Posts Tagged ‘Innovation’

Innovate for nonprofit mission relevance and financial growth

Earning relevance with your constituents requires much more than the adoption of the latest technology or being on the social media flavor of the month. All of that can be for naught if the experience wasn’t enjoyable, didn’t meet the constituent’s needs or was too complex. All of your innovation should about the user experience and simple design. All of your innovation should be about understanding what constituents need and then solving them in a simple, enjoyable way. Technology and channels must be chosen with the fact that it will enable the constituent journey and engage them in your mission. If you don’t know that it will, perhaps a small test is in order. Channels should be chosen with an end in mind for the constituent. What difference does it make if you are on Pinterest but none of your constituents find that helpful?

With all the technology opportunities you have in front of you, where do you start? This is where your goals and strategies come into play. The key is to match technology investments with goals to improve the overall unified experience your constituents want and need. The tough work is to prioritize opportunities with investments that have a constituent experience return. That will help develop a culture for recognizing an emerging technology to adapt to the right platform before someone else uses it to disrupt you.

Technology can be very disruptive if someone else solves a constituent problem or obstacle before you do. If the technology they use makes it easier, more enjoyable for your constituent, loyalty will go out the window. They become relevant and you lose relevance. If it happens enough with enough constituents, your mission suffers tremendously. Is that happening now?

It is important to leverage investments in disruptive technology through the filter of your long-term strategy combined with a deep knowledge of your constituents needs.

If you are investing in every social and mobile platform, are you becoming a jack-of-all trades and a master of none?

Solving a real constituent problem, with the right emerging technology that is enjoyable and simple is in fact a game changer.

Do you have an innovators heart for your nonprofit mission?

May 31, 2013 1 comment

There is a gap that is growing in your nonprofit. It is the gap between the connected constituent, their expectations and the programs, products and services you are offering. 80% of the U. S. adult population uses the internet. Most of them have smart phones or will soon. Most of your constituents are constantly connected from the time they wake up to the time they go to sleep. As nonprofits, our reality is a digital world. And so do you have a sense of urgency to bridge the gap?

What does it take to compete for the hearts of your connected constituents? Do you have a plan? Is that plan funded?

One thing to think through very carefully is the urgency to create a culture of innovation to be able to compete for the connected constituent. Someone is going to do it. Will it be your nonprofit?

You will be a hero if you take up that mantle. You will lead a journey to a new level of engagement for the connected constituent and their engagement with your mission. Do you have a heart for innovation? If so, then you will be a hero. You will be the champion for the new world. You will create amazing experiences to generate new loyalty to your cause.

So here is a challenge. Primarily for the C-Suite. Think through it carefully. One of the greatest opportunities before you is the evolution of the connected constituent. How your nonprofit is designed and structured today will work against you if nonprofit digital transformation is not on your agenda. As a leader, you know that management structure, goals, strategies, people, processes, systems, and rewards are all constructed to improve “what is” today. Typically we ignore “how it should be” for the new connected constituent. To innovate requires an innovators heart. Do you have one? Who else at your nonprofit does?

Your journey to change and transformation

May 30, 2013 1 comment

You are on a hero’s journey. I am writing for you and your passionate desire to learn how to harness disruption, innovate in completely new ways and most importantly, transform your nonprofit into a constituent focused machine. You are being introduced to new connected constituents. You are seeing how they progress through a dynamic journey. You are discovering how they respond and behave at each moment of truth about your mission. Generation C’ers are different than their traditional counterparts. You can’t reach them through direct mail. Their phone numbers (remember land lines) aren’t published. They may or may not subscribe to your eNewsletter. You can only reach them if they choose to be reached. They are in control of who they do (or don’t) connect with.

We are learning that our constituents are far more informed than we ever imagined. They are very, very sophisticated in their decision making. They are extremely savvy in their digital prowess. They have a capacity to multitask across multiple platforms and devices during the day and pick up right where they left off at night. We have to adapt to this new world.

We all want to improve the experience for our constituents. We know that experience right now it can be very disjointed. We yearn for our leadership to be innovative and visionary. We want it to be meaningful and not fanciful.

We have this sense that innovation starts with something perhaps simpler than transformation. We must go back to the basics of our mission and vision and align them with desirable outcomes and significant experiences. We may need to invest in programs and services that our constituents may not even know they need yet.

