Kevin is frequently called upon to address national, international, industry, and academic audiences. Recent speaking topics include

Ten Rules of Leveraging Ideas for Innovation

In this presentation, I will discuss how leading organizations are building robust processes for leveraging ideas within their organization and across their networks. Ideas are critical ingredients for innovation. Designing robust innovation processes calls for great care in the handling of ideas. To this end, leading organizations are designing, and deploying, a portfolio of mechanisms to help their employees seek out, share, experiment with, commercialize, diffuse, and implement, ideas. I will highlight emerging technology solutions. In addition, I will outline how smart organizations are capturing knowledge about their innovation process and employing it for continuous refinement and renewal.

Organizations: COBIK (Slovenia), Rotman School of Management (Canada)

Building Sustainable Innovation Programs: The Challenge for Incumbents

Losing creative energies that lead to disruptive innovations is a significant problem for incumbent firms. Consider the example of how Google has so far beaten Microsoft in the search engine business. Although Microsoft had better financial resources and had an ability to be a leader in the business, they failed to recognize that field as a business opportunity. Microsoft spent too much time and too many resources on improving their existing business products and services. Apple’s takeover of online music business by iPod is another example. Sony, the inventor of the Walkman, had an opportunity to lead in the online music business. However, they focused on improving their existing products and did not come up with a product to integrate the online music business with a portable, electronic gadget. In this talk, I outline challenges faced by firms when trying to build sustainable innovation programs. These findings have been deduced from an examination of innovation programs in over 30 organizations based in the North America, Europe, and Asia. Extrapolating from my examination of organizations, I comment on how economies, especially those that are emerging (like India, Brazil, China, etc), must learn from the lessons and challenges of incumbents. Failure to learn and be mindful about innovation, at the organizational, or national, level can become a costly mistake.

Organizations: First National Bank of South Africa, University of Cape Town, Business Systems Group (South Africa)

Demystifying the Link between Innovation and Business Value

Two universal truths underpin most business operations: (1) unless businesses can demonstrate value to their stakeholders on a constant basis they will lose customers and markets, get overrun by the competition, and eventually become extinct, and (2) to generate business value, an organization must constantly innovate, and do so in an effective and efficient manner. Innovation is a crucial component of business strategy, but the process of innovation may seem difficult to manage. To plan organizational initiatives around innovation or to bolster innovation requires a firm grasp of the innovation process. Few organizations have transparently defined such a process. In this presentation, I describe the process of innovation and propose mechanisms to measure the value of innovation. The innovation process will be broken down into the discrete stages of idea generation and mobilization, screening and advocacy, experimentation, commercialization, diffusion and implementation. For each stage, context, outputs and critical ingredients are discussed. In addition, mechanisms to measure performance at each stage will be discussed. These measures will then be linked to business value measures.

Organizations: Boeing, Management Roundtable, American Productivity Quality Center

Crafting Organizational Innovation Processes: Lessons for Optimizing R&D Organizations

Innovation is a crucial component of business strategy, but the process of innovation may seem difficult to manage. To plan organizational initiatives around innovation or to bolster innovation requires a firm grasp of the innovation process. Few organizations have transparently defined such a process. Based on the findings of an exploratory study of over 30 US and European companies that have robust innovation processes, this paper breaks down the innovation process into discrete stages: idea generation and mobilization, screening and advocacy, experimentation, commercialization, and diffusion and implementation. For each stage, context, outputs and critical ingredients are discussed. There are several common tensions and concerns at each stage, which are enumerated; industry examples are also given. Finally, strategies for and indicators of organizational success around innovation are discussed for each stage. Successful organizations will use an outlined innovation process to create a common framework for discussion and initiatives around the innovation process, and to establish metrics and goals for each stage of the innovation process.
Organizations: University of the Witwatersrand, Trimo (Slovenia), Seattle Biomedical Research Institute

