Publications by

liana

Liana Asuleen

Liana enjoys threading together the worlds of innovation, psychology, and public health. Having studied both psychology and public health, she enjoys discovering patterns that occur both individually and in society. She loves to travel, practice yoga, read, and write.

The Paradigm Shift in Education – SIT China’s Perspective

Published on: July 14, 2019 в 11:28 am

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Since entering the Chinese market in 2014, SIT China has conducted more than 50 Innovative Thinking training sessions in the education world. Many of the sessions were sparked by a paradigm shift occurring in the educational sphere; the deep-rooted belief that educators should solely provide content knowledge to students is being reevaluated and replaced by the idea that educators should additionally empower students with life and learning skills. Moreover, the integration of new technologies and access to unlimited information is disrupting the traditional role and purpose of schooling.

I find it important to discuss the general concepts that have repeated in most activities, as I find them applicable to the global educational landscape.

In general, our activities have helped participants—whether it’s staff, principals, teachers or teachers’ teachers—understand that now is the best time to update, challenge, change and improve their schools’ current practices and objectives. The critical role that an innovative thinking mindset plays was stressed as was the importance of identifying and breaking the cognitive barriers that prevent the discovery of new opportunities. Once this general framework was established, participants were taught relevant SIT tools and principles to apply to their roles with the objective of developing new ideas or solutions that can provide value to students, teachers, schools and society.

Our training sessions focus on the 13 topics that are most relevant to today’s education landscape

  1. Developing students’/ teachers’ innovative thinking skills
  2. Enhancing class formats to create a more engaging and interactive environment
  3. Altering teaching formats
  4. Redesigning tests
  5. Creating new ways to evaluate students
  6. Finding ways to develop life-long learners
  7. Enhancing students’ curiosity and reading habits
  8. Introducing more opportunities for students to collaborate/express themselves
  9. Changing homework tasks and dealing with the No Homework for Primary Schools’ guideline
  10. Integrating moral education
  11. Building a collaborative environment among teachers and administration (less authoritative and more consolatory)
  12. Modifying and refining administrative tasks
  13. Improving communication with parents

A Few Examples of Our Work

Principals’ Training Program

We recently held a training program for 40 primary school principals, during which we focused on the changing role of educators and the recent paradigm shift discussed above (i.e. students are no longer solely provided content knowledge, instead educators also develop students’ life and learning skills).

The benefits of Learn by Play were explored while participants engaged in a playful, interactive learning experience. As a part of the process, participants reflected on their experiences and wrote their reflections on a piece of paper. A quasi-snowball fight then ensued; participants transformed their pieces of paper into paper balls and threw them at one another. Afterwards, they teamed up to discuss their reflections and, by doing so, developed a deeper understanding of each other’s thought processes.

One of the most stimulating parts of the program was on the topic of how to enhance students’ curiosity to read.  Hebrew children’s books were divvied out to the Chinese participants, who then broke into teams in order to collectively use their creative skills to generate a story to correspond with the illustrations. This activity allowed them to sense the power of group work and encouraged them to be more attentive to each other’s ideas. By giving participants hands-on experience, it was easy for them to reflect on the positive impact such an activity could have on students’ learning and life skills, while also enhancing their curiosity to read a book. Following this activity, participants applied SIT tools to this topic, which brought about one of my favorite ideas of the training—a school guard could greet children in the morning

dressed up as a character from a book, encouraging students to search for the particular book around the school and, of course, read it. Once this idea was generated, it unleashed a wave of similar ideas about additional activities the school can hold to support a book “Scavenger Hunt”.

The training then segued into “How to Assess?”. If teaching and learning formats are changed, student assessment tools must likewise be changed.  For example, should only a student’s level of knowledge be measured, or should their progress also be measured? Can their group work be assessed; how well they support each other; their contribution to the group’s creative energy? These questions opened the eyes of participants and triggered more inquiries, which all challenged the current assessment landscape.

World Education Summit for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

SIT China participated in The World Education Summit for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (WESIE) in Shenzhen on the March 23rd, 2019.  It was a large event for 500-600 participants, mostly parents, educators and individuals from private educational institutions. WESIE is an initiative created by Einstein, a local Chinese education company whose aim is to integrate Israeli educational methods and practices in China.

During the event, Yaacov Hecht, the founder of Democratic schools in Israel, held an inspiring session highlighting the power of students taking responsibility and ownership over their learning process. Several Chinese innovators in the education world shared their efforts. One important initiative regards expanding education to rural China via online classes for students of all ages, offering a wider diversity of topics and access to experienced teachers.

SIT shared several examples of how to create meaningful learning experiences from students’ daily activities. For example, when going to the supermarket, one can practice writing the shopping list, reading the food labels, calculating the costs, planning the budget, comparing colors and shapes (for younger kids) and so much more. Taking advantage of these activities could contribute to children’s self-motivation to learn and explore outside of the classroom and take advantage of the learning opportunities all around them.

Two-Day Innovative Thinking Program

 

Since we believe teaching innovation skills is valuable in any educational context, we are currently devising a two-day innovative thinking program to be marketed to schools across China. Each program can be catered to a specific school’s needs in order to create a custom-designed program that complements their existing educational framework and provides support in the areas they seek improvement. All the trainings include the basic module of understanding Innovative Thinking and its relevance to their job function and world, and each school subsequently can select, from the list of 13 topics, additional topics they wish to cover.

Changing Innovation Landscape

The education landscape is ever changing. And though some might say it is impossible to predict the future, trends reveal that a teacher’s traditional role of only encouraging students to acquire a core standardized body of knowledge is no longer the standard. The role of the educator is expanding, and teachers, students, and schools must adjust to this new reality. The topics presented in this blog only graze the surface of topics in which one can innovate in the educational world. By developing new methods for those educating our youth, the millions of new students entering schools across the globe every year can take part in a meaningful learning journey, which capitalizes on current technology and gives them the necessary knowledge, support, and tools needed to navigate the deep waters of our changing world.

