Travelling, Body and Soul

On The Go

WAI “On The Go” is your Friday innovation story inspired from elsewhere.


I recently came across a beautiful article about Yoga from the monthly printed version of Books magazine (in France). In this translated version of her article, Rebecca Mead takes us through times and landscapes of Yoga, this oriental practise that has become so trendy in the Western world. In her intent to contrast the physical and mental exercises that ancestral yoga traditions have carried for centuries in the poorest part of India and the new business generated nowadays in the U.S., now supported by stars living in the rich world, she takes us through colourful cultural variations that have inspired this article, showing yoga and innovation have some unexpected links.


Yoga is not just for the body, it’s also for the spirit

Innovation is not only for strategy, it’s also for organisation. It requires a good grasp of transformation, and the use of this word is not accidental. Transforming means knowing your base shape and taking it to a more suitable one that enables you to get through what you have to get through. Transforming means you can “see” the changes, you can sense them, you can live them. Transforming means you know what the end shape is and all of your organisation follows. Innovation is not only a strategy, it is also a mindset.


Yoga has different levels which lead to different benefits

Innovation spread differently in groups and organisations lead to different results. If only at start, then don’t expect massive changes. Innovation takes time to learn, create, sustain. If it is a core part of your strategy, innovation should generate higher benefits and more flexible processes. If it is both an engine and a commitment towards your customers and partners, innovation is opening new ways of working, new business models, new markets where you navigate with ease (at least more easily than if you are only starting innovating).


Yoga is perceived as a “fashionable” spiritual activity

Innovation is often (too often) treated as a necessary business bullet point that needs to show up every two slides of a presentation. This is the “SEO effect” you do not want to find in your strategy, meaning you speak innovation hence you think you make innovation. Are you employees saying they like change? Are you considering markets as numbers or as a group of evolutive individuals with different goals and cultural background that you want to learn from? Are you partnering for financial reasons or for a more “globalised” value to be shared with others? Innovation is no fashion. It is supposed to start individually and spread differently according to a group needs and objectives, then carry changing and challenging habits so we get used to adapting them, along with our values.


Yoga ultimately leads to a state of extreme connection with nature

Innovation ultimately makes you see how you have to behave and change according to the entire environment you live in, opening strategies to uncertainty, creating flexible plans and tools that navigate from the known to the unknown. It is enabled by diversity, co-creation, co-development, teamwork, inspiration from elsewhere. It leads to connecting organisation with the world they serve.


As well as yoga, innovation requires confidence and beliefs, intangible work that happens in individual minds and tangible changes that show in team work. A practise that has survived several millenniums and is still giving birth to businesses today certainly has a lot to teach us. With an open-minded reading and such a great insight on this very particular world, it certainly does. I encourage you to read Rebecca Mead’s article in The New-Yorker, August 15th 2000 issue for the English version, Books n°57, September issue for the French translation.



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Posted in On the go

Innovation voices, who says what?


Innovation is being defined at all time by anyone on any point of this globe. The very singularity of innovation is that it is a concept which is always under construction and challenges status quo to build a path to improvement. It can concern products, processes, practices. It drives investments, brand value, shareholders benefits. It creates jobs, transforms economy, links societies together. It encourages knowledge sharing, overseas meetings, unlimited creativity with the power of collaboration and open innovation. Voices and points of view differ invariably, but divergence and diversity are good: they provide different stand points and methodologies to understand a picture in multiple dimensions. WAI has been looking at many facets of today’s innovation voice. Here is what it sounds like through a high level segmentation of online innovation information providers.


Financial analysts & Investors:

Financial Analysts & Investors

Financial Analysts & Investors

What they do: They measure innovation through a series of business indicators which measure markets reaction to innovation strategies. They also comment on organisational efficiency, leadership styles and sales results. They obviously help understand companies’ financial health from short to longer terms. Many of them will also comment trends with economic background and company history, which adds another dimension to innovation analysis.

What they provide: they help building an economic context to innovation.


