Innovation in Practice Blog

January 25, 2016

The Wheel: A Great Innovation?

People who believe that the wheel is the greatest invention ever assume two things: That it was wholly new when it was invented, and that is was so wonderful that people adopted it immediately. Historically, neither is true.
January 18, 2016

If You Can Think It, You May Want to Ignore It

The availability heuristic is a mental shortcut that occurs when people make judgments about the probability of events by how easy it is to think of examples. The availability heuristic operates on the notion that, "if you can think of it, it must be important."
January 4, 2016

Great Innovators Embrace Resistance, Not Fight It

Imagine your marketing team comes up with an idea for a great new product. You absolutely love it. But when you start shopping the idea around the building, you get some very strange looks from people. People are resisting the idea, and you and your team are getting frustrated. Resistance to innovation is a natural phenomena in companies, and it can become a huge challenge unless you manage it correctly.
December 28, 2015

Are You More Innovative Than You Think?

As a teacher of creativity, I agree that persistence is an important success factor when producing new ideas. As the researchers point out, when creative challenges start to feel difficult, most people lower their expectations about the performance benefits of perseverance, and consequently, underestimate their own ability to generate ideas. But other factors can boost...or inhibit innovation...motivation, hope, and anxiety (yes, you read it correctly - anxiety).
December 21, 2015

Eight Years of Blogging at Innovation in Practice

This month marks the eight year anniversary of Innovation in Practice. As always, I want to thank my many readers and supporters who follow it.
December 14, 2015

Can you learn to be more creative?

"So my definition would be, in order for a certain idea to be creative, it must possess two major components. One, it has to be new, novel, something we haven't seen before," says Rom Schrift, a marketing professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
December 7, 2015

Building ROI and data into your innovation process

For innovators working within the confines of large enterprises, the possibilities for transformation, especially with mobile and digital products, are endless. Lean, digital disruptors threaten their larger, more rigid corporate counterparts. Many in the C-suite view these innovations as not only a way to maintain market share with consumers, but also usher in new eras of productivity, efficiency and customer engagement.
December 1, 2015

Good Business Is the Best Art

WeWork is a contemporary embodiment of the principles that drove Warhol’s Factory. WeWork bills itself as a community of creators, and has created work spaces nationwide designed to house the entrepreneurs, small business owners and artists of tomorrow, wherever they might live and work. WeWork is a business studio environment that appeals to innovators, mavericks, and artists who have left the constraints of corporate America behind and set off in pursuit of their own business missions with an eye toward building a better future.
November 23, 2015

Yes, There is Such a Thing as an Ugly Baby

Confirmation bias is the tendency for people to only seek out information that conforms to their pre-existing viewpoints, and subsequently ignore information that goes against them. You overweight the good news, and underweight the bad news.
November 16, 2015

Innovation’s New World Order

The shifting map of global innovation In the 2015 Global Innovation 1000 study, Strategy&, PwC's strategy consulting group, provides new insights into the ways corporate innovation spending—which totaled $680 billion last year—has been changing in recent years, and examines the implications both for the future course of global economies and for corporate performance. How and where innovation is performed matters: As Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter, author of classic texts on corporate strategy and the competitive advantage of nations, has noted, “Innovation is the central issue in economic prosperity.”
August 16, 2010

Simulating Innovation

People can improve their innovation skills by mentally simulating the use of innovation tools. Chip and Dan Heath in their book, Made to Stick, talk of the importance of mental simulation with problem solving as well as skill-building.
July 19, 2010

The Role of Business Schools in Innovation

This is from the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) in its new report, Business Schools on an Innovation Mission. The report addresses what is meant by innovation, describes how managerial talent contributes to innovation, and outlines ways business schools support innovation.
June 6, 2010

Academic Focus: City University London

A survey from IBM's Institute for Business Value shows that CEOs value one leadership competency above all others - creativity. It is therefore timely that the City University London formed its Centre for Creativity with a goal of becoming the UK leader in the teaching, research and transfer of creativity in professional practice, ranging from informatics and engineering to business and the arts. City is already a world-class centre of applied creativity research through activities in informatics, business, psychology, music and the arts. To achieve this objective it aims to achieve the following 3 sub-objectives:
May 18, 2010

