The Innovation InitiativeHow to get your whole company thinking and acting like owners.                  Michael Harris  V...
My Contact Info @mikeharris22 mharris22 michael.harris@ecommerce.com
Goals For This Talk• Inspire business improvement through  innovation• Introduce a methodology for driving  innovation wit...
What Is Innovation?Merriam-Webster defines innovation as:1 : the introduction of something new                      2 : a ...
“Innovation is the specific instrumentof entrepreneurship...the act that endows resources with anew capacity to create wea...
Innovation On Purpose• “Real” innovation is about truly  understanding a problem and delivering  solutions... consistently...
Fast Company’s MostInnovative Companies of 2012            Source: http://www.fastcompany.com/most-innovative-companies/20...
Why Innovation Matters•   Innovation is often the difference between    OK and Great•   A culture of innovation leads to e...
What Innovation Means To Apple (#1)"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower."— Apple co-founder Steve Job...
How Most Companies Attempt To Innovate• Pay Consulting Firms To Help (Mentor)• Rely on Leadership To Make The Right  Decis...
We Needed a Better Way       To Innovate ...• We needed cost effective solutions• We needed fresh ideas• We wanted to crea...
The Innovation Initiative Was BornPrimary Goals  •   Create a culture of innovation and      continuous improvement  •   F...
Program Structure•   Bring together small, cross functional    teams (4-8 members)•   Each team receives a specific challe...
Team Formation• Select the best and brightest from each  functional area (IT, Marketing, Sales,  Operations, CR etc)• Purp...
Advisory BoardForm an advisory board (AB) from company Sr.Leadership  •   AB provides an experienced sounding board  •   A...
Innovation Team Principals•   Prove Success or Fail Fast (either is a win)•   Leave your day job at the door (you are co- ...
Innovation Team Process•   Self organize (you create the process)•   Brainstorm and collaborate (all ideas count)•   Meet ...
Innovation Team DeliverablesA “Proof” for Success        A “Proof” for Failure•Project Proposal            •Why this is a ...
Innovation Team Conclusion•   The innovation team presents their proof to Sr.    Leadership for consideration•   The proje...
Pre-Kickoff Marketing• We made a concerted effort to build  interest and excitement - Email Teasers - Posters - Team T-Shi...
Posters
Posters
Initiative Timeline•   Prioritize company challenges and create problem statements with metrics•   Started with company wi...
Advice/Lessons Learned•   Limit the number of innovation teams you run    concurrently•   Try to include someone with proj...
Advice/Lessons Learned Continued•   Truly challenge and stretch team members; this is an    opportunity for stars to rise•...
Our Results•   We have completed 5 innovation projects to date•   We realized a sustained gain of more than $30k    per mo...
An Example Kickoff   Presentation
Team Persona   (The Teal Team)The Innovation Initiative
• To earn money            • To be challenged (to learn)            • To solve interesting problems            • For fulfi...
The Innovation Initiative     Will Enable You ToFulfill Many Of These Goals
The Innovation Initiative was                  created to focus the company’s                  best and brightest talent o...
Opportunities Abound           Increasing Average Revenue Per           Customer (ARPU) is a largely           untapped op...
We Believe In You!           Each of you have been           specifically selected because           you have demonstrated...
Innovation Team                Principles                • Prove Success or Fail Fast (either is a                  win)Le...
Innovation Team                Process                •Self Organize (you create the process)                •Brainstorm a...
Innovation Team                Deliverables                • A “Proof” for Success                - Project Proposal      ...
Innovation Team Post              Delivery              •The innovation team will present their proof to              the ...
Team Persona               Problem Statement               Your challenge is to provide the company with               inv...
Bonus Goal                Tackle the final 20% to move as close to 100%                customer coverage as possible.     ...
Metrics as of 3/29/2011           • Total Number of Distinct            Customers in GHCP = ###,###Customer   • Total Numb...
Team Persona               Problem Background               • Personas Developed               - Pass the eye test but not...
