Tuesday, 23 June 2009

What's going on ?


We've had a few emails asking what is going on and why no posts? Sorry it's been quiet! We are flat out at the moment - one in India and two of us in Southampton and then off to Holland next week!
We've missed so much - BA work for free? Women on the Board launch?

but we will be posting again soon1

Friday, 12 June 2009

What staff think of customers

I have run many a customer service day in my time and have served on a good few tills. Twice a year, at Sale time, I thank my lucky stars that I no longer work at Harrods.

I remember it was often hard to keep smiling whilst I looked forward to my fifteen minute break or my 11.30am lunch break.

But a piece in The Daily Mail had us all at The Innovation Beehive speechless. If you ever wanted to know what staff think of customers, click here

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

How to make a company idea generation scheme work

Watching I'm Loving Sainsbury's on Tuesday nights on Channel Four we got to thinking about lessons we could take from it. After a chat and a glass of wine, we came up with this:

We've distilled our 6 lessons here:

1) Great ideas come from the shop floor. Don't always run your idea generation sessions with functional folk in Marketing or HR. Your front line staff are closest to your customers and know what they really want.

2) Start small with a trial but put big metrics in place. Innovation is often accused of being wishy washy - only because we don't put the right measures on it.

3) Use Double Metrics - your idea must have commercial and customer benefit. Sainsbury's measured this weeks idea of "taking the store to the customer" through sales uplift and exit interviews.

4) Let the idea generators own and test the idea. Don't run away with it to Head Office - coach from there.

5) Prepare for all your assumptions to be challenged. This week the store host idea was initially a concern to Sainsbury's Customer Experience Manager. But the trial proved the double benefit was there.

6) If it is not working in trial, be ruthless. Don't demotivate the idea generators, but don't have a slow and painful death. On the reverse side, if it works, roll it out quickly before your competitor gets wind of it and does the same.

Sainsbury's Idea Generation Scheme

In tough times we are all looking for the next big idea. But how do we do it? And how do we make the ubiquitous idea generation scheme work?

If you are looking for inspiration, you have to look no further than Channel Four - I'm Running Sainsbury's.

In this weekly show, shop floor staff are invited to come up with ideas about how to make more money for Sainsbury's and get the chance to see their idea trialled on the shop floor.

For more information check it out on Tuesday nights on Channel 4 or go to channelfour.com/food

Now The Apprentice is over what else have we to watch on TV?

Monday, 8 June 2009

How to make ideas stick

So if you finally manage to have a great brainstorm and come up with some great ideas what do you do next?

One of the big things that we have heard from our clients is that it is the implementation that is the real challenge - how do we actually get things done?

Well, apart from building the complete The Innovation Beehive's Innovation system (creativity skills, re-enforcing mechanisms and leadership example) there are a few lessons to be learnt from Chip and Dan Heath


we love the book "Made to Stick" and suggest you all put it on your reading lists!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

What HR should do in the recession

There was a great piece in The Sunday Times on how HR Leaders should take the lead in the recession


We have recently run two successful breakfasts on this topic so if you would like to hear our POV, scroll down or give us a buzz!

Building an Innovative Company Culture

Our friend, Paul Deeprose, at Career Gym sent us this. We thought we would pass it on!

March 11, 2009

How to . . . be innovative in the workplace

Make innovation a priority

1 “In this environment, innovation is a real challenge,” Penny de Valk, chief executive of the Institute of Leadership and Management, says. “We are seeing a number of organisations hunkering down.” Such behaviour is dangerous: companies that generate 80 per cent of their revenue from new products typically double their market capitalisation over a five-year period, she says.

Take risks and embrace failure

2 Ms de Valk defines innovation as “the successful exploitation of new ideas”. But to innovate requires many ideas that are unsuccessful. “You have to give people the freedom to fail and to fail fast,” she says. “That's a real challenge in a risk-averse culture.”

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Jaideep Prabhu, of the Judge Business School, Cambridge, says that the rule in pharmaceuticals — one in five molecules makes it to market — applies to other sectors. “Even then, one in three products is likely to fail after launch,” he says.

Eyes on the future

3 “Employees are so busy firefighting that they are blinkered,” Professor Prabhu says. “Step outside your situation and look to future opportunities and threats. Who will be your competitors and customers?” A study of internet banking in the United States looked at chief executives' letters to shareholders between 1991 and 1995. Those with the highest percentage of sentences about the future introduced new technology the fastest. “What made you successful in the past is not going to make you successful in the future,” Ms de Valk says.

Foster creativity at all levels

4 Jonathan Feinstein, of the Yale School of Management and author of The Nature of Creative Development, says: “Put yourself in the position where 'light-bulb moments' can happen. Give people freedom to define their creative interests and help to explore them.” Matt Brittin, the UK country director for Google, says that 20 per cent of employees' time is spent on individual projects. This practice enabled an engineer to notice that patterns in search terms could be used to track flu outbreaks. Ms de Valk says: “Don't just create a 'good ideas' culture, but decide which ones to put resources behind.”

Break the rules

5 Tamsin Davies, the head of innovation for Fallon, an advertising agency, says: “Think outside categories and be subversive. A clash of genres makes for different ideas. For the Cadbury's 'eyebrows' adverts we didn't think about chocolate but about 'what produces joy'.”

Collaborate across boundaries

6 Professor Feinstein says: “Get clients in a room with engineers or product managers.” Professor Prabhu advises getting divisions to compete: “Internal competition is a way of bringing the discipline of the market in-house.” Google involves users. Mr Brittin says: “Open-source software allows us to tap into a worldwide base of millions of software developers who help to improve the product.”

Think global

7 We are in a new “innovation world” where the US no longer dominates, John Kao, chairman of the Institute for Large Scale Innovation, writes in the Harvard Business Review. “High-tech start-ups can be 'born global' by availing themselves of talent, capital, R&D tax credits, regulatory relief and specialised facilities in such innovation hot-spots as Helsinki, Singapore and Shanghai.”

Act fast and keep refining

8 “We have a philosophy of trying to launch things early then get feedback,” Mr Brittin says. Although Google's search page may look the same, the company is constantly modifying its algorithms, he adds.

Cannibalise your own products

9 “Even when firms spot an opportunity, they may not seize it because it threatens the success of their own products and services,” Professor Prabhu says. Sony had the technical expertise to introduce MP3 players but was afraid of jeopardising the venerable Walkman, allowing Apple to get there first, he says, and Starbucks' venture into the instant-coffee market exemplifies a company turning cannibal.

Be ambitious

10 Innovation should focus on “making the competition irrelevant”, Ms de Valk says. She credits Cirque du Soleil, the acrobatic troupe, with reinventing the circus. Google never wanted to be “just a search engine” but to “organise the web”, allowing it to apply its technology broadly, Mr Brittin says.

World-beating innovators

1 Team Obama: turned an outside candidate into a “national brand”

2 Google: Search engine

3 Hulu: Video-streaming website

4 Apple: IT company

5 Cisco Systems: Designer and supplier of networking technology

6 Intel: Producer of silicon chip microprocessors for computers

7 Pure Digital Technologies: Makes simple digital camcorders

8 WuXi PharmaTech: A Chinese pharmaceutical research company

9 Amazon: Online shopping store

10 Ideo: Design consultancy

Source: Fortune, March 2009

Check out Paul's great business at:

tweeting beer

Oops the correct link for the tweeting bar!

We love this. If a beer key can do it, why not all of us?