Innovation in Practice Blog

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! […]
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 […]
October 22, 2018

Attribute Dependency in Bifocal Glasses

Bifocal users must no longer battle their strange, new lenses, thanks to the technology of Mitsui Chemicals of Japan. This spring, Mitsui launched their TouchFocus line, […]
October 15, 2018

Running Effective Innovation Workshops

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that innovation is a team sport. The strongest teams are characterized by functional, gender, and cultural diversity among its members. And, […]
October 3, 2018

Training Your Team to Innovate

To drive innovation across your company, you must train your employees how to innovate. Innovation is a skill, not a gift, and it can be learned […]
September 24, 2018

Motivating Innovative Behavior

Innovators are at their best when they feel a sense of purpose. As a marketing leader you play a key role in that dynamic. Innovators have […]
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 […]
September 11, 2018

3 Ways to Improve Team Innovation

The most powerful innovation comes when teams work together. Driving innovation means getting individual employees to be more innovative, but it also means getting high performance […]
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 […]
August 31, 2018

Keeping Your Innovation Momentum

At some point in your journey to drive innovation, you’ll want to take a deep breath and ask – what happened here? What have we achieved? […]
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.
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.
September 13, 2010

Academic Focus: Aalto University

The convergence of three worlds...commercial, technical, and design...creates the optimal conditions for innovation. Now a new university in Finland has done just that. Aalto University is a newly created university from the merger of the Helsinki School of Economics, the University of Art and Design Helsinki and Helsinki University of Technology - all leading and renowned institutions in their respective fields and in their own right.
September 20, 2010

Prospective Innovation

People can improve the quality, originality, and elegance of ideas by extensively forecasting the implication of those ideas during the generation phase. Researchers from The University of Oklahoma studied the effect of forecasting on idea evaluation and implementation planning. In the experiment, 141 undergraduate students were asked to formulate advertising campaigns for a new product. These campaigns were evaluated by a panel of judges. Prior to formulating the campaigns, participants were asked to forecast the implication of their ideas and the forecast the effects of a plan for implementing their best idea.
October 3, 2010

Innovation Suite 2010 – New York City

SIT will be conducting its 5th innovation course in New York City from Nov 1-3, 2010. This course is designed for middle management and above, but most anyone can benefit from the learning experience. Participants of previous courses were Presidents, Marketing VPs and Directors, R&D VPs and Directors, Innovation Teams, and Product Directors from both large multinationals and smaller organizations. You can register for it at http://www.sitsite.com/academy/.
December 27, 2010

The LAB: Innovating Athletic Shoes with S.I.T. (December 2010)

The athletic footwear market is maturing, so it will need sustained innovation to keep growing. "Performance footwear" emerged with the ancient Greeks and has since grown to a $50 billion global industry. Innovations such as vulcanized rubber, high tops, arch support, specialized functions, endorsements, and branding have kept the industry vibrant and growing, especially for the dominant three players: Nike, Adidas, and Reebok. Now it's crunch time! For this month's LAB, we will use the corporate innovation method, S.I.T., to create new athletic shoe concepts. The method works by taking one of the five patterns (subtraction, task unification, division, multiplication, and attribute dependency) and applying it to an existing product or service. This morphs it into a "virtual product," which is an abstract, ambiguous notion with no clear purpose. We then work backwards (Function Follows Form) to find new and useful benefits or markets for the virtual product. Here are five innovations created by graduate students at the University of Cincinnati as part of their graded requirements in the innovation tools course.
January 3, 2011

Academic Focus: The Live Well Collaborative

The Live Well Collaborative at the University of Cincinnati is an academic-industry innovation incubator for regionally, nationally and internationally prominent firms. The focus of LWC is the aging population. Firms partner with UC to address product or service needs for the 50+ market. The UC students and faculty conduct research and develop ideas incorporating expertise from fields including design, business, engineering, medicine and even anthropology.
January 24, 2011

Don’t Brand Your Innovation Program

Companies should avoid the temptation to brand their innovation program. While it seems like a great way to bring excitement and focus to innovation, branding these programs does just the opposite. Employees become cynical, they wait it out, and they go right back to doing what they were doing before. I liken this advice to that from Edwards Deming on quality. His 14 Key Principles are legendary in the quality movement worldwide. Principle Number 10 says: "Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the work force asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the work force."
January 31, 2011

Academic Focus: University of Pavia

The Centre for International Business and the International Economy at the University of Pavia is conducting a comprehensive study on how companies leverage innovation as a competitive weapon. It seeks to uncover the different strategic models and managerial practices adopted by the most successful and innovative firms to achieve a competitive advantage.
February 14, 2011

Innovation Tools – The Course

It’s that time of year again for “Innovation Tools,” the graduate marketing course at the University of Cincinnati. The course teaches how to use Systematic Inventive Thinking, a method based on three ideas. First, most successful innovations over time followed one of five patterns, and these patterns are like the DNA of products that can be re-applied to innovate any product or service. Second, innovation happens when we start with a configuration (the “solution”) and work backwards to the “problem” that it solves. It turns out that humans are better at this than the traditional “problem-to-solution” approach to innovating. Finally, better innovation happens when we start within the world of the problem (the Closed World). Innovations that use elements of the problem or surrounding environment are more novel and surprising. We innovate “inside the box,” not outside.