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

9 Times Leaders Missed the Mark on Innovative Thoughts

Posted by Corie Roudebush Spialek on Sep 1, 2016 10:00:00 AM

I was recently searching for inspiration on what to write when I came across a list of creativity and innovation quotes.

What I found the most compelling was the list of creativity killers:

  1. "Everything that can be invented has been invented."
    - Charles H. Duell, Director of the U.S. Patent Office, 1899
  2. "Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote."
    - Grover Cleveland, 1905
  3. "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?"
    - Harry M. Warner, Warner Bros Pictures, 1927
  4. "There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom."
    - Robert Miliham, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1923
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Topics: innovation, Leading Innovation, stimulus mining

Take a Minute as a Leader to Think About 2,000 Tomorrow's from Now

Posted by Maggie Nichols on Aug 30, 2016 10:00:00 AM

For years I've run projects for large companies, small companies and all in between.  And for many of those years our company used a "gimme the ball" approach to creating ideas.  And with each session we focused first and foremost on the objective for the session, to make sure we got the company what they needed.  The objective setting conversation went something like this...

ThemWe'd like to create ideas ideas that we can launch soon - in the next 6-12 months - and also ideas that are further out.

UsWe can help you with either of those, but we know focus helps us increase our odds of success and that's particularly true with an objective.  With 2 targets we minimize our ability to do either one really well.  If you had to give a % of effort allocation between the 2 - short term versus long term - what would you say?

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Topics: Create, innovation, Leading Innovation

Learning vs failing: Five tips to encourage your employees

Posted by Corie Roudebush Spialek on Aug 25, 2016 10:24:49 AM

The following is reprinted with permission from Innovation Engineering Black Belt, Rhonda Honke at inVision Edge.


When I was younger, experiments were saved for science class. We’d formulate some sort of hypothesis, mix a concoction in a beaker, heat it up and watch it overflow like lava. We’d document what we did, the results we achieved, and make a call as to whether or not we proved out our hypothesis. Sometimes we were right and sometimes we were wrong — regardless, we always learned something as a result.

So here is the burning question: why have we, as adults, become so afraid of failure? The answer: Because it requires us to be vulnerable, and that incites fear. The average organization encourages learning but frowns on failure — giving employees the message that they had better be sure their hypothesis is correct before they even test it.

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Topics: leadership, fail fast fail cheap

4 Easy Steps to Get the Most Out of Your Employees

Posted by Brad Hall on Aug 23, 2016 10:20:47 AM

We all have great people that work for us but sometimes it can be hard to get their full potential out of them.  These four steps are easy things to do that can help get the most out of the people you have working for you.

1. Set a mission and some boundaries:
No matter what it is every task from the smallest day to day thing to drastic changes in your company should have a mission and some boundaries to it.  How detailed these things are change depending on what it is of course.  For making a part in a factory the mission can be as simple as produce x number of parts per hour; while the boundaries could be the tolerances the part has to be within.  On the other end of the spectrum is your companies strategic planning for the year where the mission is where you want the company to head and your boundaries are the things you want to avoid or how much resources you can devote to it.  In the end everything that happens within our companies has a mission and boundaries and you should take the time to consider them even if it’s just in an informal way.

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Topics: Leading Innovation, strategy, alignment

How To Believe That the Impossible is Possible With Innovation

Posted by Greg Lemmon on Aug 16, 2016 12:02:40 PM

The Olympic games have been a lot of fun to watch this year. While it is exciting when your country or favorite athlete wins gold, it is also exciting to see athletes break world records. 

In London 24 world records were broken and as I’m writing this there have been 21 records broken in Rio. These records are the result of innovation. People are not only working harder, but working smarter. Better competition, better technology, and sadly in some cases better drug cheating. We see the result of all the progress on display during the games, but just like when an organization ships a new innovation, we don’t see all the work that made the once impossible, possible.

Doing something new to the world is clearly a great way to win. It is tough to lose a race while running faster than every human in history.  But with this uniqueness comes doubt. It isn’t believable to others that you can do the impossible even while you’re doing it.

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Topics: innovation, innovation system

Innovation is not about Innovation

Posted by Jesse Bechtold on Aug 11, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Once upon a time,  our magazine news consumption was somewhat easier.  We were constrained by what you could afford to buy and carry around, if you subscribed, the updates came either weekly or monthly.  If you did pay-as-you-go it was necessary to find a way to the news counter.  It was not unknown for me to get through a month with but a single copy of National Lampoon Magazine…and my books…The Lord of the Rings, Catch 22, The House of Sixty Fathers.

