We Are Innovation because we fail

Learning to fail for success

We tend to be afraid of failure. We are taught to. Taking risk is not something you usually get rewarded for, and when you do, it feels “extraordinary”. While in fact, innovating often means taking a short term risk for mid to long term return, and it does frighten finance, risk-skeptic managers, project teams comfortable with “not so good” today. The reason for it being: it might not happen at all, it might fail. Think of all the things you could have done if you hadn’t been afraid to fail. This list is the failure. Trying hard and fail isn’t a failure. It is called learning. Strangely enough, innovation analysts and practitioners agree on one point: we are not taught to learn.

Redefining failures

Afraid to fail

Afraid to fail

Michelle Poler has decided to change this attitude. WYSK reports on that young lady who has consciously spent 100 days of her life not being afraid, going against her fears. As the article quotes: “Living a controlled life in New York has been a nightmare. Since the unknown has proven to be so much more fulfilling than the familiar in these last months, I’m ready to let go, face my biggest fears, try to be completely vulnerable about it and enjoy the ride,” Michelle writes about the start of her project.”

In a business world, this type of attitude leads to discovery, learning, and growing, as Nicole Fallon writes for Business News Daily. She interviewed Luis Orbegoso, ADT Business President, who says: “It’s OK to be wrong, and it’s OK to take a big swing and fail, as long as you have gone through a good, sound process of evaluating the opportunity. For example, if you make a significant investment, and you’ve gone through an analysis and reasoning of why that investment should be made, and all of a sudden, you don’t get the returns you expected, it’s OK, as long as you went through [the] process [and] … it was an educated risk.”

Times ahead demand an educated risk taking attitude. Past failures also work as experience. Taken on a local economic level, this allows analysts such as The Economist to think that unicorns born in the Silicon Valley, although over-valued for some of them, will not go through the dot com bubble of early 2000s as their internal and external environment has learnt, and provides a few improvements compared to 15 years ago, although far from perfect. As the article concludes, “the geeks and dreamers who populate the Valley will need to be able to navigate both smooth and rough waters. Some will try to go too high and wipe out into the bay. Others will be diverted by wild winds. But many will make it safely back to shore—only to head back out again for the thrill, the challenge and the future.”

The truth is, as Kathryn Schulz highlights in her talk for TED, we are all “stuck” in a feeling that all we do is right. We lack stand back and the ability to think we could be wrong. As she explains, this is a behavior we inherit from education system and grading. In fact, we have made it a cultural issue. In her view, “This internal sense of rightness that we all experience so often is not a reliable guide to what is actually going on in the external world. And when we act like it is, and we stop entertaining the possibility that we could be wrong, well that’s when we end up doing things like dumping 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, or torpedoing the global economy. So this is a huge practical problem. But it’s also a huge social problem.”

Paul Jarvis thinks the best way to experience successes and failures in making sure you own your own decision and path. As he writes in his article for INC, “Persistency and bravery always trump safe bets and proven methods. And bravery doesn’t have to look like mountain climbing or standing on stage in front of 35,297 people. The bravest acts can be simply putting ourselves out there without knowing the outcome or reception or that 254 people are going to hate us for it.”

Failure is just a sign that you need change

Failure and change

Failure and change

Because we are not taught how to fail, we are not taught how to change either. John Brandon explains how change is necessary to success. In his article for INC, he explains how ” not everyone needs to move across their state. Yet, you might need to make a purposeful, intentional change and then embrace it if you want to see progress.”

Management is seen as an area where failure is part of a learning process. In this question from Patrick Roult on Skiller, people are asked to explain “what is the place of failure in their management style”. As Jean Phillipe RYO answers, “Those who do not learn to fail, fail to learn“, and as in management everything we do is learning, failure is part of the learning process.”

Educated-failures leading to success and change are those that are carefully thought through and incorporated as lessons learnt for the future. Else, the “Fail fast” trap, as Dan McClure calls it in his article for Distilled, might get in your way. As he writes, “So who wins? Speed matters, but it will be the team that gets the greatest insight from their testing investment and then designs the best pivot toward greater value that really excels. It will be the organizations, teams, and individuals who go beyond simply failing fast to become masters of Learning Quickly and Thinking Well.”

