Advice on how to live life - from my Great Grandfather at age 95

Advice on how to live life - from my Great Grandfather at age 95

This past week I had a reel to reel audio tape converted to digital.  It was an interview with Will Holder - my great grandfather.  It was made just after his 95th birthday - he had retired from his business at age 90 and lived to the age of 99.   

Will Holder, like his father was a sailmaker.   In the interview he was asked his philosophy towards life….

4 Ways To Use The Summer Reset To Your Advantage

With the dog days of summer still upon us and kids starting to head back to school (finally!), what are the ways that we can take advantage of the “summer reset” that seems to happen in many companies these days due to the expanse of employees on vacations at any one point during the summer?

Jump Start Your Brain - Spark Deck 8.16.2017

This week's Jump Start Your Brain Slides include:

Wisdom Mining: The paper battery - What is the most disruptive technology in your industry… and are you involved in commercializing it?

Insight Mining: Subject matter experts who understand - Would your customers pay more (or open the door) if they could meet with an expert in your field or product? 

Market MiningMcDonald’s in Brazil created a ‘drive-through mobile’ restaurant that approached vehicles IN TRAFFIC. Drivers could order from the restaurant on wheels.

Stop the Insanity of Brain-Draining Sessions

Stop the Insanity of Brain-Draining Sessions

My husband is in charge of a sales division. There are 5 sales managers and about 25 sales people.

He and his team live by the numbers each month. At the close of the month, they either hit a goal or they do not. It is both an exhilarating and exhausting way to work.  

About half way through last month, the numbers didn’t look good. The goal felt out of reach. 

He said to me, “I’m gathering my managers today so we can brainstorm how to reach the goal.” 

Awesome! this is what I do for a living. So I asked how he was going to approach the meeting. “What do you mean? We aren’t leaving that room until we figure it out.” 

Oh… sounds… fun.

Jump Start Your Brain - Spark Deck 8.9.2017

This week's Jump Start Your Brain Slides include:

Future Mining: Crowd Funding trends and how could you collaborate more?

Tech Mining: How can new wearable technology change your world?

Insight Mining: eCommerce and Cybersecurity what does that mean to you, your company, and/or your industry?

Think More Creatively By Getting Outdoors

Think More Creatively By Getting Outdoors

I have always used nature to inspire my book writing.  I always write in remote rural locations with lots of breaks for walks, runs, swimming, kayaking, biking or cross country skiing during the day.   This summer I have learned that being in nature is actually more powerful than I realized.  Florence Williams book The Nature Fix documents with hard data why being in nature makes people feel happier, healthier and more creative. 

6 Pieces of Advice I Would Give to The Majority of Ideas Written

6 Pieces of Advice I Would Give to The Majority of Ideas Written

I like to do some fun data analysis when writing blog posts like my last post about what percent of projects die due to each type of risk. This week is no different as I have once again dive into the deep end of Innovation Engineering’s database to see what I can learn. My goal was to figure out where we are going wrong with writing our ideas. We teach people how to communicate their innovations, but I know not all that information gets applied to real life projects. Now I couldn’t possible read over 30,000 ideas and track the advice I’d give each one, but I can program Idea Coach to do it for me. 

Before I break down the top 5 let me start with the advice that you should finish writing your ideas before trying to improve them. That means giving your idea a name, a headline, stating the customer, what their problem is, promise to solve that problem and then say how you’re going to deliver on that promise and prove you can do it. Then bonus points for having a price and saying why that is a good value. 

Jump Start Your Brain - Spark Deck 8.2.2017

This week's Jump Start Your Brain Slides include:

Unrelated Mining: The Rubik’s cube can always be solved using the same method. Solving a Rubik’s cube starts by getting it into a known unsolved state. 

Market Mining: Google tracks everything we search for and click on. They can use this to understand what problems we’re facing and deliver custom solutions to them through ads or other content.

Wisdom Mining: 61% of customers are more likely to buy when presented with custom content. Exceptional customer experience grows gross margins by more than 26%.

The Problem with Problems

The Problem with Problems

 

Problems, we all have them.  Everyone everywhere around the world from the largest organization to the hungry toddler has problems.  You can’t get away from them and everyone’s problems are different.  But don’t fret, this is great news!  Where there’s a problem there’s a solution; and when the solution doesn’t exist or is inadequate there’s room for a breakthrough innovation.

Where we trip over ourselves and hamper our ability to innovate is when we assume we know what our customer’s problem is...

Jump Start Your Brain - Spark Deck 7.26.201

This week's Jump Start Your Brain Slides include:

Future Mining: From high end cooking magazines to blogs the food industry is trending towards clean & simple :: What does this mean for your product or industry?

