Articles & Case Studies by Topic


Photo Gallery: Seattle Roundtable Exploring the Process of Getting Ideas to Market

The latest roundtable in our on-going Underground series dove into the challenges of sourcing ideas internally and externally, and how to move those ideas through prototyping, pilots, and eventual release into the world. The discussion was led by Virginia Williams, Vice President of Spigit, and Kelsey Alpaio of Innovation Leader. See who was there…

Photos: Innovation Leader’s Impact 2018 Conference in Boston

Innovation Leader brought together 350 strategy, innovation, and R&D executives from around the world this month in Boston for Impact 2018. We learned to row on the Charles River; met with startups at the Harvard Innovation Lab; visited MIT’s Engine incubator for startups focused on “tough tech”; and participated in a case study discussion at Harvard Business School. Photos from the two-and-a-half day event inside…

How Platform is Changing What it Means to be a Mall

With more purchases shifting over to e-commerce daily, the retail apocalypse is proving to be more than just media hype about the death of malls and the decline of the independent storefront. So why would two entrepreneurs choose this moment to build a new outdoor shopping center on a ruins of a car dealership in southern California? Despite the dire forecasts, Joseph Miller and his partner, David Fishbein, set out in 2013 to create something that was anything but mall-like. Take a look at Platform inside…

Photos: London Executive Forum at Royal Bank of Scotland

Our 2018 London Executive Forum brought 25 executives together at Royal Bank of Scotland to discuss how to create a culture of risk-taking and experimentation — especially in regulated industries and long-established organizations. See photos from the event inside…

The Full List: Winners of Our 2018 Impact Awards, for Delivering Results in a Large Organization

Innovation Leader’s Impact Awards honor companies that have achieved extraordinary outcomes related to their innovation programs. Unlike other awards, Innovation Leader’s program is based on what matters; namely, the value and business impact of the programs—not just the fact that they exist. Here’s the full list of winners and runners up for 2018…

Photo Gallery: ‘Benchmarking Innovation Impact 2018’ Roundtable in Chicago

To coincide with the release of our Benchmarking Innovation Impact 2018 report, sponsored by KPMG, we brought together a group of innovation professionals in Chicago to discuss some of the report’s findings. The event was hosted by the accelerator 1871 and Whirlpool. Photos inside…

What is an Innovation Leader? Three Definitions

When people talk about innovation leaders, there are three definitions: the individual, the company, and the community of corporate innovators.

IL Master Class: Storytelling Skills for Innovators

Stories can entertain, advance ideas and values, win resources, and cut through media clutter. But storytelling can also be a capability that helps organizations navigate treacherous waters. Our latest IL Master Class on innovation storytelling featured noted author Evan I. Schwartz, Director of Storytelling at Innosight, the growth strategy consulting firm. Here’s the complete replay.

Photo Gallery: New York City Roundtable Exploring Challenges of Business Model Innovation

At our July innovation roundtable in New York City, co-hosted with Innosight, we gathered 10 innovation professionals to discuss the intricacies and challenges of business model innovation. The conversation was led by Innosight Co-Founder Mark Johnson and Scott Cohen of Innovation Leader.

Photo Gallery: ‘Benchmarking Innovation Impact 2018’ Roundtable in San Francisco

To coincide with the release of our Benchmarking Innovation Impact 2018 report, sponsored by KPMG, we brought together 16 innovation professionals to discuss some of the report’s findings. LinkedIn hosted us at the company’s San Francisco campus. Photos inside…

Cleveland Field Study Photos: Inside American Greetings, KeyBank, Cleveland Clinic, and more

Our 2018 Cleveland Field Study brought over 50 executives together to discuss strategies for forging effective internal partnerships that foster innovation. We toured the offices of Cleveland Clinic Innovations, American Greetings, KeyBank, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Progressive Field. Photos inside…

Photo Gallery: ‘Benchmarking Innovation Impact 2018’ Launch Event in New York

To coincide with the release of our Benchmarking Innovation Impact 2018 report, sponsored by KPMG, we brought together sixteen innovation professionals to discuss some of the report’s findings. Photos from the event are inside…

Photo Gallery: Healthcare Deep Dive

At our recent, day-long Healthcare Deep Dive event, co-hosted by PA Consulting Group, executives gathered in Boston to discuss topics related to testing and scaling new ideas in the healthcare industry.