Common Innovation Myths & Blind Spots

Published on: April 21, 2019 в 2:03 pm

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Innovation is a nascent discipline and, as such, very few of its “truths” and tenets have had the opportunity to mature and to brave the test of time. Less diplomatically, one can say that much of what is said about innovation is not worth the flip-chart paper it is written on. Strangely enough, even though the topic is so new, some common views have already attained the status of myths, which makes it a bit difficult to unseat them and thus avoid some of the damage that these beliefs cause in organizations.

This third installment of our series from the Behind the Scenes of Corporate Innovation meetup, co-hosted with 3M, focuses on some of these corporate myths. Why? Because becoming aware of their existence and their effect is an important first step in ridding oneself of their effect.

The myths are divided into buckets, each placed under the relevant element from our 7 Elements Model.

Skills

Myth #1: Artists are creative. Engineers, accountants and bureaucrats are not.

Alternative: Look around you – most innovations you will see were invented and designed by engineers.

It is commonly assumed that some of us have the innovation gift while others simply don’t, rendering them incapable of innovating.

This is incorrect and, in addition to academic research, we have 23 years of experience in the field to prove it. The truth is that skills and processes that lead to innovation can be taught. Everyone can significantly improve their skills, regardless of their baseline.

 

Governance

Myth #2: Innovation cannot be measured

Alternative: ROI – Return on Innovation, absolutely must be measured, otherwise no serious innovation effort will be sustained in the organization.

To many, innovation is amorphous and mysterious and thus can be difficult to measure and monitor. There is even a fear that measurement itself can stifle innovation. This is true, but only if the wrong indicators are used at the wrong time. That’s why it’s important to clearly define what the organization means by innovation. Once there is a clear definition, it is possible and crucial to measure your ROI, although the way to do it is not always straightforward.

 

Outcomes

Myth #3: Innovation is mostly about creating products or services.

Alternative: Innovation can and should be applied to every aspect of your business.

We advocate an innovation mindset, not merely to create new products and services, but to “innovate in what you do”. If applied in a structured way, using appropriate tools, any task or process can be innovated on, to improve results and achieve goals.

 

Resources

Myth #4: Top Management’s only job is to launch the innovation program, and budget it.

Alternative: Without ongoing management commitment, the effort cannot be sustained

Top management very often makes a brave decision to launch an ambitious, company-wide innovation effort, and even budgets it generously. But, very quickly, responsibility is relegated to lower ranks in the corporate hierarchy, and management impatiently adopts the role of demanding quick and tangible results. Instead of supporting the effort for the long haul, management becomes impatient to either celebrate prematurely or move on to the next “management-flavor-of-the-month”.

 

Processes

Myth #5: Brainstorming is the best way to come up with new ideas.

Alternative: It has been proven time and again that BS is not effective in generating truly novel ideas.

Brainstorming has many advantages but, as research and corporate experiences have shown time and again, creating novelty is not one of them. By placing constraints on your thinking and using a structured approach, you can consistently achieve success.

 

Behaviors

Myth #6: Innovation and creativity are always fun.

Alternative: Dabbling in innovation, as enrichment or mental exercises can be lots of fun, but true innovation, in the sense of challenging your deep assumptions and firmly set ways of working, mostly involves hard work and requires discipline. There is much in the process that one can enjoy, but true change of beliefs and habits cannot be all fun and games. That is why very often a facilitated team effort is required to achieve impactful innovation.

 

Communication

Myth #7: Those who oppose innovation programs are wrong. They are simply “resisting”.

Alternative: Very often, those who “resist innovation” have an important point to make.

Resistance to innovation often emerges from the “wrong” motivations: fear of change, turf wars, oversized egos, etc. But, this opposition doesn’t always need to be “overcome”, rather, it is often very useful to listen carefully since those who oppose change often do so for valid and solid reasons. Resistance can also be a sign of the strong potential for novelty, pointing at valuable dig-sites.

These are only several of the common myths and traps that organizations deal with and fall into when embarking on innovation journeys. Talk to us, and we’ll be happy to hear/read your thoughts, and also to acknowledge – when relevant – that we ourselves are as vulnerable as anyone else to being wrong(:

With this post, we finalize the “Behind the Scenes” MeetUp series but continue to share and learn.

 

What to expect?

  • A soon-to-come additional MeetUp in Minnesota. We are discussing potential topics with our colleagues and will update accordingly.
  • A new series based on our ‘learnings’ from our New York city meetup, co-hosted with Kaltura, on Digital Transformation & Innovation.

A Glimpse into SIT’s 7 Elements Model

Published on: March 31, 2019 в 11:32 am

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Part two of our series on the insights, content, and learnings gathered before & during our Behind the Scenes of Corporate Innovation meetup, co-hosted with our friends at 3M, focuses on SIT’s 7 Elements Model for Organizational Innovation. This model was briefly introduced at the MeetUp as a framework to address the main challenges voiced by our corporate colleagues.

We would like to take advantage of this platform to share some of the basics of this straightforward yet powerful model with you. In a nutshell, the model allows organizations to analyze their innovation activity or, as it is referred to in our model, take their Innovation Pulse, and plan a focused and customized innovation strategy based on their analysis.

The model was created as an output of 24 years of experience, working with over 1400 companies, identifying patterns and efficient processes that led to useful strategies. Over time, we formulated a set of tools that can transform an organization into an innovative organization that continuously innovates and maintains its competitive advantage.

Working with the 7 Elements Model brings three significant results:

1)     Assesses your current situation in respect to innovation (“the Innovation Pulse”)

2)     Defines your goals and objectives

3)     Draws an initial Road Map for achieving these objectives

How does it work?

