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 […]
January 7, 2013

The Fabulous Five

Five companies are slugging it out in what may be the most competitive and unique business battle of all time. It is larger in scale with more at stake than battles in other industries including transportation, energy, and finance. More remarkable is how different the combatants are from one another. Instead of similar companies competing (Toyota versus General Motors, for example), these companies hail from different business bases: an electronics manufacturer, a lifestyle computing company, an online retailer, a search engine, and a social network. In order: Samsung, Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook. I call them the Fabulous Five.
February 11, 2013

Marketing Innovation: The Metaphor Tool Using the Division Pattern

The Metaphor is the most commonly used tool in marketing communications because it is a great way to attach meaning to a newly-launched product or brand. The Metaphor Tool takes a well-recognized and accepted cultural symbol and manipulates it to connect to the product, brand, or message. The tool is one of eight patterns embedded in most innovative commercials. Jacob Goldenberg and his colleagues describe these simple, well-defined design structures in their book, "Cracking the Ad Code," and provide a step-by-step approach to using them. The tools are:
March 11, 2013

Marketing’s Seat at the Innovation Table

Where does your marketing department fit when it comes to innovation? In an article1 titled, "Improving Marketing's Contribution to New Product Development," these author's offer a dismal view: "The prevailing view in most companies is that marketing is not a distinct function, and therefore, everyone can do marketing. As a result, the status of the marketing department is in a steep decline, which is especially observable within the NPD process. This development is surprising because it seems that top innovators strongly involve the marketing department in the NPD process. Hence, strengthening the marketing department's position with respect to NPD should be a priority to improve innovation performance." I agree. But I believe the authors fall way short of what is needed to do that. "The prevailing view in most companies is that marketing is not a distinct function, and therefore, everyone can do marketing. As a result, the status of the marketing department is in a steep decline, which is especially observable within the NPD process. This development is surprising because it seems that top innovators strongly involve the marketing department in the NPD process. Hence, strengthening the marketing department's position with respect to NPD should be a priority to improve innovation performance." I agree. But I believe the authors fall way short of what is needed to do that.
March 18, 2013

Marketing Innovation: Avocados and the Unification Tool

The Unification Tool is a tricky but effective advertising tool. Unification recruits an existing resource and forces it to carry the advertising message. That resource can come from within the medium itself or within the environment of the medium. In other words, the tool uses an existing component of the medium or of its environment in a way that demonstrates the problem or the promise to be delivered. The tool is one of eight patterns embedded in most innovative commercials. Jacob Goldenberg and his colleagues describe these simple, well-defined design structures in their book, "Cracking the Ad Code," and provide a step-by-step approach to using them. The tools are:
April 8, 2013

Innovation Sighting: The Attribute Dependency Technique in Pricing

While not popular, it is a classic example of the Attribute Dependency technique. Attribute Dependency is one of five techniques of the innovation method called SIT (Systematic Inventive Thinking). It differs from the other techniques in that it uses attributes (variables) of the situation rather than components. Start with an attribute list, then construct a matrix of these, pairing each against the others. Each cell represents a potential dependency (or potential break in an existing dependency) that forms a Virtual Product. Using Function Follows Form, we work backwards and envision a potential benefit or problem that this hypothetical solution solves.
May 20, 2013

Marketing Innovation: The Subtraction Tool in Saint Gobain Commercials

The Subtraction tool works by removing elements generally considered essential to the situation. The tool can be used in any marketing communications medium (television, print, and so on). The tool works by drwawing your attention to the missing component. As a result, the ad is more memorable. Subtraction is one of eight patterns embedded in most innovative commercials. Jacob Goldenberg and his colleagues describe these simple, well-defined design structures in their book, "Cracking the Ad Code," and provide a step-by-step approach to using them.
December 23, 2013

How to Target Your Innovation

Companies get better results from innovation by targeting initiatives at the right places. Here are six areas to focus on:
January 20, 2014

The Partial Subtraction Technique: Betty Crocker’s Egg

In the 1950s, General Mills launched a line of cake mixes under the famous Betty Crocker brand. The cake mixes included all the dry ingredients in the package, plus milk and eggs in powdered form. All you needed was to add water, mix it all together, and stick the pan in the oven. For busy homemakers, it saved time and effort, and the recipe was virtually error free. General Mills had a sure winner on its hands. Or so it thought. Despite the many benefits of the new product, it did not sell well. Even the iconic and trusted Betty Crocker brand could not convince homemakers to adopt the new product.
July 21, 2014

Fusion: Linking Your Product to the Message to Create Great Packaging

Creative marketers use a clever little tool called fusion. Fusion links a product to a message in a creative way that communicates the value inherent in the product. Fusion creates a visual connection between the product and a symbol representing the value. When a customer sees that connection, they instantly understand the message and appreciate the value delivered by the product in a more powerful and subtle way.
March 16, 2015

Marketing Innovation: The Unification Technique in Outdoor Advertising

The Unification Tool is a tricky but effective tool for outdoor advertising. Unification recruits an existing resource and forces it to carry the advertising message. That resource can come from within the medium itself or within the environment of the medium. In other words, the tool uses an existing component of the medium or of its environment in a way that demonstrates the problem or the promise to be delivered.