A distant view of Business Innovation Factory 2: A few years ago, I started hearing people talking about “customer-centered” innovation as if there were some type of innovation that wasn’t focused on customers. Each of these storytellers has an intense connection with customers. Diane Hessan’s company creates vibrant customer conversation communities, one of which helped Kraft create a new $100 million product line. She states that the world of marketing is “moving from a process of persuasion to a process of conversation.”
Larry Keeley debunks the infamous “think out of the box” cliché, stating that “almost everything about the way innovation is taught and practiced and asserted is wrong. We say it's time to ‘think out of the box,'’ but this is only likely to yield a vast array of bad ideas that we then spend months analyzing before we discard." Keeley recommends that innovation start with a sound diagnostic of customer needs, met and unmet.
Mark Hellendrung is reviving an old brand of beer that resonates with his Rhode Island customer base. He is an avid Rhode Islander and states, "Someone also said to me once, if you want to be happy in life, figure out where you want to live first, and then find a job." His product is as much about Rhode Island as it is beer.
Liz Lerman, who has been likened to Gandhi as well as Woody Allen, designs performances for the “dancer in everyone.”
Read their stories below.
Day 1, Group 2 Storytellers:
Diane Hessan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Communispace
Mark Hellendrung, CEO of Narragansett Beer Company
Larry Keeley, CEO of Doblin, Inc.
Liz Lerman, the Founding Artistic Director of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange