Why Prototype?

Prototypes are really important for teams and we have compiled in these slides major reasons why companies and teams need to prototype.

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For you to ensure that you build great products that customers will love it is important you have them in the loop as you build. One way to get them in the loop is by getting them to test prototypes. Prototypes are really important for teams and we have compiled in these slides major reasons why companies and teams need to prototype.

Technology as an Enabler of Innovation

Innovation Circle Highlights – Susan Onigbinde On this Innovation circle highlight, Susan explains the differences between innovation and technology, debunking the popular belief that technology and innovation are the same thing. Taking from an interesting story from pre-historic times told by Pepsi’s Chief Design Officer, Mauro Porcini, during one of our Design and Innovation Podcasts […]

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Innovation Circle Highlights – Susan Onigbinde

On this Innovation circle highlight, Susan explains the differences between innovation and technology, debunking the popular belief that technology and innovation are the same thing.

Taking from an interesting story from pre-historic times told by Pepsi’s Chief Design Officer, Mauro Porcini, during one of our Design and Innovation Podcasts (DIP), Susan shows how technology is more an enabler of innovation as opposed to innovation of itself.
This 5mins listen is worth the time. Enjoy!

Kindly note: at 1:37mins, the speaker meant to say ‘those objects, were the technology’, not ‘those objects were the innovation’.

Innovation Success Story: A Case Study of Coca Cola

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to some that Coke has also been a leader in innovation. From branding and marketing to product and customer experience, Coke has led the way for brands in bringing new, competitive solutions to market, even beyond Consumer Goods.

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Coca Cola has always been one of the leaders in its category, immensely successful in brand and customer experience across the globe. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that is has led its peers in innovation also. From branding and marketing to product and customer experience, Coke has led the way in bringing new, competitive and customer-centric solutions to market.

When Coca Cola was invented in 1886 by Doctor John Pemberton, it was, even then, considered an innovation. Similarly, when the now-famous ‘Ultra Glass contour bottle’ was designed, it was considered a novelty as well, ‘designed to improve impact resistance, and reduce weight and cost’. The innovative Ultra Glass bottles are said to be “40% stronger, 20% lighter and 10% less expensive than traditional contour bottles”. 

Coca Cola has gained massive success, as it has brought innovation to the market in more ways than one, no doubt aiding its position as the world’s leading manufacturer of the most popular and biggest-selling soft drink in history, amongst other solutions.

So what are the secrets of this success? How does Coca Cola, after 134 years still remain a market leader known for innovation? 

Coca Cola has always sought to understand what their customers are needing. The current President and Chief Operating Officer, James Quincey, said regarding their customers, “We need to start by asking, ‘Where are they going?’ “We’re listening carefully and working to ensure that consumers are firmly at the centre of our business so we can continue to grow responsibly. If we embrace where the consumer is going, our brands will thrive, and our system will continue to grow.” By being consumer-centric and responding to consumer demands, Coca Cola has been able to bring cutting-edge solutions to customers.

“We’re listening carefully and working to ensure that consumers are firmly at the centre of our business so we can continue to grow responsibly. If we embrace where the consumer is going, our brands will thrive, and our system will continue to grow.” – James Quincey, President and Chief Operating Officer, Coca Cola

Coca-cola Innovation

Coca Cola’s former Chief Technical and Innovation Officer, innovation leader Guy Wollaert, said that an innovation doesn’t have to be disruptive or headline-grabbing. It must simply create new value. Coca Cola has stayed true to this belief, relying on diverse resources, extensive customer research, as well as “experimentation and the power of design-thinking techniques to drive growth for the business”.

‘Deep lateral thinking’ is another tactic used by Coca-Cola, as they brought in a wide variety of individuals as collaborators, they were careful to bring in subject matter experts and lateral thinkers, Guy Wollaert, states “It’s important to have the right subject matter expertise, but it’s absolutely critical to complement this with people who have an innate skill of connecting dots laterally. Essentially, bringing together a variety of people, those who are skilled in seeing the bigger picture and those who are able to view the detail, this allows systems thinking, an incredibly important skill in design and innovation.

