Monthly Archives: August 2010

Inspiring the Minds of Children (The Answers)

Last week I posted a couple of homework questions from Lancaster Royal Grammar School’s InspirUS program. If you didn’t get them, don’t feel bad. These problems baffled just about every adult I showed them to. And just think: these are questions for students in grades 3 and 4! In case you don’t remember, here they are again: 1.) What Comes ...

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What do we do when the well runs dry?

Creating stuff on a set schedule is incredibly difficult. I’m writing this on the way back from a family reunion in Canada, and I had figured that I would have some sort of explosion of ideas and inspiration. But instead of sitting here staring blankly at a screen. As refreshing and beautiful as the trip was, I got nothin’ in ...

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Can you have Innovation without Exnovation?

I was some time back reminded about the term “exnovation” in an interim report prepared for NESTA by the City University, London and the Work Psychology Group entitled “Characteristics & Behaviors of Innovative People in Organizations.” Exnovation is if you were unaware, is at the end of the innovation life-cycle, where it “discards” or even purges existing practices to allow ...

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Old Invention Transformed into an Innovation

In 1960, Corning Incorporated, the world leader in specialty glass and ceramics, launched “Project Muscle” to find a glass as strong as steel. The project was a success. According to the Associated Press (AP), in 1964, “Corning devised an ingenious method called ‘fusion draw’ to make super-thin, unvarying flat glass.” They called the glass “Chemcor™.” But, “Project Muscle” was also ...

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Innovation is Interrelated and Interdependent

One of the most illuminating comments I heard recently in a training program we offered was one participant’s realization that innovation, especially bringing a new idea to fruition, might require more than just product innovation. It may involve innovating the way the firm thinks, the way it works, how it manages and how it performs. In other words, when you ...

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Do you know what business you are NOT in?

The title of this post was the original working title of the Harvard Business Review article that I co-authored that was published in 2008. I still use the phrase often, for the simple reason that it is very frequently the case that where a company makes its money isn’t where we would expect. The fact that McDonald’s is the largest ...

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Open Innovation Summit 2010 – Day One Wrapup

I’m currently attending the Open Innovation Summit 2010 organized by the World Research Group in Chicago – Key corporate presenters include Cisco, P&G, J&J, HP, Clorox, etc. Key Learnings from Unilever: For Open Innovation to succeed you need diverse teams with members that have seven key soft skills: Intrapreneurial skills Talent relationship building Strategic influencing Quick study Tolerance of uncertainty ...

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Finding Opportunities in Fragmentation

Point: If you’re looking for a new business opportunity, look for individually-fragmented but collectively large areas of economic activity, such as where individuals or small business own a large segment of the market Story: A business model that connects small businesses and individuals to markets and automates tedious tasks was common to three of 11 new start-ups seeking funding at ...

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Innovation Hall of Mirrors

It is too easy and wrong to think that innovators are egocentric, always admiring themselves and their accomplishments in the mirror. They are confident but not self absorbed and impervious to outside input. If anything innovators are vulnerable, self aware, and open to diverse and critical input to improve their ideas and concepts. The view they see while looking into ...

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