Is The Current Innovation Refresh Rate A Good Thing?

As the retired CTO of a major technology company, I was surrounded by visual clues that clearly indicate when a tech product is headed to the gadget graveyard. Most of the time, it’s hard to ignore these clues, because they are pretty obvious. I see them in meetings with my coworkers or customers when we […]

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Are There Bad Questions And Good Questions?

The more I started to look at questions and how essential they are to fostering creativity and innovation, the more I realized that there are bad questions and there are good questions. And within those good questions, some just aren’t relevant to the process of ideation. The key is to develop the ability to separate […]

Ideas? Don’t give up on them

Sharing Homework Observations

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. […]

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Group dynamics and ranking

The Ranking System

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 […]

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Digital Twins

What is the process used by my customer to discover my product?

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” […]

How To Prepare For The Unexpected Jolts

Having The Ability To Recognize When The Improbable Is Happening To You

If assumptions keep you safe, comfortable, and stagnant, then jolts are their counterpart. Jolts are the earthquakes and the tsunamis, metaphorical and occasionally literal, that you either don’t or can’t see coming. Jolts can be terrifying; one day you wake up and a fundamental assumption about how you do business has crumbled away. Its absence […]

Beyond the Killer Idea

Go Forth and Innovate (Final)

I’ve been able to succeed because I’ve generated a system that guides me past the obvious ideas and straight toward the killer idea. I also have the confidence to push for my ideas and make sure they get a chance to prove themselves. So, if you find yourself with a killer idea, but are lacking […]

Killer Idea

The Permission to Innovate

Go Forth and Innovate (Conclusion Part 2)

“I hereby grant you all permission to innovate.” Some people don’t believe that they can generate the ideas their companies need. A story from a few years ago, when HP acquired a small start-up, illustrates the reason behind this mind-set perfectly. As part of the process of introducing the new team to HP, I hosted […]

Permission to Innovate

Not Relying on Specialized Knowledge

Go Forth and Innovate (Conclusion Part 1)

What do you think your core value or skill is? If you are resting on an assumption that a deep-rooted and highly specialized knowledge or skill is enough to get you by, you are mistaken. Back in 1995 or so, I noticed a sliver of an ad, one column wide and two lines deep, on […]

Specialized Knowledge