By leveraging the art of collaboration, Coca Cola has also brought innovative solutions to the fore front. “Innovation is a team sport”, is a phrase boldly used on Coca Cola’s sites and the brand has leveraged this simple truth, using the power of its wide network of employees, distributors, consumers and vendors, to bring new solutions to bear. 

Understanding that collaboration, by bringing divergent minds together is another great ingredient for innovation, Coca Cola developed a process of going to external entities to seek and glean valuable insights, from customers and distributors to internal stakeholders. For example, it used social media as a way to get feedback from their customers. In 2019, it also opened up Coke KOLab, “a new high-tech facility where retail and restaurant customers can build collaborative business plans and get a peek inside the company’s innovation pipeline”.

A culture of experimentation is another way Coca Cola births novel products, “We combine the best of what entrepreneurs do and the best of what Coca-Cola does,” explains Susan Zaripheh, Transformational Innovation Team lead

What does this mean to you, a business leader trying to effect company-wide innovation and transformation, how do you create valuable and impactful solutions?

Seek to ‘collaborate’ more with stakeholders along your value chain, however that looks like, both inside and externally. Employees, customers and other stakeholders in your company’s ecosystem will prove valuable. Start by exploring areas with individuals you may not have looked at before but are part of your value chain like Coca Cola reached out to their distributors. 

Listen, learn and experiment. “Power is not having one team dedicated to transformational innovation, but seamlessly implementing learnings and frameworks across the organization and fuelling new capability to drive growth,” said Simon Yeung, SVP, Innovation and Stewardship, Coca-Cola North America

Leveraging the power to learn and experiment as you envision and build areas of growth is important to successfully innovating.

In many ways, Coca Cola has paved the way for many across the world and various industries, what the company has succeeded in, is taking the practices that bring about innovation and incorporating them within their company’s operations. 

In doing so, they have mapped out a path for aspiring brands to try be inspired by. 

A Conversation with Gianfranco Zaccai, Founder Continuum/ Foundation for Augmented Intelligence

Susan Onigbinde the Founder/ CEO of DODO Design Agency and Gianfranco Zaccai Founder Continuum/ Foundation for Augmented Intelligence had a conversation on how businesses can leverage tough times to birth innovative solution

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Gianfranco Zaccai, a global leader in design and innovation, shares from his experience on how companies can birth innovative solutions, he points to major principles that are needed for product success while also highlighting lessons from one of his company’s many innovation successes- Swiffer. Swiffer was and still is a huge commercial success for Procter and Gamble (P &G) of which Gianfranco and his team at Continuum were responsible for developing the product. Watch and get vital information you can implement into your next solution build.

Please note: 
There was a break in transmission during the call, this was as a result of the poor network at the time. We want to apologies in case of any inconvenience. Also at about 24:48 technology is what was meant and not innovation.

You can learn more about Gianfranco Zaccai’s Foundation for Augmented Intelligence here.

A Conversation with Lola Cardoso, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at Union Bank PLC

“I believe innovation is about creating, capturing and delivering value to stakeholders – these could be around solutions to your customers’ articulated or unarticulated needs. Innovation needs to be authentic to succeed.”

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Tell us a little about your journey to this current position Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at Union Bank. What led you into this path of innovation?

I joined Union Bank in August 2013 as Group Head, Corporate Strategy to drive the Bank’s strategy, anchor its overall transformation and support execution bank-wide.

My aim was to make a difference and transform an almost 100-year-old bank then into a modern organization with the right people, processes and platform. I have contributed to the successful transformation of the bank and proud as the bank continues its positive growth momentum.

In 2015/2016, I began driving the bank’s innovation and sustainability efforts, which are integral to our Bank’s future growth and positioning. Our transformation efforts focused on people, process and technology, have built a solid foundation for us to compete effectively and win.

 Today, I am driving digital and innovation in a 100+ organization and I now lead our retail distribution efforts with the aim of continuously delivering superior value to stakeholders as we position Union Bank as a leader in retail and transaction banking. We are in a new phase of our transformation as we deepen our focus on digital and innovation, which are essential to win in the future.

What are your thoughts on innovation as it is currently in Nigeria?

The speed at which innovative technology is travelling across the world especially Africa is incredible; it is reshaping how we consume financial products and media content. The continent’s strive for innovation and development, especially in Financial Technology – lending and payment systems is impressive – thanks to the increasing rate of mobile penetration across Africa.

