3 Steps to Map (and Improve) Corporate Culture

August 29, 2019 Last week I was in Singapore to give a workshop and speak at the B2B Marketing Forum. I enjoy talking to marketers from all parts of the world and in all industries, because each person has a perspective that teaches me something new. One thing that bubbles up in conversations is the culture of the companies in …

Is Your CX an Awkwardly Long Hug?

August 8, 2019 Everyone’s grumbling about customer experience getting worse. Is it our imagination? Nope. It’s a real thing. At least that’s the findings from a report from Oracle and Customer Experience Expert Jeanne Bliss. The new study, One Size Doesn’t Fit All, highlights the lousy experience consumers have with brands. In fact, 82% give brands the thumbs down. Tapping …

7 Ways to Build a Culture of Learning

July 25, 2019 LinkedIn research says that nearly every employee would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development. And younger employees – millennials and gen Zs – say the chance to learn and grow is the top thing that inspires them and makes them want to work harder. In fact, this group gives learning …

5 Missed Opportunities for Storytelling

July 11, 2019 Storytelling is everywhere in your company, whether you realize it or not. Marketers are getting the hang of it in their own domain, but miss opportunities to tell stories behind the scenes in every company. Here are the top five that people miss most often: 1. Brand values Your values aren’t window dressing, they’re the ethos for …

Questions or Full Stops

June 13, 2019 There’s an ever-widening gap between what’s natural to us as children and what’s taught into us through the educational system and corporate culture. American author, educator, media theorist and cultural critic, Neil Postman says “children enter school as question marks and leave as full stops.” The same thing happens to employees as they enter the work world. …

How to Build a Culture of Original Thinkers

May 30, 2019 Disruptive innovation celebrates the renegade brands that take an industry by storm. Other companies sit on the sidelines watching with envy as they grab market share and generate incredulous revenue. “Why can’t we be like them?” they ask. People believe true innovators are a rare breed. But in reality, most people are original thinkers. They just need …

Which Type of Employee Are You?

May 16, 2019 In 1968, the deputy director for NASA came to George Land with a problem. Land was a general systems scientist who founded a research and consulting institute to study the enhancement of creative performance. The deputy director told Land that they had a lot of smart people working for them, but they needed a way to root …

Is Management the Enemy of Innovation?

May 2, 2019 A couple of weeks ago I spoke at a conference in Stockholm, Sweden about how to bring new ideas into an organization. At the end, a woman in the audience raised her hand and asked a question: What do you do when management kills your great idea? Hands down, when I talk about innovation and how to …

How to Find Insights

April 5, 2019 Hiero was a tyrant who believed that his goldsmith was cheating him. He didn’t know how to prove it – he suspected the goldsmith was swapping out gold with silver – so he hired Archimedes, a local mathematician and engineer, to prove it for him.   This was an important assignment. The object in questions was a …

Learning Through Looking

March 14, 2019 We spend most of our days tuning out the world. But, if you put down your phone, take out your earbuds and look around, you can find massive inspiration for anything you need. All you have to do is learn how to observe. When we’re kids, we notice everything around us. We paid attention to the smallest …

How to Set Objectives

February 28, 2019 Now that business has moved into the digital world we’re able to measure and predict things like never before. This makes a lot of marketers very uneasy. Marketing’s long been given a hall pass when it comes to accountability. There’s a lot of things we do that, in the past, were impossible to measure. I remember sitting …

Who Owns Innovation?

February 14, 2019 It’s not easy to create an innovation track record like Amazon or Google. But companies that hope to outperform their competitors and shake up their industries are pouring money into innovation programs – labs, hubs and design thinking tanks. But are they successful? Several years ago Booz & Co. (now part of PwC) conducted a Global Innovation 1000 report. …

How to Conduct a Brand Transplant

January 31, 2019 There’s a story of a young boy who showed great promise as an artist. His father, an art teacher himself, sent the boy to schools to hone his talent through rigid academic exercises. A natural finesse had him easily mastering difficult techniques. Instructors entered his work in competitions against more established artists and the student quickly gained the attention …

Why You Have Brand Detachment Disorder

January 17, 2019 In the world of great ideas, there’s iconic brands that get all the credit. Take LEGO, for example. This is a company that sells little rectangular pieces of plastic. But they consistently churn out great idea after great idea. Go to their website and besides ordering products, you can build things, share them with friends and watch videos. Five …

4 Archetypes of Innovators

January 3, 2019 When I give talks or workshops about how to bring new ideas into a company, one of the first things people ask me is how their company compares to other businesses. They’re curious about where they fall on the innovation spectrum. This is how I explain it to them. Who’s allowed to contribute When it comes to innovation, I …

Where Great Ideas Come From

December 21, 2018 One of the biggest complaints I hear from leaders is, “My team never comes to me with new ideas.” They chide. They coax. And they coerce. But…nothing. How can that be? These are the same employees who, their first six months on the job, constantly stood in the doorway of their boss’ office with a slew of …

The 10 Functions of Storytelling

June 12, 2018 by Carla Johnson Storytelling gets too much credit and not enough appreciation. And that’s because people don’t really understand it, much less how to use it. Storytelling comes down to two things – connection and engagement. And when we look at it from this perspective, we have many more opportunities to use storytelling to create influence, affect …

Customers are Key to Innovation

May 29, 2018 By Carla Johnson Lynn Bonge was a larger-than-life executive with a scant shock of salt-and-pepper hair who grew up in a small Nebraska town not far from where I did. Twenty years my senior, Lynn had an enviable reputation in the architecture industry for the wacky ideas he brought to the table and how, somehow, he got …