Archive for: September, 2009

How the Innovators DNA works

The Innovator's DNAWhat are the personal characteristics of successful innovators?

Anyone can change his or her behavior to improve creative impact in a company, according to some new research by Jeffrey Dyer, Hal Gregersen which included a six-year study surveying 3,000 creative executives and conducting an additional 500 individual interviews they found five ‘discovery skills’ that distinguish them:

Could we someday create innovations like we create music?

Imagine there was a tool where we could input our ideas, combine them with other ideas, see some connections and visualize them in real-time. I’m not talking about music, but actual ideas like the ones that we have when we’re thinking out loud or brainstorming with a group.

In the video above you see an application called Ableton Live, used by many DJ’s in concerts to create music in real-time. I repeat, not pre-programmed but in real-time!

Why is this important? It’s important because DJ’s can experiment with different sounds and music in real-time. They’ve always had this ability but with this tool, DJ’s can input the sounds where they want, listen and make the adjustments all in a matter of seconds.

Again imagine if we could have a tool where we could input our ideas, combine them and see a result in real-time before we release it into the world.

What would such a tool look like?

We have one…our brain.

Yes, our brain is the most powerful machine ever invented and although it would be great to have a tool, such as Ableton, at our disposal that could enable us to create more in less time; our brain will ultimately connect the insight that gives us that breakthrough idea.

Only our brain gives us the ability to imagine how things could be before we ever see them out in the world.

I’m sure there are people already thinking about a technology that can enable us to make connections faster but in the meantime we can start by flexing our brain muscles and .

P.S. I’m not promoting Ableton Live, I just saw that video and thought about such a tool for the purpose of innovation.

Readers what do you think, is such a tool possible? How would it work? How can we start creating one right now?

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Weekend innovation tip: You’re unlikely to see the future if you’re standing in the mainstream

Innovation and strategic advantage hinge on the ability to anticipate trends and identify the next big thing. You won’t find the next big thing in the mainstream. You need to go to the edge, on the fringe.

Inspiration for new ideas doesn’t come from boardroom meetings, it comes from actively seeking ideas from other industries like design, architecture, pop culture, music and art. You need to go out and do some trend hunting!

When trend hunting in the fringe you need to keep an open mind and a willingness to explore random innovation that might not result in anything worthwhile.

Here then are a few ways to spot new ideas before anyone else:

  • Travel. There’s no doubt that traveling opens your eyes to new things, connecting ideas from other cultures is a weapon innovators wield.
  • Read a lot of everything. Don’t just read what you like, read stuff you wouldn’t normally read. If you read business magazines, read mystery novels. If you read technology books, read political books. Read for breadth and look for connections.
  • Share ideas with others. We’ve all got ideas, we stand a better chance of acting on them if we tell our friends, colleagues and family members about them.
  • Talk to very strange people. Talking to the same usual suspects (friends, coworkers, family) you run the risk of getting caught in the echo chamber. Talk to people whom you have nothing in common with, you’ll always find something interesting.
  • Watch people. Watch your customers. Become them. Obsesses about them.

10 more resources to boost your brain power

boost brain power

The ability to think better makes you a superior strategist and innovator

One of my favorite subjects is the brain, how it works and how to better put it to use is something that has always intrigued me. While there is huge amounts of information on the internet on how to boost your brain power, I stumbled upon a list of and thought I’d add 10 more! ??????????? ??????? ????????

  1. (Lite Mind)
  2. (

  3. (Open Forum)
  4. (New Scientist)
  5. (Scientific American)
  6. (
  7. (Find Schools
  8. (New Scientist)
  9. (MIT Techreview)

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UPDATE: Found another one that was posted today by Steven Aitchison, 100 Ways To Develop Your Mind.

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Must read innovation stories of the week: How to build a culture of innovation

Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway dvd This weeks must read innovation stories starts with an Interview with IDEO CEO Tim Brown on how his firm uses design thinking to drive innovation in the company and with clients.

  1. (BNET)
  2. (Blogging Innovation)
  3. (Businessweek)
  4. (Fast Company)
  5. (Financial Times)
  6. (Fast Company)

Why Brands in Public doesn’t suck…for Seth Godin


The blogosphere is buzzing after Seth Godin’s announcement of his newest initiative, , which intends on becoming a ‘social signals aggregator’ for BIG brands.

Some Where the Heart Is rip , other’s want to and I actually think this is a good move by Seth.

If it wasn’t him somebody else would’ve figured out a more open approach to aggregating ‘social signals’ for brands and make it completely available for the world to see, this isn’t bad because it promotes openness.

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Guess Who dvdrip Although this seems like extortion to some think about it this way if he asked brands for their input first, which any smart person would do, and they saw some value in it then that’s enough of a good reason for Seth to create Brands in Public and why it’s up.

I don’t think he just created the pages without asking for their ‘permission’ first.

Remember, there is a NEED for this as a BIG brand you can only be in so many places plus $400 bucks is peanuts for them.

The BIG deal is his perceived aggressive approach, which is textbook Microsoft strategy. Brands can choose to buy, if not it’s still open for everyone to see including competitors. Great!

This is good business strategy, it’s not beautiful but it’s good strategy nonetheless.

Another thing that is being overlooked is the fact that if the brand doesn’t want to pay up it still gets to see where the mentions are coming from, it’s basically making some ‘listening’ work easy for them all they have to do is just engage that audience at that specific place.

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Also let’s consider that the internet is in desperate need of a ventures that actually make money from something other than advertising, in that sense this is going to be very interesting.


The real question is, does this really create value for the brand?

Although brands can use tools to do this for free, it does make the monitoring a little easier. On that note this could end up just becoming a short term experiment, smart brands (especially the one’s who know him) will happily (read happy) shell out $400 bucks for a few months to see how it works out for them.

Guess we’ll just have to wait and hear from the brands themselves.


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If you’re a brand manager at one of these BIG brands I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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What a cave diver can teach us about leapfrogging the competition


I was looking at some very last week and one in particular caught my attention not because of the picture itself but because of the story behind it:

download The Match

Quest For Fire

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The diver in this photo has descended about 20 feet into the opening of Devil’s Eye Spring. Without carrying breathing gas, free divers can usually swim down only about 40 to 45 feet, but Heinerth says that a few brave souls venture further. “In Russia, I met a guy who they nicknamed ‘Aqua Man,’” she said. “In water temperature just above freezing, Aqua Man would put on a wetsuit, enter the cave, and swim a couple of hundred feet before surfacing to sip from an air pocket on the ceiling of the cave. Then he’d free dive even further in, eventually getting 300 feet into the cave with no air. He was free diving by leap-frogging from air pocket to air pocket inside the cave.” Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit

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Obviously there’s no such thing as Aqua Man but clearly this person is called such for the feat he accomplishes. Any skilled diver can stay underwater longer by swimming from air pocket to air pocket, but because of the uncertainty of the unknown (as well as the chill) nobody is likely to try it in a cave.

What separates Aqua Man from the rest is his mental preparation. How do I know this?

Because Aqua Man has the same abilities that the other divers have, mainly to be a competent swimmer and have great control of respiration.

The ability to stay underwater and dive to depths both you and I can’t go isn’t a talent. It’s preparing your body, your mind through constant practice and then being curious as to what he might find inside the cave,

What the other divers overlooked was that there might be air pockets inside the cave. They just couldn’t see beyond their own fear!


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Lifeboat psp Bound by Honor (aka “Blood in, blood out”) on dvd

Key takeaway: You don’t leapfrogg the competition by beating them at their own game, . Sometimes what they ‘can’t do’ is a fear and most of the time it’s something they’re overlooking. Exploit it!