Push Back – the opportunity kliier

July 25th, 2017 by Roger La Salle

“Push-Back” – The opportunity killer By Roger La Salle
www.innovationtraining.com.au

The CEO has little Power

The CEO of a large company once said to me, believe it or not,

“I am in the position of least power to change this organisation. If people will not change I am unable to make them, the organisation is simply too large for me to do their jobs in a different way. I must rely on my people.”

What’s Push-back?
Anybody in a medium to large sized organisation will have encountered Push-Back”. This occurs when an individual or a group expresses doubt or even rejects outright the notion of a new approach. This is “Push-Back” and unfortunately it’s all too common.

Should we discourage “Push-back”?
Push back has its place should be used as a catalyst for creating open, full and frank discussion. The last thing one wants is for all to agree with no dissenting views and thus no discussion or exploration of alternatives. Surrounding yourself with “Yes-men” is the ploy of weak and insecure managers who are afraid to be challenged.

As General George Patton said: “If everyone is thinking the same, then nobody is thinking at all.”

What’s the solution?
Without doubt the most effective way to bring about change and acceptance of a better way is to have the negative thinkers involved in the development of the new initiative. Run a session or meeting and lead the naysayers to the “font of discovery” and have them inspire the new thinking. People generally love their own ideas.

An alternative approach is to ask somebody for their advice. People love to give advice, this makes them feel in control, feel well respected and perhaps admired.

Ask somebody for their advice and you will immediately have them on side.

What now?
The realisation that the boss, especially in larger organisations, really has little power to make change may come as a surprise to most, but is a fact.

To inspire change and get “buy in” you need to embrace those that will drive the change in developing the change initiative. Get them involved in developing the new thinking. This is the secret to mitigating “Push-Back”.

**** END ****

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Talk is cheap – Talk is Easy!

June 25th, 2017 by Roger La Salle

Talk is cheap – Talk is easy
By Roger La Salle
www.innovationtraining.com.au

For anyone seeking business advice and assistance whether in strategy, marketing, advertising, sales or innovation, there is one overriding metric that should underpin your purchase decision –
“will it add value?”

Client endorsements – hollow words?
Many web sites, brochures and promotional banners from consulting and training firms carry endorsements from previous clients. These can and should be a powerful aid in your decision making process but beware, if such words of endorsement do not carry the person’s title, name and organisation, they are simply hollow words that are best ignored.

In our business of innovation, opportunity capture, business strategy and culture change we indeed do have powerful endorsements, naturally all are backed by names and titles. However, when it comes to delivering innovation outcomes the real bottom line and a question you should be asking is “what innovations have resulted directly from your engagement?” This is the real question, in fact the only question. “Show me the products you have delivered, the patents lodged and products commercialised, show me the real “Value added”, then I will believe.

Read between the lines
Beware however of misleading endorsements and claims, not dishonest by design, but misleading by omission.

For example, a stunning patented breakthrough product we delivered and is now on display in an Australian Technology museum bears the tile of the “creator”. That title unwittingly misleads people to think these people were the inventors when in fact these people did nothing more than the industrial design. They simply made this amazing technology which we created, look pretty.

So too the industrial design company that is often credited with the creation of the computer mouse. In fact what they did was to turn an idea and a crude prototype conceived by others into an ergonomic saleable product, but so often we hear of them as the creators of the computer mouse. Of course this is not to detract from their design effort, but in exploring your innovation provider, make sure they are able to back their word with real tangible demonstrable outcomes and real innovators. Make sure you are dealing with doers, not talkers.

Remember the best measure we have in business is profit – plain and simple. Profit of course is the result of providing real value – the bottom line!

**** ENDS ****

Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development and is the author of four books and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panelist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast. www.innovationtraining.com.au

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Intangible but clearly visible!

May 20th, 2017 by Roger La Salle

It’s “Intangible” yet clearly visible!
By Roger La Salle
www.innovationtraining.com.au

A half time talk by a team coach can provide a burst of inspiration, an adrenalin rush and the motivation to get you out there to make an amazing contribution. It’s quite remarkable, the abstraction of inspiration can be clearly visible in physical outcomes with players lifting their game – at least in the very short term.

So too with motivational business speakers. Always great to listen to, they give a lift, you leave their session walking just a little taller ready for action. The question is – just how long does this last? In general it’s very short-term.

Great businesses have a great culture and much like with motivation, the abstract term of culture is clearly visible. You can see culture simply by walking around a business, observing the people, the facilities, the desks and the way people speak, move and interact. Culture is evident everywhere, you just need to observe.

