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

Innovation & Employee Engagement: Lessons from a Chief Innovator

Posted by Maggie Nichols on Nov 2, 2016 8:00:00 AM

 I was recently interviewed by my friend, Justin Zawaly, COO  of TalMetrix about innovation & employee engagement...as Justin states, "One of the outcomes of an engaged culture is innovation. Innovation doesn’t just happen, or at least it cannot be sustained, unless both the employer and employee are thriving. Innovation becomes part of organizations culture and must be measured and monitored like anything else to ensure the creative vision is being nurtured."

Check out our interview below:

What does the term ‘innovation’ really mean?

Something that’s meaningfully unique. Unique in that it’s uncommon, unexpected, a wow or dramatically different than any other option. Meaningful in that it makes sense in your customer’s life. It improves something. It adds value.

Interestingly, so many of us over complicate this term. Others oversimplify. But in every case there’s something that holds true in everyone’s definition in a company - and that’s that they’re all different! One of the most common sources of misalignment on innovation is a common definition of innovation. And if I don’t know what we “count” as innovation, then how can I hope to know when I’m working towards it.

Why don’t more companies innovate?

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Topics: innovation, Leading Innovation, culture change, Innovation Culture, leadership

Which comes first..the Innovation System or the Innovation Culture?

Posted by Maggie Nichols on Jan 21, 2016 10:00:00 AM

I’d like to share with you a tale of two companies.  

At the start...

Company A:  We’d like to do more innovation.  But we have to get our culture right first.

We’re going to bring in some creative speakers to get our employees ‘fired up.’  We might even start asking them for their ideas and we’re going to start an incentive program where we pay them for every idea they give us.  After we get everyone thinking the right way and being more innovative, then we’ll be in a place to do a ‘real’ innovation system.

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Topics: innovation, Leading Innovation, Innovation Culture, innovation system

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

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

Data on Why Even Proactive Leaders Need to Continue Dramatic Invention

Posted by Greg Lemmon on Sep 29, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Is your organization proactive now? What about the future?

I define proactive as an organization who uses “Dramatic Invention" as their primary plan for growth. Meaning they prefer to lead their marketplace by creating radically new ideas, categories & customer opportunities.

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Topics: innovation, Leading Innovation, Innovation Culture

Do Rules and Systems Help or Inhibit Innovation?

Posted by Greg Lemmon on Aug 11, 2015 10:00:00 AM

First, I feel it is important to tell you that this post was inspired by some awesome data I learned about while doing some wisdom mining for a project. The article uses some more technical language, but I promise you that nerdiness of the data, research and information is totally worth it.

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Topics: Leading Innovation, Innovation Culture, innovation system, innovation process, leadership

THE Metric for an Innovation Culture

Posted by Greg Lemmon on Jul 23, 2015 9:00:00 AM

PEOPLE Engagement: The primary driver of culture change within an organization or division is education in the new mindset. The foundation of the new mindset is training and tools.

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Topics: innovation, culture change, Innovation Culture

We are the Innovation Team at Eureka! Ranch

Posted by Corie Roudebush Spialek on Jul 7, 2015 4:37:00 PM

Welcome to No Guru Needed - Anyone can Lead Innovation!

We are the team behind the Eureka! Ranch and the Innovation Engineering Institute.  If you aren't already familiar with us we are in the business of innovating and have been for almost 30 years.

To be completely honest our company started out in the guru business -- people would come to Newtown, Ohio so, that our founder & CEO, Doug Hall could bestow upon them the "Big Idea," the one that would change everything.  All different media outlets interviewed him and did stories on him the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Dateline and Inc. Magazine even named the Eureka! Ranch one of America’s top Innovation Teams.

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Topics: innovation, Leading Innovation, Innovation Systems, Innovation Culture

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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