Innovation Bloggers Virtual Forum on April 26th

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“Innovation is now recognized as the single most important ingredient in any modern economy.”

The Economist

News From my colleague, Jeff De Cagna, of Principled Innovation:

Innovation continues to be a top priority for leaders in all sectors of the global economy, yet actually making innovation happen remains a profound challenge for many organizations. What’s more, the new dynamics of a rapidly-changing, Web-enabled global marketplace are shifting how we think about innovation itself.

If you would like to better understand the current state of innovation thinking and practice, as well as the emerging trends that will shape the future of innovation, join some of the Web’s top innovation bloggers for the first-ever Innovation Bloggers Virtual Forum on April 26, 2007.

Here is the Forum line-up as of right now, and my colleague, Jeff De Cagna, of Principled Innovation, will be adding more bloggers. I have signed up to participate in the forum, as I’m also an Innovation Journalist, as well as an Innovation program designer, management consultant and executive coach:

Morning Forum Roundtable (11 am EDT)

Renee Hopkins Callahan, IdeaFlow
Chuck Frey, InnovationTools
Jeffrey Phillips, Innovate on Purpose
Dave Pollard, How to Save the World

Afternoon Forum Roundtable (2 pm EDT)

Dominic Basulto, Endless Innovation
Sanjay Dalal, Creativity And Innovation Driving Business
Mark McGuinness, Wishful Thinking
Joyce Wycoff, Heads Up! on Organizational Innovation

Keep checking—we’ll update this list and provide more information about the event as it becomes available. This is a unique opportunity to participate in two outstanding conversations involving many of the blogosphere’s smartest innovation thinkers and practitioners. For more information, read Jeff’s blog. I hope you will be able to join us!

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Study Foresees Profiles of Small Business as Radically Different in 2017

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Ten-Year Forecast by Intuit and Institute for the Future Redefines the Face of Entrepreneurs

MOUNTAIN VIEW—Jan. 24, 2007—The face of small business will dramatically change as seasoned baby boomers, kids fresh out of high school, mid-career women, “mompreneurs” and new immigrants come together to create the most diverse pool of entrepreneurs ever. Those are among the key findings of the groundbreaking Intuit Future of Small Business Report™, a unique study that looks forward 10 years and examines the prospects, influences and profiles of small business.

The first installment of the study, sponsored by Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU) and authored by the Institute for the Future, was released today. It focuses on new entrepreneurs who break the mold, the coming proliferation of personal businesses and the emergence of entrepreneurship education. Two upcoming installments will examine the technologies that will propel the small business sector and how small businesses will affect society and the economy through 2017.

Greater Diversity by 2017

The first installment concludes that the newest entrepreneurs will be far more diverse than their predecessors in age, origin and gender. By 2017, the white, middle-aged men who traditionally launch small businesses will be outnumbered by Generation Yers — those born after 1982 — women, immigrants and “un-retiring” baby boomers opting for entrepreneurship as a second career.

The report identifies three major trends: the changing face of small business, the rise of personal business and the emergence of entrepreneurial education. Those trends led to five major findings:

* Entrepreneurs will no longer come predominantly from the middle of the age spectrum, but instead from the edges. People nearing retirement and their children just entering the job market will set the bar as the most entrepreneurial generation ever.

* American entrepreneurship will reflect a huge upswing in the number of women. The glass ceiling that has limited women’s growth in traditional corporate career paths will send a rich talent pool to the small business sector.

* Immigrant entrepreneurs will drive a new wave of globalization. U.S. immigration policy and the outcome of the current immigration debates will affect how this segment performs over the next decade.

* Contract workers, accidental and social entrepreneurs will fuel a proliferation of personal businesses. Economic, social and technological change — and an increased interest in flexible work schedules — will produce a more independent workforce seeking a better work-life balance.

* Entrepreneurship will be a widely adopted curriculum at educational, trade and vocational institutions. As a result, artists, musicians and others not traditionally exposed to business education will learn not just their trade but small-business management skills as well.

