Empathy: The Currency of Human Connection—and Innovation.

Having worked with innovation teams from global companies like Visa, Colgate-Palmolive, Kimberly-Clark, Disney, Medtronic and many others, there’s one consistent success factor when it comes to innovation, no matter what you’re doing: it all starts with the customer. Companies spend oodles of time and money trying to understand customers. They conduct surveys, hire market researchers, run…

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Use Leading and Lagging Indicators to Drive Your Business Forward

You get what you measure, so make sure you’re tracking the right things. I’ve seen a lot of organizations create strategies, programs, and projects focused on optimizing operations, streamlining processes, and driving innovation. Leadership teams put lots of energy coming up with the next big thing. But amazingly few teams think about how they’ll measure…

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5 Innovation Lessons from the Backstory of OpenTable.com

In 1998, Chuck Templeton started a company called EasyEats.com. I went to high school with Chuck. We discussed the business plan which included providing recipes, food critic review, and much more. He eventually honed the scope and changed the name to OpenTable. As you probably know, the company would become an icon for what it…

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Use “Calculated Optimism”​ for More Strategic Decisions

Harvard Research Suggests Pessimism Is Bad for Business. Replace pessimism with “calculated optimism” for better decision-making. Research from Harvard University looked at whether people were afraid of various situations or objects, such as being stuck in enclosed places or coming face-to-face with snakes. These same individuals were asked to estimate the number of fatalities each year…

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Use Intuition for Innovation Just Like Apple and Target

‘Unconscious thinking’ helps you analyze data so you make the best decisions. I get asked a lot about how much to rely on data versus gut instinct when innovating the next big thing. I wrote about this extensively in my book Leapfrogging. The answer may surprise you. Disruptive Innovators Use Their Gut Apple never did…

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How to See Your Hidden Assumptions

Successful strategy and innovation are about how fast you can become aware of your assumptions. When it comes to strategy and innovation, success depends on how fast you become aware of your assumptions and then modify them. But it’s a paradox:  You can’t see your most fundamental assumptions until you overcome them. This means that you…

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Work Backward to Drive Innovation Forward

Here’s how Amazon defines the ideal customer experience and then works backward to create it. Everyone wants to uncover the secret to the perfect business model that will unlock their true potential. The best business strategies focus on meeting and exceeding customer needs and expectations. This means envisioning customer problems as well as ideal solutions…

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Use a Strategy Uncertainty Map to Find Clarity in Disruptive Times

All opportunities have uncertainty. Use a map to navigate it. Let’s kick-off 2022 with a useful tool. Here’s the downloadable Strategy Uncertainty MapI developed as part of my work with Praxie.com. The past two years were as disruptive as they get for both society and business. So how do you plan for the next year…

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Turn Overwhelming Data into New Insight to make Strategic Decisions

Focused on insight, not numbers Planning for next year is well under way. Because of unprecedented uncertainty, there’s a strong desire to use data to deliver better decision-making. Makes sense. Yet many teams and organizations get paralyzed by overwhelming data. Spreadsheets, presentations, and industry reports, can inform, but also overwhelm. While data exists, many teams…

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Organize innovation to fit your strategy & culture.

Companies don’t fail at innovation due to lack of ideas. They often don’t create the right innovation structure to implement their opportunities. Most organizations struggle with innovation. That’s because they try to apply processes and structures that don’t fit their business strategies and cultures. They partner with Silicon Valley startups who have breakthrough technology when…

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