Jump Start Your Brain - Spark Deck 1.17.2018

This week's Spark Deck Slides include:

Market Mining: The Hydro Hammock :: If you change the state of liquid can we transform into something new?

Unrelated Mining: MIT has created a device that lets you interact with the physical world through the world.

Patent Mining: A Suspended Hammock :: How can we take things to the extreme beyond what is reasonable?

3 Reasons to Set Deadlines and Stick to Them

3 Reasons to Set Deadlines and Stick to Them

When we’re in school deadlines are all over the place: tests, projects due, homework due, get to class on time, midterms, finals; everywhere you look you find deadlines. But once we get out into the business world deadlines can start to disappear and become a lot more fluid. This is especially true when it comes to innovation and we approach the unknown. Even when we lack the structure and venture into the unknown deadlines are still important and here’s three reasons you should use them, even with innovation.

  1. Deadlines force you to make decisions. When you have a deadline coming up be it anything from a trade show to a review meeting with your board of directors deadlines force you to a conclusion. They force you to make decisions and help prevent you from arguing over something that doesn’t matter for weeks on end.

Webinar on TEAM SPEED this Friday

Webinar on TEAM SPEED this Friday

This friday Jan 12, 2018 at 12:30 PM EST - the Innovation Engineering Institute is offering a FREE Webinar on how to ignite team speed.

To work at the speed of innovation means your team needs to be in synch for speed. In this webinar we'll talk about what dynamics are at play for teams and how to set up for innovation success. 

The webinar will feature Kevin Cahill - Executive Director of the Deming Institute and Doug Hall - Founder of the Eureka! Ranch. 

Jump Start Your Brain - Spark Deck 1.10.2018

This week's Spark Deck Slides include:

Unrelated Mining: Did you know Bitcoin could be destroying the environment? Does your offering have an unanticipated outcome you might not of anticipated?

Future Mining: What's old is new again! Could you re-boot a classic in a new way?

Patent Mining: According to CNNtech voice assistants are everywhere at CES 2018 :: Is there a patent available that may get your foot in the door?

Every 10 years you need to “Retire” to create space for your Reinvention

Every 10 years you need to “Retire” to create space for your Reinvention

The year Ben Franklin turned 59, he wrote a letter to his wife Deborah announcing that he was “retiring” during the year. He was retiring from the printing business, selling his half of his printing partnership with David Hall (no relation). Printing had generated Franklin’s wealth and had brought the world such publications a Poor Richard’s Almanac.

Dr. Franklin’s retirement from printing gave him space to spend more time as a philosopher on science and governments.

Voluntary retirement is hard. That’s because the “job” we are retiring from also often defines who we are. It is likely the source of our financial and psychological wealth.  However - if we are to grow during our lifetime we have to retire many times. We need to let go of the comfortable and familiar and stretch ourselves into new worlds for ourselves.  

Embracing the "X" as you Learn to Innovate

Embracing the "X" as you Learn to Innovate

This week's No Guru Required post comes from Innovation Specialist, David Moskal of inVision Edge our good friends and partner in Canada:

“I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

You’ve been taught that there’s only one right answer to a given problem. Think back to elementary school. Recess. Games. Learning. Early on, we learn that many of our text books have the answers in the back pages. If your answer doesn’t match up with what’s in the back of the book, you’re wrong. Pretty quickly, we catch on that there’s only one right answer.

As adults, this mentality sticks with us. We don’t like being wrong. We want our idea to be perfect before we ever show anyone or submit anything. We strive for perfect data before making any decisions, and we get stuck in “paralysis by analysis” while we search for that perfect data. Months pass without any decision being made as to what direction to take regarding a business problem. Resources, like time and money, are wasted in the process. Sound familiar?

Let me accept an imperfect present so that I can transform the next moment

Let me accept an imperfect present so that I can transform the next moment

As 2017 comes to an end I am rereading Towards Wisdom it was written by my good friend, Copthorne Macdonald.   He passed away a few years ago at about this time of year.   He lives on the pages of his books.   I’ve pasted below a section from the book that speaks to the need to think deeper about the challenges life brings us.  He goes on to talk about nurturing a positive mind state.   In a world that can seem filled with anger his message is one of hope.   Enjoy.

What separates Leaders from Great Leaders is Emotional Engagement in the Future

What separates Leaders from Great Leaders is Emotional Engagement in the Future

This fall I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about leadership. Now I recognize that the study of anything is a never ending story.  There is always more to be learned. This post attempts to push the boundaries of our understanding of what makes for genuinely great leadership.  Earlier this week I posted a video on the importance of leaders having Humility & Patience. Today, I’m thinking out loud on what is the “x” factor that separates Leaders from the rare and precious GREAT LEADERS. 

