Archive for: September, 2009

Weekend innovation tip: To think outside the box look in other boxes

Thinking outside the box

Solutions are everywhere and the best way to think outside the box is to look in other boxes.

Where the Heart Is movie download

Your box limits your view

How many times have you meet someone that tries to solve problems using the same method over and over again to no avail? More than you can remember I assume.

This is even more apparent as we grow older, we keep doing what worked before believing that’s the only way it can be done. If it isn’t broke don’t fix it right? The problem with this is that when we’re looking for new ideas we won’t find them looking in the same places, we have to venture off an unknown path where the chances of finding something new are more higher.

Why is it so difficult to try something new?

Because , we become so fixed in a single view of the world that we filter out all information that conflicts with our beliefs and are unable to see another possible solution.

What we see is what we think

The box is our .

Beliefs, assumptions of how you think your world (box) works all lock you in to a box, limiting your view of going about solving problems. The problem with this is that all your solutions will always be the same, predictable and linear. More of the same!

Brain researcher Gerhard Roth of the University of Bremen in Germany in his 2007 book whose title translates as Personality, Decision, and Behavior writes:

The Family Stone rip

“The brain is always trying to automate things and to create habits, which it imbues with feelings of pleasure. Holding to the tried and true gives us a feeling of security, safety, and competence while at the same time reducing our fear of the future and of failure.”

Look in other boxes that is not your own.

To start finding new ideas we first have to become aware of the limitations of doing things the same way, we must become aware of our mental models and question our beliefs and assumption.

Also understand that innovations themselves are combination’s of what came before, rather than an original invention. It’s discovering things in other boxes and then combining them in a useful way that you get something new. Creativity really is all about discovery!

The fact is solutions are everywhere and the best way to think outside the box is to look in other boxes.

Key Takeaway: Develop a take from anywhere mindset. Borrow ideas from other fields, keep an open mind and cherry pick your way to a new solution.

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Must read innovation stories of the week: Awesomeness is the new innovation

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The world is littered with thousands of products and services that are considered innovative but don’t mean much to people who actually use them, why is this? The reason is because most products and services are designed to extract profits from consumers first as opposed to ‘wowing’ them first and then seeking the profits second.

In the first must read innovation story of the week Umair Haque makes his case that we need to innovate innovation and provides some guidelines on how we can do it.

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Listen up: A corporation’s goal should be to create more value, not more profit. It should strive to be relevant tomorrow and not just today. It should inspire whom it serves as well as the people who serve. It should breed competition to make things even better, not take it out.

Umair says that innovation needs to be innovated, couldn’t agree more! What is awesomeness? Awesomeness happens when thick — real, meaningful — value is created by people who love what they do, added to insanely great stuff, and multiplied by communities who are delighted and inspired because they are authentically better off. That’s a better kind of innovation, built for 21st century economics.

Key Takeaway: Create more value than you capture.

 

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Here’s a very cool campaign by the Panamericana School of Art and Design, the objective is to draw as many things as possible that originate from X’s or O’s. How far does your creativity go? Checkout the pictures!

 

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If you ask 5 people to define leadership you’ll probably get 5 different answers. There’s are enough leadership books to teach all there is to know about leadership, yet there isn’t one singular answer to what leadership really is.

In an effort to answer this question Norm Smallwood, Dave Ulrich and Kate Sweetman synthesized all the ideas of leadership into 5 rules they call the ‘leadership code’. These 5 rules account for 70% of the fundamentals of leadership, making it a good starting for leadership development.

Rule 1: Shape the future.

Rule 2: Make things happen.

Rule 3: Engage today’s talent.

Road Trip: Beer Pong trailer

Rule 4: Build the next generation.

Rule 5: Invest in yourself.

 

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Strange Wilderness divx

Looking to differentiate their products, HP has tapped the fashion world for technical ideas for their new line of netbooks. What HP acknowledges is that looking for growth opportunities in the same place is unlike yield anything new. They went out and looked elsewhere for new ideas on how to differentiate their products.

Key takeaway: . Understand than looking in the same place for ideas will always result in the same old ideas. Look elsewhere:

  • Look at your competitors.
  • Look at adjacent industries.
  • Look to the fringe where trends start.
  • Look in unlikely places.