Here is a summary of some of the things we know:

  1. The new reality is the connected constituent that is opening up new touch points for our mission.
  2. How connected constituents are influenced and influence isn’t anything like our traditional constituents are.
  3. They expect something different. They are aligning with our missions for different reasons than we think. Think quality of experience. Think about how we treat our employees and constituents. Consider how sustainable the footprint you are leaving is visible. Obsess over engagement. This is what is important to our new constituents.
  4. The channels they use may never cross other channels. They can be fully contained from beginning to end on one device in one network. My children will sit in front of a very nice iMac searching for content on their smartphone.
  5. On the other hand, sometimes constituents will hop channels. They may look something up on the web and call you. What they expect is a seamless experience. It must be integrated. We have to bring these constituents with common goals together and intentionally design a seamless experience.
  6. Connected constituents value highly being valued. How can we find a new way express value and measure it?
  7. What does it take to connect with connected constituents?
    1. An understanding of how they behave and what they prefer.
    2. Some ability to read between the lines and innovate programs and services.
    3. Define the constituent experience and what it will look like across every channel and journey.
    4. A blueprint on how to change the philosophy, culture and technology to lead (champion) a new era of constituent experiences and engagement.

Simply saying we need to change probably isn’t the most helpful statement. We know that. Change takes, at a minimum, at least two things. First, you really have to want to. Desire and aspiration are essential. Second, it takes determination, stamina, fortitude and sheer will. It all however starts with a vision.

Most nonprofits are exploring new media, different technology, and alternative channels for better constituent engagement. To start with vision may sound trivial. Without vision, I would advocate, there probably won’t be any significant transformation. Transformation follows vision. Your next step may be to be the one to press pause. We can easily fall into the trap of chaotically rushing to the next big thing with understanding “Why are we doing this?” Be the leader to stop and ask why?

You Call That Innovation? Maybe it is just change management

February 7, 2013 Leave a comment

Everybody is on the innovation bandwagon. It is the “buzzword” of the year. Unless what we are talking about is disruptive, we are probably talking about monumental change and change management. This may be the “elephant in the C-Suite” but it is an elephant none the less.

Got innovation? Just about every company says it does.

Companies throw the term “innovation” around but that doesn’t mean they are actually changing anything monumental. Leslie Kwoh reports on digits. 

Businesses throw around the term to show they’re on the cutting edge of everything from technology and medicine to snacks and cosmetics. Companies are touting chief innovation officers, innovation teams, innovation strategies and even innovation days.

But that doesn’t mean the companies are actually doing any innovating. Instead they are using the word to convey monumental change when the progress they’re describing is quite ordinary.

via You Call That Innovation? –

R & D spending to perceived innovation. Is Apple the best?

November 3, 2012 Leave a comment

For the third year in a row, Apple has been voted most innovative company in the world by R&D professionals. In the survey, conducted by Booz & Company, almost 80 percent of the respondents named Apple as one of the three most innovative companies in the world. Google is a distant second with 43 percent of the respondents naming the search engine provider in their top three. This result comes at a time when many are starting to wonder whether Apple has lost its magical innovative touch. Although the company recently updated its entire product range, people are missing revolutionary new features from the company that re-imagined the mobile phone with the iPhone.

What’s interesting is the fact that Apple has the lowest R&D intensity (the ratio of R&D investments to a company’s sales) of all companies in the top ten. In fiscal 2011, Apple spent 2.2 percent of sales ($2.4 billion) on research and development. Google and Microsoft, two of Apples main competitors, each invested more than 10 percent of sales in R&D. Overall there is surprisingly little correlation between R&D expenditure and perceived innovativeness. Only three of the top ten R&D spenders in 2011 made the list of most innovative companies as perceived by the industry experts.

This chart shows a ranking of the most innovative companies in the world, based on a survey among 700 high-level R&D professionals.

How do you combine technologies to innovate?

April 10, 2012 1 comment

This makes so much sense. It is the combination of technology that becomes so powerful in this model.  Well worth reading and thinking through as an enabler of innovation. Adam really nails this one.

These technologies can be combined in numerous ways, and we are just starting to see companies really taking advantage of the possibilities. These four technologies will have a disruptive impact on your business, almost regardless of which industry you’re in. The question is whether you will choose to adopt them before a competitor does.

What are they?
1.  Microprocessors
2.  Sensors
3.  Wireless connectivity
4.  Databases

The Four Technologies You Need to Be Working With – Adam Richardson – Harvard Business Review

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