Major companies such as Google offer examples of how failure can lead to improvement. As Alexander Sommer writes in his article for WTVOX, ” The company is clearly taking all of the lessons learned from one of the most public betas in recent memory back to the drawing board. And really, the whole thing may have been a necessary evil — how do you test an experimental wearable like Google Glass without turning the whole of the outside world into a testing ground?”

Failures leading to success

Failures and Innovation

Failures and Innovation

In the end, success is the visible part of work that everyone can see, hiding a series of less successful experiences that we tend to keep for ourselves. This is illustrated below as “The Iceberg Illusion”.

Accepting failure is on the path to happiness. What matters is ensuring you get the right viewpoint, and see the iceberg as a whole, not being afraid, but being pragmatic about it. As Jonathan Long explains for Entrepreneur, “When it comes down to it we are all responsible for our own happiness. The only way you will be happy is by changing your attitude and understanding that you are in full control, and fully capable of changing your situation.”

The business world is full of examples of failures leading to success. Daniel Gross, from Strategy and Business, highlights one of them, A123 Systems. After filing for bankruptcy protection, A123 found itself on a rising need for hybrid batteries and was able to seize the opportunity to grow again. As the author concludes, “While the public narrative arc of a company might end with its high-visibility face-plant, the story doesn’t have to end there — especially if the company possesses useful technology that can serve a growing market.”

Failure is definitely part of innovating. It enables to change views and focus on what we really should develop. It enables learning as individuals and as teams. Over time, failures give way to the one success only innovators can see because they know what work and learning it took to get there.

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Posted in Education, Management, Society, Why we are innovation

Storytelling shapes the way we speak innovation

Storytelling

Market Roadmaps build market stories around specific trends and strategies.

As a way to create human links between businesses, products and customers, leaders and innovation practitioners develop storytelling based strategies that are shaping new approach and messages sent to market. As business becomes slightly more personal, individuals are driven back at the heart of strategies and creativity, generating new innovation potential closely linked to emotions, although developed with technology. How does innovation use storytelling to shape new markets?

The human roots of storytelling

Words and emotions

Words and emotions

With all the data generated across devices, businesses, analytics cannot remain an endless series of facts and trends. As Gavin Heaton explains on his LinkedIn post, “But there are a few companies who are innovating on the edge and taking a different approach. For these companies, big data is just a means to an end. The real value is not in the data but in the capacity to tell stories with that data. It’s the realm of big narratives – and it is as exciting as it is terrifying.”

In fact, analysts and experts now know we are more impacted by stories than a series of speechless figures. This is the reason why storytelling is becoming so important with the rise of Big Data. As Rachell Gillett explains for FastCompany, “Numerous studies over the years have proven that our brains are far more engaged by storytelling than the cold, hard facts.”

Building stories comes with an increasing call to lead as individuals and let our personality and behavior shape a message. What this message circulates is key to business value, as Lolly Daskal found out. As she writes on her blog, “Be yourself. As the saying goes, everyone else is taken. Don’t change to fit in, but seek out and develop your best qualities. We are what we pretend to be, so be careful about what you choose.”

As a result of rising storytelling methodologies and personal branding, talking about oneself as living examples has become an increasing image opportunity. As Anais Moutot writes about TED conferences in Les Echos, “It initially was an informal meet-up gathering tech-savvy, entertainment and design oriented people, created by an architect who wanted a littler bit more action in the Silicon Valley. Thirty years later, the tiny meet-up has turned itself into a worldwide conference factory.”

Because individuals are a complex universe of emotions, virality and message sharing necessarily involve triggering those emotional needs. Dante M. Pirouz, Allison R. Johnson and Matthew Thomson from the MIT have issued a paper suggesting that “One of the more successful papers on viral messages, which looked at forwarding behavior in viral email marketing campaigns, suggested that many emotions can play a role, including surprise, joy, sadness and fear. Another study looked at the sharing of New York Times articles and found that still other emotional responses, such as awe and anxiety, also predicted sharing.”

To analyze the complexity of our emotions, some experts call on technology to come up with a sentiment analysis reflecting the intent behind the words. And they claim there’s nothing wrong about it. As Dan Piepenbring explains for The Paris Review, “There are probably still writers who find that statement provocative. I don’t. It should be obvious to all writers that parts of “the craft” are deeply schematic; if you feel threatened by a machine, there’s probably something suspect about your humanism. ”

Humans are indeed a complex organic system, under chemical control of brain and emotions. This is the reason why stories are more effective in generating actions, as Brad Phillips highlights on Mr Media Training. In his view, “Given the importance of oxytocin to achieving your goals, perhaps we should stop telling our trainees to “tell stories” and advise them instead to “produce more oxytocin for the audience.”

