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What’s the story on the innovation strategy for beer?

The Kansas City American Marketing Association monthly lunch addressed that question. Former Vice President of Innovation at Anheuser-Busch, Pat McGauley, shared stories of his past twelve years creating the company’s innovation team.

Rather than playback the various innovation strategy stories Pat McGauley shared, here is a sampling of quotes and points he made that stood out as great thought starters:

Not all innovation strategy inside a company is created equal.

Pat’s innovation team was responsible for product and packaging innovation. He reported that packaging innovation was more difficult to develop than liquid innovation. Based on comments he made regarding working with retailers on in-store shelving, product innovation may have been easier because it might lead to a fight for shelf space. Packaging innovation, on the other hand, could require making the case for a different shelf entirely.

Not all innovation teams are created equal.

Pat formed two innovation teams. One focused on near-term innovation strategy and the other on filling the three-to-five-year innovation pipeline. While the two team approach was designed to keep the longer-term team from getting pulled into today’s fires, it presented challenges. The long-term innovation strategy team became too disconnected from current activities shaping the future environment its innovations would face. Both teams, however, were detached from the brand teams to minimize the pull toward shorter-term brand priorities.

Innovation-Strategy-Checkli

“If you have a whole room that thinks the same, you don’t need all those people.”

He was speaking to the choir about the need for diverse participation and varied inputs to trigger ideas. Their global innovation team went to Korea in 2015 to look for inspiration.

How you frame the question shapes the innovation strategy opportunity.

On a market segmentation chart, Pat was making the point that there are multiple ways to grow from innovation. Sometimes it’s grabbing share from competitors in your category. In other situations, it’s grabbing share from substitutes for your category. The chart drew the distinction between these “share of beer” and  “share of throat” opportunities. That’s an intriguing categorization you could apply to many businesses to point innovation opportunities in different directions.

“Sometimes a company needs something that the consumers don’t need.”

In covering a few  innovation failures, Pat talked about Anheuser World Select. As he put it, “Anheuser-Busch needed an import beer, so we created a fake import.” The company had become enamored with trying to solve the problem of not having an import, but consumers had access to import beers. They didn’t need an inauthentic version from Anheuser-Busch.

“Renovation is putting new coats of paint on big brands.”

Pat credited InBev (which merged with Anheuser-Busch in 2008) with introducing the idea of renovation to the organization. The innovation team spent 15% of its time on core brand renovation to enhance competitiveness.

3-Innovation-Strategy-Tiers

A leading company shunning innovation is “like someone hugging a block of ice.”

You can hang on to a block of ice (representing a core capability) and refuse to move away from it, but eventually the block of ice is going to melt and disappear. Pat pointed to Jeff Bezos as a CEO with a contrasting perspective. He is always on the lookout to disrupt Amazon before the next Amazon does it.

Lackluster innovators can catch up quickly.

One chart depicted (I think) growth factors in the beer market from 2012 to 2014. In 2012, competitor innovation accounted for just 5% of growth in the beer market; Anheuser-Busch was the overwhelming leader in innovation-driven growth. By 2014, competitor innovation represented 35% of beer industry growth. – Mike Brown

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Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help  generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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Suppose you are a marketing professional or a non-marketing leader wanting to go deep in learning about what digital marketing should be doing for your organization’s success. Further, suppose that with fourth quarter coming, professional development budgets are tight – or maybe non-existent.

If this describes you, AND you are in and around Chicago, Kansas City, Austin, Miami, Raleigh, Atlanta, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, here is a fantastic learning opportunity.

Heck, if you are in Reykjavik, London, Paris, Berlin, or Amsterdam, the same opportunity is available to you, too!

