Innovation from the Inside: Bruce Cryer

Sensazione is the continual refinement of the senses, sight, sound, smell, taste and touch, especially sight, as the means to enliven experience.  After another mind clearing Sunday of wandering the National Gallery I picked up Michael J. Gelb’s, book How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, and had to smile when I discovered that Gelb is a creativity and innovation expert whose writing inspires both the innovator and everyday individuals looking to disrupt their own thinking. Ironically, it was Gelb that helped me to connect the dots on the success and growth of HeartMath LLC, a company which understood its creative potential from the very beginning.

BlueConnectedAfter my interview with innovator Bruce Cryer, a founding member and Global Director of HeartMath, I am certain that the concept of sensazione and understanding how to leverage time were two key ingredients to their success. Cryer explains that they started with a simple concept “when your heart is involved in what you do, things go better.” I’ll borrow a quote from author, Catherine Hrudicka who says that creativity is the, “synthesis of ideas and that we must have a vision or an intuition of a place to go, new products, innovations and business models.” What steps did HeartMath take to make it to the global market from having a great idea? Designing a product around a new understanding of how the heart and brain talk to each other is not so simple.

A Creative Team
Cryer describes that in 1991, Doc Childre intentionally put together a founding team with backgrounds from science, business, education, art and music to design a product that would help consumers learn to transform stress. One question that was always raised during development meetings was, “how will the customer respond to this idea?” HeartMath’s objective was to make the technology enjoyable for consumers as they learned about controlling stress. Cryer recognized early on that Steve Jobs always intrigued and inspired consumers and HeartMath did not keep the Jobs philosophy in the abstract. Had they a looking glass, they would have seen that their product would eventually be featured in a number of scientific peer-reviewed journals, the NBC Today Show, ABC World News Tonight, CBS’ The Early Show, CNN’s Headline News,, and win the People’s Choice Competition for the Last Gadget Standing Award at CES 2009.  For the full length of my interview, please go to Innovation Excellence!


Beyond Strategy: Jack Corrao

Brian Solis has it right, it is the end of business as usual, and healthcare is no exception. Has the market reality produced a new set of assumptions, emerging opportunities, or a better climate for disruptive innovation? In my interview with Jack Corrao, the managing director of the Corrao Group,network he stated that the healthcare landscape is being challenged by innovations such as cloud computing, microsensor devices, and most of all, healthcare consumerism. Just as Solis wrote his book to “groom a new generation of leaders, people who want to lead and are looking for the answers and inspiration necessary to guide others into uncharted territory,” Corrao observed that there is a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs who want and need to learn quickly how to diminish any probability of failure.

Corrao’s perspective is also in sync with the recent PricewaterhouseCoopers 15th Annual Global CEO Survey which indicated that CEO’s are “slightly less optimistic than they were last year, but are still focused on growth. Further, customer demand is the primary driver of corporate strategy which includes getting the product and service portfolio right…and encouraging the free flow of ideas and innovation regardless of where they originate.” The report also notes that “almost all US CEO’s are revising their innovation strategies with 72% focusing on creating new products and services within existing business models.” As an example, many in healthcare have recently focused on Aetna, as a company that is just not talking about innovation, but leading change by leveraging innovation as a vehicle for growth. Check out what Aetna and Chairman and CEO, Mark T. Bertolini, @mtbert is tweeting: “…DC is not the answer, just the catalyst. Disruptive technology in the hands of the doc and consumer will disrupt healthcare!” Corrao agrees that, “Aetna serves as a perfect example that ‘seeing what is next’ does not only come from startup’s – Aetna is responding to the new demands of the market place, and hopefully we will see more companies doing the same; it’s important to realize that the market is much more peer-to-peer connected due to social media and technology platforms.”

Jack2Another company that seems to have responded to the connected customer and consumer is, the enterprise cloud computing company, which has built an ecosystem that allows companies to bring their ideas to market. Corrao states that, “they recognize that companies need innovation to succeed and have responded to the impact of social media; companies are changing the way they collaborate and communicate with customers and provides the ability for businesses to transform themselves into a social enterprise – a tremendous tool for healthcare innovators.”  The full length of my interview can be found at Innovation Excellence!