Enhance Productivity and Efficiency with Stephen’s Innovation Insights

Innovation Insights by Stephen Shapiro

Latest Posts

TheInnovationMinute

Today’s Innovation Minute…

In the first video I introduced the FAST Innovation model: Focus, Ask, Shift, Test

Then I introduced the 5 D’s of Differentiation.

In a previous video I introduced this framework:
innovation strategies support-core-differentiating

Today I discuss how to make sure your investments in differentiating capabilities don’t become core in your industry too quickly.

Be sure to watch the previous videos!

Transcription:

Today I want to talk about my three levels of innovation framework where we talk about support, core, and differentiating. And I want to talk about one specific aspect, which is the pace of change.

We need to recognize that whatever is differentiating today may become core in the future. That is, something that made us unique and special at one point is being replicated by others.

And this pace of change is causing us to invest a lot of energy and innovation that doesn’t sustain. We’re on a treadmill running really fast but not making a lot of progress.

So, as you think through your differentiator, and you think through how you’re going to innovate where you differentiate, make sure that what you are focused on is something which will stand the test of time. That it will be something, which differentiates you for a longer period of time.

I would argue, for example, with Apple their differentiator is not their technology. Technology is easy to copy. Their differentiator or one of their differentiators is their fan base. People are fanatic about Apple products, and will buy Apple products just because they’re apple products. Yes, they have to be great, but I will tell you that fandom is a very difficult thing for others to replicate.

 

TheInnovationMinute

Today’s Innovation Minute…

In the first video I introduced the FAST Innovation model: Focus, Ask, Shift, Test

Then I introduced the 5 D’s of Differentiation.

In the last video I introduced this framework:
innovation strategies support-core-differentiating

Today I discuss how to shift your investments from core (and support) to differentiating as a way of increasing innovation ROI.

Be sure to watch the previous videos!

Transcription:

In the last video, I introduced a framework for being able to prioritize your innovation investments. And we looked at the fact that activities that we perform inside of organizations are either support, core, or differentiating. Today I want to dig a little deeper into this. And in particular, I want to focus on core versus differentiating.

One of the things we need to understand is that if we look at how companies invest in innovation, what I found is that in most cases 80% of their efforts are invested in things that are core not differentiating.

This means that you’re putting your most important time, energy, and resources into things which won’t even set you apart from the competition.

Now it doesn’t mean you don’t have to do these well, because if your core is not working innovation is not going to matter, but you don’t want to be doing your best work for things which are core. You want to be of the shift from 80% core to less, 70%, 60%, 50%, 20%, whatever it is so that you really truly innovating where you differentiate.

The more energy you put into differentiating activities, the more return you’ll get for innovation efforts.

TheInnovationMinute

Today’s Innovation Minute…

In the first video I introduced the FAST Innovation model: Focus, Ask, Shift, Test

Then I introduced the 5 D’s of Differentiation.

Today I discuss the final D of Differentiation – Disseminated.

Use this framework while watching the video as it helps bring the concepts to life:

innovation strategies support-core-differentiating

Be sure to watch the previous videos!

 

Transcription:

In the previous videos, I talked about why you need to innovate, where you differentiate, and introduce the five D’s differentiation. Today, I want to talk about the last one, which is disseminated. This is going to take a little longer than a minute, so bear with me.

When we look at an organization’s innovation portfolio, and where they spend their money, and the activities that people do, they fall into three categories.

There are activities (the first level) that people do that would be, what I would call “support.”

These are activities that are important to the business but they’re probably not important to your customers. Your customers don’t value it, they wouldn’t pay for it. Think about payroll. You don’t have to have the best payroll system in the world, that’s not the goal. So you don’t want to innovate around things that are support.

Second level, are things that are “core” in nature.

If it is core, your customers value it, they want it, and if you don’t deliver this they will leave you. However, these are table stakes. It is the expectation to play the game. All your competition is doing this well. So, even for things that are core, you don’t want to be the best, you just want to be as good as everyone else. Your strategy for things that are core is not innovation, but it might be best practices. Even though I have a book called “Best practices are stupid” they are actually very useful for things that are core.

You might want to partner strategically with others who have as their differentiator the thing which is core to you. So you want to look at ways of turning your core into a well-oiled machine.

At the highest level are those activities that are “differentiating” and that truly set you apart from the competition. This is where you innovate.

In the next video, we’re going to dig a little deeper into this framework, because I think this is important for people to be grounded in and understand how it works.

TheInnovationMinute

Today’s Innovation Minute…

In the first video I introduced the FAST Innovation model: Focus, Ask, Shift, Test

Then I introduced the 5 D’s of Differentiation.