Realtime-Marketing-Lab-Tour

Digital Learning and the Realtime Marketing Lab Tour

The Realtime Marketing Lab 2015 Fall Tour is an international touring digital-social-online marketing event where you can find the newest ideas to address your digital marketing challenges. Through a variety of brief, focused talks from award-winning industry experts, you’re go deeper into how C-Suite networking, social storytelling, social word of mouth marketing, lead generation bootstrapping, advanced digital marketing, and sophisticated LinkedIn B2B messaging secrets can deliver results for your business.

The format for the Realtime Marketing Lab 2015 Fall Tour involves a day’s worth of high quality, thirty-minute presentations delivered via an amazing team of award-winning industry experts from around the globe. Rather than sticking to coast cities, the Realtime Marketing Lab tour brings intimate learning and networking opportunities to multiple metro areas across North America and Europe. For a limited time, you and a business associate can both attend for what is the already incredibly low price of $99.

Kansas-City-Skyline

If you are in the heartland of the United States, I especially invite you to attend the September 23, 2015 Realtime Marketing Lab tour stop in Kansas City. I will be presenting that afternoon on “Making Social Strategy Understandable – Even for the C-suite.”

The Realtime Marketing Lab Tour in a City Close to You

Interested in learning more and registering for this exclusive offer?

You can use these links to see who is speaking at each of the Realtime Marketing Lab stops and register to attend.

With no large travel bills, exorbitant registration fees, or time away from home, you need to grab this digital learning opportunity as it rolls through your town in the weeks ahead! – Mike Brown

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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Our cat, Clementine, passed away this weekend, just shy of her seventeenth birthday.

While I haven’t shared much about her on the Brainzooming blog, I discovered over the weekend how many people she had touched as the only bona fide social media celebrity at The Brainzooming Group.

Clementine was a beautiful and unique looking cat. She resembled the original Gremlin in the movie of the same name. After our last “my cat” passed away in 2010, Clementine attached to me. She was the first one I’d typically see in the morning. She hung out with me when I got ready each day. She’d be in the home office as soon as I was, jumping up on the desk to see what was going on, and typically to take a nap. During my last milestone birthday, Clementine was the only one in the house who spent time with me. She frequently provided the only greeting I’d receive when coming home, especially when it was a late flight returning from a business trip.

Clementine Facebook Photo Montage

The Director of Enthusiasm

One day, I think it was on Twitter, I posted something about Clementine being in the middle of things on my desk. Someone (I SO wish I could remember the person), said it was obvious Clementine was our “Director of Enthusiasm.” Trust me, I am not the kind to think of giving a cat a title. But I started referring to Clementine as the Director of Enthusiasm (or “DOE”) on Facebook when posting funny pictures of her; she became a mini-celebrity. Clementine was not in Grumpy Cat’s league (although people thought she had a grumpy look despite being anything but grumpy). Her social media presence, however, added a lighter and more personable stream of content to our brand. People seemed to be interested in her; when I went to events, I can’t tell you how many questions I’d receive asking how the Director of Enthusiasm was doing.

99-PROBS-Clem

Heck, Karen Harrison of FullyFeline.com even requested that Clementine write a blog post about her life as an executive cat. Karen also ran a tribute to Clementine on the very popular Fully Feline Facebook page on Sunday.

Taking a Blog Break

Because of all the time she spent with me the last few years, her passing has hit me hard.

The weekend is usually my main blogging time. Quite honestly, I was NOT in a mood for writing this weekend. I wasn’t in a mood for doing much of anything other than reading the incredible comments on Facebook about how much Clementine meant to people. Those comments created both incredible joy and many tears. I guess it’s all part of working through the emotions.

Anyway, that break from writing this weekend means a blog hiatus this week. I’ll be at a conference through Friday, concentrating on learning, so not trying to get the blog written will provide focus. It will also offer an opportunity to reflect and get to a happier place since for the foreseeable future, I’ll have to generate my own enthusiasm.

