Conferences: Pics & More

April 2010 Symposium on Organizational Complexity

The Consortium for Corporate Entrepreneurship is organizing a new symposium on organizational complexity on Monday, April 12 th and Tuesday, April 13 th . The venue is the Liberty Hotel in Boston; a former jail which got a new life as a hotel about two years ago (

During the symposium, academicians and practitioners will tackle the dilemma of whether to separate or integrate, as well as how and when to separate or integrate. Developing breakthrough innovations and executing new business models in large, successful companies represents a challenge. How to structure these breakthrough initiatives in relation to the existing business is one of the issues one needs to deal with while facing this challenge.

The consortium symposium brings together some of the foremost thought leaders in a 2 day interactive meeting format. In particular we have four consultants who will guide us in the discussions. The first is Bruce Harreld. Bruce, who is now at Harvard, headed up IBM's Emerging Business Development Unit (EBO). In 2007 new businesses generated from the EBO unit accounted for 30% of IBM's revenue - approximately $30 billion. In some cases the EBO was separated from the sustaining and in other cases it was integrated. Carol Kovac, who will also be attending and is now retired from IBM, was general manager of one of the EBO's in the Healthcare and Life Science area. Starting with 2 employees in 2000, she grew it into a multi-billion dollar business that now has more than 1,500 employees worldwide. We will be able to hear first hand on how she dealt with the separation/integration issues. Also attending the meeting will be George Westerman who has done pioneering research in the area. Finally Gina O'Conner will also be attending. Gina has authored two books on radical innovation ("Radical Innovation: How Mature Companies Can Outsmart Upstarts" and "Grabbing Lightning: Building a Capability for Breakthrough Innovation") and has spent a considerable amount of time researching the organizational issues associated with both successful and unsuccessful initiatives.

Companies with confirmed attendance are Corning, Ethicon (J&J), ExxonMobil, HP, and P&G.

The 8 Annual Front End of Innovation Conference will take place May 3-5, 2010 in the Boston World Trade Center and Seaport Hotel. The conference is all about interaction; about changing, being and creating the conversation as opposed to merely joining it. The parallel session in the afternoon combine critical innovation themes with unique, participatory sessions.

For 2010, IIR continues its conference format innovation course. Each key theme has been matched with a keynote charged with setting the stage for a specific focus area. Each keynote is ten followed by unique 45 minute break outs identified as REED sessions: Research, Explore, Experiment, and Discuss Rooms. For example, in the "Success Through Synergy" theme, there is a keynote on The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki. After the keynote, four parallel REED sessions follow - each embracing a different learning format. The learning formats are named as fire starters (story telling), fishbowls (participant rotation), champions (practitioners who act as catalysts for change), and conversations (interactive facilitated sessions). The attendee picks one of which the content-format combination entices her the most.

The 4 th Front End of Innovation Conference Europe was this year held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands from February 8 th - February 10 th . There were two pre-conference symposia. The first one focused on generating partnership i.e. on how to make open innovation and external collaboration work. The second focused on design thinking in order to solve business problems. BMW showed its new concept car off during the Monday evening kickoff reception in an entertaining talk by BMW Group's Design Director Adrian van Hooydonk. Main conference day I was started off by Josephine Green, Senior Director Trends & Strategy at Philips Design. She made the audience think about how to engage with the future differently. Scott Anthony gave the audience the option to either listen to his talk about his book "Seizing the Silver Lining", or to hear his latest thinking on the ten reasons to get fired while innovating. Since only about five people opted for the first choice; he did a spontaneous presentation on the latter. After the networking break, PhD candidate Heidi Bertels presented the latest results on Peter Koen's Front End of Innovation study. The attendees had the option of obtaining a benchmarking report for their organization in comparison with the 199 companies in the database if they had submitted a survey for their organization prior to the conference. To conclude the AM Session of the first main conference day, Krijn Rietveld (Senior Vice President of the Nutrition Group at Royal DSM) and Patrick O'Riordan (Global Director Insight and Innovation at Anheuser-Bush-Inbev) talked in a corporate leadership forum about their company's innovation strategy. On the second main conference day, the first keynote was delivered by Ian Forrest, Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer of GE Money. This was followed by an inventor's forum. Professor Karlheinz Brandenburg from the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology shared his story about the invention of MP3 and Peter Hilfinger, former R&D Director at Braun talked about the ups and downs during his invention of the powered toothbrush; two game changing inventions. The day II morning session was concluded by Per Sandberg, Managing Director of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and an interactive Innovation Think Tank to develop a vision for the year 2050 inspired by Per's talk. More information can be found at:

