Innovation in Practice Blog

January 19, 2021

Mastering Creative Thinking: Two Techniques to Make Creative Thinking Stick

Becoming even just a little bit more creative will enhance what you do every day – whether at work, at home, or just about anywhere.  But […]
January 12, 2021

The Creative Power of Thinking Big: How to Improve Your Ideas with One Simple Trick

Think big. You’ve probably heard that a lot of times.  As leaders, we need to be more aggressive, take more risks, and challenge ourselves to think […]
January 5, 2021

The Temptation of Creative Ideas: How We View Ideas Differently Depending on the Source

The next time you come up with a great idea, don’t share it with anyone! Sounds absurd, right? Here’s a better way of saying that: If […]
December 29, 2020

You’re Awesome! How Sarcasm Enhances Creativity

Sarcasm is the idea of using irony in a way to mock somebody or to insult them. While sarcasm can be insulting and hurtful to somebody, […]
December 22, 2020

The Golden Rule of Creativity

The golden rule says that you should treat others as you want them to treat you.  Now, the golden rule of creativity states that if you […]
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 […]
February 10, 2008

Innovation Follows Strategy

How do you tie innovation to strategy? Professor Christie Nordhielm from the University of Michigan has developed what I consider the best single contribution to marketing thought since the 4P's. Her Big Picture framework of the marketing management process provides the context for innovating across the entire business model. Applying systematic innovation tools to each aspect of her Big Picture model can yield amazing insights at both the strategic and tactical levels of the business. It is the intersection of these two ideas...Big Picture Strategy and Systematic Inventive Thinking...that will yield consistent, profitable results. Innovation follows strategy...not the other way around.
October 17, 2011

Are You More Innovative Than You Think?

DnaYou may be surprised to find many of your products and services conform to the five innovation patterns of Systematic Inventive Thinking. If so, it means your employees are predisposed to use innovation patterns when developing new products. Like many innovators, they are using patterns probably without realizing it. Given this predisposition to using innovation templates, a company can realize huge gains in innovation effectiveness by taking the next step.
January 9, 2012

Redeploying Your Core Competencies

Read this partial list of core competencies for a particular firm and try to guess what industry it is in: 1. Consumer insights: understanding what consumer want 2. Design: making things easy to use 3. Innovation: coming up with new ideas routinely 4. Systems integration: making things work together 5. Customer relationships: forming and maintaining customer loyalty From this list alone, you could imagine this firm being part of virtually any industry. In fact, the firm with these core competencies would likely be the leader of that industry. Which company owns these skills? In 2008, managers at Kodak cited these skills as their core competencies. Less than four years later, Kodak is on the verge of bankruptcy, ending the reign of a once proud and legenday 120 year old brand. It is now forced to sell its massive patent estate to raise operating cash. What happened? Many will cite the familiar reasons: failure to innovate, slow to move into digital photography, poor execution of digital photography, and so on. Yet none of these reasons are correct. Kodak was a highly innovative firm. It invented digital photography long before it wiped out its paper film business. Kodak was a marketing powerhouse. It could execute marketing campaigns and brand building with the best of them.
February 13, 2012

The Hidden Cost of Poor Innovation Execution

Executing and launching new products takes financial and human resources. But there is a hidden cost, one which often goes unnoticed, when the project is delayed. Poor execution postpones the revenue stream from a new innovation. Given the time value of money, that financial loss can be staggering. Consider one of the most famous innovative product - the Post-it® Note.
July 15, 2013

Inside the Box: “Oh, This Is Going to Be Addictive”

When you use Subtraction, you don’t always have to eliminate the component. There is also what we call “Partial Subtraction.” It is a valid technique as long as the product or service that remains delivers a new benefit. To deploy Partial Subtraction, you pick a component and then eliminate a specific feature of that component. Consider the case of Twitter, a microblogging application used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. By simply restricting each tweet to 140 characters, Twitter has become a vast digital conversation about what individuals around the globe are thinking and doing. A Partial Subtraction of the traditional blog down to 140 characters dramatically increased the volume of and participation in this Internet phenomenon. How did it happen?
September 16, 2013

Innovation Sighting: Bookless Public Library

The Subtraction Technique is amazing because of its simplicity and power. It is one of five techniques that form the core of Systematic Inventive Thinking, a method of innovating new products and services. Here is a classic example of how it can completely reframe how we see one of the most familiar of institutions - the Library.
November 5, 2013

Can Blackberry Dig Themselves Out of the Hole?

As Albert Einstein noted, one cannot solve a problem with the same thinking that created it. That seems to be Blackberry’s predicament as it faces another drop in its stock value. However, with a fresh investment by Fairfax Holdings and a new CEO, Blackberry may have time to reinvent its business model. The new leadership team will need to think differently. It is a perfect time to apply systematic innovation tools to create a new future.
November 7, 2013

Now, Twitter Must Grow

It's official. Twitter is a publicly traded company, and it will face constant pressure to innovate and grow. Let's look at how innovation methods can be applied to Twitter to find new opportunitues. We'll apply the five techniques of Systematic Inventive Thinking to Twitter. Our goal will be to create new features and innovations with the main Twitter platform as well as to create completely new applications related to Twitter.
December 30, 2013

The Top 10 Most Underappreciated Inventions

The end of the year is a popular time to publish lists of all sorts. A quick glance at CNN, for example, revealed lists such as "75 Amazing Sports Moments," "The 50 Best Android Apps," "8 Very Old Sites in the New World," and many more. Here is The Top 10 Most Underappreciated Inventions. The criteria for making this list are: 1. the invention has to be of high value, 2. we take it for granted; we just expect it to be there, and 3. it would be hard to imagine life without it; the substitute for the invention would be unacceptable.
January 13, 2014

Systematic Innovation at the Consumer Electronics Show

One way to develop your expertise in SIT techniques is with pattern spotting. A key premise of SIT is that for thousands of years, innovators have used patterns in their inventions, usually without even realizing it. Those patterns are now embedded into the products and services you see around you, almost like the DNA of a product. You want to develop your ability to see these patterns as a way to improve your use of them. There's probably no better place to practice pattern spotting than at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). In last week's CES in Las Vegas, "manufacturers demonstrated a range of previously mundane but now smart, web-connected products destined to become part of daily domestic existence, from kitchen appliances to baby monitors to sports equipment," as reported in The Independent.