Photo Gallery: New York Field Study Drops in on Nasdaq, Dow Jones, and Kickstarter

Our 2018 New York Field Study brought more than 70 executives to Manhattan and Brooklyn, stopping at the offices of Dow Jones, Nasdaq, and Johnson & Johnson’s JLABS. Here are a just a few of the photos.

Q&A: Are You Developing a Strategy for Amazon Alexa?

We asked the Innovation Leader community if they were developing products, strategies, or solutions for Amazon Alexa. All of them said “Yes.” Read on to find out what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.

FEI 2018: Innovation Leader Case Studies, Videos, Interviews, Sessions

A selection of case studies, videos, and webcasts from the Innovation Leader archives with people and companies that are featured at the 2018 Front End of Innovation Conference.

Q&A: What Rewards Have You Offered Employees for Developing a Proof of Concept or MVP?

We asked corporate executives how their companies reward employees who develop a proof of concept or MVP. Cash, stock, and recognition were among the answers.

Photos: NYC and San Francisco Executive Roundtables with PA Consulting

At two recent invitation-only roundtables in New York City and San Francisco, we gathered executives to discuss best practices and learnings around becoming more customer-centric and applying artificial intelligence and machine learning. Photos inside…

Q&A: Do You Have a Cross-Functional Innovation Team?

In last week’s Q&A email, we asked a question from an Innovation Leader member about cross-functional teams that focus on the front end of the innovation process. Find out how members of the IL Community responded.

Q&A: How Can We Make the Case for Innovating in the Whitespace?

In last week’s Q&A email, we asked a question from a member of the IL community, which states, “How can we make the case for innovating in the whitespace, not just building things related to existing products?” Below are two of our most interesting answers from those who responded anonymously to the question. Have a question you want answered? Send …

Photos: Deep Dive on Scouting in San Francisco

For our Deep Dive in February, we dropped in on LinkedIn, Autodesk, and Target’s Open House store, and heard about how companies from J&J to BMW to Boeing approach the challenges of scouting.

FAQ: Your Corporate Innovation Questions, Answered

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.

Why Bissell Homecare Turned to Crowdfunding for a New Product Launch

Bissell Homecare is best known for making cleaning equipment for floors and upholstery. But Chuck Martin was convinced that the pet care sector offered new growth opportunities. Here’s how he launched the company’s first dog grooming product, with an assist from crowdfunding site Indiegogo.

The Top 10 Innovation Issues Big Company Leaders are Tackling in 2018

We asked our community: What are your top-of-mind innovation issues for 2018? Here’s a summary of their answers, and a list of their favorite innovation resources.

A Glossary of Innovation Terms and Strategies

The terminology used by executives involved in corporate innovation and new ventures can be confusing to newbies — and it’s constantly evolving, often pulling in new language and concepts from the realms of entrepreneurship, academia, and consulting. Here’s our glossary of terms commonly used by leaders of innovation, R&D, and new product development groups in large companies.

Los Angeles Field Study Photos: Inside JibJab, CBRE, LA Cleantech Incubator, Platform, and more

Our first-ever Los Angeles Field Study took participants inside the “FabLab” of the $24 billion aerospace and defense giant Northrop Grumman, the headquarters of CBRE, the award-winning LA Cleantech Incubator, the innovative media darling JibJab, and retail innovator Platform! Thanks to our friends at Imaginatik and Innosight for helping us pull it together!

Q&A: How do You Collaborate With, or Acquire, Startups?

We asked our community: How do you collaborate with, or acquire, startups without “killing the butterfly?” Here’s a summary of the top answers…

Photos: Our ‘Underground’ Executive Roundtable in New York

In early November, we brought together 16 innovation and R&D leaders at MasterCard Labs in New York City for a roundtable co-hosted with our partner, Deloitte. Here are some photos…

The Best Books, Podcasts, and Resources on Corporate Innovation

At various Innovation Leader events, we’ve asked participants to share the books, podcasts, and resources on innovation and strategy that they’ve found most useful. Here’s the master list of their recommendations.

Teach-In 2017 at the MIT Media Lab: Event photos

More than 200 members of the Innovation Leader community converged on the MIT Media Lab in early October for the Teach-In. Participants had the opportunity to take part in 30+ sessions that offered insight into what people are doing and learning in their R&D and innovation initiatives, as well as visits to various MIT labs, John Hancock’s Lab of Forward Thinking, Autodesk BUILD, Ginkgo Bioworks, Mass Robotics, Stanley Black and Decker’s Futures Innovation Factory, and more.