In my business of innovation and opportunity capture, the same may be applied, except there is a difference. If you want the art of innovation to “stick” you need to get to the very essence of the business, the business DNA as we call it. This is where a culture change is made, where the tools of change are rolled out; not to be just experienced, but to be embedded into the business and used.

Unlike the home gym that you may buy in a fit of inspiration and soon discard as long term hard work and not really much fun, with innovation you achieve results immediately, not in months but on the very first day. Further, once people experience this, realize they can do it and moreover it’s actually fun, the risks of it being discarded are gone and a new culture begins to permeate the organisation.

Is this rocket science?
Like a golf swing, when done properly the beauty of innovation is in its simplicity. Innovation is a culture, keep it simple, inspired by capability, method, tools, practice and outcomes.

Do this and see an outcome that is clearly visible.

**** ENDS ****

Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development and is the author of four books and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panelist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast. www.innovationtraining.com.au

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Innovating the Innovators!

April 30th, 2017 by Roger La Salle

“Innovating” the Innovators
By Roger La Salle
www.innovationtraining.com.au

Innovation is certainly flavor of the month, if not the decade, but a question worth exploring is whether or not the conventional approach to innovation can itself be innovated?

Traditional tools ask you to find different ways to think about things. For example, use of the open question such as “what if” about a product or service? Whilst this may be an interesting way to stretch the imagination, it really fails to address the real issue which is the “why” of the “what if”?

Another common approach asks people what annoys or frustrates them and how resolving this may lead to breakthrough thinking.

Whilst these methods have great merit they don’t address the real question of how people interface with products and services. This surely has to be a good starting point and that comes down to observation. This is the real secret.

For example, the realization that a force called gravity existed was not an innovation but a discovery. It was the use people made of this observation, the opportunity if you like, that lead to innovations.

So too the principles of buoyancy, thrust, sound, heat, magnetism, light and the like, you name it!
All of these were discoveries, not innovations or inventions, but they opened the door to innovations in ships, submarines, aircraft, acoustics, navigation, flight and many more. The list of innovations resulting from discoveries, or perhaps of observations, is endless.

The secret that conventional approaches to innovation overlook is that of discovery, or as we refer to it “Opportunity Capture”, for without an opportunity there is little scope for innovation.

A better approach is to first explore the “opportunity horizon” and to look for areas of human interface with the products and services we use and with that in mind use one of the techniques we have developed known as “tracking”. This tool is fundamental to the art of “Opportunity Capture”. Indeed there are 36 trigger questions in the “Opportunity Matrix”.

In business, nothing happens until you sell something.

With innovation, nothing happens without first an opportunity.

**** ends ****

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Innovating the innovators!

April 21st, 2017 by Roger La Salle

“Innovating” the Innovators
By Roger La Salle
www.innovationtraining.com.au

Innovation is certainly flavor of the month, if not the decade, but a question worth exploring is whether or not the conventional approach to innovation can itself be innovated?

Traditional tools ask you to find different ways to think about things. For example, use of the open question such as “what if” about a product or service? Whilst this may be an interesting way to stretch the imagination, it really fails to address the real issue which is the “why” of the “what if”?

Another common approach asks people what annoys or frustrates them and how resolving this may lead to breakthrough thinking.

Whilst these methods have great merit they don’t address the real question of how people interface with products and services. This surely has to be a good starting point and that comes down to observation. This is the real secret.

For example, the realization that a force called gravity existed was not an innovation but a discovery. It was the use people made of this observation, the opportunity if you like, that lead to innovations.

So too the principles of buoyancy, thrust, sound, heat, magnetism, light and the like, you name it!
All of these were discoveries, not innovations or inventions, but they opened the door to innovations in ships, submarines, aircraft, acoustics, navigation, flight and many more. The list of innovations resulting from discoveries, or perhaps of observations, is endless.

The secret that conventional approaches to innovation overlook is that of discovery, or as we refer to it “Opportunity Capture”, for without an opportunity there is little scope for innovation.

A better approach is to first explore the “opportunity horizon” and to look for areas of human interface with the products and services we use and with that in mind use one of the techniques we have developed known as “tracking”. This tool is fundamental to the art of “Opportunity Capture”. Indeed there are 36 trigger questions in the “Opportunity Matrix”.

In business, nothing happens until you sell something.

With innovation, nothing happens without first an opportunity.

**** ends ****

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Consequential change – what’s that?

March 17th, 2017 by Roger La Salle

What are the consequences?
By Roger La Salle www.innovationtraining.com.au
Each Matrix Thinking diagrams carries a bold banner called “Consequential Change”. This asks you to think about the consequences of your innovation.