Customers & Influencers:

Customers and Influencers

Customers and Influencers

What they do: They provide a tangible view of innovation results, verifying at the end of the value chain the direct impact of innovation on sales and brand image. Although under marketing, cultural, social and psychological influence, a customer will validate the end-to-end and global efficiency of innovation and provide feedback. Influencers are early adopters commenting and reviewing products to go through a technical validation of innovation. They help understand the importance of innovation, often highlighting competition and portfolio strategies.

What they provide: They bring a clearer evaluation of innovation.





What they say: They develop innovation strategies, processes, products, and face them all with the reality of the market. They are a living example of organisation that fail and succeed in implementing change, and drive markets in an ever changing world: new entrants, increasing competition and cost pressure. They show how we can embrace business challenges by rolling-out sets of solutions which are increasingly developed with customers, third parties, creating new business models. Companies are key trends setters in innovation by testing to markets strategies inspired and influenced both by markets and value chain stake holders.

What they provide: Companies provide innovation stories with an end to end point of view, as for marketing and financial reasons they are engaged and transparent in their objectives.


C-Level & Leaders

C-Level and Leaders

C-Level and Leaders

What they say: They provide a more personal approach to business innovation, as when interviewed they tend to correlate their business experience with personal experience and personal drives. They also help voicing their company’s objectives in light of specific events and challenges, for example when launching a new product or announcing new partnerships and acquisitions. C-Level leaders showcase the innovation attitude of their companies, as another way to convince partners, customers and investors that their innovation strategy will reach its objectives.

What they provide: they help shaping the innovation story of their companies by embodying it in the face of experts, markets, competitors. They streamline strategic goals and confront them with reality.


Innovation Experts

Innovation Experts

Innovation Experts

What they say: they explain and define innovation methodologies, tools and techniques that shape today’s and tomorrow’s innovation, looking at all of past, current and upcoming events, innovation stories, and personal expertise. They have their own views and style, and seek to inspire all other innovation voices with practical, sociological or even business aspect of their knowledge.

What they provide: They bring a personal voice and touch to innovation, with stories that have enough background and knowledge to justify their enthusiasm. They help shaping the innovation message by linking different horizons and approaches into their leadership thoughts.


Schools & Institutes

Schools and Institutes

Schools and Institutes

What they say: many top leading business schools and strategies teach innovation as to future engineers, business men and women, future builders of this world. Over time they have developed different approaches to common goals, and offer a deep understanding into their researches and key findings. Their scholar approach provides an end-to-end view of theories and practices, which helps understanding innovation on a timeline dimensions. The close links between innovation, anthropology, economics, computer engineering, politics and many other education and upper research topics that an endless information is available on how to best drive innovation to global success (instead of individual ones).

What they provide: they help formatting innovation in a shape that is understandable, practical, meaningful and appealing to learn more.


Research & Consulting firms

Research and Consulting Firms

Research and Consulting Firms

What they say: through their on-going work for and with customers, research and consulting firms help shaping innovation through real-life case studies and in-depth analysis on innovation market and strategies. They provide comments using their detailed knowledge database and expert analysis to understand the background of a specific innovation trend, describe what should be done to roll-out strategies in line with existing infrastructures and organisations, and give a precise view of results they have helped develop.

What they provide: they help understand innovation from the inside with an external loop on key trends and strategies. They also provide valuable data and forecasts to support their analysis and have a direct influence on customers’ strategies and organisations, hence a direct impact on innovation.


Press & Medias

Press and Medias

Press and Medias

What they say: through their highlights of political, economics, strategic and business events, they help understand the direct and indirect drivers for innovation today. They link together all of the business issues that can explain a trend and provide expert comments on specific strategies. They also are the main media companies, experts, C-Level leaders and all innovation stakeholders would use to showcase and understand innovation strategies. Because they are many and have dedicated area of expertise, they help shaping innovation through different points of view with the necessary step-back to have a wider picture of what’s happening on a global basis.