 

The first step is to assess and chart, on a diagram, the organization’s current efforts according to 7 distinct—yet extremely interconnected—innovation elements (please refer to diagrams below for both a description of each of the elements and a sample assessment).

 

7 Elements Descriptions

 

 

 

Example of ‘Innovation Pulse diagram’

Desired State & Mapping the Gap

This output allows you to view a clear picture of current innovation activity in the organization and areas that require improvement, thus allowing you to build a second, complementary diagram, an ideal model of your desired state in terms of innovation (see picture below).

 

Defining Your Course of Action

The two diagrams can then be compared to identify the gaps and determine priorities. This allows you to determine a course of action to close the gaps to achieve the desired state. SIT can assist in this task, working in one or several of the following modalities:

a)     Training

b)     Facilitation

c)     Consulting

d)  Outsourcing

This process gradually engages all parts of the organization by creating networks involving continuous learning, challenging assumptions, and systematic monitoring of results.

The valuable task of transforming into an innovative organization is, without a doubt, a demanding journey, yet one that can be made to be simpler, clearer, and well managed using SIT’s experience as expressed in the 7 Elements Model.

3 SIT Case Studies to Inspire Your Company’s New Product Development

Published on: October 9, 2018 в 3:19 pm

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Companies are constantly trying to create something fresh and original, but where do they even start? A common go-to is good ole brainstorming, but as we have repeatedly stressed, this is not an effective way to ideate.  That’s when SIT steps in– making ideation more efficient and creative through proven, structured strategies and methods. By beginning with a thorough analysis of a company’s existing products or services and then jointly applying our methodology, SIT’s project outcomes are novel variations of existing products or services. Here are some new product development case studies that have resulted from SIT’s ideation efforts and exemplify SIT’s methodology in practice.

Not Just a Summer Drink

On a scorching summer day, nothing is more refreshing than a nice, cold cup of iced tea. But what about in the winter time? How can a company that sells such summer treats like Nestea also boost sales during the colder months and gain an edge on competing companies such as Lipton, the leader in the industry?

Nestea’s® usual approach of using market trends to develop new products was not generating enough revenue. Moreover, non-compete restrictions from a joint venture of their parent company, Coca-Cola/Nestle, put further pressure on Nestea® to steer clear of soft drinks and hot beverages. Thus, Nestea® aimed to develop a new product that was unique in their own domain. They called in SIT to help innovate under these constraints.

Applying SIT’s attribute dependency tool, which creates and dissolves dependencies between variables of a product, SIT was able to help Nestea reevaluate the relationship between changing seasons and beverages offered. Nestea’s® team challenged the expectation that iced tea is only for the summer and launched a line of iced tea for the winter. The team applied their existing strength in flavor innovation to ensure the development of a product that could accompany consumers’ winter drinking habits–a tea that can be consumed at room temperature or heated. Here, even though the product was not completely altered per say (after all, tea is still tea), the fixed idea of bottled tea only being served cold was shattered and replaced with a dynamic, interesting alternative that created a whole new “ready-to-drink tea” product line.

Achieve Naturally Soft & Radiant Skin

As any beauty consumer will tell you, diligent skincare is the key to radiant confidence and glowing skin. AHAVA Laboratories is a world leader in mineral-based

cosmetics—their unique formulas, made of elements found only in the Dead Sea, are the foundation of millions of skincare routines. In a two-year partnership with SIT, AHAVA sought to further their enterprise by developing several new products. Even though AHAVA had the power of the Dead Sea on their side, in a market saturated with hundreds of different creams and washes—all claiming one secret ingredient or another—AHAVA was looking to create something with a different “wow” factor.

Using SIT’s thinking tool task unification—a way to assign an additional task to an existing resource—AHAVA discovered a way to use the body’s own moisture to melt active ingredients in the product upon application to the skin.  Usually, this process is achieved using water during the manufacturing process, which requires many resources and carries a heavy cost. However, using SIT’s creative process led to the invention of the Gentle Body Exfoliator, which requires only the body’s natural moisture. Because the Gentle Body Exfoliator is untreated, it has the additional benefit of a rough texture, which removes dead skin cells. As the product interacts with the body’s own moisture, it dissolves into the skin, nourishing it with Dead Sea minerals. Naturally soft, smooth, and radiant skin has never been achieved like this before.

Which Scents Define Your Home?

We’re all familiar with Febreze’s air fresheners—one spray and you’ve eliminated that stinky odor from your home or car. But how do you excite your customers when they’ve grown accustomed to your product’s smell and instead want something new and different?

SIT was brought in to create new products for the Febreze brand. Specifically, SIT focused on an already existing product, the Febreze wall plug-in, a product that plugs into the wall, emits an aroma, and whose influence can be so vast that it defines your home’s scent.

By applying SIT’s multiplication tool, which adds an additional component of a product and then alters it in some way, a novel idea emerged; why not have a plug-in device with not one tank but two separate tanks to hold the liquid perfume? In each of these tanks, there would be a separate scent. The benefits of this product were many—the plug-in could switch between scents; it would be a novelty for users, and it could pulse out different smells at different time intervals. The outcome of SIT’s project was an entirely new product, the Febreze pluggable that had two alternating scents. This product led P&G to nearly double their market share in the air freshener category.

Turning Constraints into Advantages

 

Through the stories of Nestea, AHAVA, and Febreze, we see three examples of successful innovation that not only changed the game but revolutionized their industries. Instead of brainstorming or simply following the trends of others, each company applied SIT methodology to turn their constraints into advantages, innovating and creating something unique in the process.

Visit the case studies section of our website to learn about more ways that SIT has helped companies with new product development and various challenges.

5 Top Workshop Icebreakers

Published on: July 16, 2018 в 12:39 pm

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Leading a workshop, and participating in one, can be a rewarding experience for both the facilitator and the participants. It is no secret that knowing who your audience is, and catering your icebreaker or energizer to your audience, can make the workshop/facilitation that much more engaging and meaningful. Creative workshop icebreakers are a great way to engage with your group and break the ice at the beginning of a session. Energizers can also help increase the energy of the group after lunch or in the middle of the day. SIT has over 22 years of experience leading and hosting workshops, using a variety of icebreakers and energizers during sessions.

These 5 workshop icebreakers will surely help you break the ice in your next workshop, facilitation, or meeting.

Top 5 Creative Workshop Icebreakers

Workshop Icebreaker #1. One Truth, Two Lies

Workshop Icebreakers

Each participant must introduce themselves with three statements, one statement must be true and the two others must be a lie. The rest of the participants must guess which statements are which.

Which stage is it used: To open a workshop/icebreaker

 

Workshop Icebreaker #2. Five Things in Common

Workshop Icebreakers

Divide the group into partners. Tell the partners that they need to find five things that they have in common with one another. Then have each pair present the things they have in common to the group.

Which stage is it used? To open a workshop/icebreaker

Workshop Icebreaker #3. One Word Relay

Workshop Icebreakers

Begin by getting everyone in a circle and explain that you will collectively construct a story.  This will be done by each choosing one word. The words will string together to form a story. Ideally, each word chosen by participants should grammatically fit the sentence structure and logically fit the story, but also be fairly random. With each pass of the object and new word addition, the story should get more and more interesting. Have someone document the story and send to workshop participants. Everyone can laugh and share!

Which stage it is used?  To increase the energy of a group

Workshop Icebreaker #4. Snowball Fight

 

Workshop Icebreakers

Gather your group in a circle and hand each participant a piece of paper. Ask each participant to write a funny fact about themselves on the piece of paper. After they finish writing, tell participants to crumple up their papers and start throwing their ‘snowballs’. For a whole minute, everyone can continue to throw ‘snowballs’, but when the time is up, everyone should end up with a ‘snowball’. After one minute, everyone recreates the (now surely misshapen) circle, reads the funny facts aloud, and tries to guess who each snowball belongs to.

Which stage is it used: To open a creative workshop or to enliven the energy of a group.

Workshop Icebreaker #5. Doodle Portraits

Workshop Icebreakers

Everyone receives a sheet of paper, sits down and draws someone in the room.  After everyone has completed their drawing or time is up, everyone takes turns showing their picture to the group and the group can vote on who is depicted in the drawing. 

*The weirder/funnier the drawing, the more exciting the icebreaker.

Which stage is it used: Can help increase the energy of the group

 

These workshop icebreakers will help you get a solid start at any event.

Share your experience in the comments below using these icebreakers or contact us to facilitate your next workshop or project.

Innovative Ideas in Smart City Culture

Published on: July 10, 2018 в 2:38 pm

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Smart Cities on the Rise

The market for smart-city innovative ideas could be worth more than $1.5 trillion by 2020, according to a study by business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. With such huge growth potential, do you think your city has what it takes to be The World’s Smartest City?

Israel’s cultural center and 2014 World Smart City award winner, Tel Aviv, is making huge strides in Smart City tech and design. This coastal city is breaking ground by thinking inside the box and using Israeli culture to its advantage.

 

But how exactly did Tel Aviv acquire such a status?

As opposed to focusing solely on new technology, Tel Aviv uses its active and tight-knit community. The Tel Aviv municipality’s utilization of internal resources can be likened to SIT’s Closed World Principle—where the focus is not on resources that lay outside, such as new technology, but on the internal resources that can be utilized inside, such as its tight-knit culture.

In addition, with a high population of young people, Tel Avivians are both more open to trying new innovative ideas and incorporating them into their daily lives.  As Claus Tully from the German Institute puts it: “Young people take up modern technology and incorporate it into their everyday lives more rapidly and more unceremoniously than others.”

innovative ideas

Have you heard about SIT’s transformative work in municipalities?

Bat Yam Municipality

Together, SIT and Bat Yam launched The Center for Entrepreneurship in Education.  The center is made up of a community of 400+ entrepreneurs who meet socially and participate in both courses and one-on-one mentoring with SIT and center staff to help them realize their dreams. The Center recently launched an open innovation competition for new ventures, which received 300 entries. Through educational programs and activities for entrepreneurs, the Center seeks to make entrepreneurship a regular part of the daily educational experience.

SIT’s work with Municipalities in Colombia

SIT’s work with Colombia proved it is possible to change the interaction between local government and citizens without spending vast sums of money or engaging in extensive regulatory change. But how was this accomplished?

SIT trained 26 innovation coaches from various treasury positions who then ran 26 innovation projects in various departments. Initially, the focus was in the area of taxes. However, due to the project’s success and the substantial savings incurred, the participants have decided to extend the process to support other government departments in the future.

The Minneapolis Municipality

Before opening Target Field, The City of Minneapolis asked SIT to help find innovative solutions to traffic challenges the new ballpark would create. Specifically, SIT created an ideation project to address traffic, parking, and challenges to accessing events in the new ballpark. During the project, participants learned and applied SIT’s Task Unification thinking tool. They addressed physical elements (e.g. taxies, cars, traffic lights, skyways) alongside non-tangible elements (e.g. various types of data and information). The process generated several concrete ideas based on collecting, sharing, and communicating real-time information from multiple sources to streamline traffic, parking, public transportation, and pedestrian movement.

The question is: Does it take more than just innovative ideas and technology to create a smart city?

 

By examining Tel Aviv, it seems a smart city’s foundation is not only in new technological development but also in its culture. Similar to start-ups, where company founders refer to company culture as being the key to success, the Tel Aviv municipality also believes Israeli culture is key to their smart city success.

