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

What Will You Innovate & Build?

Posted by David Lafkas on Dec 13, 2016 10:12:22 AM

In 1947, Ole Kirk Christiansen purchased a plastic injection-molding machine.  Some questioned why he did so, because for the previous 17 years he had been a carpenter and made primarily wooden toys, including traditional stackable wooden blocks.

By 1951, more than half of the outputs from Christiansen’s toy company were plastic.  This despite his native country’s trade magazine, Toy-Times, believing that plastic would never be able to replace traditional wooden toys.

The plastic toys that Christiansen’s toy company became known for were interlocking bricks, which we all know of as the familiar Lego bricks.

Those simple interlocking plastic bricks have developed into a subculture, six theme parks, video and board games, movies, and clothing.  By July 2015, it is estimated that 600 billion Lego parts have been produced, and Lego was named one of the world’s most powerful brands.

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Topics: Create, leadership, passion, decisions

3 Reasons an Idea Ships

Posted by Greg Lemmon on Sep 22, 2016 10:16:44 AM

There are lots of reasons why ideas ship and plenty more why they don’t. I wanted to use this blog post to highlight the real reasons why a core innovation I developed shipped.

Reason Number 1: It solved a PROBLEM.

The customer’s problem was that it is difficult to resolve killer issues within a project. My idea was to make it easy to problem solve by immediately providing helpful stimulus with a click of a button.

But it wasn’t enough to just solve the customers’ problem, it also solved a problem for us that the current TRIZ tool wasn’t being used as much as it should be based on how effective it is.

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Topics: Create, innovation, alignment

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

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

3 Places for Free Idea Starters

Posted by David Lafkas on Jul 7, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Having an innovation block?  Need to kickstart a project?  Here’s three places I go to get out of an idea rut to jump start my mental processes.

  1. Patent Databases.  Did you know that they are not just for attorneys or inventors?  Are recipe books only for top chefs?  Like recipe books, patents tell you how to make inventions.  And if you search the older patents, you can find some inventions that you are free to copy EXACTLY as the patent outlines.  Or, if you want to be more savvy, find those older free-to-copy patents and improve them and protect that improvement for yourself. 
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Topics: Create, stimulus mining, Patents

Do You Use The Product You Sell?

Posted by Corie Roudebush Spialek on Jun 30, 2016 10:00:30 AM

I hope that everyone got a chance to read Maggie’s post on Tuesday,“Get the "Close to the Work" ReEnergizer.” It was a great post about how doing the work can bring life back to a leader.  I want to build on that and talk about not just helping to create ideas, but the importance of understanding and using the product you are innovating.

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Topics: Create, Leading Innovation

Get the "Close to the Work" ReEnergizer

Posted by Maggie Nichols on Jun 28, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Most everyone want to be the leader.  Over the course of your career you're groomed and goaded to "get to the top."  Because when you get there, you get to do the real stuff.  You get to direct, not do.  To make all the best decisions that the yutzes before you missed.  To
inspire.  To be the envy of your peers.  And when you get to the top, it might indeed be all those things.  But it will also be many other things - annoying, frustrating, stressful, tiring, overwhelming...the list goes on.  And while I can't help you overcome all those things in one blog post, I can help you with one:  HOW DO YOU GET ENERGY as a leader? 

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Topics: Create, innovation, Leading Innovation

A 20 Million Dollar Innovation Pipeline in Less Then 8 Hours

Posted by Corie Roudebush Spialek on May 31, 2016 3:00:54 PM

Last week we held the 4th Annual Innovation Engineering Conference at Eureka! Ranch.  At the conference we created disruptive "leap" innovations in less then 8 hours on the first full day.

In truth - these types of big ideas that "matter" are no harder to create and develop then small ideas. That's because:

1) Innovation Leaps are changes that are worth the effort i.e. "they are cool stuff that matter"

2) Innovation Leaps have upside potential that creates pull within the organization

3) Innovation Leaps are a ton of fun to work on as they are truly Meaningfully Unique.

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Topics: Create, innovation

It’s About an Adventure not an Offering

Posted by Brad Hall on May 19, 2016 11:04:20 AM

In today's world the market is flooded with offerings, some of them are great and others are terrible. But, there's enough people trying - that just having a spectacular product or service isn't enough anymore. You need to go beyond just an amazing offering and create a one of a kind experience that truly brings your offering to life for the customer.

When you're designing a new offering or just rethinking a current offering you should consider the whole that the customer will experience and how that affects them. One of the easiest examples is a restaurant. When you walk through the door the decorations and atmosphere should immediately set the stage for what's to come. You're seated and everything from the chairs, to the table cloth, to the lighting helps further the image that's been set.

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Topics: Create, innovation, Communicate

3 Overlooked Sources for Game Changing Ideas

Posted by Corie Roudebush Spialek on Mar 29, 2016 10:00:00 AM

It is time to innovate, it is time to make changes to your current offerings, but you are just flat tired and out of ideas. If your company is like over 90% of all organizations out there when it is time to to talk new products & services you call R&D, marketing, and at some companies you call on the internal innovation group.  Every one sits around the table and you start throwing out ideas, but nothing ever feels truly new or different.

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Topics: Create, innovation, stimulus mining

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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