World Monitor Mag, Industrial Overview WM_November_2018_WEB_Version - Page 97

additional content and client insights as the most important capability during the ideation stage. However, interestingly, respondents who reported revenue growth that was the same as or slower than that of their peers believe they are most competent in this capability, whereas those who reported faster revenue growth ranked it as a capability in which they have the second-most competence. This may seem counter-intuitive, but actually makes a good deal of sense. Those who reported slow or similar growth compared with their peers’ growth seem to think that they have done enough in this area. Those who reported fast growth see further opportunities for improvement. Decker is a case in point. “The executive team is involved in innovation right from the top,” says Tim Hatch, chief technology officer at Stanley Engineered Fastening. “Our CEO mentions breakthrough innovation whenever I hear him speak in a group. Whenever we have project reviews or product reviews, he is always asking questions around where we are with breakthroughs and how we are commercializing the ideas that have been generated by the teams. And as you go down from his level to the business unit level, there are similar levels of engagement.” At Apple, innovation has always been a top executive-team agenda item. It helps to start with a visionary founder (the late Steve Jobs), but Apple has also elevated innovation — and specifically, design — within the organization. JonyIve, for example, who has run Apple’s design studio since 1996, was named chief design officer in 2015. He reports directly to the CEO, and his responsibilities include the look and feel of Apple hardware, user interface, packaging, and major architectural projects such as Apple Park and Apple’s retail stores, as well as new ideas and future initiatives. Focus on customer insights. All of our survey respondents — those who reported their growth as faster, slower, or the same as that of their peers — value deep customer and consumer insights in their innovation programs. They ranked consumer Looking at the innovation models, need seekers — which rely heavily on customer insights — also chose customer insights as their second-best competency. But market readers and tech drivers chose it as their top competency. Overall, the top innovators seem to recognize that when it comes to gathering customer insights, no company is ever done learning. DIC has focused on gaining direct customer insights into some of its most successful innovations. One of the company’s main businesses is producing components and materials for the color filters of liquid crystal displays used in TVs, computers, and other devices — especially the red, blue, and green pigments they utilize. Technology in this field has advanced rapidly over the last 10 years, according to R&D general manager Kawashima, and typically a long supply chain distances the end-users from the process and materials providers such as DIC. The innovation team sought end-user feedback at a very early stage of development for its latest color filter innovations, and was able to incorporate the insights and utilize its production know-how to create pigments superior to its competitors’ offerings. Today, DIC’s market share for green pigment is 80 percent, and it is 50 percent for blue. Direct end-user input played a major role in the turnaround of Adidas that began in the 1990s (see “How Adidas Found Its Second Wind,” s+b, Aug. 24, 2015). A new management team set out to recapture the innovation mojo that had characterized the athletic footwear company during the leadership of the founder, AdiDassler, who died in 1978. Dassler had started the company with a simple approach: He observed athletes, talked to them about their needs, and then experimented with novel ways of solving their problems. The new team renewed Dassler’s approach, focused on performance-related design and industrial craftsmanship, and rebuilt Adidas’s product line. Adidas is now focusing on open source innovation and co- creation with customers to develop new ideas. Says CEO Kasper Rørsted: “We look at all kinds of collaborative creation as valuable — not only within our company, but with external partners as well. We are clear about the borders of our brand, supported by EUROBAK 95