Tel Aviv, the 2014 World Smart Cities Award winner, employed the necessary technology, which took time, participation, and a strong culture. Some of the crucial elements of Tel Aviv’s appointment was the cohesiveness of the people, their curiosity, confidence, and their involvement with their communities. To harness this cohesiveness, Tel Aviv made sure to connect people to news, traffic, and other information, but in a way more personalized than radio or television.

     

Tel Aviv Smart City Pillars  

  • Eco: Including composting programs, community gardens, and water conservation methods.
  • Community and entrepreneurship: Tel Aviv created centers for entrepreneurship, youth centers, and affordable municipal housing, etc.
  • Traffic and parking: Bike paths (however, this still needs some work), paying for parking with one’s smartphone.
  • Smart Food Policies: Policies to increase production and sustainable food consumption.
  • Education: Emphasizing practical education, student initiatives are supported if they provide value. 

Revolutionizing Municipal Technology

 

To put itself in front of the pack, the Tel Aviv municipality installed free public WiFi in almost all public areas, including the beach, while simultaneously leading a digital revolution for municipal services and information dispersal. Implementing a digitalized revolution called DigiTel, they gave each resident the ability to register at a checkpoint and create a personalized digital profile. This innovative idea worked wonders by providing Tel Avivians with “customized information and remote city services,” such as city events, information about roadblocks, or recommendations and discounts for restaurants. With this digital database, the municipality is now better able to facilitate communication between residents and leaders.

The Tel Aviv municipality claims that …

“City-making makes the difference between a space and a place – a space is a physical demarcation, while a real place draws people, tells a story, reflects a community’s values, and is embedded with meaning. A smart city strategy which uses technology in the service of people – is, in short, smart city-making.”

Tech developments and the cohesive Israeli start-up culture helped transform Tel Aviv into the smart city hub that it is today. Equipped with this information – what do you think your city can do to get ‘smarter’?

Share your innovative ideas with us in the comments below!

How to Choose an Innovation Consulting Firm

Published on: July 3, 2018 в 10:46 am

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The Innovation Consulting Firm Landscape

The innovation consultancy landscape has become immensely complex, dynamic, and varied in the last several years, especially when discussing quantity. There are a variety of methodologies, approaches, as well as consultancies of all sizes. McKinsey and large accounting firms have made acquisitions of innovation consulting firms, which means the distinction between the mega-consultancies and the more boutique consultancies has become blurred.

Since the innovation consulting firm atmosphere is so dense, there are some common sense rules of thumb one must use when choosing an innovation consulting 

dynamic innovation consulting firm

firm. Luckily, our good friend, Drew Boyd, created a list of criteria that you can utilize when choosing an innovation consulting firm.  However, due to the richness of the current marketplace and the dynamic approach, some of this list is no longer relevant. While this may be the case, it still includes a lot of useful advice. The below advice and tools will help you make an informed and educated decision when choosing an innovation consulting firm.

Choosing Innovation Consultants

By: Drew Boyd
Choosing an innovation consulting firm is challenging for two reasons: the client is not always clear what type of innovation they want, or they are not sure what type of innovation a consultant offers.
Here are three factors to consider when choosing an innovation consultant:

1.  TYPE of consultant

2.  METHOD used

3.  ROLE of the consultant.

The innovation space has become so crowded that I group them into four types (I-D-E-A):

INVENTION:  These are consultants that help you create new-to-the-world ideas.  They have particular expertise in creativity methods or idea generation tools.  Their main focus is the generation of many new product or service ideas.

DESIGN:  These are consultants that take an existing product, service, or idea and put some new, innovative form to it.  They have particular expertise in industrial design or human factors design.  Their main focus is transforming the way a product is used or experienced.

ENGINEERING:  These are consultants that help you make the new idea work in practice.  They have particular expertise in technology, science, research, and problem-solving.  Their main focus is building it.

ACTUALIZATION:  These are consultants that help you get the innovation into the marketplace.  They have particular expertise in marketing processes, brand, or commercial launch of a product or service.  Their main focus is selling it.

Step One: The challenge is many consultants claim to be all of these.  While true for some, my sense is that all firms started off as one type and then expanded to cover the others.  The question to ask yourself is: would you be better off matching your need to their original core expertise, or would you be better off going to a one-stop shop…a firm that can do it all even though their core expertise is, say, design.  How do you know what type the firm really is?  Study the biography of their founder.  What was the founder’s education, experience, work background, interests, etc?  The founder is where the core orientation of the firm begins.  The other practice types get bolted on later.

Step Two: Understanding their method.  The first question I ask consultants is, “Do you know how to innovate?”  The second question is, “How?”  I want to understand their method of innovation, and I want to be able to explain it to other people.  I want to know the efficacy.  Has it worked in the past and will it work on my project?  Show me the data.

Step Three: Understanding the role of the innovation consultant.  Is this a DIY (do-it-yourself) approach, where you are given some software or other resources to create innovation on your own?  Is this a DIWY (do-it-with-you) approach where the consultant leads and facilitates groups of your employees to innovate together?  Is this a DIFY (do-it-for-you) approach, where the consultant takes your problem specification and comes back with their recommended solutions?  Or, is this training?  All of these roles are valid depending on your need.

I am impressed with the talent and variety of consultants in the innovation space today.  It becomes even more impressive when you select the right one for the job.

I hope the above will help you in finding the right innovation consultancy. Since we are always on the look-out for the right clients to work with, here is a short questionnaire. Please fill in and, if relevant, we can have a short 20-minute chat to see if we can fit each other’s needs. We look forward to hearing from you.

Innovative Learning: 3 Lessons from SIT’s Online Academy

Published on: June 20, 2018 в 12:58 pm

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Limited Time Offer!

