YourEncore Insights - Consumer Goods

Leveraging Contradictions to Unlock Innovation

Posted by Mark Evans on 2/15/17 11:27 AM

Tension can be a good thing.  Resistance is how our bodies build muscle. In teams, very productive work comes from teams that value and encourage differing points of view. This idea of embracing conflict also applies to finding breakthrough solutions to the problem that an innovation team has been charged with solving.

Last week I talked about the value of innovation teams focusing first on what needs to be done. Why are we here? What function needs to be delivered by the solution? Once a team defines this “job to be done," I recommend a second step that has similar power in driving goal clarity and creativity: identifying and articulating all contradictions inherent in the stated problem. In working with a wide range of teams over the course of my 35-year career in R&D with Procter & Gamble and subsequent engagements with YourEncore clients, I’ve found this step extremely valuable in staying focused while opening the range of possible solutions to explore.

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Topics: Consumer, Innovation, R&D

The Most Important Question for Innovation Teams: Why Are We Here?

Posted by Mark Evans on 2/7/17 9:00 AM

“If I had an hour to solve a problem, I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”  --Albert Einstein

In his recent posts on innovation, Dr. Shekhar Mitra talked about the importance of the Innovation Brief, which outlines the specific focus of an innovation team’s work. It reflects the business vision and innovation strategy, while focusing on a tightly defined, clearly articulated problem to be solved.

The need to start with a defined problem sounds both obvious and simple, right? Yet over the course of my 35-year career in R&D with Procter & Gamble and subsequent engagements with YourEncore clients, I’ve found that it is easier said than done. Often, teams spring into action, tackling symptoms vs. root causes and missing the opportunity to deliver game-changing results. So how do you get to the heart of the matter and craft a powerful problem statement that both focuses and frees your innovation team to discover breakthrough solutions?

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Topics: Innovation

6 Critical Thinking Techniques to Spur Innovation & Problem Solving

Posted by George Deckner on 1/25/17 10:00 AM

 

Last week I wrote about the importance of challenging paradigms to achieve breakthrough innovation. Once an innovation brief or problem statement has been clearly articulated, there is a tendency for those charged with finding “the answer” to spring into action. By nature, most people are action-oriented; thinking is not a visible activity and, therefore, often not perceived to be “productive”. I contend, however, that critically thinking through the goal, assumptions, and challenges of the current situation is one of the most important, and productive, steps in the innovation process.

Critical thinking is a self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective mode of thinking — about any subject, content, or problem. Great innovators use critical thinking to analyze, assess, deconstruct, and reconstruct alternative solutions. Over the course of my career developing and commercializing new platform technologies at P&G and Charles of the Ritz, I’ve found several techniques that work well to strengthen and leverage critical thinking skills. Here are six that I use to push the boundaries:

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Topics: Innovation

Creating Spontaneous Combustion for Innovation

Posted by George Deckner on 1/19/17 12:00 PM

In recent posts, Shekhar Mitra shared the new model of innovation that is now driving breakthrough success. Essential to this model is bringing together teams with diverse backgrounds, expertise, creativity, and collaboration skills to tackle a clearly defined innovation brief. In my 40 years developing and commercializing new platform technologies for the leading brands in skincare, fragrance and oral care at P&G and Charles of the Ritz, I’ve identified some common traits of successful innovation teams. Like spontaneous combustion, truly breakthrough innovation happens when all the essential elements are present: oxygen, fuel, and heat.

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5 Key Themes From Our Experts in 2016

Posted by YourEncore on 12/15/16 2:40 PM

Throughout 2016, YourEncore Consumer Goods Experts have shared their experiences and perspectives on a host of topics, including knowledge management, innovation, visual demonstration, FSMA implementation, supply chain optimization, problem solving, consumer insights, productivity improvement, and margin management. We recently looked back at these blog posts and discovered that they share five common themes, regardless of the specific topic or discipline being addressed. As you wind down 2016 and head into 2017, we urge you to consider how these concepts can be applied to your business situation. We expect them to be increasingly relevant in the year ahead.

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Topics: Consumer, Innovation, Insights, R&D, Sales

Reinventing Innovation: 5 Keys for Success

Posted by Shekhar Mitra, Ph.D. on 11/29/16 8:00 AM

In my previous blog, I discussed the new model of innovation that is emerging. Companies of all sizes are leveraging both external and internal resources and processes in new and creative ways to accelerate innovation with greater in-market success. This week, I’ll share five keys for successfully reinventing innovation within your organization.

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Topics: Consumer, Innovation

Reinventing Innovation for the New Normal

Posted by Shekhar Mitra, Ph.D. on 11/16/16 8:00 AM

Innovation is essential for sustainable revenue and profit growth and, most importantly for every enterprise and brand, to remain relevant to today's consumers and customers. More and more, however, it seems that innovation is easier said than done, particularly for larger consumer goods companies. In fact, the biggest innovation threat to some of the leading companies and brands comes not from their traditional large company peers and rivals. Rather, it comes from nimble, creative individuals and smaller companies who embrace experimentation, look outside their four walls for ideas and resources they are lacking, and engage them when and where they are needed. These companies are reinventing innovation from the outside in, and reaping great rewards.

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Topics: Consumer, Innovation

Knowledge Management: How to Become a Learning Organization

Posted by Brian M. Moon on 11/1/16 10:30 AM

Our first two blogs in this Knowledge Management series demonstrated the imperatives for knowledge management, introduced approaches for eliciting expertise, and suggested methods for leveraging it to accelerate expertise in others. With this final installment, we turn our attention to the necessity of readying the organization and its culture for implementing such guidance in order to become a Learning Organization (LO). 

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Topics: Consumer

Knowledge Management: For Maximum ROI, Focus on Your Expertise MVPs

Posted by Brian M. Moon on 10/25/16 9:20 AM

Professional sports teams recognize certain athletes who are not only the best players on their teams but also serve as the lynchpin around which the team can build their "franchise" for years to come. They designate these athletes as “franchise players”. High performance organizations include similar performers, “franchise experts”, around whom innovation swirls and on whom profits depend. Over the course of my career developing and implementing knowledge management programs for leading companies and brands, I’ve found that maximum ROI is achieved when special attention is focused on these Franchise Experts.

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Topics: Consumer

Knowledge Management: Do We Know What We Know?

Posted by Leslie J. Morgan, Ph.D. on 10/19/16 8:15 AM

Do we know what we know? What?? Knowledge is information in action that delivers value. With the churn of right-sizing, reorganizing, relocating, and retirement, the knowledge, insight and wisdom of internal experts often, quite literally, walks out the door. How can company leadership make sure that the information that resides in the heads of departing employees, their Expert sum of experience, is recognized and available to the organization in perpetuity? What can a business do when an engineer with 30 years of experience prepares for retirement? How do they secure continuity of knowledge despite disruptive changes? Through Knowledge Management, which starts with knowledge capture and transfer. Over the course of my 25 years as a scientist, project manager, and consultant, I’ve facilitated over 30 knowledge captures, primarily from departing experts. I’ve found that a learning culture, proactive knowledge management processes, and the skill to tap into the Experts’ knowledge is critical to insuring that the specialized, unique knowledge of experienced professionals continues to provide value, even after they leave.

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Topics: Consumer