June 2009 Symposium on Paradoxical Leadership

The symposium on   Paradoxical Leadership focused on how leaders apply old business models to new opportunities despite their best intentions. Probably the best example of this is how Kodak correctly identified the threat of digital technology and invested 50% of their R&D budget -over $5 billion- into digital but failed to succeed since they were caught in their older
successful business models. While Kodak, at the time, had the best knowledge of digital technology they could only envision that success would occur by investing in a "razor blade" business similar to their analog film business. As a result Kodak's response to digital was the photo CD and picture maker kiosks in retail outlets. They failed to succeed in digital cameras,
printers, etc. Accordingly the theme of the symposium would be to discuss how this dilemma can be avoided. Giovanni Gavetti from Harvard Business School came to talk about paradoxical leadership and cognitive inertia. Carl Gustin, Kodak executive at the time responsible for the digital group, also shared his experiences with the group.

March 5th 2008 - Decision Making in High Uncertainty Innovation Projects

On March 5th, 2008 we hosted a symposium on decision making in high uncertainty innovation projects in Dolce Basking Ridge, NJ. The objective of the symposium was to better understand how to make high risk decisions in the discovery portion of the development effort with a focus on the more disruptive projects.

The format had a one-day intensive format. After Peter Koen welcomed attendees from BD, Ethicon, ExxonMobil, General Electric, IBM, New Venture Partners and P&G, attendees from each of the companies gave a 5 minute presentation positioning the company in relation to risky projects, putting forward the key challenges associated with decision making in high uncertainty innovation projects and aspired take-aways. Thereafter, three one hour presentations by experts in the field followed: Peter Boer, Alex Vanputten and David Matheson. A 45 minute working lunch was centered on identifying key questions to challenge the consultants with. The afternoon started off with Q&A with the consultants. Subsequently, attendees broke out in cross company groups and later on shared their results with the entire group. The symposium concluded with a discussion of company take-aways.

Symposium on Decision Making in High Uncertainty Innovation Projects - Pictures



Second European Front End of Innovation Conference - Vienna

The second European Front End of Innovation Conference took place in the wonderful city of Vienna, Austria (Jan 28-31, 2008). The conference was chaired by Dr. Peter Koen (Stevens Institute of Technology) and hosted in the same format as last year: a pre-conference day offering the choice between a symposium (this year focused on customer-driven innovation) or one of the workshops, two main conference days, and a half-a-day academic workshop.

Especially memorable were keynote speakers Clayton Christensen and Simon Woodroffe. Clayton Christensen, in an impressively skilled way of presenting, focused on how companies should develop products and business models based on "the job to be done" and interweaved this perspective with his theory on disruptiveness. Simon Woodroffe took quite another approach and provided a most entertaining and interesting presentation on the foundation and history of his company YO! The conference attendees even enjoyed him singing and dancing on stage at the end of his talk.

The academic workshop, aimed at bringing management practitioners and academics closer together, will not be hosted anymore next year. Despite the enthusiastic responses of attendees of this workshop, attendance was disappointing.

For more extensive overviews of the keynote presentations, please go to Chas Martin's website .

FEI Europe 2008 - Vienna



"The only things that should be fuzzy are peaches & babies heads" (David Hagopian, FEI Boston, May 10, 2007)

This year, the US-based pdma/IIR Front End of Innovation Conference celebrated its fifth birthday. The three conference constants for the last five years have been its location in Boston, its chairman Peter Koen (Stevens Institute of Technology & Consortium for Corporate Entrepreneurship), and its high quality program.

On May 8th and 9th, there were several workshops and pre-conference symposia available for those who were afraid that their hunger for 'information-on-innovation' would not be stilled with the two main conference days alone.

