What’s Stopping You?

I solved a mystery recently that had been bothering me for months. There’s about a seven minute walk from the main faculty parking lot on campus to my office. About halfway through this walk, there are two paths that you can take – one covers significantly less distance. I’ve always taken this shorter route. One […]

Innovation is Hard Work

There are no innovation shortcuts. I was reminded of this when I ran across the Crispin Porter + Bogusky Employee Handbook. Here is what the 2004 version looked like: Crispin Porter + Bogusky employee handbook View more presentations from whatidiscover The firm has been reasonably successful, and the Handbook makes it sound like a pretty […]

When is it OK to Ignore Innovation?

The earth has been around for 4.5 billion years or so. If you think of the last 10% of that time, a fair bit has happened. There have periods of major global warming, and a few ice ages. There have been asteroid strikes, and other natural disasters too numerous to count. Continents that were one […]

Innovation Through Subtraction

I don’t like focus groups. I’ve found the information that you get from them to be too shallow to be useful. However, this doesn’t mean that when we’re innovating we should just pursue whatever ideas drift across our minds. Steve Jobs was quoted last year about how Apple doesn’t use focus groups. A number of […]

The Exigency of Extrapolation

Noun 1. exigency – an unstable situation of extreme danger or difficulty; I’ve had some jobs in which I’ve performed pretty well, and some where I haven’t been quite so good. Probably the worst job I’ve ever done was part of my portfolio when I was managing sales & marketing for a polytechnic in New […]

You Have a Choice – Act!

There are plenty of excuses for not innovating – for not taking steps to change things. However, if you see a way to make things better and you don’t do anything, then you’re letting your situation control you. If you’re dissatisfied with the situation, you have to change the way you act. Here is the […]

Succeed by Failing

“If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.” -Thomas Watson, IBM That’s a pretty succinct way to say make a point that I was trying to get a couple of weeks ago. The key point here is that you can fail at different levels. I’ve talked before about a taxonomy of economic failure. We […]

The Changing Innovation Process

How has the internet changed the innovation process? It has had a number of impacts, particularly on collaborative innovation, which is becoming increasingly important. Here is a short discussion on this topic from one of our previous Innovation Leadership Executive Education courses: George Dyson has a nice metaphor for the changes involved in answer to […]

Finding the Best Way to Fail

Nancy and I were talking about a kind of strange newspaper article that her sister sent her discussing the upcoming release of the DSM-V (the official diagnostic manual for mental illnesses). The author of the article was a psychiatrist advocating going back to the 19th century definition of depression – melancholia. I joked that we […]

How to Fail at Innovation

The way to fail at innovation is to try to avoid failing. The idea of failure has popped up quite a bit this week for some reason. Innovation is filled with tensions that we have to become comfortable with if we’re going to succeed. One of the big tensions is between success and failure – […]