Photos: Our ‘Underground’ Executive Roundtable in Boston

We brought together 16 innovation and R&D leaders at the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center in Cambridge this month. Here are the pictures.

Webcast Replay: Getting Valuable Insights Faster by Automating Data Flows

What are data flows? The data collected and processing to run and optimize your business. Jim Knapik of Level Education from Northeastern University explains how to use them to deliver valuable insights. Hour-long webcast video replay.

Inside the ‘Near-Future Sensing Team’ at UNICEF

As part of the United Nations, UNICEF works to provide resources to the world’s most marginalized children. The organization was started 70 years ago, and now employs 12,000 people in 190 countries. But it wasn’t until 2007 when Fabian and Erica Kochi, who is now in charge of private sector partnerships at UNICEF, founded the organization’s Innovation Unit. We spoke with Fabian about innovation at UNICEF and how the venture fund operates.

From The Network: Participants Share Their Favorite Books, Podcasts, and Resources on Innovation

At our Network event earlier this month in Boston, we asked participants about the books, podcasts, and resources on innovation and strategy that they’ve found most useful. Here are some of their recommendations.

IL Confidential: Our Video Series on Spurring Innovation in Large Organizations

Looking to understand your CEO better, bring customers into the development process, or work more efficiently with legal and compliance groups? Our “IL Confidential” video series brings you insights from innovators on a variety of topics.

Photos from The Network, Our Gathering of Corporate Innovation Experts

Our most recent event, The Network, convened experts, authors, and software suppliers who work in the corporate innovation realm — plus a handful of corporate innovation executives from the Boston area and our host, Fidelity Investments. Photos from the event inside…

Washington, D.C. Field Study Photos: Inside Marriott, Capital One, Lockheed Martin & More

Our first-ever Washington, D.C. Field Study took participants inside AARP’s “Hatchery,” Marriott’s “Underground” Innovation Lab, Lockheed Martin’s Global Vision Center, Capital One Labs, and the 1776 startup incubator.

Research Report: Governance, Reporting & Communications

Our Q2 2017 report collects the best insights from innovation execs at companies like Johnson & Johnson, Kennametal, Brown Brothers Harriman, ExxonMobil, Thomson Reuters, and others, including recommendations from our interviews, a conference call we conducted with Innovation Leader members, and a survey we fielded in Q1 2017 to understand the current state of governance at 50 large companies. Includes five charts on topics like committee size, metrics, and how progress updates are delivered.

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…

Field Study Photos: Inside Delta, Google Atlanta, Home Depot, Porsche and more

Our first-ever Atlanta Field Study took participants to the campus of Georgia Tech, Google Atlanta, Home Depot world headquarters, the Porsche Experience Center, Delta’s “The Hangar” innovation lab, Anthem’s innovation studio, and more. Photos inside…

San Francisco Field Study photos: Visa, Verizon, Yelp and more

At our sold-out San Francisco Field Study, Feb 1-2, 2017, more than 70 innovation execs joined us for tours of Visa, Verizon, Yelp, Gensler, Hax Accelerator, and Autodesk. Photos from the event inside…

Photos: ‘Setting the 2017 Agenda’ gathering in Cambridge

To start off the new year, we brought together some members of the Innovation Leader community for coffee and breakfast, to discuss their innovation agendas and goals for 2017. Photos inside…

Photos: Innovation Roundtable Series, co-produced with Imaginatik

This fall, we brought together senior innovation and R&D leaders in seven cities for closed-door roundtables. The topics? Best practices in creating internal incubators, running hackathons, innovation metrics, and moving along the “innovation maturity curve.” Photos inside…

Teach-In 2016 at the Harvard Innovation Lab: Event photos

More than 150 members of the Innovation Leader community converged on the Harvard Innovation Lab this month for the Teach-In — and 30+ sessions that offered insight into what people are doing and learning in their R&D and innovation initiatives, as well as visits to Google Cambridge, Fidelity Labs, Shell TechWorks, and the Target coLab.