The boldest ever
The A380 Airbus would probably rank as one of the boldest ever innovations. To even contemplate this was breathtaking. The consequence of introducing the A380 was the need for runways and taxiways at all major hubs worldwide to be upgraded and all terminal building to have a second loading deck. The risk of this being a disaster were vast as the redevelopment costs at all major airports was immense.

Fortunately, the A380 is an outstanding success.

Apple and the I-Phone
When Apple introduced the smartphone they virtually killed their market for I-Pods. However, they clearly had thought about this and so innovated the standard I-Pod by introducing the Nano.

How about Wine labels
Recently an Australian company introduced a thermo-chromatic label for red wines, the idea being that the label colour would indicate the ideal drinking temperature.

I wonder if the prudent wine drinker when selecting a nice bottle may too often pass over this one as not “just the right temperature” wine and choose another, not so labeled?

How about locks?
We worked with an innovator with the “perfect” lock that the user could re-key themselves in seconds for less than one dollar. When presented with this, understandably lock companies were less than enthusiastic. Such a lock bypassed locksmiths, one of their major routes to market. The last thing we should do is threaten our channel.

It’s happening anyway!
The consequences for retailers of on-line shopping have been catastrophic as they operate without the vast overheads of staff, premises and stock. However, in this case the force is unstoppable and we are now see major retailers developing their own e-based channels.

UBER and Airbnb are other examples. Banks may be next, now being firmly in the sights of innovators.

What’s the message?
Innovation needs to be developed with the market consequences in mind, the upside being if you can threaten a major player with your innovation, there is a good chance you will be bought out in very short order for great financial gain.
**** ENDS ****

Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development and is the author of four books and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panelist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast. www.innovationtraining.com.au

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Distance – Curious- to say the least

February 6th, 2017 by Roger La Salle

Curious to say the least!
By Roger La Salle www.innovationtraining.com.au
A surprise to me…
A recent article from a senior CEO for whom I have some respect caught my attention.

The nub of the article suggested that one of the main problems for Australians with inspired new innovations was the distance to the world’s largest market, the USA.
Is it really true that it’s further travelling from Australia to the USA than the other way round?

Does this strike anybody else as a curious statement?

Why would they bother when we won’t?
Whilst it may be true that the USA is far off, I find it interesting that US based companies will spend millions establishing a place in the tiny Australian market (about the population of the great area of just Los Angeles), but we are daunted by the concept of travelling EXACTLY the same distance to explore the USA market, some 13 times the size of Australia.

One commentator on the Australian car industry even went so far as to say that our problem is that we drive on the other side of the road, compared with the USA and most of the EU. Yet, not surprisingly the “other side of the road manufacturers” spend vast fortunes making cars to suit our tiny right hand drive markets and specific local Design Rules.

So what’s the Issue?
It’s not distance that’s the issue but understanding what true innovation is all about, commercialization and having a proper market entry strategy.

Indeed in a host of workshops we have conducted in recent months covering more than five countries and some 400 SME’s, the common theme was that less than 10% of SME’s have a team developed and agreed business strategy, much less an innovation plan.

Too often we see inspired entrepreneurs confidently travelling to the USA with their basket of innovation expecting to be welcomed with open arms and having the locals embrace them with great vigor. Nothing could be further from the truth, and with Donald Trump now in the White House this is even more the case.

The issue is in the thinking of management, not the distance. The pity is the solution is not all that difficult if one thinks it through carefully.

More about that next article.

**** ENDS ****

Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development and is the author of four books and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panelist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast. www.innovationtraining.com.au

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Colombia – We could learn a lot from these people!

December 15th, 2016 by Roger La Salle

We could learn a lot from these people!
By Roger La Salle
www.innovationtraining.com.au
Colombia
The publicity we hear about distant places like Colombia always seems to send a negative, a message that is far from accurate.

I have worked in Colombia on many occasions. It’s a place where I could live and to be honest, I see far more people begging in the streets of Melbourne than I have ever seen in the streets of Colombia.

I recently returned from work with the Chamber of Commerce in Bogota and a major university in Cali. The Chamber in Bogota and much the same in Cali runs innovation programs that would be the envy of the world. These people are knowledgeable, well-resourced and committed. The universities, the buildings and the facilities are to be admired. I have seldom seen better anywhere in the world. For example computer labs with wall to wall 60cm Mac computers, room after room.

UK and Poland
I will be working in the UK, Belfast and then for a week in Poland in January.

