Why KeyBank is Investing in Digital Innovation, Acquiring Startups — and Betting on the Future of the Branch
KeyBank is one of the biggest in the US, with more than 1,100 branches, $137 billion in assets, and about 18,500 employees. And while it is steadily investing in its digital relationship with customers — in June it acquired Bolstr, a startup focused on small business lending — it remains committed to the old school, face-to-face interaction that takes place in a branch. Senior executive Dennis Devine explains…
How much urgency is there around innovation at your company? The answer to this question can influence how much resistance you’ll face as an internal change-maker, or the resources you can access. Check the answers that best describe your organization, and then get an instant assessment of where you stand.
Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was hardly an ancient institution when Greg Harris took over as CEO in 2013. The building opened in 1995, and the nonprofit foundation behind it was formed in 1983. But upon taking the reins, Harris felt it was time to rethink the way that visitors experienced the Rock Hall itself. That meant reassessing everything from the menu in the café to the policies governing photography to the amount of live music performances that take place in and around the building. We spoke with Harris about what innovation means to his organization, a nonprofit that employs about 140 people, as well as how he measures its impact.
Startup studios are gaining traction as a tool to help corporate business leaders fill in the blanks of a certain project. But will this strategy help innovators overcome enterprise challenges? Former Nike and Intel exec Rick Waldron makes the case…
We asked the Innovation Leader community if they had centralized or harmonized innovation approaches, such as agile or lean, into one umbrella department. Learn more about their approaches.
In a recent New York City Underground Roundtable with PA Consulting Group, participants discussed the biggest challenges of leading a customer-centric company during the customer-led revolution.
These are the 14 of the common things we at Innovation Leader see companies doing, thinking, and saying that lead to decline and eventual irrelevance.
Southwest is the country’s biggest airline, with 55,000 employees serving 115 million passengers annually. We spoke with President Tom Nealon about how the airline is working to address customer and employee pain points.
Innovation Leader regularly fields questions about corporate innovation and poses them to our community of strategy, technology, and R&D leaders. Here’s a collection of questions we’ve answered recently.
In a recent conference call, Innovation Leader Editor and Co-Founder Scott Kirsner spoke with open innovation guru Henry Chesbrough about how open innovation is being practiced at companies like Intel, Eli Lilly, Bayer, and United HealthCare; budgets and business unit ties; and some of the common barriers to making open innovation part of the way people work every day, rather than a one-off event.
Pfizer Worldwide Innovation Group executive Dan Seewald asks about the word disruption: “The term disruption is being used pervasively by corporate innovators and large companies. Has the term lost its intended meaning?” Clay Christensen of Harvard Business School answers, in a short audio excerpt from our recent interview.
Office Hours, Part II: Clay Christensen on Healthcare Innovation Challenges and Organizing R&D Teams
Part two of a three-part web series covering our interview with Harvard Business School professor Clay Christensen, who published his influential book “The Innovator’s Dilemma” two decades ago. Christensen answers questions posed by IL members.
In the first part of our three-part web series, we asked member-submitted questions to Clay Christensen, author of “The Innovator’s Dilemma” and Harvard Business School professor.
We sat down with the author and former Apple exec Nilofer Merchant to talk about why corporate cultures can be so hostile to ideas that are a bit off-kilter — or come from people who don’t act like or look like authoritative experts in their field. The conversation began by talking about how large companies can be nimble and open to employee ideas if everyone is told they have to fit in and act like everyone else. Highlights of our interview inside, plus video…
How can sophisticated organizations can be so committed to innovation — but still get stuck? Mike Maddock of the innovation consulting firm Maddock Douglas, an IL partner, offers strategies to get “unstuck.” One-hour webcast replay with slides and video.
How the United States Marine Corps is Accelerating Tech Acquisition and Embracing the Maker Movement
The United States Marine Corps works under an incredible imperative to continuously innovate for the purpose of securing our nation. However, it is also faced with the challenges of being a 242-year-old organization of over 300,000 “employees.” As part of our IL Live series of conference calls, Capt. Christopher Wood discussed some of the key inflection points in the Marine Corps’ history of innovation, and how the Corps is looking to foster the spirit of innovation today.
“The postal service for years was a very operational culture,” says Gary Reblin, its VP of New Products and Innovation “We acted almost as a monopoly business for decades. We’ve got to change with the times.” Inside, Reblin offers a look at several recent initiatives to tie paper mail to the digital world.
