Author Blogs

Inspire2012 conference

Just returned from Australia where I gave a keynote speech to ‘Inspire 2012’ – the inaugural conference of Health Workforce Australia. (


Some fascinating presentations and discussions around the innovation challenges to delivering high quality healthcare across a very diverse continent, with some big implications for skills and training, workplace productivity and new models to deal with rapidly changing population structure and distribution. Some highlights were:

• Paul Redmond talking about Generation Y (and other groups like Generation X, Baby Boomers and Millenials) and how we need to rethink our approaches to this significant social group in terms of their user needs and potential as co-creators of innovation

• Ian Curran talking about STeLI (Simulation and Technology-enhanced Learning Initiative) , a large-scale research programme looking at the role which simulation technologies and approaches can play in enhancing patient safety. A close collaborator with Clayton Christensen he highlighted some of the emerging challenges around disruptive innovation in healthcare and placed particular emphasis on regulation as a barrier to change

• Denis Pashen and Michael Penniment giving examples of technological and organizational innovations in delivery of healthcare in remote regions, including the use of ‘Physician Assistants’ and the growing role of telemedicine.

Some of the issues were explored in more detail in ‘Masterclass’ sessions and Joanna Tait put together a Storify overview here:

ISPIM Conference

ISPIM conference Barcelona

Another fascinating mix of academic and practitioner presentations and a great city for a conference! An overview of the programme is here:

Highlights for me were:

Philip Cullimore from Kodak explaining how – despite the wide publicity around its problems in photographic markets – the business is still actively involved in many other areas. The case study of what could turn out to be a disruptive innovation in the printing industry was fascinating, showing how technology originally developed for making photographic film has been adapted and deployed in powerful new ways for new markets. We’re hoping to write up this case for the website – watch this space!

Tim Jones with updates from the Growth Champions research programme looking at experiences of key innovators in the public and private sector. His slides are available here:

A fascinating interview with Francisco Pinheiro of Aptos Origin about the company’s internal innovation activities and particularly the work on internal innovation platforms. I did a video interview with him about this and hope to post it on the site shortly.

In terms of videos there was a constant stream of participants into the video booth operated by Orbita97 who were asking people for their views on the future of innovation. Over 100 short clips – including contributions form Joe and myself! – are available here:

And, of course, the debut of the ISPIM Band at the conference dinner, proving to the world that innovation management researchers and practitioners also have a lot of soul!

Innovation leadership – the work of the Peter Pribilla Foundation

The Peter Pribilla Foundation is a network of researchers and practitioners interested in the themes of leadership and innovation. Originally set up in memory of Peter Pribilla who was a member of the Executive Board of Siemens and Director of Corporate Human Resources, the foundation organizes regular workshops and funds research aimed at linking innovation theory and practice more closely. It also sponsors the Research Excellence award at the European Academy of Management where leading innovation scholars are recognized for new ideas – previous winners have included Karim Lakhani of Harvard (for his work on Innocentive and the ways innovation markets accelerate and enable innovation) and Marco Leimeister (for his work on leveraging crowdsourcing innovation approaches)

The website also offers some downloadable innovation resources in both English and German including reports on recent workshops and research projects.

Their most recent workshop was held in the glorious surroundings of an old Papal villa near Frascati in Italy and focused on some of the key challenges for innovation management raised by acceleration and convergence in IT. Speakers included Manfred Broy on the Technische Universitat Munich who shared a vision of highly integrated cyber –physical systems – with major implications for location, firm scale and scope and underlying issues of privacy and intellectual property management. This was echoed by Frank Piller of the University of Aachen whose description of the new industrial revolution beginning to happen around digital manufacturing was full of fascinating examples of new businesses and business models trying to move into the new space opened up by converging and increasingly simple design and manufacturing tools. The idea of being able to imagine anything and then realize it via a 3-D printer seems like the stuff of science fiction – but on sites like it is increasingly becoming the reality. Frank has an excellent piece in the Sloan Management Review looking at the business models needed to work with this theme – and also has a very interesting blog in which he shares emerging insights from along this frontier.

New video on Tesco Fresh ‘n’ Easy case

Michelle Lowe (of Southampton University and Lead Fellow in Innovation with AIM – the Advanced Institute of Management Research) has been carrying out a long-term study of Tesco’s entry into the US market with its ‘Fresh’n’Easy’ store brand. This work offers a great insight into retail innovation but also picks up many examples of how an integrated approach – in product/service, in operating and business processes, in positioning innovation in a new market and in the underlying business model (creating a neighbourhood store for all types of customer) is developed, deployed and can contribute to competitive advantage.

There is a detailed case study of this on the website and Michele has now made a video featuring interview and other detail from the research which is available here

One of the main thrusts of the AIM programme has been research on innovation and you can find not only Michelle’s video but a wide range of other useful innovation-related resources – videos, executive briefings, reports, etc. – on their website.

Innovation in law firms

Ask most people to name a few sectors which are highly innovative and the chances are you’ll find the usual suspects – pharmaceuticals, aerospace, medical electronics, computer games and so on. But turn the question to those sectors for whom innovation is most important – and the list may change. In particular there are many sectors which – having survived and prospered without much change over many years – suddenly find themselves facing new and significant challenges which demand new responses.

