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At Innovation Leader, our subscribers tell us that they find inspiration from what companies are doing and trying in their industry — but also from adjacent and unrelated industries. Below is a listing of the case studies about corporate innovation strategy that we've published, indexed by company name. (For more than 100 original documents and presentations shared by these companies and others, see our Resource Center.)

Click the "+" to pop up an excerpt of what each article covers.

1776  +
Get Focused: 1776 President Peter Cherukuri on Better BigCo-Startup Collaborations
Startups often want to engage with big companies. And big companies know that startups are developing business models and technologies that will impact their industry. So where do things go wrong? We put that question to Peter Cherukuri, President and Chief Innovation Officer of 1776, the Washington, D.C.-based startup incubator.

7-Eleven  +
How 7-Eleven is working to expand the part it plays in customers’ lives
Rob Chumley's mission: help 7-Eleven Inc. become more than just a quick place to stop for a sandwich and a Slurpee. “What we’re really focusing on now is this transition from convenience, which is defined by the products, to a convenient store, which is defined by the solutions it provides,” Chumley says. Here's what 7-Eleven's SVP of Innovation has been working on since he took on the role in November 2011...

AARP  +
Photos: Inside the Hatchery, the innovation lab at AARP
As part of our next Field Study learning expedition, we'll visit the Hatchery, the innovation lab at AARP. AARP is not only one of the largest nonprofits in the country, but it's also one of the biggest insurers and magazine publishers. We talked about what happens inside the Hatchery with Andy Miller, the SVP for Innovation and Product Development at AARP.

Adobe  +
Why Adobe gives employees a red box with $1,000 inside
Nearly 1,000 employees of Adobe Systems have participated in the Silicon Valley software company's Kickbox Innovation Workshop, where they learn how to develop ideas and collect customer feedback. Participants get $1,000 to spend, no questions asked. Adobe exec Mark Randall explains how it works, and shares the program's scorecard.

Adobe  +
Failing fast and taking risks: How Adobe’s legal group met the challenges of supporting innovation
How do you create legal guidelines for employee innovation that are loose enough to let people try new things, but not get a publicly-held company in hot water? Donna Kolnes of Adobe explains how the Silicon Valley software company approached it.

Adobe  +
How design thinking and lean startup are changing the way Adobe builds new products
Adobe exec Aubrey Cattell says that the lean startup approach – build, measure, learn, accelerate – has changed the way Adobe thinks about innovation.

ADP  +
Head of innovation lab at $11 billion ADP on recruiting, focus, hand-offs
Roberto Masiero, vice president and head of ADP’s New Jersey innovation lab, offers lessons and recommendations for companies looking to start their own labs. Among them: deploy small teams focused on specific projects. “They almost become like a family,” he says. “It drives the project, and it’s been quite successful so far.”

AECOM  +
AECOM shares an innovation video it uses with new hires
How do you get new hires to contribute to a culture of innovation from Day One? Warwick Absolon of industrial giant AECOM shares a video the $8.2 billion company produced as part of orientation for new employees in its Australia and New Zealand division.

AGCO  +
Lessons from AGCO: Successful university collaborations
Ravi Godbole, a research and engineering executive at the $10.8 billion agricultural equipment manufacturer, explains how strong university relationships fit into AGCO's organic growth strategy — and discusses the pitfalls you should avoid.

Ahold  +
How $36 billion grocer Ahold is experimenting with smaller stores
A new small-format grocery store from $36 billion Dutch grocery giant Ahold that is integrated into a neighborhood streetscape may be the key to attracting a young, discerning urban shopper who frequents farmer's markets or Whole Foods. We talk to one of the developers of the company's new bfresh concept.

Airbus Group  +
Airbus exec on co-innovation and seizing opportunities outside the airplane
Markus Durstewitz, head of innovation methods and tools for Airbus Group, talks about how the $67 billion manufacturer is working with suppliers, passengers, and pilots to make air travel more efficient. Includes slides...

Airbus Group  +
Innovation lessons from Airbus’ foray into 3D-printed electric motorcycles
One expects to hear about sleek new cabin designs or fuel-efficient aircraft from the $70.5 billion Airbus Group. So heads turned when the aerospace giant introduced the world’s first 3D-printed motorcycle in May. The story of the how and why Airbus brought the bike to market offers useful lessons for other large corporations.

Alaska Airlines  +
Case study: Alaska Airlines’ lean startup test in airport lounges
Two members of the airline's Customer Innovation R&D team talk about a recent test of new system aimed at delivering a more personalized travel experience. Includes slides and lessons learned...

Allstate  +
Allstate exec on strategic alignment, metrics, innovation team survival
In our latest Innovation Leader Live call, we talked with Allstate's Moises Norena about how the $34 billion insurer is measuring innovation impact; why innovation can sometimes be a tough sell in a services business; and how innovation teams can survive corporate shake-ups and management changes. Includes 30-minutes of audio...

American Express  +
Amex exec Lei Chen on building new capabilities and spreading a ‘growth mindset’
In her position as VP of New Capabilities Innovation, Lei Chen was at the helm of a brand new team. She viewed the role as having three main components, and task number one was to “make sure we have the right talent in place to embrace the innovation that’s opened up by technology." Here's what she focused on...

American Greetings  +
Advice from American Greetings VP: How creatives and the business side can get along
Many people think of American Greetings as a purveyor of greeting cards and party goods, but as Carol Miller describes it, the privately-held company is in the “meaningful connections” business, helping people make connections with family and friends. On a recent IL Live conference call, she shared her advice about building great teams that include both creatives and business-side employees.

Aon  +
How Aon Health invites business leaders to help set the innovation agenda
Jim Winkler, Global Chief Innovation Officer at Aon Health, explains the meetings and process that his team uses to set the innovation agenda, and determine priorities, in collaboration with line of business executives.

Assurant  +
Why insurance firm Assurant designed a strategy game for employees to play
Among the goals behind the company's Strategy Learning Game: helping employees understand the direction the company is going and “how they fit in,” and driving a cultural shift to urgency, adaptive thinking, agility, and accountability. SVP Melissa Kivett explains how it worked...

AstraZeneca  +
Open innovation at $25 billion AstraZeneca: What we’ve learned so far
Scott Wilkins, Enterprise Innovation Director at the British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca and his colleague Rob Albert discuss the roots of the open innovation program at AstraZeneca; how they use recognition and financial rewards for people who help them with challenges; how they got legal and compliance leaders on their side; and how they’re shifting the culture at AstraZeneca from feeling like every great breakthrough needs to come from an employee. In Wilkins’ words, the company now stresses that “the patient doesn't care who solves the problem." Includes 30 minutes of downloadable audio...

Athena health  +
Creating a disrupter ecosystem: How Athenahealth did it
With an initiative dubbed "More Disruption Please," CEO Jonathan Bush decided to give other companies access to his customer base, inviting them to integrate into his cloud-based platform for helping doctors manage their practices. Eight hundred prospective partners raised their hands.

Audi  +
Why Audi of America is hiring robotic repair advisors; with video
Audi of America is rolling out telepresence robots at 18 of its highest-volume U.S. dealerships, in an effort to accelerate repairs and improve customer satisfaction. Here's what they're measuring before they roll out the bots more broadly.

Autodesk  +
How $2.3B Autodesk “looks to the edge” for emerging trends
Autodesk VP of Corporate Strategy Jon Pittman talks about 3D printing, synthetic biology, programmable matter, and other trends he's tracking. Pittman also discusses the software giant's new IdEx program that lets selected employees spend three months developing new ideas that aren't connected to their regular roles.

BBVA  +
Advice on running a global startup competition from Spanish bank BBVA
If you're considering a competition or challenge to help your company get to know startups in your industry, read this advice from Scarlet Sieber of BBVA, the Spanish banking giant. Sieber explains how to attract the best startups and make sure business unit leaders are ready to work with them. Includes slides and audio...

Beech-Nut  +
How Beech-Nut innovated within a ‘category in decline’; rigor + speed
In 2012, Beech-Nut acknowledged that it had a problem. Moms were no longer relying on baby food from the supermarket, and they regarded homemade food as the gold standard. "We realized we needed to completely innovate across the total product offering," says Beech-Nut exec Andy Dahlen. Here's how they did it...

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts  +
Connecting corporate venture capital to the business at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Tuoyo Louis has a very clear objective at Zaffre Investments, a corporate venture team that is part of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts: Finding healthcare startups that can solve a problem for someone in the insurance company’s ecosystem, whether that’s a patient, an employer, or an administrator sitting behind a doctor’s front desk. Louis explains how he works with business-side leaders inside Blue Cross Blue Shield to get pilot tests underway that leverage new technologies from the startups.

BMW  +
How BMW’s corporate venture capital strategy is changing
Last November, five years after starting a corporate venture capital group, carmaker BMW announced that it would invest up to 500 million Euros over the next decade, across a broad swath of the tech landscape, from 3D printing to on-demand transportation to smart logistics. BMW also moved its US office from New York to Silicon Valley, and accelerated the decision-making process for making new investments. We spoke to Managing Director Ulrich Quay to understand what's behind all of the changes.

BNP Paribas Cardif  +
Changing culture at French insurer BNP Paribas Cardif
Héloïse Lauret, Head of Innovation at BNP Paribas Cardif, discusses the three main culture-change initiatives the French insurance firm has launched — and the importance of building trust.

