Last week, I learned from a technology provider that he had decided not to accept my new business development proposal. He reasoned that he didn't need my assistance as he already had leads in to many of the same corporations that I could introduce him to. His reasoning may prove to be sound. It is also possible that he isn't considering the important distinction between "having leads" and having experience and credibility with corporate influencers and decision makers.

Posted under: New Business Development
Wednesday, 12 October 2011 06:30

Welcome to the Open Innovation Bistro

Greetings, madame and monsieur. Welcome to the Open Innovation Bistro. We're glad you could join us this evening. Please take a seat and make yourself comfortable.No madame, we don't have a menu. Instead, we request that our guests share with us what they'd like for us to bring out to them. Yes, you tell us what you want, versus us trying to sell you what we have.

Posted under: Innovation
Monday, 17 October 2011 06:30

Does Innovation Have a Spiritual Component?

Allow me to preface this message by confiding that I am not a religious person. While there are certain values and personal qualities that guide my life and behavior towards others, I don't consider myself a spiritual person.

Posted under: Innovation
Monday, 24 October 2011 06:30

On Babies and Bathwater

Companies may reject 96+% of the unsolicited open innovation technology submissions they receive. Savvier ones don't also reject 96+% of submitters.

Posted under: Innovation
Tuesday, 08 November 2011 06:30

Making Connections Work

A couple of weeks ago, Jeff Stouffer, a friend and business colleague of mine shared with me a very compelling article published by MIT Sloan. It resonated with me as it nicely articulated and validated a key dynamic that I've experienced in practice.

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends....Making Connections WorkElite open innovation practitioners leverage skilled idea connectors who deftly manage their internal expert network to meaningfully influence open innovation outcomes.

Posted under: Innovation
Monday, 14 November 2011 06:30

What Does Marketing Really Want?

What Does Marketing REALLY Want?

R&D executives routinely express frustration that they often must wait for Marketing to provide their new product needs. This information enables R&D to define its technology needs/wants. Why does it seem to take so long for Marketing to offer this direction?

I can recall an incident from several years ago while I was a Merchant (retail's term for Marketing Manager) working at Bath and Body Works' corporate headquarters. I attended a colleague's new product presentation to executive management. He presented what I considered a well-reasoned case for a new personal care product line.

On its merits, it seemed a good bet to be approved. However, I have learned that in retail, sharing executive management's sensibilities can sometimes be at least as important a success determinant as the logic employed in arguing one's case. His concept was deemed by management to not adequately reflect a sophistication that it felt was needed, based on comparative inspiration derived from a recent European retail shopping trip. His proposal was rejected and he had to go back to the drawing board. He also had to share this news with his R&D team members.

I share this anecdote simply because it helps offers perspective on some challenges Marketing can face when seeking to gain executive management approval to its new product plans.

I have found that corporate decision making can at times be far more subjective than one might imagine. I'm not suggesting in the example above that management was "wrong" to reject my colleague's proposal. Just that it can be difficult at times to predict success, and the criteria employed for making decisions.

Of course, I am recalling only a single incident, and it would be wrong to suggest that it is typical.

My point is: it can be tougher than it might seem that it should be for Marketing to earn management's green light for its new initiatives.What is your experience in this area?

Posted under: Business Solutions

Technology Seekers Benefit From "Information Firewall"

Companies often don't wish to publicly reveal their identities when seeking solutions to their technical challenges, especially if this would make their strategic intentions known to their competitors. For instance, Colgate would not want Crest or others to know its plans for a next generation oral care product.

Posted under: Innovation
Monday, 12 December 2011 06:30

How to Make Open Innovation More Open

How to Make Open Innovation More Open

Here are some common sense suggestions to improve everyone's experience.

Posted under: Innovation
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 06:30

Dealing With Business Agreements

Put Agreements in Writing Today to Avoid Problems Tomorrow.

Some years ago, a lawyer acquaintance quipped to me, "To avoid a mess, put it on paper." His advice remains sound and worth heeding.

Posted under: Innovation
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 06:30

What is a Cashmere Sweater?

"What is a cashmere sweater? It's some fabric, some buttons and a zipper". Les Wexner was having a teaching moment. He was explaining to a conference room full of Limited Brands merchant executives that in order for a cashmere sweater to command a premium price, it must be marketed compellingly, going well beyond simply describing its components.

Posted under: Innovation
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