In the end, what seems to matter most in that a link is being created between a person, and another person. This is Susanna Gebauer’s view in The Social MS. As she writes, “Most likely many of these stories are personal, or at least relate to a personal experience. Thats good. Personality is what makes your stories stand out from all the others, what makes you unique and unforgettable. These stories also are related to your business, they are real and they are there for you to use for free.”

Stories as a business, the emotional strategies ahead

Humans shaping stories

Humans shaping stories

Telling stories has therefore started to be a new form of business. In his article for NiemanLab, Joseph Lichterman explains how “Using the user data it’s collected, Upworthy found that elements like humor and a story structure that built in suspense would draw in readers and keep them on the page and better engaged. Since it was published on June 25, March’s story has received more than 2 million unique visitors.”

As such, storytelling has business repercussions, among which transparency and engagement with customers. Gary Hamel reports the words of his sister for HBR about sharing heartfelt stories in her hospital with patients and among teams. As Doctor Hamel says, “Beyond the improved satisfaction score, there was a clinical benefit. We are in the business of saving lives, of enhancing heath, of restoring hope. When we touch the hearts of our patients we create a healing relationship that generates a relaxation response, lowers the blood pressure, improves the happy neurotransmitters, reduces pain, and improves outcomes — for both the patient and the caregiver.”

If there is a business benefit, could we extend storytelling so it has an economic benefit? Alison Demeritt has conducted an in depth analysis for the World Economic Forum to find out. As she concludes, “expanding our understanding of the rich set of factors that influence decision-making can aid development efforts. Incorporating behavioural insights from psychology, sociology, and other sciences can help policymakers develop innovative and sometimes low-cost interventions that help people advance their goals and increase their well-being.”

From a marketing point of view, storytelling already has a significant impact. The new developments now come from branding entrepreneurs behind the product and ideas. As Michael Georgiou explains in Entrepreneur, “Customers are looking for more than just a product. They’re looking for a personable brand to buy from. This is why it has become extremely important for entrepreneurs to brand themselves, too. ”

Again, in a near future, machines will write their own stories based on algorithms and our ability to better know what emotions triggers business or economic actions. As Demian Farnworth writes for Copyblogger, “Machines can’t create a genre or writing style like gonzo journalism. They can only execute within a formula — a formula created by humans. That is, they aren’t creative in the true sense of the word. Which is where we need to focus.”

Words as a business asset

Words as a business

Words as a business

The words we use are an important factor in shaping the impact we want to see in the world. Louise Lee from Stanford Business highlights the work of Walter W Powell, who has analyzed the words used to by non-profits language. As he found out, “The phrase “social return on investment,” for example, draws on the discourses of the civil society and business areas; that and other phrases and terms that borrow from different communities create potential alternative ways to evaluate a nonprofit and its effectiveness.”

In a management area, storytelling creates an engaging atmosphere. As such, it enables team working and conversation rather than a one-way top down discourse that leaves individuals outside the idea and speak-up sphere. As John Coleman explains for HBR, “Creating an ethos of conversation, rather than a one-sided presentation, for critical discussions can better leverage the collective intelligence of the team, make solutions to organizational problems better and more comprehensive, and improve ownership for execution of ideas.”

Engaging teams in story making on top of storytelling is an important initial step to build stickiness and virality. Furthermore, it generates the internal creativity to build a story that only belongs to a single company, a key differentiator that bounds individuals to a group or project. To better develop emotional creativity, Business In Rhyme suggests to write poetry. As explained on the blog, “Halonen in his paper “Demystifying critical thinking”, (1995) states that poetry often contains unconventional language or unusual treatment of a topic. Surprise becomes a catalyst for critical thinking as the audience works to resolve subsequent feelings of disequilibrium.”

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Posted in IT Innovation, Market Roadmap, Management, Creativity

The complex world around Millennials

A complex World

The economic and technological environment surrounding Millennials is an invite for innovation. The sharing economy promises new business models for their ideas, even paying systems are developing new services to follow their buying habits. With a high sense of engagement, younger generations hold the power to drastically change the world we live in.

