How Do We Cultivate A Culture of Innovation?

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From Kaylee Kolditz
Innovation Culture Consultant

I really appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with you on the NYC Women in Product Meet Up. I’m excited to see where we can take this. I wanted to encapsulate what I said during our chat about innovation —
We need to be careful not to attach the term “innovation” to everything because honestly, it is currently a trend. However, we cannot in any way discount its importance to the viability and longevity of an organization.
Innovation cannot be something we do or a phase or a goal, it has to be a part of the company culture. Innovation is not just about ideas…it is about a way of thinking and being; it is a language and a process; it requires flexibility and follow-through, creativity and structure; and it is more complex than we realize.
To be innovative is to be thinking of the future while taking action today. We learn and move on — already knowing what we are moving onto.
Only a company that has this ingrained in its culture can do this.
So, how do we ingrain innovation in our culture without turning it into the latest trend, box to be checked or the CEO’s vision of the month?

Kaylee KolditzAbout the Author, Kaylee Kolditz

With 18 years of marketing and business development experience, I have worked with companies large and small across a variety of industries, but I get the most energy and joy from working with product development organizations. In my current role, I help product organizations identify and access the resources (trainings, publications, groups, events) to cultivate a culture of innovation. I also help folks network online and in person, and manage an online community and conference for innovation in product development.

Goals: I’d like to connect with companies in the NYC area interested in looking at the gaps in their innovation culture and putting a plan in place to cultivate a culture of innovation throughout their organization.

Lean startups should “pivot” on product and strategy, but not on passion – Chris Hoogewerff

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Some entrepreneurs and builders are driven by the prosp […]

StartUP Product‘s insight:

We’ve learned a lot about creating great products from the Lean movement, not surprisingly in the ‘measure’ and ‘learn’ steps of the ‘Build, measure, learn’ cycle.  In this thoughtful article, Chris Hoogewerff proposes a 4th step.  He argues convincingly that it’s vital to maintain passion even after major pivots, and when we pivot to something that departs too much from that “thing” that compelled us to create our startup, we may be in trouble.  To paraphrase, the litmus test could come in the form of a ‘Visualize’ step where we ask ourselves, ‘Do I love this new product and will I be fanatical about serving the people that will use it?’

Join us October 11, 2013 for Startup Product Summit SF2 to connect with lots of others that are passionate about product.  Register:

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To Invent Like Edison, Learn to Collaborate/ Design News

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A new book by Thomas Edison’s great-grandniece takes on the notion that he was a lone-wolf inventor and replaces it with an image of a man who ascribed great value to the ideas of colleagues.

StartUP Product‘s insight:

Edison “viewed collaboration as the beating heart of his laboratories, a sustaining resource that fueled the knowledge assets of his sprawling innovation empire.”

Encourage diverse viewpoints

  • In a real collaboration, there should be a focus on learning from others and leveraging their strengths
  • it’s very important that they learn someone else’s language and see the problem from their perspective (cross-functional)

Consider at least three options

  • consider multiple options

Always consider the customer

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#ProdMgmtTalk Live Broadcast: Terry Jones, Founder and Former CEO,

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Terry Jones, Founder & Former CEO, 06/10 by ProdMgmtTalk | Blog Talk Radio

Terry Jones, Founder & Former CEO, 06/10 by ProdMgmtTalk | Blog Talk Radio


For Innovation’s Sake, Reach Through the ‘Bozone’ Layer!

Terry Jones founded and then founded its new competitor What was the secret to his decades of leadership success?

“The leaders at the top need to hear from the people on the line – the clerks, the customer service reps, the people who are actually touching the customers,” says Jones, author of On Innovation (

“They’re almost always the employees with the best ideas for solving problems, streamlining processes, improving the customers’ experience. That’s where innovation begins.

The trouble is, in companies where the leadership has made failure too risky for middle managers, an impenetrable “bozone layer” forms between those at the top and those at the bottom.

“The short-term solution is for leaders to find ways to reach through the ‘bozone layer’ and talk to the workers. Solicit their ideas, implement them and give them a really big shout out for their great contribution,” Jones says.

“The long-term solution is to vaporize the bozone layer by changing the culture.

Encourage experimentation and new ideas. When something doesn’t work, kill the project — not the person! People need to know it’s safe to experiment and even to fail.”

Discussion Questions

  • If company leaders reward middle managers for their successes, doesn’t that encourage risk-taking?
  • In your own experience as a business leader, what was the best innovative idea you implemented that came from “the bottom”?
  • How can leaders win the trust of managers who’ve seen people demoted or fired for taking a risk that bombed?
  • What’s a good example of an innovative company that has successfully dealt with the bozone layer?

Terry Jones joined host, Cindy F. Solomon, on Monday, June 10, 2013 at the simultaneous times of 10:00 AM Pacific Time, 11:00 AM MST Denver, 12:00 Noon CST Chicago, and 1:00 PM EST Boston.

Participants are welcome to listen live to the weekly show at, call in to talk on the show (323) 927-2957 and to participate on Twitter by following @ProdMgmtTalk and tweeting using the hashtag #ProdMgmtTalk

About Terry Jones
Terry Jones founded in 1996 and led the company as president and CEO until May 2002. He is managing principal of Essential Ideas, a consultancy he cofounded to help companies in their transition to the digital economy, and serves as chairman of the board at, which he also founded. Previously, he served as chief information officer at Sabre Inc., where he held various executive positions for 24 years. Before Sabre, he joined American Airlines as director of product development and eventually became president of the division. Jones is a graduate of Denison University.

