170 episodes

An award-winning podcast and nationally syndicated talk radio show that looks at the innovations that are changing our lives and how their innovators used creativity and design to take their raw idea and create they're game-changing product or service.



Phil McKinney and his guests share real-world practical advice on how to harness the power of creativity and design to create ideas that turn into innovations that radically improve your personal, career and business success.



The show is hosted by Phil McKinney, retired CTO of Hewlett-Packard (HP) and author of Beyond The Obvious.



The complete backlog of content (going back to 2005) is available at http://KillerInnovations.com. Follow Phil on Facebook at http://bit.ly/phil-facebook and Twitter at http://twitter.com/philmckinney

Killer Innovations with Phil McKinney - A Show About Ideas Creativity And Innovation Phil McKinney

    • Management
    • 4.6, 64 Ratings

An award-winning podcast and nationally syndicated talk radio show that looks at the innovations that are changing our lives and how their innovators used creativity and design to take their raw idea and create they're game-changing product or service.



Phil McKinney and his guests share real-world practical advice on how to harness the power of creativity and design to create ideas that turn into innovations that radically improve your personal, career and business success.



The show is hosted by Phil McKinney, retired CTO of Hewlett-Packard (HP) and author of Beyond The Obvious.



The complete backlog of content (going back to 2005) is available at http://KillerInnovations.com. Follow Phil on Facebook at http://bit.ly/phil-facebook and Twitter at http://twitter.com/philmckinney

    Using Strategy to Create Innovation Advantage

    Using Strategy to Create Innovation Advantage

    This week’s guest has been around in the innovation industry for quite some time. We know a lot of the same people as we were at two companies that worked closely together. Brad Chase is an author and a former Senior VP at Microsoft. We will discuss innovation advantage through strategy and insights from his book, Strategy First: How Businesses Win Big.



    Early Years

    Brad’s stepfather used to go to Heathkit stores to find computer parts and build computers. Through this, Brad saw a lot of future potential in personal computers. He ended up going to business school, and after finishing, he interviewed with companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and HP. He ended up landing a job with Microsoft, where he spent 14 years exploring innovative advantages. While at Microsoft, Brad led the marketing efforts for the Windows 95 launch. It was the first operating system to help PCs go mainstream. Windows 95 ushered personal computers, Microsoft and Bill Gates into the mainstream media and technology world.

    Exploring Innovation Advantage

    Brad learned a lot about strategy from Bill Gates. At Microsoft, he learned how the company had bet on the PC. They believed there would be a PC in every home on every desk, running Microsoft software. Right away, he learned that making bets is vital to success. If you bet on the wrong thing, you fail, but if you bet on the right thing, you will have a chance at success.

    When Brad first started, Microsoft was doing poorly on word processing and spreadsheets and was behind its competitors. Microsoft decided to bet on a GUI (Graphical User Interface) and made a big risky bet on Windows, which turned out to be very successful. They eventually went on to become the leader in applications by using innovation advantages. Microsoft built most of their applications from the ground up.

    A significant difference between Microsoft and Apple was that anyone could build a Windows computer as well as applications for it. Apple was a closed ecosystem where the users were not able to do that.

    Strategy First: How Businesses Win Big

    When Brad was talking strategy to different businesses and MBA students, people would always ask him if he had a book. He did some research and found out there were no books that talked about strategy in a clear and easily understandable way, and that is how his book was born. The purpose of the book is to show that strategy is the most important thing to the success of a business leader and to give a model and tips about how to build a good strategy.

    In many organizations, the strategy can mean a thousand different things. Brad defines strategy as a plan to compete with three key elements: execution, market potential, and customer value. Customer value is the inherent value of a product or service to a customer. The market potential is generally about how much profit you can make.

    At the Innovation Bootcamp, we don’t look at financials first when evaluating an idea. We say to value the idea first on the standpoint of impact and to achieve the objective. Once you’ve identified those ideas, you build a hypothesis on what the market potential is. Some people lose focus on the idea and don’t add the strategy in, which is a bad idea.

    Advice for the Listeners

    Brad gives five key tips for building a new strategy in his book. The first is to seek change. Whenever there is a change in the market, such as COVID-19, there is a strategic opportunity to put innovative advantages into play. The internet, as an example, has made some businesses fail, and others succeed. Secondly,

    • 38 min
    How to Use Nature to Innovate Manufacturing

    How to Use Nature to Innovate Manufacturing

    This week’s show is a follow up of a recent episode we did about 3D printing. A lot of the listeners were interested in learning more about the overall tools and techniques of 3D printing. Andy Roberts, Vice President, inventor, and lead developer of Live Parts™ at Desktop Metal, joins us to discuss 3D printing and how they seek to innovate manufacturing processes.