Science and Technology experts

As a key differentiator in generational behaviors, the use of technology differs between Millennials and Centennials. While both generations may extensively use digital tools, their objectives are different. As Popsop explains, “Millennials use the power of Internet to change existing systems, unite people in communities and fight for their rights.  Centennials, vice versa, are quiet innovators, not fighters. Instead of changing systems, they create their own zone of comfort.”

Banks and Financial Institutions

Technology, trust and purpose are the key drivers for banks to attract and retain Millennials. As Petervan explains, “banks are most likely to be disrupted by Millennial consumer preferences, and are facing massive challenges in terms of approach towards customer acquisition and user experience. Millennials believe that the way we access money and pay for things will be completely different five years from now.”

Research and Consulting Firms

Generational usage of social networks is highly scrutinized to define the best content marketing strategies. In his article for INC, Kelsey Libert shares key metrics to understand how Boomers, Millennials and Generation X use of social networks.

Politics and Public Institutions

In France, politics worry about the increasing distance between youth desire for engagement and available opportunities to engage. France Stratégie has released a new report highlighting projects undertaken to encourage younger generations to take part in building a new society. As Beligh Nablin explains in below video, rewarding youth engagement in punctual citizen volunteering “represents a major public policy strategic issue, including as regards national cohesion”.

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Posted in Change, InnoTrends

We Are Innovation because we are entrepreneurs

Innovation Entrepreneurs

Innovation and entrepreneurship are closely linked by human behaviors and professional skills needed to launch and drive a business. Through a variety of specialists and entrepreneurs view, it is striking to see how entrepreneurship is needed not only to build new business models and recreate an entire economic system focused on individuals, whether inside our outside start-ups and organizations, but also to challenge social status-quo that tends to leave us in inaction when drastic change is needed. From having the inherent faith in our ideas up to transforming the world, we as entrepreneurs share experiences and knowledge to create a human network of pragmatic innovators.

Building a dream is nothing like dreaming

Entrepreneurship has a start. As entrepreneurs, we know exactly what energy this start takes, and how it only is a beginning. We as entrepreneurs have been afraid to fail. But then, we still gave it a go. As Jeff Haden explains for INC, “A whole other group of people will respect you for taking a shot. They’ll recognize a kindred spirit. They’ll empathize. They’ll encourage. They’ll pick you up. They’ll know what it’s like to try and fail and try again.”

It could be an idea not to go and fight on our own. We as entrepreneurs know the value of a “wingman”, sailing across storms being shouldered by a friend, or even a life partner. As Minda Zetlin explains for INC, “Starting a company is difficult with anyone. However starting a company with someone who is in it with you and whom you trust is a bit better.”

As Minda Zetlin draws a parallel between marriage, partnering in life and building a business, Brandon Weber from FastCompany explains how entrepreneurship demands a “yes i can” attitude towards challenges. As he writes, “Starting your own company and running an Ironman race are both intimidating situations, as the outcomes are completely unknown. Despite the fear of failure that constantly was top of mind, I had to ignore my fears and take the plunge; I had to say yes.”

Entrepreneurs as a team

Beyond the project start, the team and skills needed to go ahead, Steven DuPuis from FastCoDesign highlights the need for a company vision. In his view, “Without dreams, companies lose meaning, purpose, and direction. Every startup begins with a vision of a business that matters—its equivalent of a concept car.”

We as entrepreneurs also know we are not alone. Diving into the unknown abysses of launching a business, despite the thrill of discoveries and early successes, is much easier when guided by peers, sharing experiences and teaching to others as well. Ilan Mochari from INC has listed short movies worth watching to understand the impact of entrepreneurship in business owners lives.

In order to thrive in a labor world highly impacted by systemic changes, entrepreneurs need to cultivate the right adaptive mindsets. They need to be given the appropriate thinking to do so. As Heather McGowan explains in her interview for Natalie Nixon from INC, “I became interested in accelerated change and the future of work years ago as I noticed the rising collaborative economy coupled with graduate unemployment and underemployment and an overall shift away from the old-economy paradigm of preparing graduates to be experts in single-career trajectories to one of engagements that require rapid cycles of learning and the leveraging of that learning.”

