Innovation Styles Success Stories

1. Tool of Choice for 3 Top Pharmaceutical Companies in the World

Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novartis and Merck have all rolled out the Innovation Styles® Profile to large parts of their organizations, helping to create cultures of innovation, and driving excellence in innovation tools and processes.

2. Developing new product and service ideas for retail customers

The executives of a leading discount brokerage firm wanted to develop new product and service ideas for their retail investment customers. This company had a commitment and passion for offering individual investors useful, ethical services at a fair price. This strong sense of ethical values carried over into an innovation workshop with focus areas based on their corporate strategy, targeted markets, and potential technology capabilities.

At the beginning of the workshop, everyone took the Innovation Styles® self-assessment and discussed how the results could help them generate a more comprehensive set of ideas, and work together more synergistically in doing so. Sub-groups generated and then converged on top concepts in each of the focus areas. The full group then selected the top concepts for further review and development. The workshop was hailed as a success for engaging the employees in the concept-development phase and bringing forth promising concepts that had not been recognized by senior management.

3. Enhancing production and product efficacy to meet end-of-patent competition

A major agricultural-chemical firm was facing the upcoming expiration of its patent for its most profitable product. In the next year, other companies would be producing this product as a “generic” with lower price points in the market. They invited 120 scientists to a 2-day conference to identify opportunities to (a) lower the production cost, and/or (b) increase the efficacy so that the cost per application was lowered. At the same time, reducing environmental impact was an over-riding imperative.

The participants were introduced to Innovation Styles® and specific tools to assist their innovative thinking. In various subgroups, they generated ideas and selected “most promising concepts” from each idea session, to be voted on as “most promising for further review, refinement, and development.” After 6 months of development of certain concepts, a scientific breakthrough was verified that significantly increased the efficacy of the product while also reducing the environmental impact. The breakthrough also had implications for reducing production cost – a triple victory.

4. Developing a long-term business strategy

A mid-sized pharmaceutical company had released a “blockbuster” new drug into the market, and was reaping the benefits. But its parent company was taking much of the newfound net profits to subsidize growth in other non-pharmaceutical businesses. The executives wanted to identify a 5-7 year growth strategy to paint the picture of long-term potential. They were dedicated to new avenues of research in cancer and women’s health, but funds were shrinking for the investments needed in these fields of research.

A high level executive team first discovered how Innovation Styles® could be used to learn different ways of strategic thinking, and how to take advantage of this diversity of thinking rather than making it an obstacle. Key company leaders and professionals attended a “multiple scenario” planning session in which they used Innovation Styles® to broaden their innovative thinking about what was possible within the confines of each industry scenario. Afterwards, the separate strategies for each scenario were compared to determine an over-arching “positioning” strategy, which ultimately led to the spin-off of the company for the mutual benefit of the parent company and pharma company.

5. Establishing a climate and culture for innovation

The senior executives at a major cement company in India wanted to energize and enable employees at all levels to initiate innovative solutions to the challenges they, and the company, faced every day. The aim for engaging employees in innovation projects went far beyond pioneering new products and services, and included new ways to enact their commitment to corporate citizenship and sustainable development, having won numerous awards for this in the past.

In a series of workshops, senior managers learned how to be “coaches of innovation” using the Innovation Styles® tools as well as a proprietary model of the innovation process. As a result, they improved their skills to: (1) Be more innovative in their own thinking; (2) Honor the diversity of approaches their employees might take; and (3) Guide employees in developing and implementing innovative solutions.

Subsequently, the company sponsored an “Innovation Contest” to recognize individuals, teams, and departments who were implementing the training and producing innovative solutions in their work – an event that continued for years afterwards.

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