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First principles thinking: a better way to innovate

-+*“If it’s a sure bet, we’re not interested,” – Jay Schnitzer, former director of Darpa’s Defense Sciences Office Solving problems no one else has encountered, that’s what I like to do. Last year, I was in the beginning stages of developing a new non-existent case study venture with a friend. At one point during the […]

The 7 essential innovation questions

-+*The path to innovation usually starts with a question. That’s what Autodesk’s Innovation Genome Project developed after it tried to quantify what worked about the 1,000 greatest innovations of all time. With that data in hand, they quickly identified seven questions that famous innovators have consistently asked and answered to generate ideas that can lead […]

Why deadlines impede innovation

-+*It’s almost impossible to come up with really innovative things when you have a deadline and schedule. It is no secret that constraints drive innovation. But what about deadlines? Deadlines, when managed well, can be a motivation–but when abused, can set you back. Here are a few things to consider before jumping on the “deadlines […]

So what? Finding a hook for your idea is an innovation imperative

-+*Innovative ideas, initiatives, products, culture transformations, have little chance to succeed if they aren’t enabled by smart communications. And it all starts with a simple and easily understood message.  I’m in the process (pre-production) of co-producing a film with a Director friend of mine. The idea for the film wasn’t mine, so one of the […]

3 tips that will help you better define a problem

-+*If you start with the wrong problem, it’s unlikely you’ll ever arrive at an effective solution. Think about a problem you’d really like to solve, and before you spend a lot of time and energy trying to solve that problem, first define exactly what the problem is. Or better yet, redefine the problem.

How to learn your way to not caring about what anybody thinks

-+*In their most recent book, Think Like A Freak, Steve Levitt and Stephen Dubmer tell the story of the penalty kicks in soccer to highlight how incentives move us. According to them, the data shows that 75% of all penalty kicks at the elite level are successful. That’s a high rate, but what can you do […]

Is too much collaboration bad for innovation?

-+*All great achievements came about through collaboration. But, sometimes too much collaboration inhibits our ability to think creatively. Last week’s post about what impedes employees from being innovative in the workplace generated some discussion. My point that managers, meetings, emails and phone calls get in the way of inspiration was not well received because those […]