…
Best Innovation Practices
…that you can adapt!
Allow Employees to
Shop Ideas Around
At 3M if an aspiring innovator
can’t get support from his own
boss, he or she is free to shop
the idea around the company to
see if anyone else will buy it.
Create In-House
Venture Capital
Teradyne, a manufacturer of
testing equipment for
semiconductor chips, phone
networks and software, funds
ersatz start-ups in the company
for its best ideas. The start-ups
report not to a boss but to a Board
of Directors. It has venture capital
– not a budget.
Let Peers Decide the
Funding for Big Ideas
Shell has appointed an innovation
panel of free thinking employees to
allocate $20M to game-changing
ideas submitted by their peers. They
assess what Shell would lose if they
pass on the opportunity. Of Shell’s
five largest growth initiatives in 1999,
four had their beginning in the
“Game Changer” initiative.
Make It Easy for Customers
to Help You Innovate
Second Life, a thriving virtual
community produces less than 1% of
its game content. Instead, it gives
powerful scripting tools to its
customers. Virtually, every character,
object and experience in Second Life
is created by thousands of
enterprising customers who are
committed fans and users.
Do Guerilla Research
Second Curve Capital conducts yearly
“Branch Hunts.” That’s when all
employees meet at NYC’s Chrysler
building, are divided into teams, and
assigned “avenues.” The goal? To visit
every retail bank along that avenue and,
armed with $100 bills, open checking
accounts at two of them. Later, each team
reports their findings, including digital
photos, noting customer service and staff
morale. Based on their learnings, SCC
generates valuable intelligence about
where the retail banking market is headed.
Reward Cross-Enterprise
Hewlett Packard supports
collaboration by allowing employees
the freedom to seek help and input for
ideas across the enterprise.
Employees can even reward people
who help them. Managers have “eAwards” they can give to other units
who help them – and an employee,
with a manager’s OK, can also give eAwards to other employees.
Give Employees Time to
Follow Their Passions
3M gives employees the
freedom to spend up to 15% of
their time working on projects
not sanctioned by the job
they’re in. Google allows 20%.
(Several new Google services
were conceived during
employee’s 20% “free time.”)
Set Aside Some R&D
Budget for Future Hires
Geoff Smith, VP of Business
Development at Mitel, puts 10% of the
R&D budget aside to fund head count
in a “strategic technologies” unit – a
group of people whose job it is to look
out into the future and experiment with
finding the next big breakthrough
which won’t contribute to the bottom
line today, but might contribute in the
Balance Your
Innovation Portfolio
Upper Management, at Hewlett
Packard, focuses on all aspects of
innovation and manages innovation
in terms of an “Innovation Portfolio.”
The portfolio includes a balance of
surefire innovations and more risky
ones across various types of
projects (I.e. core businesses,
emerging and new).
Create Start Up Environments
Corel, makers of Word Perfect
software, recreates start up
environments. When an employee has
a bright idea, he can apply for a twoweek pass, along with one or two other
people in a “virtual garage” situation to
develop the idea. At the end of the two
weeks, if the idea continues to look
promising, he can apply for another two
week pass and so on, as long as the
idea keeps looking like a winner.
Create Innovation
Slush Funds
Nortel Networks, the fiber optics
giant, allocates pools of money (or
“innovation slush funds”) at different
organizational levels for any idea the
manager thinks has great potential,
but doesn’t want to be accountable
for the bottom-line result.
Raise the Bar for
Customer Service
Commerce Bank locations are open
70 - 80 hours a week. They open 15
minutes before and close 15 minutes
after their posted hours. Funds from
all deposited checks are available the
next business day – no questions
asked. And when a Commerce Bank
customer needs to replace a lost ATM
or debit card, the bank teller can
make a new one on the spot.
“How can each of us in the room today
help BASF employees throughout the
organization embrace and establish a
sustainable culture of innovation?
Idea Killer Statements?
“We’ve reached the end of
incrementalism. Only those
companies that are capable of
creating industry revolutions will
prosper in the new economy.”
– Gary Hamel
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“Not everything that
counts can be counted;
and not everything that
can be counted,
– Albert Einstein
“We have approximately 60,000
thoughts in a day. Unfortunately,
95% of them are thoughts we
had the day before.”
– Deepak Chopra
You’re All in this Together!
Mitch Ditkoff
Idea Champions