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How can you take all the knowledge of a company with over 20 years of experience and translate it into powerful, engaging online content that aids the learning process? While no easy feat, SIT was up for the challenge and consequently created its online eLearning venture, The Online Academy.

Prior to its creation, SIT taught its methodology mainly through face-to-face facilitation, but the learning landscape is changing. And the use of eLearning platforms is skyrocketing—in 2017 alone, the corporate eLearning market worth was valued at $12.85B! -The “eLearning Market – Global Outlook and Forecast 2018-2023” by ResearchAndMarkets.com.

eLearning is Hot!

eLearning is receiving more recognition, as our society’s dependence on the Internet grows. The preference for continuous learning and using technology to access content from anywhere are driving this segment’s growth—2017 revenue for the corporate eLearning sector reached almost $13B! According to the eLearning market report, the growing demand for self-paced learning modules from the corporate sector is expected to create new opportunities for vendors in this market during the forecast period and will grow at a rate of 9.76% during the period of 2018-2023 (eLearning Market – Global Outlook and Forecast 2018-2023).

 

Interviewing Nurit Shmilovitz Vardi, Head of the SIT Online Academy, I learned how the team overcame the hardships of adapting SIT’s material into an online format. By identifying three unique challenges, the Online Academy effectively tackled each one and emerged with three unique innovative learning course offerings.

 

1. Translating Engagement into an Online Format

So how can you translate engagement into an online format? Why not use funny videos? By using humor, the Online Academy used a research-backed method. Humor is not only critical in thought, it actually activates the brain’s dopamine reward system, which means, when used correctly, it boosts information retention (The Functional Anatomy of Humor- https://www.nature.com/articles/nn0301_237).

 

The Interactivity of the Exercises

The courses also offer interactive exercises catering to multiple learning styles. And by using a live presenter, artsy animations, and story-telling, users can internalize their learnings.

innovative learning

Animations such as presenting the soapbox dilemma in a Japanese soap factory help to easily demonstrate concepts like the closed-world principle.

Liz Bark, the Creative Director of Optimised Learning, Ltd., explains that animations can be “fun and quirky” and “when designed specifically with content in mind, it enhances the learning experience” (https://www.mindflash.com/blog/how-animation-is-effective-in-elearning).

Innovative Learning On-the-Go

One hallmark of online learning today is the ability to learn from anywhere—whether on the way to work or leisurely lying at the beach, one can learn ‘on the go’. And the micro-learning style the Online Academy applied, which uses bite-sized videos, assignments, and quizzes, ensures one stays focused. This means users can easily process the short information chunks and fit complete videos or learnings into busy life schedules.

 

2. Addressing Learner Diversity

 

Since SIT philosophy is based on the idea that everyone can benefit from adopting an innovative and creative mindset, it is crucial to address learner diversity!

innovative learning

Working in different companies varying in size, industry, and culture, multiple languages,  having different interests, focuses, and learning styles all require variations. With this in mind, the videos and exercises were developed using an adaptable format (including additional multi industry-specific case studies from SIT’s knowledge library if needed), a rich yet simple language, and generic examples that apply to all learners. From individuals to those in large companies, from India to Latin America to the United States, users can easily comprehend and relate to the information regardless of their industry or cultural background.

 

 

The online medium enables the Online Academy to leverage user diversity, i.e. people from various geographies are invited to interact and share their varying perspectives through the discussion forum as well as participate in live webinars.

 

 

3. The Lack of a Live Facilitator

In its over 20 years of business, SIT has developed exceptional facilitation expertise, ensuring workshop participants successfully internalize and relate to the material. It is apparent in SIT sessions that facilitators must help participants break their mental fixedness, and this is where facilitation is especially beneficial.

But how can this be achieved online? Uncoincidentally, to conquer this issue, the Online Academy team had to break their own mental fixedness of what it means to facilitate; facilitation can be presented in formats other than face-to-face and webinar experiences.

innovative learning

Breaking Our Own Fixedness

Providing automatic feedback when possible, through quizzes and exercises, or using peer-to-peer and instructor-led feedback mechanisms for open-ended questions all help support the learning journey.

Additionally, the team realizes expectations must be managed. Innovative learning means learners must understand that since the methodology and topic revolves around innovation and ideation, there are no right or wrong answers! As long as they follow the methodology, work systematically (which is the best way to overcome one’s fixedness), and are happy with their resulted ideas, they score 100%.

 

Blended Learning

Despite the many advantages of learning online, on-site learning should always be considered and used when possible. The “blended learning” format opens up the possibility to enjoy both worlds.

Melissa Saw, Associate Director – Digital Excellence Bayer U.S, says: “I think this could be the first step to any face-to-face interaction/workshop. It was a great, qualitative foundational training, and gave the participants a basic, yet towered overview of the terminology, which was very valuable during the face to face workshop.”

 

The Future of the Online Academy

 

Hardships aside, Nurit explains that “the product has a lot of synergy with everything else that SIT is doing.” By understanding how to properly engage with learners and overcome the limitations of an online learning environment, the doors of possibility are open. Due to the dynamic and versatile format, the material is always being revised as new feedback and interesting additions arise.

The goal is for the online community to grow and to provide more of SIT’s content—beyond just ideation and the SIT tools, but to build on SIT’s experience in innovation management and other innovation methodologies.

 So far, the feedback has been enthusiastic and supportive. The truth is there is nothing more innovative than converting a very focused medium into a completely different format. Stay tuned for future developments!

 

SIT Pick: Top 10 Innovation Bloggers

Published on: May 3, 2018 в 11:12 am

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Categories: Uncategorized

The world of blogging is exploding. And innovation bloggers, indeed, have also jumped on the bandwagon. From social media to Wikipedia to ad campaigns, these innovation bloggers are utilizing the information highway to their advantage, positioning themselves as information givers, eager to tell their story, and relentless in their pursuit of knowledge distribution.

