Archive for: November, 2009

Must read innovation stories of the week: Dare to question the status quo

Nothing is ever set in stone.

The status quo (how things are ‘normally done’) is usually something that is taken for granted like a religion, it makes people feel safe because it becomes something very predictable. As we grow older this natural tendency to conform and comply to set behaviors becomes worse because we need life to be more predictable, but the truth is we live in a world that’s in constant flux where nothing ever stays the same.

To counter this we must call on our inner child (yes we all have it and it’s still there). As a child everything was to be discovered, questioning the world around them is something very natural. We never stopped asking ‘WHY’.

Do you know It’s because of their never ending attempt to getting to the truth.

And just like a kid to whom everything is new, we too must regain our sense of wonder by questioning how the world is supposed to work. If we truly want to change the world we have to questions the status quo.

When was the last time you dared question the status quo?



What is strategy? Part deux

what is strategy

“Anyone can plan a campaign, but few are capable of waging war, because only a true military genius can handle the developments and circumstances.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

There’s was a last week, and I thought I put some more thought into it and clarify my point of view that strategy does require planning, but only to prepare your mind.

? I’ve talked about this before and defined strategy as:

The essence of strategy is not to carry out a brilliant plan that proceeds in steps; it is to put yourself in situations where you have more options than everyone else. Instead of going for A as the single right answer, true strategy is positioning yourself to be able to do A, B or C depending on the situation.

Weekend innovation tip: Create new products and services using subtractive thinking

subtractive thinking

How do you create new products and services that deliver new value?

Using subtractive thinking by:


+ Create: Develop by designing from scratch
+ Improve: Build upon by enhancing what already exists


– Reduce: Minimize by taking down to the bare essentials
– Eliminate: Remove by doing away with entirely

Subtractive thinking applies to Business Models, Product Design and Brand Development. Here are some successful examples:

  • Saturn removed negotiations from the car buying experience.
  • Subway removed the traditional kitchen from the fast food restaurant.
  • Netflix removed the storefront from video rentals.
  • Little Caesar’s removed the restaurant from the pizzeria.
  • Apple removed complexity from the user interface.
  • Yellow Tail removed the pretension from selecting wine.


Must read innovation stories of the week: Can a successful innovation be predicted? Yes

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According to Phil Koos, by being aware of changing consumer needs innovation can be predicted.

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Great innovation builds on what comes before it and does not require people to make radical changes in beliefs or behavior. What often looks like breakthrough innovation is actually a small advance or twist on an established idea. That the change is evolutionary, however, doesn’t keep its impact from being revolutionary. Monitoring market evolution across the globe over time reveals patterns consistent across categories and markets. Consumer needs evolve in predictable ways. There are waves of successful mass-market innovation that mirror a natural evolution in consumer needs.



The Assassination of Richard Nixon film

Body Armour trailer

Gary Hamel: How to stay ahead of change


An adaptable company is always reinventing itself, always pioneering new markets.

I’ve been writing a lot about (also and ) recently and with good reasons, it’s THE most important skill any business or person can have. Prof. Gary Hamel published a couple of blog posts that he calls his never-to-be published book on , it is separated into 6 chapters of which here are the main ideas of each:


  1. It’s hard to out-run the future if you don’t see it coming.
  2. To change an organization you must first change minds.
  3. To give up the bird in the hand you must first see a flock in the bush.
  4. Nimble and quick beats big and beefy.
  5. Surrender your freedoms reluctantly; guard your liberties diligently.
  6. You have to build adaptability into your company’s DNA.

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Are you meeting change head on or are you staying ahead of it?

Build your innovation team around 3 types of innovators

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Recent research suggests that an is made up of certain characteristics, the fun part is putting these people together in a team and letting the sparks fly. Companies such as design powerhouse IDEO are know to have diverse types of people on their teams to source ideas from different points of views which not only helps in having a ton of ideas but also in finding converging ideas.

buy A Face in the Crowd

In the presentation above Julian Keith Loren presents an interesting approach to building an innovation team by separating the specialists from the generalists.

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What do you think?

Follow Julian on Twitter

Mulan move

Weekend innovation tip: Use the Phoenix checklist to develop an original solution

Keeping a checklist of questions close to you (Moleskine notebook, Evernote) comes in very handy when you need some creative firepower. When presented with a challenge, knowing what to ask is the difference between doing more of the same and doing something extraordinary. was developed by the CIA to encourage agents to look at a challenge from different angles.

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Using Phoenix is like holding your challenge in your hand. You can turn it, look at it from the sides, from underneath, from above, giving you all the angles to arrive at an original solution.


Use the Phoenix to !