Terry’s New Book is “ON Innovation”

This book’s focus is turning on innovation in your culture, teams and organization.

On Innovation has 72 short ideas on how to build teams, create a culture, and select the best ideas. It includes a section on “Innovation in a large corporation”

It is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle format and in the IBook store for Ipad.

First editorial reviews of ON Innovation

Terry Jones’s book “On Innovation” is a gem. You’ll come away from this book enriched, even if you just only dip into it in 10 minute snatches now and again.  TNOOZ Travel News

If you’re looking for inspiration to kick-start your business for 2013, get your hands on a copy of ON INNOVATION. Tahoe Bonanza

A quick and inspiring take on building innovation from the ground up.  KIRKUS Reviews

The book… speaks in layman’s terms, to the everyman and everywoman who wants to better himself or herself and their teams. MOONSHINE INK

This is a book that is ideal for front line staff, CEOs and definitely middle managers… “how to” book. How to do things, how to look at your business in a new way, how to be strategic, how to listen — overall, how to innovate. Lake Tahoe News

PIPELINE 2013 Mini Conference: June 19th

View special re-airings of presentations from Terry Jones and Dr. Robert Cooper and then join them for live Q&A. Already registered? You’ll just log in right here on June 19 with your email address. Not yet registered?Register today for the PIPELINE 2013 Mini Conference: June 19th.

#ProdMgmtTalk on Human Centered Design with Chris Pacione, CEO, LUMA Insititute

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Chris Pacione, CEO, LUMA Institute, Will Discuss The Practice Of Human-Centered Design For Preparing People, Teams, And Entire Organizations To Increase Innovation

Human Centered Design: Chris Pacione, CEO, LUMA Insititute 04/08 by ProdMgmtTalk | Blog Talk Radio

Human Centered Design: Chris Pacione, CEO, LUMA Insititute 04/08 by ProdMgmtTalk | Blog Talk Radio


Monday, April 8, 2013 at the simultaneous times of 10:00 AM Pacific Time, 11:00 AM MST Denver, 12:00 Noon CST Chicago, and 1:00 PM EST Boston.
Background resources:
Mark your calendar with the correct time:
Follow for reminders:
Curated Content:

The Global Product Management Talk features an expert guest discussing pre-posted questions with Cindy F. Solomon, co-hosts, and Twitter participants broadcast live over BlogTalkRadio. The transcript of Tweets and podcast are available following the event for on-demand consumption on the web, iTunes, Google Play and mobile devices. More information available at Get reminders and listen live by following

What is #ProdMgmtTalk?
Join Global Product Management Talk!
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Want to reach target audience of Product Professionals? Sponsor Global Product Management Talk!

Join us at automatically appends hashtag
Our format: we post questions Q1, Q2, Q3 Please answer using A1, A2, A3

Questions for Discussion:
PreQ: Please introduce yourself, where you are tweeting from & your involvement with #prodmgmt #prodmgmttalk

Q1 Are you someone who strives to maintain the status quo? Or are you someone who wants to make things better?

Q2 Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why? Why now?

Q3 If so, do you consider yourself innovative? You know, fluent in it. Do you consider yourself good at it, something you have enough expertise in, in order to apply this expertise consistently and successfully most of the time?

Q4 How many people would say they know what it even means to be competent in innovation? If someone, or some organization on the whole is good at innovation, what *exactly* are they good at?

Q5 Do you consider yourself a designer? Why? Why not?

About Chris Pacione

As a Co-Founder and CEO of LUMA Institute, Chris leads a highly skilled, multidisciplinary team of practitioners located around the world who are passionate about preparing organizations to be more innovative. He is a frequent speaker on the topic of design and innovation in the US, Europe and Asia and is co-author of the book, “Innovating for People”.

Prior to LUMA Institute, Chris co-founded BodyMedia, Inc., one of the early pioneers in wearable health monitoring, and headed up experience design and customer marketing.

Chris’s work has been cited in numerous national and international publications including Business Week, the NY times, Wired Magazine and Fast Company as well as several popular books about design and innovation including “In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World” and “The Design of Things to Come: How Ordinary People Create Extraordinary Products.”

He holds several IDEA Gold Medal Awards sponsored by Business Week and the Industrial Designers Society of America and has been awarded numerous US and EU patents for his work.
Pittsburgh, PA
Email: chris at

Steve Jobs Had It Wrong: Why You Should Look To Consumers For Product Innovation

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It has long been asserted (famously, by Steve Jobs) that customers can’t tell you what your next product should be. Companies create and customers consume.

StartUP Product‘s insight:

To be competitive, brands need to look outward and cultivate the communities of creative customers that are shaping the future of their products.

Developers have been using APIs and open source software for many years to increase the pace of innovation. Consumer product companies can mimic these more open systems. Just look at companies like Sifteo or Lapka that have created physical products connected to software that are designed to be remixed into new applications.

Bottom Line for extending engagement and product narrative:

People embrace what they influence, so more open and transparent brands will become the most loved and talked about as well.

Questions for discussion:

How can you enable customer influence and manage user creativity without losing control and focus on development cycles and roadmap…?

Is it possible to nurture creative customer communities in parallel with developer communities?  Remember User Groups that had love/hate for the developers?

How do you enable creative consumers without canabalizing next versions?

What are the most effective tools for managing crowdsourced feedback and ideas that enable more than marketing content and engagement incentives?

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