The Risk of Not Innovating
JUNE 21, 2016
I recently was a guest blogger for Gibson Insurance and I wrote this piece about the risk of Not Innovating. I’ll make the point again here — with fewer words. For more detail, read my post over at Gibson. Risk Aversion is a Risk Itself. Many leaders pull back on innovation programs because of expenses, and, fear of change. Instead, get started on innovation projects. Learn as you go!
Fast Company’s Brainstorming Fail
AUGUST 16, 2016
Fast Company Article “Brainstorming is Dumb” Misses the Point. Brainstorming, Done Properly, Is Not a Tool, It’s A Multi-Step Process. Here we go again. And yet another major publication publishes a misleading article about brainstorming — Brainstorming is Dumb. This happens about every six months. This time it’s Fast Company. That’s a big miss in my view.
Retro Motorcycles Signal Innovation In Goshen, IN
SEPTEMBER 26, 2016
Manufacturing in America — Using the Past to Create an Innovative Future. It’s heartening to learn about a small USA manufacturer who’s doing something creative, new, and intere sting. Janus Motorcycles in Goshen, Indiana is creating hand-crafted, small batch motorcycles. These are simple, accessible, easy-to-work-with bikes. Then there’s the Amish connectio n. We can do it.
Three Sad Innovation Lessons From Radio Shack
APRIL 9, 2015
Keep Punching, Stay True to Yourself and Trends, Make Things. The demise of Radio Shack., it’s depressing. Much like Kodak you read the history of events and can point to several ideas not done that could have saved them. You can also point to many ideas they tried that were clearly the wrong bets. Hindsight is better than foresight, but still, if they’d stuck to their original values they might have survived. Radio Radio Shack substituted short sighted management tactics for real innovation and invention and that’s ultimately what killed them. Innovation is not acquisition.
Three Keys to Accelerating Innovation through Connecting and Collaborating Outside your Organization
Speaker: Gordon Vala-Webb, Author, Speaker and Consultant, Building Smarter Organizations
From his upcoming book, Building Smarter Organizations, Gordon will do a deep dive into connecting and collaborating with those outside your organization to accelerate innovation. Gordon will provide practical strategies to connecting and working with the "nearside" of suppliers, partners and alumni in order to accelerate innovation.
DECEMBER 17, 2015
Time to Plan for 2016 Innovation Now. This time of year it’s natural to get an innovation plan in place — if you’re not there already — the time is now. Talking to customers about their innovation efforts I’m hearing regrets in December. Wishes for having done more, and done more sooner. Shel Silverstein wrote a poem that sums it up nicely: Woulda-Coulda- Shoulda.
Damaged Pure Michigan Brand Impedes Economic Development
FEBRUARY 2, 2016
Pure Michigan is a Damaged Brand. As a Michigan resident I’ve followed the developments in Flint with a mixture of horror, sadness, outrage, and confusion. This post is not about political blame. Having said that, I don’t deny the political element to the problem; it’s a sad tale of bad decisions on top of bad decisions, and some of those made for purely political reasons.
Baby Steps To Breakthrough In Regional Economic Development
MARCH 5, 2015
Creativity, Innovation, and Economic Development — Embracing the Challenge. Better Questions Means Better Answers for Regional Economic Development. It’s about Attitudes, Projects, and Baby Steps. Economic Development is important and challenging work. Thank you Bill Murray for a memorable character. Let’s face it, some regions always seem to lose out on the new plant. Take heart.
Nine Ways to Play at Work
MAY 2, 2016
Nine Ways to Play At Work (see list below). The idea that one should invoke a sense of play around challenges is not a new one. Tim Brown of IDEO did that great TED speech on play , and there have been several more TED play-centric talks ( Stuart Brown , John Cohn, Sue Palmer) all variations on the theme. This stuff works. Because that’s how I play. That’s why more play is so serious!
