Igniting Innovation: Tips, Sparks and Ideas for Acting on Innovation

Maggie Slovonic Pfeifer

Maggie Slovonic Pfeifer
Maggie P. is the Director of Education, fearlessly leading and teaching 1,000s of students around the world the best practices for innovation and applying systems thinking to their lives and organizations.
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Recent Posts

3 Things you can do NOW to Grow your Innovation Pipeline

Posted by Maggie Slovonic Pfeifer on Dec 29, 2015 10:00:00 AM

During the last quarter of 2015, the Innovation Engineering team did an analysis of InnovationEngineeringLabs.com, a web-based portal through which thousands of organizations run their innovation system. The purpose of the analysis was to zero in on the actions that caused growth to the Innovation Pipeline's value (which is most often reported in dollars). Because the value of your Innovation Pipeline is how we measure the health of your innovation system. 

The good news is, there is no mystical recipe for success. The types of things that influence pipeline value are very intuitive. In fact, you can set yourself up for a better year by simply taking a look at the calendar for 2016 and blocking off some key activities NOW!

The top 3 activities that trigger growth to an innovation pipeline are 1) Sessions, 2) Learning Cycles, and 3) Collaborations. 

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Topics: Create, innovation, collaboration, fail fast fail cheap

Is It Time To Kill My Innovation Project?

Posted by Maggie Slovonic Pfeifer on Nov 24, 2015 10:00:00 AM

So, I’m coaching an innovation project team right now and I can’t decide if I should recommend that they kill it, or if I should suggest they try to reinvent it. The decision will ultimately be up to the team, specifically the leader of the project, but I know I can help frame their options.

The team was really energized at the start. But over the last few weeks, they’ve discovered information that has proven their original hypothesis wrong. So, we are left with an idea that doesn’t look like it could be unique in the market or profitable for their company.

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Topics: innovation, Leading Innovation, strategy

Innovation Training Principle 3: Sustain With Communication

Posted by Maggie Slovonic Pfeifer on Oct 1, 2015 10:00:00 AM

In the last few weeks I've discussed in depth 3 Simple Principles for Thinking about Innovation Training.  We've covered starting with the willing and educate and enable.  Today lets dig into number 3: Sustain with Communication. 

We've found the key to sustaining innovation culture change is to create the sense that people are a part of something bigger then themselves. Belonging to a group gives strength to the new mindset. It provides reinforcement, purpose, and meaning to life and work.

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Topics: innovation, collaboration, training, innovation training

Innovation Training Principle 2: Educate & Enable

Posted by Maggie Slovonic Pfeifer on Sep 24, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Today I'm going to continue to dig deeper into the 3 Simple Principles for Thinking about Innovation Training.  

Last week we talked about how you should start with the willing. This week lets dig into Principle 2: Educate & Enable. After you identify the willing you want to educate them & give them the opportunity to implement their new skills. I recommend that you only train folks when you can give them a clear, and strategically aligned, are to innovate within. For example, " We need ideas for how to 10X the number of face-to-face conversations we have with potential customer," or "We need ideas for new streams of revenue to fund our wildlife research." If possible, before they complete your training program, they will have a specific objective to work on.

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Topics: innovation, Leading Innovation, innovation training

Innovation training Principle 1: Start With the Willing

Posted by Maggie Slovonic Pfeifer on Sep 17, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Last week I shared part of a piece I wrote for Innovation Leader3 Simple Principles for Thinking About Innovation Training.  This week lets dig deeper into the first principle - Start with the Willing.  

For those that didn't see my post last week I'll do a quick recap.  When starting an innovation training program leaders, manager, and employees need to make the decision to adopt a new mindset.  Remember, you cannot force it. When you make it the employee's choice, rather than a mandate, the first wave of trainees will be those who are most likely to influence the culture at your organization, in other words, they will be your change agents.  From there each subsequent wave will be influenced by the first.

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Topics: innovation, Leading Innovation, innovation training

3 Simple Principles for thinking about Innovation Training

Posted by Maggie Slovonic Pfeifer on Sep 10, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Our friends at Innovation Leader recently reached out to us and asked if we would answer a question from one of their readers.   Below is an excerpt from Maggie Pfeifer, Director of Education, response to the question:

Q&A: How to start training on innovation?

This member question was answered by Maggie Pfeifer, Director of Education at Eureka! Ranch, which is a nearly 30-year-old firm that has developed a method for increasing innovation speed and decreasing risk. A partner of Innovation Leader, Eureka! developed a field of study known as “Innovation Engineering” with the University of Maine. Because of Eureka’s extensive experience educating executives at many of our members’ companies, we thought Maggie was uniquely positioned to answer this member question…

Question: Was fascinated by the educational / training data in your 2015 Innovation Benchmarking Report. We’re in the process of starting an educational / training initiative around innovation, and could use some guidance on where to start. Is there a typical starting point for these programs? We’re a relatively big company (15,000+ employees) and are struggling with whether we begin in marketing, product management, product development, executive management, etc. Any thoughts or best practices or the progression / trajectory of such programs???

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Topics: innovation, Leading Innovation, leadership

How to Organize Your Company for Innovation Success

Posted by Maggie Slovonic Pfeifer on Jul 28, 2015 3:02:00 PM

Here is a simple three step process - when it comes to organizing innovation project success:

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Topics: innovation, Leading Innovation, culture change

Welcome to the first blog from the Eureka! Ranch and Innovation Engineering Institute team.  Here you will find a diverse group of innovators dedicated to changing the world by transforming innovation from a random gamble to a reliable system that delivers increased innovation speed and decreased risk.


So, many exciting things are going on at Eureka! Ranch and with Innovation Engineering don't miss out on anything:

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