An introduction to discovering your Human-Centered Innovation sweet spot

Human Centered Innovation Learning Loop

I remember interviewing people to fill positions in a new growing business I co-founded at a fortune 50 company. Many were hesitant to join my team, saying it was too risky. I didn’t quite get it –working on a dynamic startup instead of business as usual was my idea of fun! But a few years later, our business was sold because it wasn’t a good fit in any existing product line (I was part and parcel of that sale). Wait, what? I thought the whole idea was to be disruptive, to innovate, to help future-proof the company.

The fact is while most organizations state they are innovative, their business is not setup to support innovation. And unfortunately, the awesome, dedicated employees in those organizations who really, truly want to innovate are those that suffer the most from this mismatch. That is what the people I was interviewing were really telling me –I don’t want to risk my career, my reputation, my job to work on innovation.

Since that time, I’ve found a better way, one that focuses on iterative learning to discover your sweet spot for innovation, a unique combination of solution desirability, operational feasibility and business viability. There are two key aspects to this: 1) the targeted outcome for innovation investment is learning about your customer and the problems your business is uniquely positioned to solve for them and 2) investment is incremental, allowing for adjustments and pivots along the way.

Why does this work better? Because the ROI is clear. The business pays for the learning, and if the team discovers the solution is not desirable or delivery by the operation is not feasible or the idea is not a viable business fit, they pivot in a different direction. And since these learning loops are incremental and iterative, these pivots can happen long before something as drastic as a sale or shut down that results in a loss needs to happen.

The heart of the matter is that the real loss in my situation was not just that the business sold for much less than it was worth, the company lost me and other great employees like me who were dedicated to innovation, to building better solutions that delivered real value to our customers AND delivered a profit for our company.But their loss is your gain, because I am committed to seeing your great innovative ideas fulfilled for you and your customers. If you’re game, I will not only share my approach with you, I’ll coach you through evangelizing applying my Human-Centered Innovation methodology to your business. I can keep you from the heartache and money lost investing in the wrong ideas. I can help you feel the thrill of learning that your great idea actually is a good fit for your customers, capabilities and business.

Pilot Course – Evangelizing Human-Centered Innovation

I have used this Human-Centered Innovation methodology working directly with consulting clients, where I help tease apart their idea to determine customer desirability, operational feasibility and business viability. The results have been astounding, with teams pivoting and honing their investment in ideas that have made a big difference for their business and establishing individuals as innovation rock stars. To help more organizations and make it easier for you to apply this methodology to your business, I am offering a pilot online introductory course to evangelizing Human-Centered Innovation(HCI).

In an agile world, explorations like this are done in sprints.  Over the span of 1 focused week, we will meet every day for up to an hour to explore the HCI Learning Loop. We will record these discussions so that if you miss them, you can catch up that evening. I will also give you a scenario, an innovation challenge, so that you can apply and cement your learning. I will be available to coach you through the course and will schedule 1:on:1 time with you during the first and last day to help sort through the challenges evangelizing innovation in your organization. At the end of this focused week, you will have a solid understanding of the HCI Learning Loop and I will help you create a pitch for your management to invest in HCI in your organization, setting you up to be an innovation rock star.

Because this is a pilot, you will get direct access to me. In return, I’d like your feedback to better understand how I can meet the needs of my program participants in the future. I will share with you the tools and templates I use with my clients (typically in multi-year 6-figure engagements). I believe this methodology can set you up to lead innovation in your business, and I want to get you there, so I am giving you everything you need to get started.

Course Outline

This introductory course will provide an overview of the Human-Centered Innovation Learning Loop process, helping you plan your learning loop to discover the innovation sweet spot for your business. At the end of the course, you will have the knowledge you need to articulate how human-centered innovation will be a game changer for your organization, setting you up to lead the evolution of your idea for innovation. And because this is a pilot course, I will work with you 1:on:1 to develop your pitch for leveraging Human-Centered Innovation with your team.

1.1 Why does innovation fail?
1.2 How failed innovation can derail your career
1.3 A better way: Introducing the Human-Centered Innovation Sweet Spot Blueprint
1.4 HCI Intro Course Overview
1.5 Bonus Application Exercise: Build a Better Lunch Experience
        1.5.1 How-Might-We template

2.1 How Human-Centered Innovation works
2.2 Learning Loops: Incremental Investment in Innovation
2.3 Case Study: A Startup business in a Fortune 50 business
2.4 Bonus Application Exercise: Build a Better Lunch Learning Loop Planning
        2.4.1 Assumptions and Gaps template

3.1 Learning Loop Planning -Invest in iterative learning
3.2 Develop Learning Loop pitch
3.3 Case Study: Amazon’s 6-Page Memo
3.4 Setting Up Your Human-Centered Innovation Learning Loop

4.1 Creating a Compelling Story –Describe the human transformation
4.2 Connecting to Your Brand –Why your team needs to do this now
4.3 Predicting the Future –Envisioning long-term success
4.4 Case Study: Drucker’s View of Innovation
4.5 Capstone: Delivering Your Pitch

1:on:1 session with me to practice and refine your pitch


When I move forward with the full course and offer it in 2020, the price will be $147. But the pilot price is $50 and includes direct access to me for coaching and mentoring, and all the tools and templates I use with my bigger client engagements.

I have been using my Human-Centered Innovation methodology with clients for over 5 years. It was developed through 20 years as a software engineer, product manager and business strategist at Hewlett-Packard, a company known for the strength of its management and strategic thinking. Besides private sector, I have applied HCI in government, education and healthcare. In each engagement my client has developed an in-depth understanding of their customer and implemented ideas that have resulted in higher business value. But even better, the people I have worked with have fallen in love with the process of innovation, becoming the go-to person in their organization for leading development of high impact ideas.

I feel so strongly that I can prepare you to effectively evangelize HCI in your organization that I will refund your money at the end of the pilot if you are not satisfied with the results. The world needs you to innovate, and I want the opportunity to set you up for success

Make 2020 Your Year to Innovate

The deadline to apply for this pilot course is December 31, 2019 but I am only opening the doors to a limited group of people so that I can work 1:on:1 with each of my participants. Once I have 12 people signed up, I will close the course. It won’t be available again until I launch the official offering later in the year, which won’t include such exclusive access to me. So, if you are ready to become an innovation leader, don’t wait to sign-up.

If you have questions or want to talk to me prior to signing up, please schedule 15 minutes on my calendar or send email to [email protected]. Thank you for the opportunity to help you evangelize innovation!