Building A Collaborative Innovation Playbook
Speaker: Greg Satell, Innovation Advisor, Speaker and Author
For his upcoming book, Greg Satell has researched how people and organizations successfully innovate. We are excited to have Greg join us for a session that will draw upon these insights and provide a playbook for how to define the right innovation strategies for your organization to overcome the specific challenges that your organization faces and dramatically improve your innovation effectiveness.
Dance Your Challenge
MAY 13, 2016
Shake Your Booty. The Creativity and Innovation point of this blog takes about three paragraphs to develop, so business readers, let me tell you a brief story to set it up. I was having dinner this week with Gary Schwartz , a fine actor and improv-er who was blowing through Chicago to promote his new children’s book, The King of Average. ” The coaching was transformative. Dance.
The Flaming Lips and Economic Development
MARCH 13, 2015
Consider Attending the Creativity World Forum 2015. As many of you know I’ve participated in the annual State of Creativity Forum in Oklahoma for several years. I’ve written here previously about how effective their model is in getting broad-based involvement, participation, and attendance. This is arguably the most successful creativity conference in the world right now.
Intrapreneurship Chicago 2016
MAY 10, 2016
In recent years I’ve become a bit anti-conference. still go to some but I find the formats tired. The formula favors big name authors and speakers who sometimes miss the mark. The agenda is so jammed you don’t have time to talk to your peers. The social events are fun, but a bit… forced. So, you may be surprised when I bend over backwards to promote Intrapreneurship Chicago 2016.
Seven Essentials of an Effective Innovation Project Manager
JANUARY 23, 2015
Outsourcing innovation project management might be the most strategic money you spend this year. It’s not a new idea but it’s one more companies should consider. It sure beats doing nothing. See my Seven Essentials for hiring below. But first: If you’ve not got an innovation plan in the process of being executed, right now, you are treading water and will eventually drown.
Projects Are How Innovation Happens
AUGUST 30, 2016
Projects, Projects, Projects. Innovation is complex and difficult — but one thing about it is not. What’s quite simple about innovation is that projects are what make innovation real. The following concepts, frameworks, approaches, etc. are Not Innovation. Unless they are in the context of an actual project. Thinking about things is not innovation. Idea Campaigns are not innovation.
A Strategic Approach to Open Innovation
Speaker: Jeffrey Phillips, Senior Consultant, OVO Innovation
This action-packed session will examine the critical questions you should ask as you establish an open innovation framework: which technologies or ideas? Which partners and how many? Which methods? By taking a strategic approach to open innovation, you’ll find the right ideas or partners more effectively, and you’ll accelerate new products to market more quickly.
Graphene Application Challenge Prize?
NOVEMBER 23, 2015
The Graphene Challenge. Graphene is a new material that is just in its infancy in terms of commerical usage. It’s from graphite, the stuff in pencils. It’s magical stuff — 150 times stronger than steel, flexible like rubber, and potentially usable in electronics, water filtration, energy, building construction, medical, and more. This is a market that is about to explode.
Paying Lip Service to Developing Entrepreneurs
NOVEMBER 20, 2015
There is a very frightening trend happening in the USA. We are not growing entrepreneurs. What is it we believe in our capitalist country? Isn’t it something like this: Anybody who works very hard, has a bit of talent and a good idea, can start something, grow it, and do well. . Isn’t that the essence of the entrepreneurial American dream? Yes, there is more to it than that.
10 Elements of an Innovation Mandate
APRIL 26, 2016
Getting a Mandate to Innovate is Key. Larger companies typically have an innovation process in place. They don’t always work, but the majority of the Fortune 1000 has some kind of innovation process or system. There is an implied consent then, to innovate, at those organizations. There are people, budgets, expectations. People in that position scramble to find a process they can adopt.
Five Magic Imagination Guidelines
MARCH 26, 2016
Five Magic Imagination Guidelines. You hear it so often that it becomes one of those things that you really don’t think about it. “Use your imagination” is the phrase or thought that I’m talking about. believe that many of us actually fear our own imagination. That’s tragic, don’t be afraid. Here’s how. First of all Access your imagination more often.
