Ideas ≠ Innovation

As Debbie Millman says, "Ideas are easy." We're wired to come up with ideas. But, innovation, especially the disruptive kind, is the ability to translate ideas into highly differentiated goods, services, solutions, and brands that create great value and attract people to adopt the innovation. Innovation needs a more sophisticated process than an idea contest or a suggestion box. 

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Would you like Sharon to speak with your organization?

Sharon is a highly-engaging and interactive speaker who leaves an audience feeling informed, inspired, and equipped to make a difference the very next day. She presents her research findings and business insights with great visuals and humour. Sharon's presentations and panel sessions are popular with both organizers and attendees.

If you are interested in scheduling Sharon to speak an event, please submit an inquiry:  here and provide details about your contact information, as well as audience and timing.

Sharon (second from left) on the CMO Panel at The 3% Conference in San Francisco.

Sharon (second from left) on the CMO Panel at The 3% Conference in San Francisco.

Suggested Speaking Topics

> Crowdsourcing & Open Innovation 101

A current overview of the dynamic crowdsourcing industry with relevant case studies and practical examples of its application in open innovation. Misconceptions and realities about crowdsourcing and open innovation are revealed. A spectrum of crowdsourcing's evolving role is provided for participants to assess where there organization sits today. Relevant for product developers, marketers, social innovators, and branding teams.

> Creativity Loves Constraints
We usually think creativity loves blue skies, blank canvasses, and no boundaries. But, back in 2006, Yahoo's current President & CEO, Marissa Meyer, was the Customer Products Director at Google. When asked what her innovation tips were, Ms. Meyer shared a number of insights including the idea that, "Creativity loves constraints." This may sound counter-intuitive, but great artists know and practice this principle. They often create problems to solve in order to help elicit an unexpected solution. Talented engineers, inventors and designers do this too. In fact, problems, limitations, puzzles, challenges, predicaments – constraints of all kinds – can play an important role in channeling creativity. Especially creativity that leads to disruptive innovation. This talk may change your mind about the role of blue-sky idea contests and unbridled brainstorming sessions in your organization's innovation practice.

> Open Innovation Needs More Than Ideas
When simplistic crowdsourcing techniques are used to repeatedly harvest a crowd's ideas in an Open Innovation forum, your organization most often ends up with three things:

1. Lots of incremental improvement suggestions that may engage your audience in the short term and may slightly improve their experience with your brand. (e.g. keeping a popular seasonal coffee flavour around for an extra month).

2. Thousands of unfettered, untested and often repetitive ideas that need a great deal of human time to read, consider, evaluate and determine eligibility for potential implementation. The vast majority of suggestions from this "idea tsunami" will never see the light of day.

3. Frustrated participants, with questions such as: "Why didn't you implement the improvement I suggested?" "Why did you produce my product idea, but I didn't get any credit?" "How are winning ideas being selected? This seems unfair." "Another idea grab contest? What's in it for me if my idea never wins?"

To be sustainable, predictable and make a big impact on your organization's bottom line, crowdsourced Open Innovation must harness more sophisticated and thoughtful processes. Learn how leading brands and organizations have moved beyond these "digital suggestion boxes and idea contests" to integrate crowdsourcing into their core enterprise product/service innovation processes.

> Let Them Love Your Brand!
The old days are gone. The days of blasting broadcast advertising to demographic groups on TV. Of spending millions in corporate promotions to drown out the emerging voices of innovators. Of tightly controlling a brand's message from the top down. Of whitewashing, greenwashing, pinkwashing. Of sanitizing social media conversations. Of legal kneejerk reactions when a fan idolizes a brand on a homemade t-shirt. Of brand police punishing community creativity. The days of marketing "to" people are gone. It's time to market "with" your crowd and let them inside to love your brand. Today, a brand is co-owned by the organization, its employees, its customers, and its other stakeholders. Learn how to  leverage the social world of crowdsourcing and enable your entire community to work together toward your brand's success.