We decided to take a personal journey with 10 innovation bloggers to gain a deeper understanding of their vision. After contacting them via social media, it indeed was easy to see how they acquired their “influencer status”.

We did this by posing two broad questions to get a sense of where they see themselves and what their goal is in writing their blog. Their responses gave an enchanting glimpse into their goals and aspirations, how they define “success”, and why it is so important for them to upload their knowledge base to the world wide web.

SIT has a special vantage point in the innovation industry with 22 years of industry knowledge, leading, directing, and helping innovation leaders and managers to help innovate from within, and with our own unique methodology for going about it. This expertise gives us the ability to judge some of the most well-known and highly ranked blogs in our industry. To determine the top 10 innovation bloggers, we considered the quality of content, popularity/reader engagement, and expert authority of the author.

I am pleased to introduce you to SIT’s list of the 10 best innovation bloggers:

 

Top 10 Innovation Bloggers

1. Innovation Blogger: Cris Beswick

Cris Beswick Blog

My belief is that every organisation has the potential to become truly exceptional if it places innovation at the heart of what it does.”

About Cris:

Cris Beswick, originally trained as a product & industrial designer, is now a successful thought leader in the field of innovation strategy and culture.

innovation bloggers

He believes that “helping ambitious and visionary leaders tackle innovation both as a capability and as a core component of organisational culture is how we’ll all contribute to shaping the future”.  He states “we have systemic challenges that we need to tackle economically, environmentally and societally, and innovation is a key component of how we’ll all tackle those challenges.”

Cris is also a co-founder of The Future Shapers www.thefutureshapers.com. “The Future Shapers was specifically set up to provide insight from some of the best thinkers in the innovation space to help in the global drive for innovation and creating a sustainable future. If I can contribute to helping drive that then I’ll have achieved my mission!”

About his Blog:

Cris’s blog reflects his holistic approach to innovation, inspiring you to redefine the way you work. His ideas and insights are based on years of experience as an entrepreneur and innovation consultant. The content of his blogs is mainly in the areas of innovation strategy and culture. Cris hopes that his blog will help “ambitious and visionary leaders tackle innovation both as a capability and as a core component of organizational culture”. Cris’s posts on organizational culture and innovation accurately echo this vision!

 

2. Innovation Blogger: Paul Hobcraft

Paul4Innovating

As it relates to the humble beginnings of his blog: One person wrote to me and simply said- why don’t you write your own and I was thinking quietly to [myself],  then I can get him off my back!”

About Paul:

Paul “got ‘hooked’ eighteen years ago” on innovation. Since then, he has consistently utilized innovative thinking and applied it to 100% of his business-thinking activities. Paul has lived in numerous countries around the world and worked in senior positions with global corporations. Paul offers innovation coaching and consulting services at www.agilityinnovation.com. Per Paul, “the aim is to support the individual, teams, and organizations, in their innovation activity, applying what I have gained in experiences and knowledge, to further develop core innovation understanding, so clients can achieve positive and sustainable results from their innovating activities.”

About his Blog:

Paul Hobcraft’s blog is a necessity when it comes to understanding the latest trends in innovation, whether it means explaining ‘The Dynamics within Agility’ in his latest post, or “Relating to the New Innovation Era’. He has a technical expertise, which he wisely utilizes to investigate and explore the latest innovation news. He explains: “By taking different viewpoints you can relate innovation to the numerous challenges many of us are facing in understanding [our] work in the innovation space.”

“My blog posts have evolved, in many ways to become my innovation diary.” And an innovation diary Paul indeed writes!  He sees innovation as an evolving entity, in which there are “multiple strands constantly pulling together to build theories, build on the patterns, the signals, the interactions, by extracting from all the different ‘cells’ of knowledge we all possess.”

3. Innovation Blogger: Ralph-Christian Ohr

Integrative Innovation

“My mission is for the most part to challenge deficient or outdated innovation management practices and to provide suggestions for modern, future-proof approaches.”

About Ralph-Christian-Ohr

Ralph-Christian Ohr is passionately driven to help companies establish better innovation practices.  His expertise encompasses innovation management and corporate development. He currently consults on Dual Innovation, Scaling-Up, organizational culture and design as well as ways to increase innovation performance. He has held positions in a wide array of industries such as thin Film/Semiconductor, Energy, and Transportation.  His interesting background, which includes a doctorate in Physics as well as work in a variety of corporate business roles, makes him unique in his approach to innovation.

About his blog:

Ralph-Christian feels inspired to write his blog and identify “pain points of companies when it comes to innovation management.” He uses these pain points as a springboard for coming up with ideas, research, and insight. He wants to “challenge deficient or outdated innovation management practices and to provide suggestions for modern, future-proof approaches.” He draws on research, which he displays in easily digestible graphs to make identifying and measuring innovation processes efficient. Ralph-Christian believes in the importance of crafting company-specific innovation strategies. His blog is curated more for experienced managers.

4. Innovation Blogger: Paul Sloane

Paul Sloane, Innovation Excellence

“I want to inspire people to be more open-minded, to try new things, to use lateral thinking to solve problems and to be more innovative.”

About Paul:

Paul is a professional keynote speaker and leader of workshops. He is a skilled facilitator and course leader, who helps top-level teams achieve breakthrough results in their meetings. He has also published over 30 books! His multiple talents even extend to being a stand-up comedian.

About his Blog:

Paul wants his blog ‘Destination Innovation’ to “inspire people to be more open-minded, to try new things, to use lateral thinking to solve problems and to be more innovative.”

Paul’s use of lateral thinking puzzles is most interesting. He believes these puzzles help us to become open-minded, challenge our assumptions, and help us arrive at well-thought-out solutions. Many of his blogs focus on the history of innovation and lessons we can learn from the past, whether these lessons involve creativity, leadership, or management. His fresh, interesting approach to innovation is stimulating, imaginative, and varied.