Six Keys to Making Collaborative Innovation Successful – Webinar and Book
Speaker: Soren Kaplan, Founder of InnovationPoint
We are excited to launch the Collaborative Innovation Webinar Series with Dr. Soren Kaplan. His just released book, "The Invisible Advantage," provides actionable insights into how any organization can create a culture of innovation, an environment that promotes freethinking, an entrepreneurial spirit, and sustainable value creation at all levels and across all functions. By registering for the webinar, you will get a free excerpt from his book.
Trump: Learn to Steal Smart
JULY 19, 2016
Stealing Smart and Stealing Stupid. Melania Trump’s speech last evening at the GOP convention, and today’s subsequent media uproar and fiasco, is symbolic of several things in my view. Summarizing my themes here: Competence, Theft, and Ideas (or lack of them). I’ll take flack for writing this post, but understand, this is not about politics. He (or she) stole stupid. Maybe.
“Open For Business” is a Promise Made
MARCH 27, 2015
Open for Business . It’s a real joy when a business opens its doors for the first time. “Open for Business” sounds and feels like hope and possibility to me. Starting a new business is where creativity blossoms and where innovation is made real. You’ve created something and you want to deliver that value for a fair payment in return. That’s what an entrepreneur does.
Six Ideas for Coping with Little “d” Depression in Innovation Projects
MAY 26, 2016
Innovation and Depression. …Six Ideas for Coping with Little “d” Depression… Nobody talks about the dark emotions related to innovation. You hear about the emotional high of a big “aha” moment. Or, less frequently, about the “oh crap” moment when a project hits a brick wall. It’s why people give up. But that’s easier said than done.
Domain Knowledge Matters Donald Trump
AUGUST 27, 2015
Call me king of the obvious but I’d like to remind folks about something related to leadership, innovation, and the upcoming election. Domain Knowledge Matters. I’m not taking political sides here but I’m going to make a point about Donald Trump’s candidacy. Let’s face it he has captured the attention of a large group of people. He’s a shrewd business person.
The Leadership of Open Innovation
Speaker: Paul Sloane, Director, Destination Innovation
Paul Sloane is a well-known author and speaker on open innovation. In this session, Paul will take us through examples of successful open innovation programs to explore the breadth of what open innovation can be for organizations and the value it can bring. This is a session you don’t want to miss.
Innovation 2015 or Five Lame Excuses?
JANUARY 18, 2015
Death or Kryptonite? From Superman Wiki. have a vinyl record with one of those strategic skips that has it repeating — it drives me nuts — but I still play the record because I love the song so much. The song is Jimmy Olsen’s Blues by the Spin Doctors. It’s a hard rocker about the lament of Superman’s pal who has a crush on Superman’s gal.
Invest in Innovation Skill Building
DECEMBER 9, 2016
Invest in Your Innovation Capacity. In my various consulting engagements I have learned not to take much for granted. thought by this year in history (2016) everyone in the business world would have a clue as to how to do ideation (aka brainstorming) properly. Wow, not even close. It’s a glaring missing ingredient in staying competitive. Get in touch for more details. What am I talking about?
Innovation Strategy Power Tools
JULY 29, 2016
Challenge Mapping & IdeaKeg. Do you want to cut through the clutter when it comes to innovation strategy? Are you sorting through plans for year-end strategy and ideation sessions? Are you at the very front end of innovation and not sure where to go, where to start? Are you asking questions like these (you should be!): What projects might we get started before the end of the year?
Small “i” Insights or Large “I” Insights Yield Different Innovation
FEBRUARY 17, 2017
World’s first ATM at Charring Cross in London, 1968. Qualitative Consumer Verbatims Lead Directly to New and Improved Ideas. Disruptive Innovation Requires Reframing of Consumer Words and Need States. Working with Fortune 1000 companies I’ve found cultures rich in respect for qualitative research. Listening to consumers is a skill any entrepreneur or innovator can cultivate.
