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.

Jump Start Your Brain - Spark Deck 7.5.2017

This week's Jump Start Your Brain Slides include:

Patent Mining: A fermentation process which destroys the fermenting cells and uses them as nutrients by recycling in the presence of the desired fermentation product.

Market Mining: The makers of NightFood nutrition bars want to create a new subcategory of food that will help late-night snackers choose healthier options that could help them sleep better.

Unrelated Mining: Smart tags change color when food goes bad.

It’s TIME to THINK - Where have you been and where are you going?

It’s TIME to THINK - Where have you been and where are you going?

For nearly 40 years I have stopped every January 1 and July 1 to reflect on the state of my learning over the previous six months.   I do this so to ensure that I am fully engaged in never ending learning.   Without continuous learning we look up one day and say “what just happened - what have I been doing for the past 5, 10, 30 years!”   My reflections cover my professional and personal state of learning. 

The biggest challenge I find with reflecting is being 100% honest with myself on my learning.  Sometimes I find myself in denial about negative learnings.   My nature is optimistic and so I tend to see the good and discount the bad.  I’ve learned that spending a week reflecting, like I did last week, makes me more likely to confront reality.

Do the Do!

Do the Do!

The lightbulb is the quintessential symbol of an innovation.  It is an innovation credited to Thomas Edison, one of America's most renowned inventors.

The lightbulb was not an instantaneous idea that came to Edison.  Unlike the many cartoons I have watched over the years where lightbulbs appear over a character's when an idea comes to them, Edison and his team spent years working on creating a lightbulb that was real and not just an idea.

And those years were not spent sitting around thinking about variables, parts, materials, etc.  Instead, they theorized on different parts and materials, and then they tested them.

The Missing Link

The Missing Link

When working on a project or issue that needs fixed - eventually we get to a point where we’ve tried something, got results, and now need to make a decision.  How can you leverage your curiosity and some continuous learning to help with the decision making process between the easy path and the right path?  Read on to find out!

Jump Start Your Brain - Spark Deck 6.21.2017

This week's Jump Start Your Brain Slides include:

Unrelated Mining: Recruit for Cultural Fit! The result of poor culture fit due to turnover can cost an organization between 50-60% of the person’s...

Market Mining: EAT BEER. Grain byproduct from craft brewers is being up cycled into...

Insight Mining: Execs Embrace Video. Forbes Insights survey has some eye opening statistics about how receptive execs are...

Stanford Research Study Finds Innovation Engineering is a true “Breakout Innovation” System

Stanford Research Study Finds Innovation Engineering is a true “Breakout Innovation” System

A team of Stanford researchers have found that most “innovation methods” don’t actually result in innovative solutions.  Most simply result in “innovation as usual.”   Their research found that Innovation Engineering went beyond “Innovation-as-Usual” to true Breakout Innovation based on their review of the work that March of Dimes has done with Innovation Engineering.   Their two year study identified five practices that enable Breakout Innovation.  Each of these align with Innovation Engineering practices.

Get off the road… to reset your mindset this summer.

This week I learned the importance of getting off the road so to reset my mindset.     This insight came from a conversation with my daughter Victoria.     She sent the following photo of the “loop” in Yellowstone National Park. It was jammed with tourists visiting the expected tourist things.   Eventually, the frustration of being bumper to bumper in a national park got to her.  She felt her frustration growing and growing.   She then did the only thing she could think of "She Got Off The Road." 

The Why Behind the How

The Why Behind the How

I am an educator by trade, not by schooling. So, I learn a lot about learning every time I teach a class. 

This week, while teaching a Fundamentals of Innovation class, a participant taught me something I will never forget. 

Each morning of our training, we ask the class to reflect on the previous day. We ask participants to share what they learned, big picture, from the previous day.  

One gentleman in class shared a story. He said that a while back he had been taught one of the same methods that we taught in class. However, it was taught differently that time. The method was taught at face value, in other words, he was taught to follow the method step by step to get the desired results. 

He said he didn’t think that it would work for him in his job- so he never tried the method after that class. He had no confidence in the method

Jump Start Your Brain - Spark Deck 6.14.2017

This week's Jump Start Your Brain Slides include:

Future Mining: How often do you think the average person checks their phone?  And how does this or is this going to affect your business?

Insight Mining: What is the most frequent household problem? Can you prevent it? Can you help with after care?

Wisdom Mining:  Artificial Intelligence tracks many things including whether or not you are paying attention.