strategy+business Winter 2013 : Page 39

to the development of a predictive model that identifies which individuals are most likely to develop metabolic syndrome in the future, including which specific indi-vidual risk factors they are most likely to develop next. This information can now lead to the development of more effective, targeted clinical strategies to mitigate future clinical risks and costs associated with metabolic syndrome. “That helps corporate healthcare plan spon-sors decide where their best bang for the buck would be if they’re trying to decide on which program to use to improve the health of their employees,” Palmer ex-plains. “And it encourages employees who have one or more of the factors to be more engaged in trying to re-duce the risk.” Meanwhile, Philips Lighting, a maker of commer-cial lighting systems for large-scale installations, can outfit (with the customer’s permission) each light fixture in a system with technology that gathers data such as hours used, dimming level, sensor switches, motion de-tectors, and the like, and sends it back to a central in-formation system. “Eventually,” says Bob Esmeijer, head of Philips Professional Lighting Solutions NA, “we’ll be able to use that information to develop lights that do the work themselves—that can sense the amount of light coming in from outside and how much activity is in the room, and adapt accordingly.” Crowdsourcing—opening up idea generation to sources inside and outside the company—is another tool with fairly high usage rates (it’s used by 41 percent of respondents). And although respondents had mixed reviews on its effectiveness, anecdotal evidence shows that it has the potential to help companies engage with customers and generate ideas. Salesforce.com, for one, is experimenting with expanding its enterprise social net-work, Chatter, to the outside world. Says Blau, “Chatter communities enable the sharing of ideas and information inside what is in essence a social network, but outside the company walls. We can launch our own communities around specific industry verticals or product areas and gather product feedback as well as new ideas for what people would like to see in the next release of our prod-ucts—or really any crazy idea out there that they think might be great for Salesforce to take a look at.” Catalent has also established a crowdsourcing process—called “Bright Ideas Are Everywhere.” It en-ables scientists and other innovators across the com-pany, globally, to send in ideas. Evjatar Cohen and his team are always on the lookout, scouting for the “game changer.” “It provides a central location through which everybody can submit an innovation idea,” says Cohen. “I see every one of those ideas personally and my staff is available to jump on them immediately.” The Tried and the True feature innovation 39 The new digital enablers offer exciting opportunities for innovators, but they won’t diminish the importance of the more mature productivity tools that companies have turned to for years. Indeed, many of these tools are must-haves, as indicated by the frequency of their use among our survey respondents. The most com-mon, project management tools, are used by almost 70 percent of companies in the development phase, and are also ranked among the three most effective tools in this phase. For companies that undertake large, costly projects, project management tools are indispensable. Reinhold Achatz, head of corporate technology, innovation, and quality at German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp, is famil-iar with such projects. “Years ago, our biggest plants and system projects cost $200 million to $300 million,” he says. “Today, we are doing projects up to $1 billion. We are working on engineering at different sites with a lot of different people from different areas, and we are working with suppliers. These tools have transformed the way we work, by enabling us to manage increasingly complex efforts.” Another highly effective productivity tool in the de-velopment phase is CAD software. CAD tools were rat-ed lower in terms of usage, but that’s because they have a limited audience—these tools are much more common-ly needed at companies in heavily engineering-oriented industries. Companies in both the auto and aerospace and defense industries use them extensively; fully two-thirds of our respondents from those industries reported using CAD software, compared with just 25 percent of companies overall (we’ll comment more about industry-

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