“The next decade will see small and personal businesses become increasingly important sources of employment, economic growth and innovation,” said Steve King, senior advisor at the Institute for the Future and study co-author. “Leading small and personal businesses will be a diverse group of Americans, including young adults — even teens, women, immigrants and aging baby boomers.”

The study represents the first time that a wide set of business and demographic trends have been consolidated.

“Until now, the picture for American small businesses has been a fragmented set of statistics and forecasts,” said Brad Smith, senior vice president of Intuit’s small business division. “By putting the pieces together we’ve shown how different this sector may look in the future. These businesses may be small, but the changes in store will be anything but.”

Face of Future Entrepreneurs

Many baby boomers nearing retirement age will launch new businesses in far greater numbers than their counterparts from earlier generations, the study found. Their motivation: diminished job security, disappearing pensions and health benefits, and the need to match savings with longer life expectancies.

Many of their children will follow suit, becoming the most entrepreneurial generation in American history. Generation Yers view entrepreneurship as a way to maintain independence by owning their own careers. They are remarkably well-suited to the emerging entrepreneurial environment in which social and professional networks intermingle, information is ubiquitous, and the inner workings of the economy are far more transparent.

Women will increasingly turn to entrepreneurship. Among them: “mompreneurs” — mothers who start part-time, home-based businesses, often with the help of the Internet. These personal businesses, as the one-person sector is sometimes called, will be launched by people who may not even consider themselves small business owners.

A new breed of immigrant entrepreneurs will turn to the Internet to launch business, using their language skills, strong educations, multi-country contacts and professional experience to form international partnerships.

Shift Away from Traditional Employment

The line between small and large businesses will blur as more entrepreneurs form free-agent contracts with large companies as a natural response to the demise of lifetime employment. By 2017, free agents will thrive with less job security — they will have clients, not employers — but, in trade, will exert far more control over their time and working conditions.

For some professionals, entrepreneurship will complement a corporate career, but not replace it. The reason: Corporations and government agencies will see the entrepreneurial spirit as key to innovation and will train promising candidates accordingly. As a result, professionals will spend their careers alternating between two related worlds, sometimes running their own businesses in the free market and at other times running a virtual business within a larger organization. Experience in the former will help bolster the latter.

Entrepreneurial Education Expands

Entrepreneurial training will begin much earlier in life, with universities, secondary and vocational schools — and even some elementary schools — offering entrepreneurship as a mainstream subject. At the college level, the emphasis will widen, focusing not just on high-growth businesses backed by venture capital, but on small business ownership of all kinds.

“Once taught only in the school of hard knocks, entrepreneurship will become a mainstream subject, as fundamental to business education as accounting,” Smith said. “These courses will help transform the very definition of an entrepreneur to include professionals from all walks of life.”

A PDF file of the complete report is available at http://www.intuit.com/futureofsmallbusiness, along with visuals, a list of resources and more background material.

About the Institute for the Future

Founded in 1968 by a group of former RAND Corporation researchers, the Institute for the Future is an independent nonprofit research group working with organizations of all kinds to help them make better, more informed decisions about the future. The IFTF takes an explicitly global approach to strategic planning, linking macro trends to local issues in such areas as technology and society, health and health care, and global business trends.
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[Press Release © 2007 Intuit Inc. All rights reserved.]

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These are some trends we all will need to pay increasing attention to, not only for marketing purposes, but for the significant impact they will have on all world cultures, social issues, the environment, and the ways we do business. Entrepreneurs are the first-line innovators…more comments about this to come! Please feel free to add your most intelligently spent two cents to this blog…comments are moderated for relevance and respect demonstrated for other posters. Write on!