“The continent’s strive for innovation and development, especially in Financial Technology – lending and payment systems is impressive – thanks to the increasing rate of mobile penetration across Africa.”

Nigeria is home to so many creative and innovative individuals and businesses – I am very proud to see how Nigeria is consistently being put on the map by so many innovations that have been birthed in the country. In fact, Nigeria’s tech industry has become the leading investment destination in Africa for investors globally; with the country’s startups raising ~$180m in disclosed funding rounds in 2018 according to Techpoint Africa. In the first half of 2019 alone, tech start-ups in Nigeria have raised ~$110m in investments from local and foreign investors. The potential is indeed huge!

Given Nigeria’s current dependence on revenue from oil, it is very clear that there’s a need to boost innovation and adopt new frontier technologies to support growth across all sectors.  Innovation is important for Nigeria’s social and economic growth. It is one thing to say you need innovation and another to create an ecosystem that will push beyond boundaries and challenge the status quo. Innovative technologies like AI, open banking, blockchain, robotics etc. need to be adopted to deliver the economic breakthrough Nigeria needs. With the Government’s recent creation of a refreshed ministry – Communications and Digital Economy, we hope that there will be deliberate and concerted efforts to create enabling structures and policies for innovation and digital initiatives to thrive in the country.

Leading the charge on Union Bank’s digital strategy and investments, I am increasingly driven to pay it forward for Nigerians and the larger society including women and youth to grow the digital economy. The challenges in Nigeria around financial access as well as financial literacy are clear opportunities that we are trying to tackle at Union Bank. I believe that by partnering with a larger ecosystem, we can push boundaries and succeed.

What are your key responsibilities as the current position of Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at Union Bank?

As the Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at Union Bank, my focus is to drive and execute the digital roadmap for the Bank while retaining oversight of the Bank’s strategy and innovation objectives.

 A key objective is to clearly define and execute a holistic digital strategy that enables and aligns with our ambitions. Critical tasks involve mapping out relevant digital requirements, as defined by our target segments and our priorities, identifying the right partners to onboard, and implementing an agile development and prototyping process for accelerated execution and insight gathering.

Ensuring the Bank is proactively abreast of developments in the digital and innovation space and making recommendations to the Bank on ideas and/or initiatives to invest in, is another important responsibility that I have.

I’m focused on integrating digital into all aspects of our business, from solutions, channels, processes and data to the operating model, incentives, and culture we embed in the organization.

How would you define innovation based on your experience at Union Bank?

I believe innovation is about creating, capturing and delivering value to stakeholders – these could be around solutions to your customers’ articulated or unarticulated needs. Innovation needs to be authentic to succeed. It needs to be part of your organization’s ethos to be successful. At Union Bank, innovation was adopted as a core value in 2017 reinforcing that creativity and forward-thinking is critical for our individual and collective success. Our commitment to innovation comes from the top. Employees are empowered to think creatively and strategically and we are committed to considering all ideas shared and investing in those relevant to our growth and strategic priorities.

Innovation can thrive only when we embrace and nurture an environment of ideas, creativity, and openness. This is the culture companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon have embedded – encouraging their employees to test, fail fast / forward, and learn.

“I believe innovation is about creating, capturing and delivering value to stakeholders – these could be around solutions to your customers’ articulated or unarticulated needs. Innovation needs to be authentic to succeed. It needs to be part of your organization’s ethos to be successful”

In Union Bank, there are several internal initiatives in place to promote innovative thinking and actions – Annual Case Challenge, Ideas Bank and Union X. These are platforms that provide an opportunity for employees to flex their creativity and be recognized by leadership and colleagues. A number of the recommended solutions are currently in the incubation stage, with some already set to launch. Beyond these focused initiatives, we want to ensure that the innovative culture cuts across all functions across the bank and influences the way we hire, train, recognize and empower our employees. To this end, we have embedded some courses in the Organization Enhancement Academy curriculum that focus on creative thinking and strategic execution competencies to supplement the experiential and on-the-job exposure. This year, we included a design thinking course – Product, Service and Experience Design – to support our mission to continuously create the simplest, smartest solutions and guarantee the best experience every time!

