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The Six Hottest Innovation Trends according to Robert Tucker


Robert Tucker, President of The Innovation Resource Consulting Group
Robert Tucker, President of The Innovation Resource Consulting Group

On the eve the Front End of Innovation Conference in Boston, Robert and I discussed what’s trending now in innovation.

Robert B. Tucker is a popular innovation speaker and consultant. Since 1986, with the publication of Winning the Innovation Game, he has coached and advised managers, executives, and entire teams at organizations ranging from IBM to the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory to SAP.

President of The Innovation Resource Consulting Group, with clients in 40 countries, Tucker’s primary work is assisting firms in developing sustainable innovation programs. His latest book, Innovation is Everybody’s Business, delves into how individual contributors and mid-level managers can ride the innovation trend.

I/ Startups are Overtaking Corporate R&D as the Key Source of New Ideas.



Only a few years ago, pundits were worried that the best and brightest grads were all headed to Wall Street. No longer! Today’s go-getters are instead heading to the tech hubs: Silicon Valley, Silicon Beach (Venice, California), Soho (New York), Tel Aviv, Dublin or Lima, Peru. They are hell-bent to found the next Facebook or WhatsApp, or start a robotics company. The net effect of this burgeoning trend: corporate R&D is being overshadowed as CEOs look outside for startups to acquire. The message is clear: cultivate a culture of innovation inside your company or your best and brightest will bolt. No industry’s incumbents are safe from the startups, who are busy trying to disrupt the business models in even the unlikeliest industries. Read More

II/ Open Innovation is Going Mainstream.


Chesbrough, Open Innovation
Henry Chesbrough, Open Innovation

With global R&D budgets declining in real dollars over the past decade, innovation vanguard companies are finding novel ways to make up the shortfall in a way that was once unthinkable. How are they doing it? By opening to the outside world — sharing technology, risk and financial rewards with external partners ranging from customers, to independent scientists and math whizzes to universities worldwide. This is the Open Innovation trend and it’s fast becoming “the way we do innovation around here” in a growing number of companies worldwide. Read More

III/ Innovation is Becoming Everybody’s Business.

Innovation was once the province of the R&D department, new product development, and the marketing folks. No longer. Today, there’s growing recognition that a firm’s next breakthrough could arise from its logistics department, a new manufacturing technique, or even a new market or business model. With this in mind, more and more progressive companies are training their high-potential managers and individual contributors in the skills of innovation. And they are including innovation in KPIs and making improvement part of everybody’s responsibility. Read More

IV/ The “Sharing Economy” is Unstoppable.

The Sharing Economy
The Sharing Economy

Airbnb, a website that owns not a single hotel room, is busy disrupting the hotel industry, while the taxi industry is being disrupted by Lyft and Uber, ride sharing apps that have already spread to over 70 cities. TaskRabbit is a threat to the temp industry. Want to share your car and pick up some extra income? Register it on RelayRides or Sidecar. Just as YouTube did with TV, and blogs did to traditional media, the peer-to-peer sharing trend is becoming a major disruptive social and economic force that will create winners and losers in its wake. Read More

V/ CINOs are on the Rise.

In 2006, a new breed of senior managers first began to emerge at forward-thinking companies like GE, BBC, Whirlpool, Humana, and Shell. The title they took was often chief innovation officer; their goal was to align innovation strategy and culture. According to a Cap Gemini global survey of 260 innovation executives, 43% said their companies have a formally accountable innovation executive — up from 33% the previous year. Read More

VI/ Crowdsourcing is Continuing to Gain Clout.


Denmark-based Lego Toys uses crowdsourcing to inspire ideas from fans that its own 180 designers might not dream up. Submissions that receive 10,000 votes from site visitors are then vetted by Lego reviewers, and quickly put into production. Thanks to the Internet and social media, crowdsourcing is one of the hottest new methods of tapping customers (and the wider public’s) knowledge, creativity and insights. Organizations including Netflix are crowd-sourcing for solutions to vexing technical problems, while snack giant Lay’s, a division of Frito Lay, asks people to suggest new chip flavors, or even whole snack categories. Read More.





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