Northrop Grumman and Eastman Chemical by Andrea Meyer Point: “Where” innovation comes from can be a place, a time, or a conceptual process. Story: At Invention Machine’s Power to Innovate user conference, Jim Belfiore, Senior Director of Client Innovation and Practices, posed the question of where to innovate in this economy. Numerous presenters provided varied…

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Unilever, Cisco, Whirlpool by Andrea Meyer Point: Good communication skills drive open innovation and collaboration Story: At the World Research Group’s 2010 Open Innovation Summit, many presenters stressed the role of communication for both innovation leaders and in promoting open innovation initiatives. Top-notch communication skills with senior executives, peers, partners help drive open innovation success.…

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Point: If you’re looking for a new business opportunity, look for individually-fragmented but collectively large areas of economic activity, such as where individuals or small business own a large segment of the market Story: A business model that connects small businesses and individuals to markets and automates tedious tasks was common to three of 11…

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Point: Monetize non-core innovation rather than pruning it. Story: Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox, discussed innovation at her company in an interview at the World Innovation Forum June 9, 2010. She described initiatives to improve the return on innovation at Xerox’s research centers such as PARC (Palo Alto Research Center). PARC’s ground-breaking inventions like the…

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Point: Crowdsourcing is maturing beyond its amateur-content and open innovation origins toward core business processes. Story: In the beginning, companies used crowdsourcing as part of their open innovation efforts to get new ideas from lead users, customers, and the world at large. But now, entrepreneurial companies such as Trada and CloudCrowd are moving beyond one-off…

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Point: Accelerate innovation by finding an analogous solution from a different industry. Story: Henry Ford’s assembly line is often touted as a breakthrough innovation. What’s less known is that Ford got the idea by seeing the “disassembly line” process of butchering hogs at the Philip Armour meatpacking company in Chicago. Similar techniques were also already…

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Point: By picking where open innovation occurs and what it communicates to the rest of the organization, innovators can protect open innovation efforts from corporate antibodies Story: All organizations, especially large ones, have an “immune system” in the form of an army of fine-tuned antibodies that root out risk and threats to the smooth-operating status…

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Point: Teams that create the best innovations know how to disagree about ideas without interpreting the disagreement as a personal affront. Story: “I feel good when I see that engineering, advertising and manufacturing are really surfacing and talking about their differences,” said the VP of Technology at a successful $100 million firm. “It’s my job…

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Point: Behind-the-scenes innovation makes visible innovation shine Story: I saw the premiere of KOOZA in Denver last week. Actually, it was my second time seeing KOOZA (the first was in Boston), and it was even better the second time. The first time, I was mesmerized by the overt innovations in the show, like the “Wheel…

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Point: Innovation doesn’t have to be expensive Story: Current surveys indicate that more companies are reducing innovation budgets this year, but the good news is that innovation doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are two stories that show how to innovate inexpensively: J.B. Hunt was just a truck driver in the 1940s when he saw…

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