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  • feedwordpress 22:56:39 on 2016/03/22 Permalink
    Tags: , competitive advantage, competitive benchmarking, competitors, decision making, , disruption innovation, , , hybrid electric vehicle market, Idea Management, , innovation exercisees, innovation labs, McDonald's, non-competitors, , reverse reasoning, reverse thinking, Toyota, wining   

    How Could (X) Do (Y) and Win? 


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    How Could (X) Do (Y) and Win?

    In business, it isn’t easy to compete with industry leaders. It’s hard to anticipate your direct competitors’ next moves. Given the increasing occurrence of disruptive innovation, it can seem nearly impossible to predict the completely unpredictable — such as a non-competitor entering your market or niche and crushing you.

    Competition from non-competitors entering your industry, market, or niche can and does happen. Want to improve your company’s ability to predict unexpected competition (and even fortify your performance against current competitors)? Challenge your team with creative reverse thinking exercises.

    One of the reverse thinking exercises RE:INVENTION uses in our Innovation Labs and Workshops is called “How Could (X) Do (Y) and Win?”

    HERE’S HOW IT WORKS…

    Divide your team into small groups and then ask them to chart the path, process, and activities a non-competitor could take to proactively enter one of your sectors or markets and usurp your current competitive advantage. The more disparate the non-competitor the better. An example: how could McDonald’s enter the hybrid electric vehicle market and beat the hybrid engineering team at Toyota?

    WHY IT WORKS…

    How Could (X) Do (Y) and Win” changes the normal/logical direction of competitive benchmarking and shifts the focus from whether something might happen to HOW it might happen, thereby encouraging creative thinking and problem solving. It not only enhances your ability to predict unpredictable actions from non-competitors; it helps you hone your positioning and strategic advantage against known competitors. You’ll also reveal hidden assets, potential weaknesses, and profitable opportunities.

    Decision making involves both forward and reverse thinking. Improve your team’s reverse thinking capabilities and you’ll boost your company’s ability to innovate.

    ********

    Kirsten Osolind is a brand and business reinvention strategist with executive team transition and M&A due diligence / brand integration experience. A former Fortune 100 executive, she has worked for four of the world’s most innovative companies according to Fortune Magazine™ as well as advised numerous middle market and venture-backed growth stage companies.

     
  • feedwordpress 02:44:19 on 2014/02/08 Permalink
    Tags: , , , bluetooth, Bluetooth LE, digital strategy, Digital wallets, GPS, iBeacon, Idea Management, industry disruption, , , Interactive design, Macrumors, Major League Baseball, MLB, Paypal, qualcomm, retail 2.0, retail strategy, , WIFI, WIRED   

    5×5: Will Apple’s iBeacon Win the Beacon Wars? 


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    5×5: Will Apple’s iBeacon Win the Beacon Wars?

    It’s Friday – time for RE:INVENTION’s 5×5. Every Friday RE:INVENTION’s leadership team explores a news topic or research report in depth, sharing our unique perspectives.

    UP THIS WEEK: Beacon Technology, Apple’s iBeacon, and Innovation

    What is a beacon? A beacon is a small, low cost sensor that uses BlueTooth to track your location inside buildings and push information to your phone. It’s more precise than GPS or WiFI and consumes less power. The technology has the potential to bridge physical locations and digital experiences, transforming how retailers, event organizers, transit systems, enterprises, and educational institutions communicate with people indoors.

    To date, iBeacon (Apple’s brand for low energy BlueTooth) appears to be leading the pack in advancing this new technology. But the beacon wars have just begun. Paypal, Qualcomm, and a variety of smaller vendors are entering the market with their own beacon hardware.

    This Week’s Reference Articles

    THIS WEEK’S QUESTION

    Will Apple’s iBeacon emerge as the leader in beacon technology? Or will another company win the beacon wars?

    OUR TEAM’S RESPONSES

    Kirsten Osolind (“President and COO”)

    Beacon technology will improve the way consumers use smart phones and transform numerous industries by solving the indoor geo-location challenge. It has great potential to facilitate better mobile payments thereby disrupting the whole credit card ecosystem because of its range. But there will be hurdles with regard to beacon technology commercialization. Beacon technology already has privacy advocates and legal experts buzzing about the implications. The key to beacon technology success will be winning over consumers and heightening their user experience.

    At first blush, the company that seems best positioned to achieve competitive advantage is Apple. Apple is exceptionally good at function and interactive design. Apple excels at branding and educating consumers about new product categories. According to TechCrunch, Apple appears to have a secret leg up on the competition since “every compatible iPad currently deployed in a retail store is already capable of being configured as an iBeacon transmitter — and the iPad is already dominant in the retail space.”