Because while The Brainzooming Group might have a DOCAP (Director of Creativity and Purring) in the future, there will never be another Director of Enthusiasm. Mike Brown

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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There was a Brainzooming posse in Lawrence, Kansas on Saturday as Marianne Carr and I attended ConfabuLarryum, the Lawrence festival of creativity. In just its second year, Ben Smith’s brainchild increased its attendance 4x to more than 5,000 adults and kids.

What a fantastic event celebrating creative thinking skills of all kinds!

ConfabuLarryum-Wideshot

The only disappointment was I didn’t get to spend any time with the incredible array of activities and demonstrations. With a noon time slot to speak, I stayed in the auditorium to see the presentations before mine, getting a read on the audience, the room, and what content would work most effectively.

I presented a mini-workshop on Busting Creativity Barriers. One of the audience questions from a fourth grade teacher was on  how to help kids stop editing their creativity and new ideas for fear of being wrong.

My response was that’s clearly a challenge in a school environment where we are grading kids on their academic performance and monitoring all their actions and behaviors for conformity to expectations. Talk about a recipe for teaching children to edit their creativity and curb their creative thinking skills! It takes a full-blown creative rebel to survive creatively in that environment. And that survival will likely be VERY rocky because a student putting up enough of a fight to hang on to their own creative thinking skills and instincts will be going dangerously against the grain.

How about establishing a grade-free zone to cultivate creative thinking skills?

My spontaneous idea and response to her question was to create a grade-free zone in the classroom. This would be a spot where children could go to experiment, imagine ideas, and explore their creative thinking skills without ANY grading or correction.

Thinking about it, the grade-free zone might be a physical location in the classroom, a condition (i.e., a certain day or days), a situation (i.e., a child could call for grade-free zone time to create), or maybe all three of these.

Grade-Free-Zone

What else might need to be in place for a successful grade-free zone?

Those are some initial thoughts from someone who ISN’T a childhood educator; they are based, however, on how we try to create what are essentially grade-free zones inside creative thinking workshops. It would be interesting to see how my friends at the Boulder Journey School would address the question!

Two other thoughts emerged later:

  • Perhaps rather than being grade-free, the zone should be an all-A zone. That would be akin to conductor Benjamin Zander’s statement that he only teaches A students.
  • Even though ConfabuLarryum WAS a grade free zone filled with all kinds of creative outlets, I heavily edited my workshop presentation before starting, inserting stories that weren’t part of the presentation when I walked in the building and taking out a number of pieces.

I guess being grade-free is harder than it initially sounds.

What do you think of the idea, and how would you approach helping students to stop editing their own creativity? – Mike Brown

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ebook-cover-redoBusting Creativity Barriers with “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation”

Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help you generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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Have you ever attended an event where it promises to be incredibly creative and fun, and you don’t know EXACTLY what you’ll be getting into, yet that’s completely fine?

Confabularryum

That’s what the second annual ConfabuLarryum promises to be this Saturday in Lawrence, KS!

As it bills itself, ConfabuLarryum is the “Lawrence Festival of Creativity.” The agenda includes such diverse creative activities as:

  • Maker Spaces
  • A Drone Zone
  • Cardio Drumming
  • A “How to Play Air Guitar” Demo
  • LEGO Serious Play
  • Redondo, a Group Drawing Game
  • Virtual Reality Demos
  • Adults Learning from Kids
  • Thinking Like a Scientist
  • A Creative Bootcamp

Amid these those incredible creative experiences, I’m presenting at 12 noon on “Busting Creativity Barriers.”

Given all the other activities people can be doing at noon (including hitting up food trucks), I’m hoping to can hang creatively and offer folks ideas for busting creativity barriers right and left.

If you are somewhere in Eastern Kansas, Southern Nebraska, or Western Missouri you HAVE to change whatever plans you have and get to ConfabuLarryum. Twelve hundred people attended last year, and with this line-up, even more people are sure to come out this year for the Lawrence Festival of Creativity.