BNY Mellon  +
After the ‘Shark Tank’ event: How BNY Mellon is Broadening Innovation Impact
Adetola Abiade, Director of Global Innovation for the Americas at BNY Mellon, explains the nuts-and-bolts of how the oldest bank in the U.S. runs its internal "Shark Tank" event, as well as how her team is using coaching, incentives, podcasts, and metrics to extend the event's impact.

Cambia Health Solutions  +
Cambia exec: Why we created healthcare collaboration space
Nicole Bell is executive director of the new Cambia Grove, a 9,000 square foot facility in downtown Seattle that brings together innovators and entrepreneurs with health plans, providers, businesses, government leaders, and academic minds from around the country. She talks about how and why her employer, Cambia Health Solutions, created the Grove. Includes audio, photos, and a video...

Cambia Health Solutions  +
Achieving innovation balance: Advice from Cambia Health’s chief innovation officer
Five years after starting the innovation team at Cambia Health Solutions, a family of healthcare businesses in the Pacific Northwest, Chief Innovation Officer Mohan Nair shares what he has learned about different types of innovators — including some you may want to avoid — as well as delivering near-term and long-term impact.

Chubb  +
Chubb global innovation VP: ‘Stop the innovation carnival’
At too many companies, employees interact with the innovation team during sporadic "Innovation Days," idea challenges, or off-site meetings. Chubb global innovation VP Gerry Myers explains how the insurer created a "social layer" for innovation and collaboration, to help weave innovation into employees' daily activity. Includes slides.

Cisco  +
Lessons from Alex Goryachev on running Cisco’s first company-wide idea challenge
On a recent Innovation Leader Live call, Cisco's Alex Goryachev discussed the company's recent Innovate Everywhere Challenge, including how he got thousands of employees to participate, how they recruited external judges, and why he changed his mind about letting the teams involved interact directly with customers. Includes 30 minutes of audio...

Clorox  +
How open innovation led Clorox to a new product line
Clorox's R&D team used an intensive open innovation approach that brought together consumers, industry experts, and retailers to explore how the company could address the needs of at-home caregivers taking care of an elderly relative. Here's how the approach led to the Clorox Care Concepts product line...

Coca-Cola  +
Coke’s David Butler on building a program for ‘exponential growth’
VP of Innovation and Entrepreneurship David Butler talks about his work to combine entrepreneurial ideas and speed with Coca-Cola's scale and brand power. Includes a half-hour of downloadable audio.

Coca-Cola  +
Why Coke is hiring founders & holding failure conferences
VP of innovation and entrepreneurship David Butler shares the experiments Coke is trying internally and externally as a way to "regenerate the culture" of the 150,000 employee company, including hackathons to improve its soda dispensers and conferences focused on learning from failure. Above, two employees present an idea at Coke's first employee Startup Weekend, held in June 2013.

Coca-Cola  +
Coca-Cola shutters its Founders initiative, which backed fledgling startups
Coca-Cola has shut down its Founders program, which sought to work with entrepreneurs and invest in startups that would benefit the beverage giant in some way. The initiative was launched in 2013, and since then has backed eight companies. One possible cause? A back-to-basics focus on the core business.

Constant Contact  +
How Constant Contact blends lean startup & design thinking
Andy Miller, Chief Innovation Architect at the digital marketing company, shares slides and a video that offer a look at Constant Contact's approach to developing new offerings.

CVS  +
How new CVS digital lab proves value, collaborates with business units
Chief Digital Officer Brian Tilzer discusses why the $37 billion retail and healthcare giant set up its new Digital Innovation Lab in Boston; how it connects with teams at CVS' Rhode Island headquarters; and his thoughts on mobile payments, videoconferencing and collaboration, and in-store Bluetooth Beacon technology. Includes 40 minutes of audio from our recent Field Study visit...

CVS  +
CVS Health’s Chief Digital Officer on navigating two revolutions
Brian Tilzer says the $139 billion company is navigating two revolutions: omni-channel retail and what he terms "the digital enablement of healthcare." It wouldn't be possible without dialing up spending, and bringing new talent to the company. Here's what he's doing (includes slides)...

Daimler Trucks  +
How the accelerator program at Daimler Trucks trains intrapreneurs
A three-month long accelerator program at Daimler Trucks North America gets employee teams talking to customers, cultivating ideas, and then pitching the board. Lori Heino-Royer, director of the company’s Business Innovation and Program Management Office, talks about the objectives and one of the projects that resulted. Includes slides...

Dell  +
Dell’s chief innovation officer on innovation portfolios and training
Dell chief innovation officer Jim Stikeleather opened a recent Brightidea “birds of a feather” innovation gathering in Austin with a fantastic talk about the importance of fostering divergent thinking in big organizations — and some of the challenges of making real change happen. Includes slides...

Dell  +
Advice, tactics from Dell’s VC group; includes strategy slides
After getting out of the venture capital game a decade ago, Dell recently jumped back in with both feet. Jim Lussier, managing director of Dell Ventures, explains how the tech company's approach is different, and offers his advice for keeping corporate VC aligned with the business units. (Includes slides.)

Delphi Automotive  +
Why Delphi planted a new innovation lab in Silicon Valley
Delphi Labs director John Absmeier explains how the automotive components giant is partnering, investing, and plugging into the Silicon Valley ecosystem — and hoping some of the "experiment-and-fail-fast" culture rubs gets absorbed by HQ.

Disney  +
Disney SVP on how accelerator program led to new partnerships
Senior Vice President of Innovation Michael Abrams discusses the upside of launching an accelerator program for media and entertainment startups, including some of the partnerships that it has sparked so far.

Disney  +
From Disney: Consumer insights and the Seven Dwarfs
Director of Consumer Insight Karen Kricorian explains how Disney's theme parks and resorts group approaches research. "When you think you know something," she says, "that's when you need to shake up your thinking."

Domino's Pizza  +
Inside the ‘AnyWare’ digital strategy at Domino’s Pizza
Betting big on digital has been very good for Domino’s Pizza, the nation’s second largest pizza chain by sales and locations, after Pizza Hut. In its latest quarterly earnings report, the Ann Arbor, Michigan company said same-store sales grew by 10.7 percent at its domestic franchise locations. Chief Digital Officer Dennis Maloney explains how they've been doing it...

Dun & Bradstreet  +
Inside the creation of D&B’s Cloud Innovation Center
An acquisition in 2014 gave Dun & Bradstreet a 49-person, cloud-focused software development team in Vancouver. Here's how that group has evolved into D&B's Cloud Innovation Center — and some of the challenges they've faced.

DuPont  +
How DuPont’s innovation centers bring it closer to customers
Karen Weining, Global Innovation Excellence Leader at DuPont, explains how the pioneering materials company has been collaborating with customers at its network of 12 innovation centers around the world.

Eastern Bank  +
Inside the entrepreneur-led innovation group at Eastern Bank
Dan O'Malley had tried to disrupt the banking industry from outside. Now, he's working within it, as the founder of Eastern Labs, an innovation group at Eastern Bank, the country's biggest and oldest mutual bank. Includes slides...

Eastman Chemical  +
Six tips from Eastman Innovation Lab on managing a distributed team
Managing a distributed team comes with its own set of challenges. Creative manager Farrell Calabrese shares six tips and tools she uses to manage the Eastman Innovation Lab, part of $9.5 billion Eastman Chemical.

eBay  +
eBay innovation vice president: ‘Evangelize early and often’
"Doing innovation in a large company is not always an easy thing," says Steve Yankovich, VP of innovation at $6.6 billion eBay. Inside, he talks about how his team "graduates" its projects to business units, and why it's so important to be able to kill low-potential projects. His insights, plus a video and infographic, are inside...

EMC  +
Call re-cap: EMC’s Calvin Smith on ‘incubation readiness levels’ and incentivizing employees
How do you get an innovation program focused on strategic challenges that the businesses care about — without limiting it to incrementalism? That was among the topics we discussed recently with Calvin Smith of EMC Corp., the data storage and cloud giant, on one of our recent Innovation Leader Live calls.

EMC  +
How EMC reignited its innovation program
Troubling question: What happens to all those employee ideas we collect? EMC executive Calvin Smith realized that the innovation team needed to enhance its capability to craft business plans and prototypes — and eventually hand market-tested products and services back to the business units.

Enjoy  +
Retail innovator Ron Johnson on the Apple Store, SoulCycle, and his new approach to digital commerce
Johnson talks about companies blending digital convenience with an engaging offline experience — including the SoulCycle chain, Airbnb, and his startup, Enjoy. Johnson also shares some insights about launching the Apple Store concept while working for Steve Jobs, and how he may have tried to change things too abruptly as CEO of JC Penney.

Ericsson  +
At Ericsson, using the lean startup approach to validate and prioritize new ideas
"We have way more ideas than we can possibly implement," says Ken Durand, the head of Ericsson's Atlanta Idea Factory, "so one of the reasons that we’ve really focused on the lean methodologies was because we need a way to evaluate whether an idea was worth doing." Durand shares slides, advice, and an example project inside...

Ericsson  +
Why “Gretzky’s Rule” Represents the Past – Not the Future – of Product Innovation
Most people operate in a market where outcomes are not so predictable; where the environment shifts on you regularly; or where you face newly-formed competitors that disrupt your entire business. Ericsson executive Ken Durand offers his advice...