    Background

    Andy Roberts was in the software industry for many years before getting involved with 3D printing. Eventually, he wanted to be involved in something more tangible, like manufacturing. When Desktop Metal started, he saw an opportunity to innovate manufacturing by mixing software with hardware through 3D printing technology.

    I have a little background in subtractive manufacturing, or building by removing material. My father worked at an old milling machine company. I find additive manufacturing, or construction by adding material, very interesting.

    The technology allows parts to be made in ways that they weren’t able to be made before. The creation of finished or near-finished products makes the technology quite sophisticated. Desktop Metal is building printers for the creation of products, as well as the software for people to use them properly. Good software is essential. If a user is not from a manufacturing background, the software will still allow them to create quality parts.

    Live PartsTM

    Andy was interested in innovating manufacturing by creating new design tools for engineers. One day, he was looking out a window and watching trees blow in the wind. Thinking about nature, he asked how no one designs a tree. One plants a seed, then it grows and adapts on its own. Andy started studying cells and how individual cells grow and take the form of different shapes. He created a prototype design tool based on this process.

    While it seemed like a cool idea twelve years ago, the technology was not there, so Andy put it on the shelf and pursued other ventures. Desktop Metal started four years later. He reached out to them to help build this software through 3D printing. The process begins with an assembly of existing parts. You then designate the regions that have to connect to different parts and send the information to the system. You need to specify the material which defines the strength of the parts. The system knows to get rid of excess material for less weight or to add material for more strength.

    Innovating Manufacturing Processes

    Andy walked us through a video showing the process of a skateboard being created by Live PartsTM. The parts were shown growing to fill in the regions connecting the pieces. Next, they went through a process of adapting, in which old cells were killed off, and new cells were spawned. The analysis of the part simultaneously takes place as the part grows, similarly to what happens in nature.

    When it comes to different materials, the parts can be very different. Engineers have the opportunity to choose different materials and change them during the process based on their wants. The parts react just like living cells and adapt accordingly, which is how Live PartsTM has innovated manufacturing through 3D printing.

    Advice for the Listeners

    In the innovator space, there is a lot of interest in rapid prototyping to get ideas tangible. Many innovators have the ideas but don’t have a mechanical background or any experience with 3D printing. Andy recommends that innovators get their feet wet with 3D printing in some capacity. If you work for an organization that has access to printing materials such as plastic or polyme...

    • 38 min
    Audio Innovations You Can Hear

    Audio Innovations You Can Hear

    This week’s guest innovates in an area that most view as already being innovated to its max potential. This view can’t be further from the truth, as this innovator and his team have made game-changing new products. Dave Fabry, Chief Innovation Officer at Starkey, joins us to discuss the innovation of hearing aids. We will discuss audio innovations and what Dave and Starkey are doing to advance hearing aids technology.

    Dave’s Background

    Dave is not the typical CIO, as he didn’t come from a tech background. Growing up, he wanted to be a veterinarian and found audiology while on that path. In the early 1980s, Dave went to the Mayo Clinic as an extern, and fell in love with clinical practice and working one-on-one with those who suffered from bad hearing but were reluctant to use aids. After getting his PHD., he went on to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he got direct exposure to acoustic pathology that many soldiers struggle with. Later in his career, he switched over from the clinical side of audiology to the industry side, and that eventually lead him to Starkey.

    Hearing Aid Technology

    In the U.S, only one in three people that need hearing aids wear them. If people become complacent with that, they leave room for a newcomer to disrupt. The mission at Starkey is to self-disrupt the market while still focusing on its core strategy of better hearing. They wanted to provide the first hearing aid with employed sensors connected to the internet. Starkey aims to turn hearing aids from something that people have to wear, into something they want to have and wear.

    On the show, we have talked about battling innovation antibodies, and how people deal with their innovation antibodies in an organization. At Starkey, Dave challenges himself to look at what the needs of the patient are rather than what his perspective would lead him to believe. He wears the products at times and works directly with patients when working on new technology. Many organizations view innovation programs as lab-oriented activities. You need to get out there and see first-hand what the customer is interested in, to fill their needs and wants genuinely.

    Starkey’s Audio Innovations

    Dave has a relatively young staff under him at Starkey. The average first-time hearing aid user is 67 years old. Starkey continually has to adjust their perspective to that of the end-user as they do not see things the same way as their older users might. On top of that, they have to care enough to learn about the patient’s situation. They are increasingly taking in consideration of other elements that the family and users need. One challenge of innovating for an aging population is the intimidation factor.

