Innovate – A customer-focused innovation model

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Strategic leaders must not get consumed by the operational and tactical side of their work. They have a duty to find time to shape the future.

– Stephanie S. Mead, CMOE

As the world is changing at an increasing speed, learning and innovation faster than competition is the only long-term sustainable competitive advantage. Innovation is a huge topic with many books written about it, and I have no ambition of covering it in full. That said, in this post I’ll go through an innovation model that ensures you put people first and use digital technology only as the means to improve people’s lives, not the end itself.

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Welcome to the learning revolution

I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.

– Louisa May Alcott

In this rapidly changing world, the idea of first going to school to learn, to then go to work to work, will change dramatically over the coming years. Lifelong learning is already a concept on many people’s lips, and it’s an area that will develop a lot during the years to come, as more and more people and organizations will realize that it’s not an option to stop learning. Ever.

It’s safe to say that it’s time for a learning revolution, and in this post we will look at what learning is, how to create a culture of curiosity as the foundation for organizational learning, and finally how to create above-and-beyond learning plans for every individual as well as for the company as a whole.

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Do you as a company leader know how your industry will make the world better? If not, why not?

Try to leave the Earth a better place than when you arrived.

– Sidney Sheldon

Are you a leader in a company? As a CEO, department/team leader or something else? If so, how do you plan to make your industry create a better world for people? If you can’t articulate this, where are you leading people and why? I mean, don’t you think this is the most important part of your job? If no, what is? If yes, what’s the plan? These are very important questions that too few leaders ask themselves too seldom.

Many leaders in business, politics and other parts of society come together over the summer to discuss important questions. I struggle to find a more important question than how to make the world a better place. It may sound too big and perhaps a bit too lofty, but it’s really not.

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Have a meaningful mission and tell the story

“When 6,000 students at the beginning of their career have been asked where they prefer to work Google is number one. The reason? The company is best in explaining why it exist.” […] “IKEA is number two in the study that is made by Academic Work and the market research company TNS Sifo. Like Google, IKEA gets credited for their clarity around their purpose.”

– Svenska Dagbladet (, June 26 2015

I’ve written about this before, but surprisingly few companies are good at telling the story about why they exist. Most companies actually don’t tell any story at all. Why is this? Today there is a lot of indications showing that having a meaningful purpose/mission is one of the main factors of attracting, retaining and motivating top-talent. It also guides innovation and all activities in a company in the same direction. Still most companies do so little in this area. Why?

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A coaching guide for a rapidly changing world

The world is changing at an increasing speed, and with that comes more demands on leadership to keep up. To simplify I’ve created this coaching guide for a rapidly changing world. As with everything else it’s not exhaustive, but aims to guide the light towards the most important things. These are 1) being clear about the mission towards which to guide all efforts, 2) knowing what the toolbox of emerging technologies looks like (capability), and 3) innovating towards the mission using all available tools.

So, try using this coaching guide towards peers, managers, direct reports and partners to see where it takes you. Have fun!

Tech Overview for CEOs

Looking at digitalization of industries, it will be increasingly challenging for leaders at all levels to know little to nothing about what technology can do for them. Therefore I have put together a first draft of a non-exhaustive Tech Overview for CEOs of some of the most rapidly emerging technologies such as Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Computer Vision and 3D Printing. My advice would be for you to read/look at/listen to something every week linked to emerging technologies. After 3 months you will have step-changed your understanding of what technology can do for your business.


Digitalization simplified

This article isn’t trying to be fully exhaustive on digitalization in all its glory even though it’s the longest article on BrandBlast to date. The goals with this article are to 1) provide an easy-to-use thought framework that you can apply to any digitalization work in your company, and 2) pick a couple of insights from each part of the framework where we go a bit deeper to make it meaningful and actionable. As this article is rather long, here comes a summary:

Use the CCC framework for digitalization:

  • Core – Be clear about the mission with your business and pretend that you would start your business today using all amazing digital technology available – how would you do it? That’s how you digitalize your business model, and what start-ups do every day. This said, the point about being clear about your objectives is equally applicable to subparts of digitalization. Why do you want to have a new IT system? Why do you want to train people in social media? Why do you want to start with programmatic marketing? Being clear about why will help you do the right thing.
  • Capability – Ensure you have and continuously build the right capabilities. You do this by creating a culture of curiosity in your company and complement it with a corporate and individual learning plans.
  • Change – Ensure you always Optimize and Innovation across all areas of your business. Have a weekly optimization meeting with a small loop team to lead progress. Innovate by taking any big problem in your business, brainstorm radical solutions and add digital technology to see which ones you can make amazing. If you are a big company, break out a group of your best people with the brief to put you out of business using digital technology.

As always, keep it simple, think BIG and have fun!

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