CIM Northern ConferenceHow do you really stimulate and drive Innovation? What you need to know…

By Dawn Desai



Innovation is IN and it’s here to stay. Today, as a VIP guest at the CIM’s Annual Northern Conference I participated in several workshops that centred around the hot-topics of Growth and Innovation.

So what were the main take-aways that you need delivered to you?

John Acton, Managing Partner for DPI Europe and a main speaker at today’s event, summed up the Conference theme in his very engaging talk on CrADLE® (DPI’s Product Innovation Process).

Five Main Take-Aways:

  1. The Trinity of Successful Organisations…

There are 3 interlocking essentials that are critical to the success of any organisation:

  • Strategic Thinking
  • Innovation
  • Engagement

We all know this but sometimes it just needs reaffirming.

  1.  Don’t Leave Innovation to Chance…

  • Innovation is a learnable skill that will drive
  • Innovation doesn’t happen by chance – you have to give yourself the best chance by having a process that will foster, harness and provoke innovation – on a repeatable
  1.  What type of innovator is your organisation?

  • Product/Service eg Ninetindo’s Wii
  • Process Innovation
  • Business Model Innovation
  • Management Practice Innovation
  1.  Don’t leave Innovation to Chance…leave it to CrADLE®

In product creation and stimulation there are 5 essential steps; it’s not just about guesswork:

  • Create
  • Assess
  • Develop
  • Launch
  • Expand

Would an athlete leave his or her fitness to chance? As organisations, if we want to compete we have to practice, practice, practice innovation.

  1. Barriers to Change – 5 deadly mindsets at individual and corporate level:

Individual deadly mindsets:

  • Change is bad!
  • I’m not innovative!
  • Too busy!
  • Vanity projects
  • No incentive

Corporate deadly mindsets

  • Protect the Cash Cow (eg Kodak)
  • Mature Market (eg Bicycles)
  • Commodity Products
  • Current Customers, Current Explicit needs


How do you give your organisation the opportunity to come up with great ideas?

The acronym and reference to CrADLE® was both attention grabbing, memorable and innovative in itself but what resonated with me today was the fact that if we aren’t providing the framework for innovation to take place in our organisations (no matter how big or small they are) we’re selling our people, our customers and our shareholders short.

Where can I find innovation? Before the presentation I thought that innovation could be found in brainstorming and creativity exercises, what I’ve learned from DPI today is that if you apply a proven specific process you will provoke and foster game-changing innovation, on a repeatable basis.

Touch Point Analysis Have a look at the end-to-end experience in your business, seek out opportunities, threats and weak points.

‘Sandbox’ Using a no-stone-left-unturned methodology take a look at your marketplace; looking at the current reality will enable you to build a plethora of possibilities.

360° future – what can we learn from the past? Or adjacent industries, what’s predictable (legislation), what’s known?

Future Business Arena – systematically look at what’s going to happen in the next two years. Some of John’s examples included Demographics, Sales/Mktg Methods (comparison sites), Technology (how will it evolve, add value), distribution method.

Innovation is all about improving Process, Proposition or Engagement.

The dreaded ‘C’ word…building a Culture of innovation…really?

There‘s a lot of talk about Culture, creating the right culture for x, y and z. Just this week in HBR’s Change Management Magazine I read the following extract which really resonated with what John Acton talked about today, I have to say, I really bought into this fresh approach:

“But the corporate leaders we have interviewed—current and former CEOs who have successfully led major transformations—say that culture isn’t something you “fix.” Rather, in their experience, cultural change is what you get after you’ve put new processes or structures in place to tackle tough business challenges like reworking an outdated strategy or business model. The culture evolves as you do that important work.” Source: Havard Business Review, Change Mgmt Magazine, April 2016

It’s simple: get the Process in place first, the Innovation will follow and the Culture will develop.

©Dawn Desai, Dawn Desai Consultancy, 2016