Academic Focus: College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning

The College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) at the University of Cincinnati has as its primary mission the creation of a better visual and design environment.  […]
April 26, 2010

The LAB: Innovating the Wedding Invitation with S.I.T. (April 2010)

Over 2 million couples marry every year in the U.S.. This fuels the $50 billion dollar wedding industry. In an industry that prides itself in tradition, companies must innovate new products and services within those traditions if they want to grow and prosper. For this month's LAB, we will use the corporate innovation method, S.I.T. to create new-to-the-world ideas for wedding invitations. Here are five unique ideas from graduate students* at the University of Cincinnati taking the course, "Systematic Innovation Tools." They constructed a hypothetical "Dream Catalog" of these ideas for a local start-up design company. Listed with each innovation is the specific innovation template the team used to create the idea. You can download this and the other Dream Catalogs here.
April 19, 2010

Learn Innovation! Innovation Suite 2010

Here is an opportunity to learn innovation directly from the people who taught me. The course is called Innovation Suite 2010 and will be held in New York City from May 24-26, 2010. You can register for it at http://www.sitsite.com/academy/. Here are the goals of the course:
April 12, 2010

Systematic Innovation Tools: The Course

I am teaching my innovation course, Systematic Innovation Tools, at the University of Cincinnati this month. The course is a fusion of Systematic Inventive Thinking and The Big Picture marketing framework. The Syllabus can be downloaded, but here are some details about it: "This course focuses on how to create value and growth through innovation in new and existing markets. Students will learn the skills of innovation and how to apply those skills within the context of a marketing strategy framework. Students will apply innovation methods across the entire marketing management continuum including strategy, segmentation, targeting, positioning, and the 4P’s. The course will be taught using interactive workshop methods and techniques throughout. Students will first experience these facilitation techniques while learning innovation. They will then learn and practice these techniques so that they can apply them routinely throughout their graduate experience and beyond."
January 18, 2010

Language and Innovation

Language and innovation are inseparable. Language puts meaning to our ideas, be it spoken, written, or symbolic. We convey ideas to others which is essential in corporate innovation. Innovation would be nearly impossible if we did not have language. If you want to improve your innovation effectiveness, improve your use of language. Structured innovation methods help regulate our thinking and channel the ideation process. At the moment immediately before we innovate, we hold in our minds a pre-inventive form or structure that has yet to be understood. It is at that exact moment we begin to conjure up words and associations to attach to the pre-inventive form. It is this process of linking objective facts and judgments to the pre-inventive form that transforms it to an inventive form - an idea. Here is a step-by-step approach how language is used in innovation:
January 4, 2010

Proposed Certificate Program in Innovation

Certificate programs are a way for universities and colleges to offer training that is less intensive and less expensive than traditional degree programs (baccalaureate, masters, doctoral). They are ideal for working professionals who want advanced training in highly focused areas. They are ideal for corporations as they are less expensive and a better value than many executive education (one week) programs. The world of innovation could benefit from such programs. While many institutions offer courses in creativity and innovation, very few have full degree or certificate programs in this field. Most of those tend to be technology/venture start-up oriented. Here are some examples:
November 16, 2009

Academic Focus: University of Michigan

Once you develop the capability to generate ideas, you need a rigorous approach to managing innovation within the context of your company's culture. For that, Professor Jeff DeGraff's Competing Values Framework (CVF) is the best-in-class approach. CVF describes four organizational cultural styles of managing innovation: Collaborate, Create, Control, and Compete. Management teams tend to gravitate towards one, dominant style, the one that has served them well in the past. To be a more effective, leaders need to be "ambidextrous." Leaders should become adroit at two conflicting values. "They must develop the ability to oversee teams that work towards opposite goals, integrating them when the timing is right, so that each value can be developed successfully."