    But here’s the rub. Android can discover beacons that aren’t your own, while Apple restricts this ability. Open ecosystems typically win when it comes to consumers embracing new technologies.

    And since Apple doesn’t have patents on the technology involved with iBeacon, competitors will increasingly come forward with low cost beacons of their own.

    Regardless of who wins the wars, Apple will relentlessly improve and expand the system going forward. And that’s a good thing. When it comes to beacon technology, this is just the first wave of innovation. There’s much more to come.

    Joe Barrus (“The Technologist”)

    iBeacon is Apple’s brand for low energy BlueTooth.  What makes BlueTooth LE special is that it requires very little power to run and won’t be a drain on your device’s battery.  This will finally allow independent communication between devices and other objects that have not previously been thought of as being communication enabled.

    Technologists have long been predicting the arrival of The Internet of Things which is a future state rapidly coming where everyday household items (or things) are hooked up to the Internet allowing for remote control or two way communication.  Examples might be your oven signaling you when the food is cooked or your refrigerator doing your monthly shopping without you.  BlueTooth LE will take this concept one step further by enabling local point-to-point communication between devices and “things.” but only within a short range proximity to each other.

    The use cases are boundless and, in my opinion, fairly exciting to think about.   Many are thinking about consumer oriented uses, however, use cases can span across many different environments from driving revenue for a company to providing social good.  What it will really drive is extreme personalizition of experience and increased inefficiencies.  Imagine going into Starbucks and having the coffee maker automatically start brewing your favorite drink without having to get into line.  The coffee-maker communicates with your phone to start the order and the cash register automatically debits your account.  This can leave the baristas free to focus on making coffee and customer service.  BlueTooth LE can also further enable augmented reality use cases for your smartphone or tablet.  Imagine walking through your favorite tourist city and as you come across various landmarks, etc. with embedded BlueTooth LE devices, your device could overlay imagery or text to provide additional information on that landmark, etc.

    Apple is very good at branding and driving adoption of new technologies by connecting well with the consumer.  However, the technology is not exclusive to Apple.  So, while Apple may perhaps be first to market with some innovative usage of this technology, other vendors will quickly fall in behind to fully take advantage.  I am looking forward to it.

    Dennis Jarvis (“The Marketeer”)

    While perhaps not befitting the label of disruptive, Beacon Technology represents yet another evolution in our daily digital lives. iBeacon leads the way and my money is on Apple capturing the lion’s share while competitors seek their own point-of-difference.

    Let’s consider the dynamics of this evolution, those that are good, maybe great, as well as the possible pitfall? On the one hand, Beacon brings with it the potential for significantly adding value to our experiences, be they entertainment events, retail, transit, education, etc. And, consumers will be drawn to the siren, with all of its conveniences and efficiencies. The availability of a seamless stream of real-time information at any leisure venue – ballgames, museums, concerts, etc. – will enable unencumbered access to tickets, seating locations, insights about the event, and concession bargains. Add to that the ease of navigation afforded to us at retail, along with specials and deals seemingly more within reach, and the ability for more efficient exchange of currency, means Beacon technology is a sure bet. Yet, I wonder just how many more push notifications we can or want to handle. Still, the real pitfall comes with the realization that the ultimate success of Beacon technology, as with most things digital, resides with our dependence on just how responsible organizations are in managing it, versus exploitation to the point where we say “enough.” Already, we are somewhat skeptical as evidenced by the following: 93% of consumers are concerned with their privacy from digital technologies; 73% don’t want their clicks tracked; 41% distrust businesses who collect data about them online; 40% are uncomfortable about personalized ads pushed to them; 36% have unfriended a brand over privacy concerns (Brandology. May, 2013). So, yes the public most certainly will gravitate to “the” Beacon, but it will be monitoring and voting on organizations and companies who violate their trust.

    Jorge Barba (“The Culture Guy”)

    There’s potential. Beacon technologies will keep driving the big trend of “automation”, where there is less human interaction. This might not work for every person and situation though, as some people will prefer to talk to a human at some point.

    The main topic of conversation will be how this changes the retail experience, but the bigger picture here is that we may end up getting fatigued by all the varied applications that can use these technologies.

    The iPhone might end up pushing this forward, but there are a varied amount of apps that could potentially play here: Square, Google+, Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook, among others. These are all situation aware apps that one way or another have the signals necessary to know where you are.

    We are already inundated with notifications from Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and other apps, in the big picture, how will this sit with people? What happens next?

    This is the short-term issue I’d think about. This is a wave that is just getting started, and people will be forced to adopt this technology because of their phones. Many questions still remain unanswered.

