How to create an innovative culture – Part 2

So, hopefully you read my previous blog on Innovation and creating an innovative culture..  It is essential to success in this market.

WHAT IS INNOVATION: A new way of doing something.

Let’s look at a great example of innovation.   In 1968 at the Olympics in Mexico, a man named Dick Fosbury set an Olympic record with a move that others called “unorthodox”.  He began experimenting with alternative, unconventional methods of high jumping as a high school sophomore. Rejecting the straddling approach, which had been the standard for the prior forty years, he tweaked the old-fashioned scissor kick.  The result of his creativity and willingness to try something different, was a completely innovative method of high jumping called the “Fosbury Flop” that is still used today.

INNOVATION IS PERSONAL and what lead to the creation of amazing companies like Microsoft, and Apple. In the challenging business world we live in, it’s time for all of us to be innovative.  Maybe you don’t think you have the influence in your role to create major innovation.  Start small.  Look at where tasks are done repetitively or processes that seem disjointed and broken.  Create ideas on how you could improve the task or process. Talk to co-workers and get their ideas.  Create three options on how to solve the problem with pros and cons to each solution.  Calculate the return on the investment.  This should include man hours saved multiplied by an assumed rate, estimated opportunities it creates, expenses saved, less costs to implement.  Determine the best solution and pitch your idea.   When companies are looking to downsize and need to determine who to cut, employees that provide innovative ideas which save the company money or help the business find new opportunities are less likely to be on that list.

INNOVATION IN REPORTING:  For years we have leveraged tools like Excel to do our corporate reporting and budgeting processes.  It works, but can be painful when cells are overwritten, formulas change …    Or maybe your organization has 5+ reporting solutions depending on the system the data is coming from.   You may have “Business Intelligence” tools thinking you were innovative.   That’s just step one.   Start looking at ways you can have an innovative culture within your BI environment.  IBM Cognos Event Manager can eliminate the manual distribution of reports by automatically triggering reports to be emailed to recipients on a specific date, or when specified data changes.  How about integrating your BI reports into Power Point for your monthly meetings?  This would allow you to simply refresh your Power Point monthly saving significant time in meeting prep.  Did you realize you can integrate IBM Cognos Planning with IBM Cognos 8 Business Intelligence?  If you own both, why don’t you leverage their integration?  So, if you are looking for INNOVATION in Reporting, check out some of our webinars for more ideas at this link.

INNOVATION IN BUDGETING: Are you still doing the annual budget in Excel and spending hours prepping hundreds of spreadsheets for departments to complete?  Only to wait for the users to send the mega files back to you where you get the fun task of consolidating them while praying that they didn’t add rows or columns.  It’s time to INNOVATE!  IBM Cognos provides solutions that allow you to use powerful OLAP technology leveraging your knowledge and the corporate familiarity with Excel.  Each user can complete their templates and data is automatically aggregated.   By simplifying the process with powerful tools, you can move away from the annual budget to a rolling forecast.  Start modeling your business with models that do true “What if” analysis.  And how excited would the CFO be if they had a process that took the forecast process all the way thru to the Income Statement, Balance Sheet, and allowed you to Forecast Cash?   For more information on creating an innovative culture and innovation in budgeting, check out our events and webinars.

See Part 1 HERE

How to create an innovative culture – Part 1

I recently attended the CFO Rising conference in Orlando, FL put on by  At the conference it became clear that as the economy continues to challenge all of us, the companies and people that are thriving have something in common.  THEY ARE INNOVATING!  So what exactly is an innovative culture?  Everything!  From streamlining internal process that are time consuming and inefficient, saving man hours, to looking at new revenue opportunities for their products.   I know not exactly ground breaking, but it made me think,  “How do we get people in our organizations to INNOVATE and have an INNOVATIVE CULTURE?”


People are often inspired when there is a competition.  So I challenge your organization to create an internal challenge.  Have each department come up with one idea they submit with an innovative idea.  The idea could be a method for reducing DSO, increasing sales, revamping a product packaging to be more user friendly, anything.


I recommend you educate the team members on how to present the idea.  I recently attend a Dale Carnegie course and loved their format for submitting innovations.  So I summarize below:

1. Background and state the issue
2. State three  proposed solutions each with  a).  Pros    b). Cons
3. State your recommended solution and why
4. State the Return on the Investment

For those of you utilizing IBM Cognos Planning it would be pretty easy to build a little planning model that they could submit their ideas.  IBM Cognos BI could be used to measure the performance of the innovation.


In discussing this with a client, he came up with the idea that you could reward the department team members a percentage of the savings/increased revenue that the company experienced as a result of implementing the innovation.  I really liked that idea, but make sure you pay on actual experience benefit not forecasted.

So, let’s get out there and work on having an innovative culture for your organization.

See Part 2 HERE