New York Field Study 2016: Photos from MasterCard, Barclay’s Rise, IBM Design Studio and more

Our sold-out New York Field Study brought a group of 50 innovation executives to GrandCentralTech, Work-Bench, IBM Design Studio, MasterCard Labs, and Barclay’s Rise New York accelerator. At left, a photo from a whiteboard session on recruiting and training innovation champions. More photos inside…

Photos from our Connected Products Strategy Off-Site

Sharing some photos from our June 2016 Connected Products Strategy Off-Site — thanks to everyone who participated. Thanks to our friends at Altitude for their support, and to C Space and Bolt for hosting us.

Chart: Top Recommended Innovation Software Providers

Here are some of the companies that provide software used to collect, rate, assign, track, evaluate, approve, and pursue new business ideas and opportunities. Includes pricing and major customers…

Photos from our Silicon Valley Field Study: Google, Ford, Adobe, Vodafone, and Y Combinator

Sharing some pictures from our sold-out March 2016 Field Study in Silicon Valley, which hit Redwood City, Palo Alto, San Jose, and Mountain View.

Best Innovation Coverage of 2015

We looked at our most-read stories from, as well as our most-clicked and shared material on social media. So rather than these pieces being “Editor’s Picks,” they’re your picks.

Photos from our 2015 Boston Field Study: CVS, Microsoft, iRobot, more

Our Field Study learning expedition in Boston last month too participants to Microsoft Research, CVS Health’s new Digital Innovation Lab, iRobot headquarters, the Greentown Labs shared space for energy and sustainability startups, and MassMutual’s Society of Grownups. Here are some highlights, in photos.

Audio: Listen to conference calls, panels, interviews

Get first-hand insights on innovation from executives at Coca-Cola, Allstate, Marriott, GE, Nordstrom, Xerox, The Gap and more. Plus, thought leaders like Clay Christensen, Steve Blank, and Peter Thiel.

Photos from our Seattle Field Study: Starbucks, Microsoft and more

At our March 2015 Field Study, we visited Starbucks HQ and their new Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room; Cambia Health’s Cambia Grove healthcare collaboration space; the WeWork startup workspace in South Lake Union; Staples’ Seattle Development Lab, and Microsoft Research.

Best Innovation Coverage of 2014

We’ve collected our most useful and insightful pieces from 2014 into a 40-page PDF. Get the year’s best guidance on corporate innovation, featuring General Electric, Intuit, Marriott, Google, and others — and an exclusive convo with “Innovator’s Dilemma” author Clay Christensen.

Best Innovation Coverage of 2014: Download the PDF

The year’s best guidance and insights on corporate innovation, featuring General Electric, Intuit, Marriott, Google, Hershey’s, Transamerica — and an exclusive interview with Clay Christensen of Harvard Business School.

Photos: Our San Francisco Field Study event

Our October Field Study in San Francisco brought participants to the headquarters of Twitter, to Autodesk’s Pier 9 Workshop, and to Intuit’s campus in Mountain View to participate in “design for delight” exercises. The photographic evidence is inside…

How to play Failure Bingo

The next time you’re at a conference or other gathering that focuses on innovation, intrapreneurship, or incubation, you can enjoy a game we call Failure Bingo. Here’s your bingo card…

Photos: June Field Study

Our Field Study gathering took place at Google Cambridge, Johnson & Johnson’s Boston Innovation Center, Fidelity Investments, and Blade Network, a new startup incubator. Plus, impromptu after-conference beers at the offices of Techstars Boston. Here’s who was there…

The week in innovation: Uber, Best Buy, and smart racquets

Links worth clicking this week cover the role of the board of directors in supporting innovation; Uber’s CEO talking about his disruption of the transportation business; and a tennis racquet that can communicate with your smartphone.

The week in innovation: AT&T, DuPont and the NY Times

This week’s links worth clicking: Smart luggage at AT&T’s Innovators Showcase, DuPont’s annual packaging awards, a leaked report on digital challenges at the New York Times, and how not to spur innovation.

The week in innovation: Covidien, Pixar & Virgin

Links worth clicking: Medical devices in Instanbul, what big companies can learn from Bitcoin, the startup scene in Silicon Beach, Richard Branson, and Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull, whose new book “Creativity Inc.” is the must-read of 2014.

The innovation week in review: Breakthrough products & more

Innovation Leader’s first weekly collection of articles you shouldn’t have missed; executive comings-and-goings; and new books and reports worth loading onto your Kindle or iPad.

View and share job descriptions for innovation-related roles

Want to know how other companies are crafting descriptions for innovation-related jobs? Or what their innovation groups are focusing on? We’ve got a collection of job postings for you…