    Kane (“K-9 Intern”)

    I don’t need much guidance to find good products. I rely on my nose. Dogs like me instinctively know how to sniff out opportunities. Hmmm….wonder if I can patent my nose as a tracking device?

    THE FINAL WORD
    Apple’s iBeacon is a strong contender in an exciting emerging category. Beacons can be utilized for a bevy of new purposes from geolocation to shopping analytics to targeted messaging. Many of the new entrants will provide solutions that complement each other. At RE:INVENTION, we’re excited to see where the industry is headed next.

     
  • feedwordpress 20:31:17 on 2013/11/25 Permalink
    Tags: , , , crowdsourcing, Idea Management, ideation, , , obama, , voice of customer   

    Be Thankful For: Ideation 


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    Be Thankful For: Ideation

    It’s Thanksgiving week and we all are giving thanks for our families, our health, and of course, football. But what am I thankful for in the new world of business and innovation? I’m thankful for IDEATION.

    Ideation is a technique in the early, fuzzy front end part of innovation, the part of the innovation lifecycle where ideas are gathered and curated.  A whole new industry has blossomed around this activity and its tools.  Salesforce had one of the first tools available and was heavily used as part of Obama’s grassroots campaign.  Other big players that have sprouted are Spigit and BrightIdea.

    Why I’m Thankful for Ideation

    1. Ideation was one of the first crowdsourcing concepts taken from the Internet and applied to a business context.  It helped shepherd in a wave of other concepts and tools to shape the way companies generate new revenue and enhance their business through the Innovation Lifecycle.
    2. Ideation holds the promise to generate better ideas with more accuracy and speed, enabling businesses to shorten their product lifecycles.  The wisdom of the crowd can come to as accurate or more accurate a conclusion than any back room analyst can but much quicker.  The process of group think naturally curates and validates the content because of the diversity and breadth of experience that exists within the crowd.  And if the crowd consists of your target audience or your front-line employees who are closest to our customers, then the outcomes of this process should lead to more accurate insight to your customer’s true needs and wants than an analyst validating through his opinion and numbers.
    3. Ideation has amplified the voice of your individual customers and employees giving them a greater sense of influence.  The old suggestion box process was always unsatisfying.  Ideas would disappear into a black hole only to be reviewed by individuals with their own opinions and agendas within a command and control communication process.  It left the contributor feeling as if his opinion had little impact.  But Ideation puts their opinions in front of everyone increasing the transparency of the overall process and one in which your idea can be validated and enhanced as others contribute to it.  When I introduced Ideation to my last company, I can’t tell you how many emails I received from our employees thanking me for giving them a vehicle for their voice to be heard.

    But That’s Only Part of the Process

    Ideation only solved a small part of the overall innovation process.  The good news is that it has only amplified what is missing during the design and execution phases of the lifecycle.  As Ideation raises new ideas transparently in a public forum, it will naturally put pressure on those to implement the ideas otherwise they will lose their audience.  Hopefully, this will pressure businesses to take a more holistic view of the innovation lifecycle and impress upon them the importance to implement the rest of the process.

    Bringing ideas into the open is a necessary but tricky process as it may bring forth ideas that may seem counter-intuitive or potential land mines to touch.  However, it only reflects the true needs or wants of your customers.  Case in point:  the 2008 Obama campaign utilized Salesforce’s new idea platform to poll the voters on what they would like to see in Obama’s campaign platform.  It was a nice tool as it really allowed voters to contribute what they were concerned about and then to build upon those ideas.   Ideas that scored the highest through votes and contribution rose to the top.  Interestingly enough, the number one concern of the public at that time as expressed by voters was legalization of marijuana.  Obama completely ignored the topic even within virtual open houses on the Internet that discussed some of the top ideas.  It was obviously considered a political landmine.  But look at where we are today?  Marijuana legalization has become a top agenda for many in the U.S. with a majority favoring it in some way.

    You Can’t Ignore the Voice of Your Customer

    Ignoring the voice of your customer will only last so long.  They are telling you what they really want.  The best approach is to have a conversation in the open and respect your customer’s voice.  You can have an honest conversation even explaining why you may not be able to address their concerns at the moment, but simply recognizing acknowledging their concerns in an open forum can go a long way to build customer loyalty and trust.  Ignoring it will simply do the opposite.

    At RE:INVENTION, we understand the voice of the individual and the power it has in developing new products and services.  We understand that a truly successful innovation process addresses he complete lifecycle.

    Have a happy Thanksgiving holiday and enjoy it with your loved ones.

     
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