A few weeks back at the FEI11 conference, I helped setup the Lego exhibit. After unloading boxes and boxes of Legos, I dove into contributing the first of many user-generated, or in this case, conference attendee-generated, creations that would grace the exhibit. As I thought about what to construct, I decided it might be nice to welcome folks to Boston by building the skyline. After constructing the John Hancock Tower, the “Boston Legal” building, the Prudential building, and a “Bridge to the Future” with a divergent and convergent staircase, I started on the waterfront. I added water details including Read more
Last week, I stopped by a local food truck for lunch. After eating, I looked around for a trash can to toss the rubbish. Typically, it is easy to spot the receptacle because it is overflowing with trash. Not this time though. As I looked around, I found a Big Belly Solar Compactor. I didn’t think much about what a solar trash compactor was because I was running late for a meeting.
Then, over the weekend, my son and I had a picnic at our local park. When we were finished with our picnic, I looked around for someplace to throw the trash. In the distance, I spotted a trash can with piles of wrappers and food debris. Sadly, we couldn’t jam another bit of trash into the can if we tried. Rather than adding to the growing pile forming around the receptacle, my son and I looked for another trash can. We found a pristine Big Belly Solar Compactor. Problem solved.
More and more retailers are turning to private labeling and exclusive products to drive revenue. With this move comes an investment in building internal product development functions. It is estimated that by 2013, 40% of retailers will generate half of their revenue from private labeling and exclusive products. At FEI11, Michael Kitz, of OfficeMax, talked about this model in his presentation, Retailer Driven Innovation – A Powerful New Business Model.
There’s been quite a bit of talk lately in the innovation world about the importance of failure. In thinking about failure, I’m struck by the negative connotation. Though many of us consider failure a bad thing, sometimes there is an unintended consequence to failure. Namely, failure can lead to new thinking and innovation. I was reminded of the beauty of failure by my son.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend IIR’s 2011 Front End of Innovation conference. There were many great speakers and topics. Here is an excerpt from Humana.
When it comes to innovation in the health care space, Humana stands head and shoulders above the competition. Tony Tomazic, Director of Innovation, at Humana shared learning from the company’s 11 year history in the innovation business. Here are a few of Tony’s insights:
This is a follow-up post to an article I wrote a few weeks back titled, Creativity: Sensing Gaps and Imagining Possibilities. In the article I hypothesized about how a person’s mind could recognize a gap in a situation and fill in, or imagine, the possibilities. I used examples from my early work experience to shed light on how the mind might work.
In listening to an NPR story on an early morning commute, I was surprised to learn of scientific proof backing the sensing of gaps and imagining possibilities. In the segment Mindreading: Technology Turns Thought into Action the NPR team interviewed researchers who found, “Whether it’s musical phrases or strings of words or scenery we look at, our brains are always filling in missing information.”
The first time I flew to Australia, I remember dreading the layover and wishing we could fly non-stop from Boston. As I peered out the plane window and saw the brilliant sunshine, I couldn’t fathom how decades later a solar plane would make its first international flight. Just the other day the solar-powered Solar Impulse completed a flight from Switzerland to Brussels. The plane generated energy from the sun and stored the power in order to charge lithium batteries for night flight. No fuel and no pollution. Creativity at its finest.
With creativity and innovation, sometimes there are too many questions. All of these questions float around in people’s minds and cause paralysis. Soon the good intentions of driving towards action gets mired in analyzing all the questions surrounding the situation. This causes analysis paralysis. Otherwise known as following the swirl of questions to the point of losing sight of the original goal you set out to accomplish. What’s a team to do? Well, there’s a saying that goes, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” The key to getting out of the swirl is to break down the situation into manageable pieces.
When I first graduated college, I set a goal of talking to one new person a day. This goal helped me meet many interesting people and even helped me land my first job in the field of marketing. However, as time went on, I soon fell into chatting and socializing with my familiar set of friends.
Once I started traveling for work, this all changed. A number of years ago, I was one of the top travelers in my company. In my travels I met many people. What I found interesting was of all the conversations, the most authentic and most heartfelt were the ones with seatmates on my flights. I once met a brain surgeon who was burned out and didn’t want to be a brain surgeon anymore. This surgeon shared his concern about what lifestyle changes in switching careers might mean to his family.
There are all kinds of things that make people happy. Movies, books, comedians, experiences. When I think of happy experiences, Disney is top of mind. Makes sense, right? Amusement park, rides, great characters…all built around an imagined world dedicated to children. Disney is a large-scale business built around happiness. But, how might a soft drink company leverage happiness? A few days ago a friend shared an article about Coca Cola’s Happiness campaign. I was skeptical until I saw this video.