ESPN  +
How ESPN is using data to call the plays
George Leimer, VP of Fantasy Sports and Premium Products at ESPN, discusses how the sports network is working to build a data and metrics-oriented culture, enabling analysis to replace hunches when it comes to developing and refining new products and services.

Express Scripts  +
How the lab at Express Scripts leverages data to predict — and prevent — healthcare problems
The Express Scripts Lab, which opened in 2010, roughly tripled in headcount last year and now houses more than 100 employees. One area of focus: working with data to better predict which patients will need extra nudges to stick to a medication regime. We talk with one of the executives who leads it, Mark Bini.

ExxonMobil  +
Ten lessons from ExxonMobil on spurring operationally-focused innovation
The innovation team at ExxonMobil provides a first-ever look at their Grassroots Innovation Forum, focused on sourcing and testing operational innovations, including missteps they encountered and lessons your company might want to consider. Includes internal screenshots and presentation.

ExxonMobil  +
How ExxonMobil IT started a grassroots innovation program that’s changing company culture
Christopher Bailey, #innovation catalyst and IT leader at ExxonMobil, discusses the challenges of operationally-focused innovation and details how ExxonMobil has promoted innovation from the ground up through the #innovation initiative and their Grassroots Innovation Forum. Includes 30 minutes of audio.

EY  +
How EY launched an innovation program inside a professional services firm
One big challenge, according to Jeff Saviano, who runs innovation inside EY's tax practice for the Americas: "Making sure that we’re not just asking people to spend time on nights and weekends to build something new, [and] move us in a new direction." He explains how they've been working to overcome that. Includes 30 minutes of audio...

FedEx  +
FedEx innovation exec shares slides, story behind SenseAware service
A FedEx innovation team has been at the center of building businesses that leverage "Internet of Things" technologies. The first is called SenseAware, and it allows FedEx customers to know about the temperature, light exposure, and humidity of a package in transit — not to mention its precise location and whether or not it has been opened.

Fidelity  +
Webcast replay: Fidelity VP on tools for innovation teams
"If you just talk a lot about innovation and make a lot of noise, it can backfire," says Rick Smyers, VP of the Center for Accelerated Innovation at Fidelity Investments. "People can hear a lot about it and think, 'It's just another management fad. It'll go away.'" Smyers explains in this webcast how you can put the right strategy, tools, and people in place to make a real impact — and details some of his team's successful projects.

Fidelity Investments  +
Webcast Replay: Creating a Curriculum to Develop Innovation Leaders
Led by Stephanie Simon, the hour-long webcast covered the training program's objectives, timeline, staffing, skills taught, external resources used, and the learnings so far. Watch the replay...

Fiserv  +
How $5B financial tech firm Fiserv is refining its startup accelerator for 2017
Five startups participated in the accelerator's first cycle in 2016. We talk to Matthew Wilcox, SVP of Marketing Strategy and Innovation, about what is changing in the second go-round.

Ford  +
Why Ford is growing its Silicon Valley research center
Ford exec Jim Buczkowski discusses the strategy behind the expansion of the company's Research & Innovation Center in Palo Alto, and shares several projects they're working on.

GameStop  +
GameStop’s new Technology Institute explores future of retail
In March, the $9 billion videogame retailer created the GameStop Technology Institute to help it develop new experiences and offerings for the "empowered consumer." Senior director of technology innovation Charlie Larkin gives us a look at their first project, launching this month.

Gap  +
Gap exec on innovation training, co-creation, customer insights
Gap Inc.'s Dean of Global Innovation talks about creativity, co-creation, the Mindspark training initiative,  and the importance of solving small problems first. Includes slides and 30 minutes of audio from a recent call.

Gap  +
Gap Inc.: Moving Ideas from ‘Fuzzy’ to ‘Fruition’
Dean of Global Innovation Michael Perman explains how Gap Inc. has trained about 250 employees to be innovators, through a program called Mindspark. But Perman also asserts that not everyone in large organizations is cut out to innovate: "Not everyone is built that way, anymore than everyone should be an accountant." Perman also outlines Gap's current innovation priorities. Includes audio.

GE  +
How GE is using crowdfunding site to test demand for new products
The story of the Opal ice maker is an early case study of how a large organization leveraged crowdsourcing and crowdfunding to get a new concept in front of consumers fast.

GE  +
General Electric exec shares details, slides on open innovation efforts
While many big companies still utter the words “open innovation” with trepidation, getting bogged down in discussions about who will own what, General Electric has been racing ahead. Dyan Finkhousen, the head of GE's Open Innovation Center of Excellence, shares what the company has been doing and learning...

GE  +
Why GE created the new FirstBuild maker community
GE design executive Lou Lenzi explains how the company's new co-creation initiative, launched this summer, is allowing GE to "take little bets and do things fast." Includes video and slides from a recent presentation.

GE  +
Advice on opening up to innovation from GE’s chief marketing officer
Beth Comstock talks about how the $146 billion behemoth is pursuing speed and growth through partnerships: investing in startups, crowdsourcing solutions, inviting inventors to use selected patents to create new products, and more. "You have to recognize that no matter how good you are, you don't have all the answers," Comstock says. Here's our exclusive interview...

GE  +
GE’s chief marketing officer talks innovation, partnerships
Innovation Leader had ringside seats at a Harvard Business School event, where GE's marketing chief Beth Comstock discussed the company's views on crowdsourcing, the Internet of things, the lean startup movement, and more. Quick bullets from her presentation and the complete audio are inside.

GE  +
How GE Fuse is Prototyping New Solutions, with Help from an Online Community
“The concept [of Fuse] is around sourcing different problems from GE customers and then working with an online community to solve those problems,” says Amelia Gandara, the Community Leader for GE Fuse. Here's how they do it...

General Mills  +
General Mills VP on getting to the first dollar fast, failure, key metrics
Few companies have as strong a track record when it comes to open innovation and pilot testing as General Mills. In a recent Innovation Leader Live call, Jim Kirkwood, Chief Science and Technology Development Officer, explained how the company "gets to the first dollar fast" with pilot tests. Includes 30 minutes of audio. (Not a subscriber? Get an excerpt here »)

General Mills  +
General Mills innovation EVP on becoming ‘best big small company’
Peter Erickson, executive vice president of Innovation, Technology, and Quality for General Mills, is focused on a very clear goal: to help the company, with 43,000 emloyees and brands like Cheerios, Nature Valley, and Betty Crocker, become “the best big small food company in the world.” Here's our exclusive interview on how he's doing it...

General Mills  +
General Mills shares learnings, pitfalls on open innovation
Mike Helser, head of the General Mills Worldwide Innovation Network, shares what the $17.8 billion consumer packaged goods company has learned from its open innovation experiences. We've got slides, steps for porting his model, and details on his “X-Squad.”

General Motors  +
How GM’s Silicon Valley office hunts for relevant innovations and connects to HQ
Managing director Frankie James talks about how her Silicon Valley-based team identifies high-potential startups and new technologies and interacts with teams at GM headquarters back in Detroit. Includes a slide detailing their four-stage process, from scouting to transferring.

General Motors  +
Photos: How Cadillac House is Helping to Transform The Vehicle Maker’s Brand
When Cadillac relocated its global headquarters from Detroit to New York City in 2015, it wasn’t just a change of scenery for the luxury vehicle maker, a division of General Motors. The company was looking to get consumers to reevaluate the brand. Hear from Nathan Tan, Associate Director of Brand Partnerships and Experiences at Global Cadillac, about the creation of Cadillac House, and see photos from inside the space.

Goodyear  +
Goodyear’s Chris Varley on How Tech Scouting Work Should Tie in to the Business
Part of Varley's job is "supporting and encouraging managers tasked with developing 'something new' on a five- or ten-year roadmap to think differently, and consider that it may actually be faster and less risky for them to take a chance on working with a startup on the outside than trying to build everything from scratch in the lab." Here's his advice on bringing new ideas into a $15 billion company...

Google  +
Google exec: Foster 10X thinking, or you’re doomed to incrementalism
Leaders need to understand that fostering only incremental changes and improvements will doom a company to fall behind. Every company, says Google sales exec Todd Rowe, needs to set at least a few 10X goals — creating something ten times better than what exists today — and give employees the time and freedom to pursue them. Includes audio...

Google  +
Why Google does ‘Beer & Demos’ every Friday
Craig Nevill-Manning, Director of Engineering at Google's Manhattan office, talks about why the company encourages engineers to show off raw prototypes every week. "The most important thing is that your demo exists," Nevill-Manning says. "That's the biggest achievement."

Google  +
Google execs explain how the company spurs innovation, kills projects
From last week's Innovation Leader Field Study in Boston: Google executives Don Dodge and Leonidas Kontothannasis offer an inside look at how the company hires, why reasonable goals are not good enough, and how internal projects gain or lose momentum. Includes a half-hour of audio...

Google  +
Google VP Ivy Ross shares advice on meeting overload, getting resources, and confronting the future
Many execs are too complacent when they're confronting seismic shifts in their industry, says Ross, who is leading Google's wearable computing project. "Why would you stay at a hotel, versus in an Airbnb room? The answer might be horrifying to you, but better deal with what is horrifying than deal with the alternative, which is that you’re not here in five years."