The Five A’s:            Every time a customer interacts with our            company, it leaves an imprint on them; pushin...
Next Steps:                 • Assemble team and determine meeting and                   project logistics                 ...
Thank You
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The Innovation Initiative: How to get your whole company thinking and acting like owners.

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As a leader, how great would it be to have an army of highly motivated, engaged, entrepreneurial-minded thought leaders helping you to solve the most challenging problems impeding your businesses' success? Even better, what if that same army could discover business opportunities that you hadn't even thought of? Michael Harris will teach you how Ecommerce Inc. did it through a program implemented within the company called “The Innovation Initiative.” In this talk he will demonstrate the practical steps the company took to empower the minds of many to think like leaders within the company, resulting in highly motivated and vested employees as well as significant financial gain.

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The Innovation Initiative: How to get your whole company thinking and acting like owners.

  1. 1. The Innovation InitiativeHow to get your whole company thinking and acting like owners. Michael Harris VP of Information Technology, Ecommerce Inc.
  2. 2. My Contact Info @mikeharris22 mharris22 michael.harris@ecommerce.com
  3. 3. Goals For This Talk• Inspire business improvement through innovation• Introduce a methodology for driving innovation within your company• Share an example Ecommerce Inc innovation initiative
  4. 4. What Is Innovation?Merriam-Webster defines innovation as:1 : the introduction of something new 2 : a new idea, method or device
  5. 5. “Innovation is the specific instrumentof entrepreneurship...the act that endows resources with anew capacity to create wealth.”— Peter Drucker
  6. 6. Innovation On Purpose• “Real” innovation is about truly understanding a problem and delivering solutions... consistently, deliberately and methodically• The most successful companies have learned how to innovate with purpose using repeatable processes
  7. 7. Fast Company’s MostInnovative Companies of 2012 Source: http://www.fastcompany.com/most-innovative-companies/2012/full-list
  8. 8. Why Innovation Matters• Innovation is often the difference between OK and Great• A culture of innovation leads to engaged, passionate, motivated employees• A culture of innovation denounces complacency• Innovation will positively affect your bottom line
  9. 9. What Innovation Means To Apple (#1)"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower."— Apple co-founder Steve Jobs"Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. Its not about money. Its about the people you have, how youre led, and how much you get it."— Apple co-founder Steve Jobs
  10. 10. How Most Companies Attempt To Innovate• Pay Consulting Firms To Help (Mentor)• Rely on Leadership To Make The Right Decisions (Smartest Guy In The Room)• Go With Their Gut (WAG)
  11. 11. We Needed a Better Way To Innovate ...• We needed cost effective solutions• We needed fresh ideas• We wanted to create opportunity and excitement within the organization • We needed a sustainable, organic solution • We wanted to win :)
  12. 12. The Innovation Initiative Was BornPrimary Goals • Create a culture of innovation and continuous improvement • Focus the company’s best and brightest talent on our most challenging business problems and our most interesting opportunities • Increase revenue and/or reduce costs
  13. 13. Program Structure• Bring together small, cross functional teams (4-8 members)• Each team receives a specific challenge to solve• Teams operate in an entrepreneurial, “think tank” environment• Teams are given full autonomy to innovate with full resource support (within reason)
  14. 14. Team Formation• Select the best and brightest from each functional area (IT, Marketing, Sales, Operations, CR etc)• Purposefully mix it up - experts and newbies• No declared leader - let the team decide• Celebrate the privilege of being selected
  15. 15. Advisory BoardForm an advisory board (AB) from company Sr.Leadership • AB provides an experienced sounding board • AB’s job is to support and challenge, not lead or restrict • AB creates team accountability • AB authorizes additional resource requests