One example is the legal profession –for centuries a highly regulated professional field in which change came slowly, if at all. Indeed, much of the image of law firms is about stability and consistency. But here as in so many other sectors there is change – and opportunity for those organizations which can embrace and pursue innovation. The sector is waking up to the need for change – driven partly by growing competition, partly by rising costs, partly by de-regulation. And there is plenty of activity – for example, the ‘Financial Times’ runs an annual series of awards for the most innovative law firms!

In a series of short reports ( Alastair Ross of Codexx discusses some of the ways in which legal firms have been able to take advantage of some of these opportunities in the area of process innovation.
It forms part of a larger research project which we’re involved with – and we’ll be reporting more in due course. Watch this space!

New report on ‘Opening up healthcare innovation: Innovation solutions for a 21st century healthcare system

John has just finished a report , written with Kathrin Moeslein and Christoph Kunne of the University of Erlangen-Nuremburg, which looks at the ways in which new innovation approaches are helping meet the challenge of healthcare. It is downloadable from the AIM website here:

Report on the 7th Innovation Lab conference, Nuremburg, Germany.

The idea of the Innovation Labs network is to provide a forum where researchers, practitioners and policymakers can meet and share experiences, ideas and concerns about managing innovation. It originated in the UK with something called the Discontinuous Innovation Forum where – as the name suggests – we began exploring some of the challenges posed by disruptive innovation – and how they might be dealt with. Since then the network has expanded to many other countries and involves around 40 academic research groups and 300 plus companies and other organizations in workshops, research projects and other activities. See for more information on the Labs and the conference presentations.

Most Innovation Lab activity takes place at a country level but we try and hold an annual conference where we can share at an international level some of what so going on. This time there were around 50 delegates from 10 countries and a wide range of industrial and academic presentations. Highlights included:

• A presentation by Pedro Oliveira (MIT Sloan Management School & Católica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics) on ‘Users as service innovators’ which had some fascinating examples of patients and carers developing radical innovations around serious diseases

• Some insights from Jamie Wilkie about how Fuijitsu innovates its innovation process with some interesting ideas on Innovation coaches and other support roles.

• Another ‘postcard’ from the front line, this time from Ulrich Wenger (Rolls-Royce) about their experience with ‘Innovation, the arduous journey from idea to product realization’.

• Some experience with the new world of co-creation of innovation shared by Catherina Van Delden of Innosabi (see the video interview with her for more detail)

• Updates on research from Fiona Lettice (UK) and Pekka Berg (Finland)

• And – to make sure everyone kept physically and mentally moving, two interactive workshops, one on the Global Service Jam and another on masculine/feminine aspects of the innovation process!

Like all good laboratories the event provided both some new data and ideas but also raised a whole new set of questions to work on. Some of these will no doubt be reported at the next conference, scheduled for spring 2013 in Finland. Watch this space for more details!

Antipodean news

Report on 4th ISPIM Symposium, Wellington, New Zealand, 30th November – 2nd December.


This was the latest in the ISPIM symposium series and John was invited to deliver a keynote address which was based on the recent AIM report on Open Collective Innovation (downloadable from


The conference drew around 120 participants from a wide range of countries and there were some fascinating papers form both academic and industrial perspectives.  It was particularly interesting to hear how New Zealand firms are dealing with the challenge of connecting into the world innovation system – with a growing concentration on high tech entrepreneurial business creation.  Examples included Mesynthes – a company specializing in active wound care using skin regeneration  ( and Minimonos – an online game for children which has managed to build a population of around 250,000 users playing games around a strong sustainability theme ( .  I managed to do a video interview with Melissa Clark-Reynolds, the founder (and ‘Alpha Monkey’ – great job title!) and will post it on the website shortly to be followed by a case study of the company.


On the same trip I spent a week with colleagues at Queensland University of Technology who hosted my visit (and also that of Frances Joergensen of Aarhus University who is working in aspects of HR and innovation with Karen Becker of QUT). In addition to various discussions round joint research, we ran a workshop with the State Department for Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) hosted by the Chief Scientist.


I also gave a talk in Melbourne at the launch event of the Victoria Universities Innovation Management Network, a grouping of 9 universities with shared interests in the topic and a variety of public and private sector organizations.  (Contact Andrew O’Loughlin of Deakin University for more details:



Other speeches came from innovation managers in Robert Bosch and Siemens, both of whom spoke to the wider theme of sustainability and innovation.  It will be interesting to see this network develop, especially as the 2013 ISPIM Symposium will take place in Melbourne and should provide an additional focus for research and experience-sharing.



Innovation Masterclass in Luxembourg

John was invited to give the annual Innovation Masterclass organized by Luxinnovation, the national innovation agency of Luxembourg. During a packed week in November he gave a series of public presentations, company visits and workshops; some video of a breakfast briefing for the business magazine ‘Paperjam’ can be found here.

Open Collective Innovation

A new report is available from the AIM website and free to download – ‘Open collective innovation’ by John Bessant and Kathrin Moeslein. It looks at the ways in which the rapidly changing knowledge context can be tapped into by a variety fo new tools and approaches, especially using Web.20 opportunities. See for more.