> Startup Marketing & Branding
Marketing and branding are at least as important to a startup as engineering. Really. Seriously. Honestly. Believe it. However, many startups focus the bulk of their efforts on 'building a cool product' and consider things like their market positioning, audience messaging and brand image far too late in the process. A series of case studies and practical how-to's reveal how an agile and thoughtful approach that emphasizes bringing marketing and branding to the FRONT of your startup process can make a huge impact on inbound sales, customer confidence, and speed of conversion. Learn how to choose a brand name and what to avoid. See how you can get attention without a big (or any) marketing budget. Gain confidence in effectively positioning your offering in the minds of your most valued prospects. And demystify some of the marketing jargon so your team can work in unison, focusing on the most important marketing tasks.

> The Global Micro-Entrepreneur
Today an entrepreneur does not need to be located in a large city to run a viable business. In fact there are often operational and creative advantages to being located “off the beaten path” in relation to peers working in the same industry. In face, in addition to  issues with “industry cluster” models of economic organization and growth, a number of current global socio-technical trends are opening up the possibility of new models of economic geography. However, this shift in entrepreneurial innovation capacity and practice is not widely represented or supported in public policy and programs. Learn what Sharon's interviews with and doctoral research about participants in this emerging entrepreneurial innovation model have revealed. 

> Marketing Demystified
A thought-provoking presentation can make a big impact. Need to kickstart a marketing discussion with your team, senior management, or a client? Want to demystify an aspect of modern marketing for your conference attendees? Want to be inspired by the best practices of leading marketers and emerging entrepreneurs?

Related presentation topics have included:

    Obama Brand Marketing:  new school technology meets old school strategy 
    Empathy is Everything:  how to truly understand your ideal customers
    The Marketing Spectrum:  ending the “What is marketing?” debate forever    
    Paperclips & Pencils:  how to inspire anyone to market anything
    The 4 P's & Ogilvy's 4 E's: everything old is new again in the social marketing world
    How Do You Feel?: positioning and perception to change your how your market feels
    Same Budget, More Impact: move resources from promotion to content and engagement


Feedback on Sharon's presentations:

"The participants enjoyed your presentation and found the information you shared to be of great value. The following were typical of the comments they had to say about your presentation:

“Lots of great examples to illustrate concepts and ideas”
“Excellent – good content”
“Some crowdsourcing ideas can be used by my organization!”
— Attendee feedback via Amber McCallen, The Conference Board of Canada (Toronto, Canada)

"To be honest your speech was brilliant and you absolutely nailed it, and it isn’t only my opinion but the participants as well. I would like to thank you very much for this, for your outstanding speech, for your support and your understanding. I’m very happy that we’ve met and had occasion to work together. Hope you would like to come to Poland next year for the Farm part II."
— Event Organizer, Arkadiusz Olkowski, The Farm of Innovation (Warsaw, Poland)


Partial List of Speaking Events

The 3% Conference - CMO Roundtable
Athabasca University - Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute (TEKRI)
Canadian Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (CCSBE)
The Chic Geek
Conference Board of Canada - Public Sector & Social Media
Conference Board of Canada - Council for Client Relationships & Customer Experience
Conference Board of Canada - Business Innovation Summit
The Farm of Innovation (Farma Inwencji)
Federal Government of Canada - Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade & Development
INTERFACE Digital Health International Summit
International Society for Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM)
Market Research & Intelligence Association (MRIA)
Mount Royal University - Bissett School of Business
Philanthropic Education Organization (PEO) - 21st Century Canadian Innovation
Plug & Play Accelerator Canada
Presidio Graduate School
Product Development & Management Association (PDMA)
The Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA)
Royal Roads University - Roads to Research
Rural Towns Development - Place Branding & Marketing
Startup Calgary
University of Alberta - Work & Learning Network

MORE SPEAKING EVENT DETAILS:  http://www.shazzmack.com/events/