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

4 Different Types of Innovation Sessions

Posted by Jesse Bechtold on Mar 8, 2016 10:00:00 AM

I read an article encouraging leaders of organizations to have more ceremonies.  Bring people together and have a ceremony to launch a new product or a new market, ceremonies for reaching a goal or some personal achievements.   Ceremonies energize and build excitement. The author gave the example of Steve Jobs bringing his developers together and, while on stage, ceremoniously burying an effigy of an old version of OS in a casket while the developers cheered and mocked mourning.

Bringing people together also has a powerful impact on your innovation program.  In fact, the most impactful thing you can do to grow the value of your innovation pipelineis to run more sessions.  Each person coming to a session brings stimulus from their varied backgrounds, education and stimulus mining.  A group provides diversity of thinking styles and experiences.  And sessions provide us freedom within a framework to reduce the fear that is naturally part of exploring new ideas.  Stimulus, diversity and reduced fear, the three key variables in great innovation, are all the benefits of a well run innovation session.

We recommend four different types of innovation sessions:

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Topics: Create, innovation, diversity, innovation pipeline

Fear of the Fresh Start

Posted by Scott Dunkle on Feb 11, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Throw away your lowest performing, most confusing product or idea. Do it. Now. Throw it away.

Okay, let’s make it again. A fresh start, if you will. How would you go about it differently? How would it look, act, or feel different? No! Do not go over and pull it out of the trash to get ideas - they’re already in your head, and that is half of the problem.

Let’s start with a couple questions:

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Topics: Create, innovation

Why Talking About the Worst Idea is the Best Idea

Posted by Brad Hall on Jan 14, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Too often we only want to see a polished version of a new idea before we even start to discuss it or make decisions on it.  The problem is by the time the creator of the idea gets to a polished state they’ve already invested their time and energy into it and will try and defend it exactly how they’ve made it.  This mentality is okay to have later on in the process when you’re reviewing an idea before it ships or you invest a lot of money in it to make sure it’s the best it possibly is.  Any other time be it in the very early stages or during development when you’re making trade offs this mentality will just slow you down and can lead to a needlessly killed idea or sub-par idea moving forward.

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Topics: Create, innovation, Communicate

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

Drop Some of That Innovation Baggage

Posted by Scott Dunkle on Dec 8, 2015 10:00:00 AM

So your company is going to do a Create Session to come up with some new ideas for products to pursue? What about all the in-process or already delivered ideas in your current pipeline, do you have the space and capacity for them all?

Companies large and small frequently face the challenge of allocating resources when new shiny ideas come along, even those as big as Apple.

The time and money to remove a project or product from the portfolio may deter you as much as starting a new one.

In the web development space, we call this technical debt. Technical debt is basically items that need to be finished in order to consider a project complete, but are often pushed off until later due to changing direction or focus. When too much debt builds up, you have more items to take into account as new ideas are piled on.

Technical, or Design Debt tends to develop out of business pressures, lack of proper resources, and lack of alignment with business goals and mission during the life cycle of an idea.

Example: Have you ever moved to a new house or apartment with the aspiration of getting rid of all your junk before you moved, only to end up packing it up and moving a majority of it at the end due to lack of time?

According to entertainer and home decorating guru Martha Stewart, “Getting rid of clutter will reduce housework by 40 percent”.

How many of us would enjoy ridding ourselves of 40 percent of the tedious mundane daily work to focus more on the shiny new ideas? I’ve seen that light at the end of the tunnel and it looks glorious.

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Topics: Create, innovation, Innovation Culture

How To Recognize the Illusive Silver Bullet Idea

Posted by Maggie Nichols on Nov 19, 2015 10:00:00 AM

You and your team are brainstorming to create something meaningfully unique for your customers. You dig down deep to find the nerve to share your crazed idea with your team. You suck in a breath and blurt out…

My idea is (blah blah blah.)”

Then you wait for the following signs that yours was indeed “the big idea.” :

  1. The Mood Transforms. Strangely, the wind inside your HVAC-pumped conference room starts to gently blow your hair back. It smells of fresh cut grass and hope.
    Outside the window you see the heavens open up. As you draw close to the window you can hear music in the distance - a beautiful sweet melody and angels sing.
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Topics: Create, innovation

One of the Best Innovation Tools Was First Used in  The 1950s

Posted by Corie Roudebush Spialek on Oct 22, 2015 10:00:00 AM

When thinking about innovation and developing new ideas or systems have you ever considered just blowing up the entire thing? Hitting the reset button? Consider, you come in to work tomorrow and your #1 product no longer exists, and you can never get it back. What would you do?

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Topics: Create, innovation, leadership, Dr. Deming

An Easy Brainstorming Tool

Posted by Corie Roudebush Spialek on Jul 21, 2015 8:00:00 AM

We've all been invited to brainstorming sessions where you walk into a board room with white walls a big conference table and probably a chart pad or white board on the wall.  The host then says we need BIG ideas  - okay, go...crickets...crickets.  Someone finally speaks up - throws out an idea and it is immediately shot down for a million different reasons. A few more ideas might be tossed around, but it all ends the same - everyone is bored and frustrated and no one feels like the problem was actually solved.  If you are lucky the host tried to be "creative" and might of brought a few Nerf guns and possibly some other toys to make everyone feel even more "creative." No matter what it ended in the same way a few ideas, nothing anyone is that excited about and everyone goes back to their daily lives thinking I hate brainstorming.
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Topics: Create

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.

 



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