Innovate and They Will Come

I know I’m late responding to this ad by Accenture, but I saw it today in the airport and it made me smile. Why? Because it is so “Field of Dreams”. There are so many assertions that are wrong with the statement that one hardly knows where to begin. First, innovation should be pursued in context of user needs. Inside-out innovation driven by products or technologies is rarely successful. Any one of us can point at many products that were built with the hopes that they met customer needs, and market plans that projected hockey stick adoption curves. But innovation doesn’t happen well in a vacuum. Second, who is this “they” the article asserts will come? The market at large? Your existing customers? New prospects? People you didn’t want as customers? Innovation should solve specific problems felt by people or prospects …

Posted in Innovation | 1 Comment
The Grass is Always Bluer

I’ve been asked to visit the Bluegrass Region in Kentucky on February 7-8 to help catalyze a community conversation on turning the region into an entrepreneurial and innovation hotspot. Why is it you can stand on your head and scream from the rooftops in your own hometown, with few listening, while the same message resonates in the community right next door? I guess it’s true when they say the grass is always greener, or in this case bluer! I can’t wait to visit Lexington and Louisville to spark an important conversation among the many passionate entrepreneurs, innovators, and community leaders who are working hard to transform their local economy. One of the essential ingredients to transforming any economy is an optimistic and passionate group of change agents and catalysts. The Bluegrass Region is fortunate to have many including Eric Patrick Marr the founder of LeXenomics, who I …

Posted in Entrepreneurship, Government, Innovation, collaboration | 1 Comment
Leadership & Age

When it come to leadership age doesn’t matter – competency does. History is full of examples of leaders who have succeeded and failed at every age. The intangibles of passion, character, commitment, discernment, and talent are of infinitely greater importance than someones date of birth. I don’t care about your generational category (Gen X, Gen Y, or Boomer), but I do care about your ability to contribute. In today’s post I’ll give you a different take on the topic of ageism. Whether your advantage is youth or experience isn’t really the issue – competency is. Regardless of your age, venturing beyond your area(s) of competency can be a very dangerous thing to do. It has been my experience that there are generally two types of people: those that don’t know what they don’t know, and those that do know what they don’t know. All other things being …

Posted in Leadership, Leadership & Infrastructure, Management, Psychology | 2 Comments
An Open Letter to President Obama

“We need to out-innovate, outeducate, and outbuild the rest of the world” – President Obama — In reading the stories and quotes from last night’s State of the Union address by President Obama, it is clear, and frustrates me to no end, that my government talks a lot about innovation but still does not understand how to foster it. Innovation in America, especially in the short term, is not achieved by pumping huge sums of money into government-sponsored research and development efforts. Continue reading

Posted in Government, Headlines, Innovation, Leadership & Infrastructure | 17 Comments
For Sale - Innovative Business Idea

A few years ago I looked around the corporate and consulting landscapes and I noticed that there was a talent gap in both places. There are many occasions when consulting firms look to their bench and don’t have the talent they need there to fulfill a client need right away and so sometimes they lose business to their competition. And on the corporate side, there are many occasions when a manager or director has more work than they can possibly do themselves and what they really need is not a consultant but a smart, flexible resource that can parachute in and get up to speed helping them very fast. Having been called in to fill both of these kinds of gaps from time to time alerted me to the existence of these two market needs, and so I started to create extendedbench.com. There is definitely a need for an ‘extended … Continue reading

Posted in Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Management | 1 Comment
When Innovation Efforts Are a Waste

… of Money, Time, Resources by Stefan Lindegaard I just had an interesting discussion that inspired me to write down some thoughts on the innovation work I do – and have done – with companies over the years. For your information, I most often work with innovation leaders, the people in charge of making innovation happen within their companies. Occasionally, I also work directly with executives. Consultants including myself hope and believe that we can have a real impact, but we are most often kidding ourselves as well as our clients. We can bring great theories and lessons from other companies to the table, but it simply does not matter if the company is not really ready for it. This readiness is usually based in two things: The company has a burning platform. Change needs to happen in order to survive. The executives are truly committed to innovation. This is … Continue reading

Posted in Innovation, Leadership, Management | 1 Comment
The Future of Management (and Education)

And the State Of Design Thinking by Idris Mootee I get a lot of requests to speak to the business and design communities about the state of “design thinking” and how it is being practiced. Talking about what that means is one thing but practicing it in the real world is a different thing. Idea Couture is probably the first large scale experiment built from day one to apply design thinking in the most sophisticated setting. I see Idea Couture as a work in progress (and will be for another 3 years) that serves as a real world laboratory for fostering collaboration between the information design, engineering, foresight, visual art and industrial design in applied complex business problem solving. Our firm practices reflective collaboration – bringing interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary teams together to visually model complex systems and industry structures to yield new insights and foresights. The results improve the quality … Continue reading

Posted in Creativity, Management, Psychology, collaboration, culture, education | 4 Comments