 

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If you want your firm to innovate you must first change the way it’s organized. Most firms today can’t innovate because they’re structured in a way that favors predictability, not creativity.

Jeffrey Philips writes: Many firms can’t innovate because their structures, processes and compensation models are rigidly organized for the work world of the 1950s and 1960s and haven’t shifted the organizational structures, processes and compensation models to reflect what’s necessary today.

So what’s necessary today? There isn’t a real clear answer, but doing less of what worked before is a good start.

 

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Phantasm IV: Oblivion video

Predicting the future is one of those things that people think they can do, the problem is they obsess about it so much that the future ends up taking them by surprise.

The best we can do is to anticipate what could happen. Jamais Cascio helps companies and governments anticipate the future so they can make the right decisions and he presents a few guidelines we can follow to be prepared and many possible outcomes.

While anticipating is great, creating the future is what innovators do. The key is to mix both and imagine what you would like to see in the world.

Key takeaway: The future is for us to make, we must imagine what we can make happen and write our own future.

 

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From one of my favorite blogs on innovation, Innovation in practice, Innovation consultant Drew Boyd shares a simple template to create your company’s innovation strategy.

corporate innovation strategy template

 

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List of some prominent innovation people on Twitter, automatically follow them all with one click!

Innovation: 24 ways to exploit chaos

exploiting chaos

Trend Hunter founder released his new innovation book to the masses and just recently shared with Businessweek from the book which I’ve added in this post:

 

1. Find an Unmet Need

In February 1930, as unemployment spiked in the early months of the Great Depression, Henry Luce launched Fortune magazine with the then steep cover price of $1. Eight years later, the magazine boasted 460,000 subscribers.

Lesson: Innovation is not about market timing. It is about creating something that fills an unmet need.

 

2. Adapt

In the 1950s, RCA was a leading maker of vacuum tubes, the electronic device critical to the development of radio, television, and, ultimately, computers. But as transistors and, later, semiconductors were being developed, the company didn’t adapt, losing its dominant position in what would become the computer chip industry.

Lesson: Your focus should not be on protecting what you have but rather on adapting to the next big thing.

 

3. Focus on the Future

After the Internet bubble popped in the early 2000s, Apple CEO Steve Jobs was criticized for not trimming his research and development budget. But that investment led to the 2003 launch of iTunes, and Apple now sells more music than Wal-Mart.

Lesson: An undying focus on the future can lead to invention.

 

4. Deep Six Traditions

“Culture eats strategy for lunch,” notes Gutsche. He cites a study of monkeys that shows how strongly behaviors are imprinted on new arrivals—whether newborn or adult. In other words, a company can’t change strategy or adapt without changing its culture, which is embedded in the language employees use, their expectations, and their general sense of “how things are done.”

Lesson: The “old way of doing things” and fixed expectations are the enemies of adaptation.

 

5. Forget Past Accomplishments

“On the eighth day, God created Smith Corona.” So reads the Web site of the company that introduced so many innovations in its first 100 years—the first portable typewriter, first electric typewriter, first electric dictionary, first laptop word processor—that it took itself for granted, unable to envision a world without typewriters.

Lesson: Accomplishment blinds us to the urgency of reinvention.

 

6. Build on Others’ Mistakes

Remington Rand, a Smith Corona competitor, did move into the computing business in 1950, and by 1975 the company had declared bankruptcy. Smith Corona executives that had been pushing the company to expand into computers were haunted by Remington’s fate, failing to realize that those Remington execs might have been right on strategy and wrong on execution.

Lesson: Don’t let the failure of others reinforce inaction.

 

7. Develop Scenarios

In the 1970s, Royal Dutch Shell developed two future strategies, one based on stable oil prices and the other based on a spike. When oil prices rocketed in 1973, Shell was ready.

Lesson: By developing multiple scenarios, you can avoid the certainty of being incorrect and instead prepare for disruptive change.

 

8. Choose the Right Goal

In 2001, the Recording Industry Association of America sued Napster and, says Gutsche, “anyone with a cutting-edge approach to music distribution.” The music industry’s focus on protecting CD sales prevented it from imagining a legal system for online distribution. Yet it still didn’t solve the problem: The demise of Napster only inspired more illegal file-sharing companies.

