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.

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.

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.

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…

Getting Connected Products Right

In Q3 2016, we surveyed companies active in, interested in, or developing connected products, in collaboration with the design and innovation consulting firm Altitude. Here’s the downloadable PDF report summarizing what we found.

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…

How the Capital One Garage is incubating new products and ‘re-imagining the relationship with money’

“We incubate and accelerate great products,” says Gagan Kanjlia, co-founder of Capital One Garage, the incubator at the $24 billion financial services giant. “But also we’re driving this broader business transformation, which is essential for larger companies like Capital One.”

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.

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.

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.

Joe Pine: Products and services are being commoditized. Here’s how you create experiences.

“If you look at convenience, convenience means spending less time with a customer,” Pine said on a recent conference call with Innovation Leader members. “What I’m talking about is spending more time with a customer, where customers actually value the time they spend with you. Instead of time well-saved — a commoditized service — they view it as time well-spent. We spoke with Pine about how social media and virtual reality are changing the nature of experiences; Uber, Hilton, and Capital One; and more. 30 minutes of audio inside…

10 startups aiming to change shopping online and off, from retail accelerator XRC Labs

The startups that pitched at last week’s Demo Day ranged from instant interior design services to pop-up boutiques to a smart mirror that could change your morning routine.

Webcast: Emerging business models for connected products and IoT

Ben Einstein, managing partner of the investment firm Bolt, joined Innovation Leader editor Scott Kirsner on a recent webcast to discuss ten of the emerging business models for connected products and the “Internet of Things,” as well as how to avoid commoditization.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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…

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…

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…

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.

‘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.

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…

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 …

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.

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.

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?

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.

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…

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…

Florida Hospital innovation exec on ‘Internet of Things’ learnings

Florida Hospital has been deploying “Internet of Things” technologies — including RFID locator tags attached to equipment and worn by employees — since 2010. Innovation Leader editor Scott Kirsner spoke recently with Ashley Simmons, Director of Innovation Development, about what they’ve learned so far, in a session held at the Internet of Things Summit in Boston.

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.

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.

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.

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)…

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.

Harvard’s Chief Digital Officer on being relevant in the digital world

Perry Hewitt joined Harvard University in 2009 as the institution’s first Chief Digital Officer. The mission, as she describes it, was to help the university “be relevant and relatable in the digital world.” Though Facebook had been founded in a Harvard dorm room five years prior, for example, the school didn’t yet have an official Facebook page when Hewitt took the position. Here’s her advice for others in similar situations…

Government exec on quick hits and innovating procurement

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ first Government Innovation Officer talks about the importance of quick hits; implementing a crowdsourcing initiative; and sponsoring competitions to diversify the pool of new vendors available to state government. Includes video and an annual report…

Five lessons from the app-driven economy

As startups deliver services like transportation, home cleaning, and errand-running with the click of an app, here’s how the playing field is changing.

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.

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.

What are Fidelity, Schlumberger, and others building for Glass?

Companies are experimenting with Glass apps for airline check-in personnel, oilfield workers, and assembly line workers. The hoped-for benefits are better service and more productivity — as well as a connection with early adopter tech consumers.

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…

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.

Why corporate innovation execs should know Placemeter

Innovation Leader regularly keeps innovation executives apprised of startups that merit attention, and we’ve found another one in Placemeter. Inside, we describe why this disruptive Manhattan-based startup (or one like it) may have an impact on global retailers and other large corporations.

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.

Learnings from an IT innovation program that didn’t last

IT executive Fabio Almeida shares his experiences in trying to get an innovation program off the ground at Infineum USA, a New Jersey-based maker of petroleum additives. “Don’t expect people to embrace innovation just because they are interested in the topic, or it is the new buzzword in the organization,” he writes.