Innovation without Co-creation Just Doesn’t Fly

August 9, 2009

Why the Starbucks “15th Ave” Store Is Doomed to Fail

In the last week there has been a minor buzz in the media about Starbucks attempt at unbranding as a means for innovation.  On the surface, there may be some positive aspects to this tactic. My take is that without the input of their community stakeholders, this lacks the power of co-creation. It’s not likely to succeed.

I am fortunate to have a birds-eye view of the venture. My daughter lives a few blocks from this morphed location. I know the spot since I frequently walk or drive by when I am in Seattle. Within 1/4 mile there are a dozen other local coffee houses that are unique icons in the neighborhood.  They grew up from the imagination of their owners and the style and influence of their customers.  No “out of the box” and into the storefront operations, they are all a work in progress.

Folks vote with their purchases and and their feet when it comes to coffee. As someone who has consulted to change and innovation projects in business, I see employees and customers making similar choices. In every organization there are opportunities for making change with and without the constituents. The former may make a big show and start off with a bang. The latter is more likely to go from hum to song to chorus and end with a crescendo. Much more satisfying for everyone.


Raising Expectations: Design of a Code of Conduct

August 1, 2009

Positive behavior and working relationships are front and center in healthcare as The Joint Commission for Hospital Accreditation established a standard for all institutions that calls for a code of conduct for all staff in addition to previous ones for physicians.

I took this opportunity to work with a hospital to develop their code of conduct (a provocative proposition) using a combination of AI and World Cafe. They were amazing! The conversation was rich, the ideas flowed and the core strengths were vital, relevant and truly shared.

To design the final document, I began by transcribing the conversation scribes and harvest of the cafe and mapping comments of the 40+ participants. Here is the result:

The background is the hospital and chapel.

The background is the hospital and chapel.