So, there you are.  The owner, finally, of a perfect innovation capability.  Your innovation teams sparkle with insight.  They understand the customers’ needs in greater depth than the customers themselves.  The innovative teams are highly engaged, creative and very effective.  They can generate ideas that literally knock your socks off.  You can’t wait to see […]

Want to get someone’s attention?  Change the way they are evaluated and compensated.  We humans are (relatively) rational actors.  We do the things that bring pleasure, reward, accolade, and attempt to avoid actions that result in pain, disappointment and ridicule.  That’s true in high school, and it’s true in the professional world as well.  People […]

Remember kindergarten?  The kind teachers, the low tables and chairs, nap time and snacks?  Remember construction paper, scissors, glue, pipe cleaners and dried noodles you used to make all kinds of arts and crafts?  Turns out that Robert Fulghum was right.  All you needed to know you learned in kindergarten.  Especially when it comes to […]

ROI.  Return on investment.  What I get versus what I paid.  These three letters kill more innovation projects and programs than any other innovation killer.  ROI is more powerful than corporate culture, more insidious than risk aversion, more financially powerful than an allocated budget.  ROI killed good ideas today, and will keep killing them until […]

The life of an innovation consultant often feels like the role Bill Murray played in Groundhog Day.  An OK movie if you haven’t seen it, but a really telling character portrayal.  In it Murray plays a TV reporter who is condemned to live the exact same day over and over again.  No matter what he […]

Go ahead, admit it.  You’ve sat through countless “brainstorming” activities that resulted in ideas that were obvious from the start, or sessions that led exactly to the conclusion the person leading the session anticipated.  Brainstorming as an idea generation technique is misused and abused, and has become the proverbial strawman that many analysts and authors […]

I have this recurring nightmare – perhaps you have one that is similar.  It’s 8am, I’ve overslept and am rushing to a math class.  As I enter the classroom I remember that the class will be taking the final exam, and I haven’t prepared.  I dash to my desk, scan the textbook for a few […]

Innovators, like entrepreneurs, are often more successful when they are young.  The reasons have more to do with naivety than vigor.  Many entrepreneurs and innovators look at market conditions and competitive threats in a very different light than do large corporations and incumbents.  That’s because larger firms and experts fall prey to “knowing” too much […]

I was working with a large client several years ago, and requested the opportunity to meet with their customers to understand and gather unmet needs.  The response?  We have thousands of reports on our customers.  Please see the market and customer research team.  Dutifully I went, fairly certain that while there may be a lot […]

There’s a mistaken definition floating around the internet about innovation.  Far too many people believe innovation is a completely new product or service – a shiny new object.  What that definition fails to recognize is that for innovation to be valuable, the new product, service or business model needs to be something that consumers value.  […]