What is Innovation?

September 3, 2020 If you asked 10 different people to define innovation, you’d get 20 different responses. It’s one of those things that seems simple to define and understand but turns complicated when you’re pressed for specifics. It’s no wonder. Innovation has turned into one of the biggest cliché words executives use to talk about how they differentiate their companies …

How to be More Creative (77 Ways)

January 9, 2020 Creativity is one of those things that sounds romantically easy to do, but often leaves you scratching your head. Even the creative geniuses get stumped from time to time. The key to getting your creative mojo going is practice. Consistent practice. Since January is International Creativity Month, I wanted to give you some ideas about how you …

Interview with an Innovator: Tim Washer on Inspiration, Humor and Embracing Vulnerability

November 20, 2019 Mark Twain said that, “Humor is the great thing, the saving thing after all. The minute it crops up, all our hardnesses yield, all our irritations, and resentments flit away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.” He’s not wrong. Studies show that a sense of humor can make you mentally and physically healthier, make you more …

Questions or Full Stops

June 13, 2019 There’s an ever-widening gap between what’s natural to us as children and what’s taught into us through the educational system and corporate culture. American author, educator, media theorist and cultural critic, Neil Postman says “children enter school as question marks and leave as full stops.” The same thing happens to employees as they enter the work world. …

Which Type of Employee Are You?

May 16, 2019 In 1968, the deputy director for NASA came to George Land with a problem. Land was a general systems scientist who founded a research and consulting institute to study the enhancement of creative performance. The deputy director told Land that they had a lot of smart people working for them, but they needed a way to root …

Is Management the Enemy of Innovation?

May 2, 2019 A couple of weeks ago I spoke at a conference in Stockholm, Sweden about how to bring new ideas into an organization. At the end, a woman in the audience raised her hand and asked a question: What do you do when management kills your great idea? Hands down, when I talk about innovation and how to …

How to Find Insights

April 5, 2019 Hiero was a tyrant who believed that his goldsmith was cheating him. He didn’t know how to prove it – he suspected the goldsmith was swapping out gold with silver – so he hired Archimedes, a local mathematician and engineer, to prove it for him.   This was an important assignment. The object in questions was a …

How to Conduct a Brand Transplant

January 31, 2019 There’s a story of a young boy who showed great promise as an artist. His father, an art teacher himself, sent the boy to schools to hone his talent through rigid academic exercises. A natural finesse had him easily mastering difficult techniques. Instructors entered his work in competitions against more established artists and the student quickly gained the attention …

Why You Have Brand Detachment Disorder

January 17, 2019 In the world of great ideas, there’s iconic brands that get all the credit. Take LEGO, for example. This is a company that sells little rectangular pieces of plastic. But they consistently churn out great idea after great idea. Go to their website and besides ordering products, you can build things, share them with friends and watch videos. Five …

How Creative Are You? Take the Test.

March 28, 2017 by Carla Johnson A Harvard grad, Dr. Donald W. MacKinnon was a psychology professor at the University of California at Berkeley who researched creativity. In 1949 he founded The Institute of Personality Assessment and Research (IPAR). After his retirement, he was a visiting fellow at the Center for Creative Leadership. Throughout his career, MacKennon dug deep into …

If LEGO Built Your Brand Experience, What Would It Look Like?

March 9, 2017 by Carla Johnson Marketers love massively creative work. We hype Super Bowl ads. We study the most innovative companies. And we follow curious minds. But that’s where much of our inspiration ends and reality sets in. We have bosses who would never go for such wild ideas. Budgets that can’t stretch that far. There’s too much bureaucracy. …

Design Thinking: What It Is and Why It Matters to Marketers

May 2, 2017 by Carla Johnson When people hear the word “design,” it conjures up images of architects, graphic designers and maybe a programmer. These are the people who stereotypically take an idea or concept and bring it into the real world. They put different pieces together, many of which seem unrelated, and ultimately solve problems for their clients. But …

The Secret Phrase that Jump Starts Creativity

January 12, 2017 by Carla Johnson Great ideas seem to be a chicken-or-the-egg conundrum. Are companies fertile with fabulous ideas because they woo creative people? Or is it the creative people who create the culture? Companies that consistently crank out innovative work have learned how to streamline the process – even the parts that allow for uncertainty and chaos. But …

Play Your Way to More Innovative Customer Experiences

December 6, 2016 by Robert Rose In January, Facebook held its 50th hackathon, a 24-hour Red Bull- and coffee-infused get-together where coders work on innovative applications or new features for existing products. These kind of events are legendary in Silicon Valley, of course; Facebook isn’t the only company to conduct them. Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, and just about every open-source organization …