Even in if you aren’t in the immediate vicinity, you’ve got a few days to get to Lawrence, KS and experience ConfabuLarryum for yourself. If you do decide to come, be sure to grab your lunch at 11:30 so you have some free time at noon….just saying.  – Mike Brown

 

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ebook-cover-redoBoost Your Creativity with “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation”

Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help you generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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SPOILER ALERT!

I’m going to reveal what we’re doing this afternoon at the Nature Explore / Outdoor Learning Project Leadership Institute at Lied Lodge in Nebraska City, NE.

During our closing Brainzooming workshop, more than 120 attendees will use several Brainzooming exercises to create a book in just 45 minutes.

Yup, 45 minutes, and I cannot wait!

How do 120+ People Create a Book in 45 Minutes?

Nature-Explore-Session

With Creative Thinking Exercises!

Working with Nancy Rosenow, executive director of our long-term client Nature Explore, we’ll teach the attendees at the Leadership Institute the Change Your Character and Extreme Creativity creative thinking exercises. They’ll use the exercises to identify new ways to address challenges they face in developing outdoor, nature-oriented classrooms for children.

Taking advantage of the math (lots of people, high yielding creative thinking exercises, and compressed time) we’ll work with Nature Explore to shape the group’s content to create a book. They’ll make the ultimate eBook available to Leadership Institute participants plus use it as a download and list-building content asset for their new online learning offering.

This content development strategy builds on the large-scale focus group workshop we created for the Leadership Institute last year. It also fits with the strategies for effectively using events to create massive amounts of content that we shared, along with author Pam Didner, at the 2014 Content Marketing World.

As we develop and launch the eBook, we’ll keep you updated. Additionally, plans are to video the session and create a brief case study recap to demonstrate how we can work with your organization to harness the insights, imagination, and enthusiasm of your audiences to create similar great content in a very short time!

If you want to learn more about our techniques sooner than later, email me at info@brainzooming.com or give me a call at 816-509-5320. We’ll start imagining how to do something comparable for your organization!

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ebook-cover-redoBoost Your Creativity with “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation”

Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help you generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

Download Your Free

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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Luncheon-Graphic

I’m in Carbondale, Illinois today delivering a talk at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute on “Envisioning the Gigabit City – Collaboration and the Creative Power of Diversity.” It is an honor to return to Southern Illinois University, since I received an MBA from SIU.

At today’s luncheon, there will be an opportunity to meet and talk about community visioning with leaders working to turn Carbondale into a Gigabit City. Two Carbondale leaders, Gary Williams, the Economic Development Coordinator for the City of Carbondale and Steve Mitchell with Connect SI, participated in the Gigabit City Summit that The Brainzooming Group co-developed in January 2015. They had the opportunity to hear, via a Brainzooming workshop at the event, how we help foster community visioning for cities, organizations, and institutions.

In the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute talk, we’ll cover some of the same themes on community visioning with a specific emphasis on what it means in trying to build a creative economy.

You can follow the conversation on Twitter today at #CarbondaleGigabit, plus dive deeper into the content incorporated into the talk via links below:

“Envisioning the Gigabit City – Collaboration and the Creative Power of Diversity”

SIU-Know-No-Bounrds

Appreciating Perspectives

Cultivating Diverse Ideas

Creating Collaboration

Exploiting Structure

Crowd-Friendly Communication

“Measuring” the Return on Creative Ideas

Mike Brown

 

10 Keys to Engaging Stakeholders to Create Improved Results

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Results!!! Creating Strategic Impact Mini-Book

Leaders are looking for powerful ways to engage strong collaborators to shape shared visions. They need strategic thinkers who can develop strategy and turn it into results.

This new Brainzooming mini-book, “Results – Creating Strategic Impact” unveils ten proven lessons for leaders to increase strategic collaboration, engagement, and create improved results.

Download this free, action-focused mini-book to:

  • Learn smart ways to separate strategic opportunities from the daily noise of business
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Download Your FREE   Results!!!  Creating Strategic Impact Mini-book

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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