Innovation

Louis Patler - “DISRUPTIVE” INNOVATION: EASIER TO DEFINE THAN “DO”!

Louis Patler - “DISRUPTIVE” INNOVATION: EASIER TO DEFINE THAN “DO”!

In Soren Kaplan’s book, Leapfrogging, he correctly says “Here’s the issue:  Disruptive innovation isn’t how innovation works in the real world when you’re in the process of doing it – only in retrospect by storytellers.” He rightly argues that you don’t set out to be “disruptive,” you set out to make something innovative. The scale and impact of that innovation is determined in the marketplace and only history will determine if the innovation was a game-changer.

Louis Patler - Disruptive Simplicity - Getting Beyond the False Dichotomy of Strategic vs. Design Thinking

Louis Patler - Disruptive Simplicity - Getting Beyond the False Dichotomy of Strategic vs. Design Thinking

As one who has been immersed in and researching innovation for three decades I have become enough of a curmudgeon to know when things rub me the wrong way.  For me, that rub comes from perspectives that are more of a barrier to innovation than an enabler.

Louis Patler - Case Studies using Innovating for Results- Part 4

Louis Patler - Case Studies using Innovating for Results

Client # 3: The Gap

 Training Challenge:

The Results:

Managers immediately began using IFR terms, skills and tools in their daily work. In fact, the impact at the managerial level was so striking that The Gap promptly launched plans to extend the program to its 1700 stores worldwide. Convinced IFR would dramatically help boost the ability to reach their three-year goal, the company made the program a key tool in their push for growth.

For example, one of the outcomes of the IFR workshop was taking a fresh look at the layout of Gap stores. As a result of the workshop several changes in shelving strategies, product placement and sales counters were implemented in all stores.

Client Comment:

 “This has been one of the most impactful and positive programs we’ve ever run. Management immediately saw the performance payoff if we spread IFR through the organization quickly enough.”


IFR is the newly released and expanded version of “Break-It! Thinking.”

Louis Patler - Case Studies using Innovating for Results - Part 2

CASE STUDIES FROM OUR ARCHIVES* 

I was recently asked to blog about some of the successful consulting and training projects I have been involved with over the last two decades. There are many, but I will start with four of my favorites representing a range of industries. Below is an overview of Project #2.

Client # 2: Sybase (now SAP)

Client Need:

As a successful company experiencing rapid growth in an industry that typifies the unrelenting need for change, Sybase was faced with the challenge of continuous reinvention and renewal. With competition increasing daily, complacency could be lethal. Instead of resting on the laurels of the past, they wanted their people to develop a mindset of continuous innovation and change.

 Innovation was identified as one of the five core employee development training areas, part of what was called “Sybasics.” To Sybase, innovation meant more than technical know-how. Management realized that future sustainable success would require creating an environment capable of continuously finding new and viable ways to apply their expertise. 

Training Challenge: 

Recognizing the critical role Sybase managers play in their success, they created a managers’ development program entitled “Sybase Film.” This entailed bringing in 150 of their 600 managers together each quarter throughout the year for three days of training. The first year of Film was focused on Innovation, Leadership and Management, with a day allocated to each topic.

Training Solution:

Sybase chose the one-day version of IFR to lay the foundation for creating an environment of continuous innovation. IFR was adapted to meet Sybase’s specific training needs re innovation, as well as customized to integrate with the other two days. 

The Results:

Reaction to the training was overwhelmingly positive.

With nearly 400 managers trained in IFR, the Sybase Film sequence was successfully launched. 

As a result, Sybase expanded a training curriculum and made it available to all employees under the name of “Sybase Café.”

Sybase’s national marketing manager was so impressed with IFR that he is training all his sales people as well.

Client Comment:

“Innovation is the lifeblood of our business, and IFR keeps it flowing. We’re delighted with the way the program enhances our creativity and ability to compete.”


Louis Patler - Case Studies using Innovating for Results - Part 1

CASE STUDIES FROM OUR ARCHIVES* 

I was recently asked to blog about some of the successful consulting and training projects I have been involved with over the last two decades. There are many, but I will start with four of my favorites representing a range of industries. Below is an overview of Project #1. 

Client # 1: Bank of America

Client Need:

Faced with increasing customer expectations, advances in technology, and mergers within their industry, the President of their retail division set out to define what it means to be a bank in the 21st century. He wanted customers walking into B of A branch offices to feel like they had stepped into a Nordstrom’s department store rather than a typical large bank. Everyone at B of A would need to become customer service and sales focused, in that order.

B of A wanted its branch managers to think and operate with a true entrepreneurial mindset. The goal was to get everyone in the bank, from managers to tellers, acting like independent business owners instead of bureaucrats in a financial institution. To help branch managers understand this transformation, B of A adopted a “franchise management” training initiative. “The branches are to think of themselves as ‘franchise stores’ with certain corporate parameters, policy and budgetary constraints, but also with an imperative to make risk-taking, innovative decisions within the latitude granted them.” 

Training Challenge:

This fundamental transformation in thinking and behaving would take more than simply training managers in the “tactics” of franchise management if it were to be successful. After all, these were financial analysts, and MBA’s, not sales and customer service people. Most branch managers had worked for years and had an established mental model. Resistance to a new paradigm would be high. B of A would need help to achieve this paradigm shift with their managers.  

Training Solution: 

B of A selected Innovating for Results  (IFR) for a three-day franchise management training program designed to help managers understand why radical change was needed and to gain the necessary thinking skills to embrace it.  

The first step was to bring regional and district managers together and introduce them to this new vision for the branches. Anticipating the natural resistance to change, IFR was introduced at this level before going to the local branches. Next, a pilot program was done for 180 branch managers in Arizona. Given the late October (I.e. Halloween) timeframe, and after discussions with senior executives planning the event, manager-attendees were asked to come to the pilot dressed outrageously. Imagine a room full of managers dressed in scuba diving gear, pyjamas, hunting garb, and more! IFR immediately set a tone that change was fun and positive. 

After the pilot, customized adjustments were made to IFR to maximize the impact for B of A managers and employees and to fully integrate IFR with broader Franchise Management Training. In addition, in-house B of A trainers learned to facilitate IFR training.

With the customized IFR and in-house trainers in place, 3,000 branch managers were trained in less than three months. 

The Results:

The conventional banker mindset was rapidly replaced with an entrepreneurial one, facilitated by IFR training. 

New ideas are given more life and are not “firehosed”, allowing for greater innovation and efficiency. 

Long-standing barriers created by archaic policies and procedures were reviewed and in many cases removed or modified to better serve the customer.

Operations managers faced similar issues were trained in sales management, and elements of IFR were added to their two-day sales management course.

Customer Service Managers requested that a one-day IFR training be developed to focus on helping employees to be more innovative at problem solving.

Client Comment:

“IFR has been a tremendous catalyst in helping our people find a new way to think about our future. It has given us the foundation we need to transform our organization from it’s conventional, conservative past to a more innovative entrepreneurial future.”


* IFR is the newly released and expanded version of “Break-It! Thinking.”