Over the last several years, we have had the pleasure of serving clients at the cutting edge of innovation. It has been an honor to advise the executives that are accountable for delivering innovation results within many leading organizations. From these leaders we have heard their desire for an intimate event that broke away from the traditional model of presentation-based executive summits.

April 11th 2014 marked Kalypso’s inaugural Innovation Officer Retreat.

Based on the outstanding feedback from participants, we believe we fulfilled our promise to deviate from traditional executive summit frameworks with an intimate, activity oriented event.

The weekend in Miami was filled with a diverse set of innovation executives collaborating, sharing, and working through the tough challenges they face every day. Executives were also encouraged to bring along significant others to enjoy a private tour of Wynwood Walls, spray paint with local graffiti artists, and rocket around the bay in a speedboat. The networking activities were exciting but nothing is more gratifying than having clients tell us that our workshops shifted their thinking and inspired them to take action.

We can’t wait to do this again next year.

Here are some of the Key takeaways form the event:

The Rising Role of the Chief Innovation Officer

Consistently delivering organic growth from innovation year-over-year is not easy. In this session we explored the set of cross-functional responsibilities and accountabilities the Chief Innovation Officer must own to bring about meaningful business results.

Innovation officers must span the gap between technical and commercial functions and have the ability to speak both languages.

The Chief Innovation Officer has 5 Primary Responsibilities:

  1. Formulate and communicate strategy
  2. Shape the portfolio and accelerate breakthroughs
  3. Evolve disciplines, competencies and climate
  4. Measure, monitor and learn
  5. Deliver Innovation Results

Breakthrough Innovation Execution

Driving breakthrough innovation within large organizations requires a partnership between the shared staff and the dedicated team. Conflicts between ongoing business operations and innovation efforts are natural and unavoidable. In this session, executives exchanged information on innovation initiatives they were struggling with in their organizations. This form of challenge swapping allowed executives to solicit advice from their fellow executives on how to best address challenges. This exercise presented a refreshing opportunity for innovation officers to step away from their own innovation challenges and collaborate with like-minded peers.

Innovation is Ideas + Execution.
Both are very different.

Ideas: Invention, creativity, brainstorming, serendipity, out-of-the-box thinking,
science, technology, strategy, disrupting your competition.    

Execution: The blood, sweat, and tears of getting the work done.

The Execution Challenge: The Execution challenge is a lot harder than (most) people imagine. Tackle two distinct tasks at once –

  1. Sustain what exists
  2. Build something new

Balancing Innovation & Ongoing Operations

In this session, Chris Trimble presented his methodologies from The Other Side of Innovation to create a better understanding of how to avoid conflict between ongoing operations and innovation initiatives. Using the partnership framework, attendees then shared takeaways, anticipated objections, and identified trouble spots for leading innovation teams within their organizations. We then explored best practices for running a disciplined experiment.

The team structure is a Partnership between a Dedicated Team and the Shared Staff.
You can ask the Shared Staff to do more work… But you cannot ask the Shared Staff to do different work.

Formalize the Experiment

  1. Each innovation initiative needs a separate, stand-alone, custom plan with custom metrics.
  2. Discuss plans, results, and lessons learned in separate forums.
  3. Try to spend a little, learn a lot.
    Meet frequently.
    Focus on trends.
    Resolve critical unknowns first.

How do you evaluate an Innovation Leader?

  • Results. Did you hit your targets?
  • Actions. Did you do what we agreed that you would do?
  • Learning. Did you run a disciplined experiment?

The Innovation Results Transformation Journey

Optimizing your organization to consistently deliver organic growth from innovation is a multi-year journey. An innovation officer must lead the company to deliver the future by creating new innovation platforms and ensuring the organization has the right capabilities, people and processes in place to deliver them. This session outlined the journey to transform organizations to consistently deliver innovation results and the role of the Chief Innovation Officer to lead the change.

Innovation Leadership must Envision, Energize & Enable.

To effectively deliver improved business results, innovation officers should:

  1. Start by creating a journey map.
  2. Create a feedback loop to measure, analyze and act.
  3. Sustain results by taking control of the organizational design elements that impact innovation results.

Setting & Articulating Innovation Strategy

In this session, participants began by characterizing their current mix of key innovation projects to see their current innovation strategy through a new lens. Participants were asked to step back to redefine their industries as services and experiences to identify possible disruptions that could render their business obsolete.
As a Chief Innovation Officer, bringing visibility into future gaps and vulnerabilities for disruption to the CEO and business unit leaders is critical to demonstrating value.

Build a Blueprint for Growth.

  • Define the types of innovation you will do.
  • Choose a specific amount of incremental growth that will come from each type of innovation.
  • Allocate funds to each type of growth.
  • Build the capability (the “Factory” to develop and deliver the blueprint).

Innovation Strategy helps uncover right-of-way
Business Models require creating experiments to learn and then scale.

Setting & Articulating Innovation Strategy

This session explored how to best get employees to target the right areas for developing new business models.  The exercise began with defining the organization’s current business models and exploring what it takes to drive a billion dollar idea using orders of magnitude.  Participants explored the levers of price and quantity, and the implications of these two levers on formulating new business models for delivering value.

Price x Quantity = $1B

New business models can be identified with a simple “orders of magnitude” exercise that reframes existing value propositions as a product of Price and Quantity. Ask what has to be true to be sell $1B per year?

By exploring different occasions, frequencies of usage and pricing models, innovation officers can uncover opportunities to transform and scale.

Action Planning

To help drive learning into action, we asked executives to review their previous journal reflections, write down their key takeaways and identify action steps they will take in their organization as a result. Innovation Officers then shared their lists among their peer group to solicit feedback and encourage a culture of accountability to execute on their action plans.

We will build on the success of this year’s event, and plan to host this retreat again next year. It is our intent to keep this event small and hands-on. We believe that this intimate environment - void of vendors and others - cultivates honest and meaningful conversations, knowledge sharing, and the development of collaborative partnerships. We will commit to keep this event exclusively executive. We welcome you to join us for next year’s adventure. For more information on the 2015 Innovation Officer Retreat, please reach out to Bill Poston at bill.poston@kalypso.com