“Our job is not to prevent mistakes and errors,” says Pixar President and Founder Ed Catmull. “It is to respond when things go wrong…” More of Catmull’s thoughts on the role failure plays in business and life inside…
Matt Griffin of the Boston Celtics recaps some of the key points from his session at Innovation Leader’s 2017 Teach-In, “How the Boston Celtics Leverage Technology and Data Analytics to Predict Demand, Set Dynamic Pricing, and Maximize Revenue.” Video inside…
Wendy Mayer, VP of Strategy at Pfizer, explains the need to separate incremental innovation work from transformational efforts; why its important to have “a framework and a process to guide you”; and how you demonstrate value and get senior leadership buy-in. Short video inside…
Video: Andres Ricaurte of American Express on Partnerships, Innovation, and the Customer-First Mindset
“Innovation in a vacuum is useless,” says Andres Ricuarte, Head of American Express’ B2B Platform and API. “You need partners, but more importantly, in conjunction with your partners, you need customers.” More advice from Ricuarte inside…
How do large companies scout the trends and technologies that will be most relevant to their future success? And even more importantly, how do they introduce those concepts to their colleagues throughout the organization, and get initial experiments and pilot tests going? Our latest in-depth research report collects advice from innovation, R&D, corporate development, and strategy executives.
From Ford to Walmart, GE to Amazon, here’s our run-down of the 10 most interesting corporate innovation happenings of 2017.
Last week, we asked the Innovation Leader community about how they approach benchmarking. Here are their answers/advice/insights…
How should you be thinking about the impact of disruption in your industry? How do you create a sense of urgency and the “need for speed” in a large organization? Can you really get your CEO to support innovation? These are just a few of the questions we set out to answer during a conversation at the Teach-In with the CEOs of Bose, TripAdvisor, and Eastern Bank. Here are four video excerpts of the discussion…
“The typical three-year corporate innovation cycle thus has become all too common,” writes former Nike and Intel innovation executive Rick Waldron. “A giddy first year, filled with excitement and enthusiasm…a challenging second year…and a disappointing (and final) third year in which the pipeline has not generated profitable, new billion-dollar businesses.” Waldron shares his advice on escaping that fate.
Last week, we asked the Innovation Leader community about how they budgeted for the launch of their innovation programs. Here are their answers/advice/insights…
In this latest downloadable resource, we share the eleven most common barriers to innovation. We present a list of the symptoms that accompany each barrier; questions that can be posed to help your colleagues and senior management better understand the barrier; as well as some solutions which may help you prevail.
How do you put a strategic innovation strategy in place if you’ve got a shoestring budget, and you’re surrounded by innovation skeptics? Everbridge emerging technology leader Zeeshan Sheikh offers a blueprint based on the lean startup approach.
“Not a single one of your employees is going to sign on to be an intrapraneur if career failure inevitably follows idea failure,” writes Renee Dye, the former Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at Navigant Consulting. Dye shares five keys to success, useful for new and more established innovation leaders.
Former Darden Restaurants and Starbucks exec Rachel Antalek says that getting started was the hardest part of responding to the ambiguous instruction to “set up a disruptive innovation team.” She shares the advice she wishes she’d gotten at the outset…
To supplement our recent Q2 research report on innovation governance, Innovation Leader editor Scott Kirsner presented some of the high-level findings and advice in an hour-long webcast, joined by executives from the healthcare, insurance, and media industries.
Two slides lay out the way David Crean of Anthem’s Innovation Studio views the different innovation options, or “flavors of innovation,” that a company might pursue. Each one has different levels of risk, different funding requirements, and different potential outcomes.
Pano Anthos of the retail accelerator XRC Labs discusses five roles that the store can play in the future — and the importance of trends like on-demand manufacturing, augmented reality, and text messaging.
Imran Sayeed, Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management, discusses the 3D Model of Innovation that he finds is most effective for innovation programs. Sayeed explains how this model is different from the way many companies approach innovation, how to measure innovation, and how to scale innovation efforts globally.
Innovating inside an established organization can feel like navigating a maze. What can slow you down – or help you move forward fast? Here is a maturity model showing choices, activities, and risks to consider, based on Innovation Leader research and interviews with executives at Global 1000 companies.
Go where the love is… get others running experiments…and make sure you know how to pull a rabbit out of a hat. (But don’t do it over and over.) Tips and insights that senior innovation execs shared at a recent gathering in Boston.
How often is innovation the highest-priority issue at your company? Rita McGrath, a professor at Columbia Business School, says it ought to happen at every meeting. In a conversation with Innovation Leader, McGrath discussed how to measure innovation; the concepts of technical and organizational debt; and why responding to changes in your business has to become “the way that we do things,” rather than being seen as a headache or temporary hassle.
“I think retail is going through a really interesting time right now,” Lindsay Angelo said in a recent conversation. “Certainly as a more established brand, there are a lot of headwinds out there. But think about how you can take advantage of that turbulence internally.” Angelo shares her take, and several slides…
Do executives at your company like to say the word “innovation” a lot — but hate to actually commit budget to it?
We asked a group of anonymous Innovation Leader members to help us assemble a list of of some of the indicators that your company is under-investing in innovation.
Recording of our May 2017 webcast, featuring Scott Kirsner and Aaron Proietti explaining how to use six of our new downloadable resources, and answering questions. Resources include progress report templates, PDF roadmaps, and RASCI matrices.
Many organizations don’t yet have a formal innovation strategy or program. In fact, many are set up in such a way that innovation is discouraged, even if unintentionally. The most senior decision-makers are commonly rewarded for operational efficiency and delivering short-term results. Here’s an editable PowerPoint presentation, created by a former SVP of innovation from the insurance industry, that you can use to make the case for starting — or investing more — in an innovation effort.
Here’s a “straw man” report you can adapt, developed by a former senior innovation exec at Transamerica. It’s designed to provide holistic, near-continuous feedback to stakeholders, ensuring that you maintain their support, and that the best innovation investment decisions are being made to execute the strategy. Downloadable Word doc inside…
In any organization, there are plenty of stakeholders involved with innovation, and plenty of dynamics that can prevent them from attaining alignment. We wanted to explore those forces — and create a guide to dealing with them thoughtfully. So we partnered with XPLANE, the renowned “visual thinking” firm, to create a map of the corporate innovation ecosystem, along with discussion questions to get you working toward better alignment and more impact. You can download it here…
A RASCI matrix is a tool that can be used to build consistent support for innovation, while mitigating against common failure modes like role ambiguity, when people aren’t sure what exactly they’re supposed to do or want to weigh in more than you’d like. Here’s our downloadable Excel version…
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…
“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.
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…
Getting consensus to launch a new innovation initiative can require tremendous time and energy. We put together this roadmap to help you think through some of the elements you’ll need to put in place to ensure that projects make it to the finish line, and that you can build your team, momentum, and reputation for delivering results over time.
Innovation Leader editor Scott Kirsner discusses what we’re seeing corporate innovation teams focusing on for 2017, including governance; more focused approaches to working with startups; adjusting the focus of innovation labs; some of the factors that lead to the sudden death of innovation initiatives; and the benefits of building networks of champions or catalysts. Kirsner also discusses metrics.
We talk to MIT instructor Luis Perez-Breva, author of the new book “Innovating: A Doer’s Manifesto,” about hunches, testing ideas, collecting feedback, and getting ready to scale. “I don’t like the buzzword ‘experimentation,’” Perez-Breva says. “The way it has been used the last 10 years, it leads people to think that you’re doing a random experiment here and there to try things out.”
Our exclusive report on building productive relationships between innovation groups and the business units includes insights and advice from AIG, Ralph Lauren, W.L. Gore, Reliant Energy, BASF, Northrop Grumman, CVS and others.
We’ve collected into this 40-slide presentation some of the best advice we’ve gathered on getting an initiative started, including some of the choices that you’ll face; some of our survey data about average maturity or sophistication of innovation efforts at large companies; guidance on what to measure; powerful CEO quotes on the value of innovation; and examples of companies doing it right.
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….
To arm you with information, we compiled this list, with input from current and former innovation executives, as well as consultants who have watched programs coalesce and (occasionally) disband. Everyone with whom we spoke agreed that the first two reasons are the most commonly-seen “causes of death” for innovation programs.
We fielded a compensation survey that analyzed the base pay and bonuses of nearly 250 executives responsible for innovation at large corporations. This report details our findings, with highlights on how pay relates to titles, position, reporting structure, and more.
Stephen Wunker, protégé of Clayton Christensen and author of the new book “Jobs to be Done: A Roadmap for Customer-Centered Innovation,” aims to provide a solid framework and process for companies to innovate with the customer in mind. But how can this framework be implemented within established organizations, how is it different from the methods before it, and what can go wrong in the process? Wunker explains his “jobs framework” and gives us some insight into his newly-released book.
At our sold out Teach-In gathering last month in Boston, we asked participants to share some of their favorite books on innovation. Here are a few of their recommendations, from “Creativity, Inc.” to “The Second Machine Age.”
At our sold out Teach-In gathering last month, we asked participants to pair up and share with each other a piece of advice about doing new things in established companies. The catch: it had to be succinct enough to fit onto a Post-It.
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…
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.
Posting some audio recorded recently at the Innovation by Design Summit in St. Louis. Innovation Leader editor Scott Kirsner sat down for a wide-ranging on-stage interview with Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple and a Silicon Valley legend.
