Innovation in Practice Blog

October 23, 2017

Innovation Sighting: The Subtraction Technique and the No-Huddle Offense

Few activities are more iconic to American football than the huddle. Bill Pennington, in his New York Times article, “Ready, Set, Gone! The N.F.L.’s Disappearing Huddle” […]
October 5, 2017

Look Inside a Woman’s Purse

By: Tom Ewing, Senior Director, System1 Group “First I look at the purse” sang Motown’s The Countours. Kelley Styring, principal of InsightFarm, would sympathise. In 2006, […]
September 18, 2017

Innovation Sighting: Task Unification and GladWare Containers

GladWare containers have become a common household item. Most kitchens today have that designated drawer filled to the brim with self-stacking plastic wonders and the infamous […]
September 5, 2017

How a Creative Legal Leap Helped Create Vast Wealth

By Tim Harford, BBC World Service, 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy In 1911, someone asked Butler to name the most important invention of the industrial […]
August 29, 2017

Design Thinking for the Greater Good: Innovation in the Social Sector

Facing especially wicked problems, social sector organizations are searching for powerful new methods to understand and address them. Design Thinking for the Greater Good goes in […]
August 21, 2017

How a Case of Laryngitis Helped Me Find My Voice and Grow as a Leader

By Deb Gabor As a brand strategist, author, and public speaker, I rely upon my voice and storytelling ability to make a living. I’ve observed that […]
July 24, 2017

Should Innovators Reveal How Much They Let Technology Make Creative Choices?

Is it true? Do the most creative people generate ideas straight out of their heads without any outside help? That’s what most people would tell you. […]
July 3, 2017

Innovation Sighting: Attribute Dependency and The Total Eclipse of the Sun

The United States Postal Service has just released a “first-of-its-kind” stamp that changes appearance when you touch it. What has inspired this small nugget of innovation? […]
June 16, 2017

Innovation Sighting: Attribute Dependency and High Heels

A great example of the Attribute Dependency Technique can be found at My Place Café & Bar at the Hilton Osaka hotel in Japan. Attribute Dependency […]
June 9, 2017

Innovation Sighting: LG’s New Smart Vacuum Doubles as a Home Security System

The rush to put new technology in the home is heating up like never before. Challengersinclude Amazon (Echo), Google (Home), and soon we’ll have Apple’s Siri […]
February 16, 2015

Innovation Sighting: Attribute Dependency and World Population

What if countries were sized proportional to their population? What would the world look like? Take a look at this map (reported by NPR.org):
December 1, 2014

The Power of Patterns That Guide Our Thinking

Could creativity be as simple as following templates? In 1914 psychologist Wolfgang Köhler embarked on a series of studies about chimpanzees and their ability to solve problems. He documented the research in his book The Mentality of Apes. In one experiment, he took a newborn chimp and placed it in an isolated cage, before the newborn saw or made contact with other chimps. He named her Nueva.
September 15, 2014

Innovation Sighting: The Division Technique in Vision Correcting Displays

Innovation is anything that is new, useful, and surprising. "Surprising" means that the idea makes you slap your forehead and say, "Gee, why didn't I think of that?" Here's a great example. Researchers at the MIT Media Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley have developed a new display technology that automatically corrects for vision defects — no glasses (or contact lenses) required. It is a classic and clever example of the Divison Technique, one of the five techniques in Systematic Inventive Thinking.
September 8, 2014

Systematic Persuasion: An Innovator’s Second Most Important Tool

Just as there are five techniques of systematic innovation, there are six universal principles of persuasion. These principles help people know when it's appropriate to say 'yes' to a request. For innovators, creating great ideas is the first imperative. But then the hard part starts - how to align and convice others of the value of your idea. Take a look at this Infographic and YouTube video that explain the Six Universal Principles of Persuasion.
August 11, 2014

Decluttering Innovation

People need time to innovate, but corporations tend to "tax" employees with time-wasting bureacracy. As reported in The Economist, clutter is taking a toll on both morale and productivity. "Teresa Amabile of Harvard Business School studied the daily routines of more than 230 people who work on projects that require creativity. As might have been expected, she found that their ability to think creatively fell markedly if their working days were punctuated with meetings. They did far better if left to focus on their projects without interruption for a large chunk of the day, and had to collaborate with no more than one colleague."
July 28, 2014

Philips study reveals that most North Americans think they are sitting on the “next big thing”

Philips North America announced the launch of the second annual Philips Innovation Fellows competition, in conjunction with the release of its 2014 North America Innovation Report. According to the report, nearly two-thirds of North Americans consider themselves innovators, of which a majority (72 percent) believe they are sitting on an idea for “the next big thing,” and just need money and ‘know how’ to develop it. The Philips Innovation Fellows Competition awards mentoring and $100,000 in cash prizes to inspire would-be entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to life by entering the competition.
May 5, 2014

How Patterns Boost Our Performance…Without Even Knowing It

Humans are creatures of habits, and these habits can be analyzed and codified into rules that help us perform better. Many times, we're not even aware of the habits that control our choices. Conside the child's game, Rock-Paper-Scissors. The odds of winning are one in three. At least, that's what chance predicts. But people do not play randomly - they follow hidden patterns that you can predict to win more games than you should, a study has revealed.
March 24, 2014

The Six Best Books on Creativity and Innovation

Creativity is what you do in your head to generate an idea, while innovation is the process of putting it into practice. You need both to succeed, which may be why the number of new books on these topics seems to grow every year. Yet despite the popularity of this category and the steady stream of new books, I continue to go back to the classics, those books that actually taught me how to do it versus those books that just talked about it. Caution – these are not “light reads,” but they’re the ones I’ve learned the most from.
March 17, 2014

Task Unification: The Essence of Citizen Science

“Simply by taking that fifteen-minute step, these citizen scientists make a contribution to saving bees,” LeBuhn said. “It’s remarkable having all these different people willing to participate, willing to help, and interested in making the world a better place.”
February 17, 2014

Have You Reached Your Creative Peak?

A new study by Philip Hans Franses of the Erasmus School of Economics in the Netherlands may suggest the point in time when we reach our creative peak. Franses examined the lifespans of 221 famous painters between 1800 and 2004, and estimated the year they created their most creative work based on the artist's most expensive painting ever sold. "For each of these artists, the most expensive painting was identified and taken as an indicator of peak creativity," Franses said in the study.