Innovation in Practice Blog

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 […]
October 6, 2020

The Multiplication Technique: A Simple Tool with Many Creative Surprises Inside

Procter & Gamble was able to take an air freshener product that was lagging at 4th place in terms of market share – to 1st place, […]
September 29, 2020

How to Create and Run an Innovation Pilot Program

Individuals and organizations need to learn at a rate faster than the rate of change. And innovation pilot programs help you do that.  But how do […]
September 22, 2020

Fixedness: Your Main Barrier to Creative Thinking

How do you develop your creativity? As much as you want to or need to be creative, sometimes, there’s something that seems to block it. And […]
September 15, 2020

Process Innovation: Unlocking New Value in What You Do Everyday

The Systematic Inventive Thinking or SIT method is not only applicable to products, it’s also highly valuable in innovating services and processes.  Here are two ways […]
September 8, 2020

Innovation Dream Teams: The Secret Formula to Drive Team Success

When you’re talking about innovation, a traditional brainstorming approach doesn’t work. If you want to generate better ideas, you have to be able to create your […]
September 1, 2020

Why People Resist Our Innovative Ideas and How To Overcome It

With innovation comes resistance. They define each other. An idea simply cannot be innovative unless it’s met with resistance. Because of this, we should see resistance […]
August 25, 2020

How to Use the Closed World Principle of Creativity

Creative thinking can be systematic and routine. All you have to do is learn how to use your brain and learn a new way to generate […]
December 8, 2007

Can you make me be more creative?

The key to becoming extremely effective at innovation is to learn all the tools and templates that help create an initial, undefined construct, or what innovation researchers call "the pre-inventive form." This ability to apply a template, then find a useful purpose for the for what comes out of that template is what allows one to innovate on demand. Templates "make" people innovate.
September 14, 2008

Sooner, Better, Bolder

Innovation is a team sport, and no one describes this better than Professor Keith Sawyer in his book, Group Genius. Keith's blog, Creativity & Innovation, highlights one of the most significant aspects of successful innovation - that groups of people are likely to be more creative than individuals working on their own. His latest example of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios illustrates this well. “Creativity involves a large number of people from different disciplines working together to solve a great many problems…A movie contains literally tens of thousands of ideas.” (Ed Catmull, Pesident of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios) Why are groups so effective? What is the optimal group size? What is the best way to leverage the group dynamic? As a practitioner and teacher of innovation, I have witnessed group innovation many times in many settings, and I observe three factors that might explain why teams outperform individuals at innovating.
October 12, 2009

Academic Focus: Harvard Business School

A colleague asked me, "Who is that innovation guru at the Harvard Business School?" That's easy: Dr. Teresa Amabile. Dr. Amabile heads the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School and is the only tenured professor at a top business school to devote her entire research program to the study of creativity. She is one of the world's leading voices in business innovation.
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.
February 21, 2011

Innovation Sighting: The Division Template on Music

The power of the SIT method lies in the fact that inventors, for thousands of years, have embedded five simple patterns into their inventions, usually without knowing it. These patterns are the "DNA" of products that can be extracted and applied to any product or service to create new-to-the-world innovations. Here is an example of an innovator working diligently to create a new innovation in the field of music - called "Music for Shuffle." The inventor, Matthew Irvine Brown, is using the Divison technique to create musical phrases that can be played together in any random order. The phrases interlock with each other to create a continuous stream of music - a song. Listen:
December 27, 2012

Let Me Speak!

Giving your employees a voice in matters boosts their creativity. New research shows that, over time, procedural fairness (giving people the opportunity to express their views) has a positive maintaining effect on creativity whereas stifling their views decreases creativity.
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.
August 19, 2013

Bloomberg Business Week: Inside the Box

Most people think innovation starts with a well-defined problem, and then you brainstorm a solution. Try the opposite: Work backwards by taking an abstract, conceptual solution and finding a problem it can solve. By constraining and channeling our brains, we can make them work both harder and smarter to find creative solutions—on demand.
February 10, 2014

The Creativity Method of The Beatles

Fifty years ago on Feb. 9, 1964, the Beatles made their first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show." A record 73 million people watched that night. And the rest, of course, is history. The Beatles were innovators, and they did it systematically using templates. The Beatles were corporate innovators who created immense fortunes for their shareholders. They used structured methods, experimentation, and technology the same way Fortune 500 companies create new products and services.
April 20, 2014

Inside versus Outside: The Story of the Inside the Box

Go behind the scenes of "Inside the Box: A Proven System of Creativity for Breakthrough Results." Enjoy this one hour webinar with co-author, Drew Boyd, who shares insights about the writing of the book and its impact on the creative potential of organizations.