Day 2: Front End of Innovation 2015

On the second day of FEI Vienna, we hosted the action-packed workshop “Strategy Tools – in action” with 40+ global innovators and executives. Intense, fast-paced and incredibly exciting day in Vienna.

Before kicking off our workshop we attended Holger Nils Pohl’s workshop in visual strategy thinking. Holger is our friend, advisory board member and visual genius. He thought us some great new visual strategy tools witch is perfect for mapping out the strategic future for a company. The timing was perfect because many of the speakers on the first day talked about the importance of creating a strategic map. It also complements our Strategy Tools for the Next Generation. Thanks!

Holger Nils Pohl
Holger Nils Pohl
Visual strategy workshop with Holger Nils Pohl
Visual strategy workshop with Holger Nils Pohl


Workshop by Engage // Innovate:
Strategy Tools – In Action

After lunch we were ready to start our workshop “Strategy Tools – In action”. One of the key challenges we help our clients tackle, is developing new more innovative strategies. A part of our mission is to change how the world works on strategy and innovation. Hosting workshops like this to teach global brands and innovation managers how to use our strategy and innovation tools is a big step on the way. We had participants including LegoAribusBayer Business ServiceKuwait Oil CompanyEuropean Patent Office and Louis Vuitton.  Around the tables in Vienna we heard a lot of good discussions on why we need new strategy and innovation tools.

See the presentation, photos, graphic recordings and feedback from our workshop in Vienna.

The Engage // Innovarte team
The Engage // Innovarte team


“Excellent approach”

The attendees worked in groups with strategy tools like the “strategic innovation canvas“, “three levels of business models” and “transformation architecture“. The tool “transformation architecture” was launched on our recent Strategy Summit in Stavanger. This tool is great for mapping out the architecture of strategy in any company.

While many of our oil and gas clients back in Norway are currently struggling with industry shifts, several of our workshop participants in Vienna brought up similar challenges when working on our tools. Many stated that it wasn’t a lack of ideas that had put them in a slow-moving situation, but old tools and poor processes internally.

“Excellent session. This is what I came to Vienna for”

Engage // Innovate workshop
Engage // Innovate workshop


See more photos from the session at our Flickr account

During the rest of the conference we attendees some great workshops, and saw a lot of interesting presentations. Thanks for a great event!


Day 2: Front End of Innovation 2015

Day 1: Front End of Innovation in Vienna

Earlier this month we attended the 9th annual Front End of Innovation conference in Vienna (FEI EMEA). FEI is a global event brand that has become the annual meeting place of the most seasoned innovators across the globe. The conference is packed with innovative companies and thinkers, great keynote speakers, workshops and field trips.

“It’s not about ideas, it’s about moving the company in the right direction the next 10 years”
Ed Hebblethwaite, Seymourpowell

The first day started with some great keynote speakers from Google, Disney, ShellShackleton Energy and Zaptec to mention some. Two of our friends from the space & energy industry gave us a real brain stretch. Both Jim Keravala from Shackleton Energy and Brage Johansen from Zaptec were invited to speak about their missions in space.

“Every company should have a space program”
Brage Johansen, Zaptec


Jim talked about the worlds three big coming challenges: energy, fresh water and communication, and how their mission in space will help solve these problems. It is safe to say that the audience was mesmerized by his talk and perspective on the industry.

“It’s just like building an oil rig, only in space”
Shackleton Energy


Our own Christian Rangen moderated the last session of the day and we got some great presentations from Christopher Chapman, Global Creativity & Innovation Director at The Walt Disney Company, and Michele R. Weslander Quaid, Chief Innovation Evangelist at Google.

“Find your purpose”
Christopher Chapman, Global Creativity & Innovation Director at The Walt Disney Company



Christopher focused on the humane aspect of innovation. He was a great storyteller, as we would expect from a director at Disney. Michele from Google gave a great presentation where she talked about how they worked with innovation within Google. She also stated that the three biggest barriers to innovation is culture, policy and technology.

“Give people freedom, they will amaze you”
Michele R. Weslander Quaid, Chief Innovation Evangelist at Google.

Google’s Founding Principles 

  • Ideas comes from everywhere
  • Share everything you can
  • Rapid innovation, not perfection
  • Give employees a license to pursue dreams
  • Use data-based (apolitical) decision making
  • Focus on the users

The day ended with a visit to a traditional Austrian restaurant. We had an incredible innovation crew dinner with Google, Zaptec, RB, Bombardier, Phillips, Int, Innovation Dock, Holger Nils Pohl and Nordic Climate Lead.

Vienna_Dinner photo



Day 1: Front End of Innovation in Vienna

Taking global innovation to Stavanger

Looking forward to welcoming global strategy & innovation expert, Rita McGrath to Stavanger. She’ll be speaking at Statoil’s Competitiveness Day at the end of March.

Rita’s globally recognized as one of the top thinkers in strategy and her latest book has been awarded “Strategy Book of the Year” on several occasions. Rita’s key message; companies need to learn how to innovate and change even faster.

We are also delighed to have Rita as member of our global advisory board.

RIta’s first business trip to Norway comes at just the right time for an industry trying to innovate outside of its traditional core business. This is really taking global innovation to Stavanger.


We also recommend her excellent talk at the Global Peter Drucker Forum in Vienna.





Taking global innovation to Stavanger

Digital Business Models

Every company in every industry will be dramatically affected by the digitization trend. How can your company remain competitive and achieve growth in this digital environment? Today, many industries are experiencing a wave of disruptions flushing over them. If they don’t act fast, they might just end up as the next Kodak case.

What is a digital business model? Well, it is so much more then a Facebook page and a presence online. If you have a digitized business model, it affects how your employees work, how you build your costumer relationships, and how your company exploits internal and external capabilities.

Two companies who I am following closely these days are Airbnb and Uber. These two companies have really taken a grasp on the idea of digital business models. There has been written great books on the field, but one of the best ones is Exponential Organizations “Why new organizations are ten times better, faster, and cheaper than yours (and what to do about it)” by Salim Ismail and Yuri van Geest.

One of the key takeaways from the book is that the core mechanism behind why some companies turn exponential is that traditional business structures have put an organizational/legal boundary around an asset or a workforce and sold access to that scarcity. However, just in the last few years, we now think about how we can tap into all that is around us, instead of owning it all. Uber dos not own their own cars. Airbnb don’t own their hotel rooms, and that is some of reasons why they are experiencing this extreme growth.

Some executives may see this trend as a threat while others see the possibilities. Digital disruption is creating an underling growth – for those who understand the possibilities.

Companies may ask themselves:

  • How will digitalization affect our current business models?
  • What doors will open in this new digital environment?
  • What competence do we need to build to be a leader on the field of digital business models?

These and similar questions are topics we explore in the upcoming program “Digital business models” (the program will be held in Norwegian). This course is designed to guide business leaders on how they take on the challenge of competing in a digital environment.

Digital Business Models

A new view of strategy – NLD 2015

I was invited to speak about strategy and innovation at NLD’s event for the international students at the Norwegian Business School BI. I really enjoy speaking to students about our approach to strategy because it is so different from what they learn at business school. Also, it’s not long ago since I graduated from BI myself, and I remember how eye-opening it was to learn new strategy tools and a more innovative approach to strategy. Compared to the analytical, logical and liner view on strategy we learned in school, it was amazing.

We at Engage // Innovate are huge fans of Rita McGrath, who we are also happy to have in our global advisory board. Her book “The end of competitive advantage” is one of my absolute favorite books on strategy, so she was a big inspiration when I made this presentation.

Inger Hanne at NLD

In her book, she states that one of the core issues with strategy today is that it is based on old assumptions. It is based the one dominant idea, that the purpose of strategy is to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. But when we look at the very big picture of strategy today, we see four game-changers:

  1. Business models are broken faster
  2. The lifetime of big companies are getting shorter and shorter
  3. We need to look at strategy as a portfolio of competing business models
  4. Disruption as happening faster and faster, and is becoming the new normal

So, while most companies look at strategy as a liner plan – like a strategy for the next three, five or six years, we should learn how to cycle trough business models. That means that not only should executives create new business models, but they have to learn how to get rid of a business model they see wont be competitive in the future. So what we are witnessing is that the willingness to accept the idea that a once successful business model needs to change, is critical to leadership.

Rita states that the reason why the “old” purpose of strategy, to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage, no longer applies to more and more companies is because we live in a fast moving competitive environment. To win in unstable and uncertain environments, executives need to learn how to exploit short-lived opportunities with speed and decisiveness.

Inger Hanne at BI Oslo

During my presentation I also did a quick survey among the about 80 attendees. I asked them the question:

 “How many in this room look at themselves as innovative and creative person?

Less then 10 people raised their hand. No wonder companies protect their analytical and logical approach to strategy. The ability to come up with those innovative ideas are not a magical talent that some people are borne with and some lack. It’s a skill that needs to be build up over years.

“One’s ability to generate innovative ideas is not merely a function of the mind, but also a function of behavior”
The Innovators DNA, Jeffrey Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and Clayton


A new view of strategy – NLD 2015