Category Archives: ideation

Transforming Reading – from Ideo

So you think the IPad and the Kindle are the future of reading? The innovation and design company IDEO, which has just released a short film on “The Future of the Book”, blows the binding off conventional notions of how we consume the written word. In Ideo’s telling, tomorrow’s books will let you join online discussions, fact-check, and even dictate the particulars of a plot — all in a tablet-friendly format. They’ve come up with three distinct reading concepts: Coupland, Nelson, and Alice.

Nelson
Nelson is all about expanding how we understand text. Think of it as CliffNotes on steroids. You can link to current news stories about your book, read up on debates it has sparked, and vet its accuracy through a community-run fact-checking feature. You can even look up how the discourse around it has changed over time.

Coupland
This concept is the social network of publishing. Designed to help people “keep up with the latest must-reads,” to quote the film, it suggests books based on what people in your company are reading. It also has features for creating book clubs and online reading discussions

Alice
Alice is a cross between a video game and Choose Your Own Adventure. Among other features, you can add to the narrative, talk to characters, and find keys to unlock plot twists. The idea here is to blur “the lines between reality and fiction,” as the film says

Watch the video here

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Good ideas – do you know where they come from?

Here is a fun video from Steven Johnson that describes how the web can aid collaboration which will in turn improve ideas. I really like this.

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Filed under Collaboration, ideation, Innovation

Tata, Innovation and Ideation

Most of us will have heard about the low cost car that is set to revolutionize travel in India. Many of us will have heard of its innovative model of distribution throughout the country. But not many of us have linked the innovation by Tata to ideation.

But it is.

An executive of an Indian conglomerate credited a corporate culture that encourages innovation with the creation of the world’s cheapest everyday car, a fuel-efficient, $2,500 four-seater that the company plans to export to Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.

Sunil Sinha, an executive in Tata Quality Management Services, told a Harvard audience Tuesday (Oct. 12) that the car was the result of an unlikely — but public — promise that the company’s leader made in 2003, setting to work a team of engineers charged with rethinking how cars could be designed and made. The result, which went on sale last year, is the Tata Nano, a tiny, two-cylinder model that gets 55 miles per gallon and meets all of India’s vehicle emissions and regulatory requirements.

So where does ideation fit in? Sinha described a culture of innovation at Tata that includes employee-awards programs for both successful and unsuccessful ideas. What’s important, Sinha said, is that employees feel comfortable in bringing forward ideas, even ones that don’t pan out, and that they feel they work in a place that values fresh thinking.

The innovation culture has produced several notable products, he said. One is a water purification system that costs just $20 and produces enough water to keep a family of four supplied for more than a year.

Read the full article here. If I find a video of the talk, I will post it.

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The Benefits of Incorporating Ideation in an Open Innovation Strategy

Ideation has recently become very popular. Many companies are looking to ideation as a tangible starting point for implementing an open innovation strategy. I continue to be involved in ideation projects. Indeed, I have now become very familiar with the WebStorm product from BrightIdea Inc, and like it a lot.

But is ideation worthwhile? Does it deliver value? It certainly appears to on the surface. However, in my experience, it all comes down to a robust strategy – not just for idea collection – but a strategy that determines how ideas will be handled, evaluated and funded in the back-end.

The road to success must include:

  • CEO sponsorship of the ideation process – the launch email should come from the CEO (or someone very high up in the organisation)
  • Strong governance – Innovation Board ideally
  • Well defined back end structure – not just a few ppt slides, but every aspect thought through
  • Dedicated funding put aside in the budget for those ideas that look to show promise
  • A structure to enable business-case development for promising ideas – this is an excellent HR opportunity for high-potential team members
  • Constant reporting back to idea generators as to progress
  • The definition of categories for the ideas as they are posted
  • Ensuring that the evaluation of the ideas is not centrally focused, but spread around to people who have no baggage in properly evaluating the idea
  • The ability to distinguish between disruptive and incremental ideas, and deciding on how each type will be managed – end to end

You might like to read an interesting paper by Cesar Castro who worked at Innocentive as VP of Business Development. It sheds some light on this interesting Innovation practice.

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