–Cathryn Hrudicka, Chief Imagination Officer/CEO
Creative Sage™

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This Year, 72 Percent of Companies Will Increase Spending on Innovation, Research from The Boston Consulting Group Shows

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(Republished January 2007, from the Creative Sage™ Creativity and Innovation Notations Blog)

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Nearly Half of Companies Remain Dissatisfied with Their Return on Innovation Spending; Three out of Four Executives Believe That Breakthrough Innovations Are Essential for Success in Their Industry; Apple, Google, and 3M Ranked “Most Innovative”

Boston (originally released: July 19, 2006) — Seventy-two percent of companies worldwide will increase spending on innovation in 2006-07, and 41 percent will increase spending significantly, according to a recent survey of senior management conducted by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The study’s full set of findings, based on responses from more than 1,000 senior executives from 63 countries and all major industries, is summarized in two new reports, Innovation 2006 and a companion piece on metrics, Measuring Innovation 2006.

The survey also revealed that, despite widespread plans to raise spending, nearly one out of two companies is unhappy with its return on innovation spending.

“These findings highlight the paradox we see all the time in practice. Innovation is such an important priority for companies, and although they continue to spend ever-increasing amounts on it, half of all companies remain unsatisfied with the returns they generate,” said Jim Andrew, a senior vice president at BCG and worldwide leader of its Innovation and Commercialization topic area. “This is a critical issue because the costs are even greater than most companies realize. The costs include not only the money invested, but also the opportunity cost of not generating the growth and returns from innovation that are possible and that companies need to meet the demands of the stock market.”

Other highlights from this BCG research include the following:

Innovation Is a Rising Strategic Priority for the Majority of Businesses

* Consistent with the rise in spending, executives are placing ever-greater strategic emphasis on innovation. Innovation is the number one strategic priority at 40 percent of companies (versus only 19 percent in 2005) and a top-three priority at more than 70 percent. More than 90 percent of executives say that organic growth through innovation is necessary for success in their industry; nearly three out of four feel that breakthrough innovations are required

Companies Spend the Greatest Portion of Their Innovation Dollars on Improvements to Existing Offerings

* While executives say that developing new products or services for existing customers is the most important goal of innovation, companies actually spend most heavily on making incremental improvements to existing offerings

Executives Consider Globalization Both a Major Opportunity and a Major Challenge

* Many companies are accelerating innovation investments in China , India , and other rapidly developing economies (RDEs). Most companies are doing so at a measured pace, however. So far, relatively few have made an aggressive commitment. The primary reasons companies are investing in these countries are to achieve cost savings and gain better access to the local markets

* There are few signs yet of a major shift of higher-value-added jobs—those that pay the highest salaries and are of greatest concern to government policymakers—to RDEs

Apple Computer Is Considered the Most Innovative Company

* For the second straight year, and by a wide margin, executives ranked Apple the most innovative company. Google and 3M were ranked second and third, respectively

Measuring Innovation Is a Significant Challenge for Many Businesses

* Innovation is widely undermeasured, and few firms are confident that their measurement efforts are sufficiently accurate or thorough. Indeed, the majority of companies (63 percent) use only a handful of metrics—five or fewer—to monitor and assess their innovation performance

* The metrics that executives consider most important are time to market, new-product sales, and return on investment

“Innovation is harder to measure than cost reductions, I’ll give you that,” Andrew said. “But a large number of companies don’t even measure it at all. And that means that innovation, a key priority for almost every organization, can’t be managed by many firms. This situation isn’t necessary. There are well-established practices that work. Not measuring is like driving without having your headlights on in the dark: you can’t see where you’re going or even if you’re still on the right road.”
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Developing innovation leaders can be crucial to corporate competitiveness, growth

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(Republished January 2007, from the Creative Sage™ Creativity and Innovation Notations Blog)

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Originally Released: Friday, July 21, 2006—University Park, PA—A leader’s ability to identify and diffuse innovations is critical to adapting to changing technologies and customer preferences, enhancing employee creativity, developing new products, supporting their organization’s market competitiveness and sustaining economic growth, according to a Penn State researcher.

