5 Other Words for Innovation (and When to Use Them)

November 5, 2020 The manufacturer of window-unit air conditioners wanted customer input but they weren’t sure how to go about it without being overly technical in their questions. They knew the noise level of their units was loud, but they wanted to figure out if customers would pay more for a quieter unit. And if they did, how much would …

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 Kamala Harris’ Pick as VP Nominee Impacts Innovation

August 13, 2020 “Haven’t I seen you before?” It’s a cheesy pickup line that’s been around for ages. And while it makes people roll their eyes, there’s something to the familiarity quotient. Studies show that we’re attracted to what we find familiar. The more we’re exposed to certain people, the more familiar they become and the more we like them. …

Interview with an Innovator: Kathy Button Bell on Creating Whole-Brain Innovation Teams

March 5, 2020 In one of the episodes of the U.S. version of the comedy series The Office, Michael Scott rushes into the scene demanding everyone give him ideas. As the narcissistic regional manager of the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin paper company, he’s looking to make his mark. On his way into the building that day, Michael saw wet …

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 …

Interview with an Innovator: Michael Brenner on why Mean People Suck

October 24, 2019 Many of the best innovators I know don’t carry an “innovation” title on their business card. They are people who understand that new ideas can happen anytime and anywhere. But that’s not how most of the world looks at innovation. “Innovators” are the design thinkers, the data scientists and the engineers. They’re the ones who have a …

The Rise of the Citizen Innovator

September 26, 2019 Plato once said that your archetype describes “your ideal self.” When a person embraces who they really are, that’s when they’re at their best. Archetypes are the secret forces behind all human behavior. They dwell in our unconscious and influence our every move, much of the time without us even knowing it. If we had to answer …

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 …

Who Owns Innovation?

February 14, 2019 It’s not easy to create an innovation track record like Amazon or Google. But companies that hope to outperform their competitors and shake up their industries are pouring money into innovation programs – labs, hubs and design thinking tanks. But are they successful? Several years ago Booz & Co. (now part of PwC) conducted a Global Innovation 1000 report. …

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 …

4 Archetypes of Innovators

January 3, 2019 When I give talks or workshops about how to bring new ideas into a company, one of the first things people ask me is how their company compares to other businesses. They’re curious about where they fall on the innovation spectrum. This is how I explain it to them. Who’s allowed to contribute When it comes to innovation, I …