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This Week in Business and Brands: Executive Eye Exams, Robotic Relations, and More

Cream of the Crop: 50 Most Innovative CMOs of 2017

What’s it take to top the ranks of the best of the best? Vivaldi’s own founder and CEO Erich Joachimsthaler was tapped by Business Insider to help name their 50 Most Innovative CMOs of 2017, and the criteria clarifies it all. First, they must be Connectors, drawing assets from art, science, and technology throughout their campaigns. Next, they’ve got to be Rebels, standing out from the crowd to truly innovate with power. They’re also Storytellers, telling impactful tales to capture their audiences. Finally, they’re Breakouts, steering younger brands into uncharted waters to disrupt tradition with confidence and creativity. From LEGO to Buzzfeed and Spotify to P&G, these mavens of marketing have plenty to teach – be sure to look at the full list to take a page or two from their powerful playbooks.

Talking Tactics, Téte à Téte: Innovation Under Construction

Not on the list above, and yet definitely breaking new ground, Amanda Manna, head of Lowe’s Innovation Labs, oversees the tech-forward team at the consumer construction company, and reveals her thoughts as she builds breakthroughs with AR, VR, and exoskeletons…:

  • On the direction of adaptation: “People aren’t changing nearly as fast as technology, so what the world needs is more intuitive tools – made possible by technology – that can change human behavior.”
  • On harnessing serendipity: “If you’re paying attention to the right clues, they can lead to new opportunities. We started off using VR for design, but we saw people in a fully immersive environment, engaged and ready to learn. That led us to create our virtual DIY skills clinic for both customer and employees.”
  • On pragmatism over panache: “The point I want to leave you with is that it is important to build solutions that don’t just work, but that work for real people. When you focus on building something that is helpful, useful, and exciting, it will sell itself.”

Healthy Corporate Vision: Near-Sighted or Far?

When planning for your company’s future, how far ahead do you look – do you keep an eye on your immediate, daily successes, or off to the distant future? According to McKinsey’s latest offering, a perfect balance is ideal – but the short answer is in the long term. Taking insights from their Organizational Health Index, the consulting firm identified key evidence showing that companies who focus on long-term value creation outperform their short-sighted peers in every measure of corporate constitution. So how can you keep your distant perspective 20/20 – especially when undergoing a current transformation? First, set a clear direction, sharing your vision with milestones and concrete goals. Then, make it meaningful, engaging employees across the enterprise on a daily basis by matching personal goals with those of the company. And after sparking innovation with bottom-up participation and ownership, build strong operational discipline through leading by example and consistent support. With this vision prescription, you’ll be seeing your business world through rose-tinted glasses in no time.

Robot Relations: A Cuter Companion

Move over, Alexa, there’s a new digital voice in the home: meet Kuri, the adorable pseudo-pet robot soon wheeling to a living room near yours. Straight out of a Pixar movie, this endearing little bot has evolved far from both its original design and purpose. After realizing a home security assistant can’t protect much once intruders are already in the door, its creators pivoted Kuri into a constant companion, offering a comforting presence comparable to man’s best four-legged friend. With big eyes that belie a state-of-the-art navigational system similar to ones found in self-driving cars, the engaging bot offers a personable connection with its flesh-and-blood host – but the question remains: do we want, let alone need, such a decidedly non-human companion? As one UC Berkeley roboticist asserts: “If I’m lonely, the last thing I want is a robot to come in and somehow be my friend. That’s even more depressing.” Only time will tell whether this computerized cuddler can find a proper place in the home…

Video Refresher: Untangling Blockchain

That’s all for this week! After Bitcoin’s rocketing rise to $10,000 this week, we’ll leave you with this helpful breakdown of the blockchain behind the bank-burying boon…