While we continue to build our innovative culture, we recognize the power of collaborating with external parties. We remain open to partnering with start-ups and tech companies and this is evident from the number of live discussions and proof-of-concept testing with several local and global fintechs as we drive to become Nigeria’s most reliable and trusted banking partner.

“While we continue to build our innovative culture, we recognize the power of collaborating with external parties.”

Which companies (around the world) do you admire most for their approach to innovation? Can you share what caught your attention about their practices?

In general, I admire companies that leverage AI, data-driven technologies, platforms and ecosystems to consistently augment their ways of working and create new offerings that push boundaries and reinvent the future. We know the likes of Google and Amazon blaze the trail here with their numerous offerings in the marketplace. However, I would like to emphasize “what” I admire. I admire companies that have made millions of consumers rely on their offerings to access every single product / service they need within one platform in the palm of their hands, thereby becoming an integral aspect of people’s lives – business, personal needs, lifestyle, etc.  As a result of this approach to innovation, it becomes very possible to expand to new business lines quickly by leveraging digital technologies and their existing customer base who have become loyal due to the convenience of their offerings.

“… companies that have made millions of consumers rely on their offerings to access every single product / service they need within one platform in the palm of their hands, thereby becoming an integral aspect of people’s lives – business, personal needs, lifestyle, etc.  As a result of this approach to innovation, it becomes very possible to expand to new business lines quickly by leveraging digital technologies and their existing customer base who have become loyal due to the convenience of their offerings.”

I particularly like to draw inspiration from businesses such as this – their ability to meet consumers ever-changing demands for speed, flexibility, personalization and the role these play in creating great experiences and loyalty are critical as I think about my role in driving Union Bank’s vision to be Nigeria’s most reliable and trusted banking partner.

What advice would you give to professionals looking to improve their career in innovation management, strategy or innovation leadership?

My biggest piece of advice to innovators is to make creativity a habit. It is very easy to teach someone how to do a job, but very hard to teach someone how to think differently. Take a different view of life and challenge assumptions. Question everything.

“My biggest piece of advice to innovators is to make creativity a habit… Question everything.”

What #innovationmoment are you most proud of in your role as Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at Union Bank?

I don’t have one proud moment… we have accomplished a lot at Union Bank. I have many proud moments and am excited about the future. 

 I am very proud of the commitment and the passion with which my organization is driving innovation and is relentlessly pursuing our Digital Union agenda. The creation of the digital and innovation team working across the bank to create value and drive return for the bank and Nigeria has been rewarding. Providing them the tools and soon the workspace to create/co- create with our ecosystem makes me more excited about the future.

 In addition, the implementation of innovation hackathon/challenges for UBN and for Nigeria (Centenary Innovation Challenge, Campus Innovation Challenge, edTech Challenge to name a few) has ignited our employees as well as Nigerian youth and entrepreneurs. These have been proud moments given the opportunities to nurture and enable home grown ideas and provide unique learning opportunities to all involved given partnerships with other innovation partners.

Also, our thorough innovation development process has been awesome to drive and the reward of birthing sustainable digital solutions with real impact on Nigeria consumers. We look forward to building our pipeline of solutions in partnership with the Nigerian technology and business ecosystem. 

If you could build a company from the ground up, what innovation tactics or design methodologies would you use to build?

Companies coming up with new products would like to get the desired product to customers’ hands faster before their competitors even have time to think about modifying it.

 The Lean Startup method teaches you how to drive a startup, how to steer, when to turn, and when to persevere and grow a business with maximum acceleration. This is a principled approach to new product development.

 Today, too many startups begin with an idea for a product that they think people want or need. They then spend months perfecting that product without ever showing to customers. Taking a leaf from design thinking, it is very important to validate the idea/product with the market, observe your customers to determine their unarticulated needs, and further refine the product/idea with feedback from testing and prototyping.

 These methods help to ensure that there is a need and an existing market for the product/idea to be launched, therefore greatly improving the chances of success in the marketplace as well as improving the sustainability of the business.