On May 10th, the first main conference day, Peter Koen advocated an evidence based approach for the front end of innovation. This was well illustrated later on by Gary Loveman's presentation on 'Harrah's Entertainment'. Gary Loveman shared with the attendees how Harrah's takes advantage of demographic data to make its best customers happy, even when luck is not on their side. To conclude the plenary morning session, there was a panel discussion with innovation champions Lara Lee (Harley-Davidson), Amy Radin (Citigroup), Dondeena Bradley (McNeil Nutritionals), and Sam Lucente (Hewlett-Packard) moderated by Bruce Nussbaum (BusinessWeek). Subsequently, the conference format changed from one plenary session into four concurrent tracks. The tracks focused on innovation strategy, design thinking, service innovation, and managing the discovery portfolio. At lunch time, comedian Wayne Cotter entertained the attendees with the less serious side of innovation and a great amount of creativity. Later in the afternoon, the attendees were located together again to listen to keynote presentations from David Swift, president of Whirlpool (North America) and leading academics Vijay Govindarajan (Dartmouth College) and Mike Tushman (Harvard Business School). Throughout and at the end of the day, attendees could network and talk to sponsors at the Exhibit Hall.

On the morning of the second main conference day, Dustan McCoy took off with a keynote presentation on sustaining 'genuine ingenuity' at Brunswick Corporation. His presentation was followed by the second part of BusinessWeek's 'champions of innovation forum' featuring Carol Pletcher (former Cargill), Stephanie Barry (WD-40), Marissa Mayer (Google), and Cheryl Perkins (former Kimberly-Clark Corporation), and moderated by Jessie Scanlon (BusinessWeek Online). The concurrent tracks concentrated on leadership & culture, partnering for innovation, innovation rebels, and tools, trends & advancements. Comedian Wayne Cotter joined again for lunch. The conference was closed later in the afternoon with a keynote presentation on open business models by Henry Chesbrough (University of California, Berkeley). His keynote functioned as an introduction to another interesting panel discussion. The panel talked about a leader's view on open innovation and featured Henry Chesbrough himself, Nabil Sakkab (Proctor & Gamble), Todd Abraham (Kraft) and Nicholas Bowen (IBM) and was moderated by Stephen Socolof (New Venture Partners LLC).

For rich information on the conference, you can check out Chas Martin's reflections online.

The pictures can be watched below. For more information on the program, please look on IIR's website .



Symposium on Discovering and Commercializing Breakthroughs - February 2007

The latest symposium from the Consortium for Corporate Entrepreneurship focused on the discovery and commercialization of breakthroughs. The symposium had its usual format which allows companies to capitalize on the small scale of the event and the intimate interaction with world-renowned researchers. The whole symposium evolves around the tailored needs of the companies and the key challenges they face with regard to the symposium topic. On the first day, member companies of the Consortium positioned their breakthrough innovation objectives; learned best practices and ideas from each other and brainstormed about what the key issues to be addressed on the second day were. On the second day, Vijay Govindarajan from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and Mike Tushman from Harvard Business School presented their latest research and insight on discovering and commercializing breakthroughs to the companies. The afternoon involved "cross company theme breakouts" and a session to consolidate "company take aways" to maximize learning. This year, attending companies were Becton Dickinson, Ethicon, ExxonMobil, Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Milllipore, and Proctor and Gamble.



FEI Europe 2007

The European variant of the front end of innovation conference was spread over four days, with a pre-conference day, two main conference days, and a half-day academic workshop. The latter was "an experiment within an experiment", since such an academic workshop had not been held in the Boston version of the conference yet (which has been organized five times so far).

The conference was as usual chaired by dr. Peter Koen, now referred to as "the godfather" of the conference. On the pre-conference day, attendees had the choice between AM and PM workshops and a "special interest forum". The special interest forum focused on "How Voice of the Customer Contributes to the Front End of Innovation"; and offered international insights from companies like LEGO, Verhaert Group, Coloplast, Ethicon, Barilla, Sagentia, Dow Corning, and IDEO. The first main conference day contained key notes from Peter Koen (Professor Stevens Institute of Technology and Director Consortium for Corporate Entrepreneurship), Isabel Aguilera (CEO Google Spain & Portugal), Emmo Meijer (Senior Vice-President Unilever Foods), and a panel on open innovation. In the afternoon, there were four concurrent tracks, respectively on "building and managing an innovative rich culture", "globalization", "tools and techniques", and "thought leaders I". The second main conference day started of with a key-note from Eric von Hippel (Professor Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of "democratizing innovation"). Kell Ryan from Ryanair (co-founder) subsequently spoke about revolutionary innovation at Ryanair. Further, there was an executive leadership innovation panel and a presentation by prof. dr. Michael Droescher from Degussa (Senior Vice President Corporate Innovation Management) in the plenary session. In the afternoon, concurrent tracks on "service innovation", "market trends and analysis", "overcoming risk and uncertainty", and "thought leaders II" were on the menu.