    For me, I had my Starkey’s custom-built to help me hear questions coming from large audiences, and I’m a tech-savvy person. If it were my grandparents in the same situation, it would go right over their heads. Starkey focuses on creating hearing that is useful and effective without much effort from the user. They recently introduced Edge Mode that uses AI technology that provides an acoustic analysis of the situation by just tapping on the device. Starkey has partnered with companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon to take advantage of cloud computing. They also have a feature called thrive care that allows the family to monitor the user’s activity from an app with the user’s permission. They also have Bluetooth features that are compatible with iPhone and Android platforms.

    Challenges/Changes

    • 38 min
    Inside the Box Thinking

    Inside the Box Thinking

    Over the last few weeks, we have been focusing the shows on different thinking styles, such as out of the box thinking. This week's topic is a different twist on what we have been recently discussing. People often overlook what I call inside the box thinking and try to stay away from it. On today's show, we will discuss inside the box thinking and how it can be utilized in any team or organization to boost innovation success.



    Inside the Box Thinking

    ‘Inside the box thinking' means to innovate within the constraints defined by the box. It is more generally described as constraint-based innovation. The idea behind it is understanding your constraints and utilizing those constraints to innovate beyond the box. The box can be an organization, government, or even a team. It defines where you are operating here and now. The box can contain inside constraints that you can change. It may also include outside the box constraints that are out of your control. Let's look at what those constraints can look like:



    * Strategy/Vision – Going into a particular market with a fixed and specific plan.

    * Policies/Procedures – Depending on how these are set up, they can be very constraining.

    * Decision Making – Who makes the decisions? What are the decision-making criteria?

    * Resource Allocation – How does your organization allocate resources (time, people, money, equipment)?



     The Seven Laws of Innovation

    Dealing with inside constraints can be a tough task. What I like to call the seven laws of innovation [1], are laws that are critically important for inside the box thinking. Here's what the seven laws mean:



    * Leadership – Having leaders within an organization that support innovation is critical. An alignment amongst the organization must happen to achieve innovation success.

    * Innovation Culture – Culture is key because an innovation culture encourages people to get out and try new ideas. Likewise, a bad culture can drag an organization down.

    * Resources – It is critical to have resources that are devoted to innovation, and to use your best resources. 

    * Patience – Inside innovation takes time. Stay committed.

    * Innovation Framework Process – You need to have an innovation framework process that is tailored to your organization's culture.

    * Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) – What is the colossal objective that you are going to pursue? The goal needs a timeline and plan of execution.

    * Execution – Remember that ideas without execution are hobbies. There is no value without execution.



    Outside Constraints

    These can include competition, outside investments, partners/suppliers, government regulations, etc. I've worked in regulated industries, which have given me a good perspective on what this is all about. Outside constraints are typically outside of your control and have been imposed upon you. These don't always have to be negative and can often be used to your advantage. Let's look at what these are:



    * Competition – If your competitor is much larger than you, they can invest and fund a lot more than you. You can innovate around the economy of scale by blowing it up. Look at what Uber and Lyft did to the taxi and rental car industry.

    * Outside Investments – Innovation requires capital. It is challenging to do game-changing innovations without capital these days. That being said, there are a ton of different ways to get capital.

    * Partners/Suppliers – If you combine your innovation efforts w...

    • 38 min
    Innovation Lessons from Bose

    Innovation Lessons from Bose

    This week we are joined by a guest who has helped a wide range of companies speed up the process of innovation. John Carter, an inventor of Bose’s Noise Cancelling Headphones, designer of Apple’s New Product Process, and founder of TCGen Inc., joins us to talk innovation. We will discuss the lessons John learned while working under Dr. Bose that can help you better your innovation pursuits.



    Background

    John believes that viewing things as a system rather than individual components helps achieve more profound innovations. By system, John means a collection of components that lead to consumer value. He found his interest in systems while studying engineering at Harvey Mudd College. His attention was focused on sound systems, so he pursued a master’s degree at MIT after graduating. While at MIT, he got connected with Dr. Bose and went on to work at Bose for 15 years. John learned many life-changing lessons from Dr. Bose that greatly impacted his career.

    Lessons Learned at Bose

    While at Bose, John worked on noise-canceling headphones for seven years. He learned an important innovation lesson right away while working on microphones for headphones and quality loudspeakers. His first two sole projects were with Dr. Bose and a technician. During the first couple of months, they were making significant progress on the headphones but were having some challenges. Dr. Bose decided to drop the other program and focus on the headphones. While focusing on improving the base and distortion of the headphones, they realized that the customers wanted noise cancellation. As the inventor, they thought they knew how the customer would like the product, and they were dead wrong. John and his team made the mistakes of not understanding the actual benefits of the product and overengineering.

