5 Quick Tips to Improve Your Research Skills

5 Quick Tips to Improve Your Research Skills

Research, we all do it at some point or another.  Whether we’re doing it for a project at work, a paper for school, or just trying to find the best place to go for vacation we all do research and the internet has made it faster and easier than ever.  But with all that information out there it can be overwhelming to look through and disheartening when you can’t find what you need so here’s 5 quick tips to improve your research skills.

1. Multiple Sources

The internet is awash with sources upon sources at your finger tips ready to be used.  Each source will have some information you want but it will also be missing other information.  As you start to look at more and more places you start to see the whole picture and learn things you never would have imagined if you just stopped at one.  If you’re looking for a place to go for vacation don’t just look at Yelp and stop there, try places like Facebook, Google, Expedia, just find as many sources for as much information as possible.

Jump Start Your Brain - Spark Deck 9.20.2017

This week's Jump Start Your Brain Slides include:

Future Mining: Grocerant :: Combination Grocery and eatery. What kind of convenience can you offer customers that adds value to their experience?

Market Mining: Is it even possible that Apple isn't cool anymore? What do future generations think of your brand? Are you viewed as the brand of my parents?

Unrelated Mining: How important are patents? Can you create a future for yourself or your company?

Are you among the 70% who are BORED?

Are you among the 70% who are BORED?

A Gallop survey found that 70% of employees are bored at work.  The data appears to be solid as separate studies find that only about 30% of adults are “engaged” with their work.   

It’s not much better for the managers who are supposed to be inspiring employees - only 35% of managers are engaged!

If you’re among this group that bored then it’s time to do something about it.  

4 Key Innovation Thoughts from Dr. Deming

4 Key Innovation Thoughts from Dr. Deming

When I came to Eureka! Ranch over 14 years ago with my 2 years in government and my liberal arts degree in Communications (from DePauw University - go Tigers!) I had never heard of Dr. W. Edwards Deming - honestly, I'd taken only one class in the Science and Math building so it wasn't surprising.  But, as an innovator it is important to understand who Dr. Deming was and what he means to quality and innovation not only in the United States, but across the globe. He was a visionary, whose tireless quest for the “truth” and unwavering belief in "continual improvement" led to a set of transformational theories and teachings that changed the way we think about quality, management and leadership.

Jump Start Your Brain - Spark Deck 9.13.2017

This week's Jump Start Your Brain Slides include:

Technology Mining: The Pirelli Connesso system with a sensor and mobile app automatically tracks and displays tire data. How can you use technology to ease any burden of using your products and services?

Future Mining: Amazon recently acquired Whole Foods Market, but predominantly brick-and-mortar grocers should not be concerned, right? What competitor(s) might you be underestimating due to projections from the past that just might not apply in the future?

Unrelated Mining: Customer Journey: Shortened - What unexpected service could you provide to make your customers’ lives easier?

Starting Idea Doesn’t Determine Innovation Success

Starting Idea Doesn’t Determine Innovation Success

Over the past week I set out to quantify the relative impact of three factors: 1) Starting Idea, 2) Innovation Capability and 3) Leadership Engagement when it comes to financial success with innovation.   I reviewed hard data and interviewed expert innovators within complex organizations.  There was near universal agreement on the relative importance of the three factors.

Jump Start Your Brain - Spark Deck 9.6.2017

This week's Jump Start Your Brain Slides include:

Wisdom Mining: Cisco predicts 90% of all internet traffic will soon be video. How can video take us to another level?

Patent Mining: Follow the Leader: Companies Benchmark vs Competition - when others push for technology they do to. How can we disrupt technology even when other are not? How can we be the leader?

Market Mining: Sales have been flat for the biggest consumer product brands. Small is big how to we embrace the spirit of small? If we were a craft company what would we do? 

How to Get Off the Treadmill and Go Somewhere Meaningful

How to Get Off the Treadmill and Go Somewhere Meaningful

challenges that life puts before us consumes our energy.   We tell ourselves “when I get this done - then I’ll work on bigger, longer term goals.”    However,  it appears short term challenges are in unlimited supply.  Before we know it - 5, 10 tor 20 years go by and we find nothing changes - we are running on a treadmill - going nowhere.  

The Top 7 Ways to Screw up Innovation

The Top 7 Ways to Screw up Innovation

To truly screw up doing innovation would simply be to not do innovation at all.  So if you’re at least reading this list, likelihood is you’ve overcome at least that one fundamental hurdle.  If you’re doing something, anything at all - you’ve at least taken the first step of acknowledging how critical it is. 

That said, there are certainly some common mis-steps that can undermine your progress that you might not know (unless you’ve been practicing innovation for 20+ years.)

#7 Screw Up:  Doing a big training and hoping a miracle will occur.

Without structures, systems, processes and support - the training simply doesn’t stick...no matter how clever the content.  At best, your audience will remember 10% of the content and apply even less of it.

Jump Start Your Brain - Spark Deck 8.30.2017

This week's Jump Start Your Brain Slides include:

Future Mining: Smart Showerheads that allow real time monitoring of water consumption and energy use. How are you incorporating sustainability into your products/services?

Patent Mining: The GeniCan scans the UPC on your trash and can automatically order your a new one on amazon.com. How can you make it easier for your customer to say "YES"?

Unrelated Mining: Originally, coffee was likely often cold-brewed because it took less energy. Today it is taking off commercially and at a higher price. What can you reverse in your processes and get a better result?

Advice on Living from 95 Year Old - Resonates Today

Advice on Living from 95 Year Old - Resonates Today

When you learn you are growing. When you are growing you are living your life to the fullest. I find that stopping each Saturday morning to reflect on “what I learned” ensures that I stay conscious of learning, growing and living my life to the fullest. 

A portion of my reflections each Saturday become this blog post on Monday.  This past week was a big week of learning. I spent the week with friends I had not seen in 40 years - it was Big Chill without anyone having to die to cause the reunion. 

The learning that stuck with me all week however was the overwhelming reaction to last week’s blog post.  I had written about an insight from a recently recovered audio recording of 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.  

5 Tips for Clarity in Writing

5 Tips for Clarity in Writing

One of the best ways to test a new idea is to write it down.  First, it is inexpensive.  Second, it starts to give you a way to start owning it.  And third, it helps clarify the idea.

Clarity is vital when trying to convey a new idea.  Think about it.  New ideas require more understanding than old ones.  For example, a "run-flat wheel" is quick understood.  But, "a car tire that doesn't require to be inflated because of a polycarbonate crosshatch network that is contralateral to an interior ribbing system" requires the reader to struggle more.  And the more a reader struggles to learn, the more that the reader will not understand what you want to convey.

Jump Start Your Brain - Spark Deck 8.23.2017

This week's Jump Start Your Brain Slides include:

Patent Mining: A circuit for detecting the transition of an input signal from one level to another.

Market Mining: Knowledge is power: how doctors can be at their best. Turning digital data and diagnostics into integrated workflows can help doctors who are strained to breaking point.

Unrelated Mining: Portable Power banks provide a refreshing of energy to a mobile device when it is getting low.

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?