On top of arming ourselves with the right mindset, we as entrepreneurs also count on investment partners and need their support and belief to pursue business dreams. John Rampton from Entrepreneur has listed 32 VCs FinTech entrepreneurs need to know. As the writer concludes, “As the Fintech industry continues to grow, these are the VCs you want to keep an eye one. Their investments could shift the market drastically.”

Driving a business necessitates the right skill set within a supporting team as well. Although there is a common thinking that successful entrepreneurs tend to be young people, researches and experiences show that knowledge and maturity are critical assets for entrepreneurs. As Vivek Wadwa explains for Venture Beat, ” The vast majority of these startups fail, however, because there is no substitute for experience and knowledge. What makes entrepreneurs successful, as my team’s research revealed, is work and industry experience and management ability. These come with age. ”

Finally, Donny Gamble Jr explains in Entrepreneur what he thinks are the key requirements to launch a business. In his view, “For many of us, it’s a combination of being able to be more creative, make a difference, work for ourselves, have flexible hours and increase our earning potential.”

That being said, there are endless reasons why putting so much efforts in starting a business comes with high rewards. Freedom is one of them. As Jonathan Long explains in Entrepreneur, “Entrepreneurs have total freedom to roam, create, delegate and work. There are no cubicles or desks to be tied to all day.”

Transforming the world

Starting a business generates new values, for you, and those you work with and for. As Kerry Butters explains on MarkItWrite, “It’s much more rewarding doing something that will give not only to you, but to those around you – think about how you can achieve this.”

Entrepreneurship is indeed seen as a way to transform our societies and the world we live in. In his interview for FrenchWeb, Philippe Silberzahn explains how “innovation necessitates a new inter-disciplinary approach to understand the world in its complexity (from a cultural, technical, social, and economic standpoint) so we can take action and transform it”.  Femmes Numériques share a precious encouragement for women entrepreneurs from Maïna Marquette, Skippair CEO: “Dare to go ahead and leave your comfort zone. Once you have engaged on that choice, things around you will become simpler”.

In below video from FrenchWeb, Carlos Diaz explains the role of an entrepreneur in the American culture, as seen from France. In his view, the American entrepreneur has five key roles: creating and sharing a vision, recruit best talents, pushing teams towards goals, communicating and being the face of the company, and fundraising.

Entrepreneurship and the IT environment enabling fast scaling push organizations to identify and help talents very early. Steve O’Hear mentions London based Entrepreneur First in his article for TechCrunch. As he writes, the talent are first identified before they launch their ideas to market. “They are then helped to work through those ideas and decide what to focus on and who else on the programme they work with. Some of those ideas and teams stick and are fast-tracked to become a startup with product, traction and investment, while others chop and change and take longer to form.”

We as entrepreneurs are for sure building an important part of innovation future. In the US, higher education is aligning to arm the new generation of builders to they bring the needed flexibility and open-mindedness to create a better future. As Li Zhou writes for Smithsonian Mag, “There is a growing consensus that higher education, moving forward, should be a flexible experience that can be customized in both subject matter and structure to fit individual interests and learning styles. There is no longer one template that can be interchangeably applied to every student’s path.”

Entrepreneurs are inspired by change, and engaging into a changing lifestyle requires preparation as well as long term dedication. As role-models for creating breakthrough ideas and business models, entrepreneurs and business owners define a new vision and purpose for new generations of workers to take ownership and transform the world. This new definition of innovation driven by individuals is a key asset for change, and should be a corner stone for any inspired innovator willing to start a new business.

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Posted in Change, Creativity, Education, Management, SME innovation, Society, Universities, Why we are innovation

On The Go: Going back to a “normal life”?

Normal Life

On The Go is your innovation story inspired from elsewhere.

I’ve recently been asked if we had any plans to go back to a normal life. My husband and I decided a few years ago to leave fantastic Paris for nobody knows La Châtre. The Internet will tell you this tiny little town in the centre of France is the former hometown of George Sand, a French 19th century author, where she used to write to her lover, Frédéric Chopin. My husband and I embarked on a dream where he’d have his own responsible, eco-friendly, innovative business, and I’d be a writer. We as musicians have started a band. We have given birth to the loveliest daughter ever. The life we show her is full of creativity and engagement. The life we show her develops in the midst of nature, with its changing landscapes, its wildlife. The life we show her is full of questions. Do we have plans to go back to a normal life ?

