MN AMA – Springboards for Innovation: Going Beyond the Product

MN AMA January Monthly Meeting was as exciting and thought provoking as anticipated.  

A new and very useful element of the meeting was a few minutes of “organized networking.” We were lucky to have a networking coach – Susan Stoen from Spoken Impact  – one of valued AMA sponsors. As a part of the “organized networking,” we had to produce our own “30 seconds commercial” for our neighbors at the table. 

Oops… I realized that I actually did not have one…  I was ready to pitch AMA or Toastmasters club, I was ready to discuss the industry, but I could not tell what I was actually doing at work… Great point!  Now I understand why some people from other departments at work don’t quite know what I am doing exactly besides serving as a passionate industry evangelist…

 FoodI will have something coherent by the next meeting…  But despite my self-promoting clumsiness, the “organized networking” provided me with more business cards of fellow AMA members than I ever managed to collect. Also, this part of the program kept me from the third plate of wonderful free food at the event. By the way, this is a picture of my second plate…yummmmm…  🙂

The innovation presentation and discussion was spectacular. Mary Poul, Business Development Manager, 3M Healthcare and Rita Shor, Shor Enterprises, LLC and former 3M Innovator demonstrated different approaches to innovation. It was very pleasant to see two leaders cooperating seamlessly in the process of the presentation. Mary and Rita seemed to know each other so well, that they could work together, rather than splitting the presentation into individually owned pieces. Attendees of the event also received the copy of the PowerPoint.

We not only looked at tools that can facilitate the innovation, but also tried a couple of examples from different industries. Unfortunately, my personal quirks limited any innovative ideas I could contribute. We were trying to innovate in the movie rental business and the wine industry (my family don’t own a TV, and we also don’t drink any alcohol) 🙂  However, it was very entertaining to follow the discussion at our table and hear “innovations” from other parts of the room.

Takeaways that we can use now:

  • Thinking about innovation as a business approach rather than only a product characteristic.  Doblin 10  – Ten types of innovation
  • Thinking about value innovation rather than just innovation.  Is the new feature valued by customers or just marginally useful for them?
  • Blue Ocean Strategy Thinking about innovation as a business approach that needs to look at the “big picture” and take market/competition into consideration. Blue Ocean Strategy Value curves suggests plotting principal factors of an industry on x axis and level of offering by the company on the y axis. To be innovative, the company’s offer must be different from “me too” approach in the industry, and the company’s offer also need to be valuable for the customers.
  • Thinking about “beyond the company” innovation. The resources available in the company may not be sufficient; the Internet allows tapping into the “long tail” of innovation by the industry. Interesting, though it was not mentioned at the presentation, a marketing idea web site was just released in January – BootB  It provides creative briefs in a dozen of languages, including two that I speak, and offers anybody to suggest a creative solution that can be used by companies. The “price tag” of each creative idea is also available – hey, we can try our marketing creativity!  🙂

Two books were mentioned at the meeting:

Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

I am on the page 131!    This is probably one of “must read” for anybody interested in business.

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
I just read an introduction…  This one is next. 🙂

The food at the event was absolutely magnificent – as you can see by my full second plate 🙂