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

Is Innovation a Skill to Be Learned?

Posted by David Lafkas on Nov 10, 2016 1:07:34 PM

If your best friend called you today and asked you to go scale El Capitan tomorrow morning, would you be able to do it?

For most of us, the answer would be an absolute no, as it would truly end in a cliff hanger. 

Most of us are not experts at scaling mountains, and if you have interest in scaling mountains, you likely would start by taking some classes and starting on practice rock-climbing walls before slowly graduating to longer and steeper cliffs.

In other words, you would practice and learn from those who know more and have gone before us.

So, why would you treat innovation any differently? 

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Topics: training, fail fast fail cheap, Education

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

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

What are Your Options For Innovation Education?

Posted by Jesse Bechtold on Jul 12, 2016 10:00:00 AM

If you want to be truly successful invest in yourself to get the knowledge you need to find your unique factor.  When you find it and focus on it and persevere your success will blossom.
- Sidney Madwed

If you are taking the time to read this you probably understand learning and education are a life-long pursuit. 

Arguably the most powerful tenet of Innovation Engineering is our belief that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things.  This kind of optimism and hope comes from a conviction that when people supply the motivation and confidence, the skills enabling meaningfully unique innovation can be taught.

Many options exist for studying innovation.  Executive programs, conferences, seminars and webinars can be found every week where we can hear about the latest study or the newest product launch.  I enjoy going to these, too.

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Topics: innovation, Leading Innovation, Education

We’re halfway through 2016 - What have you learned?

Posted by Maggie Slovonic Pfeifer on Jul 6, 2016 2:06:27 PM

Something I learned from my boss Doug Hall, the founder of the Eureka! Ranch is to stop and reflect often. This reflection is built into our culture, our corporate habits, and our client work. 

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Topics: leadership, Education

3 Ways to Get Your Innovation Team to Think Different

Posted by Maggie Slovonic Pfeifer on May 3, 2016 10:00:00 AM

A few weeks back, I asked you for yourInnovation Questions.  Thanks to everyone who contributed a question, and please continue to do so. The goal with my responses will be to suggest a tool, process or principle that could help you build a systemic solution. 

Below is a question from Graeme Crombie about helping his innovations teams open up to fresh insights.

“How can I persuade an innovation team to be more outward looking, curious, InnovationTeamLookingOutside.jpgand receptive to new insights? I often find myself working with experienced groups that already know a lot about their products and the industry and this knowledge somehow makes them feel like they don't need to speak to customers or suppliers or look at other industries. There is just a closed-mindedness sometimes - and I don't mean arrogant or even really complacent - just that they are unable or unwilling to look at things with fresh eyes.” - Graeme Crombie

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Topics: innovation, alignment, Education

Uncertainty to Further Learning

Posted by Brad Hall on Apr 19, 2016 10:00:00 AM

We don’t know what we don’t know.  As we work and do our normal routine we fall into patterns and roles where we’re comfortable. Maybe you’re better doing the behind the scenes work while the people you work with are better at the customer facing interactions.  We become specialists in what we do and perfect the methods and skills that we use to do it.  While this helps us create a reliable system it discourages us to look at the whole and we miss the details of what is happening in the areas we aren’t a part of.

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Topics: Education

4 Reasons To Stop And Learn

Posted by Brad Hall on Dec 15, 2015 10:00:00 AM

The middle of December; for students in Innovation Engineering this time is filled with trying to finish up all the assignments they still have left. But more importantly is the semester reflection that all students will be completing. The last assignment for all four classes ends in a simple 500-word reflection where students are just asked to reflect on what they learned across the whole semester.

For students this is a moment where during the crazy times that is exam week they can just stop and think about what they’ve learned during the semester and realize what they’ve learned instead of just cramming for finals. Taking this time to reflect can also improve your ability to learn and enhance the learning that occurred. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development lists four main benefits from reflective learning.

  1. Helps you accept responsibility for your own personal growth.
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Topics: innovation, Innovation Culture, Education

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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