Again, much like Colombia, they do things properly. Indeed in January in Poland we have “Matrix Thinking Week”. A week committed to innovation, technology, training and meetings. Even their promotional material is to be admired, clean, crisp and to the point. See www.matrixthinkingweek.com

Coming soon
I’ll report back in late January with the outcomes and news of an exciting new development in Matrix Thinking being done at a university in Cali and expected to be available in January 2017.

These are indeed busy but exciting times and with innovation at the forefront of Government policy in Australia, perhaps the timing is ideal.

**** ENDS ****

Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development and is the author of four books and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panelist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast. www.innovationtraining.com.au

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Business Insight – Too close to see!

November 28th, 2016 by Roger La Salle

Too Close to See?
By Roger La Salle
www.innovationtraining.com.au
But it’s obvious!
I have a saying, “The obvious once made obvious is always obvious”.

When you point out the obvious to people the common response is, “I knew that”, as well they may have, but in fact they didn’t until it was pointed out.

For example, if I tell somebody that an odd number multiplied by an odd number always yields an odd number outcome, the common response is “of course, I knew that”. Yes they do now, but until told they hadn’t realized it.

Personally I don’t have a problem with that, it’s human nature, but what frustrates me is when people hear the obvious but are unwilling to change and learn, for fear of – well, I don’t know what?

A case in point
You may find this hard to believe, but this is a true story of how we can miss the mark if we are too close to the problem.

Some months ago I was at a function and speaking with a person who sells a common brand of petrol power tools such as chain saws, blowers, mowers and the like. I suggested they should also be into battery tools only to be promptly told that they have a complete range of battery tools.

I was amazed, I didn’t know that and it’s a common brand.

Check it out?
Curious at being so ignorant I went to their web site and looked, only to find nothing of the sort.

I then went to the little search bar at the top of their home page and typed in Battery Tools. The result shocked me – “No tools match this search term”. How could this be, I had been left in no doubt that they had a complete range.

My curiosity aroused I phoned the company and indeed spoke with the very person who told me they had such a range, only to be told that I needed to search “Cordless” not battery in the inquiry bar as “Cordless” is the industry term.

Cordless I thought, so is my petrol blower and chain saw?

Who is your customer?
Whilst cordless may well be the industry term this company’s web site is targeted at consumers and the public in general
who no doubt would refer to such tools as battery tools. Indeed, to cover all contingencies, what harm is there in cross-referencing both terms in their search bar facility?

Being too close – sad but true.
Just a few days ago, many months after this experience I again checked the company web site and again searched battery tools and again the result, “No tools match this search term”.

I find it immensely frustrating to see people so slow to change and to even consider the obvious?
Knowing your business and being close is of course essential, but so too is knowing your customer, who your web site is targeting and how your customer thinks.
**** ENDS ****

Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development and is the author of four books and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panelist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast. www.innovationtraining.com.au

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What’s your Staff ROI

October 20th, 2016 by Roger La Salle

What’s your staff ROI?
By Roger La Salle
www.innovationtraining.com.au
Business is about profit!
I define business as “Creating Wealth through Profitable Transactions”.

Indeed it’s the first duty of a CEO and board to work to the best interest of shareholders in providing a return on their investments.

Do you measure it?
In many businesses precise metrics are employed to ensure people and departments are providing an adequate return on their costs, wages and the attendant overheads. In production for example we measure process efficiency as output per unit time divided by costs. We then work to maximise this, but we measure it. In accounting, law and consulting practices earned income compared with cost is measured. If you are not returning a profit on your time, then your career may indeed be short lived.

In fact there is an old axiom in business, “If you can’t measure it, don’t do it”.

In the case of innovation and indeed complete innovation departments, the rationale behind the establishment of an innovation department is most often that “it’s the done thing – we need to be seen as innovative”. But is this really working and more to the point are these people paying their way?

What’s the ROI on your innovation initiative, do you measure it?

Where to Start?
Done properly innovation initiatives should be producing positive outcomes within 12 months at the most, if not, it’s time to question your approach.

There are two important points to be made in looking to measure innovation:
1. Innovation is not research where the chance of a possible outcome is uncertain
2. Innovation is a systematic process that can be measured. Indeed metrics for innovation are not that difficult to establish. Metrics need to be in place before you even start.

Of all things, don’t be sucked in by the story that innovation is difficult, it takes time and so on.

Are new hires contributing to the business?
On great way to measure the overall effect of all staff, including the addition of people devoted to innovation and headcount in general is to measure the company overall profit per head. This is a good indication of the overall effect of growing staff numbers. By Roger La Salle www.innovationtraining.com.au

**** ENDS ****

Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development and is the author of four books and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panelist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast. www.innovationtraining.com.au

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