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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Digital Transformation Challenges Hindering Customer Experience

May 15, 2018 by Mitch Duckler When it comes to digital transformation, change is constant, and it’s evolving faster than ever. The world has become far more digital, consumer expectations have changed dramatically in recent years, and so much more is technically possible today than even just five years ago. You can’t read an article or go to a conference …

10 Women in Innovation to Keynote Your Next Event

April 10, 2018 by Carla Johnson While women formed the backbone of the early days of the tech industry, that’s certainly not the case today. Apple, Facebook and Google now have a tech workforce population that’s more than 75 percent male. If we shift from looking at the employee population to founders, the view gets even more grim. While about …

How Brands are Using Artificial Intelligence in Customer Segmentation

February 6, 2018 by Mitch Duckler With another year of rapid advances, artificial intelligence (AI) was the marketing technology buzzword in 2017. And in 2018, AI and machine learning will become even more accessible to brands. AI will pave the way for marketers to laser focus on target market segments and reach customers, while attracting new prospects and leads, with highly-personalized …

Does Innovation Make a Company Innovative?

January 18, 2018 by Carla Johnson I have a client that’s proud of his new innovation center. It’s well thought out. He’s hired the best-of-the-best across the board. Design thinking is core to their innovation discipline. They bring customers in for focus groups and collaborate on product development. He’s able to deliver products that solve problems in the marketplace. But …

How Well Do You Trigger Anticipation?

January 4, 2018 by Carla Johnson When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait for Sunday nights. I grew up on a farm and work was never a 9-to-5 gig. With crops, hogs and cattle, we worked whenever work needed to be done. But Sunday nights were different. Sunday night was when we had milkshakes and grilled cheese sandwiches for …

Stuck on Words: How Can Marketing Connect With Customers Better?

December 5, 2017 by Brian Carroll How can marketers better connect with people we hope will become our customers? Over the past year, I’ve been researching why there’s such a disconnect between marketing and customers so I can understand how to bridge that gap. Why? Because right now, the trust gap between marketers and customers has never been bigger. For …

5 Steps to Help Employees Keep Pace with Digital Transformation

October 17, 2017 By Carla Johnson Every industry teeters on the verge of disruption. If you work in technology, there’s always the threat of someone younger and more nimble who can dethrone you. If you’re in an industry like financial services or healthcare, other companies may find a better way to maneuver these highly regulated industries and you’re out in …

Pitch Perfect: Why Great Ideas Fail and How to Make Sure Yours Don’t

September 7, 2017 by Carla Johnson None of us got into B2B marketing to do boring work. Let’s think about our first jobs; we were fresh out of college…a bright-eyed, 22-year old excited about changing the world. Maybe we started working for a boron mining company and we had fabulous ideas! We were going to do things that the mining …

What the GRAMMYS Can Teach B2B Marketers About Customer Experience

August 31, 2017 by Carla Johnson Beyoncé. U2. Bruce Springsteen. Tony Bennett. Yo-Yo Ma. Chick Corea. These are just a few of the thousands of music creators recognized by the GRAMMYs since its inception in 1957. And a handful of the 22 top winners in GRAMMY history. The GRAMMYs are the one night a year set aside to honor the …

7 Brutal Truths About Innovation No One Wants to Talk About

August 10, 2017 by Carla Johnson I recently shared a post on the brutal truths about creativity that no one wants to talk about, which resonated with many readers. As I’ve talked with people about creativity, they tell me that’s something they ‘aren’t.’ When I take it further get into the transition from creativity to innovation, they tell me that’s …

How Brand Purpose Drives Profit & Performance in Uncertain Times

August 3, 2017 by Carla Johnson Ancient mariners learned how to navigate by the stars for one important reason – when there was nothing else to guide their path, the stars provided an unwavering anchor against which they made decisions. Decisions that led them to destinations that took months or even years to reach. For sailors in the Northern hemisphere, …