Co-working spaces – Real or a nice little earner?

November 19th, 2017 by Roger La Salle

The “co-working space” – real or a “nice little earner?

By Roger La Salle
www.innovationtraining.com.au
The new wave
Innovation has been on everybody’s lips for at least the past decade.

With that in mind we now see governments, councils, universities and many public and private companies offering co-working spaces, sometime at huge cost running into the millions of dollars.

What’s the plan?
It’s hard to criticise the endeavours of those who provide these spaces. However it’s worth asking the question, just what is their plan and how is the cost benefit of these facilities measured?

Certainly there is value in networking and meeting new people all hopefully having innovation at front of mind. Perhaps with the right mix of people sparks will fly and the next Facebook will emerge! This is always a possibility but are these relying on good luck as much as good management? What are the metrics and how are the costs of these funky new spaces that are popping up like mushroom justified?

Metrics are important. If you can’t measure something you can’t manage it, nor can you make changes knowing you are heading in the right direction.

One major bank that has invested heavily in these co-working spaces has clear metrics, as you would expect from a profit driven enterprise. Their major metric being – “The Number of new accounts that have resulted”. From what we have learned, they are delivering on this.

A new real estate model
Perhaps the co-working spaces in many cases are actually a “real estate play” with a new name of co-working spaces and the funky décor simply used to give them panache. Are they simply serviced desks instead of serviced offices with the landlords being the real beneficiaries?

There are some clear messages here
Innovation is not luck, we don’t invest in innovation to be lucky. If you address innovation and opportunity capture with a structured approach, you can almost guarantee outcomes in hours.

Finally, have a plan. Measure what you do.

****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, 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 panellist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast.

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The Outrigger Model – revisited

October 29th, 2017 by Roger La Salle

The outrigger – revisited
By Roger La Salle
www.innovationtraining.com.au
Being bold has risks
In a blog about a year ago we referred to the “outrigger model”. This is where a company with a recognised brand may wish to explore new spaces, but do so without risking its brand name by potentially backing a “dud”.

Exploring new horizons, especially in today’s fast moving world is essential. Indeed research has well shown that the rate of innovation or perhaps product “churn” is a strong indicator of revenue and profit growth. One needs only look at Apple to see this with virtually none of their products more than two years old.

I was reminded of this this week in a conference where KODAK’s folly in dismissing digital photography as a “nothing” was being discussed. It’s easy in hindsight, but perhaps a smarter move would have been for KODAK to create a separate entity, divorced from its brand and allow some budding entrepreneurs to explore the opportunity. Then if it works and represents new business, that’s the time to bring it home and give if the power of the “mothership” brand.

There are other benefits as well
The case of IBM using this model to explore the idea of a desk top computer worked perfectly. If it had been a fad, the IBM brand would have been untarnished. Nothing lost there.

However, what IBM claims was another great advantage was that being divorced from IBM, not even telephone connections, the new fledgling business was free of the inertia of big brother! An inertia that would have questioned every step of the way and slowed the development from the 12 months it actually took, to an estimated ten years.

It’s essential
Nothing stands still these days. For example, companies that build platforms on 2G, 3G or even 4G technologies will soon be rendered obsolete by the march of technology and ever changing codes and protocols. Change is ongoing and accelerating.

In the world of tangibles things are also changing. Power generation, ever growing and tightening OH&S requirements demanding improved safety apparatus, vehicle designs, digital disruption and technologies in universities we have yet to see but will soon likely emerge are all game changers.

The outrigger model works well, but so too do innovation, design and research centres we are not even aware of that are often buried deep within the walls of major companies. The 3M labs are just one of the few well known such centres.

What’s the lesson?
As business managers perhaps there are several things we need to be alert to:
• Don’t be afraid to ditch dying products and ways. Selling obsolescent products is a distraction that damages your brand
• Forever explore news ways of doing whatever it is you do. Understand your business must evolve or expire, there are no options
• Fund an entrepreneur in an outrigger to explore a new business initiative. Keen young entrepreneurs will work 24/7 on a shoestring budget.

In short, keep moving or somebody will pass you, that’s a given.

**** 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, 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 panellist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast.

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It’s not just products

September 25th, 2017 by Roger La Salle

It’s not just products!
By Roger La Salle
www.innovationtraining.com.au
Building a business
Research conducted by the Chief Scientist of Australia and no doubt by many other showed that companies that replace their products at the greatest rate, the most innovative if you like, are the ones the grow the fastest with the greatest profit.

Of course there are many competitions in Australia and elsewhere that promote the so called, most innovative companies. Indeed some actually charge a fee to enter such a competition which possibly “smacks a little like google Awards in paying to be noticed.

None the less, it doesn’t take a competition to see who are the most innovation operators in Australia. McDonalds would be my No1, a company that brings out some new product or a menu change or highlight on almost a weekly basis. Of course Apple, a company with no product in its stable much more than 12 months old are also at the top of the tree.

What else?
However, apart from innovating your products there are many other ways to achieve sustained growth, but many of these are overlooked or simple not on the RADAR of business executives clambering to stay ahead of the game.