Google  +
Moonshots, roof shots, and failing forward: Google and XPRIZE execs on enabling big breakthroughs
"We distinguish between 'roof shots' and moonshots," says Google X executive Hans Peter Brøndmo. "You could say, 'If I wanted to get up on the roof of this building, I could come up with a really innovative solution. I might actually technically, be closer to the moon, but I didn't do anything to get to the moon.' More insights from Brøndmo and XPRIZE CEO Marcus Shingles inside, from a session held at the inaugural Harvest Summit...

Groupe Galeries Lafayette  +
Why Groupe Galeries Lafayette launched an accelerator for retail and fashion startups
"I was trying to shove innovation down their throat," says Edoardo Manitto of Groupe Galeries Lafayette, the 120-year old French retailer. "That, in my case, didn't lead to anything very productive." Here's what he's doing instead.

Hallmark  +
Hallmark innovation exec on retail pop-ups and new brands
Patti Streeper's job at $3.9 billion Hallmark Cards is to help cultivate businesses that may not fit with the 105-year old company's brand image — but ones that speak to new groups of customers. We talked with her about two examples: Easy, Tiger, a line of offbeat cards targeted at Millennials, and 5 Points, a pop-up retail concept that Hallmark launched last year.

Hearst Corp.  +
Hearst Health’s chief innovation officer on lab funding, staffing, and focus
Our latest Innovation Leader Live call featured Justin Graham of Hearst Health, talking about the innovation lab he oversees in San Francisco. We discussed staffing, funding, and the focus of the lab — and took several questions from listeners. Read the highlights of our conversation, or listen to the audio.

Hershey's  +
Hershey’s exec on metrics, learning, and focusing innovation
Deborah Arcoleo, Director of the Advanced Innovation Center of Excellence, talks about how Hershey's thinks about innovating beyond its product portfolio; how they measure innovation impact; training and capability development; and ensuring continued management buy-in for the innovation team. Includes audio and slides...

Hershey's  +
Sweet! Four steps Hershey’s uses to reduce innovation risks
Director of Adjacency Innovation Deborah Arcoleo lays out the four steps she uses to de-risk innovation initiatives, from assembling the best team possible to ensuring that key stakeholders at the company have contributed to the key measures of success.

Home Depot  +
Inside Home Depot’s new innovation lab at Georgia Tech
The $82 billion home improvement retailer opened the new site in January. One goal is to connect with students at Georgia Tech, but Home Depot exec Martin Key says they're also exploring technologies that could impact the way people shop and the way store associates work. Includes videos.

Honda  +
At Honda’s Silicon Valley Lab, riding shotgun with Google, Apple, Visa, and others
While it began life as an R&D outpost in 2000, and later added a venture capital team, Honda's Silicon Valley site is now a full-fledged innovation hub for the company, overseeing a range of important partnerships and startup interactions. Nick Sugimoto explains how it's set up.

Houghton Mifflin  +
Hacking away at hierarchies: Lessons from Houghton Mifflin
Mary Cullinane, Chief Content Officer and EVP of Corporate Affairs at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, talks about breaking down walls between print and digital products, hacking away at hierarchies, and renewing the company’s focus on the customer.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt  +
How the labs group at publisher Houghton Mifflin is building an ecosystem of developers and partners
Can Houghton Mifflin Harcourt remake itself into a digital platform, distributing content, software, and cloud-based services to schools? That's a big focus at HMH Labs, a group created in 2014. Labs chief Claudia Reuter explains how she has been building relationships with startups and software developers.

Humana  +
Humana’s Chief Innovation Officer: ‘Co-creation is the new way’
Chris Kay of Humana discusses how the $48 billion health insurer is collaborating and co-creating with startups in the healthcare industry, and outlines his process for going from ideation to market.

Humana  +
Humana exec on consultants, mix of projects, reporting to CEO
Audio and notes from our recent "Innovation Leader Live" call with Nate Bellinger of Humana. Bellinger talks about the 15-year history of Humana's innovation initiatives; some of the lessons they've learned as it has evolved; the ratio of incremental innovation to transformational innovation; budgets; and various changes in reporting relationships. Includes 30 minutes of downloadable audio...

Humana  +
Humana exec on the ups and downs of innovation programs
As staffing levels have risen and fallen, and reporting relationships have changed, $40 billion health insurer Humana has kept a commitment to innovation alive. Director of Consumer Innovation Nate Bellinger describes his current strategy, and some of the lessons from almost 15 years.

Humana  +
Getting leadership buy-in, ‘no time syndrome,’ and premature scaling: Stories from Humana, GE, Intuit
Why do employees and executives in large organizations resist participating in innovation efforts? Sometimes it's about fear of failure, not having a safe environment to try new things, or no-time syndrome: "Oh, we don't have enough time to innovate." Downloadable audio and more insights inside...

Ikea  +
How IKEA is exploring the future of furniture, home design, and meatballs
To test ideas and prototype designs, the world's biggest furniture company built a model apartment in southern Sweden. It invites local families to move into the apartment and document their experiences with the experimental furnishings. Includes slides...

Indiegogo  +
Examples: How companies are using Indiegogo to assess consumer demand
Indiegogo SVP Jerry Needel explains how companies like GE and Hasbro have been using crowdfunding as a way to gauge consumer demand for new products — or engage collaborators in new ways. Needel also shares his advice. "We always counsel people to be authentic: who they are, what they’re trying to accomplish, and where they’re coming from," he says.

Ingersoll Rand  +
How Ingersoll Rand hires, trains, tests and prioritizes innovation
Listen to our recent “Innovation Leader Live” call with Michael Wynblatt, VP of Innovation & Emerging Technology at Ingersoll Rand, the $12.3 billion industrial giant. In the audio, Michael discuses the complexities of his role; how he creates and tests innovation hypotheses; training and capability-building; metrics; priorities; hiring and more.

Intel  +
Intel Labs exec on collaborations driving company’s Internet of Things strategy
Martin Curley, Director of Intel Labs Europe, shares strategy slides on how an "Open Innovation 2.0" approach is helping Intel work with customers to prototype and deploy Internet of Things technologies.

Intel  +
Intel’s Brandon Barnett: Mapping the future
The chipmaker's Director of Business Innovation explains how he uses experiments, hackathons, and networks of experts to help Intel map out areas of future potential — and talks about what it takes to get the attention of business unit heads.

Intuit  +
Why Intuit says ‘you never know’ about ideas — until you test ’em
At plenty of companies, persuasive PowerPoints and buy-in from top executives are required to move ideas forward. Intuit executive Bennett Blank explains how his company is creating an infrastructure that encourages teams of employees to test ideas in the market, and gather data, to help determine which ideas hold real promise. Includes a graphic explaining how "Innovation via Rapid Experiments" works at Intuit...

Intuit  +
‘Go where you’re loved’: Intuit executive shares advice on rolling out lean startup for maximum impact
If you've been debating whether and how to roll out the lean startup methodology in your organization, Bennett Blank of Intuit has a question: What are you waiting for? "I can't tell you how many times I've talked [about lean] with other executives who are like, 'OK, we'll spend four or five months benchmarking it, and then we'll put together a program, and then we'll spend eight months creating the curriculum, and then we'll launch it next year.'" Here's how Blank did it at Intuit...

iRobot  +
Inside iRobot’s “business-driven” innovation strategy
Colin Angle, co-founder and CEO of the robot-maker, says one of his most important jobs is protecting innovative products that have left the safe confines of the R&D lab but haven't yet grown into significant businesses. At that stage, he says, "it's just a big, ugly, non-revenue producing, pimply, adolescent, cash-sucking thing that most companies are lethally effective at killing."

Jamba Juice  +
How Jamba Juice is becoming more than just a smoothie store
In recent years, Brian Lee, vice president of product innovation at Jamba Juice, has engineered a number of new product launches, expanding Jamba’s reach in beverages with fresh-squeezed juices and making a leap into the healthy food space with energy bowls. Lee lays out the steps Jamba goes through in developing a new food or drink idea.

Jarden  +
How appliance-maker Jarden is testing new business models
Our October Innovation Leader Live call guest was Asoka Veeravagu, VP of Business Development for Transformational Innovation at Jarden Consumer Solutions. The Boca Raton, Fla. company owns brands like Mr. Coffee, Aerobed, and Sunbeam.

Johnson & Johnson  +
How J&J is building its global network of innovation centers
The healthcare giant, headquartered in New Jersey, is opening innovation centers in Silicon Valley, Shanghai, London, and Boston. Robert Urban, who heads the Boston Innovation Center for Johnson & Johnson, explains how it is staffed; his mandate; and J&J's new thinking around collaborating with healthcare startups. Includes an audio interview with Urban and a look at the Boston office.

Johnson & Johnson  +
How business units get involved with J&J’s network of innovation centers
When J&J makes a new investment in a startup, "50 percent of the deal funding from J&J Innovation, and the business unit provides the other 50 percent," explains Darren Snellgrove, Chief Financial Officer for J&J Innovation. "We have found that both sides having skin in the game, and a say in the decision making is an important component of success." More insights inside...

Johnson Controls  +
Treating projects like startups and keeping senior leaders in the loop at Johnson Controls
New projects at the company pass through three stage-gates: pursuit, realization, and commercialization. Johnson Controls' Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President for Global Innovation explain how projects are funded, and how they work with senior leadership to make decisions about their fate.

