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….

Two Innovation Tools to Disrupt Your Team's Thinking

Two Innovation Tools to Disrupt Your Team's Thinking

Our passion at the Innovation Engineering Institute and Eureka! Ranch is innovation and more specifically educating and teaching people how to be more innovative at work and in their every day lives. This week I'm going to borrow some brilliance from my colleague, Maggie Pfiefer, Director of Education as she shares 2 different tools that can help you and your team innovate faster.

Jump Start Your Brain - Spark Deck 11.8.2017

This week's Jump Start Your Brain Slides include:

Technology Mining: A cap full of 6 cups of coffee grounds improves nose, throat surgery. How can taking a step back improve your offering?

Future Mining: Amazon recently acquired Whole Foods Market, but predominantly brick-and-mortar grocers should not be concerned because…or should they be?

Unrelated Mining: Customer Journey - Shortened. In-Fridge Delivery services.

I’m Fired Up - Excited - Optimistic!

I’m Fired Up - Excited - Optimistic!

SPECIAL Opportunities in Cincinnati, Kansas City, Toronto - Edinburgh and Cincinnati at Bottom of Blog

From the nastiness of Brexit, Spain, US Politics and the Stress of this Rapidly Changing world - a new spirit is coming to life.   To paraphrase the movie Network, “change agents are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.”  They are taking responsibility for their world - they are educating themselves, experimenting, dreaming and taking action on their dreams.  

Are You Innovating on How You Innovate?

Are You Innovating on How You Innovate?

It’s no secret that companies must innovate today to remain relevant, especially with the rapid pace of technological change.  But even with this knowledge, most are just addressing todays challenges and obvious opportunities instead of doing what really needs to be done to create or even just deal with disruption

A story I read recently on Forbes.com resonated with me on this issue.  In it Chunka Mui commented that “too few [companies] are being innovative in how they innovate.”  He referenced Douglas Englebart’s framework for the “ABCs of Organizational Improvement,” which supports his assertion that “the key to long-term viability of an organization is to get better and better at improving itself.”

Jump Start Your Brain - Spark Deck 11.1.2017

This week's Jump Start Your Brain Slides include:

Future Mining: 5 Essential trends in the sports technology sector for organizing companies and innovation.

Wisdom Mining: A study by researchers at the University of Toronto have developed a scientific measure of charisma and it’s mostly comprised of 2 elements.

Insight Mining: Millennials have replaced Baby Boomers as largest generation (leading with 4.75M 26 year olds).