Patent Mining: Innovation Engineering Labs - has a proprietary database of Flea Market Patents (about 250,000 a year) These are patents that at the time of posting it appears that the owner has not paid maintenance fees on. It is often possible to buy them from the owner at a good price. There is a 6 month grace period to reinstate the patent. 

Unrelated Mining: Whitewater Processing Co. had an issue with employees not showing up to work :: Through a unique to them solution they are solving their issue how might their new employment options inspire you?

Is our ability to LEARN - declining in the digital age?

Is our ability to LEARN - declining in the digital age?

This week I learned something about learning.   It was sparked as I was leading teaching a refresher class to managers who I had taught the same content to twice before.  I found myself getting frustrated at their questions - on things I had already taught them.  After about an hour I suddenly realized that I was looking at teaching and learning in the wrong way…

3 Overlooked Sources for Game Changing Innovation

3 Overlooked Sources for Game Changing Innovation

It is time to innovate, it is time to make changes to your current offerings, but you are just flat tired and out of ideas. If your company is like over 90% of all organizations out there when it is time to to talk new products & services you call R&D, marketing, and at some companies you call on the internal innovation group.  Every one sits around the table and you start throwing out ideas, but nothing ever feels truly new or different.

Let me challenge you to try something new. When it comes to creating new ideas diversity is key.  When I say diversity I mean diversity of thinking and experience. Instead of calling a meeting of the regular suspects take a walk through the building and the factory searching out new and different perspectives.  

Jump Start Your Brain - Spark Deck 7.19.201

This week's Jump Start Your Brain Slides include:

Technology Mining: Blowing up Convention to Achieve Unimaginable Speed :: Elon Musk is confident that Tesla can obtain a staggering 20-fold increase in production speed...what areas of your business are painfully slow?

Future Mining: The future of Customer Experience in Asia :: Connected Asian consumers want their time curated, not wasted. Are you making the most of your customers time?

Unrelated Mining: Business Models and Bundling :: Are there ways to package your current offerings that you are not thinking about already or doing today?

What Ever Happened to Pride of Work?

What Ever Happened to Pride of Work?

Last week Ken Grier, Creative Director for The Macallan Scotch Whisky and I debated why it’s hard to get traction with MEANINGFULLY UNIQUE ideas.  It was the kind of classic debate that we’ve had for over 17 years.  It was the kind of debate that is common among people who “give a Sh#T” about the quality of their ideas, understanding and work. 

We debated fear of failing.  We debated lack of resources.  We debated pressure to deliver short term profits.   We kept digging till we discovered what might well be the “root cause” of innovation friction within organizations. 

Innovation in the Office in 3 steps

Innovation in the Office in 3 steps

Everyone knows how important innovation is for new product development.  But how often are your biggest frustrations at work related to just getting the job done day-to-day?  You’re not alone.

A company shared one of their favorite innovation projects of all time because its quick and significant impact to improve employee engagement in one department, which was at a company-wide, all-time low according to a recent employee survey.

Here are the highlights on the fast and cheap steps they took to go from identifying a problem to having the solution implemented in less than 4 months:

Jump Start Your Brain - Spark Deck 7.12.2017

This week's Jump Start Your Brain Slides include:

Technology Mining: A revolutionary custom printer! How can you make a normally permanent part of your service/product a temporary one? 

Market Mining: Together: IBM (and others) ordering their work-from-home employees to stop working from home. 

Future Mining: According the the Kauffman Foundation of Entrepreneurship, despite the chatter - the Millennials represent a FALL in the rate of young entrepreneurs from 35% to 23%. 

My Two Most Important Jobs as a Leader

My Two Most Important Jobs as a Leader

On Wednesday at 2:00 this week I have to do my job as the leader of the Innovation Engineering movement.    As I prepare for the meeting I found myself this week reflecting on my two most important jobs as a leader: 1) Make true strategic decisions on where I want the organization to go and 2) Give power to my people to help them achieve my strategic mission.  

The best method of accomplishing each of these has changed dramatically in the past 10 years.  It has changed for CEO’s as well as team or project leaders.   The new world way of leading makes a meaningful difference…

Be Responsible for the Energy you Bring

Be Responsible for the Energy you Bring

Her recount of the experience is extraordinary and her recovery, a miracle.  

But what spoke to me most was the message that she and Oprah locked into during one particular segment.  BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ENERGY YOU BRING.  

You may be asking yourself by now, “What does this have to do with business, or innovation or leadership?”  I’d advocate that it has everything to do with it.

It is this sentiment and sense of self awareness that I’ve observed to be the key in making potentially charged situations productive versus destructive.  And in innovation, there are 1,001 opportunities for charged situations. Innovation regularly creates change, chaos, fear equaling charged situations.