Posts Tagged ‘Business’

Innovation on demand

Friday, August 25th, 2017

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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Talk is cheap – Talk is Easy!

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

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!

Saturday, May 20th, 2017

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!

Sunday, April 30th, 2017

“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!

Friday, April 21st, 2017

“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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Distance – Curious- to say the least

Monday, February 6th, 2017

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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What’s your Staff ROI

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

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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Strategy – What’s that?

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

Strategy – Innovation – what’s that?
By Roger La Salle

Of course we have a mission
No doubt you have a mission which is most likely about growing your business to be best in class, but do you have a formal documented business strategy? Have you documented underpinning tactics of how you will implement that strategy?

Have you included your team in developing your strategic approach and more importantly, has each member of the team embraced an implementation role with metrics and deliverables they have accepted and agreed? Without that you may be flying blind and simply bounding from one opportunity to the next ever searching for short term revenue and profit growth.

Is it Innovation?
To many people innovation is thought of only in terms of making new and better products and services with the expectation that such new offerings will keep the business buoyant and growing.

Though this is a sound strategy it’s just one of the so called “verticals” that are possible, and the art of innovation, and in particular the new paradigm of “Opportunity Capture” are the means to access the many other verticals to achieve business growth, just some of which include:
• Organic
• Acquisition
• Range extension
• New verticals
• New markets
• Cost down
• Price
• Place
• Variety
• Customer Service
• Quality
• Innovation
• Brand
• Efficiency and speed
• Exports
• Partnering
• Agency
• Franchise
• Off-loading orphan technologies
• Staff inclusion – part MBO
• MBO
• Basic research
• And many more

It’s all very logical
This may all sound like management 101 but how many businesses really do develop a documented strategic approach to business building with underpinning tactics and reports as to progress?

Uncertain times
I think it would be fair to say we are living in uncertain times with businesses all facing margin squeeze, the BREXIT unknowns, the USA deep in election mode and the Chinese market in transition. The time to be revisiting your strategic plan is now, and to do it with your team in an
“off-site” where you are free of disturbances. The alternative may be to wake up one morning and realize the world has changed and we didn’t change with it.
**** 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.matrixthinking.com

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Business Insight – Where do you sit?

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Check for yourself!
By Roger La Salle

Innovation is the lifeblood of business – where do you sit?
Following a recent series of workshops a number of CEO’s took the below innovation self-analysis survey back to their offices and ran it past their staff. Though we were not privy to the detailed outcomes, we did get feedback of the surprise some CEO’s received. Indeed quite different from what they expected!

Please take the survey yourself in complete confidence.

Note: We have no access to the information in the survey. It’s your survey for your business.

Just click here: http://www.innovationtraining.com.au/innovation-training-capability-assessment.html

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.matrixthinking.com

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Business Insight – Is it Innovation or Research?

Monday, April 4th, 2016

Is it Innovation or Research?
By Roger La Salle
Setting the scene!
To preface this article the following TED talk may be worth a watch, (although I did give this link in the last article). This talk shows some of our energy problems and is a real laugh as you get into it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kg1lFjRKKHY

A little one sided
The ABC in Australia recently screened a program on the virtues of home battery power storage. Unfortunately they failed to once mention that with present technology there is absolutely no financial payback for such a system. Further, even a 10kWhour battery would have insufficient power to cook a single large family roast dinner.

Of course the charging of batteries can be from solar panels but no mention was made of the cost of these or the need to keep them clean or that in Australia even the most sun drenched place has only 36% of full sun hours. To their credit the program highlighted the great benefit of off peak charging from the grid.

No doubt that in the fullness of time local power will be the order of the day. How long it takes us to get there is anybody’s guess but one thing is certain, whilst this technology is being rolled out, with vast subsidies, power prices are being forced up and tax payers worldwide are footing the bill whether or not you embrace this technology. Much the same of course can be said of the power from the ever growing array of wind farms.

On the positive side one may think this will eventually lead to the extinction of the ugly, expensive and fire prone poles and wires – not so.

More poles and wires are being installed every day to support the growing farms of wind generators, again subsidised by the taxpayer.

Personally, I am all for renewables, but at what cost and who is driving this agenda and what is the effect on power hungry industries such as aluminium manufacture or smelting and the like. Is this agenda killing industries in developed countries, industries that make essential products that are not then removed from the face of the earth but simply relocated to lower cost countries with the nett effect on carbon emissions being the same or more likely, even worse.

Can it work anywhere?
Presently I am involved in a project that uses battery power, supplemented in some small way by the grid, but this is a commercial application with real payback, a positive value proposition. That makes it workable and different and we don’t need any government subsidy to make it workable.

Innovation – the way forward
Anybody that knows me recognises I am a champion of innovation, but in the commercial world innovations need to stand on their own legs.

Innovation is about “change that adds value”, otherwise it’s called research.

**** END ****

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.matrixthinking.com

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