What they bring: they help shaping complete stories around innovation, from its infancy in companies’ ideas, to roll-out through comments on key activities, and even results when reporting regularly insights and figures as shared by stakeholders.


Science & Technology experts

Science and Technology Experts

Science and Technology Experts

What they say: they are at the heart of innovation, and share with us the key advances they make and how it’s going to impact us in the future. They have very specific areas of expertise which they develop in-depth and have a direct impact on the whole innovation value-chain. They make breakthrough discoveries which show how innovation is running on the scientific and technological sides. They help us understand what will be future trends, future usage, what the world will look like tomorrow if we support their discoveries.

What they provide: scientists and technology experts give a pragmatic view of what can be done today and tomorrow, creating and showcasing a wide range of advances they develop through their dedicated work. They are the ones who make innovation work from a technical point of view.


Politics and Public Organisations

Politics and Public Institutions

Politics and Public Institutions

What they say: they help understand what’s happening from a country, regional point of view and highlight the political advances and struggles of innovation. They also help understanding the external impact of policies, public investments and wider public support to strategies and technological advances that are made by all the other groups. They are the “real-life” framework in which we all work and live, and enable innovation to sustain and grow on large scales with political impact.

What they bring: they develop the legal and political framework around innovation, they help understand what are countries and regions needs and priorities, they have a direct impact on knowledge, political cross-pollination and perspectives.


Each person and each group are moved, impacted, challenging innovation as it stands today to improve it for tomorrow. The stories, experiences and comments are different from expert to expert, and can be combined to shape a wider picture of innovation. In our networked world, innovation is developed and influenced by many, using different business and knowledge model. WAI is carefully listening to each of these voices, understanding the background of where they’re from, what they intend to do and where they lead us, to help building innovation through one voice that can accelerate change.





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Posted in InnoTrends

We Are Innovation because we are diverse

Diversity and Innovation

Painful times of crisis, be it for the economy, politics, and the explosive mixture of it with systematic blaming of “others” rather than ourselves for failing to challenge the world we live in. Boundaries, frontiers, restrictions, issues, shortage, everyone is trying to scale down humanity to rights, papers, money, flows, data… limits. Painful times where educated, open-minded and once brilliant individuals start to claim “my people, my country first” as if they had forgotten how open the world had been to them, how the rest of the world once even saved them. Same old issues and struggles we need to sort out as one, but diverse. And this is where we need innovation to stand out. This is where I believe innovation needs to erase limits and replace them with opportunities.


Diversity as a tool for innovation

This insight from Forbes takes you through the necessity of diversity to succeed in a globalised and challenged economy. Diversity is presented as a key enabler for innovation, through attracting and retaining top talents, but also highligths that employment plans and strategies based on innovations need further support from senior executives, and very few changes are foreseen for the next few years regarding diversity for strategies and businesses. This view should be analysed and challenged by diversity champions who managed to successfully use combined cultural-knowledge-based problem-solving views from their employees and senior managers to drive innovative strategies. And we are the ones who can make it happen.


Diversity as a mind-opener for those “locked-in”

In this article, Diversity Inc shows how having a diverse workforce helps keeping closer to market realities, connecting dots between different views, knowledges and sectors, enabling creativity to spur beyond current limits of business barriers to markets. It provides evidence that thinking problems through different points of view help defining better solutions. The article also shows how implementing an inclusive work environment help develop creativity from diversity using freedom of thoughts, cross-pollination, ingenuity, competency and outcomes.


Diversity as a way to remind yourself who you are

Lauren Leader-Chivee has found out how diversity was also a way to sustain innovation on the long-term as it is key in creating serial innovation. In her article for INC, she explains how two-dimensional diversity offers new and better understood market opportunities, raising efficiency by up to 158%. Companies then need to build a “speak-up’ culture whereby employees have equal listening times, make decisions with the right risk taking initiatives, get constructive and supportive feedbacks, as well as credit for team work.


