From the over 5,000 unique links shared on the Twitter #innovation community in the past two weeks, here are some stories of exemplary innovation.
The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies: 24. Starbucks; for infusing a steady stream of new ideas to revive its business – Author Jon Gertner talks with executive members of Starbucks to discover how the company reinvented itself after the troubles of 2008, when experts were telling consumers to save money by giving up their Starbucks. To rebound, Starbucks “introduced risky ideas quickly, systematically, and sometimes idiosyncratically, much like a startup.” Some of those innovative ideas included:
- New Blonde Roast – the company’s first ever light roast, created to reach the 40% of U.S. coffee drinkers who prefer milder roasts
- Jobs for U.S.A. project – a community involvement program that raises funds for jobs in economically hard-hit communities
- Roy Street Coffee & Tea – an experimental Seattle store that has undergone “local-washing”, i.e. the only visible affiliation with Starbucks is a small stencil of the emblem on the front door.
Nike Unveils Its Big New Paradigm: Shoes Knit Like Socks – Nike has yet again created a sneaker worth a second look, and not just for its eye-popping colors. The sneaker giant spent four years on R&D to create the perfect shoe for their 2012 London Olympic athletes. The shoe was entirely powered by athlete input; however a team of programmers, engineers, and designers was needed to pull off the revolutionary and truly innovative “shoe knit like a sock” – the Flyknit.
Creating an Innovation Entity at Société Générale – Richard Hababou, Head of Innovation Group, shares his methods behind setting up and managing a brand new innovation division at Société Générale, a major player in the Russian banking industry. As summarized by Nicholas Bry, Hababou created the division in 2009 when the company underwent a transformation to incorporate three new goals: create a more innovative culture, capture disruptive innovation through market intelligence and lab activities, and to become an innovation enabler. The spirit of innovation is diffused through the organization, as the innovation division ties in with current business lines jointly working on innovation projects.
True Innovation – Jon Gertner does it again, this time profiling Bell Labs. According to Gertner, Bell Labs was the first innovative scientific organization in America. Bell Labs utilized “…a more encompassing and ambitious approach to innovation than what prevails today. Its staff worked on the incremental improvements necessary for a complex national communications network while simultaneously thinking far ahead, toward the most revolutionary inventions imaginable.” Bell Labs innovations include the transistor (the building block of all digital products used today), the silicon solar cell, the laser, digital communication theory, satellites and—of course—the telephone system.
Los Angeles Shines in Collaboration for Capacity Building – Los Angles has become a city of collaboration and, in turn, innovation. Curtis Chang profiles the city and examines:
- The constructing of an online marketplace for service providers and nonprofits to match up
- Planned bequest and giving programs
- Training programs for non-profit board recruitment and fundraising with rewards provided by other foundations.
“A successful collaboration requires someone to step forward—but not too far forward,” wrote Chang. “It needs someone to own the effort—but not exclusively. It takes someone who’s willing to take the risk—but who won’t give themselves full credit.”
Until next week, keep innovating!