Now I am older, more proper, more mature, as a friend of mine says.

I have an assistive reading, or hand-held, device.

No excuse to not be current on business and innovation.  Just to be sure, this past week I saw a list of the 5 Most Important Business Magazines.  Not to be outdone, I saw a competing list of the 10 Most Important Business Magazines (yes, there was overlap).  This longer list was followed by another 81 recommended business magazines.  Any of these can be delivered to my hand-held device immediately upon the release of any new story.  Not only can I get the story via their “app”, I can get an email or I can get a “twitter-thing” about it.

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Topics: Create, innovation, stimulus mining

Innovation Training: Fast Food And Fast Thinking

Posted by Corie Roudebush Spialek on Aug 10, 2016 2:46:26 PM

People often ask us where to start and what about training?  We wanted to share one companies experience with the trianing we LOVE the most:


Picture the scene: ‘Eureka Ranch’ in suburban Ohio; a meeting of professional minds from such diverse backgrounds as an international supermarket giant, Hawaiian culture programme INPEACE and a Canadian fish company; a super-charged week of 12 hour days with exercises timed against the clock and assignments graded in real time; a ‘no whining’ policy in place; and American-sized food portions and a self-serve M&M bar that would keep us fueled throughout.

It was the scene of our ‘Blue-Belt’ training in Innovation Engineering last month. IE is a world class innovation system deployed by power brands like P&G and with $8 billion worth of innovations in active development. The claims are no less impressive than its calibre: increasing speed to market by up to six times and reducing risk by 30-80%, and they have data from more than 20,000 innovations and 33 years of quantitative research to back it up.

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Topics: innovation, Leading Innovation, innovation system, innovation training, Education

What’s Your Innovation Fear?

Posted by David Lafkas on Aug 9, 2016 10:00:00 AM

We all have fears. 

Some are rational, some are not. 

Some drive us to action, some freeze us into stagnation.

When innovating, one must drive out fear in oneself and one’s team.  It is only through reducing fear that we can drive the action forward and to success.

Which of the following fears is the biggest for you and your team, and what could you do to reduce each to help your innovation?

Atelophobia – fear of not being good enough or imperfection. 

Allow yourself or your team to “fail.”  None of us get it right the first time.  Remember learning to ride a bike?  You fall - a lot.  You get scratched up.  But, you get back up on that bike and start balancing and pedaling again.  Same in innovating.  When you or your team falls short of what you had hoped, share that learning with the team and together pivot and improve so next time is better.  And then celebrate that failure so everyone understands that is OK and something that should happen.

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Topics: innovation, Math, decisions

Innovation Pop Quiz, Will You Pass?

Posted by Maggie Slovonic Pfeifer on Aug 5, 2016 1:54:06 PM

Is Innovation a priority where you work?

Is “being Innovative” one of your skill sets?

Okay, Pop Quiz.

1. Can you DEFINE "Innovation"?

2. Are you having FUN Innovating? 

3. Can you REPLICATE success with Innovation? 

Let's see how you did. 

1. DEFINITION: If you answered yes, my follow on question to you is, "Is
your definition the the same as the one your coworkers would give?" If you can't define it, how do you know if you're doing it? Or doing it well?

We use a simple definition. Innovation is equal to Meaningful Uniqueness. A Meaningfully Unique idea or solution meets the following criteria; A) the idea is MEANINGFUL to three parties, the organization, the customer/stakeholder, and the individual who works on it, and B) the idea is UNIQUE compared with alternative options. 

This definition guides our work. We often say, if you're not Meaningfully Unique, you better be cheap. And that applies to your product, service, processes, and YOU as an individual. 

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Topics: innovation, Education

Innovation is about things you DON'T do

Posted by Maggie Nichols on Aug 2, 2016 10:34:22 AM

Leading Innovation is about choices.  The big choice to do innovation could almost be considered the easy one.  Innovation is shown to make a meaningful impact to a bottom line, to a company’s return, to employee pocket books, and morale.  Doing the new thing isn’t necessarily hard, it’s NOT doing other things that forces you to make choices that’s hard.

When innovation is at stake, when you have people clamoring, “We can’t work any more!  Our plates are full!  Innovation is nice, but we have no time!  We’re too busy!”  It would be easy at that point to walk away and just put off the innovation decision until later.  Until the day when your employees come back and tell you, “What else can we do for you?  We’ve finished all of our tasks early and we’d like to do more.  We noticed that earnings aren’t what they once were so we’d like to give back a bit of our pay.”  (And if you’re saying to yourself, that’s a long-shot - you’d be right.)

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Topics: innovation, Leading Innovation

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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