Diversity as a way to tell people where to go

As this article from The Guardian suggests, diversity shouldn’t only concern the global companies workforce but also and perhaps more importantly senior executives. As Dr Sylvia Ann Hewlett puts it, “The top sets the tone: at companies where executives have two-dimensional diversity, leaders at all levels are 74% more likely to exhibit the inclusive behaviours that foster a speak-up culture, unlocking innovation”.  This has visible impact on market share rise and opening new markets.


Diversity as a way to learn and grow

In 2011, Deloitte already published an interesting review and complimentary article about the assets brought by diversity to companies. They quote Don Knauss, Chairman and CEO of the Clorox Company, who says about the U.S. : “The business case has been demonstrated quite thoroughly. When you’ve got people in this country as people of color, a diverse workforce benefits in terms of connection and creativity.” James White, president and CEO of Jumba Juice follows-up by adding: “Their workforce will view the world differently. They will come up with better solutions and be more effective in the market by seeing opportunities that others in the industry do not see”.


Innovation, organisation, education, politics, society, WAI believes above theories applies for all. So, dear world, can you please stop making diversity painful and start making it creative.



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Posted in Why we are innovation

Global Challengers, Innovation Styles and Complexity


What are the innovation strategies used by BCG’s Global Challengers?

BCG has recently published an updated list of Global Challengers, international companies from the BRICS which are showing healthy growth rates in incomes and employment. They have analysed new joiners’ strategies to market to highlight what approaches have driven them to this Global Challengers segment. They are articulated around three main strategies: “Capturing Middle-Class Consumers”, “Meeting Digital Needs” and “Supplying the world”. An underlying strategy which is common to all strategic groups is “Growing through acquisition”, with amounts that have reached $17.8 billion (America Movil) over the last five years. This analysis shows how market environment affects successful strategies and can be an ally for roll-out as most of those companies perform far better than long-established multinational competitors in times of financial crisis.

Many innovation thinkers like to link arts and innovation tools and methodologies. It is the case of following article from Innovation Excellence, in an attempt to describe Paul McCartney’s innovative style. As opposed to John Lennon, Paul McCartney tended to be an “adopter”, meaning he tended to re-use existing codes, musics, styles to create new songs, hence inventing closer to universes familiar to most people. On the other hand, John Lennon could be called an “innovator”, which means he’d break rules and established ideas to impose his, creating and inventing styles and songs that never existed before. These innovation styles can help managers and influencers identify the innovation style of the projects, teams, stakeholders, to better articulate their ideas and plans.

Innovation has yet to be seen in different angles, as the levels of issues it want to adress can vary from simple, complicated to complex. As this SSIR article explains, each of these problems requires a different strategy. Emergent strategy is highlighted as an adaptative plan that accepts “realised plans” which are affected by environmental changes unidentified in prior versions. Emergent strategies can handle complex types for issues (affected and affecting a whole system), when traditional strategies focus on simple and complicated problems.

WAI has analysed in below matrix the relationship between Global Challengers strategies, Innovation Styles and Complexity to understand what are the innovation key success factors of BCG Global Challengers.


Global Challengers and Innovation

Global Challengers and Innovation

Strategic comment: It’s not about destination, it’s about the pathway

The strategies used to “build and supply the world” have been driven by innovation rather than lower costs. Companies invest massively overseas (in Europe for the Indian Apollo Tyres), they come from industries existing Global Challengers already come. They also benefit from existing infrastructure and market positioning from mergers and acquisitions (Emirates Global Aluminium). EuroChem Mineral and Chemical from Russia plans to create a fertilizer plant in the U.S. and form a joint venture with Migao, a plant specialised in fertilizer based in China.

In order to “meet digital needs”, global challengers have had to create break-through innovation services that used just newly installed base of technology savvy consumers in their markets. This required the right knowledge, connections, infrastructure, cultural fit. It is creating new usage and developing communities, businesses. Tencent Holding’s roots are wholly online. They have created WeChat, a social messaging service, which now has 600 million users, 100 million of which are located outside China.

