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…

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…

Harvard Business School Prof Karim Lakhani on Overcoming Resistance to Crowdsourcing

On a recent Innovation Leader Live call, Karim Lakhani discussed some of the cultural reasons people resist seeking solutions from the crowd; ways that crowdsourcing competitions can fail; whether to run competitions on your own or work with an existing crowdsourcing platform; and appropriate incentives. Here’s the complete audio along with an edited transcript…

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.

InsurTech: Execs from AIG and John Hancock talk startups, sensors, more

How can insurance companies innovate effectively — in the face of strict regulatory oversight, customer concerns about privacy, and decades of ingrained thinking about “the way things are done”? Execs from AIG and John Hancock discussed those issues at a recent event. Includes profiles of startups working in the insurance sector.

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…

Role reversal: MIT professor Eric von Hippel looks at the rise of consumers as innovators

Eric von Hippel, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an economist who has studied open innovation since the 1980s, explores the phenomenon of consumers as innovators in his new book, “Free Innovation.” In a recent conversation in his office overlooking the Charles River in Cambridge, von Hippel pointed out that there are far more consumers innovating today than there are R&D engineers working for companies.

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.

Webcast replay: What top corporate innovators are doing in 2016

Innovation Leader editor and co-founder Scott Kirsner shares seven examples of how companies like Toyota, Disney, GE, and Amazon are working to innovate better, faster, cheaper — and more collaboratively. The webcast also explores some of the factors that lead to premature death for innovation initiatives.

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.

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.

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…

The secret of corporate innovation is …

Here are seven things we see having a big impact inside large organizations, and seven things that set you up for failure.

‘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…

Excerpt: How attitudes about open innovation have changed at AstraZeneca

Turning colleagues from open innovation skeptics to advocates isn’t easy, but Scott Wilkins told us it has steadily begun to happen over five years of hard work at AstraZeneca, the $25 billion British pharmaceutical firm. Includes short audio excerpt from a recent IL Live call…

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…

Early data: Innovation budgets, CEO support, metrics, and risk tolerance

In February, we posted a survey designed to serve as a quick assessment of the maturity of corporate innovation programs — and how well they are being accepted by the culture. We’re sharing some early results from it — on topics like training, CEO support, co-creation, and business unit relationships.

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…

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.

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…

What no one says about politics and culture — and how they impact innovation

“I’ve learned that culture and politics both will have big impacts on the course your innovation program follows. But most people don’t talk about them,” writes Sreten Gajic, a former new ventures executive at Assurant and Coca-Cola. Here’s his advice on how you can build structures that can get innovation to happen in any company.

Innovation Labs Report: What’s Inside

What exactly is an innovation lab? Ask ten companies, and you’ll get ten different answers. For our 53-page report on innovation labs, we talked to more than 20 executives at companies like Walmart, Home Depot, IKEA, Fidelity Investments, Royal Dutch Shell, MasterCard, Target, and others.

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.

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.

Corporate innovation assessment

Developed by Innovation Leader’s Editorial team, with input from corporate innovation executives, this assessment will help you evaluate the current maturity of your organization’s innovation strategy.

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…

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.

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…

Six innovation agenda items for 2016

How are you going to make change and deliver results in 2016? Whether you work in an innovation group, new product development, strategy, or R&D, we believe that these issues deserve a place on your agenda for the year ahead.

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 »)

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.

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.

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.

Lightweight engagement: A simpler approach to connecting with the world outside your walls

What’s lightweight? Things that can generate results within six months, with a minimum of funding, internal debate, and approvals. Lightweight is a kayak you can assemble yourself; heavyweight is a cruise liner. Here are some suggested approaches.

Q&A: A guidebook to successful hackathons

“I see you’ve written a lot about hackathons, and have some great case studies from companies on how they run theirs. But I wonder if you have a kind of ‘guidebook’ or ‘top 10’ list of things to do to (a) get started; and (b) succeed.”

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…

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…

Q&A: Expanding crowdsourcing without getting overwhelmed

We currently hold an annual crowdsourcing event for the technical services division of our company. This year, we want to expand the event outside of tech services, but I’m not sure how people could watch even more ideas to vote on them.  How have others addressed this challenge?

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.

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.

Innovate like a venture capitalist: What corporate leaders can learn

Venture capitalists are the world’s experts at creating growth businesses: think Netflix, Facebook, or Dropbox. Their methods hold a trove of lessons for how corporate managers can create an environment that fosters new sources of growth. Includes slides…

Why don’t more companies run open challenges to solve problems?

Amazon.com is only the latest company to expose a problem it is grappling with and ask for outside help. Its Picking Challenge, wrapping up this month, invites participants to design robots and accompanying control software that can grab products from a shelf and place them into a box. Companies like Netflix, Philips, and GE have run similar challenges in recent years. But why aren’t we seeing many other Fortune 500 companies follow suit?

Frugal innovation: Six principles and a case study from the new book

The authors of the new book “Frugal Innovation: share with Innovation Leader their six principles of frugal innovation, and an example from the book about how Kingfisher plc, the largest home improvement retailer in Europe, is working to move the needle on one of those principles.

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.

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.

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…

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…

Hospital innovation exec talks disruption, events, engagement

Audio and notes from our recent call with Lesley Solomon, who has overseen the launch of the Innovation Hub at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. Brigham & Women’s has 1300 researchers and 1700 clinicians, along with about $650 million in annual funding. Solomon talked with IL members about running hackathons; her steering committee; and how she gets busy doctors, nurses, and researchers engaged with innovation initiatives, among other things…

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.

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.

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.

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…

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.

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…

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.”

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.

What we learned running our hospital’s first hackathon

Innovation exec Lesley Solomon explains how Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston set up its first hackathon, what the event achieved for the organization, and what they will do differently next time around.

Working with Startups: The Innovation Leader report

Innovation Leader’s Q1 “Peer to Peer” report explores the ways that leading companies are tracking, investing in, and partnering with entrepreneurs and disruptive startups in their industries. The report includes examples and case studies from Time Warner, Constant Contact, GE Appliances, Google Ventures, and Qualcomm, among others.

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.

What you can learn from GE on connecting with entrepreneurs

GE hunts for breakthrough ideas by engaging with startups and academic researchers in new ways. Says exec Venkat Venkatakrishnan, “Our challenge has become, how can I find a technology that I will be the first to apply, not, what do I invent tomorrow?” Here’s a look at how Vankatakrishnan’s group held a first-of-its-kind event last fall.