Written by ZOOZ
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| Issue 58 |
We are pleased to send you the new issue of LaZOOZ.
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Ari Manor, CEO, ZOOZ
Methods and tools for managing innovation
Gathering Extreme Ideas?
How can we take advantage of the wisdom of our employees
in order to achieve extreme innovation? If your
organization is large with hundreds, or even thousands
of employees, then try the following:
Organize an extreme innovation team, comprised of 5 brilliant and open-minded people (not necessarily executives, bright students will suffice). Give them a place and a budget.
- Appoint a senior manager as the team leader, someone knowledgeable and experienced in development, marketing, and business development. It’s important that the manager has excellent interpersonal skills, and is popular with his colleagues.
- The extreme innovation team must contact all the employees at the organization once a month or more (via email or other), requesting ideas for innovations that will yield a significant profit – within some sort of realistic context.
- If too many responses are received, you can narrow them down by giving clear criteria regarding a good proposal (for example, minimum expected revenues and profits) and requesting that the person sending the proposal attach reasons why he thinks that it meets the criteria.
- The extreme innovation team gathers the proposals it received and discusses them.
- Reasonable or good proposals that are improvements on what already exist are passed along for processing at the relevant manager in the organization.
- Proposals constituting extreme innovations, which the organization is not prepared to handle as part of its ongoing development, are handled by the extreme innovation team. The team exhaustively scrutinizes such proposals, and checks them from a business perspective.
- Subsequent to the preliminary business check, the team disqualifies the majority of extreme innovation proposals, and adopts one or two proposals a year. The team creates a detailed business plan for these proposals, a process that can include the assistance of external experts.
- The selected proposals are presented to the organization’s management. If it approves, a budget is allocated and a new business unit is established in the organization that will develop and promote the approved extreme innovation, according to the business plan.
- Using this process, the organization manages to stay fresh, and create one or two spin-offs a year (a new business area that becomes a separate entity of the existing organization).
- At IAI, one of the proposals regarding the security fence was to develop unmanned armored personnel carriers (APC) to patrol the fence. This idea is unsuitable for development by the aeronautics and aviation system engineers. The extreme innovation team identified its business potential, developed a business plan and conceptual prototype, and after receiving management’s approval, a non-aeronautic unit was established at IAI, which develops and sells unmanned APCs. These APCs move continuously on a regular path along the fence, and can identify breaches in the fence, illuminate, photograph, call helicopters, and even open fire in the estimated direction of the terrorists, warding them off
- In order to maintain and increase the flow of ideas, it’s important to reward employees that send good proposals for both improvements on what exists and for extreme innovation. This is another one of the extreme innovation team’s jobs.
The larger your organization, especially if it has thousands of employees, the more important the process described above becomes. On the one hand – the larger an organization, the more conservative it tends to be, and therefore it’s important to integrate built-in innovation, some of which is also extreme. On the other hand – the more employees there are, the more minds there are to contribute, and therefore the above process becomes more effective. We would be happy to help you implement such processes in your organization.
- For articles on Systematic Innovation:
- Information about Systematic Innovation workshops can be found
A guest column: Neta Weinrib – On B2B marketing of technological products
From one technology to several different products
Often, an existing technology gives rise to a plethora of different products.
I’ll use an example from consumer goods. Let’s say that we work at a company that developed wet wipes. We sell wet wipes to parents with small children and to women. The wipes enable parents to clean up their children, and women to remove their make-up (without the need for water).
The first thing we do after asserting these definitions is to give the product specifications: scent and size of wipe, packaging (shape, size, design), price, additional cosmetic ingredients, etc. The specifications are derived from the different uses. It’s already fairly clear at this stage that we have two entirely different product lines.
If you don’t deal in consumer goods but in high-tech solutions, I’m certain that you are already mulling over several “buts”:
- But, but, your developers will say, we only have one code. There’s no scent, and no packaging really. Also, the various uses don’t really affect it – maybe we’ll add a small If (maximum two hours’ work). It’s still the same product! Well, think again. From a developer’s perspective, it can be the same “product” – a single code. But we’re in marketing, and we don’t really care how many different product trees R&D will have for our two products. The main thing is that we can add characteristics as we please to this or another product.
- But, but, some of the readers will say, we’re still selling both variations (for babies and women) to the same people. Very true. But let’s look for a moment at the business development and marketing processes. Should one technology or two different products be offered in these processes?
With regards to collaboration, it’s very possible that two departments in a large company will take interest in the product. The diaper department will undoubtedly think it’s an excellent product: it doesn’t compete with or replace an existing product, but rather expands the market – every company’s dream. In contrast, the cosmetics department people will have reservations: the product may compete with other products that they sell. Can their reservations sabotage a deal with the diaper department? Perhaps.
There is also another problem – the wipes for women can be priced higher, and when we meet with the two departments (and here, without even feeling it, we’re starting to sell a technology and not products), they don’t think there’s a reason why someone should pay a different price for each of the products. What will they charge the end customer? They don’t think that’s any of our business…
O.K. We get it. Then we don’t want to collaborate. We’ll go and talk to the drugstore chains. But with whom? With the one in charge of the baby products or with the one in charge of cosmetics? We’ll probably have to talk to them both.
And what about branding and advertising? Obviously, if we conclude that we have synergistic products (such as identical marketing channels) then we should take advantage of it. But first, it’s important to conduct the marketing analysis for each product separately. It may eventually become apparent that we have to market two different products:
- Wet wipes for parents of small children that enable their parents to clean up their children without water.
- Wet wipes for women that enable them to remove their make-up without water.
Focusing on a technology, instead of on a product and market, has numerous disadvantages, also in a high-tech company. It wrongly influences the division of development resources (with an emphasis on adding capabilities instead of QA and stabilization, for example). It also blurs the company’s marketing message, distorts the division of tasks within it, and may eventually affect its success. I have no doubt that many of you know of companies with such problems…
- The column was written by: Neta Weinrib, an expert on marketing technological products. Information about Neta appears
More information about marketing assistance for technological products appears
advertisement and its logic behind it
the pedal to the metal!
The logic of a product not used for its purpose has been described in this section in the
But this time, the wheelchair in the advertisement shown here, is used only as a substitute for the “real thing”
- a Harley Davidson motorcycle.
The wheelchair’s handles remind the orderly in the ad of the handlebars on his dream bike, and he “rides” behind the chair, holding the handles, sitting in a “cruising” position and fantasizing about riding along the open road.
The vivid photo has an effective and poignant slogan: Stop Dreaming. The ad calls for anyone dreaming about riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle, to do something and become a real Harley Davidson bike owner. A direct and clever message that does a great job of concretizing the desire for the iconic motorcycle
- The Harley Davidson website:
- We would be happy to receive more interesting advertisements Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Information about Creative Advertising workshops appears
here (Page 18 of a Hebrew PDF booklet).