Jones Lang LaSalle  +
How $6B real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle built a revenue engine  
Innovation VP Alec Humphries discusses how his group inside the commercial real estate firm has begun generating millions in revenue within five years of its creation.

Kaiser Permanente  +
How a $56 billion healthcare delivery system is putting the consumer first
Tad Funahashi, Chief Innovation and Transformation Officer at Kaiser Permanente Southern California, talks about how the 177,000 employee healthcare delivery system is working to become less MD-centric, and more consumer-centric. Includes audio and slides...

Kelly Services  +
Kelly Services exec on impact payments and disruptive ideas
Kelly Chief Innovation Officer Rolf Kleiner talks about his CEO's expectations; developing a process for collecting incremental and disruptive ideas; creating an incentive system for idea submitters; and one high-potential idea Kelly Services is preparing to roll out. Includes 30 minutes of audio from our Innovation Leader Live call...

Kelly Services  +
Kelly Services innovation chief on creating meaningful revenue
Rolf Kleiner took on the Chief Innovation Officer role at $5.4 billion Kelly Services at the start of 2012, after twenty years at the temporary staffing and consulting firm. Here's what he's been doing since then.

Kennametal  +
Kennametal exec on innovation governance and ‘fast fail’ testing
Colin Tilzey, head of the Innovation Ventures Group at the $3 billion tool-maker, talks about the evolution of the innovation governance committee; looking for the cheapest way to test new ideas; and a new position he has created on his team.

Kwikset  +
How a startup partnership gave Kwikset a lead in smartlocks
Kwikset had been experimenting with various keyless entry products — but nothing clicked until the California company partnered with a startup to create the Kevo lock, which can be controlled with a smartphone and opened with a simple touch. Execs from Kwikset and Kevo take you inside the partnership...

Lego  +
Lego CEO: To innovate, create a separate structure
Lego CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp talks about Future Lab, a separate team the company has set up to explore new avenues for growth.

Lockheed Martin  +
Why Lockheed Martin bet big on large-scale 3D printing; with video
Execs at $45 billion Lockheed Martin are demonstrating that 3D printing isn't just for prototypes — they're already producing parts for real-world projects like NASA's Juno spacecraft, now on its way to Jupiter. Lockheed's Steve Betza lays out the benefits...and shares a video.

Lowe's  +
Lowe’s exec Kyle Nel on innovating in a time of exponential change
In the 1920s, the average time companies spent in the S&P 500 Index was 67 years. Today, it's 15. Many of the also-rans fell victim to linear thinking at a time when the business and technological landscape was changing exponentially. Kyle Nel, Executive Director of Lowe's Innovation Labs, explains how his company is working to stay ahead of the curve. Includes slides and audio...

Lowe's  +
Why Lowe’s Innovation Lab hired sci-fi writers to guide its strategy
Kyle Nel, the Executive Director of Lowe's Innovation Labs, explains why the home improvement retailer created a comic book to help executives evaluate possible future scenarios. Nel also discusses why he doesn't think labs should be located at corporate headquarters, and how his team is measured.

Lululemon Athletica  +
Photos: How Lululemon Athletica is bringing designers closer to customers
At a new "lab" store in Manhattan's Noho neighborhood, customers come in to peruse merchandise in the front of the store, and when they head to the fitting rooms to try it on, or to a counter to pay for it, they're just a few steps away from the designers who work in the back half of the space. Photos inside...

Macy's  +
Here’s how Macy’s could set itself up for success, not just survival
Macy’s should “go small or go home.” Mark Nitkey, a former executive at Apple, Victoria's Secret, and Ahold, explains how Macy's should approach innovation in the Age of Amazon.

Manulife  +
What Manulife’s senior tech execs want from new LOFT initiative
Executives at Manulife Financial knew they needed to play more offense when it came to exploring and experimenting with new technologies. To speed up the company’s tech metabolism, Manulife last month launched the Lab of Forward Thinking, or LOFT. We've got slides on their strategy, and their first big event...

Marriott  +
Marriott Exec: How we Prototype, Crowdsource, Measure
Marriott executive Brian King talks to Innovation Leader members about rapid prototyping, collecting ideas from employees and customers, and why naivete is crucial to innovation. Includes highlights and audio from our latest Innovation Leader Live call...

Marriott  +
Lessons from Marriott on rapid prototyping and co-creation
We recently sat down with the Global Brand Officer of Marriott International to discuss how innovation works at the $12.8 billion hospitality company. Inside, Brian King takes you into “The Underground,” Marriott’s innovation lab, to see how rapid-prototyping works there, and offers lessons for replicating the process.

MassMutual  +
Inside MassMutual’s radical new learning initiative
Organizing supper clubs and offering classes on how to plan for the zombie apocalypse, a spin-out from $27 billion MassMutual tries to target the future consumer. Here's how it works...

MasterCard  +
MasterCard exec talks Whirlpool collaboration, startup accelerator
Group Head of Innovation Management John Sheldon shares the strategic objectives behind MasterCard's Start Path accelerator program, and explains how his MasterCard Labs group collaborated with Whirlpool to rethink laundry.

MasterCard  +
How MasterCard adapted the Adobe Kickbox innovation kit to its culture
Participating individuals and teams receive an Orange Box containing a $1,000 pre-paid card and tools to help them explore an idea and develop a pitch in 60 days. If the pitch is approved, the team receives a Red Box, which contains $25,000 and 90 days to develop their project further. We talk to Senior VP John Sheldon about how the program works.

MasterCard  +
Photos: Inside MasterCard Labs in New York City
Photos from MasterCard's NYC Tech Hub, opened in October 2014.

MetLife  +
At MetLife, supporting innovation while avoiding the ‘danger zone’
MetLife's Chief Innovation Officer shares his approach to supporting innovation at the 66,000-employee insurance company — and also on how to avoid the "danger zone" of innovation, when all the resources and energy that you're pouring into a new project have yet to deliver tangible results. Includes slides...

Metro Bank  +
Book excerpt: How Britain’s Metro Bank created a ‘lighthouse identity’ in financial services
At branches of England's Metro Bank, signs in the lobby and slogans on the screens of the ATMs feel like rallying cries more than product messages: LOVE YOUR BANK AT LAST! DOGS RULE! KIDS ROCK! NO MORE STUPID BANK RULES! Author Bill Taylor explains.

Microsoft  +
Sustaining, disruptive, blue sky: How Microsoft invests in research
On our recent Field Study visit to Microsoft Research, Peter Lee showed one of those slides that had everyone in the group suddenly reaching for their phones to snap a picture.

Moen  +
Inside Moen’s prototype-driven product development strategy
Moen's SVP of Global Strategic Development describes the customer-focused innovation process behind a new line of motion-sensitive faucets. "With our prototypes," says Mike Pickett, "if we're not activating emotional excitement about the product, we're probably not on the right track, and we'll keep working."

Mondelez  +
Mondelez shares new approach to pilot testing with startups, retailers
Kim Yansen of Mondelez (think Chips Ahoy and Trident gum) talks with Innovation Leader about latest iteration of the $34 billion food company's Shopper Futures program; the risks involved in working with startups; and the ways that consumers’ changing habits are forcing companies to be more nimble and forward-looking.

Mondelez  +
Changing culture: Inside Mondelez’s experiment
Changing culture inside a large company is really, really hard. Mondelez VP Bonin Bough explains how the company's Mobile Futures initiative tackled culture change by connecting managers from nine of the company's brands with nine startups — and shipping them out to spend a week working in the startups' offices.

MTD Products  +
How MTD Products shepherded an impossible product to market
When he took over a new role as Vice President of Business Development in 2012, Roy Keating understood that he was being handed a big mission at Ohio-based MTD Products: to help the privately-held manufacturer accelerate its growth coming out of the recession. "We wanted to do more breakthrough technology, and launch things that were unique to the market — not keep playing a zero-sum, dog-eat-dog game with the competition," Keating says.

NBCUniversal  +
NBCUniversal shares its hit hackathon formula
On the heels of recent hackathons in New York, Orlando, and London, NBCUniversal’s chief technology officer and chief information officer share their advice on topics like how to link hackathons with business unit objectives.

New York Times  +
New York Times disbands R&D Lab, pulls innovation closer to newsroom and advertisers
The lab was founded a decade ago with a mandate to look "beyond the next product cycle, identifying trends and technologies that will emerge in the next three to five years." Michael Zimbalist, who had overseen the lab, had already departed the Times in March to join Simulmedia, an advertising tech startup.

News Corp.  +
Why News Corp. is trying ‘under the radar’ innovation
After launching a high-profile iPad newspaper that didn't succeed, the Manhattan-based publishing company is taking a quieter approach to incubating new products. News Corp. senior vice president of product Nick Bell explains.

NFL  +
Pro tips from the NFL on mobile app development
Working on a tight schedule to develop apps for NFL Media, Jazz Singh, director of product, mobile and connected, says he uses an agile development approach to get everything ready in time for the big game. Here are some of his tips on simplicity, scrums, and setting priorities.

Nordstrom  +
Nordstrom dissects an innovation project that fizzled
Nordstrom deployed a team from its innovation lab to the sunglass department at its flagship store in Seattle. Their goal: "the world's first flash build" of a new iPad app for sunglass salespeople, over the course of a week. They created "user story maps" and paper prototypes. Here's what happened after they were done.