“Today, too many startups begin with an idea for a product that they think people want or need. They then spend months perfecting that product without ever showing to customers. Taking a leaf from design thinking, it is very important to validate the idea/product with the market, observe your customers to determine their unarticulated needs, and further refine the product/idea with feedback from testing and prototyping.”

#innovationmoment

“The creation of the digital and innovation team working across the bank to create value and drive return for the bank and Nigeria has been rewarding. Providing them with the tools and soon the workspace to create/co-create with our ecosystem makes me more excited about the future.”

Season 1 | Episode 9: Building Solutions that Delivers Value to your Employees and Business (with Sarah Christine)

Here’s another interesting episode with Sarah Christine Deloughery. Sarah is a Design Thinking expert and team lead digital at 2BM an Information Technology company based in Denmark.

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Most companies when developing a product tend to give most of their attention to the customers, neglecting the employees and staff who also have a major part to play in delivering an offering to customers.
Some companies, on the other hand, go all out to purchase new gadgets for their employees to assist them in their daily tasks without first considering if there is a need for these products by their employees.

Sarah Christine is a Designer and IT consultant who helps teams build User- centric SAP solutions. She shares with us ways in which she approached designs for her clients, also noting out important areas businesses should look out for if they want to create innovative solutions that improve on the value for their customers, employees and business.

Season 1 | Episode 6: How Businesses Can Use Business Design to Guarantee Product Success (with Tommaso Martucci and Jabbo Gehring)

On this episode, Susan and Thomas had a chat with Jabbo Gehring from Fjord Berlin and Tommaso Martucci from Indeed-innovation Hamburg, on how businesses can use Business Design to guarantee product success.

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In launching a new product, there are a lot of things to consider to guarantee that the product becomes successful upon entering the market. What people don’t look out to validate is if the solution will be accepted by the customers.

Sometimes this product fails not because they do not address a need but because of the way they are offered. You find that product execution is a very important phase in making sure a product is successful but for that to be done the product team must be able to understand how the target customers of whom they are building for will have the product presented to them, in terms of use case, look and feel. A great way to identify these things is by testing the product with customers you want to sell to.
Together with Jabbo Gehring from Fjord, Tommaso Martucci from Indeed Innovation and the co-hosts, they discussed the opportunities that design can bring to improve the probability of a product succeeding in the market. The four touched on Service Design, Business Design, and other important aspects that can guarantee your product’s success when launched.

This conversation breaks into modules areas businesses looking to develop a new product can consider for success.

Season 1 | Episode 5: Design’s Impact on Business so Far and What to Expect in the Future (with Susan Onigbinde and Thomas Osume)

Design and Innovation Podcast Hosts talk about the change in the business world as design is welcomed increasingly across companies.

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Susan and Thomas, did a run through of products and processes that have been created using the design approach to create amazing experiences for customers while still addressing their needs. 

They discussed various companies that have been able to infuse the design process into their company culture which has had mouth watering returns when compared with their peers. 

As we see from the Mckinsey Design Index (MDI) these companies who infuse design in their process have grown in terms of revenue and their total returns to shareholders. This points to the value that design brings to businesses who can properly incorporate it into how they operate and serve their customers.

In summary they talked on past episodes in which teams and businesses can learn and grow their business from.

Season 1 | Episode 3: How To Leverage Sustainable Design To Grow Business (with Scott Boylston)

On this episode, Scott Boylston a Sustainability Design Expert, speaks on the opportunity’s businesses can leverage using sustainable innovation.

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Scott Boylston is the Graduate Coordinator of Design for Sustainability at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). A key advocate of Sustainable Design, Scott Boylston shares with us on how companies can adapt sustainable design in their product development processes.

The concept of sustainability consists of three main aspects which are economic, environmental and social which could also be seen as profit, planet, and people.

Sustainability is one area that people and companies need to consider while they seek ways to meet their present needs. This is so important because if it isn’t considered, it will have a great impact on future generations. Rising temperatures, lower water levels, these have been some of the results of not being responsible enough to consider sustainable means of meeting human needs.

With businesses now considering sustainable means of production more than ever before, Scott shares insights that various companies and brands can adopt in ensuring global preservation while still meeting the expectations of their stakeholders.

Scott took the time to go into details about sustainability, sharing with us a framework in which we could use when designing for sustainability. Here’s a link to the framework.