Capturing Middle-Class Consumers means learning to benefit from the growing middle class needs, both adapting to local habits and transforming them to introduce new brands, new usage. These companies include Concha y Toro, a wineyard trying to build a global brand with vineyards in Chile, US and Argentina, and Yildiz Holding, who leverage external growth overseas to gain shares in the packaged-food global markets.

Growth through acquisition is used by all groups. The most important example of this is Jollibee’s acquisition in China, making this country the largest foreign market of the company.

Operational comment: Draw the right card and get the right play



Market analysts and strategist should use this type of matrix to analyse the resources they have against the innovation complexity of the projects they’re driving. It can help them understand how they need to articulate messages, draw boundaries and limits to the feasibility, and/or hire the correct resources, grow their network with the right skills and profiles. A simple project will necessitate research and analyses skills to understand current trends and build on them, a complex project will require a mix of analyses and breakthrough thinking that will be able to generate creativity while communicating it with understandable codes.

Customers and Influencers

Customers and Influencers

Customers and influencers should understand where their needs fit in this matrix to better align their supplying strategy and investment policies. Complex needs will require long-term, high investments and partnerships to tackle, with an organisation and infrastructure that in able to support change and optimise benefits. They should expect set-backs and changes and encourage creativity to reach targets. Simple needs are low hanging fruits that need to be tackled right away using the right existing set of competences in the company.



C-Level and Leaders

C-Level and Leaders

C-level leaders can use this matrix to understand what are key company stakeholders positioning for their projects and how they need to develop their network and their knowledge to optimise results.




Innovation Experts

Innovation Experts

Innovation Experts are extremely interested in agile and emergent strategies, mixing personal skills and profiles, environmental impact and strategies, breakthrough innovation versus improvement. They can split the different theories they’ve come up with using this matrix to give an additional dimension to their analysis.


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Posted in InnoGraph

The Big Picture: When change becomes a fear, and difference a threat

The Monthly Big Picture is a PESTLE analysis to give you a snapshot of WAI social network landscape over the last month. Today we take a look at Laws, Regulation and Environment (part 3 of 3).


The Big Picture: Laws and regulationLaws & Regulation –  When change becomes a fear, and difference a threat

In following article from Bernard Ghilon on, innovation is seen as a victim of finance and stock exchange dictatorship over productivity and long-term investments. From his point of view, US based innovation leaders were able to be successful because of public investment in R&D and long-term investment in productive tools to rapidly spread innovation. When companies are driven by shareholder values, short-term returns on investments and lack support from government, they end up investing less in R&D. Lack of funding and support might not be the only barriers to innovation one can find in France. In this article from, Carole Hernandez-Zakine argues that the “precautionary principle” prevents science from going further while keeping stakeholders close to their fear of change. From her point of view, it forgets to look at the wider scope of opportunities an innovation can create IF supported by politics, society, and respectful of environment. It rather focuses on specific issues (which are still, by the way, important issues). These opinions show how hard it is to define a model enabling intelligent financing and regulation to support innovation in a country where changes and differences are still seen as threats, even by most educated people. As a way of defense from the unknown and a protest against government’s repeated failures, France has recently chosen the extreme right to represent their country at the EU parliament, a party notably known for being anti-European. Early July, the French government announced a series of measures to facilitate investments in long-term value added sectors.


Environment – Back to basics to reveal the obvious urgencies

Environment.006-001Now let’s take a step back and follow the Stanford Social Innovation Review in their quest to bring society closer to nature. This article shows how going back to basics of natural growth, changes, patterns, shapes and materials can help innovation find new sources of inspiration. Biomimicry is an invite to have “nature as a mentor” and “nature as a mirror” to help us rethink society. Having nature as a mirror would also help us see some dramatic changes that are real threat to us all as human beings, such as the alert given by this new version of the National Geographic Atlas of the World. As pointed out by Adele Peters in Co.Exist, the “shrinking ice sea in the Arctic ocean is the second biggest change other than the breakup of the U.S.S.R”. Enabling mentality evolution to support innovations that could preserve our planet is another upside of being able to consider the world as it is: a single home for us all. Below is a recent video from TED Talks which will help us understand what “one world” means:


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Posted in The Big Picture

The Big Picture : Society & Technology – June 2014

The Monthly Big Picture is a PESTLE analysis to give you a snapshot of WAI social network landscape over the last month. Today we take a look at Society and Technology (part 2 of 3).