Lesson: You will only answer the problems you are trying to solve.

 

9. Learn from Failure

John Grisham was rejected by a dozen publishers before getting a deal. As a startup, Cisco was rejected by 76 venture capitalists before landing money. Thomas Edison, in his words, “discovered 1,000 ways not to make a light bulb” before hitting on a design that worked.

Lesson: Successful ideas first require excessive testing and experimental failure.

 

10. Create a Gambling Fund

In the late 1990s the BBC had no hit shows and was losing viewers. A new chief executive and chief financial officer introduced one small change to the broadcaster’s innovation process: They created a gambling fund to bet on risky ideas. The first big winner: Ricky Gervais’ series, The Office, which had failed the normal screening process.

Lesson: A simple gambling fund can be one of the most effective ways to tolerate failure.

 

11. Require Failure

IBM founder Thomas Watson Sr. refused the resignation of a manager who had just lost the company $10 million, saying, “You can’t be serious. We just spent $10 million educating you.” Former Warner Bros. Chairman Steven Ross went even further, firing people for not making mistakes.

Lesson: Fire people for not failing.

 

12. Meet Your Customer

General Motors was surprised when the Escalade, an SUV targeted at older, affluent males, became an icon for hip hop culture. To learn about his new customers, Cadillac’s head of external design went to a gritty corner in Detroit, waited for an Escalade to roll by, and asked the driver if he could join him.

Lesson: Customer obsession can be the fastest ways to gain perspective.

 

13. Act Crazy

A senior leader can unintentionally squelch the creativity of a group. Instead, he or she should throw out a wild, impractical idea at the start of a brainstorming session. That will help others in the group to think more freely (and to feel free to express themselves).

Lesson: The role of a leader is not to suggest great ideas, but to create an atmosphere that fosters the ideas of others.

 

14. Hire Freaks

As Tom Peters says, “freaks are the only—only—ones who make it into the history books.”

Lesson: Nontraditional thinkers offer the maverick ideas and the personality a company needs to adapt.

 

15. Become Leaderless

Rigid, centralized structures can squelch creativity. Organizations in which employees or members share a common mission and the freedom to pursue it are better incubators of new ideas and will grow and adapt more quickly. Two examples: 3M and Alcoholics Anonymous.

Lesson: To navigate chaos, organizations require the speed and capabilities that can only exist when employees are empowered.

 

16. Cross-pollinate

When Goldcorp, a small mining company, published the data for a site its geologists thought was barren, it received 110 new strategies for finding gold. The ideas came from chemists, mathematicians, military officers, and others, and the new methodologies helped the company find 8 million ounces of gold.

Lesson: The problems you are addressing have likely been tackled in parallel industries. Open the door to new methodologies.

 

17. Tear Down the Walls

Ask Brett Wilson, the CEO of FirstEnergy Capital, how his startup became No. 1 in the energy-trading industry, and he’ll tell you it’s because his office has no walls. He believes that formal offices and fancy chairs are a detriment to teamwork.

Lesson: Remove the walls that separate people and ideas.

 

18. Don’t Be Paralyzed by Change

The Benton Foundation didn’t let Microsoft digitize its Encyclopedia Britannica for fear of cannibalizing book sales, creating the opportunity for Microsoft Encarta. Years later, Microsoft was slow to move to the Web for fear of cannibalizing Encarta CD sales, which in turn created the opportunity for Wikipedia. If either the Benton Foundation or Microsoft had been willing to sacrifice the sales of their existing product in order to forge a new marketplace, they might still be the most-sourced encyclopedia today.

Lesson: Destroy value. It may seem impossible, but resistance will cause your organization to be displaced.

 

19. Prototype

Whether it’s a rough foam core model of a product or a video representing a service, prototypes allow you to interact with a developing idea and uncover problems that could hinder its success.

Lesson: The act of creating a physical prototype allows you to visualize the concept and obtain useful feedback.

 

20. Budget

When Michael Eisner took over a money-losing Disney, he imposed strict project budgets, insisting that employees fit their creative ideas inside the financial box. When the opening scene of the movie Outrageous Fortune required an additional set, for instance, the writers were forced to rewrite—and came up with a cheaper and more effective opener. Eisner’s philosophy helped Disney grow from a $2 billion market cap to more than $60 billion.

