Ideas
Explore the world's #1 largest database of ideas and innovations, with over 500,000 inspiring examples.
Trend Reports
Discover why 900 brands rely on our AI-powered Trend Reports to get better, faster insights.
Newsletter
Join 287,102 subscribers who rely on our weekly newsletter to keep up with need-to-know trends and insights.
Consumer Insights
Uncover major shifts and emerging opportunities with our exclusive PRO research.
Trend Reports
Discover why 900 brands rely on our AI-powered Trend Reports to get better, faster insights.
Newsletter
Join over 250,000 subscribers who rely on our weekly newsletter to keep up with need-to-know trends and insights.
Dashboard
Get special access to premium content, topic tracking and customizable tools through our AI-powered Dashboard.
AI + Human Methodology
Learn how Trend Hunter harnesses the power of artificial intelligence.
Assessment
Enhance your innovation potential with a deeper understanding of your unique innovation archetype and how your organization benchmarks.
eLearning (NEW)
Prepare for the year's ahead with 100+ lessons, tactics, tools and frameworks with our full learning database.
Advisory & Services
Accelerate innovation and ignite disruptive thinking with our award-winning programs and research.
Trend Reports
Get fast, customized trend reports, presentations and deep dives 20x faster than traditional research.
Plans
Get started today with a free consultation, our self-serve tools, or a dedicated program.
Jeremy Gutsche
Ignite your event or virtual event with our CEO, a NY Times Bestselling Author and one of the top innovation keynote speakers.
Our Team of Speakers & Virtual Presenters
Inspire your group with our most popular speakers on innovation, trends, change and futurism.
Custom Training & Events
Bring the Future Festival experience directly to your team or co-hosted custom event.
Contact
Get in touch to learn more, ask a question or submit a tip.
About Us
Learn more about Trend Hunter and how we accelerate innovation.
FAQ
Get answers to common questions about Trend Hunter.
Community
Stay on the cutting-edge with the help of the Trend Hunter community.
Team
Meet the team trusted by hundreds of leading businesses worldwide.
Jobs
Find opportunities to accelerate your career with the #1 Trend Firm.
News
Catch up on noteworthy Trend Hunter news and media mentions.
Join
Build a portfolio and put your trend-spotting abilities to the test.
Advertising
Supercharge your marketing by partnering with Trend Hunter.
Portfolio
Visit your public portfolio and browse your past articles.
Add a Trend
Write up an article and showcase your trend-spotting skills.
My Trends
Edit your articles and see how they stack up on the leaderboards.
Settings
Edit your profile, connect your social media accounts, and more.
Add a trend, customize your dashboard, or track topics.
Future Festival
Innovation Events
Join the world's top innovators at our FREE Virtual events.
Free Webinars
During COVID-19, learn to innovate through chaos, navigate the new normal and maintain work culture from home.
Custom Training & Events
Bring the Future Festival experience directly to your team or co-hosted custom event.
Search our database of 389,264 cutting edge ideas.

How Cultural Innovation Spurs Product Growth (INTERVIEW)

Kevin McGinnis, VP of Development, Sprint
Jonathon Brown
September 24th, 2013
For large companies like Sprint, one of the key challenges is building new products on top of the core products that drive the business. In order to do that, Kevin McGinnis aims to inject an innovative mindset into all ends of the organization and have people thinking in new ways. One of the things Kevin does to achieve innovation in both a cultural and product-specific way is connect people within Sprint, who would otherwise be unaware of each others problems, through an exercise called "Hack Fridays." While the direct results of this kind of cross-pollination are a challenge to quantify, Kevin maintains activities such as this are essential to training the organization to think outside of individual silos.

4 Questions with Kevin McGinnis

1. What is the biggest challenge you face when innovating?


Throughout my career, the hardest thing is mindset. It doesn’t have to do with technology, because we can partner with companies with advanced tech capabilities. The biggest challenge is around the mindset of those people who have to commercialize the idea. They have to embrace and sell it. It’s easy for a business like ours to lose sight of our customers and get consumed by the newest thing. We can’t forget about consumer needs and validation at the front end.

2. How do you create a culture of innovation?

The hard part is creating an innovative culture in areas where people don’t expect it. How do you get customer care agents to think about how they do their job? How do you get the people working on systems to create new efficiencies in a business the size of ours? That’s the real issue.

I always say, “nobody owns innovation.” I don’t believe in giving one group or person the responsibility to innovate is healthy for a company because it creates a counter culture where you’re suppressing people’s ideas.

In the last six to eight months, we’ve learned from the start up ecosystem to create a scene where you force people outside of their silos to get together and force relationships and conversations between people who would otherwise never talk. We’ve done it with innovation as the goal. This allows people in the organization to think of business problems that might not be their own. We call it Hack Fridays, and we’ve had three of them so far. It’s a struggle, because the outputs of these are not necessarily products, so I deal with convincing people they are worth the time. They might point out that the company hasn’t gotten anything out of the sessions, product wise. I say, wait a minute, we’ve had hundreds of people who would’ve never interacted with each other, talking all day. When those people leave, now they have a network of people they can call to solve problems creatively. And four months from now, you might hear an idea that might have come out of that creativity. There’s not necessarily a business case with this, but this is how you change the culture of the company.

3. How do you identify trends?

We use web resources; I’m a big fan of things like Twitter. We stay current on a daily basis [with] what’s going on. We spend a lot of time talking to the venture capitalist world in general and use them as eyes on the front line. If you get too far out front of the technology, it doesn’t do you any good. What we tend to see is where the venture capitalist money goes, the revenue will flow years later.

4. Have you identified any gaps in your innovation processes that you're looking to improve on?

On the product side of the world, how do you take innovations to market? The challenge is finding a clear way to commercialize emerging innovations. When you have a large company with a lot of core products, building the new products on top is tough. You get folks who say when you put resources into the new products it takes away from the core. So having institutional fortitude to keep thinking about what can be built on top is what we work on.

If you look at Detroit, 60 years ago it was the innovation epicentre of the world. And you look at where they are today, really what happened is they lost their entrepreneurial mojo. They stopped pushing the envelope.

The biggest gap we have is cultural; how do you prioritize what you want to make bets on and how do you give them the freedom to grow based on how the market will let them grow, versus hitting targets? How do you parse off that new business piece and let it go?
References: linkedin, sprint