Today I discuss the 4th D of Differentiation – Desirable.

Be sure to watch the previous videos!

 

Transcription:

In the previous videos, I talked about why you innovate where you differentiate and I introduced the five D’s of differentiation. Today, I want to talk about the fourth D, which is about being desirable. And I want to do this through an example.

I used to live in Boston, would go down to Atlantic City. I love Atlantic City. I think it’s a great, fun place.

In 2012, they built a casino called The Revel. The Revel casino, built in 2012 for $2.5 billion. It is a spectacular casino. I’ve been there. Sophisticated, classy, high-end. There’s only one problem, the people who go to Atlantic City aren’t. The people who go to Atlantic City go to the beach with their kids, they eat cotton candy and hotdogs. Maybe they’ll play nickel slots, but probably not the ideal place for a sophisticated, high-end casino.

The Revel was built for $2.5 billion in 2012 and in 2014, it went bankrupt. It shut its doors, and as of this video it is still closed and it’s questionable whether or not it will ever open.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Being different is not the same as being differentiated.

At the end of the day, your customers will determine your differentiator. You don’t get to determine it, they do. And if what you offer is not desirable, it’s not a differentiator, it’s just something that’s costing you a lot of money.

TheInnovationMinute

Today’s Innovation Minute…

In the first video I introduced the FAST Innovation model: Focus, Ask, Shift, Test

Then I introduced the 5 D’s of Differentiation.

Today I discuss the 3rd D of Differentiation – Disruption-Proof.

Be sure to watch the previous videos!

Transcription:

In the last videos, I talked about why you need to innovate where you differentiate and the five D’s of differentiation. Today we’re going to cover the third D, which is about being disruption-proof.

Your differentiator does not have to be disruptive. It doesn’t have to change the game. But you need to understand that the world is changing around you, and if the pace of change outside the organization is faster than the pace of change within you’re going to be out of business.

Therefore you need to choose a differentiator that’s not going to be subject to disruption.

If we look at the taxi industry, we all know that Uber is starting to disrupt the taxi industry. And we’re seeing the same thing happening almost every single industry. So what you need to understand is, not who’s is your competition today, but who will be your competition in the future.

What are going to be the buying habits of millennials and others that may make your products and services less relevant? Are there going to be new entrants from completely new areas that might disrupt you, and put you out of business?

lets get phygital

lets get phygitalIf your head is filled with images of Olivia Newton-John jumping around in leotards and donning a headband, please re-read the title.

This article is not about exercise but is focused on the “phygital” movement; the blending the physical and digital world.

In life, most trends swing like a pendulum. For most of history, we were a physical society. Then as technology become more accessible by the masses, we’ve moved to a digital world. More and more, people are disconnected from the real world and spend their time on their phones, tablets, and computers.

More meetings are going online via Skype and TelePresence. More companies are allowing employees to telecommute. More people are spending time with their friends on Facebook and Snapchat.

But the pendulum appears to be swinging towards the middle. As we become increasingly detached from the physical world thanks to technology, people are now beginning to crave face-to-face human interaction.

Hence the emergence of the new phygital movement. This is the blending of the physical and digital worlds.

One simple and fun example I love is the Twizzard.  During Black Friday weekend in 2014, Mall of America® , used Twitter to power a snowstorm inside the Minneapolis-area retail complex. The more people tweeted with the #twizzard hashtag that weekend, the lower the temperature got on a digital thermometer in the center of the mall. When there were enough tweets and the temperature hit freezing, the skies opened and it started to snow INSIDE the mall.

This generated massive buzz through social media and increased foot traffic 10% over the previous year. You can watch a 30 second video showing it in action. (This is a shortened video. If you want to see the entire video, go here.)

I recently heard of another use of phygital. Normally if a customer complains on social media, if the company is savvy, they will send a quick response back via social media. But one major airport took this a step further. If there was a complaint about something related to the airport, based on geolocation and the person’s social media picture, airport staff would seek out the individual and give them some chocolates. Very cool. However I do wonder if this increased the number of made-up complaints by traveling chocoholics.

Of course more and more retail stores are using phygical as a means of engaging customers and increasing sales. iBeacons and other technologies allow the store to push coupons, alert shoppers of sale items, remind people of products they might need, and provide useful product information. Phygital experiences may be what is necessary to combat the growing threat of Amazon and other online retailers.

What do you do that is phygital?

30day3I even have a phygital offering of my own. My 30-Day Innovation Challenge was originally designed to provide a reinforcement of my content after people left my speech. But one use that has been wildly successful is to use the technology while people are still together.

