Innovation in Practice Blog

June 3, 2019

Global Innovation Platform SOSA Partners with Elron

SOSA, the leading global innovation platform that connects international organizations to innovative technology, has entered into a strategic partnership with Elron, a top Israeli early stage investment […]
May 6, 2019

Featured in BBC Article

I had the privilege of recently being interviewed by Alex Hannaford, a BBC journalist for an article that ran last week. In his article, “How hindsight […]
April 16, 2019

Be a Catalyst for Change

Professors change the world, once student at a time. I’m regularly asked about my transition to academia. The first question I ask the professional considering the switch is whether he […]
March 25, 2019

Announcing LinkedIn Learning a-la-carte!

Many of you enjoy the benefit of sharpening your skills through LinkedIn Learning courses. To date, LinkedIn offers access to their entire course library via subscription. […]
February 27, 2019

Thinking Outside the Box About “Outside the Box”

Guest post by Bill Fanelli Last fall I attended a workshop led by author, marketing consultant, and University professor Drew Boyd. He challenged my thinking about […]
January 8, 2019

Now is the time to prepare

There are a lot of people standing in a lot of lines for academic positions. You need to find the lines that are most likely to lead to a job for you.
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, […]
August 27, 2012

The LAB: Innovating Social Media Apps with SIT (August 2012)

Marketers have such a wide array of social media apps to choose from that it can be overwhelming. Tools such as Go2Web20.net can help sort through the maze and narrow down the search to catergories of apps such as mobile, Facebook, gaming, and so on. But to squeeze more out of social apps, the savvy marketer looks for ways to innovate in a way that supports the brand. For this month's LAB, let's apply the innovation method, SIT, to social media apps as a means of brand building. This is not the first time we've applied innovation techniques to social media. In the October 2009 LAB, we demontrated how to apply social apps to a large field organization such as a sales force or delivery fleet. The key was using the Task Unification Technique, one of five in the SIT method. To use Task Unification, we take a component of a product, service, system, etc, and we assign an additional "job" to it. For this month's LAB, we will apply the same basic approach to brand building. Imagine you are the brand manager for the billion dollar Febreze® franchise, and you are looking for ways to stretch the brand into eliminating pet odor. Here is how it works.
October 15, 2012

Innovation Sighting: Nissan’s Intelligent Car Horn

Nissan's latest innovation takes the lowly car horn and elevates it to the status of "smart." The 2013 Altima has a new feature that's likely to surprise buyers. It's called Easy-Fill Tire Alert. The car's tire pressure monitoring system informs drivers when a tire is low on air and then uses the sedan's horn and hazard lights to confirm that the tire has been filled adequately. This is a classic use of the Task Unification Technique, one of five in the innovation method called SIT. Task Unification works by taking a component and assigning it an additional job. That component can be an internal resource (in this case, something on or in the car) or an external resource, something in the vicinity of the car, but not within the manufacturer's control (a passenger, for example). The additional job can be "stolen" from another component or it can be assigned something new.
August 12, 2013

Square Roots: Inside the Box at Southwest Airlines

Check out this clever interpretation of Inside the Box, now appearing in Spirit Magazine, the inflight magazine of Southwest Airlines.
September 2, 2013

Innovation Sighting: Task Unification in a Parking Lot

The Task Unification Technique is one of five in the innovation method called Systematic Inventive Thinking. It is defined as "assiging an additional task to an existing resource." It is such a powerful technique because it often leads to Closed World solutions, or what we like to call "thinking inside the box." It yields innovations that tend to leverage some resource in the immediate vicinity in a clever way. It also tends to yield innovations that have a characteristic known as Ideality - the solution to a problem only appears when needed. When the problem arises, the solution is also there.
December 2, 2013

Innovation Sighting: Task Unification Saves Lives and Money

Philips North America announced Fosmo Med, developer of the Maji Intravenous (IV) saline bag, as the grand prize winner of the first-ever Philips Innovation Fellows competition, revealing the technology as the next big, meaningful innovation in health and well-being. The new IV solution technology has the potential to save millions of lives worldwide from dehydration-related diseases, such as cholera. Maji is a revolutionary field hydration system for IV use that is shipped without water. Once on site, forward osmosis technology converts local water -- even if it's not clean -- to a sterile solution without requiring any electrical power. An estimated 16 Maji bags can be shipped for the same cost as one traditional IV saline bag, saving up to $500 for every 14 units shipped. Maji is an example of the Task Unification Technique, one of five in the SIT innovation method. Task Unification works by assigning an additional task to an existing resource. In this example, the Maji bag has the additional job of filtering water.
January 6, 2014

Innovation Sighting: Task Unification and CAPTCHA

You’ve experienced this dozens, if not hundreds, of times. Before being allowed to enter a website, you must type words written in a bizarre, distorted script inside a box. Dr. Luis von Ahn, a professor in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University, estimates that people decipher script like this more than 200 million times a day. He should know. He invented the system. Captcha, as it is called, protects websites by demanding that visitors take a simple test that humans can pass but computers cannot. Captcha, in fact, is an acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart. It requires website visitors to interpret the text correctly and type the right letters before they can enter the site.
January 27, 2014

Making the Most of Your Resources With Task Unification

John Doyle certainly knows theater. Over his thirty-year career, he’s staged more than two hundred professional productions throughout the United Kingdom and the United States, mostly in small, regional theater companies. In the early 1990s, while working at such a theater in rural England, the Scottish director came up with an innovative way to produce crowd-pleasing musicals on a tiny budget. Musicals are considerably more expensive to stage than traditional plays, due primarily to the cost of hiring musicians. But Doyle eliminated those excess costs by handing responsibility for musical accompaniment to his actors. The actors onstage doubled as instrumentalists.
February 24, 2014

Innovation Sighting: Getting Your Competition to Promote You

How do you get your competitor to promote your value proposition? DHL did just that in the highly competitive package delivery category. Shipping companies compete on the basis of speed, convenience, and reliability. So the race is on to prove to customers which company is the best performing. In this campaign, DHL spoofed its competitors like UPS to broadcast that it's faster.
March 17, 2014

Task Unification: The Essence of Citizen Science

“Simply by taking that fifteen-minute step, these citizen scientists make a contribution to saving bees,” LeBuhn said. “It’s remarkable having all these different people willing to participate, willing to help, and interested in making the world a better place.”
May 26, 2014

Filtering Ideas to Find the Very Best Ones

The SIT Method is designed to help you generate lots of ideas in a systematic way. But how do you select which ideas to pursue? Filtering ideas is an essential part of the creativity process. You want to make sure you spend your time only on those with the most potential.