  16. 16. Innovation Team Principals• Prove Success or Fail Fast (either is a win)• Leave your day job at the door (you are co- owners/partners)• Wear Many Hats (do whatever it takes)• Work Hard and Have Fun (make a difference)• Think Outside The Box (be creative and innovative)• Leverage Your Advisory Board (benefit from past experience)
  17. 17. Innovation Team Process• Self organize (you create the process)• Brainstorm and collaborate (all ideas count)• Meet in person whenever possible• Dedicate at least 20 focused hours per week (ideally 100%)• Publicize progress (weekly status)• Time box problems/solutions• Seek out subject matter experts (SME’s) as needed• Meet with your advisory board frequently• Plan for small, frequent wins (eventually they will snowball into bigger wins)
  18. 18. Innovation Team DeliverablesA “Proof” for Success A “Proof” for Failure•Project Proposal •Why this is a bad idea or investment•Marketing Plan OR •Possible alternatives•Sales Plan•Working Prototypes•Design Mocks
  19. 19. Innovation Team Conclusion• The innovation team presents their proof to Sr. Leadership for consideration• The project proposal will be weighed against competing opportunities and if approved: - Project will be funded and moved to the “factory” for delivery - Team members participate in the solution delivery as subject matter experts• Team members get the opportunity to see their project through from beginning to end
  20. 20. Pre-Kickoff Marketing• We made a concerted effort to build interest and excitement - Email Teasers - Posters - Team T-Shirts - Hand written invitations signed by the CEO
  21. 21. Posters
  22. 22. Posters
  23. 23. Initiative Timeline• Prioritize company challenges and create problem statements with metrics• Started with company wide pre-initiative marketing (1 month)• Worked with area leaders to select candidates and issue invitations (1 month)• Kick-off meeting• Innovation process (normally 2 - 6 months) - No overall time box as long as progress is being made - Timeline is relative to problem difficulty, team availability and project proposal required level of detail - AB meetings as needed (every other week suggested)• Innovation team town hall (1-2 months into launch)• Innovation team project proposal to Sr Leadership (or open invite)• Team celebration (important to celebrate successes)• Hand over to factory for build/implementation
  24. 24. Advice/Lessons Learned• Limit the number of innovation teams you run concurrently• Try to include someone with project management skill on each team• Truly empower your employees and it will pay back early and often• Provide as much background material on the problem as possible• Ensure that your problem statement goals are SMART
  25. 25. Advice/Lessons Learned Continued• Truly challenge and stretch team members; this is an opportunity for stars to rise• Team success is largely dictated by the effort of individuals• Plan for increased workload on those not participating• Reward success - We provided iPads and a nice dinner with the AB at the conclusion of each project - We gave out gift cards and “pat on the backs” along the way
  26. 26. Our Results• We have completed 5 innovation projects to date• We realized a sustained gain of more than $30k per month from one team in the first 3 months of its existence• We created a new customer control panel focused on usability and user insight that is currently in beta• We have 3 more “proven” winners queued up for the factory
  27. 27. An Example Kickoff Presentation
  28. 28. Team Persona (The Teal Team)The Innovation Initiative
  29. 29. • To earn money • To be challenged (to learn) • To solve interesting problems • For fulfillment/pleasureWhy Do We • To change the world • To build your reputation Work? • To be part of a team and/or mission • To be appreciated "Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does."— William James
  30. 30. The Innovation Initiative Will Enable You ToFulfill Many Of These Goals
  31. 31. The Innovation Initiative was created to focus the company’s best and brightest talent on our most challenging business What is problems and opportunities.theInnovationIn With this unique initiative, we itiative? will bring together several small, cross-functional teams. Each will receive a specific challenge to solve. They will then be given all available resources – within an atmosphere of total creativity and innovation.
  32. 32. Opportunities Abound Increasing Average Revenue Per Customer (ARPU) is a largely untapped opportunity.Why Now? Every day that we fail to act, we are throwing money away. The only way that we can seize the opportunity and start the transition from good to great is with your innovation, creativity, insight and most of all hard work.