Models, Strategies and Tactics for Accelerating Innovation through Collaboration Outside the Organization
Speaker: Paul Campbell, VP of Innovation, Schneider Electric
We are excited to have Paul Campbell, an expert in corporate entrepreneurship, covering some of the strategies and tactics he has repeatedly used to transform corporate innovation programs. In this session, Paul will share his experience innovating in new and adjacent markets through a deft deployment of open innovation, business accelerators, venturing, M&A, R&D, business development and strategy team leadership.
Get a Grip on Innovation — 10 Questions, 20 Minutes
JANUARY 4, 2017
Get a Grip on Innovation — 10 Questions, 20 Minutes. Ten questions for you to focus on assessing the state of your organization’s innovation program. Twenty minutes to learn something and take action steps. If you think your current program is working, non-existent, or just a disaster — you will learn something by taking this quick survey. “KEYS “). Make a list.
Innovate Innovation Policy
JANUARY 30, 2017
Why a Hostile Immigration Policy is Stupid. Who remembers George Gilder? He’s a relevant person to recall at this moment in time. George Gilder said in 1995: “Without immigration over the last 50 years, I would estimate that U.S. real living standards would be at least 40% lower.” ” He could be wrong with that figure. It might be more than 40%. He said that in 1995.
Colorado Innovation Training
JANUARY 26, 2017
A brief post to make sure you know about the upcoming Denver, CO public course in Advanced Innovation Facilitation. This is a high value training. It’s partially sponsored so the price is much lower than usual. Here’s a page with details. It’s next week Starting Wednesday February 1, continuing on Feb 2, finishing at noon on Feb. Essentially this is intensive, hands-on workshop that trains people in innovation frameworks, and tools for strategy, ideation, research, and project management. This is how innovation is created, by blending heretofor not combined concepts.
Confederacy of Creative Effectiveness
JANUARY 10, 2017
Creative Effectiveness 2017. What if 2017 turned out to be the most creative year of your life? More than creative, what if 2017 was the most creatively effective year of your life? There’s a difference. You can be incredibly creative in terms of self-expression and ideas — without being creatively effective. What good is creativity if it doesn’t get done? Give it a name.
Consumer Brutal, Chase Bank
JUNE 1, 2015
Yesterday’s Innovation is Today’s Expectation. I do my banking online, as much as is possible. As an innovation it’s remarkable — not having to mail checks to pay bills is wonderful. Online banking saves me time. Checking balances, transferring money, having online records to reference, it’s all very convenient. It’s magic. Until it isn’t. bank with Chase, more formally known as JP Morgan Chase. What happened: I’ve been locked out of my online account. Last week I arranged a wire transfer to an account in the UK. It’s all legit.
Dirty Martini Sunset
JULY 8, 2016
Just for fun. Had a Dirty Martini on the deck at the Stray Dog in New Buffalo, MI. Good times. Art and Photography by Gregg Fraley Creativity and Self-Expression cocktails photography sunset
Innovation Facilitator Tool Kit
APRIL 19, 2016
I am sometimes asked what a Facilitator should have in their kit bag. Here’s my answer — the Innovation Facilitator Tool Kit list. The items are below in bold. Obviously, some things are more portable than others. Consider this a master list which you can subset for your needs. Let me know what I left out! Here’s the Tool Kit (all items in Bold) : A Sturdy Flip Chart. Fine point.
GOP Debate: No Mention of Manufacturing
AUGUST 7, 2015
A short post to make an observation. Say what you will about the GOP debate last night — and there is much to say — there was no attention paid to manufacturing. Search the transcript, you’ll not find the word mentioned a single time. Wow, it’s a very big point to miss. Why is it important and a big missing that manufacturing wasn’t mentioned?