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.
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.
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.
The farming mindset is about planting and taking care of the crops, doing basically the same thing this season as you did last season, and hoping the weather works in your favor. Hunters, on the other hand, are all about heading into new territory, discovering new things, and adapting to the environment there. Author and Trend Hunter founder Jeremy Gutsche explains…
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.
“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…
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.”
You may want to embrace an innovation strategy that seeks to eliminate the things that aggravate employees or customers, which can pay off in a shorter timeframe, with very little risk.
Here are seven things we see having a big impact inside large organizations, and seven things that set you up for failure.
“Two common axioms are ridiculous. Stay away from them,” writes Michael Perman, who has held innovation roles at Gap Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co. “Innovation is everyone’s job. NOT. That’s no more true than distribution being everyone’s job. Yes, everyone needs to have EMPATHY, but in reality, innovation requires talent, passion, and tenacity.” The other ridiculous axiom? Keep reading…
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.
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.
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.
We analyze the results of our Q1 survey of 115 innovation executives, which explored how they’re using innovation software — and what software they’re using. One finding: most companies have just scratched the surface when it comes to utilizing software to manage innovation programs…
Selected comments from the executives who participated in our Q1 2016 survey on innovation software. One respondent told us, “User experience is the ONLY thing that matters. If you innovators won’t use the tools everything else is irrelevant.”
Earlier this month, Innovation Leader editor Scott Kirsner interviewed Clay Christensen of Harvard Business School onstage at the annual TIE StartupCon in Boston. They discussed Uber and disruptive business models; why a winning strategy is only temporary; Christensen’s work with the Department of Defense; and the need to set up separate teams away from the core business to focus on disruption. Includes 40 minutes of downloadable audio…
Among the topics we covered on a recent Innovation Leader Live call with Marla Capozzi of McKinsey & Co.’s Global Strategy & Innovation Practice: Why an organization’s commitment to innovation shouldn’t wax and wane; the risk of innovation committees running off the rails; and why it’s vital to create new metrics for the pilot tests and experiments you run. Transcript and downloadable audio inside…
How can large organizations create the future when almost all their time and energy is spent competing for the present? That challenge is at the center of “The Three Box Solution,” the new book from Vijay Govindarajan, professor at Dartmouth College and visiting fellow at Harvard Business School, who has also served as chief innovation consultant to General Electric. Our interview with Govindarajan includes 30 minutes of downloadable audio…
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…
“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.
“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.
The odds are, with every project that pushes the limits of what your company has done before, or the boundaries of what is possible, you will encounter failure. The best organizations in the world expect it. They have a culture that tolerates it. And they are ready to learn from it and adapt. Here’s Julia Austin’s advice on how you do that…
We recently brought together a group of twenty senior innovation, product, and strategy executives in Manhattan, in collaboration with our partner Mindjet. The goal: to discuss how to create sustainable innovation programs that deliver big results. Here are twenty pieces of advice from the group…
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…
“One the biggest knocks against corporate venture capital initiatives is that they are often a by-product of a booming economy and a pet project of the CEO. They’re here today, gone tomorrow. This reputation, unfortunately, is grounded in some truth, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” writes corporate VC Kyle Fugere.
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.
There are even more barriers to innovation in industries that are heavily regulated — like pharma, healthcare, insurance, and banking. Legal and regulatory requirements can loom large, and have the potential to stifle innovation — if you don’t address them head-on. Here’s how…
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.
Michael Foster, who has developed innovation programs at companies like Dun & Bradstreet and Fiserv, provides four tips for nurturing and elevating the “subculture” of innovation that exists within large organizations. One challenge he highlights: Most companies have a tendency to over-complicate things. Here’s his advice.
Ten observations about the politics and realities of innovating in an established organization, from Phil Swisher, the former VP of innovation at the biggest private bank in the U.S. “It’s important to realize that there may be many people in the organization who are waiting you out,” Swisher says.
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…
To answer our latest subscriber question on business model innovation, we turned to Saul Kaplan, author of “The Business Model Innovation Factory,” who advocated companies playing offense, not defense. “Companies need to establish the capability to do ongoing R&D for new business models the same way they do R&D for new products and technologies.”
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.
Global Vice President of Innovation Dondeena Bradley talks about driving multiple new initiatives aimed at transforming Weight Watchers into a holistic, community-driven company.
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…
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.
Lego executive chairman and former CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp talks about Future Lab, a separate team the company set up to explore new avenues for growth.
We talk to Ashlee Vance, author of a new book about Musk, about how the founder of SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity hires people, battles bureaucracy, and dispatches problems fast.