  33. 33. We Believe In You! Each of you have been specifically selected because you have demonstratedWhy You? excellent skill, job knowledge, intelligence, drive and initiative. "The innovation point is the pivotal moment when talented and motivated people seek the opportunity to act on their ideas and dreams."— W. Arthur Porte
  34. 34. Innovation Team Principles • Prove Success or Fail Fast (either is a win)Leave your day job at the door (you are co-owners/partners)Wear Many Hats (do How DoesAn whatever it takes)Work Hard and Have Fun (make a difference)Think Outside The Box (beInnovationTea creative and innovative)Leverage Your Advisory Board (benefit from past experience) m Work? "Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. Its not about money. Its about the people you have, how youre led, and how much you get it." — Steve Jobs
  35. 35. Innovation Team Process •Self Organize (you create the process) •Brainstorm and Collaborate (all ideas •Dedicate at least 20 focused hours per week What Is The •Publicize Progress (weekly status) Innovation •Time Box Problems/Solutions •Seek out SME’s as neededTeam Process? •Meet with your advisory board weekly •Plan for small, frequent wins (eventually they "One thing is sure. We have to do something. We have to do the best we know how at the moment . . . ; If it doesnt turn out right, we can modify it as we go along." — Franklin D.Roosevelt
  36. 36. Innovation Team Deliverables • A “Proof” for Success - Project Proposal - Marketing Plan - Sales PlanWhat Does An - Working Prototypes - Design Mocks Innovation or - A “Proof” for FailureWhy this is a bad idea orTeam Deliver? investment - Possible alternatives "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought."— Albert von Szent-Gyorgy
  37. 37. Innovation Team Post Delivery •The innovation team will present their proof to the Sr. Leadership team for consideration.What Do We -The project proposal will be weighed against competing opportunities and if approved:It willDo With The be funded and moved to the “factory” for delivery. Team members will participate in the “Proof”? solution delivery as subject matter experts. •You will have the opportunity to see this project through from beginning to end. "Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things."— American economist Theodore Levitt
  38. 38. Team Persona Problem Statement Your challenge is to provide the company with invaluable insight, clarity and understanding ofWhat Is Your our existing customer base. Explicitly stated, we would like you to profile 50% of our customer base within a 3 month period, 80%Challenge? within a 6 month period and develop a strategy to maintain the 80% level while also sustaining a data “freshness” factor of 6 months or better. "Innovation is the process of turning ideas into manufacturable and marketable form."— Watts Humphrey
  39. 39. Bonus Goal Tackle the final 20% to move as close to 100% customer coverage as possible. Key Questions: • What type of information should we collect about our customers to best support ARPU initiatives? But Wait - Demographics - Persona QualifiersThere’s More? - Product Utilization - Customer Goals - Customer Satisfaction • How do we encourage customers to provide us with additional information without pestering them? “The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away.”— Linus Pauling
  40. 40. Metrics as of 3/29/2011 • Total Number of Distinct Customers in GHCP = ###,###Customer • Total Number of Active Hosting Customers (Shared, VPS & Public Cloud) = ###,### Metrics • Total Number of Customers With At Least One Active Product = ###,###
  41. 41. Team Persona Problem Background • Personas Developed - Pass the eye test but not yet data backed • Customer Value Scoring - First attempt at assessing total customerState Of The relationship • Surveys Attempted (limited success) Customer • Profiling capabilities not yet built into services or ordering • Very Limited Voice of the Customer "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." — Apple co-founder Steve Jobs
  42. 42. The Five A’s: Every time a customer interacts with our company, it leaves an imprint on them; pushing them either towards higher loyalty or further on the path to abandonment How DoCustomersRespond? "The essential part of creativity is not being afraid to fail."— Edwin H. Land
  43. 43. Next Steps: • Assemble team and determine meeting and project logistics • Plan brainstorming session • Meet with Advisory Board for additional problem background (Fathi, Mike) Suggested Resources:Next Steps And • Project Proposal Template (Mike H.) • Personas, Value Scoring and Customer Resources Analytics (Mike H.) • The Temkin Group ( http://experiencematters.wordpress.com) • Basecamp Project "If it is to be, it is up to me." - Anonymous
  44. 44. Thank You

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