It's the Best of Times

It’s the Best of Times – Doug Hall’s Innovation Engineering Blog Recently a very smart client quoted Dickens…

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way" in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

For the 25% of the adult population with the courage to proactively take action on their ideas – this is the Best of Times.   It’s the best of times because under the current economic “cloud” – the 85% of the population that live reactively are literally crippled with fear.  This means more opportunities than ever for those with the courage to take action.

25 years ago I founded the Eureka! Ranch.  Over that time I’ve lived through a number of ups and downs.  I’ve come to love the real down times – because they give me space to accelerate versus competition.

A wimp can scrape up the courage to innovate in good times.  Only courageous leaders have the courage to keep innovating even in difficult times.

As I raise a class of Highland Park 18, the World’s Best Spirit here’s to the best of times for the courageous!  (to see an irreverent video on Highland Park – Click here)

Innovation Engineering HOMEWORK for the week of March 28

50 Ideal Benefit Promises

Innovations can start from 1) Product or Service enabling Technologies, 2) Customer Problems or 3) Benefit Promises.   With one element defined you then “solve the puzzle” to fill in the rest.

This week your homework is to start from the promise.  And not just any promise – in this case the IDEAL PROMISE.  Your homework is to use what you’ve learned over the past two weeks as you did your homework on Insight Mining and Tech Mining and now articulate IDEAL Promises.

Specifically you are to write 50 Ideal Benefit Promises.  By IDEAL I mean – if you were to take away all constraints and simply promise the ideal what would you promise.  You can write them on your computer or by hand I don’t care.  But you MUST put them in writing.

Make the promises bold – brave – exciting – meaningful – unique…you know the story.

Having written your list show it to three people – they can be your staff, suppliers, current or potential customers.  Invite them for coffee, a beer or a Highland Park Whisky :)    Try to pick people from both inside and outside your organization.  Tell them it’s part of your Innovation Engineering Homework.

Don’t be surprised if when you share your Ideal Benefit Promise list you find a way to make a couple of the ideas real right now.

NOTICE: Next week this blog goes public – at a new site.  It will enable a weekly Innovation Engineering Podcast – and you will also be able to comment on the postings.

Good luck.   Till next week.

Innovation Engineering Leadership Institute Dates

The dates for Innovation Engineering 2011 — the “Way to Wealth Tour” – public programs include:

April 4-6        Washington State April 11-13        Wyoming May 2-4        Louisiana May 23-25        Missouri June 13-15        New York State June 27-29        Kansas September 12-14    Arkansas September 26-28    Virginia October 17-19        Maine November 14-16    Washington State

Sign up information is available at

For details on special Institute packages where your team can have a PRIVATE coach to work with you in the evenings of the Leadership Institute contact Corie Roudebush Spialek at 513.271-9911.

Background on Innovation Engineering Weekly Homework: Research indicates that it takes 10,000 hours to master a subject.   The Innovation Engineering homework assignments provide a clear and focused task each week – to keep students focused on the Way to Wealth through Innovation.    The homework assignments are built around what we call the 13 Virtues of Innovation Engineering.  The inspiration for these weekly assignments is Dr. Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues that he focused on one at a time, each week completing four 13 week cycles over 52 weeks.