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

How Good Is Your Guru?

Posted by Jesse Bechtold on Nov 17, 2016 2:03:12 PM

Who among us has not smiled at the “Netflix Event” story?  The little upstart bringing a behemoth to its knees by defying the odds, reinventing the business model and disrupting an entire industry.  As well as we know the story, these events are hard to see while in progress.  These are easiest observed after the fact.

Disruption has been happening for a long time, consider…

  • railroads destroyed the innovative “Pony Express” system…
  • electric lights disrupted the candle makers and gas lamps…
  • digital cameras disrupting film photography…
  • personal computers disrupting business (and weekends!)…
  • online shopping disrupting retailing…and so on.

All along the way there were gurus who knew everything there was to know about trends in the care and feeding of ponies, candle making, film processing, stenography and box store floor plans. 

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Topics: Leading Innovation, leadership, stimulus mining

Cintas Shares 3 Lessons Learned on Innovating in a commodity Market

Posted by Corie Roudebush Spialek on Nov 8, 2016 2:41:04 PM

Whether you know the Cintas name or not, odds are you’ve used their products nearly every day in one capacity or another. Thanks to their uniforms and apparel products and facility services everything from mom and pop restaurants to massive factories have the things they need to run smoothly.

But, like every business, Cintas knows well that in commodity markets it’s important to innovate. And now it was time to turn the focus to a product line we walk all over, mats.

“You might be thinking, ‘What can you possibly do to innovate mats?’ Well, it turns out, you can do quite a bit.” says Innovation Engineering Blue Belt and Innovation Leader for the Mats Category, Rich Bing.

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Topics: stimulus mining, Patents, pdsa

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

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

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

What Is In Your Innovation Space?

Posted by Jesse Bechtold on Dec 3, 2015 10:00:00 AM

“We believe having mobile offices will enhance creativity by breaking down  walls,” my host was pushing his office,  a heavy plastic cart laden with stapler, papers, a picture of his daughter, and his candy stash down the hall.

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Topics: innovation, stimulus mining

Holiday Challenges That Lead to Innovations

Posted by David Lafkas on Dec 1, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Now that we are in the midst of the end of the year holidays, I am certain many of us are thinking of gingerbread, peppermint, hot chocolate, and cookies.  But, how many of us are thinking about innovations as well? 

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Topics: innovation, stimulus mining, Patents

How A New Generation of Consumers and Co-workers Affect Innovation

Posted by Corie Roudebush Spialek on Sep 1, 2015 9:00:00 AM
The month of August marks the beginning of students going  
back to school. In my own house we just sent our 5 year old off to Kindergarten to become a member of the class of 2028. Wow, 2028! Being a child of the 80's I remember thinking the year 2000 was a lifetime away.  

I look forward to each of my kids being a freshman in college starting the journey into adulthood.  This year incoming college freshman will become the class of 2019. Each year Beloit College puts out The Mindset List.  This list of 50 facts is meant to provide a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of these students.  

As an innovator and operations director this list is a window into the mindset of these students - how will they think, work, and spend money. (It isn't just to make me realize college was a long time ago.) When you read the list think about how this may affect your product, service, or

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Topics: innovation, stimulus mining

What I've gained from Listening

Posted by Corie Roudebush Spialek on Aug 27, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Building on my last blog post, "3 Overlooked Sources for Game Changing Ideas," I wanted to flashback to a post from August, 2015 where I shared 5 Tools for Becoming an active listener -- use these tools when gathering information from others.


There is a reoccurring theme in my life no matter who I am talking to and it is, "Does anyone listen to me?"  I've heard it a lot from multiple sources including clients in regards to their colleagues.  And I'm not necessarily just talking about using your ears in conversation.  I'm also, talking about email and written communication.

I think in today's world we become so busy or so focused on our own stuff that we don't necessarily take the time to stop and listen or stop and read what people are trying to say to us. Studies actually show that we only remember 25 - 50% of what we hear. It could be as simple as an operations email about turning off the lights at night to something as very important as your largest client asking you for help and you missed the request. We are quick to dismiss people's words as trivial or unrelated to my current challenge when what they are saying could be the spark that was needed to leap the next hurdle.

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Topics: 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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