Northrop Grumman  +
Northrop Grumman exec on how innovation, R&D, and business units can ‘increase awesome’
On a recent conference call, Kevin Parsons, the Director of Innovation and Transformation at $23 billion defense and aerospace giant Northrop Grumman joined us to explain how his innovation group is influencing the culture and bringing business units into its process — without antagonizing the R&D folks. Includes 30 minutes of audio....

NRG Energy  +
How NRG Energy’s portable power kiosks made it from concept to the Super Bowl
NRG Go’s automated kiosks rent out fully-charged battery packs at places like nightclubs, concert venues, and shopping malls so that people can recharge their phones and tablets — without hunting for an outlet and plopping down next to it for an hour or so. Senior Manager Stacey Butler discusses how the kiosks went from concept to launch in less than 18 months.

NTT Data  +
How NTT Data has diversified innovation with global workshops
In 2014, Tokyo-based NTT Data held 11 workshops in cities like Phoenix, Toronto, Barcelona, and Beijing. This year, the IT services giant is planning another dozen, with a specific focus on disruptive digital innovations, according to Naureen Meraj, senior global director of digital engagement and social gamification for the company. She shares the inclusive approach they developed, along with several slides.

NYSE Euronext  +
NYSE Euronext’s innovation chief shares his ‘3P Compass’
"How can you anchor and drive innovation in a crashing environment? The answer is you can’t," writes Dieter Eisinger of NYSE Euronext. "What you can do is to establish a framework that helps your company snap back faster than its competition." Eisinger describes the framework he built at NYSE Euronext, focused on purpose, process, and people.

Owens Corning  +
Owens Corning shares slides on metrics, market intelligence
Owens Corning Director of Innovation Anne Bethereau shares several slides on how the company measures return-on-innovation, rewards high-performing teams, and brainstorms about new market opportunities using a new online tool.

Panera Bread  +
How Panera Bread reinvented its customer experience
Blaine Hurst, the Chief Technology and Transformation Officer at Panera Bread, explains how he worked with CEO and founder Ron Shaich to design and test the "Panera 2.0" concept, working out of a single cafe near Boston's Fenway Park.

Pearson  +
How publisher Pearson gets close to education startups
"Education is changing — there's no denying that," says Diana Stepner, VP of Innovation Partnerships at Pearson plc. Here's what the British publishing company is doing to connect with tech startups that may help Pearson develop new products — and new kinds of connections with consumers. Also inside: the list of 10 company challenges that Pearson shared with startups.

Pepsico  +
Designing For Women — Advice From PepsiCo
PepsiCo Director of Global Design Innovation Erica Eden explained some of her principles of “Designing for Women” at the Front End of Innovation conference recently, touching on topics such as where women’s brands go wrong; how men’s brands aren't afraid to create "tribes"; and the steps companies should take to better understand and appeal to their women consumers. Her advice inside...

Pfizer  +
How Pfizer disrupted the traditional innovation conference
A senior R&D leader at pharmaceutical giant Pfizer raved to us last November about the innovation gathering he'd just been to. "It was like TEDMED meets 'The Apprentice,'" he said, which didn't sound anything like the typical innovation conference put on by a major multi-national. We asked Julio Corredor, who organized the event, to tell us how he structured it and what made it work.

Pfizer  +
Learnings and slides from Pfizer’s work to foster a culture of innovation
What happens if lots of divisions in a global company come up with their own approach to innovation? "If you don't have a common vernacular, if you don't have a common culture, if you don't have the same frame of reference," says Pfizer exec Dan Seewald, "then you lose the scalability and the impact of having one program, one mindset, and one social movement." Inside, details on the Pfizer "Dare to Try" innovation initiative, which Seewald oversees.

Philadelphia 76ers  +
At the Philadelphia 76ers new innovation lab, offering hands-on help to startups
The new lab is open to hosting all kinds early-stage consumer product companies and some B2B concepts — not just sports or fitness-related startups. “The sports category, although it's really big, is pretty limiting,” says Managing Director Seth Berger. “The Sixers' network is so broad across so many different industries — to limit ourselves to sports didn't make sense.”

Philips  +
What Philips wants from open innovation and crowdsourcing
Philips North America chairman Greg Sebasky, left, calls it "one of the first attempts by a large company to do open innovation." The company is dangling $100,000 in prize money, plus mentorship from Philips execs, for new product ideas in healthcare. But before the competition launched, Sebasky had to deal his attorneys.

Piaggio  +
Why Italian vehicle-maker Piaggio set up a new lab to design robots
Piaggio, headquartered in Pontedera, Italy, is best-known for the scooters and motorcycles it produces, including Vespa and Moto Guzzi. But the new lab in Boston wouldn't focus on creating vehicles with two or four wheels to travel on roads. "I don't think the evolution of mobility is still four wheels with an engine," Colaninno says. "The car is a 1900s idea."

Pixar  +
Former Pixar SVP on creative conflict and why well-designed offices win
"Creative abrasion is the ability to have difficult conversations," says former Pixar SVP of Technology Greg Brandeau. "It’s like taking sandpaper and polishing something." He shares his thoughts on how to make it work, along with an assessment test.

Procter & Gamble  +
How P&G has evolved its Clay Street innovation studio to have broader impact
Over the past decade, many of the ideas that had seemed novel when Procter & Gamble's Clay Street innovation studio first opened — like its giant Marimekko bean bags, circle conversations, and cell phone bans — have become mainstream and “really commonplace in the rest of P & G,” explains Karen Hershenson. “We want to make sure … that people don't feel they have to be at Clay Street to be innovative, that they can be innovative anywhere. So that’s been our goal as we evolve.” Photos and diagram inside...

Puma  +
Puma exec Louis Joseph: How we keep score on innovation
"If someone on the team is not a little uncomfortable," says Global Director of Innovation and Strategy Louis Joseph, "then it’s probably a little too safe.” Inside, Joseph talks with Innovation Leader about how the $4 billion footwear and apparel company gauges innovation success.

Purina  +
How science and trends drive innovation at pet foods giant Nestlé Purina
"We really take a long and wide view when we look at innovation," says Nina Leigh Krueger, President and CMO. "That includes everything from products to processes to package design." Krueger and VP of Research and Development Dan Smith offered Innovation Leader a look at how the pet food giant created a hit new product, and how human eating and shopping trends impact its business.

PwC  +
How PwC turns “corporate antibodies” into allies: Five tactics to try
Every company has antibodies — they’re the gatekeepers who are actually healthy and necessary guardians of the enterprise. “Companies need these gatekeepers to minimize risk,” says Best, “but we’ve learned the same gatekeepers can actually accelerate innovation if included in the process, or slow innovation if they’re not.” She outlines five tactics that she’s used to engage these corporate antibodies in a productive way.

Qualcomm  +
How chipmaker Qualcomm is building an internal startup-venture capital ecosystem
Plenty of corporate innovation programs struggle to produce tangible impact in areas that really matter to senior leadership. The San Diego-based chipmaker Qualcomm put that challenge front-and-center by dubbing its innovation initiative ImpaQt. In its first 18 months, says head of innovation Navrina Singh, it delivered a new surround-sound application for HTC smartphones and launched a robotics program to rival Intel, its biggest competitor. Singh explains how they've been doing it...

Reebok  +
Reebok VP Paul Litchfield on the inherent risks of innovation
Longtime Reebok executive Paul Litchfield discusses how he and his team work within the organization; the challenges of making innovation happen within a traditional annual planning cycle; experiments with wearable technologies; and why failure is unavoidable for innovation leaders. "Our job is actually to fail," says Litchfield. Includes slides and 30-minute video...

Reebok  +
‘More Speed, More Local, More Custom’: How Reebok is Thinking Outside the Mold
When it came to designing and manufacturing athletic shoes, Bill McInnis, VP at Reebok Future, says the shoe company wanted to get “ a lot more speed, a lot more local, and a lot more custom.” This was the inspiration for initiatives like the "Liquid Factory" and "Cotton + Corn," two new processes the team has come up with for manufacturing shoes. More from McInnis inside about these initiatives and Reebok Future...

Reliance Industries  +
Creating an environment for innovators at India’s $43 billion Reliance Industries
"Some organizations think that putting processes of innovation in place will ensure a culture of innovation," says Sushil Borde, VP of Innovation at Reliance. "But they don't focus on creating the environment or fostering innovative talent, and that's where they fail." We spoke with Borde to learn more about how the company is working to institutionalize innovation, the innovation programs he’s helped to create, and the five tenets that guide innovation at Reliance.

Reliant  +
Lessons from Reliant on setting goals, tracking progress
Director of Innovation Scott Burns takes us inside the annual goal-setting process at Reliant Energy, part of the $8.4 billion electricity giant NRG Energy Inc. According to Burns, setting goals is only half the equation: tracking progress is actually more critical. "Innovation teams often get a reputation for being 'free thinkers' that are in a lab trying to invent things in a vacuum and will bring these products to market eventually," he says. Details inside.

Roche  +
How Roche pursues patient-centric innovation; inside the ‘Imaginarium’
Global Head of Innovation Management Sheila Babnis offers an inside look at how the Swiss pharma giant's innovation function was created and how it operates today, including tight partnerships with business units. "We find that doing innovation within the business, it sticks much better than if it’s done to the business," Babnis says. Includes a downloadable PDF overview of Roche's "Imaginarium" approach to design thinking and prototyping...

