Innovation in Practice Blog

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.
May 14, 2013

The Stereotypy Trap

Struggling retailer JC Penny hired former Apple executive Ron Johnson as the CEO to save the company. Seventeen months later, he was ousted in what many consider a colossal failure. Why? Not because he failed to take action, but rather because he tried taking the same actions that worked for him at Apple. He was guilty of a managerial bias called stereotypy – the tendency to believe that what worked for you in the past will work for you in the future.
May 6, 2013

Innovation Sighting: Attribute Dependency in Signage

Signs are perhaps the most ancient yet still relevant tools of marketing. According to the International Sign Association, signage is the least expensive but most effective form of advertising and can account for half of your customers. Can sign makers use systematic methods of creativity? Absolutely.
April 29, 2013

Innovating in Human Resources

Systematic Inventive Thinking is not only for inventing new products and services. You can apply it to a variety of functions and processes. SIT is based on the idea that mankind has used distinct patterns when creating new solutions or innovations. These patterns are embedded into the products and services you see around you. The SIT method structures your thinking and channels your ideation to take advantage of these patterns by re-applying them to something else. Consider the human resources function of an organization. Here are suggestions of which SIT technique to apply in a variety of HR activities:
April 22, 2013

New Ideas Light Up the Brain

Brain measuringCanadian researchers found that areas in the reward center of the brain became active when people hear a song for the first time. The more the listener enjoys what they are hear, the stronger the connections are in the region of the brain called the nucleus accumbens. The study is published in the journal Science.
April 15, 2013

Academic Focus: Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for S.I.T.

The University of Cincinnati announced it will launch its first Massive Open Online Course (called MOOC) next fall. It will be the first MOOC to teach Systematic Inventive Thinking (S.I.T.), an innovation method based on templates.
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.
April 1, 2013

Don’t Be Fooled When Assessing Creative Work

How we judge a creative idea is affected by how we perceive its inventor. Without realizing it, we may overvalue or undervalue a new concept and make poor choices in the product development process as a result.
March 25, 2013

Academic Focus: Universidad Deusto – Master in Business Innovation

The University of Deusto business school is offering a masters degree in business innovation (MBI) that I believe serves as an excellent role model for other schools. It is unique because it focuses on three foundations (from their website):
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:
June 1, 2017

Solution-to-Problem Innovation

Innovation is the process of taking an idea and putting it into practice. Creativity, on the other hand, is what you do in your head to […]
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. […]
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 9, 2018

Breaking Fixedness: Saving the Boys of the Thai Soccer Team Trapped in a Cave

News of a boys soccer team trapped in a cave in Thailand brought back memories of the Chilean miners trapped 2,300 feet underground in August 2010. […]
July 23, 2018

Swiping the Blank Slate: Accelerate Your Career Success by Jumpstarting Innovative Thinking

By Nurit Shmilovitz-Vardi We’ve all been there. Your manager assigns your next project, handing you the relevant materials along with the following demand: “This needs to […]
September 10, 2018

Now Live: Value Proposition Surgical Robotics Simulation on Harvard Business Publishing Website

This valuable simulation was recently published by my friend and colleague, Marta Dapena-Baron, of The Big Picture Partners. This multiplayer training simulation brings to life the […]
September 17, 2018

Creating a Culture of Innovation

There have been times I sat down with a client and I told them, “your organization is very innovative”, but they don’t believe me. I tell […]
November 5, 2018

Introducing Switchers

I am excited to announce a new book that was just released by my friend and colleague, Dawn Graham. Switchers is the first book written specifically for the career changer, to help them to […]
November 12, 2018

Launching My Latest Book

I’m thrilled to let you know my new book, So You Want to Be a Professor: How to Land Your Dream Job in Academia, just launched! […]