Practice of Innovation

"The way we work is our most important innovation." Observations by Curtis R. Carlson

Success at Value Creation

Three Fundamental Concepts

At a GE workshop: Michael Idelchik (VP of R&D), Curt Carlson, and Len Polizzotto

Experience shows that very few companies have a value creation methodology. There are three keys I look for, which are required for systematically successful innovation. Does the company or enterprise:

  1. Focus on important customer and market needs to make an impact?
  2. Share core value creation concepts, including NABC value propositions, for effective collaboration?
  3. Hold recurring team value-creation forums for rapid learning and improvement?

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The Value Creation Quiz

Test Your Innovation Quotient - IQIQ: Innovation Quotient

The Innovation Quotient allows you to test your knowledge about fundamental innovation concepts and practices. For example, do you know the definitions for innovation, customer value, and a value proposition plus the primary barriers to innovative success?  You can find out if you are a:

  • Professional practitioner
  • Superior performer
  • Competent
  • Apprentice
  • New recruit

Have a good time and let me know how you do.

1.

The mean lifetime of the top 500 U.S. companies today is:



2.

Many technologies are improving at what rate?



3.

A useful definition for "innovation" is:



4.

What's the definition for "customer value"?



5.

The definition of a "value proposition" is:



6.

All significant new innovations should be:



7.

After you have a working hypothesis for your innovation's value proposition, you:



8.

Does your enterprise teach all employees how to be value creators?



9.

When starting a new innovation what do you do first?



10.

"Unknown" customer needs are:



11.

A viable business model is:



12.

Where is the best place to compete?



13.

Fraction of your team who should be able to define what a "value proposition" is:



14.

Value creation requires what intensity of collaborative iteration?



15.

In forming value creation teams, which attribute is least important?



16.

In an enterprise who can be a value creator?



17.

Which of the following is not required to obtain a U.S. patent?



18.

Which of these is true?



19.

These team behaviors help assure productive collaboration:



20.

Do value-creation methodologies based on fundamental team practices:



21.

Who created Siri, HDTV, Intuitive Surgical, and the fundamentals of the personal computer interface, including the computer mouse?



22.

In surveys of companies, which of these is not one of the top-five barriers to innovation?



23.

A value creation champion can lack the following:



24.

What practices hurt a team's ability to be successful value creators?



25.

In what areas of society are new innovations possible?





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A Transparent World

Challenges and Opportunitiesinternet_world_fullwidth

Last year I was in Singapore and met Israel’s former economic minister.  When I asked why he was there he said, “Like Singapore, Israel is a small country.  Most of the world’s important opportunities, talent, and resources are somewhere else.  I am here to discuss how to make the world transparent for us.”  That is an important idea.  This objective is also being pursued by companies and universities around the world.  (more…)

Customer Value Analysis

DK Untitled
Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize winner in economics.

Products, Services, and Prospect Theory

Behavioral science is now an influential part of economics. It needs to become a more important part of the discipline of innovation. Although the discussion below is somewhat speculative, it highlights important perceptual attributes of “customer value.” Prospect Theory inspired this discussion, but the focus is quite different. Therefore I call it “Customer Value Analysis,” a model to help better evaluate the relative merits of different forms and amounts of customer value. (more…)

A Shark Tank – Really?

Companies Using Bad Ideas

Companies say staff development is critical for their success.  But what do they do?  

Some have their staff building toy bridges out of Lego Blocks to learn “creativity.” Others engage their staff in extreme physical activities, like running through mud, to learn “teamwork.”  My first reaction when I learn that a company is doing these things is to want to short their stock.  Why aren’t their people learning creativity and teamwork doing their jobs?  If you are not excited and learning new skills doing your work, something is very wrong with the company. (more…)

Teaching Future Innovators

Curtis Carlson speaking at the annual KEEN conference.

Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN)

The KEEN annual conference is sponsored by the Kern Family Foundation.  It is one of America’s most important foundations, helping students across America learn how to be successful value creators and entrepreneurs. These are increasingly critical skills for all professionals in the global innovation economy. (more…)

Customer Value

The Primary Enterprise Function

Peter Drucker famously said, “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two – and only two – basic functions:  marketing and innovation.  Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.”  Few companies have a thoughtful value-creation process and even fewer are truly customer focused.  Achieving that starts by employees understanding the meaning of “customer value”  The attached viewgraphs (below) address some of customer value’s most basic features.  This presentation was developed with Harry Cook when we were on the GM Science and Technology Advisory Board.  The applied examples are all due to Harry.  Any additional thoughts or comments are greatly appreciated. 

Customer Value Curtis Carlson 2019

Are Amazon, Facebook, and Google Good for Society?

A Behavioral Economics Perspective

Amazon, Facebook, and Google (AFG) and other social networks are collecting information on us to increase the value of the advertisements and products they sell.  Some worry in a vague way about how this is reducing our personal privacy.  Others increasingly worry that our personal information is being used to manipulate us and to control the flow of information across society.  

In a previous post, I described how behavioral economics (specifically Prospect Theory) applies to products and why Steve Jobs’s fanatical dedication to perfection was so unique and valuable for Apple.  The same basic ideas from the behavioral sciences apply to other areas, like giving bonuses a bit at a time or why bad news should be confronted all at once.   (more…)

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