Ever since we settled down in the region, we have seen the difficulties growing.  With all the energy and creativity we put in it, our experimental life is going through the “trough of disillusionment”, as Gartner calls it. We are fighting most of the time on our own, holding on to our personal beliefs and faith. We as parents worry about the world we leave to future generations, we as a family worry about how we can sustain our current plans, some of our friends struggle with difficult financial situations, and we might be next on the list. We as citizens have seen the local medical care shortage for young children, the lack of budget, politics and their difficulties, the local “trough of disillusionment”. We as musicians keep meeting a variety of other bands and hear similar experiences. In all of our compositions and theirs, no matter the age and social background: the worries, the fears, the anger, the questions. Do we have plans to go back to a normal life ?

Scientific poetry

Before living in La Châtre, we were pretty “normal”. My husband and I both hold valuable degrees, and our career path are, I like to believe, the most of what we could fight for and deliver. Before living in La Châtre, we earned a decent amount of money, allowing us to have a nice apartment, flying all over the world, working over hours, showing the world day in day out how we were on top. The market shares, the visibility, the titles, the “global strategic plans”, the bonuses, we had it all. Before living in La Châtre, we were confident in everything we achieved. There was a system, we knew it by heart, we played it so well. Before living in La Châtre, we had dreams. Life was easy. Until truth hit us like a boomerang. A miscarriage took us down while both of our careers were at their momentum. The month following our loss, I started working like crazy on innovation projects. My husband endured his hardest management challenges and choices. We kept fighting until we both realized we simply could not go further. It was not the good fight. The financial crisis was closing all of our projects, life itself had said “no”. We ran towards a “yes”. We got married here, in La Châtre. Our ceremony exit song said “I can see clearly now the rain is gone”. Do we have plans to going back to a normal life ?

My husband and I sit down each and every evening after Lisa is gone to bed, and we count. Money left, time, efforts, struggles, fears, anger, questions. We discuss, we work together on the less and less possible plans not to go back. These plans are scarce, and they are difficult. Going back is easy. It is next door. There is a system, we know it well. I have tried to go back. I have seen what is it “not to be innovation” simply because one can’t afford it. I have seen employees crying. I have seen people cheating on product tests results to get precious references under market pressure. I have seen what it is not to be able to afford respect for people. I have heard business owners yelling at the bank because they were not granted the loans needed to sustain their activity, and save several tenths of jobs. I have seen schools classes being closed down because laid off parents had left the town. We know what is the local cost of family departures. Do we have plans to go back to a normal life ?

The Disrupted Society and The Last Mile

We are trying hard to live a “different life”. Focusing on essentials, delivering good to others, creating communities beyond social backgrounds and religious beliefs or disbeliefs. We are creative, we are ourselves. And it is by far the hardest thing we have ever done: being outside the norm, being outside  “the system”. We know “normal” rules of game. We disagree with their unfairness. There is no “normal life” to us. It’s gone. In times of doubts and worries, it may come back and knock at our door, asking questions. Through the answers we keep repeating, we found worrying is the cost for caring for others, living in uncertainty, living in change. We know change is the new norm. If we can’t live with it, if we plan to go back, we are bound to fail, and worse, embark others in our fall.

Let’s not go back. Let’s learn from past and move towards a better future. We as a family have decided to challenge “normal” until it becomes respect for humans and earth, peace and freedom for all. Until then, we are change. We are innovation.

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Posted in Change, Creativity, On the go, Why we are innovation

Fresh energy at work: Millennials get on board

Fresh Energy

Businesses are increasingly investigating how to best define and address younger generations. They understand they need to develop their presence on new media, but also question the benefits of developing products specific to Millennials. Through inspiration and purpose, they seek to develop new codes and visions that could bring young generations on board, whether they are consumers or future leaders. This second part of Innotrends on Generational Changes for Innovation is looking at business experts’ strategies to communicate with young generations. The first part, “Empowering New Generations“, investigates views of Education, Press and Media, Customers and Influencers.

C-Level and Leaders

As communication tools and media evolve, brands and companies leadership embrace new ways to develop their audience. They now seek to inspire Millennials, developing a transparent dialogue about their successes and failures, ultimately showing a human face behind the logo. As a way to develop and attract new talents, C-Level and leaders share pieces of advice for young entrepreneurs in Jacquelyn Smith and Rachel Gillett’s article for INC. Among other ideas, Hermione Way, founder of WayMedia, explains that “there has never been an easier time to start a business. There are so many free online tools. Just start, and if you fail you can always go and get a normal job, but you will learn so much along the way it will be a great experience.

