Front End of Innovation


Survive The FEI!

Survive The FEI!

One of our clients recently referred to the front-end-of-innovation (FEI) as a “simmering pot of ideas, opportunities, opinions, politics, and fear.”  In response, I quipped, “remind me not to ask you for a testimonial for our next brochure.”  Seriously though, these feelings were founded as this client had recently completed its first ever investment in a formal FEI assignment.  Not to mention, this client also...

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I’m Not Making Any Friends

I’m Not Making Any Friends

I recently participated in a discussion panel at a “marketing research” conference, and I’m not sure I made many new friends. The four other panelists were talking about the importance of insights and how it is “transforming our industry.” They then went on to describe all the amazing research tools enabling “better insights.” When there was a pause, I spoke up. “In my opinion, how...

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Do You Have a Lemonade Stand?

Do You Have a Lemonade Stand?

There was always high demand for something cold during the hot Florida summers where I grew up. Lemonade stands were a popular way to earn some extra cash. One summer day, a kid down the street set up a competing lemonade stand. Over the course of a few hours, I noticed my nemesis had more foot traffic, including one of my best neighborhood friends. I...

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Fixing the Fuzzy Front End

Fixing the Fuzzy Front End

Over the past decade, innovation-focused organizations have invested heavily in front-end of innovation (FEI) activities. While there is little empirical evidence, the anecdotal evidence suggests that the FEI suffers from a perceived lack of agility and productivity. Common complaints: “A front-end assignment is almost too productive. It generates so much information, opportunities, and ideas we get bogged down.” “We are really good at generating ideas...

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A group of colleagues in a meeting in their office

4! The Secret Number of Ideation

The number four is pretty cool. For music nerds like me, the number has lots of significance. For example, in most modern music, time is constructed in four beats per measure. In ancient times, the number four signified “wholeness” and “completeness.” Even today, we orient ourselves using the four cardinal directions: north, south, east, and west. As it turns out, the number four has significance...

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