Innovation in Practice Blog

December 15, 2020

Where There’s Hope, There’s Creativity: The 5 Modes of Hoping

Do you feel like you’re never going to get any creative stuff going?  Well, never lose hope – because hope is a prerequisite to be creative. […]
December 8, 2020

What Makes Something Creative? The Characteristics of Highly Innovative Ideas

What is it about some products and services that make them more innovative and more creative than other products?  What is their secret ingredient? Well, it […]
December 1, 2020

Have You Reached Your Creative Peak?

Do you feel you’ve reached your optimum level of creativity? If not, when is that going to happen? And if yes, how do maintain that level […]
November 24, 2020

Finding Your Creative Sweet Spot: How to Make an Idea More Appealing

Not all ideas are equal. Some are okay, some are great. But don’t just throw those okay ideas away. The key is to find that creative […]
November 17, 2020

Six Best Books on Creativity: The Classics that Teach the How and Not the Why

If you like creativity and innovation, there are a lot of great books out there that cover just a wide range of topics. So how do […]
November 10, 2020

The Myth of Outside the Box Thinking: Why Brainstorming and Other Such Techniques Are Your Worst Enemy

How many brainstorming sessions have you been in? What really came out of it? What was the process like for you? How did you feel about […]
November 3, 2020

Five Ways to Teach Your Children to Be More Creative

If you think innovation is only for adults, well, you’re wrong – because kids can just be as innovative as adults are, even more sometimes.  Here […]
October 27, 2020

Learning the Powerful, Yet Abstract Method of Attribute Dependency

Attribute Dependency is one of the five techniques of the SIT (Systematic Inventive Thinking) method.  Just to give you an idea, think of your home thermostat […]
October 20, 2020

The Myth of Post-it Notes and Other Serendipitous Inventions: Why Pure Chance is Not Your Creative Friend

Chocolate chip cookies, penicillin, Velcro, microwave ovens, the game of basketball, and Post-It Notes. What do they have in common? Well, those products were invented completely […]
October 13, 2020

The Subtraction Technique: The Creative Power of Taking Elements Away

Subtraction is the removal of an essential core element rather than the addition of new systems or functions.  Like all the other techniques of the Systematic […]
July 4, 2013

The Marker on the Board (Jacob’s Story)

The moment I walked into the classroom, I could see that something was different. The students were excited, I could feel the anticipation in the air—and something about their faces made me think that they were planning something mischievous.
July 22, 2013

Strategy+Business: Thinking Inside the Box

Books about business innovation seem to arrive as quickly as ideas on a whiteboard in a brainstorming session. But Inside the Box: A Proven System of Creativity for Breakthrough Results (Simon & Schuster, 2013), by Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg, jumps out for its counterintuitive take on creativity.
July 29, 2013

Embrace the Shake: The Power of Limitations

Phil Hansen suffered a career-threatening injury to his hand. Nerve damage caused his hand to shake uncontrollably. Most professions could deal with it. But as an artist, where a steady hand seems essential, it all but doomed Phil's career. That was until a neurologist suggested he “embrace the shake.” That piece of advice "tweaked Hansen’s point of view and sent him on a quest to invent different approaches to making art by embracing personal and universal limitations." Watch his story on TED. I watched it and found three principles and four techniques of the innovation method, Systematic Inventive Thinking.
September 2, 2013

Innovation Sighting: Task Unification in a Parking Lot

The Task Unification Technique is one of five in the innovation method called Systematic Inventive Thinking. It is defined as "assiging an additional task to an existing resource." It is such a powerful technique because it often leads to Closed World solutions, or what we like to call "thinking inside the box." It yields innovations that tend to leverage some resource in the immediate vicinity in a clever way. It also tends to yield innovations that have a characteristic known as Ideality - the solution to a problem only appears when needed. When the problem arises, the solution is also there.
October 7, 2013

Inside the Box: How to Use the Innovate! App

The new Innovate Inside the Box app facilitates the use of the creativity method, Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT). It explains each of the five techniques (Subtraction, Division, Task Unification, Multiplication, and Attribute Dependency) and allows users to generate creative ideas and innovations. This app is ideal for readers of “Inside the Box: A Proven System of Creativity for Breakthrough Results.” The app is available for iPad 2 or 3. Learn more about it at the Apple iTunes Preview. Here's how to Use the App:
October 14, 2013

Innovation and Design Thinking: Week One Final Thoughts

The terms innovation and design thinking are used so often in so many different contexts, often interchanged, and sometimes misused. What do they really mean? More importantly, how do they relate to each other? These questions set the stage for “Innovation and Design Thinking,” the first Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) offered by the University of Cincinnati and the largest course ever taught since it was founded in 1819. Nearly two thousand students from around the world are participating.
January 27, 2014

Making the Most of Your Resources With Task Unification

John Doyle certainly knows theater. Over his thirty-year career, he’s staged more than two hundred professional productions throughout the United Kingdom and the United States, mostly in small, regional theater companies. In the early 1990s, while working at such a theater in rural England, the Scottish director came up with an innovative way to produce crowd-pleasing musicals on a tiny budget. Musicals are considerably more expensive to stage than traditional plays, due primarily to the cost of hiring musicians. But Doyle eliminated those excess costs by handing responsibility for musical accompaniment to his actors. The actors onstage doubled as instrumentalists.
February 3, 2014

Thinking Outside the Box: A Misguided Idea

Although studying creativity is considered a legitimate scientific discipline nowadays, it is still a very young one. In the early 1970s, a psychologist named J. P. Guilford was one of the first academic researchers who dared to conduct a study of creativity. One of Guilford’s most famous studies was the nine-dot puzzle, presented with its solution here. He challenged research subjects to connect all nine dots using just four straight lines without lifting their pencils from the page. Today many people are familiar with this puzzle and its solution. In the 1970s, however, very few were even aware of its existence, even though it had been around for almost a century.
March 3, 2014

The Multiplication Technique: Multiplying Your Problems Away

One very effective—but nonintuitive—way to use Multiplication is to multiply the most offending component in a problem and then change it so that it solves the problem. Yes, you actually make more of the very thing you are trying to discard. The key is to duplicate the nastiest component and imagine a scenario in which that copy could offer useful characteristics. Two researchers used this very technique and revolutionized the way we cope with dangerous insect species today.
April 7, 2014

Think Inside the Skyscraper: Innovations in Architecture

Skyscrapers are amazing from any vantage point - near, far, or even inside. If you look closely, you'll spot the patterns inherent in the techniques of Systematic Inventive Thinking. Take a look at these five examples.