In the academic workshop on Thursday before noon, there was a true mix of academics and practitioners. The academic workshop is born out of an attempt to create more dialogue between the two interdependent groups and to tune academic research according to the needs of innovation managers in the "real world". There were presentations from authorities in the academic world like Eric von Hippel (MIT), John Bessant (Advanced Institute of Management Research), Joachim Henkel (Technische Universität München), and Wim Vanhaverbeke (Eindhoven University of Technology & Hasselt University) on their current research. We hope to iterate our academic workshop experiment at the 2008 January front end of innovation conference in another European country. Overall, the conference was perceived as a success and the IIR, PDMA, Peter Koen, and the advisory board will recombine their efforts to make the conference even better in 2008.



4th Front End of Innovation Conference

Dr. Peter Koen was chairman of the Front End of Innovation (FEI) conference in Boston in May 2006 for the fourth time on a row. This year he was also awarded for that by IIR. The FEI-conference is a three-day conference with an impressive program focusing on issues of the compelling topic "the front end of innovation". It is the only conference worldwide that concentrates solely on the front end of innovation, despite its importance perceived by practitioners and academics. On the pre-conference day, attendees had a choice out of four half-day workshops or two full-day symposiums. One of the symposiums was hosted by Peter Koen. He presented us the latest on his research in the Front End of Innovation (FEI). This was followed by presentations of "The Best of the Best", companies that outperform on certain aspects of the front end of innovation following dr. Koen's research team (i.e. they are top quartile performers compared to 180 US SBU's). John Leikhim from Proctor & Gamble, Charles Craig from Corning, Inc and Chuck House from Intel Corporation shared their insights and experiences with us. The symposium ended with a presentation by Nancy Eickman from Honeywell & Kathy Harold-Marlowe from Marlowe & Associates about "How to use the FEI tool to set the stage for change". Our kick-off keynote speaker on Monday evening was nobody less than Tom Kelley, General Manager of IDEO. Tom Kelley's presentation turned out to be very fruitful for a creative first evening in Boston.

Tuesday followed with presentations of the "Michelangelo's" of Innovation Management like Renee Mauborgne from INSEAD, Claudio Kotchka from Proctor and Gamble, Terry Jones from Travelocity and Clayton Christensen from Harvard. During lunch, Gary Erickson from the Clif Bar entertained us with his entrepreneurial story. The afternoon followed with four concurrent tracks, each with a diverse focus. The special keynote at dinner, this year by Miha Pogacnik, was enjoyable and refreshing as "usual". Miha Pogacnik gave us his view on how to understand innovation through his music and energetic drawings and managed to get the whole room of attendees singing with him... Wednesday was "seeded" with most interesting keynotes from e.g. Burt Rutan; an inspiring person known from SpaceShipOne ( i.e. the first private manned space flight, flew in 2004) amongst other projects. Further, we had an inventor's forum featuring the same Burt Rutan and Rodney Brooks from iRobot Corp. The next keynoter was Eric von Hippel, well-known for his lead user research, with a fascinating talk. And than, most admirable, a CTO form with CTO's from Motorola, Dow Corning, Inc, DuPont and Xerox, with not less than three out of four women... Michael Treacy helped us to digest our lunch on the second day while explaining "How to bring innovation to the product development process". The afternoon offered again four concurrent tracks. Click here for the offical conference website

Virtual Team Conference, March 2006

For the members of the consortium of corporate entrepreneurship, dr. Koen organized a conference concerning virtual teams. There was a very impressive group of academic speakers including Julia Gluesing, who has written 3 books on the topic and has a NSF grant to study this area, Eduardo Salas, who is renowned expert in teams, and Max von Zedtwitz, who has done extensive work on R&D teams. There were also key executives from IBM, HP and Intel to discuss their current and future approaches to virtual teams in their companies and a consultant from Forrester Group.