For example, when I do a daylong workshop, we set up the system so that at the first break everyone gets the first of 30 questions. During the break people are encouraged to respond, because the leaderboard is displayed when people return.  People love seeing their name high on the leaderboard and it creates a sense of friendly competition in the physical world enabled by the digital world. We do this several times throughout the day, with the game continuing after people leave the workshop. When we start the 30 Day Innovation Challenge with a phygital experience, we’ve had over 95% of people participate each and every day for the remainder of the competition.

The physical world can enhance the digital world and vice versa.

Where are you seeing the blending of the physical and digital worlds? How can you bring this concept to your organization?

P.S. This will be the first of many articles on this topic.

Shapiro podcasts

Shapiro podcastsI’ve been interviewed many times on many podcasts over the past couple of months and I’ve not had time to post them all here. So here, in one post, you will find several of my more recent interviews. Enjoy!

  1. I had a fun interview with Will Barron. We explored the world of sales, and in particular what sales people can learn from innovators, and how sales people can innovate how they sell. Go to the salesman.red podcast page to listen and learn more.
  2. Deirdre Sanborn and I discussed a wide range of innovation topics, ranging from how unconscious biases impact innovation to why expertise is the enemy of innovation. Go to her Ambition Project Podcast for the recording.
  3. Seth Greene and I explored how you innovate with purpose for his Direct Response Marketing podcast (this link goes straight to iTunes)
  4. Kelly Scanlon over at Think Bigger Business Media, conducted a great interview about innovation. You can get it here.
  5. I was recently interviewed by Expernova, a French innovation company about Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing. Here’s the resulting article on their website.

There are other interviews that will be posted in a separate blog entry.

TheInnovationMinuteThumb

Today’s Innovation Minute…

In the first video I introduced the FAST Innovation model: Focus, Ask, Shift, Test

Then I introduced the 5 D’s of Differentiation.

Today I discuss the 2nd D of Differentiation – Defensible.

Be sure to watch the previous videos!

 

Transcription:

In the earlier videos, I talked about how you need to innovate where you differentiate. And I talked about the five D’s of differentiation. Today I want to talk about the second D which is about being defensible.

I was doing some work for a company in the home assurance industry, and I asked them, “What is your differentiator?” Everybody agreed it was their pricing models. Their pricing models were unique in the market, and so they felt this is what truly set them apart.

When I asked them, “How soon after you introduce a new pricing model does the competition replicated it,” I was told, on average two weeks.

Now, I don’t know about you, but to me this doesn’t sound like a differentiator. It sounds like you doing the hard work for your competition.

So, the key with being defensible is that you have a differentiator that others can’t replicate quickly.

TheInnovationMinuteThumb

Today’s Innovation Minute: The 1st of the 5 D’s of differentiation – Distinctive

Be sure to watch the previous videos!

Transcription:

In the last video, I talked about the five Ds of differentiation. Today I want to talk about the first D, which is being distinctive.

The key to being distinctive is that you do something that sets you apart from the competition. And it shouldn’t be just replicating what someone else is doing, it should be distinctive, like the word.

I want to give you an example. There are two insurance companies that have very distinctive strategies.

State Farm, like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. They have the largest distribution network of agents. And this has led them to be able to get 40% of the homeowners market. Even in the day where the Internet prevails, State Farm is focused on their personal touch; their distribution network.

On the flipside you have USAA. They will only offer insurance and financial services to those in the military, and their family. They know that these individuals are moving around, they could be deployed, therefore, their strategy is to give them the tools to have them feel at home no matter where they are. And using this strategy USAA has achieved a number one, or number two customer service rating of any company in any industry year after year.

One key to innovation is to be distinctive.

And that’s the first of the D’s. We’ll cover the other D’s in the subsequent videos.

Innovation eLearning course

Recently I shared the fact that I have a new eLearning course. It has been getting RAVE reviews!

We received this unsolicited feedback from Jerry Cox, President of TTNLearning:

Love it. The best course I have seen on any subject this year… I could recommend the course to any executive without reservation. And – if he or she is a friend, I would follow up to make sure they viewed it.”

TTN Learning is a premier global online learning provider that offers tons of courses. We never asked him for any comments on this new course, so this was a huge surprise!

What is everyone so excited about? Check out our new promotional video that shows you in one-minute why this is not like any other course out there. You really do have to try it to see how great it is. Contact us for more details.

Bring Stephen’s innovation insights to your next event!

Bring Stephen’s innovation insights to your next event!