Companies

Is inspiring millennials a better solution than designing products specifically targeting this generation? In their article for HBR, Timothy Morey and Allison Schoop suggest that in the end, it is difficult to find enough common behaviors among an entire generation to create dedicated products for Millennials. As they say, “A better approach is to design for archetypes that are representative of certain attitudinal and behavioral traits, and then combine these with social, market and emerging technology trends—all things that transcend age or generation. Defining an ideal customer for a potential product or service using broader human themes allows you to create solutions that resonate with a larger group of people.

As Millenials enter the labor market, HR experts also investigate how they potentially need to adapt their recruitment strategies. In her article for EducPros.fr, Marie-Caroline Missir explains that “we cannot really say that Generation Y is drastically different from previous ones: expectations are the same, but they are more intense. The idea is to have a passion-driven role that interests them, while making sure it does not invade their entire existence”.

Business Experts and Professional Communities

It seems Millennials bring passionate discussions about how to best address them. Marketing professionals are encouraged to investigate multiple ways to engage with this generation as they increasingly influence market potentials. As Heidi Cohen reminds for Tech National News, among other specific behaviors, “Millennials expect a two-way relationship with companies and brands. (…) Think multi-directional engagement.”

Innovation Experts

Beyond engagement, Millennials are seeking for purpose to work for a company. As Scott Parish writes in his Linkedin post, “Growing up with a powerful global media, Millennials have developed a strong understanding the world’s problems, and deep desire to feel a part of the solutions.  A study by Net Impact, found that compared with other generations, Millennials have more of a desire for a job that has an impact on causes or issues that are important to them.”

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Posted in Change, InnoTrends, Management, Society

Empowering new generations

New Generations

Hackathon, serious games, agility and pragmatic knowledge, society explores all possible ways to better engage with younger generation. This first part of Innotrends on generational changes for innovation looks into the driving trends emerging with connected generations.

Education

The idea generation is much younger than we think. Is it the technological environment, or the social freedom to speak-up, or the creativity that sparkles in their eyes? Clare Wiley from Entrepreneur highlights one of these young creative spirits: “At a hackathon in Philadelphia last November, one of the best ideas came not from a professional designer, but from a nine-year-old. The boy pitched an app that combines carpooling with Uber-like capabilities, allowing a private network of families to share driving.”

Growing up does make us lose some of the playful spirit that enables creativity. As Hélène Michel reminds for EducPros, “the harder students have worked to enter top business schools, the more negative is the image they get from “gaming”. They are extremely formatted”. Although serious games may have greater impact in the classroom, having to learn new rules appears as a difficulty and tends to lower the efficiency of virtual games to share knowledge.

Press and Medias

Yet teaching and learning have to change for younger generations. In an increasingly unstable economic environment, Generation Z is asking for pragmatic knowledge. As Ariel Schwartz explains for Fast-CoExist, “Generation Z has no illusions about staying in comfy corporate jobs. Over four in ten respondents think they’ll work for themselves in their careers (that is, according to the U.S. Census, more than four times higher than the actual percentage of people who work for themselves). Some 63% of respondents also think that entrepreneurship should be taught in college.”

Beyond universities and schools, digital natives are now also imposing a new breed of agility in companies. As François Schott highlights in Le Monde, “Major companies should get inspiration from these new business models if they want to prevent their talents from joining more agile businesses”.

Customers and Influencers

It is not just about retaining talents. It is also about retaining customers. Peter Roesler mentions on INC how ” more than four out of five (85 percent) of all millennial parents use smartphones to help them shop at brick-and-mortar retail locations.” Brands have not choice but to turn themselves into dedicated purchasing coach while developing their relationship with millennial customers.

Millennials are a brand new type of customers. They are also eager to give. As Joseph Erbentraut explains for The Huffington Post, “Millennials, born between 1980 and the mid-2000s, are said to be reshaping the worlds of charity and online giving. Previous reports have dubbed millennials the “giving generation”, and noted that millennials prefer to see their contributions as investments in a cause they care about instead of solely a donation.”

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