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Innovation Interview: Experience Empathy to Innovate

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In our Innovation Interview series, each month we
talk to thought leaders, inspirers, and innovators in the industry to pick
their brains about the state of innovation, trends, and what's in store
for the future. This week we caught up with Karen Tilstra, PhD, co-founder
& inventor at Florida Hospital Innovation Lab (FHIL).
Tilstra is the co-founder of the award-winning FHIL, which has
been called one the Florida Hospital's most transformational initiatives. One
year after launching FHIL Karen became the consulting founder of the Orlando
Magic's Innovation Lab; and co-designer of the nation's first under graduate
degree in Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship offered at Rollins College
located in Winter Park Florida. Her most recent project is founding the San
Diego State University's Design Thinking Innovation Lab. 
What is the key to
transforming ideas into market winning strategies?
Tilstra: GETTING
EMPATHY. Getting out there and discovering what really is needed, not just
want you this is needed. Seeing with Fresh eyes - GO AND EXPERIENCE WHAT YOUR
insights from both spoken and unspoken needs.

How does design
thinking improve innovation? 
Tilstra: Design
Thinking puts us in a position to co-discover the truth. to learn what
really is needed. Design Thinking keeps us from thinking and operating
from patterns of the past and old ways of thinking. When we use deign thinking
we can stop producing results we don't want or never intended -
Design Thinking puts us in the position to lead and create from the
emerging future.

Why are customers key
driving factors in the market success or failure of new products and services?
Tilstra: I believe
when we really understand what our customers NEED, not just what we
think they need, we discover solution that are relevant and sustainable. Too
many products and services are created around old ways of thinking
that are not relevant today. Customers don't always know what they
need but they know it when they see it. That's why designers, leaders and
front line professional MUST to seek to experience what customers' experiences.
New products fail because they don't meet a need.
We can prevent these failures if we stay connected to our
customers and then create solutions in an iterative way. That way customers can
interact with new products and solutions as they are developed. Feedback can be
used to make products that meet needs. So - in short if we get customer empathy
and they allow customers to interact with products and services as
they are developed in an iterative way - the feedback loops are
very authentic. the truth is apparent. but this takes more time and
some leaders, companies or developers often don't want to invest the
time. BUT TIME SPENT IN CO-DISCOVER is never wasted!

How can innovators
learn how to work alongside the technologies that will shape their
product/service/experience innovations of the future?
Tilstra: Trial
and error. By trying it. Having their bosses and leaders give them time and
space to try out new tech options. etc. Patient' rapid prototyping and
trusting the journey. Having an encouraging and patient boss
who understand that their will be fails and money might be lost at
first'but keep at it and each iteration become more clear and successful - if
the feedback loops are kept open and dynamic.

How does leadership,
teams, and the environment help empower and accelerate innovation?
Tilstra: Living the
example. By creating safe spaces that are designed for collaboration.
Having top leaders invite and reward collaboration
and creativity thinking   Then leaders must
create/build spaces and processes for collaboration - especially for those
systems that are siloed or locked in hierarchy. It takes time -
employees that have grown accustomed to stiff, hiarachial, systems
will have to be encouraged to collaborate. Employees might not
believe leaders or bosses who move in this direction - they must be shown
this is a new way and given time and resources to learn how
to collaborate. Also be rewarded for their collaboration and creative

Why is business model
innovation a powerful way to breakthrough? How can companies stop conventional
business models from impeding innovation?
Tilstra: Because
it is human. Every business is run ultimately by humans - so once we
accept that - we begin to understand that business model innovaiton
is iterative, trial and error that leads to power and
effective collaborations. It's the truly natural human way to operate - we
just forget it because we get blinded by greed, power, knowledge etc.
 If we all committed to working in open collaborative ways we'd all be

How can open
innovation leaders de-risk external collaborations and usher in more efficient
pathways into their organization?
Tilstra: I'm am
so not your typical business person. I believe we have too often
focused on the wrong outcomes - therefore creating silos in business,
answers locked away and too much competition. Some commotion is
healthy but when we get totally sucked into competition we lose who
we really are. We're all in this world together struggling with the same
challenge. If we could stop taking our selves too seriously and
focused on what was really important in the grand scheme of things we'd
see that open innovation leads to way more answers and opportunity
for everyone.
Join Karen at her FEI workshop/double session, 'Creating Highly
Effective Innovation Leaders by Bringing Yourself into the Innovation Process'
on May 10th at 2:00 pm. FEI takes you through the entire innovation process.
Learn more: https://goo.gl/6ipcsB

Use your exclusive
blog discount code FEI17BL for $100 off. Buy tickets: https://goo.gl/6ipcsB

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