“Commitment to innovation as a culture is prevalent in organizations as it is commonly woven directly into mission statements. However, leaders still lack the ability to plan, measure and implement innovative programs, products and services. These challenges are enhanced by the pressure to juggle several different and often conflicting roles,” said David G. Gliddon, who recently received his doctorate in workforce education from Penn State and completed the research as part of his doctoral dissertation. His thesis adviser is William J. Rothwell, professor of workforce education at Penn State.In a three-year study, Gliddon identified the competencies that underpinned these roles and developed a competency model of innovation leaders.

The competency model can be tailored to any organization as part of a competency-based human resource development initiative.Once tailored to a specific client, the model can be used to enhance job descriptions of the positions in which the identification and diffusion of innovations is critical, focus succession planning efforts for innovation leaders, discover gaps in an innovation leader’s competence, develop competency-based training to fill these competence gaps and incorporate the innovation leader’s competence requirements into the organization’s performance appraisal system.

“The aspect of innovation that is most difficult for professionals to grasp is that it is seen as inseparable from risk. Business success is linked to organizations that can overcome the potential risk and become true innovators. These organizations have a corporate culture that nurtures innovation leaders who take risks and think creatively,” said Gliddon, who now is a faculty member at Colorado Technical University.

It is not necessarily the innovation leader who must generate new ideas; rather, they must understand what creative employees value. They must encourage new ideas by seeking active input from their employees.

Innovation leaders collaboratively interact with their employees and support high levels of teamwork, providing opportunities to share innovations. Once an innovation has been shared, employees should be empowered to then adopt the innovation if it is useful. Employees then can support the innovation leader by initially adopting the innovation, and encourage the diffusion of the innovation throughout organization’s social system, Gliddon said.

Innovation leaders also must take personal responsibility for and be dedicated to projects that require innovations. Therefore, innovation leaders must establish a trust culture and maintain relationships based on trust. They must display initiative, set challenging project goals, and link those goals to the needs of the customer, department and enterprise, according to his study.

“Innovation has been linked to the growth of existing enterprises and development of new enterprises. As new products, programs, services and technologies are created, new opportunities for employment can arise. Innovation can support the creation of new jobs in an economy,” said Gliddon.

The key sources of innovation include: research and development, systemic innovation, knowledge management, integration, new business venture strategies and new business models. The innovation leader can support the success of this economy and the organizations, products and employees it encompasses.

“Our current economy is characterized by a focus on knowledge, change and globalization. It is fast and unpredictable and driven by innovative knowledge-based firms who are trying to innovate with scarce resources and skill shortages,” said the Penn State graduate.

The competency model of innovation leaders directly addresses these issues and provides an exciting opportunity for economic growth for organizations that seek to maintain competitiveness through innovation. Progress in innovation can be made when organizations provide innovation leaders the opportunity to learn and develop their competence and creativity, according to the study.

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Kicking off a new blog with Web Content Awareness Day 2007

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Don’t Miss Web Content Awareness Day 2007: An Information Celebration Right in Your Email Inbox! Get instant access to trusted service providers, advice from top web marketing experts, great offers and more. Runs Jan 9 to Feb 9. Learn more—sign up at: http://WebContentAwarenessDay.com today. As the creator of our sister blog, The PR and Marketing Mentor, I’m one of the participating trusted advisors and service providers. As an added bonus, check out my Web Content Awareness Day 2006 articles, which I’ve imported to the “Planning PR Campaigns” category. I expanded that article and broke it into two parts, for your convenience—“Getting the Most Out of Online and Offline PR,” Parts 1 and 2. You’ll also find my new articles there, for Web Content Awareness Day 2007, within the next few weeks. Loads of great information—learn and enjoy!

Subscribe to our fun, provocative Creative Sage™ e-letter, with wonderful creativity and innovation tips that will benefit your business, nonprofit, or your life in extraordinary ways!

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The Fine Print:

Copyright 2006-2011 Cathryn Hrudicka. All rights reserved worldwide. No content on this site may be copied or excerpted on another web site or in print without prior permission of the author. If a quote, blog post, article or other content is placed on another site, blog, printed periodical or other format, credit must be given to Cathryn Hrudicka/Creative Sage™/Cathryn Hrudicka & Associates, with a link back to this blog.

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