Securing Organizational Knowledge Human Intelligence Operations

Based on his recent book, Managing Knowledge Security: Strategies for Protecting Your Company’s Intellectual Assets (Kogan Page, 2007), Desouza will describe how human intelligence operations are conducted to ascertain competitive intelligence. Warning his audience of business practitioners that most organizations fail to understand that their core resources intellectual assets are constantly under attack, and that protecting these resources is as important as any other part of the strategic agenda. Desouza, gives advice on how to recognize dangers of human and technological breaches, hazards of outsourcing and business alliances, implementation of breach prevention measures, and the necessity of working with disaster scenarios. He illustrates his advice with cases from his personal experience working in the fields of competitive intelligence, knowledge management, crisis management, and security operations.

Organizations: Society for Competitive Intelligence Professionals, Special Libraries Association, University of Nottingham

The Future of Strategic Sourcing: The Innovation Agenda

Organizations are engaging in sourcing initiatives at an astounding pace. First, there was the sourcing of mundane and structured work; this was followed by the sourcing of knowledge work such as software development and call centers. Today, we are entering the era of sourcing innovation work. Sourcing of innovation can take many forms and types, and can vary in the level of intensity. For example, some organizations have outsourced their entire research and development functions, while others engage in the sourcing of problems on a need-basis. The challenge facing organizations today is severe – how to create, develop, and manage capabilities for sourcing innovation. Developing capabilities in sourcing of innovation is not the same as using outsourcing for conducting knowledge work or even low-cost manufacturing operations. The nature of innovation projects requires us to pay careful attention to several salient issues, for example the appropriation of rents from innovation. This presentation will describe the changing nature of outsourcing efforts from cost-focused to innovation-driven. A framework to manage the sourcing of innovation will be presented. Lessons learnt and best practices on the sourcing of innovation will also be discussed. Organizations that can leverage sourcing as a strategic weapon for innovation will have a decisive competitive advantage over their peers.

Organizations: Conference of the Harvard Business Review Polska and the Outsourcing Institute, 5th Annual International Smart-Sourcing Conference

Information Challenges in the Intelligence Community: Managing Disconnects and Fragmentation

The Intelligence Communities (ICs) of developed nations have recently come under heavy scrutiny due to heightened awareness of the colossal impacts of intelligence failures. There is no shortage of intelligence community failures in recent history. In this paper, I examine the intelligence apparatus through an information management lens. This lens will allow us to dissect the components of generating and utilizing information to protect national interest. The information management perspective will outline the four components that need to be managed – sources (where we get information), analytics (how we analyze the information), interpretation (how we assess information), and action (how we act on information). For each of these components, I outline critical activities that need to be conducted, and the challenges associated with conducting each of the activities This paper explores the issues of information disconnects and organizational fragmentation at multiple levels. Information disconnects can occur at the level of sources of information, the analytics used to process information, the methods deployed to interpret information, and even in the actions that result from interpretations. Drawing on extensive case studies of government intelligence operations, this book examines the causes of information disconnects and the consequences for the resulting fragmented organizations. Information management (or managing information) is not an easy feat to accomplish. The IC, and the organizations that comprise it, are one of the most information-intensive entities in our society. Their very existence is premised on the ability to make sense of information emitted from multiple sources of interest and then use this information in a proactive manner to secure the nation. The challenges for the IC are grave. The IC has to manage information that is to a large degree incomplete, often of a time-sensitive nature, and that often lacks adequate credibility. Moreover, the IC has to coordinate how various nuggets of information are managed across 16 different intelligence agencies. Reforming the IC must begin with a critical look at how information is managed within and between the various agencies. Furthermore, the IC has to communicate information outside the community, often to people who might lack adequate appreciation for the nature of the intelligence process. Clearly, the IC must have a robust process whereby information is gathered (or extracted) from sources, analyzed in a timely manner, assessed in the context of current realities of the environment, and actions are calibrated to respond to, and to take proactive measures, to address threats and concerns.

Organizations: Tennessee State University, Evidence Based Research Inc, Aptima Inc.