 

5. Innovation Blogger: Stephen Shapiro

Stephen Shapiro Blog

I believe that innovation is the key to solving some of our most pressing challenges, and I hope that my approaches have helped make an impact in the world.”

About Stephen:

Stephen Shapiro has over 20 years of work experience with multinational companies under his belt. After a 15-year corporate career, he realized he no longer wanted to be responsible for other people losing their jobs. Since then, his goal has been “to help companies grow in order to create jobs.” Stephen is consumed with helping companies transform their innovative practices via customized keynote speeches, advisory engagements and other services.

About his blog:

In contrast to some of the other blogs we reviewed, Stephen’s blog ‘Innovation Insights’ is extremely easy to approach. This is because he provides practical, useful tools that anyone can use. His over 20 years of work experience with multinational companies is manifested in the knowledge he shares. Stephen explains that “following someone else’s blueprint for success may not be the best approach for your specific situation.” This is why his blog provides advice, assessments, and exercises that allow you to customize your innovation process.

6. Innovation Blogger: Drew Boyd 

Drew Boyd Blog

About Drew: Drew Boyd is a professor and teacher of the SIT methodology. He has a wealth of experience in the innovation and creativity world. He is a public speaker and award-winning author, having recently written ‘Inside The Box,’ a book that is based on the SIT methodology. He teaches individuals and teams how to creatively solve the toughest problems to create a culture of innovation.

About his blog: As a professor, teaching the SIT methodology, Drew utilizes this expertise in his blog. His blogs that are entitled ‘Innovation Sighting’ refer to new technologies that come out that he can relate SIT tools (division, multiplication, subtraction, task unification, and attribute dependency. He bases his posts and insight on the most recent research in the innovation world. He thoroughly investigates the world of social media, advertising, and new inventions.

7. Innovation Blogger: Greg Satell

Digital Tonto

That’s probably what I like best, the opportunity to collaborate, share ideas and open up new ways of thinking about things.”

About Greg:

Greg Satell is a bestselling author, speaker, and adviser. Greg says he looks “for connections that would not be immediately obvious. That’s how you can create insights that are truly new.” He says, “Often, I find that the solution to a really really tough problem that people are struggling with can be found in a different field at another time.” Greg has always had a passion to transform big ideas into practical solutions.

About his blog:

His blog began in 2009 as a platform to share his experiences of doing business in Eastern Europe and Turkey. Since then, it has transformed into a wonderful sharing platform, where one can find appealing titles and equally valuable content that brings us insight into the business world of innovation.

Greg approaches his blog holistically. He feels his mission is to explore and that by writing his blog he has “access to world-class experts in many fields, from artificial intelligence and quantum computing to materials science and genetics.” Greg seamlessly threads together the worlds of science, business, and everyday life to bring you a blog that is detailed and thoughtful.

 

8. Innovation Blogger: Daniel Burrus 

Daniel Burrus Blog

About Daniel:

Daniel Burrus is known as a futurist, innovation speaker, and global innovation expert. The New York Times has referred to him as one of the top three business gurus in the highest demand as a speaker.  He works with Fortune 500 companies helping them to develop game-changing strategies based on his methodologies regarding technological innovations and their future impact. He is also the author of seven books!

 

About his blog:

Burrus’s blog branches across several fields: strategy, technology, trends, transformation, and leadership. I found his article “Trial & Error: What Thomas Edison Can Teach Businesses Today” particularly interesting, as it related the work of the historical figure to our current technological atmosphere.  His blog focuses on innovation mainly from a technological perspective, identifying disruptive technologies and how they will affect the future of innovation.

9. Innovation Blogger: Soren Kaplan 

Leap Frogging

About Soren:

Best-selling author Soren Kaplan is a leading expert in disruptive innovation, innovation culture, and business model innovation. He works with top companies and organizations like NBCUniversal, Disney, and Hershey. He strongly believes in challenging the status quo and uses his rich background in art and design to catapult him in creating innovation strategy that is unique and revolutionary. He delivers keynotes, consulting and leadership development.

About his blog:

Unlike the other bloggers, Soren has a multitude of videos uploaded to his site in the areas of innovation culture, disruptive innovation, the dynamics of innovation, as well as how to create and lead a culture of innovation. His speaking style is quick and to-the-point, making for an exciting way to learn something new in video form. His vlogs make the information easily accessible and digestible.

10. Innovation Blogger: Owen Hunnam

Idea Drop

About Owen:

Owen is the founder and creator of This Idea Drop, an app used to capture the most prized capital in a company– your employee’s ideas. The clean user interface of the app makes capturing your employee’s ideas fun and easy! The app characterizes Owen’s personal approach to innovation– taking ideas, building upon them, and making them a reality. Despite being the youngest blogger on this list, Owen is firing ahead with bright ideas!

About his blog

Owen writes for both “Innovation Excellence” and the blog for “This Idea Drop.” His posts strive to inspire creativity, as he believes this to be the main source of innovation. Owen believes in using specific creative tools and methods to boost one’s creative potential!

In conclusion…

These 10 innovation bloggers are all passionate about igniting innovative change, whether it be organizationally or strategically. For many of them, innovation seems to have “found them”, as they started writing blogs and working as independent strategists later in their careers. What is particularly interesting is how many of these bloggers have scientific backgrounds, which perhaps allows them to analyze and relate more deeply to the innovation process. By and large, these bloggers use the written word to express new ideas and commentary in the field of innovation. By utilizing their insight, we can gain a clearer picture of the current state of innovation across a multitude of industries.

Thank you all for your contributions to the world of innovation!

 

Now that you’ve explored the world of innovation blogging, read SIT’s post on how to optimize your innovation strategy by making your idea a sweet idea.

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