Jump Start Your Brain - Spark Deck 12.21.2017

This week's Spark Deck Slides include:

Wisdom Mining: Imagine a fracture - resistant material that could be used to create a building 10 times as high as the world's current tallest building...all from inspiration taken from the sea urchin's spine structure.

Patent Mining: In October 2007, the US Federal government penned the Energy Independence and Security Act that ultimately phased out the traditional incandescent light bulb...what industry change is coming that you can get ahead of?

Unrelated Mining: Did you know you can combine 6 of the 8-studded LEGO bricks in 915,103,765 ways? What can your rearrange using your current resources?

The First Step to Innovation that Many Skip (and Shouldn't)

The First Step to Innovation that Many Skip (and Shouldn't)

Now that you or your team have developed what you think is a great idea, what is your next step?

  • Do you go talk with more customers to test the market?
  • Do you build a "Gold Standard" prototype to test against the competition?
  • Do you start working with your supply chain in order to start ordering parts/ingredients?
  • Do you build the mock packaging?
  • Do you file for a patent application?
  • Do you bring your organization's stakeholders together to enroll everyone on the idea?

Whether it is a core, step-change innovation or a leap, multi-year innovation, I have seen projects go faster, with less organizational friction and with greater success, when project leads first enroll the stakeholders.

Jump Start Your Brain - Spark Deck 12.6.2017

This week's Spark Deck Slides include:

Patent Mining: Get inspiration from a patent for organizing unused strands of holiday lights. Consider what happens to your product or service when customers aren’t using it? Is there a way to make better use of this “down time” so the customer has a better experience?

Wisdom Mining: A new research in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests that people financially value physical goods more than their digital equivalents. How could changing the form of your offering help customers with either price or perceived value?

Future Mining: Be ready for the Gigification of America. The growing cost of mandated benefits when hiring an American full-time is fueling the increased conversion of full-time benefited jobs to temp gigs. This trend will continue. What are the consequences and opportunities for your organization and or to better serve your customers?

Using Innovation to Buy Better Gifts

Using Innovation to Buy Better Gifts

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, and if you’re anything like me, you are no where near finished buying holiday gifts for your list of loved ones, colleagues, and/or customers. 

The reason I didn’t take advantage of all the deals was that I didn’t have any idea what I wanted to buy for people yet. I did try to browse and be struck by inspiration, scrolling through pages and pages of products. But then I became paralyzed by the options and just couldn’t make decisions.

Jump Start Your Brain - Spark Deck 11.29.2017

This week's Spark Deck Slides include:

Market Mining: What complex feature or product could you simplify?

Unrelated Mining: Online sales boomed on Black Friday :: What can you offer online to potential customers?

Future Mining: The end of net neutrality could shackle the internet of things :: what problems will your business face as the rules change?

Jump Start Your Brain - Spark Deck 11.22.2017 - THANKSGIVING EDITION

This week's special edition Thanksgiving Spark Deck Slides include:

Market Mining: Holiday Feast to Go Packages :: What can we pre-package or pre-prep for Thanksgiving Day?

Unrelated Mining: 43% of Americans watch Fireworks on 4th of July :: What could we do to create a big bang finale for Thanksgiving!

Insight Mining: Top 5 Thanksgiving Activities include visiting family & watching football what else could we possibly squeeze in to do our day?

How to START and SUSTAIN an Innovation Culture

How to START and SUSTAIN an Innovation Culture

Ed Tazzia told me recently, As I’ve spoken to large companies three things seem apparent.  

  1. They recognize the need for Innovation, but have no idea how to make it happen. 
  2. They don’t lack for ideas, but seriously lack big ideas.  
  3. Their biggest problem is they can’t get their ideas to market.

The solution to all three of these challenges involves a chain reaction of three elements….

DISCOVERY - the TWO REASONS 70% of employees are DISENGAGED

DISCOVERY -  the TWO REASONS 70% of employees are DISENGAGED

According to Gallop 70% of workers are disengaged in their work (65% of managers).  Disengaged workers, view their jobs as an exchange of time for a paycheck. They arrive and leave on time, take their breaks, never volunteer for extra work or projects, and do little else in between beyond the minimal effort. They show little passion or creativity for their jobs and go through the motions. (UNC Executive Development)

Last week I spent time thinking about the REAL REASONS for 70% of employees being disengaged in their work.   I explored why aren’t more people actively engaged in finding ways to work smarter, faster and more creatively.  My learning was powered by…

    • Qualitative feedback from participants at a Leadership Class last week 

    • Qualitative observation of a group of investors starting a new company

    • Quantitative review of Innovation Engineering historical data 

    • Quantitative feedback from surveys from a webinar on innovation leadership practices.  

Quite simply the TWO REASONS people are DISENGAGED is….