What’s Your Key Innovation Metric?

To somehow follow-up on yesterday’s post, another question that I find extremely revealing about the strategy of any company is: what’s your key innovation metric?

Here again, no room for big formulas or complex constructions. If you have to gauge if your company is doing well on innovation, what would you look at and measure? The intent is not to ask a trick a question. That being said, the question packs a deep context:

  • What does innovation mean to you?
  • How do you define « doing well »?
  • Do you have a global or a symptomatic metric?
  • Over what cycle or at what frequency are you measuring?
  • Are you giving a lagging, on-going or leading metric?

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Technology Subversion Means You’ve Made it

Every new startup or tech company that enters a market faces the risk that it will be hacked and its technology subverted beyond its goal.

Frustrated Tesla owners openly repair and hack their own cars:

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You’re not competing on products

A powerful statement from Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie FILS-AIME about what business they are in, and who they are competing against:

He counted the exact number of minutes per day and said that outside of the time a consumer spends eating, sleeping, working, and going to school, “all of the rest of that time is entertainment time. That’s what I compete for, minute by minute. That time you spend surfing the Web, watching a movie, watching a telecast of a conference: that’s all entertainment time we’re competing for. My competitive set is much bigger than my direct competitors in Sony and Microsoft. I compete for time. When I do that, I have to be creative and innovative in order to win that battle.” — Ars Technica interview, Oct. 3, 2018

Granted this is not just PR material, it’s a very educated positioning and explanation on the fact they don’t sell products, games or electronics. The end value of Nintendo is entertainment. Which means they compete as directly with Netflix, as they do with Microsoft or Sony. And as such matching feature for feature with other gaming consoles is not the end game, but rather a short-sighted trap.

Ask yourself: in what business are you in? How can you bring added value? And only then consider what product you would need to achieve your goal.

Interview – A Community Builder Playing the Long Game at BNP Paribas

In this fourth interview of transformation leader, I was delighted to meet Sophie Delmas, head of partnerships at l’Atelier BNP Paribas. L’Atelier is dedicated to prospective and market intelligence, working mainly as internal consultant for the bank. They sell their advice internally, and Sophie’s role is to define the needs and help promote the Atelier’s know-hows. Sophie also co-founded with Orange the “Observatoire des réseaux sociaux d’entreprises”, dedicated to sharing about Digital Transformation and Innovation between CAC 40 companies. It appeared very clearly from my exchanges with her that she strongly believed in the power of networks and collaboration.

“Why business partnership, because we are in increasingly open and porous environments and we cannot work alone, so it is key to value a whole network of internal and external connections in order to transform ideas into businesses by accompanying projects.”

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Interview – A Pragmatic Pioneer with a Portfolio Approach at Thales AVS

So here is the third interview in the Transformation Leaders series. After a digital intrapreneur at AIRBUS and a business transformation executive at ATOS, I have interviewed François Fournier, Digital Business Leader at Thales.

François is an avid learner who wanted to become an aircraft pilot. As he couldn’t, he found his way closest possible to the cockpit via engineering studies specializing in avionics and developed his career in SEXTANT Avionique and then THALES AVS. 

“I love to learn and when I think I’ve sufficiently explored a subject either there is a new opportunity or I go look for new opportunity and in a large corporation it is easy to find.”

For François, transformation, is of course about digital but more about being in-transformation, it is about growth (business and people) and it is about innovation as a culture, about learning and sharing knowledge. What struck me during our discussions was: his clear vision of what transformation is, how it is helping his organisation become more intelligent and his portfolio approach to innovation.

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Weak signals and innovation

Your innovation culture is as good as you are at holding two opinions at the same time on weak signals, until they are sorted out by the market. This implies that you monitor weak signals. This also implies you know how to form opinions about them and are not afraid of dissensus. It’s always a tall order.

Interview – A digital intrapreneur breaking silos at Airbus

For this first in the series of interviews of Transformation Leaders, I interviewed, at Airbus’ Leadership University, Laurent Fradin, Digital Transformation Leader, from the newly created Digital Transformation Office at Airbus.

“[We got the] digital wave in our face… [let’s] surf the wave…”

He calls himself a “communication guy” and has been a digital pioneer bringing new audio visual technologies, intranet, website, client portals to Airbus Communication Department since the 80’s. For Laurent Fradin, digital is key to succeed in the next transformations of the business to support new ways of working, but it is in no way the “alfa and the omega”. According to him, and I couldn’t agree more, it is more about culture and mindset change than about the tools and technologies. And he says it quite clearly: “[it is] more an Airbus transformation powered by digital than digital transformation for the sake of digital”.

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Digital is Over for Europe, Now What?

I was presenting a keynote called “Digital Is Over” last week in France. The key discussion was that France (let’s say Europe at this point) had largely missed the digital revolution, but that this is not the end of the world. With just a big “IF”. It’s not the end of the world, if Europe faces the reality of digital markets dominated by US companies, if Europe stops pretending to have the most and the best startups on the planet, and a few other things…

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We are innovation copilots

We are a consulting agency working with startups and multinationals in Europe and Asia. If you want to deliver effective innovations, we can help refocus your culture, weaponize your team and spark gentle revolutions.

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Transformation Leaders Interviews

In transforming an organisation, so it can evolve with its time, there is never a one-size-fits-all method or tool. Each transformation leader has to grasp many variables, from strategic intent to environmental context, from the company’s cultural aspects to original organisation’s DNA. Any impactful transformation starts with driven leaders within who understand and live the challenges of change, whilst being concerned by the necessity of strategic effectiveness. Each experience being a source of learning, I endeavour to share such transformative stories whether considered as successes or not, in order to inspire, teach, and develop leaders’ complexity intelligence.

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