Some of these include, complementing you offering, which is in effect selling something that captures the mind set of your customer.

Yet another is to accessorise you products or indeed accessorise the products of any successful business. The company Belkin comes to mind as a company one may well argue may not even exit but for the accessories it has developed for Apple and like products.

A further means for growth is to enhance the channel though which you communicate and reach your customer. For instance insurance companies and banks are perfectly places to achieve this but to date have been very poor in implementing this powerful growth strategy, possibly because they are too focused on their banking business and have failed to properly look outside the square.

Finally, there are new markets.
The world is a very small place these days with communication and transport now so fast, cheap and reliable.

An important way to grow your business is to grow your geographical foot print, but too often, again the pressure of survival in an ever a more aggressive environments restricts many companies, especially the smaller ones from properly addressing the search for new markers.

What now?
Perhaps the rate of product churn is powerful growth mechanism but new products can be a risky, costly and time consuming business.

Remember, new products are just one business growth strategy, ignore the others at your peril.
**** 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, 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 panellist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast.

**** ENDS ****

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The energy crunch has come

September 19th, 2017 by Roger La Salle

The Power Crunch has come

By Roger La Salle
www.innovationtraining.com.au

It is simply amazing that the people on every side of politics for the past 15 years have not foreseen the power crunch coming.

Frankly, this is unbelievable. Who advises Government on energy policy, who is to blame for the catastrophe that is now befalling this country? Are these people blind to the obvious or simply in denial or, worse still, stupid!

Many years ago energy generation was planned 30 years in advance with the eye to population growth and likely demand. Gone are all these forecasts so that now at the 11th hour the Government is scrambling, at any cost just to keep the lights on – and of course it’s too late. No short term fix is possible and for the long terms, there is no plan, no foresight, just hope. Where are the engineers, the people that could see this coming and where was the action to head this off at the pass?

Australia in now doomed to energy poverty. Poverty in a country that should and could essentially have free power. We have an abundance of power generation capability but politicians too afraid to make any decisions, except to give more subsidies to renewables, a source of power that cannot possibly meet the demand.

We also hear of the fabulous batteries that are supposed to provide the stop gap measures, we hear of 10KW domestic batteries, (one assumes this is 10kWhour – but of course the experts don’t even know how to properly specify it’s capability) a battery that barely has sufficient capacity to cook a single large roast dinner.

We have the wonderful prospect of 100MW batteries (again one assumes this is 100MWhour). Wow, 100MWh would not have enough power to charge Australia’s population of cell phones, laptops and tablets, just once. Yes, one day of charge from a 100MWh, but who’s counting?

Then we have the issue of disposal of these so called wonderful savours. In a few years these will be like car tyres, and what of their carbon foot print in manufacture, delivery and of course disposal. I have not heard a single commentator even mention this, much less offer a solution.

This is simply greatest failure of Governments of all persuasions in the history of this nation. We are now in a place where the government is in knee jerk panic response at any cost from an economy already at breaking point, but alas, it’s all too late.

To boot, apart from energy poverty, we are driving industry to the wall with ever rising power prices, and it’s only going to get worse.

Who is to blame? It’s time we sheeted this home to out hopeless body of politicians running scared in the light of C02 mitigation when even the Chief Scientist says that what we are doing will have no effect on global temperatures.

Are we mad, it seems so!

**** 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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Innovation on demand

August 25th, 2017 by Roger La Salle

Innovation on demand – Yes it works
By Roger La Salle
www.innovationtraining.com.au
Invest but don’t waste
Getting a return on your innovation investment is something you must demand otherwise your innovation efforts may well spiral out of control with little to show in the end. Indeed many organizations have realized this and literally disbanded their innovation departments as a waste of money.

But does this apply to innovation?
In any properly run business pressure is applied to deliver outcomes often against demanding KPIs. Sales, production, finance and marketing all operate under such demands so why should an innovation department be any different?

You can’t think under pressure!
The old saying “necessity is the mother of invention” is absolutely true. With that in mind it may follow that outcomes in innovation can be demanded when pressure is properly applied. Think of your innovation department or indeed any of your innovation endeavours as simply a production department with a different product – in this case a product or process that is new or different from something you are already doing.

Of course many new to the game will be pushing back with the tried and true axiom that one cannot be creative under pressure. This is nonsense. History tells the story.

Wars prove it
Probably the greatest spurts in innovation and invention in history driven under extreme pressure and absolute necessity can be seen during any war or major conflict.

The Second World War is a good examples that spawned so many innovation it would be impossible to audit. From vastly improved aircraft, RADAR, proximity triggered cannon shells, communications, miniaturized radios, gun sights and directors. The list is endless and all delivered under enormous pressure. Indeed wars or times of crisis are clear proof that innovations can be delivered under pressure. A major Asian bank for example has come to this realization with a KPI mandated on each Department head that 10% of each successive year’s revenue shall come from new products. They demand this and achieve it, so too should you!

So what’s the message?
Have demanding KPI’s for innovation, just like sales and production. Measure your innovation ROI and be ruthless in demanding outcomes. If it’s not working, then clearly you have the wrong people, the wrong process; or both.
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, 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 panellist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast.

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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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