Michael Fruhling

Michael Fruhling

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.

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.

Monday, 31 October 2011 06:30

"Here's to the Crazy Ones...."


I love mad scientists. I really do...but I tend to admire them from a safe distance. Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends....

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.

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?

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.

Thursday, 01 December 2011 20:50

When is a Solution "Close Enough"?


Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart was once asked his definition of hard-core pornography. His oft cited reply was that it was hard to define, but that "I know it when I see it." I think that open innovation practitioners can often set their definition of an acceptable externally sourced solution with a similar mindset. Are they being overly hard-core?

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends....

Monday, 05 December 2011 06:30

Solve Your "Problem Children" Challenge


Many companies can find themselves dealing with external partners whose value-offering is strong but whose program management skills are lacking. When this creates issues, the company can question whether the "prize" is worth the hassle of dealing with them. Now, there are solutions to this challenge.

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends....

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.


If you have a pulse, you will have occasion to address conflict situations. Experience has taught most of us that amicably resolving conflict usually doesn't occur by getting the other party to "see things our way", although quite often that's precisely what each of us initially seeks to do. There must be a better way, right?

Yes, there is. To learn more, read on, dear friends....

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