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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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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