    When I was at HP, there was a lot of overengineering with our printing business. We were engineering way out on the curve, while the customers couldn’t even tell the difference that we thought was noticeable.

    John says that Bose was able to beat its competitors by not focusing on improvements that aren’t very noticeable.

    Importance of Marketing

    In the last segment, we talked about the patience required through the innovation process. The noise-canceling headphones have always impressed me, not just the product, but how it was brought to the market. $300 noise-canceling headphones were so new and radical to the market. Some of the greatest innovations at Bose were done on the marketing and sales front, not the product. They used simple product mission statements such as “great sound from small packages.”

    While John was developing products in the lab, Dr. Bose was focused on retail and marketing experiments. He used an innovation process of successive refinement and thought outside the box. First, Dr. Bose tried selling their products door to door. Then he went to direct mail by putting coupons in magazines. Lastly, he went through a radio station that covered various products. This process allowed Bose to build a dedicated fan base and taught John the importance of third-party credibility. Having someone else in a position of authority talk about you in glowing terms is very impactful.

    Dr. Bose was a fantastic innovator when it came to marketing. His willingness to experiment, fail, and try again is what brought Bose to where they are today. Failure is education and is about cutting out dead alleys to find the right way.

    Innovation Lessons and Advice

    One common question I get is around a href="https://killerinnovations.

    • 38 min
    Out Of The Box Thinking – Part 2

    Out Of The Box Thinking – Part 2

    We are picking up from where we left off on last week's show. We discussed out of the box thinking, which means to think from a different perspective. In Part 1, we discussed thinking differently and thinking unconventionally. On this week's show, we will discuss thinking specifically from a new perspective.



    Recap of Part 1

    We started last week talking about thinking styles. Some of us may have multiple styles, such as myself. I like to come up with creative ideas, but also tend to be an analyst that likes collecting information. Next, we talked about thinking differently. We discussed seven different ways that are vital to thinking differently. You want to practice strategic, inquisitive, big-picture thinking, focused, risk-oriented thinking, shared-thinking, and reflective thinking.

    As I shared last week, one of these is not better than the other. You should do all seven of these in some scheduled way. Set some time on your calendar to utilize each of these seven types of thinking. Set an hour a week for strategic thinking, then another hour for inquisitive thinking. Ask what questions you should be asking of your team or customers. Step back and take some time to look at the big picture. Go somewhere isolated where you can focus on an opportunity area. Find someone more willing to take the risks that you won't. Collect ideas from people. Set aside all of these times to reflect on new ideas.

    New Perspective

    One key area of thinking outside the box is to think from a new perspective. It would be best if you change your perspective by taking a different route than your current one. One challenge that I give my staff is to take a different path to work. Sometimes we get in the zone and don't notice new things as we are stuck in the same route every day.

    Firstly, we need to get a new perspective [1] to help us see customers, products, and opportunities differently. Let's look at five ways to do this:



    * Naturalism – This is an approach where one sits back and observes. At HP we did a project on lower-middle-class members in India. The project was looking at communication with family members that had gone to college and moved to Europe or North America. Instead of asking questions, we stayed in people's homes. We observed how they interacted and communicated right then and there, which was an eye-opening experience.

    * Participant Observation – This is observing while asking questions. The best example of this is when I would go into Best Buy to observe and ask customers why they chose a product other than HP's.

    * Interview – This is a large observation. We do this for our Innovation Bootcamp, where we bring customers to dinner, and the students in the class ask the audience questions.

    * Survey – This is gathering information about the group. The best way to do this is by asking questions of different types. A variation of this is focus groups. I am not of a big fan of focus groups and surveys because I think bias can be injected into the surveys based on the questions asked.

    * Archival Research – There is a ton of work that has been done by other researchers. You can learn from others, so find research that may disagree with you and look at it transparently. Get out of your comfort zone, because changing to a new perspective can help you find that next great idea.



    The Customers Perspective

    Now we will discuss how to walk in your customer's shoes. The best way to do this is to create a customer journey map.

    • 38 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
64 Ratings

64 Ratings

Clarisse Gomez ,

Awesome Podcast!!!

Phil, host of the Killer Innovations podcast, highlights all aspects of creativity, innovation and more in this can’t miss podcast! The host and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!

In asia ,

So good...so clearly important

The most important part of innovation

Rocky Top Okie ,

The Problem Statement and Beyond

Informed and considered ideas and methods. Just right audio bite sizes for thought and use.

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