Lesson: Be creative within the box.

 

21. Leverage Uncertainty

Scanning the collapsing economy in 2009, Virgin Atlantic founder Sir Richard Branson saw opportunity: The price of planes was sure to come down, making it a good time to expand into Brazil and Russia.

Lesson: Uncertainty makes innovation less expensive.

 

22. Packaging Matters

In 2007 violinist Joshua Bell, who earns some $1,000 a minute when he’s on-stage at a high-end performance space such as Carnegie Hall, played Bach in the DC Metro during rush hour. Just seven people stopped to listen, and he earned $35. Bell is one of the world’s best violinists, but when he wasn’t packaged right, he didn’t sell well.

Lesson: The medium can ruin your message.

 

23. Articulate a Clear Mantra

Of the 15 major airlines flying in 1982, only one is profitable today: Southwest Airlines. That success is largely attributable to its founder’s relentless focus on being “the low-fare airline.” The mantra guides every employee’s actions and decisions, helping Southwest consistently deliver on its brand promise.

Lesson: A powerful mantra helps a company stay focused during times of dramatic change.

 

24. Hone Your Message

From product names to brand promises, strive to be simple, direct, and “supercharged.” The “I’ve got to tell someone” factor leads things to go viral. The Las Vegas restaurant Fleur de Lys missed an opportunity when they named their super deluxe hamburger the Fleurburger. A more simple, direct, and supercharged name: The $5,000 Hamburger.

Lesson: In traditional marketing, there is an emphasis on cliché, clever wording, and invented words. Instead, adopt a message that is simple and direct.

BOOK: Business model design for game changers

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business model generation

Are you constantly thinking about how to create value and build new businesses?

If your answer is yes then you’re like me and talk about business models in your sleep!

I was directed to a than can help us do just that!

Written by , , is a book written for people who want to design a better and different way to do business, in other words business model innovation.

City Of The Living Dead full

Although it doesn’t come out until a few weeks, I thought I’d give you guys a heads up and make sure you and read the 72 page preview of the book.

If you don’t know anything or just don’t understand what business models are, the downloadable book preview does a good job of explaining the basics of Business Model design such as the business model canvas which is a BIG picture view of your business seen through the eyes of a strategist.

If you’ve read , you’ll know this is going to be a great book!

Thanks to for pointing out the book!

Michael Jordan being MJ one last time

Michael Jordan is yet again , this time for his Hall of Fame induction speech!

Someone Like You… trailer I think the people who are taking his ‘talk’ the wrong way don’t really know who MJ the person really is. If you’ve ever read any of his or watched any of his interviews from his multiple you’ll understand why this ‘talk’ was typical MJ.

There’s nothing new in the speech that Palo Pinto Gold move didn’t already know about!

People have this expectation that these speeches should done in a certain way, thanking your mom, dad, kids, coaches, etc you get the point. We already know what to expect!

I do think he over talked on a few things such as the Jerry Krause stuff but I think and there’s nothing wrong with that, people should do it more often!

Michael’s stands out because he didn’t make a speech, he talked. He talked about why he feels he got to the HOF, .

Flashdance download

The Living and the Dead dvdrip

He said thanks as Michael Jordan…

GOAT

Wuthering Heights trailer

The Transporter video

 

The Story of Anyburg U.S.A. movie

 

Rebecca  

Weekend innovation tip: competitive advantage is temporary

the future is blurry

To stay relevant in a competitive world, we must act as though today’s advantage will be gone tomorrow.

Everybody wants to be the player that has it all figured out, the one that stays competitive in changing times, the one that stays ahead of the game and redefines the game for everyone else.

These players are rare!

Leadership Lesson: Don’t lay bricks. Build a cathedral

Bold compelling visions bring everyone together on a real purpose

I was going through the SmartBrief on leadership newsletter this morning and found a interesting read on a great , CEO of Ford.

Mr. Mulally was interviewed by the NYTimes, and was asked about what leadership lessons he had learned over his career. The gem that caught my attention was as story of the importance of having a vision: