Archive

This page contains the archive of all of the posts on this site. If you are looking for a specific topic, I would suggest you use the search function to the right.


Scanning Tunnel: Creating one that works

Can a scanning tunnel change the nature of a business? For example, as I’ve mentioned a few times now, I’m not a huge fan of putting too much emphasis on ROI in the innovation process. However, there are businesses and industries where trying to downplay ROI in the ranking process would create resistance and frustration […]Read More »

The Killer Question Mentality

One of the most interesting aspects of how Kroger uses the Killer Questions is that they’ve worked to implement a Killer Question mentality. The employees understand that a Killer Question is about learning/seeing/considering something you wouldn’t have learned/seen/considered otherwise. They incorporate that mentality into their day-to-day observations, ideation, and innovation. When Kroger does explicitly ask […]Read More »

Customizing Beyond The Obvious

I don’t know what your needs are. I don’t know what drove you to pick up Beyond The Obvious, read it, and (hopefully) work through the exercises. It’s possible you weren’t completely sure of your needs at the beginning of the book either. However, you should now have a sense of how you can use […]Read More »

Pitch Timing and Selling Your Idea

Making Your Pitch Keep the pitch simple, and build it around the Guy Kawasaki Rule of 10/20/30: 10 slides, 20 minutes, nothing smaller than 30-point font. Remember that you are telling a story; you want a spokesperson who can bring the idea to life and get people excited. Practice pitching the idea before you take […]Read More »

Top Ideas and How to Execute Them

Which Top Ideas to Pitch? The next stage is to consider how these ideas might be implemented by your organization. Look at the top ideas and say to yourself as the leader, “These are great ideas—how can we execute them?” The following questions will help you get to your answer: Can we get our teams […]Read More »

Questions and Scoring Answers

The Five Questions Score your answers to each of the first three questions from 0 to 5. A 0 means that the idea being considered doesn’t move the needle on this question (or, in other words, is a no-go for the time being), while a 5 is a resounding yes. You should ask these five […]Read More »

Group dynamics and ranking

Before we start ranking I want you to think about group dynamics for a second. Ideally you will have somewhere between five and ten people participating in your ideation group. These people will be drawn from all divisions of your company, including, but not limited to, engineering, marketing, and executive. Some of them will be […]Read More »

Individual Ideas in Workshop Groups

At the end of the ideation part of the workshop, have the team members briefly talk through their individual ideas. Have them take their Post-it notes and place them on a flip chart or other surface that everyone can see. Get through this process quickly. You don’t need master’s dissertations. Start to group the Post-its […]Read More »

Ideas? Don't give up on them

Once everyone is settled into the meeting, it’s time to share what you’ve discovered.  I generally give a quick recap of our area of focus, not about the ideas yet. I start off by asking the participants to share their own list of the assumptions and rules that define how the industry and organization operates. […]Read More »

Killer Questions and Stepping Outside

Once you have assigned your Killer Questions, briefed your group, and set the date for the innovation session, it’s time for everyone involved to do observational homework. This is exactly what it sounds like. You need your team to get out of the office, into the real world, and make as many observations as possible […]Read More »

Area of Focus for Workshop Groups

The ideas you generate in your workshop are only ever going to be as good as the people in the group. I want people of different ages, races, education levels, economic statuses, and beliefs to come up with an area of focus. Theoretically, I want twenty-three-year-old inner-city scholarship kids sitting next to corn-fed engineers three […]Read More »

Ideation Workshop Game Plan

So what do you need to know as the leader of an ideation workshop? A workshop has multiple elements—participants, Killer Questions, and so on—but at the end of the day, the quality of the ideas directly relates to your ability to create a highly functional, highly effective group. In the following series of posts I’m […]Read More »

Golden Rules of Innovation Workshops: Killer Questions

Rule #1: Set a focus. The first critical error David and his group made was failing to focus their attempt to generate ideas. As we’ve defined in the FIRE method, focus is essential in order to give people a targeted, specific area of investigation. Pick one aspect of your industry or organization, and decide whether […]Read More »

Brainstorming Quality Ideas

I’ve given you my system for using the Killer Questions to generate the quality ideas that lead to great innovations. Now comes your challenge: getting this information out of the book and into your organization. In this chapter I’ll give you a few essential rules for running a successful innovation workshop, including how to select […]Read More »

Gray wave and assisted living

So, how do you determine where you, as an individual or a business, will be in five years? You can’t say where exactly you’re going because you can’t predict what’s going to happen in the world. However, you can challenge yourself to change. In 2001 Apple’s sales figures were in decline. The company had yet […]Read More »

Cell phones and the value chain

Your customers will change the way they use your products in ways you don’t currently anticipate. Do you remember when you got your first cell phone? I was living in Chicago when the city was selected for the first FCC trial of a cell-phone network in 1984, and I jumped at the chance to try […]Read More »

Time-sensitive Customers

I mentioned in chapter 7 how my wife loves to look for travel bargains. Her main goal is to save money, and she considers spending several hours comparison shopping a fair tradeoff for savings. I’m kind of the opposite; in the very rare instances when I have to make my own travel plans I all […]Read More »

Free Shipping!

The other day my daughter Rachel ordered some shoes from Zappos. She’s used them a few times in the past, and the next morning she got an e-mail saying her shoes had been shipped overnight as a reward for being a good customer. Now, one of Zappos’ gimmicks is that shipping is always free, but […]Read More »

The promise of online dating?

Are you in a serious relationship or married? If so, how did you meet your spouse or partner? I work with a lot of young single people and most, if not all, of them have tried online dating. Some of them are young enough that the idea of not using online dating sites is incomprehensible. […]Read More »

The changing customer base

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about the impending retirement surge caused by baby boomers finally leaving the workplace and how it will affect changes in the tech industry. The combined worth of this market segment is roughly in the $2 trillion bracket. That’s a lot of disposable income—and a lot of freed-up time for […]Read More »

Digital Twins

Do you have a digital twin? The concept first formed on consumer sites like Yelp, but it’s becoming a catchphrase in marketing and sales. The idea is that dedicated users of sites like Yelp eventually notice that there are other users whose tastes, interests, and “favorites” match their own. These digital twins do not “know” […]Read More »

Savings from your input cost

There is a reason that the percentage in this question is as high as it is. Sure, it would sound less scary and more reasonable if I asked you how you could cut your price by 5 percent, or maybe 8 percent, but that would be missing the point. If you want potentially game-changing moves […]Read More »

Looking at information and ideas

My wife is famous for being a little frugal. She once routed me and our son Logan from Las Vegas to Phoenix to Los Angeles and finally to San Jose because she could save twenty bucks each over the nonstop fare. Kind of nuts, right? But if I’m honest I have the same mind-set in […]Read More »

Develop...then design later?

In the traditional R&D process, the product is developed and then handed off to the design team to “wrap” it and make it look pretty. The drawback is that this approach is out of date; in the last ten years consumers have become much more design-savvy. Consumers want functional, usable design that highlights ease of […]Read More »

In-house or Outsource as Needed?

What is your organization’s philosophy about design and development? Do you keep everything in-house, or do you outsource as needed? There are two schools of thoughts on this. By keeping the design process in-house, a company can build a sense of continuity and cohesion that links the entire family of products together in a satisfying […]Read More »

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