Society – JLM’s questions at the dawn of the “breakthrough decade”

The Big Picture: SocietyThe Economist reported on an artistic initiative led by Jennifer Lyn Morone, who has “incorporated” her entire body to estimate its value in a data-driven economy. JLM Inc is a derival from Jennifer’s biological, mental and physical services. Ms Morone will store and monetize data generated on her own servers, using a bespoke solution called the Database Of Me (DOME). This unexpected artistic experience is a question mark to the place of human being in data and vice versa. Although clearly an extreme, there is a sense in trying to better define where the fantastic tools we are currently developing will land us. Especially as the coming decade, the “Breakthrough decade” as labelled by scientists, seems to be an “all or nothing” one. As quoted from Alex Steffen’s tweet in the article from CSwire, “what happens in the next 40 years (is) critical. What happens in the next 10 years sets the range of what’s possible.” Big data has a role to play, but what’s going to be ours?


Technology – A muscled robot and a mission to Mars

The Big Picture: TechnologyResearchers of the University of Illinois have created flexible robots made of jelly-type material, that come into a muscle-like texture to move more easily, as LiveScience have found out. These robots are believed to enable a great deal of innovation for operations, reparations or construction, as researchers point out. This tiny 3D-printed “bio-bot” is a sign that a significant advance is being taken both on engineering and production, with a lot of opportunities opened by a myriad of motions that weren’t possible to reflect with previously used materials. While those advances take place in the tiny 0.2 inches of infinite science these bio-bots represent, technology also allowed us to travel beyond imagination in space and time last month. It is now foreseen that the first mission to Mars could take place in 2026, as Sploid explains. Some vehicles already designed or to be created are presented in the article, together with the view of Elon Musk, who wants to build SpaceX spaceships that will be able to “save humanity”.


Legal and Environment parts will follow shortly. Stay tuned!


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The Big Picture: Politics and Economics – June 2014

The Monthly Big Picture is a PESTLE analysis to give you a snapshot of WAI social network landscape over the last month. Today we take a look at Politics & Economics (part 1 of 3).


Politics – Fifty shades of innovation policies from Europe to the US

The Big Picture: Politics June 2014

Innovation Policies

The OECD released an updated review of the French innovation policy, highlighting the need to “encourage private sector innovation, make public research more accountable and channel more funds into most promising R&D projects”. An interesting view in the midst of France’s social crisis after records rates of unemployment now reaching over 5 million French citizens. You can find the updated review using following link. The same month Brookings Institute held a webinar to discuss top innovation policy in the US, going through “the right to be forgotten, internet governance, copyright & IP, patent reform”, opening the debate on how innovation policy opens or restricts innovation. You can find a summary here. Those analyses outline how typically different cultural and social backgrounds affect innovation policies and demands that are complex to align, both on a national and global basis.


Economics – The relativity of the API rise

The Big Picture: Economics

Innovation Economics

McKinsey published an interesting insight on how companies generate revenues from APIs. According to the consulting firm, “a small but growing proportion of app revenues comes from organisations making their data available through APIs”. They outline the business models enabling API related revenues, showing 43% of organisations are currently using a safe pay per use model. While business models are maturing, there is still a need to properly lead privacy discussions, as shown in the above section. This insight can be contrasted by another trend around Big Data, made available by Forbes, suggesting that only 10% of leaders would follow their “gut-feeling” for decision making, and among the rest of them, “nine out of ten executives would ignore the data if it disagreed with their intuition”. Although most of these leaders would re-analyse data to figure out some sort of compromise between gut feeling and analysis, it shows we are still far from being able to fully drive strategies based on metrics and their API counterpart.


Society and Technology parts will follow shortly. Stay tuned!


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