Rolls-Royce  +
Powering innovation within Rolls-Royce’s engineering-centric culture
The $20 billion British company employs more than 18,000 engineers, and thinks about new technologies along a twenty-year timespan. Head of Innovation Hardev Ubhi discusses how Rolls-Royce is working to bring new tools and new thinking into an organization that is understandably obsessed with safety, precision, and quality. Includes slides...

Royal Bank of Canada  +
How Royal Bank of Canada moved fast to deploy mobile payments
Staying ahead of a technological shift in your industry can be tough when you’re not a tech leader like Google or Apple. Should you marshal the internal resources necessary to do cutting-edge development on your own, or simply wait for one of the tech giants to make their move, join them as a partner — and risk letting them come between you and your customers? Here's how Linda Mantia tackled that question...

Saint-Gobain  +
Seeking startup partnerships and sustainable technologies at Saint-Gobain
Saint-Gobain, the Paris-based building materials company has thrived for more than 350 years. “There's an element within our DNA and within our R&D organization where we recognize that to be successful for another 350 years, which is our intent, we have to identify those things that are going to disrupt our current businesses,” says Minas Apelian, R&D and external venturing at Saint-Gobain. More insights inside on how the company works with startups and accelerators to innovate effectively.

SAP Ariba  +
After an acquisition: SAP Ariba CEO on how to sustain innovation (and what can go wrong)
Even when acquirers pay billions of dollars for their prize, too often they spend the years after the deal closes driving away some of the top employees and squashing the culture that made the company so appealing in the first place. Alex Atzberger says that without working hard to avoid that, acquisitions can bleed the acquired company of its innovative spirit. We spoke with him earlier this month about what to do — and what to avoid — following an acquisition, as well as his perspective on why innovation needs to happen within mainline business units, as opposed to solely in a lab or innovation center. " You have to set the right goals and be willing to make the right investment," he says.

Sargento  +
How Sargento created a product with $50M in first year revenue
Rod Hogan, VP of New Platform Development at privately-held Sargento Foods, explains how a dialogue with consumers helped the company create a product that produced $50 million in revenue in its first year on store shelves, and recently won a Nielsen Breakthrough Innovation Award.

Schneider Electric  +
Schneider Electric exec: Quick decision-making is key in Silicon Valley
It has been just two years since the French multinational Schneider Electric set up an innovation center in Silicon Valley. But already, the outpost is helping the $30 billion company experiment with new services and business models. We talk to innovation VP Paul Campbell about its structure and one of the first projects...

Shell  +
At Shell’s fast-growing TechWorks lab, it’s ‘all about deploying’
We talk to the director of Shell TechWorks about the lab's projects, its funding, and its mission — finding cheaper, faster, and safer ways to drill for oil and gas, and to take advantage of future energy sources.

Sherwin-Williams  +
How Sherwin-Williams uses open innovation to create breakthrough new products
Victoria Scarborough, the Program Director for Sherwin-Williams’ seven-person Global External Innovation Team, defines her team’s mission as identifying outside “technology that would move the innovation needle.” Inside, she explains how they work and shares several slides...

Siemens  +
How Siemens is finding the best startups and sparking collaborations
When the $86 billion German engineering giant launched the Frontier Partner Program two years ago, it hoped to lower the barriers that kept startups from easily working with Siemens. Through Frontier, startups enter a low-commitment relationship in exchange for free Siemens software and mentorship. While the program is still in its infancy, Siemens seems pleased with the preliminary results of these relationships, and other companies are starting to take notice. Here's how the program operates...

Snap-on Tools  +
How customer interactions guide innovation at toolmaker Snap-on
Chief Innovation Officer Bennett Brenton explains how the company gathers input from its franchisees and end-users to shape new products. Includes slides and audio...

Stanley Black & Decker  +
Why tools giant Stanley formed a joint venture to tackle big data and IoT
Two key execs at Stanley Black and Decker and joint venture View Technologies explain a long-term bet on the growth of big data and the Internet of Things, and a concrete business proposition designed to work in the near-term.

Stanley Black & Decker  +
Two paths to innovation at Stanley Black & Decker
John Cunningham, president of Black & Decker's consumer products group, lays out the objectives of the two innovation initiatives he oversees. Includes slides and video.

Staples  +
Staples exec on building up $22B retailers’ digital muscles
When he joined Staples as its Chief Digital Officer in 2013, Faisal Masud was surprised how much of its technology development the $22 billion office supplies retailer outsourced. Since then, he has embarked on a campaign to build up the company’s digital muscles — both through attracting new talent and by acquiring small startups.

Staples  +
Staples CTO on chatbots, recruiting tech talent, retail shifts, and a smarter Easy Button
The future of retail, in Faisal Masud’s view, doesn’t force the customer to do anything the customer doesn’t want to do. That includes keeping shopping lists, poking around websites, getting into a car, or roaming the aisles of a store. It may even include placing an order, if intelligent software can accurately guess what the customer needs based on past purchasing patterns. Highlights and audio from our conversation...

Starbucks  +
Starbucks VP on working with Howard Schultz to bring idea to life
Howard Schultz, the founder and CEO of Starbucks, had a vision that he’d been developing for a decade. He wanted to create a shrine to coffee in Seattle, the company’s hometown, where visitors could learn about the bean and the beverage, immerse themselves in the Starbucks brand, and watch as it “rained coffee beans.” VP Liz Muller was asked to make the vision real.

Suffolk Construction  +
Why Suffolk’s Chief Innovation Officer is Investing in Virtual Reality
"Active visualization" has been a big emphasis for Suffolk Chief Innovation Officer Chris Mayer — creating new ways to envision projects in their finished state, whether using augmented or virtual reality technology. Mayer explains why the $2.9 billion construction company is betting big.

Taco Bell  +
How Taco Bell accelerated progress on digital and mobile initiatives
When Taco Bell tried to deliver new digital and in-store technologies for its customers and team members, the quick-service restaurant chain felt like it wasn't able to move fast enough. A recently-formed 20-person team focused on Digital Innovation and On Demand is changing that. We talk to leader Lawrence Kim.

Target  +
Inside Target’s Food + Future coLab
The idea behind the creation of the coLAB, as founder Greg Shewmaker explains it, is that “we know less about our food than we ever have at any other time in history. We want to do something about it. I don’t want to go sell more Greek yogurt or healthy products. I want to go do something big, and fix some big problems.” Photo gallery inside...

Tata Communications  +
Why India’s Tata Communications sends employees to Silicon Valley for ‘immersion week’
"We want to show people that there are different ways of growing a business, defining customer problems, and becoming more customer-centric," says Alex Pelletier, Head of Innovation at $3 billion Tata Communications, part of India's Tata Group. "In the old telco world, that is historically not so true." Pelletier explains how his company's Shape the Future program works, and shares slides...

Telefónica  +
How Telefónica is using lean startup — without risking reputation or reliability
The Spanish telecom company, with 123,000 employees around the world, has been embracing the lean startup practices made famous by author and entrepreneur Eric Ries — quickly building prototypes of new ideas developed in conjunction with customers, iterating fast to refine those prototypes, and speedily killing projects that don’t pan out. Here's how they make it work in an organization obsessed with reliability...

Textron  +
10 innovation insights from Textron’s Scorpion jet program
Textron set an audacious goal: Get a new military plane from concept to the runway in less than two years, to fill what the company saw as a major market gap. Execs Bill Anderson and Dale Tutt, who led the Scorpion project, shared what they learned on the journey from blueprint to the blue yonder.

Thales Group  +
How Thales Group is chasing growth with new xPlor initiative
Pete Roney, VP of Innovation at Thales USA, the American arm of the $17 billion French aerospace and defense giant Thales Group, says that the rationale for launching a new innovation effort was pretty clear: The company just wasn't thinking creatively enough to keep up with its peer group.

The Sierra Club  +
How the Sierra Club is broadening its digital reach
In his first five years at the Sierra Club, Chris Thomas has advocated for building new digital platforms and introduced a start-up-like culture of testing and experimentation.

Thomson Reuters  +
Co-creation: Vodafone, Thomson Reuters share lessons learned
How can two companies productively innovate together to address an opportunity that matters to them both? Shannon Lucas of Vodafone Global Enterprise and Saidah Nash Carter of Thomson Reuters share a document that addresses that question.

Thomson Reuters  +
Thomson Reuters innovation VP on limits of idea management
The head of the Data Innovation Lab at media giant Thomson Reuters argues that if you want to generate significant revenues from innovation, just installing idea management software won't get you there. Here's what she's doing instead...

Thomson Reuters  +
How the Catalyst Fund for new ideas works at Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters has come to the realization that building proof-of-concepts and prototypes can require significant funding. The $13 billion media and information company created an internal seed fund called the Catalyst Fund in January 2014, overseen by CEO Jim Smith and Katherine Manuel, the Senior Vice President for Innovation. It provides up to $350,000 in funding to build and test prototypes. Here's how it works...

ThyssenKrupp  +
How industrial giant ThyssenKrupp is remaking R&D for the era of the smart city
"The customer is one of the biggest innovation opportunities there is," says Patrick Bass, CEO of the North American business for ThyssenKrupp. Bass' vision of the future of R&D includes not just customers, but academic collaborations, gathering data from Internet-connected products, and innovating differently in different parts of the world.

Toyota  +
Why Toyota set up new $1 billion research group as a ‘skunkworks’
The new institute has four initial mandates, including helping the carmaker explore possible products opportunities in "indoor mobility" and robotic assistants for the elderly. CEO Gill Pratt explains the structure...

Transamerica  +
Transamerica’s Aaron Proietti on what’s working — and what didn’t
On our latest Innovation Leader Live call, we spoke with Aaron Proietti of Transamerica about the evolution of the insurance company's innovation program — including approaches that have worked, and those that haven't.

Transamerica  +
Innovation matures at Transamerica from skunkworks to true partner
Chief Innovation Officer Aaron Proietti explains how his group's mission has evolved, shifting from an isolated "skunkworks" responsible for developing its own projects to more of a consultancy to the business units. Here's why that happened...

Trek Bicycle  +
Trek exec on trends, social media, and why a skunkworks didn’t work
Of a skunkworks R&D group set up separate from headquarters, Trek exec Chad Manuell says, "There was a gap in buy-in between when they developed a technology, and when one of the business units [said], "Hey, that technology is cool. Let's put it on our product." Listen to our half-hour conversation with Manuell or read the highlights...

Trek Bicycle  +
How Trek Bicycle Corp. built its innovation scorecard
Trek exec Chad Manuell says the bike company's leadership wasn't happy with any of the innovation metrics or scorecards they'd seen. "Most placed too much focus on past performance, were too complex to maintain, or painted too fuzzy of a picture," he says. So Trek created its own. Manuell explains how it works.

U.S. Bank  +
How U.S. Bank is pushing the edge on voice biometrics
The bank’s mobile app already allowed customers to use spoken commands to check their balance, available interest rates, and make payments. Could it allow them to speak a phrase that would replace their password, too?

U.S. Bank  +
Dominic Venturo: Making innovation pay at U.S. Bank
Being a bank is no longer just about branches and vaults full of cash, says Dominic Venturo, chief innovation officer of the $4.75 billion payment services business at U.S. Bank. Venturo explains how his 13-person innovation team interacts with the lines of business to make sure the organization stays ahead of trends like mobile payments, telepresence, and biometric security.

Unilever  +
‘Pitch, Pilot, Partner’: How the Unilever Foundry works with startups
Consumer packaged goods giant Unilever has launched more than 90 pilots with 90 different startups, and subsequently decided to scale about half of those. Jeremy Basset of Unilever Foundry explains how and why they're doing it...

United Airlines  +
United exec shares idea scoring system, innovation challenges
Jason Flores of United Airlines shares his RAMP scoring system for employee ideas, and talks about some of the challenges of leveraging technology to make significant changes inside an established organization.

United Health  +
Why UnitedHealth and the Mayo Clinic created Optum Labs
Optum Labs founding CEO Paul Bleicher explains why a new "open innovation center for the healthcare and life sciences industry" was created, the key to getting everyone to play nicely together, and how they'll measure success. Includes slides.

UnitedHealth Group  +
Learning to love Innovation Day at UnitedHealth Group
Ryan Armbruster, VP of Innovation Competency at UnitedHealth Group, shares an outline of how the company structures its annual Innovation Day event — and discusses his initial skepticism about it. "To me, innovation is about deep skills and competencies, not something you just celebrate on a single day," Armbruster says.

Universal Orlando  +
‘Vapor to paper to brick’: Universal Orlando exec on deploying tech to theme parks
Talking about ideas is great — but it's just vapor. Universal Orlando exec Al Callier explains how his team takes ideas from "vapor to paper to brick," and what new technology they're exploring now.

USAA  +
How USAA moved fast to launch drone program
Last month, innovators at USAA were among the first in their industry to get federal approval to test unmanned aircraft. Their objective? Speeding up the claims process for USAA members after a natural disaster strikes.

VF Corporation  +
Creating Iconic Advantage: Soon Yu Talks Innovation at VF Corp, Changes in Retail
Creating an iconic brand — like Apple, BMW, or Nike — requires more than great design and technological breakthroughs. According to Soon Yu, the former Global VP of Innovation at VF Corporation, when something is iconic, it has three simple qualities: Distinction, relevance, and universal recognition. More from Yu in this live call replay, with audio and transcript inside...

Viacom  +
How Viacom is using lean startup and agile development to keep viewers engaged
Kimberly Hicks, Viacom’s vice president for user platform product management, says that in an arena where people’s media consumption behaviors and the devices they use are changing so quickly, the lean startup approach is extremely helpful. “We can’t just get a requirement, walk away and come back in six months, because the world’s changed,” she says.

Visa  +
Visa explores future of buying without plastic at innovation center
When most people talk about connected products or the “Internet of Things,” they mean a new generation of devices that can communicate with one another wirelessly. But what if devices could buy stuff, rather than just conveying status or the need for maintenance? Here's what Visa is experimenting with ...

Visa  +
Why Visa set up new innovation lab focused on digital payments
As more consumers look to pay for things without whipping out a credit card or carrying cash, Visa exec Bill Gajda explains the $12.6 billion company's thinking behind a new 500-person innovation center in San Francisco.

VMware  +
How VMware funds innovation like a venture capitalist
At the cloud and virtualization giant, more than 60 ideas have been presented over the last year-and-a-half, in areas like R&D, customer service, and field sales. A handful have gotten seed funding so far, and one recently moved on to second-stage funding. Employees who participate get a stake in their venture — and also must accept some risk.

Vodafone  +
How Vodafone unites VC, new products, and marketing
Fay Arjomandi talks about the "xone" initiative to help Vodafone, the world's second-biggest telecom company, identify and work with startups that can improve its network and customer experience. "When we invest in any company," Arjomandi says, "we're not like a financially-driven VC. They want a 10x or 20x return. For us, the most important thing is that we see that customers are using [the product], or it enhances our network." Slides and video inside...

Vodafone  +
How Vodafone built a network of innovation champions
Shannon Lucas explains how a small innovation team inside the telecom giant Vodafone has cultivated a global network of 40 innovation champions. Lucas shares details on how the champions are recruited, what they focus on, how they collaborate, and what they are measured on.

Vodafone  +
Deep dive: How the innovation champions program works at telecom giant Vodafone
Vodafone's Jerry Spann and Ashoka's Sarah Jefferson lay out the key design principles for Vodafone's global innovation champions program, as well as the benefits of the approach for the company, its customers, and its employees. Today, a network that started out with just eight champions has grown to over 70 champions and "Innovation Agents."

W.L. Gore  +
How W.L. Gore is training employees to explore new business opportunities
Head of Innovation Greg Hannon says you need to be realistic about the friction that often exists in organizations between innovation-oriented groups and the majority of more operationally-focused departments. A new lean startup skills program at Gore addresses the friction, while training employees to explore new market opportunities.

Walmart  +
How retail giant Walmart remade its global network of e-commerce labs
The Arkansas-based retailer, the world's biggest company by revenue, restructured its tech development team in Silicon Valley in 2011. We talk to @WalmartLabs chief Jeremy King about some big ideas that have come out of the regular “hack days” that he runs; some projects that haven’t panned out; the vision that guides his group; and more.

WD-40  +
What happened to ‘Team Tomorrow’ at WD-40
Our latest Innovation Leader Live call featured Graham Milner of WD-40 talking about how the publicly-traded San Diego company with the iconic blue-and-yellow cans has grown beyond a single product. In particular, Milner discussed the life and death of "Team Tomorrow," which was formed by the CEO in 2002 to explore new opportunities.

Weight Watchers  +
How Weight Watchers is innovating in a relationship-based business
Global Vice President of Innovation Dondeena Bradley talks about driving multiple new initiatives aimed at transforming Weight Watchers into a holistic, community-driven company.

Wells Fargo  +
Why Wells Fargo says diversity of thought is essential to innovation
Without the rights kinds of people on a project team, says Mike Duke, the Chief Innovation Architect at Wells Fargo, progress can stall. "Diversity of thought is critical," Duke says. "If you have the same minds in the room, you’ll get the same ideas.” He offers an overview of innovation initiatives at the $21 billion financial services company.

Wells Fargo  +
‘Learn fast’: At Wells Fargo, using prototypes to go beyond just talking about products
"Rapid prototyping makes something physical and tangible, so everyone can align their understanding of what it is, versus just talking about it," says Wells Fargo SVP Robin Beers. Inside, she shares how the company uses the approach, along with a slide highlighting some guiding principles...

Whirlpool  +
Monitoring internal innovation: Whirlpool’s dashboard of ideas
How does the appliance and home products maker keep track of new product ideas bubbling up in the organization— and their market potential? Global director of innovation Moisés Norena shares the dashboard executives use in their meetings, and explains how it works.

Xerox  +
Xerox CTO on connecting research to customer pain points
Corporate research groups can get obsessed with "solving a problem in a perfect way," says Xerox exec Sophie Vandebroek. She's trying to get the company better-connected to emerging customer needs, and focused on solving the problems customers want solved, fast. Includes 30 minutes of audio.

Xerox  +
Inside Xerox’s ‘Dreaming Sessions’ with customers
The document and services giant felt that R&D needed to be better-connected to customer needs. The result was the "Dreaming Session," which brings researchers together with Xerox's customers to think about high-potential applications for new technologies. Includes slides and audio from Sophie Vandebroek, president of the Xerox Innovation Group.