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Everyday Innovation

Presented at FITC Toronto 2019
More info at

Carl Sziebert
Innovation is defined as the process of making an idea into a good or service that creates value by meeting a need or solving a problem at scale. This talk explores ways to find inspiration from everyday sources, invest in skills that foster collaboration, and identify opportunities for impact. While leveraging the core principles of and learnings from designing products for real people, Carl will examine a number methods for building creativity and innovation into our everyday work.

Target Audience
For individual contributors looking to cultivate opportunities for impact and find the right time, space, and tools to innovate in our everyday work.

Five Things Audience Members Will Learn
A bottom-up approach to framing innovation within your daily work
Identify and validate opportunities that make an impact
Prioritize, prototype, and build understanding of the problems you are solving
Collaborate locally and globally
Seek, give, and apply feedback often

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Everyday Innovation

  1. 1. Confidential + Proprietary Everyday Innovation Carl Sziebert • FITC Toronto • 29 Apr 2019
  2. 2. What is innovation?
  3. 3. Defining innovation ● A new idea, device, or method ● The action or process of introducing a new idea, device, or method
  4. 4. What about the everyday part?
  5. 5. Defining the everyday part ● Happening or used everyday ● Daily; commonplace
  6. 6. You’ve heard about the toothbrush test?
  7. 7. How do we define innovation?
  8. 8. We define innovation as... ● Making things more user-centered ● Finding unmet user needs ● Filling a gap in the market ● Creating differentiating technology ● Solving problems for our users
  9. 9. Let’s look at some examples…
  10. 10. All innovation is good, right?
  11. 11. Are there different kinds of innovation?
  12. 12. Innovation comes in many forms ● Empowering innovation ● Sustaining innovation ● Efficiency innovation ● Disruptive innovation ● Innovation from above - Clayton Christensen, Harvard
  13. 13. Empowering innovation ● Provides new tools for managing resources that are scarce and costly ● A breakthrough technology; something no one else has; 10x idea ● Generates whole new industries, jobs, and economic growth ● Must be genuinely exciting to customers ● Often has a ripple effect...
  14. 14. Sustaining innovation ● Improves an existing system ● May “disrupt” incumbents with new features ● Competitors and incumbents can respond quickly ● Drives revenue through constant updates
  15. 15. Efficiency innovation ● Does more with less ● Sells established products at lower prices ● Raises productivity, reduces costs, but might eliminate jobs
  16. 16. Disruptive innovation ● Disrupts an existing business model ● Targets the lowest tier of users first ● Competitors ignore it as it doesn’t affect business ● Slowly adds value and features ● Expands quickly to become a serious threat
  17. 17. Innovation from above ● Creating a premium product in an existing sector ● Makes it harder for competitors to sell their cheaper products ● Open to pressure from below
  18. 18. Wait, everyday innovation isn’t on that list. What gives?
  19. 19. Defining innovation ● A new idea, device, or method ● The action or process of introducing a new idea, device, or method
  20. 20. Defining the everyday part ● Happening or used everyday ● Daily; commonplace
  21. 21. Everyday innovation is a daily process
  22. 22. That’s it? Just build good habits?
  23. 23. Toothbrush journeys and everyday innovations can seem small but have a huge impact
  24. 24. How do we identify opportunities to innovate?
  25. 25. Building the proper mindset for innovation ● Fight the imposter syndrome ● Find the right time, space, and tools ● Listen attentively ● Identify gaps, seams, and overlaps ● Reframe the problem
  26. 26. But, we don’t actually collaborate very well...
  27. 27. What does effective collaboration look like?
  28. 28. Sports vs. Collaboration ● Assigned a role and you often stick to it with little compromise ● Rule book stays the same with few changes over time ● Goal is to crush your opponent with a clear idea of who is the winner and loser ● Flexible and creative - use your unique skills in a way to adapt well to task at hand ● Collaboration evolves over time and can get messy ● Goal is to foster ideas and contribute to the big picture
  29. 29. Why does effective collaboration matter?
  30. 30. The importance of effective collaboration ● Promotes self-awareness and self-analysis ● Helps us see the bigger picture ● Encourages continuous learning ● Results in problem solving
  31. 31. Yes, and...
  32. 32. Practice makes perfect, right?
  33. 33. Success is built on compounding failure
  35. 35. Good feedback vs. bad feedback
  36. 36. How do we make feedback more nutritious?
  37. 37. Great feedback is specific, goal oriented, organized, relevant, and timely
  38. 38. Great feedback is specific ● Is the wording vague or open-ended? ● Would someone else understand? ● Am I identifying a problem? ● Could this be an actionable item?
  39. 39. Great feedback is goal oriented ● Why do I want to add this? ● How will this suggestion benefit a user? ● How does this help accomplish our goals?
  40. 40. Great feedback is organized ● Am I repeating myself? Can I consolidate my points? ● Are there clear patterns or categories that I can reuse? ● Have I prioritized my feedback appropriately? ● Is my feedback well formatted?
  41. 41. Great feedback is relevant and timely ● Is this the type of feedback requested? ● Am I sharing this with the right person? ● Is this related to the current stage of the project? ● Is this the right time or place for my feedback?
  42. 42. Receiving feedback is hard, too!
  43. 43. Why is this so hard to do? ● Miscommunication ● Limited experience ● Personal bias ● Lack of time ● Fear
  44. 44. Responding to feedback is a subtle art ● Review the strategy behind the decisions that brought you to this point ● Analyze and explain the goals of this step of the process ● Outline the type of feedback you’re looking for
  45. 45. Inspire great feedback ● Establish and use a common vocabulary ● Send your work ahead of time to prevent churn and maximize your returns ● Ask lots of qualifying questions to dig deeper
  46. 46. To recap...
  47. 47. Innovation comes in many forms
  48. 48. Everyday innovation is a daily process
  49. 49. Building the proper mindset for innovation means finding the right time, space, and tools to identify gaps, seams, and overlaps
  50. 50. Effective collaboration promotes self-analysis, encourages continual learning, and results in real problem solving
  51. 51. Feedback is the breakfast of champions when it is specific, goal oriented, organized, relevant, and timely
  52. 52. Great communication is the key to everyday innovation
  53. 53. Thanks!
  54. 54. Questions?